COMPANY NEWS IN BRIEF

20 January 2021 | Business

Amazon to open two new hubs in Italy

Amazon will open two new logistics centres in Italy this year, investing over 230 million euros (US$278 million), the world’s largest online retailer said on Monday.

With the two new hubs, a distribution centre in the north-western city of Novara and a fulfilment centre close to the city of Modena, Amazon will create 1 100 new jobs in the coming three years.

“Amazon continues to expand its logistics network in order to satisfy the growing demand of clients, widen product selections and support those small and medium enterprises that have decided to sell their products using Amazon logistics,” the group said in a statement.

Amazon has already invested 5.8 billion euros in Italy, since first starting operations 10 years ago. It employs 8 500 people in the country. - Nampa/Reuters

Vietnam gives Foxconn unit licence

Vietnam on Monday awarded a licence to a unit of Taiwan’s Foxconn Technology Co Ltd to build a US$270 million plant to produce laptops and tablets, the Vietnamese government said.

The plant, to be developed by Fukang Technology, will be located in the northern province of Bac Giang and will annually produce eight million units, the government said in a statement on its website.

Foxconn has so far invested US$1.5 billion in Vietnam and plans to raise its investment by US$700 million and recruit 10 000 more local workers this year, the government said.

Separately, state media reported last week Foxconn was also looking into investing US$1.3 billion in Thanh Hoa province, 160 km (99.42 miles) south of Hanoi.

Foxconn is moving some iPad and MacBook assembly to Vietnam from China at the request of Apple Inc, a person with knowledge of the plan said in November, as the US firm diversifies production to minimise the impact of Sino-US trade tensions. Foxconn did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment. - Nampa/Reuters

Capital One Financial Corp has been fined

Credit card firm Capital One Financial Corp has been fined US$390 million for engaging in what the US government called negligent violations of the Bank Secrecy Act, an anti-money laundering law, a Treasury Department bureau said.

The Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) said in a statement that Capital One admitted to wilfully failing to implement and maintain an effective program to guard against money laundering as required by law.

FinCEN said the financial services company admitted that it failed to file “thousands of suspicious activity reports” and “thousands of Currency Transaction Reports” with respect to a business unit known as the Check Cashing Group.

“The failures outlined in this enforcement action are egregious,” FinCEN Director Kenneth Blanco said in a statement.

The violations occurred from at least 2008 through 2014, and caused millions of dollars in suspicious transactions to go unreported in a timely and accurate manner, FinCEN added. - Nampa/Reuters

SEC has launched an investigation of Exxon

The US Securities and Exchange Commission has launched an investigation of Exxon Mobil Corp following a whistle-blower complaint that the oil major over-valued a key asset in the top US shale field, the Wall street Journal reported.

Exxon Chief Executive Darren Woods has pinned much of the company’s growth prospects on the Permian Basin in Texas and New Mexico, and two years ago pitted the company against rival Chevron Corp in a race to reach 1 million barrels of oil and gas per day in the field. The Exxon target grabbed the spotlight on the day Chevron was meeting with investors and analysts to make its own Permian case.

Woods told investors that Exxon could earn a double-digit return in the Permian, even at US$35-per-barrel oil. Exxon shares were down 4% at US$48.29 in midday trading.

Several people involved in valuing the Exxon Permian asset during an internal assessment in 2019 said employees were being forced to use unrealistic assumptions about how quickly the company could drill wells there to arrive at a higher value, the report said.

“Actual and provable performance exceeded drilling plans for the Permian, and such performance has been accurately represented to the investment community,” Exxon spokesman Casey Norton told Reuters via email. – Nampa/Reuters

Apple fails to overturn VirnetX patent verdict

A federal judge denied Apple Inc’s bid to set aside or reduce a US$502.8 million patent infringement verdict favouring VirnetX Holding Corp, and awarded interest and royalties that could boost Apple’s total pay-out in two lawsuits above US$1.1 billion.

In a decision issued on Friday, US District Judge Robert Schroeder in Tyler, Texas rejected Apple’s request for a new trial and several other claims.

These included that VirnetX’s award should not exceed US$113.7 million, and that jurors should have been told the US Patent and Trademark Office had deemed VirnetX’s claims “unpatentable.”

Jurors in October found that Apple infringed two VirnetX patents related to secure networks, known as virtual private networks, to which owners of various iPhones and iPads may connect.

Schroeder also awarded royalties of 84 cents per unit for future infringements, mirroring the rate set by the jury. Apple had said future royalties should be zero, or else no more than 19 cents per unit. Apple and VirnetX did not immediately respond to requests for comment. - Nampa/Reuters

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