Company news in brief

22 August 2019 | Business

Zambia’s Lungu won’t meet Vedanta

Zambian president Edgar Lungu, on a visit to India this week, has no plans to meet anyone from Mumbai-listed Vedanta Resources whose copper firm faces expulsion from Zambia for allegedly failing to pay taxes, his office said Tuesday.

Vedanta said in a statement earlier Tuesday that it was looking "forward to engaging with President Lungu and his team in India this week and to building on the discussions held last week in Lusaka".

London-based Vedanta is the majority owner of Zambia's largest copper mining firm, Konkola Copper Mines (KCM), which has been at the centre of a standoff with the government. The state-owned ZCCM-IH is a minority shareholder in KCM.

Lungu last week met Vedanta chairman Argawal at the request of the investor but vowed to dissolve the firm, accusing KCM of violating its operational licence and not paying all its taxes. Vedanta has denied the allegations and is locked in a legal battle with the government. – Nampa/AFP

BHP chief to 'stick up for globalisation'

The head of the world's biggest miner BHP said he will "stick up for globalisation" and is more worried about the damage trade tensions are inflicting on the world economy than their impact on demand for the commodities BHP produces.

CEO Andrew Mackenzie told reporters in London protectionism was an act of economic self-harm.

"Economically this is causing disruption and the partial unravelling of global supply chains," Mackenzie said. "We're not completely immune to some form of downturn and that's why we're nervous."

Asked whether commodity cycles had peaked, he said he did not know, adding the company was "anxious but ready".

Prices of iron ore, which represents nearly 50% of BHP's core earnings, have fallen as the impact eases of supply disruption at the start of the year caused by a dam disaster in Brazil and extreme weather in Australia. – Nampa/Reuters

Alibaba postpones Hong Kong listing

China's biggest e-commerce company Alibaba Group Holding Ltd has delayed its up to US$15 billion listing in Hong Kong amid growing political unrest in the Asian financial hub, two people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

Alibaba held a board meeting before its latest quarterly earnings release last week, during which the board decided to postpone the Hong Kong listing which was set to take place in late August, one of the people said.

The decision was made on the lack of financial and political stability in Hong Kong amid more than 11 weeks of pro-democracy demonstrations which have become increasingly violent and plunged the city into turmoil, the people added.

While no new timetable has been formally set, Alibaba could launch the Hong Kong deal as early as in October, seeking to raise US$10-US$15 billion, when political tensions ease and market conditions become favourable again, said the other source.

Alibaba declined to comment on the deal. – Nampa/Reuters

Glencore, BP stuck with tainted Russian crude

BP and Glencore are struggling to sell around 600 000 tonnes of tainted Russian oil more than three months after the contamination was discovered, according to six trading sources.

Russia's oil industry was plunged into a crisis in April after about 5 million tonnes of oil for export was found to be contaminated with organic chloride, a chemical used to help boost oil extraction but which can damage refining equipment.

Exports through the Druzhba pipeline that transports oil to Germany, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Ukraine and Belarus were halted. The Baltic port of Ust Luga loaded some 15 cargoes or 1.5 million tonnes of the contaminated oil for Western buyers.

At least 6 cargoes that sailed from Ust Luga remain unsold, according the trading sources. Glencore is stuck with 500 000 tonnes in one very large crude carrier (VLCC) Amyntas and two smaller tankers - Searanger and Searuby, according to the sources and Refinitiv Eikon vessel tracking system.

BP has tried to sell its cargo Fsl Shanghai at a tender earlier this month but failed, according to the same traders. BP and Glencore both bought the oil from Russian state oil major Rosneft.

BP and Glencore declined to comment. Rosneft did not respond to a Reuters request to comment. – Nampa/Reuters

Volkswagen faces fines over 'illicit' emissions devices

South Korea said Tuesday it will issue fines and file criminal complaints against Volkswagen and Porsche for installing "illicit devices" that helped multiple diesel vehicles cheat pollution standards.

The environment ministry said over 10 000 vehicles sold in South Korea by Volkswagen and Porsche from May 2015 to January 2018 were fitted with the devices, resulting in 10 times more nitrogen oxide emissions than standard levels.

The certifications for eight models - including Audi A6, Volkswagen Touareg, and Porsche Cayenne - will be revoked and the carmakers will face an estimated fine of 11.5 billion won (US$9.5 million), the ministry said.

The announcement comes just weeks after former Audi chief executive Rupert Stadler was charged in Germany with fraud and illegal advertising amid Volkwagen's deepening emissions scandal that broke out four years ago.

The charges against Stadler are linked to over 434 000 Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche cars fitted with "defeat devices" to fool regulators' emissions tests. – Nampa/Reuters

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