COMPANY NEWS IN BRIEF
14 July 2020 | Business
Libya's National Oil Corp (NOC) accused the United Arab Emirates of instructing eastern forces in Libya's civil war to reimpose a blockade of oil exports after the departure of a first tanker in six months.
The UAE, along with Russia and Egypt, supports the eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA) of Khalifa Haftar, which on Saturday said the blockade would continue despite it having let a tanker load with oil from storage.
"NOC has been informed that the instructions to shut down production were given to (the LNA) by the United Arab Emirates," it said in a statement, resuming force majeure on all oil exports.
Haftar has been on the back foot after Turkish support helped the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) turn back his 14-month assault on the capital Tripoli.
After the GNA gained ground, NOC also tried to restart production at the Sharara oilfield, but said this effort was quickly shut down and accused Russian mercenaries fighting alongside the LNA of deploying there. – Nampa/Reuters
Volkswagen to replace head of software
Volkswagen is replacing its head of software development, newspaper Handelsblatt reported on Sunday, as the German carmaker wrestles with the transition to electric vehicles.
The software post is one of the most important in the development of new-generation electric vehicles, which are far more reliant on computer power than the combustion engine that have been Volkswagen's mainstay.
A management purge has already seen Andreas Renschler, a former Mercedes-Benz manager leave his post as head of the Traton Trucks unit, and Stefan Sommer, a former chief executive of auto supplier ZF, leave his post at VW.
Senger was also leaving his post as a member of the board of Volksagen's core VW brand, the newspaper said, although it added that chief executive Herbert Diess was hoping he would stay with the company.
Volkswagen's powerful staff council, led by Bernd Osterloh, have forced out cost-cutters at the company in the past. Wolfgang Bernhard, a former VW brand chief and Bernd Pischetsrieder, a former head of the Volkswagen Group, quit following clashes with labour leaders. – Nampa/Reuters
Tesla cut Model Y SUV price
Tesla Inc cut the price of its sport utility vehicle Model Y by US$3,000, just four months after its launch, as the US electric carmaker seeks to maintain sales momentum in the Covid-19 pandemic. The reduction follows price cuts in May on Tesla's Model 3, Model X and Model S.
The company headed by Elon Musk this month posted a smaller-than-expected fall in car deliveries in the second quarter, resilient results despite the pandemic that hit the global auto industry.
The Model Y now starts at US$49,990, down nearly 6% from its previous price of US$52,990, according to the carmaker's website. Tesla did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.
The company started deliveries of the Model Y in March, promising a much-awaited crossover that will face competition from European carmakers like Volkswagen AG rolling out their own electric rivals.
In April, Tesla had said the Model Y was already profitable, marking the first time in the company's 17-year history that one of its new vehicles turned a profit in its first quarter. - Nampa/Reuters
Huawei to request 5G removal delay
China's Huawei Technologies has requested a meeting with UK prime minister Boris Johnson to work out a deal to delay its potential removal from the country's 5G phone network, the Sunday Times newspaper reported.
The Chinese telecoms equipment maker is seeking to delay its removal from the from the country's 5G telecoms networks until after elections in June 2025, in the expectation that the new government may reverse the decision, the newspaper reported.
Huawei will in return pledge to maintain its equipment in the UK, which is also used in the 2G, 3G and 4G networks, the report added.
Britain granted Huawei a limited role in its future 5G networks in January, but ministers have since said the introduction of US sanctions on the company means it may no longer be a reliable supplier.
Johnson has faced intense pressure from the United States and some British lawmakers to ban the telecommunications equipment maker on security grounds. A government update on the Chinese company is expected to be published before July 22, according to a government minister and official. – Nampa/Reuters
Essity Q2 sales drop
Swedish hygiene products group Essity on Monday reported a marginal rise in its second-quarter core earnings as the initial bulk-buying of toilet paper and other products eased as countries emerged from the lockdown.
Operating profit before amortisation and items affecting comparability grew 1% to 3.78 billion crowns (US$412.1 million) from last year, despite 11% sales drop as lower pulp and energy costs and efficiency measures boosted the gross margin.
"Sales were negatively affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and related lockdowns as well as inventory adjustments following the stockpiling that took place among consumers and distributors in March 2020," the company said.
Essity is the world's second-biggest maker of toilet paper and handkerchiefs with brands such as Lotus, Edet, Tempo and Vinda. It is the global leader in hygiene products for businesses under the Tork brand, and in incontinence products with TENA.
Essity had warned in April that bulk-buying of toilet paper and other products, which heavily boosted its first-quarter profit, could slow sales ahead and that the pandemic caused uncertainty about future earnings. – Nampa/Reuters