Company news in brief

19 July 2019 | Business

Companies bid for Vedanta's Zambian assets

Zambia expects nine companies to submit bids for Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) within weeks, mines minister Richard Musukwa said on Wednesday, even as a court case with Mumbai-listed Vedanta over its ownership was underway.

Musukwa told a media briefing he was confident the government could win the case with Vedanta in any country in the world, and that companies from Russia, Turkey, Australia, Canada and China were currently conducting due diligence for potential bids for the KCM business.

"Currently we have about nine companies," Musukwa said, adding that they had visited KCM.

"The bidding process will start once all the companies have conducted due diligence and we are hoping this can happen within a couple of weeks," he said.

The case has intensified concerns among international miners about resource nationalism in Africa.

It is one point of contention in a row between Zambia and its powerful mining industry, which has contested new taxes the government has imposed, saying they will stymie investment, push some producers into the red and hit production. – Nampa/Reuters

Anglo American's Q2 output rises 2%

Anglo American yesterday said the ramp-up of iron ore at Minas Rio in Brazil and higher volumes of coking coal had offset reduced diamond production, raising second-quarter output by 2% and keeping the company on track to meet its 2019 targets.

Prices of iron ore, used with coking coal to make steel, have outperformed other base metals, reaching five-year highs, after a Vale dam disaster in Brazil led to production shut-ins.

CEO Mark Cutifani said Anglo American's production had been boosted following the ramp-up of Minas Rio and a strong performance from coking coal after plant upgrade work in the first quarter.

"We remain broadly on track overall to deliver this full year's production targets," he said in a statement.

Copper production increased by 1% and platinum rose 3% year on year. – Nampa/Reuters

SA subsidiary of Ford to add 1 200 jobs

The South African unit of Ford Motor Co said on Wednesday it would hire an additional 1 200 staff at one of its local assembly plants, an increase of over 25%, to add an extra shift and raise production.

The additional shift, which will increase production to 720 vehicles per day, is the result of a R3 billion investment in South Africa that was announced in 2017, aimed at increasing annual production to 168 000 units.

The US-owned company currently employs around 4 300 people in South Africa, at the plant in the Silverton suburb of Pretoria, which will add the extra shift, and at another site in the coastal city of Port Elizabeth.

The extra shift will satisfy the strong demand from customers in South Africa, as well as for the company’s crucial exports to 148 markets around the world, Ockert Berry, vice president of operations for Ford Middle East and Africa, said in a statement.

Around a third of Ford's local production is sold in South Africa and other Sub-Saharan African countries, with the rest exported elsewhere. – Nampa/Reuters

Huawei: Italy's new 5G powers discriminate against it

Chinese telecoms equipment group Huawei Technologies criticised the Italian government's newly beefed-up powers to intervene in the development of fifth-generation (5G) telecom services, saying they discriminated against the company.

Luigi De Vecchis, chairman of Huawei Italia, made the comment in a parliamentary hearing, after the government moved by urgent decree last week to strengthen its existing so-called "golden power" to intervene in the private sector.

It did so due to concerns over the potential involvement of Huawei and fellow Chinese equipment maker ZTE Corp in the development of 5G networks, a government source has said.

The United States has lobbied Italy and other European allies to avoid Huawei equipment and to also pay close scrutiny to ZTE, alleging the vendors could pose a security risk. Both companies have strongly denied any such risk. – Nampa/Reuters

Netflix’s global growth falls short

Netflix Inc said on Wednesday it lost US streaming customers for the first time in eight years and missed targets for new subscribers overseas, an announcement that jarred investors ahead of looming competition.

Netflix shares sank nearly 12% in after-hours trading after the company posted quarterly results that showed it shed 130 000 US customers from April to June.

The world's dominant subscription video service said its slate of new shows during the quarter was not as appealing as expected and price increases in some markets dented growth.

Netflix reported that it added 2.83 million paid streaming subscribers outside the United States, below analyst expectations of 4.8 million, according to IBES data from Refinitiv. Analysts had forecast a US gain of 352 000.

Looming in November is the launch of Disney+, seen as a formidable entrant into the streaming market, and original programming from Apple Inc. AT&T Inc and Comcast Corp have said they plan their own offerings next year. – Nampa/Reuters

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