COMPANY NEWS IN BRIEF

25 November 2021 | Business

Barclays raises 2022 oil price view

Barclays raised its 2022 oil price forecasts on Tuesday as it expects a faster-than-expected inventory drawdown and cautious supply response to offset a modest surplus next year.

The bank raised its 2022 average price forecast by US$3 to US$80 and US$77 per barrel for Brent and West Texas Intermediate (WTI) respectively.

Oil prices fell on Tuesday on talk that the United States, Japan and India will release crude reserves to tame prices despite the threat of faltering demand as Covid-19 cases flare up in Europe. read more

Barclays expects a smaller deficit in Q4-21 to flip to a surplus a bit sooner, in Q1-22, compared with Q2-22 earlier, but said a lower starting point for potential inventory builds next year should more than offset this.

"We think Strategic Petroleum Reserves are not a sustainable source of supply and the effect of such market intervention would only be temporary," the bank said in a note.

The United States is expected to announce a loan of crude oil from its emergency stockpile on Tuesday in an attempt to lower energy prices, a Biden administration source familiar with the situation said. -Nampa/Reuters

Shell launches shareholder talks

Royal Dutch Shell has launched talks with investors to secure support for its plan to relocate its headquarters from the Netherlands to Britain, sources said, as a leading advisory recommended backing the move at a December vote.

Shell said this month it would scrap its dual Anglo-Dutch share structure and move its head office to London from The Hague due to the Dutch tax system and after a court ruling over its strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The company also plans to move its tax residence to Britain and drop "Royal Dutch" from its name - part of its identity since 1907 - to become Shell Plc.

Shareholders will vote on the changes at a special general meeting on Dec. 10 where the resolution needs to secure more than 75% of votes cast.

To secure the high threshold, Shell's management has in recent days set up more than 100 meetings with leading investors, two sources close to the process said. -Nampa/Reuters

Amazon and Apple fined

Italy's antitrust authority has fined US tech giants Amazon.com and Apple Inc a total of more than 200 million euros (US$225 million) for alleged anti-competitive cooperation in the sale of Apple and Beats products.

Contractual provisions of a 2018 agreement between the companies meant only selected resellers were allowed to sell Apple and Beats products on Amazon.it, the watchdog said, adding that this was in violation of European Union rules and affected competition on prices. Both Apple and Amazon said they plan to appeal against the fines.

The authority imposed a fine of 68.7 million euros on Amazon and 134.5 million euros on Apple, ordering the companies to end the restrictions to give retailers of genuine Apple and Beats products access to Amazon.it in a non-discriminatory manner.

"To ensure our customers purchase genuine products, we work closely with our reseller partners and have dedicated teams of experts around the world who work with law enforcement, customs and merchants to ensure only genuine Apple products are being sold," Apple said, denying any wrongdoing.

In a separate statement Amazon said it strongly disagreed with the decision of the Italian authority and that the proposed fine was "disproportionate and unjustified”. -Nampa/Reuters

Citigroup to create 100 roles

Citigroup is looking to create 100 roles focused on digital assets including blockchain and digital currencies at its institutional division, the US bank said on Tuesday.

The intitiative is the latest by traditional banks looking to find ways to tap the growing cryptocurrency sector, which has been gaining mainstream appeal as well as regulatory scrutiny.

Puneet Singhvi, Citi's head of blockchain and digital assets at its global markets operation, will lead the new team, Citi said in a memo to staff. The note was sent to the media.

The new team will comprise a mix of internal and external hires and be housed in Singapore, New York, London and Tel Aviv, a Citi spokesperson said in an emailed response, adding that the hiring is expected to finish by the end of 2022.

"Prior to offering any products and services, we are studying these markets, as well as the evolving regulatory landscape and associated risks, in order to meet our own regulatory frameworks and supervisory expectations," the spokesperson said.

This year Bank of America started cryptocurrency research coverage, Goldman Sachs launched a crypto-trading team and JPMorgan Chase & Co allowed wealth management clients access to cryptocurrency funds, even though Jamie Dimon, its head, has been a vocal critic of the sector. -Nampa/Reuters

E.ON to invest US$30 billion

German energy group E.ON plans to invest about 27 billion euros (US$30 billion) in its core business, including networks and retail power, by 2026, it said on Tuesday, joining rivals in launching ambitious funding offensives.

Around 22 billion euros will be spent on E.ON's power and gas distribution network Europe's largest and 5 billion on customer solutions through which E.ON supplies around 50 million customers across the continent.

The investment programme comes a week after RWE, Germany's largest power producer, mapped out a 50 billion euro spending push to expand its renewables capacity as Europe's energy firms accelerate their green power ambitions.

Shares in E.ON, which will hold a capital markets day later on Tuesday, were flat in early Frankfurt trade. One trader said the announcement contained "no positive surprise" and that investors would have to be convinced during the day.

As part of the five-year plan, E.ON is also targeting 2 to 4 billion euros in proceeds from asset sales and partnerships, as well as additional annual savings of 500 million euros by 2026.-Nampa/Reuters

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