COMPANY NEWS IN BRIEF

13 August 2020 | Business

Tesla sets 5-1 stock split

Tesla Inc on Tuesday announced a five-for-one stock split, sending the electric carmaker's recently high-flying shares up 7% in extended trade.

Tesla's stock, which traded at US$1,475 after the announcement, is among the highest priced on Wall Street, and the Palo Alto, California-based company said in a press release it was looking to make its shares more accessible to employees and investors.

Tesla's stock has surged over 200% this year, while shares of General Motors and Ford Motor declined on fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

Stock splits are a way for companies to make shares more accessible to retail investors, potentially attracting individual investors who make small trades. However, brokerages increasingly let customers buy parts of shares, making the benefit of share splits less clear than in the past.

Tesla said stock holders of record on Aug. 21 would receive four additional shares after the close of trading on Aug. 28, with the stock trading on a split-adjusted basis beginning Aug. 31. – Nampa/Reuters

US, Moderna negotiates

The United States has entered an agreement with drug maker Moderna Inc to acquire 100 million doses of its potential Covid-19 vaccine for around US$1.5 billion, the company and White House said on Tuesday.

The United States in recent weeks has made deals to acquire hundreds of millions of doses of potential Covid-19 vaccines from several companies as part of its Operation Warp Speed program, which aims to deliver a vaccine in the country by the end of the year.

Moderna's price per dose comes out to around US$30.50 per person for a two-dose regimen. That is broadly in line with other deals that the United States has penned with drug makers for potential vaccines.

Moderna's vaccine candidate, mRNA-1273, is one of the few that have already advanced to the final stage of testing. The study, which aims to include 30 000 people, is on track to be completed in September, the company said this month. – Nampa/Reuters

Chevron's to acquire Noble

Chevron Corp's US$5 billion offer to acquire Noble Energy emerged after the US oil major first proposed taking a stake of at least 50% in Noble's Eastern Mediterranean natural-gas fields, a proxy filing on Tuesday showed.

If consummated, the all-stock merger will boost Chevron's US shale oil holdings and give it vast natural gas assets off the coast of Israel. Noble's Leviathan, one of the world's biggest offshore gas discoveries of the last decade, already is supplying gas to Israel, Egypt and Jordan.

Last year, Noble sought a partner to help finance the multibillion-dollar investment required for Leviathan, according to Tuesday's Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

The company denied Chevron an opportunity to visit the Leviathan facility in February, but weeks later agreed to a confidentiality agreement to begin discussing their operations in the region, according to the filing.

As global energy markets collapsed that month and Noble reported a first-quarter loss of nearly $4 billion, its board opted for a sale of the company rather than a regional partnership, according to the filing. – Nampa/Reuters

Boeing 737 MAX cancellations rise

Boeing Co customers scrubbed more than 400 orders for the US plane maker’s grounded 737 MAX jets this year, while the company's overall aircraft deliveries slumped to only four in July, monthly numbers showed on Tuesday.

Boeing said it lost another 43 orders for the 737 MAX jet in July, bringing the total number of cancelled orders, including those where buyers converted a MAX to a different model, to 416 for this year.

Based on a tighter accounting standard, Boeing said order cancellations and conversions now stand at 864 for the MAX, recertification for which is still hanging in the balance more than a year after its worldwide grounding due to two fatal crashes.

The four deliveries - one 767 freighter for FedEx, one 777 freighter for DHL, and one 787 Dreamliner each for Air France and Turkish Airlines - were down from 19 a year earlier, taking the total to 74 planes this year.

Boeing delivered a record 806 aircraft in 2018, before the 737 MAX crisis erupted. The Covid-19 pandemic has sapped demand for new Boeing jets. – Nampa/Reuters

Kodak sales expectations

Eastman Kodak Co said on Tuesday it expects sales volumes and working capital to improve in the current quarter after reporting a 31% decline in quarterly revenue due to the Covid-19 pandemic, sending its shares up 7%.

The photographic equipment maker's stock plunged on Monday after the US government blocked a $765 million loan to the company, which was going to make drug ingredients for use in possible Covid-19 vaccines, because of "alleged wrongdoing" by executives.

Kodak said on Tuesday investigations by the US Congress and the Securities Exchange Commission have commenced, and could impact the outcome of the loan from the US International Development Finance Corp.

Senior Democratic lawmakers had asked federal regulators to investigate securities made by the company and its executives around the time it learned it could receive the government loan. – Nampa/Reuters

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