COMPANY NEWS IN BRIEF

17 September 2021 | Business

Air New Zealand studying low-emissions

Air New Zealand Ltd said it was studying how it could use low-carbon technologies like electric, hybrid or hydrogen powered planes to dramatically reduce emissions from shorter and regional flights as soon as 2030.

The airline signed a memorandum of understanding with Airbus SE to research the impact hydrogen planes would have on Air New Zealand's network, operations and infrastructure.

Airbus said it is hoping to bring a hydrogen plane to market by 2035 a goal some industry officials and analysts believe to be ambitious.

This agreement brings us a step closer to "seeing low carbon solutions in place for our shorter domestic and regional flights in the next decade," said Air New Zealand Chief Executive Greg Foran.

Airbus has already struck similar hydrogen study deals with easyJet and SAS in Europe as airlines around the world look to meet ambitious emissions targets in line with government commitments. Aviation accounts for around 2.5% of global carbon emissions. - Nampa/Reuters

New Jersey to shed Unilever assets

A New Jersey state treasury official said on Wednesday it is set to divest US$182 million in Unilever Plc stock and bonds held by its pension funds over the restriction of sales by the consumer giant's Ben & Jerry's ice cream brand in Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories.

It is the latest action by a US state challenging Unilever over Ben & Jerry's move in July to end a license for its ice cream to be sold in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Ben & Jerry's said selling its products there was "inconsistent with its values."

New Jersey's Division of Investment had said on Tuesday it made a preliminary determination that maintaining its investment in Unilever would be a breach of a state law barring it from investing in companies boycotting Israel.

A Unilever representative said it had no comment on the state decision, but cited a letter to the state from CEO Alan Jope from August stating Unilever has "a strong and long-lasting commitment to our business in Israel," where it employs nearly 2000 people.

Jope noted Ben & Jerry's has an independent board overseeing its social mission, and said Unilever does not support the "Boycott Divestment Sanctions" movement that seeks to isolate Israel over its treatment of the Palestinians. -Nampa/Reuters

Cisco forecasts growth from software shift

Cisco Systems Inc on Wednesday forecast that within four years, about half its revenue will come from software and other recurring sales, but its chief financial officer told Reuters high chip prices in its hardware business will keep pressuring overall profits.

Cisco is the biggest maker of networking gear for data centres and corporate campuses, but it is shifting toward selling recurring subscriptions for software such as its WebEx collaboration service and cybersecurity services.

At an event with Wall Street analysts, Cisco said it believes the portion of its revenue coming from subscriptions will rise from 44% notched for its fiscal 2021 ended July 31 to 50% by fiscal 2025.

The company gave a fiscal 2025 revenue forecast with a midpoint of US$62.9 billion, saying it expects a compound annual growth rate of 5% to 7%. Cisco predicted the same growth rate for adjusted profits, targeting a midpoint of US$4.07 per share in fiscal 2025.

Cisco Chief Financial Officer Scott Herren said the company's software units do have higher margins than its hardware business, but some subscription revenue will also come from services that have lower margins than software. -Nampa/Reuters

GM gives Chevrolet recommendations

General Motors Co on Wednesday recommended that Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicle owners parking in decks do so on the top floor or on an open level, at least 50 feet away from other vehicles, citing potential fire risks.

The precaution would "reduce potential damage to structures and nearby vehicles in the rare event of a potential fire," a company spokesman said in an email. GM sent a notice to consumers who had asked about parking issues, he added.

GM had previously asked owners to park Bolt vehicles outdoors, away from structures, and to not charge them overnight.

GM also urged owners to not leave Bolt EVs charging unattended, even if using a charging station in a parking deck. Bloomberg News reported the recommendation earlier.

GM in August widened its Bolt recall to more than 140 000 vehicles to replace battery modules, at a cost now estimated at US$1.8 billion after reports of 10 fires. -Nampa/Reuters

Philip Morris seals deal to buy Vectura

Cigarette maker Philip Morris (PMI)said it had received about 75% of Vectura shares from shareholders as part of a public tender offer process to acquire the British company, following a bidding war with Carlyle.

Vectura shareholders had until Sept. 15 to decide whether to tender their shares to PMI, which sought to buy the London-listed asthma drug maker as part of its plan to go "smoke-free" and switch to healthcare and wellness products.

"We have reached an important milestone in our acquisition of Vectura and are pleased to have secured over 74% of the company's shares, in excess of the 50% required to make our offer unconditional and PMI the majority shareholder," PMI Chief Executive Officer Jacek Olczak said on Thursday.

The company has extended the deadline for the remaining Vectura shareholders to tender their shares to Sept. 30.

Philip Morris has received regulatory clearance for the deal, but health groups are questioning the idea of a tobacco company making money from treating the very illnesses that cigarettes cause. -Nampa/Reuters

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