COMPANY NEWS IN BRIEF

12 October 2020 | Business

Air Canada slashes Transat buyout price

Air Canada has slashed its price to buy Canadian tour operator Transat Inc, with the deal now worth about C$188.7 million (US$143.86 million), down from C$720 million, as Covid-19 weighs on travel demand, the companies said in a statement on Saturday.

The country’s largest carrier had secured Transat shareholders’ approval for the deal last year with C$18.00 a share bid, to bolster its then thriving leisure business. With the pandemic grounding flights globally, Air Canada faced shareholder pressure to renegotiate the deal which is still pending approval from European and Canadian regulators, Reuters reported in May.

Montreal-based Air Canada, like many of its global peers, has slashed flights, suspended financial forecasts and sought government aid as the industry deals with its worst slump.

Companies have been cancelling deals amid Covid-19 uncertainty, with aircraft parts suppliers Hexcel Corp HXL.N and Woodward Inc abandoning their planned US$6.4 billion all-stock merger in April.

Under revised terms of the deal, Air Canada said it will acquire all shares of Transat for C$5 per share, representing a premium of about 30.5% to Transat’s last close on Friday. -Nampa/Reuters

Daimler promoting car charging

European lawmakers should promote electric car charging infrastructure as aggressively as they seek to lower carbon dioxide emissions, Michael Brecht, works council chief at German carmaker Daimler, told Reuters.

Carmakers have warned that European Commission proposals to cut average new car emissions in 2030 by 50% below 2021 levels threaten manufacturing jobs, which are heavily dependent on assembling combustion engine cars.

Overall demand for cars could suffer if ownership of electric vehicles was not made more attractive with more readily available charging networks, Brecht said.

“The political establishment should not decide on a green deal to tighten carbon dioxide emission limits unconditionally,” Brecht told Reuters. “There has to be a master plan for ramping up charging infrastructure. There are lots of small initiatives but there is nobody bringing it all together.”

The European Parliament voted in favour of a legally binding target for the European Union to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 60% by 2030.- Nampa/Reuters

Audi plant in Mexico remains open

A Mexican auto plant belonging to German carmaker Audi remains open and did not close following a dispute over unpaid bills that the firm denies, as was reported by local media, an official with the company told Reuters on Saturday.

The plant is located in the central state of Puebla. Media had reported officials from the local municipality shut the facility on Friday after several hours of failed talks to resolve a dispute over an alleged 90 million pesos (US$4.3 million) in outstanding debts on items including local property taxes and water bills.

“There was never any closure,” said Christine Kuhlmeyer, a communications official with Audi Mexico. “We comply on time with our obligations,” she added.

Asked about the figures circulating in local media about the allegation of unpaid debts, Kuhlmeyer said she could not comment on any specific amounts, but said plant representatives would be talking with state authorities on Monday.

“There were efforts like what’s been reported in the news, but they weren’t able to close the plant,” she said. Friday night and Saturday morning work shifts were not interrupted, she added. -Nampa/Reuters

Twilio to buy customer data segment

Cloud communications platform provider Twilio Inc plans to buy customer data infrastructure company Segment for US$3.2 billion, Forbes reported on Friday.

The deal, which had not been finalized as of Friday afternoon, was expected to be at least partially based on Twilio stock, the report added.San Francisco-based Segment has recently been open to acquisition offers, according to the report.

Twilio declined to comment to Reuters. Segment was not immediately available for comment outside regular business hours.

Segment raised US$175 million in a Series D funding round in April 2019. The start-up said in September that it worked with more than 20 000 businesses including Intuit, FOX and Levi’s, employing more than 550 people.

Cloud companies have seen a surge in demand this year as more businesses use their services to meet the demands of the switch to work from home due to the coronavirus outbreak. -Nampa/Reuters

Microsoft employees to work remotely

Microsoft Corp said it would allow most of its employees to clock in up to half their weekly working hours remotely, providing greater flexibility even after offices start reopening.

The software-maker said in a blog post that while returning to office is optional for most employees for now, Microsoft was not committing to having every employee work remotely.

The Redmond, Washington-based company had about 163 000 full-time employees as of June. The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way businesses function, with work-from-home emerging as the new norm.

Earlier in May, Twitter Inc became the first major tech company to allow employees who can work remotely to do so indefinitely.

Facebook Inc had said it would allow its employees to work from home till July next year, while Google had extended the remote working period for employees who do not need to be in the office till June. -Nampa/Reuters

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