COMPANY NEWS IN BRIEF

20 November 2020 | Business

Nvidia forecasts strong holiday revenue

Nvidia Corp forecast fourth-quarter revenue above Wall Street expectations on Wednesday, betting on robust demand for its graphic chips for gaming devices and data centres.

Nvidia also beat revenue expectations for the third quarter as gaming business revenue jumped 37% to US$2.27 billion from a year earlier, beating FactSet estimates of US$2.06 billion.

The pandemic "continues to affect our business in both positive and negative ways," chief financial officer Colette Kress said in a statement.

Besides high-end gaming devices, Nvidia's graphics chips are being used in data centres to speed up computing for artificial intelligence work such as image recognition, which helped it eclipse rival Intel Corp's market capitalization earlier this year.

Revenue from the data centre segment more than doubled to US$1.9 billion, compared with FactSet estimates of US$1.84 billion.

The chipmaker said it expects current-quarter revenue of US$4.80 billion, plus or minus 2%, compared with analysts' average estimate of US$4.42 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv. - Nampa/Reuters

Pfizer offers Brazil deal for vaccine doses

Pfizer Inc said on Wednesday it had offered to provide Brazil with millions of doses of a Covid-19 vaccine in the first half of 2021, amid evidence the coronavirus is spreading more rapidly in South America's largest country.

"Pfizer made a proposal to the Brazilian government, in line with deals we closed in other countries - including in Latin America, that would permit the vaccination of millions of Brazilians in the first half, subject to regulatory approval," the company said in a statement.

Brazil has the third-worst outbreak of coronavirus in the world by number of cases, after the United States and India.

On Tuesday, the Imperial College London released data showing that the rate of infection in Brazil had accelerated to 1.1, meaning every 100 people with coronavirus infect 110 people. That is the first time in weeks the figure has been above one.

Brazil's Health Ministry said it met with Pfizer on Tuesday and would buy the vaccine if proven safe and if health regulator Anvisa registered it. The ministry said it will also meet this week with Johnson & Johnson, India's Bharat Biotech and the makers of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine as it draws up immunization plans. - Nampa/Reuters

KLM prepares for Covid-19 vaccine airlift

Air France-KLM is among airlines gearing up for the challenge of transporting millions of doses of temperature-sensitive Covid-19 vaccines in the midst of a travel slump.

Breakthrough vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna have yet to win final approval, but the drug makers, their logistics and cargo providers are not waiting for a green light to activate freight plans.

Air France-KLM, which has decades of experience shipping medicines and vaccines in temperature-controlled conditions, is preparing a test run in coming days to fly out dummy vaccine shipments, likely from KLM's Amsterdam-Schiphol hub.

The task is complicated by the conditions required by the Pfizer and Moderna shots - with respective storage temperatures of minus 80 Celsius and minus 20C.

The Covid-19 airlift is being planned amid a partial shutdown of global air travel. Airlines have warned that travel curbs could hamper the effort, since around 45% of global cargo typically travels in passenger plane holds. - Nampa/Reuters

Uber to partner with other companies

Uber Technologies Inc's self-driving unit is looking to partner with other companies working on autonomous driving, the company's chief executive officer said on Wednesday.

"Our view is that we will partner with other autonomous providers over a period of time," Dara Khosrowshahi said at the RBC Capital Markets conference when asked about reports Uber is looking to sell its autonomous driving unit, Advanced Technologies Group (ATG).

He said Uber could offer competitors, who have poured billions of dollars into the development of robotaxis, a large customer base and valuable data on profitable routes generated through its ride-hailing business.

Reuters last week reported that Uber is in ongoing talks to sell its ATG unit to self-driving car start-up Aurora, as Uber was seeking options for the costly unit, with fully automated vehicles still several years away.

Khosrowshahi declined to directly comment on the reports, but said Uber was looking to create an open network and fund ATG both internally and externally. - Nampa/Reuters

Delta Air extends middle seat blocks

Delta Air Lines said on Wednesday it will continue blocking middle seats through March 30, setting it apart from its largest US rivals under a longer-term strategy to fetch higher passenger revenues.

Recent medical research has shown that the risk of contracting the coronavirus on airplanes is very low when passengers wear masks, underpinning other large US airlines' policies to sell all available seats on their planes.

"Some customers are still learning to live with this virus and desire extra space for their peace of mind," its chief customer experience officer, Bill Lentsch, said in a statement.

The Covid-19 pandemic has unleashed diverging strategies among airlines to coax people to travel again and pave a path back to profitability once the crisis subsides.

US airlines have cut their flying capacity by around 50% in response to lower demand, but intend to gradually put more planes back in the air as demand returns, particularly once Covid-19 treatments and vaccines become widely available. - Nampa/Reuters

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