Company news in brief

19 October 2020 | Business

Glencore in nickel supply talks

Glencore CEO Ivan Glasenberg said on Friday that the company is talking with carmakers and battery makers about nickel - a key component in electric vehicle batteries which Tesla CEO Elon Musk has asked miners to produce more of.

"A lot of the automobile guys and the battery guys are talking to us about nickel," Glasenberg said, speaking during the Financial Times Mining Summit. Glencore this year signed an agreement with Tesla to supply it with cobalt from the Congo.

Glencore produced 121 000 tonnes of nickel in 2019 and sold 181 000 tonnes through its marketing business. Glencore owns nickel mines in Australia, Canada and New Caledonia and a nickel refinery in Norway.

The miner already supplies German carmaker BMW with cobalt metal from its Murrin Murrin nickel-cobalt mine in Australia.

Glasenberg also said Glencore is running down its coal mines and won't replace them, as part of its efforts to cut "Scope 3" emissions - indirect emissions which mining companies are under increasing pressure to address. – Nampa/Reuters

Barclays, Santander push for dividends

The bosses of European banks Barclays and Santander have called on regulators to allow lenders to restart payouts to shareholders after blocking them due to the Covid-19 pandemic, saying they boost confidence in the broader economy.

"Being able to distribute excess capital is very important if the broader economy is going to have confidence in its financial system," Barclays CEO Jes Staley told the Institute of International Finance online event.

Santander chairman Ana Botin added: "Going back to dividends is going to help the economy because it helps the flow of capital, it lowers the cost of equity, so I would like to put on that the table as something to be considered very seriously by global regulators." – Nampa/Reuters

Barrick a 'long way off' deal with PNG

Barrick Gold chief executive Mark Bristow said on Friday the Canadian miner was a "long way off" reaching agreement with Papua New Guinea (PNG) about the disputed Porgera gold mine.

In April, prime minister James Marape had refused to extend the expired mining lease held by a venture of Barrick and its partner China's Zijin Mining , citing environmental and social problems.

But on Thursday Marape said the venture was set to remain operator of the mine after talks in Port Moresby.

"We're a long way off reaching agreement," Bristow said at the Financial Times Mining Summit. "We're very clear about our rights and the importance that Porgera offers to that part of Papua New Guinea."

Barrick and Zijin each hold 47.5% in Porgera mine, with the remaining 5% held by Mineral Resources Enga, a venture of Enga province and local landowners. – Nampa/Reuters

Hertz secures US$1.65 bn in financing

Bankrupt car rental company Hertz Global Holdings Inc said on Friday it had lined up US$1.65 billion in debtor-in-possession financing, sending its shares soaring.

Hertz plans to invest up to US$1 billion in vehicle acquisitions in the United States and Canada, and up to US$800 million for working capital and general corporate purposes.

The financing will be provided by some of the company's creditors, Hertz said. It has filed a motion for approval of the financing by the US Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.

The more than a century old company's shares jumped 96% in premarket trading.

Hertz filed for bankruptcy protection on May 22 after its business was decimated during the coronavirus pandemic and talks with creditors failed to result in much-needed relief. – Nampa/Reuters

Danone tackling new challenges

The board of French food group Danone is looking at ways it can adapt to the new environment and new challenges in the sector, a company spokesman said.

The statement came after business magazine Challenges said on its website that Danone finance chief Cecile Cabanis could leave as part of an overhaul planned by chairman and chief executive Emmanuel Faber.

Danone's business focused on dairy, plant-based products, waters and specialised nutrition could be replaced by regional subsidiaries, Challenges said.

"This in-depth transformation, along the lines of that of multinationals like Nestle, could have led to split the chairman and CEO roles between the group's number 1 and number 2. But Emmanuel Faber did not want to yield some of his power. So Cecile Cabanis is saying goodbye," it said.

Shrinking sales of bottled water during COVID-19 lockdowns drove down Danone's second quarter sales by 5.7% like-for-like, and the company warned in July that costs linked to the pandemic would weigh on its profit margin for the rest of the year. – Nampa/Reuters

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