COMPANY NEWS IN BRIEF

01 December 2021 | Business

BA halts Hong Kong flights

British Airways (BA) said Monday that it has suspended Hong Kong flights after crew members were required to quarantine following a positive Covid test among the staff.

"We have made the difficult decision to temporarily suspend flights to Hong Kong while we review operational requirements for this route," said a statement from BA, which is owned by London-listed aviation giant IAG.

"We're supporting crew who are currently isolating in Hong Kong." A BA spokesman told AFP that one staff member had "tested positive upon arrival".

As a result, the rest of the crew are also currently isolating. The airline also apologised to customers whose travel plans have been disrupted, adding it would inform them of their options.

The southern Chinese business hub of Hong Kong has some of the world's strictest quarantine rules with most arrivals undergoing 14 to 21 days of hotel confinement, in line with China's so-called "zero-Covid" strategy. -Nampa/Reuters

Chatham sweetens offer for RR Donnelley

Chatham Asset Management on Monday raised its offer for RR Donnelley & Sons Co to US$10.25 per share, hours after the printing company reaffirmed that it was sticking to a merger with investment firm Atlas Holdings.

Shares of RR Donnelley rose 2.3% to US$10.45 in extended trading. Chatham, which owns a 14.9% stake in RR Donnelley making it the largest shareholder, earlier this month had offered to acquire the remaining stock in the company for US$9.10 per share.

RR Donnelley agreed to be taken private by Atlas for US$8.52 per share in cash earlier this month, valuing the company at about US$2.1 billion.

Earlier in the day, RR Donnelley said it had also received an alternative proposal from an unnamed party offering to buy the company for US$10.00 per share in cash, but the printer maker continued to recommend the deal with Atlas as its go-shop period comes to an end.

The go-shop period allows the target company in an M&A agreement to seek out competing bids even after it receives an offer from the acquirer. -Nampa/Reuters

Twitter CEO stepping down

Twitter Inc Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey is stepping down from his role and Chief Technology Officer Parag Agrawal will now lead the company, the social networking site announced on Monday.

The appointment of Agrawal, a 10-year veteran of Twitter, signalled a tacit endorsement by the board of a strategy the company previously laid out to double its annual revenue by 2023, even if investors were not so sure. Twitter shares surged nearly 10% after the announcement and closed down 2.7%.

Dorsey, who co-founded Twitter in 2006, is leaving after overseeing the launch of new ways to create content through newsletters or audio conversations while simultaneously serving as CEO of his payments processing company Square Inc.

He also navigated the tumultuous years of US President Donald Trump's administration before banning the Republican from the platform after the Jan. 6 attack on the US Capitol.

The CEO change is effective immediately and Dorsey will remain on the board until his term expires at the 2022 annual shareholder meeting, the company said. -Nampa/Reuters

Amazon to redo union vote

A regional director for the US National Labour Relations Board on Monday called for a rerun of a union election at an Amazon.com Inc facility in Alabama, setting the stage for another high-profile organizing battle at the world's largest online retailer.

Workers at the warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, rejected forming a union by a more than 2-to-1 margin in April after an organizing drive that garnered support from US lawmakers and President Joe Biden. In August, an NLRB hearing officer said the company's conduct around the previous vote had interfered with the election.

The decision for a redo adds pressure on Amazon, which has recently faced union campaigns in New York and Canada. Worker group’s view organizing the company as a landmark goal that would invigorate the US labour movement.

“Today’s decision confirms what we were saying all along that Amazon’s intimidation and interference prevented workers from having a fair say in whether they wanted a union in their workplace," Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), said in a statement.-Nampa/Reuters

Snam eyes US$26 bln investments

Europe’s biggest gas pipeline group Snam has pencilled in 23 billion euros (US$26 billion) of investments over the next nine years to ready its network for hydrogen and the energy transition.

The company said it was looking to spend around 3 billion euros to re-purpose 2 700 km of network to transport green hydrogen from Africa and the south of Italy northwards to high-energy demand regions like Germany.

Work will start on the first leg of the hydrogen backbone in 2025 and is expected to be completed before 2030, Snam CEO Marco Alvera said in a call on the group’s new strategy plan.

Snam, which makes most of its revenue from gas transport in Italy, is keen to develop the use of hydrogen in its pipelines as economies wean themselves off fossil fuels to meet climate targets.

“We will play a key role in a decisive decade for the energy transition, aiming to seize new growth opportunities in Italy and internationally,” Alvera said.

On Saturday Snam agreed to buy a stake in pipelines carrying Algerian gas into Italy in a move that could lay the groundwork for green hydrogen imports from Africa into Europe. -Nampa/Reuters

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