COMPANY NEWS IN BRIEF

13 October 2020 | Business

Hyundai to expand Kona electric vehicles

Hyundai Motor Co is set to triple the number of recalled Kona electric cars over battery cell fire risks with plans to recall around 51 000 vehicles in North America, Europe, China and other markets, Yonhap news agency reported on Sunday.

The recalls would come after the South Korean automaker announced last week a voluntary recall plan for 25 564 Kona EVs at home starting Oct. 16.

Hyundai said in a statement yesterday it “is in the final stages of filing a voluntary recall notice with the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) for US Kona EVs and will start the process of informing owners of these vehicles.”

Hyundai will recall 37 366 vehicles and 11 137 vehicles in Europe and North America, respectively, according to Yonhap. The Hyundai statement did not mention the other markets, the total number of additional electric vehicles (EVs) it intends to recall or the dates of the recalls.

South Korea’s transport ministry said last week Hyundai will voluntarily recall its Kona EVs as a possible short circuit due to what may be faulty manufacturing of its high-voltage battery cells could pose a fire risk. - Nampa/Reuters

Mitsui to sell all stakes in power plants

Japanese trading house Mitsui & Co Ltd plans to sell its remaining stakes in coal-fired power stations by the end of the decade as it shifts to gas from coal to help achieve its 2050 net zero emission target, its chief executive told Reuters.

“We still own stakes in coal-fired plants in Indonesia, China, Malaysia and Morocco, but our goal is to make it zero by 2030,” Mitsui CEO Tatsuo Yasunaga said in an interview on Friday.

The comment of Mitsui selling out of coal-fired power generation comes as firms worldwide move away from coal to cut harmful carbon dioxide emissions and slow climate change. Mitsui, which generates about two-thirds of profit from energy and metals, is also shifting away from oil.

“With the Covid-19 crisis, we have postponed investment in a few upstream oil deals, but our liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects are on track,” he said.

Through equity holdings, Mitsui’s energy assets comprise 78 000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil and 181 000 bpd in gas measured in oil-equivalent terms. - Nampa/Reuters

Huawei finding it hard to counter sanctions

Chinese telecom giant Huawei is finding it harder to counter US sanctions designed to choke off its access to semiconductors but can continue to serve European 5G network clients, a senior European executive told an Austrian newspaper.

The world's biggest maker of mobile telecommunications equipment and smartphones was still "looking for a solution" to help millions of Huawei phone users after Google was banned from providing technical support for new Huawei phone models using mobile operating system Android.

“Since the US sanctions last year, US manufacturers of semiconductors are no longer allowed to supply us so our previous US partners can no longer work with us. Since August it has become even more difficult,” Abraham Liu, Huwaei’s vice-president for Europe, told the Kurier paper.

He said Washington was “blackmailing” chipmakers into shunning ties with Huawei, which denies US allegations that Huawei equipment could be used by Beijing for spying.

“Nevertheless, we are confident that we can continue to serve our European customers in the 5G sector because of many preparations and upfront investments with the most advanced technology,” Liu was quoted as saying without elaborating. - Nampa/Reuters

Audi chief sees 2020 sales down

German carmaker Volkswagen’s Audi unit expects lower sales in 2020 despite strong numbers in the months of July, August and September, Automobilwoche on Sunday cited the head of the division, Markus Duesmann, as saying.

“We will not be able to compensate worldwide the heavy losses of the months of April and May in the full year, despite our distributors doing a really good job,” he said.

September had been the best month of the year across global operations for the premium car brand.

China was looking especially outstanding so that he believed it will end up showing a slight sale plus in 2020, Duesmann said. -Nampa/Reuters

Ant Group's IPO unlikely to be hurt

Ant Group’s US$35 billion initial public offering (IPO) is unlikely to suffer from any US restrictions on the Chinese financial technology giant due to its very limited overseas presence, potential investors and analysts said.

Trump administration officials are considering curbs on Ant, an affiliate of Chinese e-commerce firm Alibaba, and Tencent 0700.HK over concerns their payment platforms threaten national security, Bloomberg News reported on Wednesday.

If implemented, the restrictions would illustrate how Trump’s administration is seeking to prevent Chinese companies from embedding themselves in the US financial system before they become a significant competitive threat.

Ant said it was not aware of any discussions within the administration about restrictions. Tencent and the White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Ant is working towards a dual-listing in Shanghai and Hong Kong possibly as soon as this month in what sources have said could be the world's largest IPO, surpassing oil giant Saudi Aramco's 2222.SE US$29.4 billion float in December. -Nampa/Reuters

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