COMPANY NEWS IN BRIEF

21 July 2021 | Business

DHL to deploy longer distance drones

Logistics giant DHL is working with Bulgarian aircraft developer Dronamics on rolling out cross-border and inter-city drones aimed at overcoming strained supply chains, executives involved say.

Global disruptions due to Covid-19, reduced air activity and major congestion at ports due in part to backed up container ships have upended logistics networks over the past year with companies looking for ways to ease the pressure.

DHL, which is part of the Deutsche Post DHL Group, said it was already using smaller drones to carry documents, parcels and pharmaceuticals over limited distances in Germany, Tanzania and China.

It said in an email it had partnered with UK and Bulgaria based operator and developer Dronamics with the aim of using the unmanned planes they have designed, which can carry 350 kg of cargo and have a maximum range of 2,500 km.

The first production-scale drone will be ready in October, Dronamics chief executive Svilen Rangelov said, adding it expected to be the first deployed commercially that would go beyond 100 km.

DHL said it was initially targeting Europe and Asia-Pacific and believed "now is the right time to explore this" but declined to give a time-frame for its project. -Nampa/Reuters

Duolingo eyes US$3 bln valuation

Duolingo Inc said on Monday it aims to be valued as much as US$3.41 billion in its US initial public offering, as the language-learning app maker seeks to cash in on rapidly rising interest for online education tools during the Covid-19 pandemic.

About 5.1 million shares will be offered in the IPO, priced between US$85 and US$95 each, which would rake in more than US$485 million at the top end of that range.

On a fully diluted basis, which includes securities such as stock options and restricted stock units, Duolingo would be valued at US$4.38 billion at the maximum price.

Nearly 1.4 million shares will be offered by the selling stockholders, proceeds from which will not go to the company.

Duolingo has about 40 million monthly active users learning 40 languages, including Irish and Hawaiian, for which the company claims there are more online learners than there are native speakers.

The Pittsburgh-based company said earlier it had more than doubled its revenue in the first quarter this year, with 72% of it generated from subscriptions and nearly 17% from advertising. -Nampa/Reuters

Nokia wins first 5G radio contract

Nokia on Monday won its first 5G radio contract in China, securing a share in one of China Mobile's three new 5G contracts, while Nordic rival Ericsson lost market share after getting caught up in a political spat.

As is customary, Chinese companies taking the lion's share of the order. Huawei took a majority share in all three contracts, followed by ZTE, according to a document published by China Mobile.

China has been ahead of all other countries in deploying 5G networks, making it one of the biggest markets for telecom infrastructure companies.

Nokia, which didn't secure any 5G radio contracts in China last year, got a 10% share in one of the three contracts, while Ericsson got 9.6% of another contract.

The total tender is for about $6 billion divided between the three contracts two sources familiar with the matter said. Nokia got 4% of the overall tender, the sources said. Ericsson said it was awarded about 2% of the work, compared with about 11% last year.

The Swedish company had been expected to get a lower share of China's 5G roll-out after Sweden decided to exclude Chinese vendors from its own networks. -Nampa/Reuters

Go1 raises US$200 mln from SoftBank

Australia's Go1 said on Monday it had raised US$200 million in a funding round led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2, AirTree Ventures and Salesforce Ventures, fetching the edtech startup a valuation of more than US$1 billion.

The new funding will be used to create new partnerships, expand its portfolio of product offerings and grow its physical presence globally, Go1 said.

Other investors included Blue Cloud Ventures, Larsen Ventures, Tiger Global partners Scott Shleifer and John Curtius, TEN13 as well as Microsoft Corp's venture fund M12.

Education technology startups have seen an uptick in demand since last year, when the pandemic made it necessary for homebound users to turn to digital learning.

Online learning company Coursera Inc, which listed on the NYSE in March, was trading nearly 13% above its offer price on Monday.

Brisbane-based Go1, which was launched in 2015 and currently caters to more than 1 600 organizations around the world, said it has now raised over US$280 million in funding. -Nampa/Reuters

Exxon appoints former Diageo executive

Exxon Mobil Corp said on Monday it appointed former Diageo Plc and United Airlines executive Kathryn Mikells as chief financial officer, effective Aug. 9.

Mikells most recently held the finance head role at Diageo and was a member of its board of directors. She has previously served as CFO at Xerox, ADT and water treatment services company Nalco.

Exxon said Andrew Swiger, Exxon's principal financial officer and senior vice president, will retire on Sept.1 after more than 43 years of service.

Swiger joined Exxon in 1978 as an operations engineer in Morgan City, Louisiana and was elected senior vice president and a member of the management committee in 2009. He became principal financial officer in 2013.-Nampa/Reuters

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