COMPANY NEWS IN BRIEF

23 September 2021 | Business

Mediclinic gets sustainability-linked loan

South Africa's Mediclinic has refinanced R8.45 billion (US$575.26 million) in loans through Rand Merchant Bank, the hospital operator said on Tuesday, in what the bank described as Africa's first sustainability-linked banking facility.

Investors and environmentalists have been critical of South African banks for not doing enough to meet sustainability targets and being easy on funding to fossil fuel-based projects.

Under pressure, the top four banks in the country have taken measures such as reducing funding for coal and increasing exposure to renewable and environmentally sustainable projects.

"By achieving pre-agreed sustainability performance targets, Mediclinic Southern Africa will benefit from a reduced facility margin through an incentive-based pricing mechanism," the country's third biggest hospital chain operator said.

The targets are directly linked to key group environmental and social goals of progressing to becoming carbon neutral with zero waste to landfill by 2030, it said.

RMB, a division of FirstRand Ltd, said the loan was Africa' first syndicated sustainability-linked loan arranged by a bank in Africa. -Nampa/Reuters

Mastercard chairman Banga to retire

Mastercard Inc said on Tuesday Chairman Ajay Banga would retire on Dec. 31, nearly a year after he stepped down as the payment processor's chief executive.

The company said current lead independent director Merit Janow would be the non-executive independent chair and would assume her new role on Jan. 1, 2022.

Janow, who joined the board in 2014, is also a dean and professor of international economic law and international affairs at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs, the company said in a statement.

Earlier this year, Banga stepped down from his role as the CEO of the payment’s processor. He was replaced by company insider Michael Miebach.

Banga had taken charge of the company just after the 2008-09 financial crisis. During his tenure as the top boss, Mastercard's revenue tripled as online shopping gained prominence around the world. -Nampa/Reuters

Macy's to hire 76 000 workers

Macy's Inc said on Tuesday it plans to hire about 76 000 full- and part-time workers at its stores, call centres and warehouses ahead of this year's holiday season, indicating a return to pre-pandemic levels of hiring.

Last year, Macy's had cut seasonal hires to 25 000 as the Covid-19 pandemic took a toll on its business. The company had hired 80 000 workers in 2019.

Macy's said about 48 000 of the new roles this year were specifically for just the holiday season, while the remaining roles were for permanent positions beyond the holidays. The company said it would hold a national hiring event on Thursday. -Nampa/Reuters

US to stop American Airlines partnership

The United States and six states on Tuesday filed an antitrust lawsuit seeking to stop a partnership between American Airlines Group Inc and JetBlue Airways Corp aimed at expanding their presence in busy North-eastern US airports.

In the lawsuit, the Justice Department asked a federal court in Boston to stop the airlines' "Northeast Alliance" partnership, announced in July 2020 and approved by the US Transportation Department shortly before the end of the Trump administration.

The agreement allows American and JetBlue to sell each other's flights in their New York-area and Boston networks and link frequent flyer programs in a move aimed at giving them more muscle to compete with United Airlines and Delta Air Lines in the Northeast.

The Justice Department took aim at American Airlines, the largest airline in the world, saying the alliance would cost consumers hundreds of millions of dollars.

"The department cannot allow American Airlines to further consolidate the airline industry, where competition is already in critical short supply," said Acting Assistant Attorney General Richard A. Powers in a call with reporters. "This move is another step in American's strategy to consolidate the airline industry."-Nampa/Reuters

FedEx quarterly profit falls

US delivery firm FedEx Corp posted a 7% drop in quarterly profit and lowered its full-year profit forecast on Tuesday, after labour costs crimped earnings growth from surging e-commerce shipping and higher shipping rates.

Shares in the Memphis, Tennessee-based company fell 3.8% to US$242.46 in extended trading after FedEx said difficulty hiring resulted in a US$450 million year-over-year increase in costs due to network hiccups, higher wage rates and more spending on transportation services.

"The current labour environment is driving inefficiencies in the operation of our networks and significantly impacting our financial results," FedEx Chief Operating Officer Raj Subramaniam said in a statement.

Adjusted net income fell to US$1.19 billion, or US$4.37 per share, for the fiscal first quarter ended Aug. 31, from US$1.28 billion, or US$4.87 per share, a year earlier.

On the heels of the report, FedEx lowered its full-year forecast for earnings, excluding items, to US$19.75 to US$21.00 per share. FedEx previously forecast 2022 earnings per share, excluding items, of US$20.50 to US$21.50.-Nampa/Reuters

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