Company news in brief

25 October 2021 | Business

Evergrande resumes work on projects

China Evergrande Group said yesterday it had resumed work on more than 10 projects in six cities including Shenzhen - a statement that comes after it appeared to avert default with a last-minute bond coupon payment last week.

Evergrande, deep in crisis with more than US$300 billion in liabilities, has not disclosed how many of its 1 300 real estate projects across China it has had to halt work on.

The company said on Aug. 31 that some projects were suspended because of delays in payment to suppliers and contractors and it was negotiating to resume building.

Last week's move to pay US$83.5 million in interest on a US dollar bond has bought Evergrande another week to wrestle with a debt crisis looming over the world's second-biggest economy.

Highlighting the stresses on its core business, Evergrande also announced on Friday plans to give future priority to its electric vehicles business over real estate. – Nampa/Reuters

Aramco aims for net zero emissions by 2050

Saudi Aramco aims to achieve net zero emissions from its operations by 2050 while also expanding its maximum sustained production capacity to 13 million barrels per day, chief executive Amin Nasser said on Saturday.

Nasser also warned that global spare capacity of crude was declining fast and there was a need for more investment, saying "demonising" the hydrocarbon industry was counterproductive to ensuring stable energy supplies.

"Saudi Aramco will achieve the ambition of being net zero from our operations by 2050," Nasser told the Saudi Green Initiative summit, where the kingdom's crown prince earlier announced the Gulf Arab state would achieve net zero by 2060.

Nasser said investment in gas would allow Aramco to eliminate a lot of the liquid burning in the kingdom.

He said there was a need for an orderly energy transition with a parallel focus on existing and new energy sources, but warned Aramco could not work alone to ensure adequate crude spare capacity required by global economies as they emerge from the coronavirus pandemic. – Nampa/Reuters

Daimler hopes to stabilise supply chain

Daimler AG chief executive Ola Kaellenius told Reuters on Friday the automaker hopes to stabilise its supply chain for semiconductors during this quarter, but expects real relief from shortages of chips will not arrive until 2023.

Kaellenius, who is visiting Mercedes operations in the United States, said production of Mercedes vehicles during the fourth quarter will be lower than a year ago, which was an unusually strong quarter as the company began recovering from pandemic shutdowns.

"We cannot have 100% certainty" about supplies of semiconductors, Kaellenius said. Covid-related shutdowns this summer at Malaysian plants that process semiconductors set back the auto industry's efforts to recover production lost earlier in the year.

"We hope to be able to stabilise the situation in the fourth quarter, and take that to the next level in 2022," he said. However, he said, major chip producers are saying restrictions in supply could continue into 2023.

Daimler is managing supply-chain disruptions on top of planning for a split of the company into a standalone luxury vehicle company, Mercedes-Benz, and a separate commercial truck business. Mercedes is accelerating its shift to an all-electric line-up by 2030. – Nampa/Reuters

American Airlines posts profit

American Airlines Group Inc reported a quarterly profit compared to a year-ago loss on Thursday, as easing Covid-19 curbs strengthened travel demand ahead of the peak holiday season.

As the United States opens its borders to vaccinated foreign travelers on Nov. 8, US carriers are expecting a strong holiday season after the health crisis sent travel demand plummeting in 2020.

The No.1 US airline reported a net income of US$169 million, or 25 cents per share, in the third quarter ended Sept. 30, compared with a loss of US$2.40 billion, or US$4.71 per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, the company posted a third-quarter net loss of US$641 million, or 99 cents per share.

Total operating revenue jumped 183% to US$8.97 billion. – Nampa/Reuters

Vodafone adds 7 000 software engineers

Vodafone said it would add nearly 7 000 software engineers to its workforce by 2025 to develop more of its own digital services across Europe and Africa.

The British company said the investment would enable it to build products and services faster and cheaper in technologies including Internet of Things, smart networks and cyber security.

Chief technology officer Johan Wibergh said Vodafone was focusing on digital services to help drive revenue growth in a challenging environment for core connectivity.

He said the company was building a “global software brand” to provide superfast connectivity and digital products for its customers.

The roles, which will increase Vodafone’s total number of software engineers to around 16 000, will be a combination of retraining existing staff, bringing skills in-house and recruiting around 700 new people. – Nampa/Reuters

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