03 December 2021 | Business

ExxonMobil aims to double profits

ExxonMobil released a plan Wednesday that aims to double oil company's profits by 2027 as it expands lower-emissions investments while preserving a strategy tilted towards fossil fuels.

ExxonMobil said it would maintain a "disciplined" approach to overall spending, holding its annual capital budget to between US$20 billion and US$25 billion through 2027, when it targets earnings twice the level of 2019.

The company is expected to spend less than US$20 billion this year after slashing spending from above US$30 billion annually in the years before the pandemic.

"Our strategy is designed to create shareholder value by leveraging our competitive advantages while maintaining flexibility to respond to future policy changes and technology advances associated with the energy transition," said Chief Executive Darren Woods.

The announcement is the latest sign giant oil companies plan a restrained approach in the face of continued uncertainty about the pandemic and calls from environmentalists to cease fossil fuel activity.

Higher gasoline prices also have become a hot-button issue in the United States. On Tuesday, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki criticized "oil company CEOs bragging about the profits they make when gas prices go up."-Nampa/AFP

Afterpay delays vote on buyout

Afterpay Ltd will delay a shareholder meet to approve Square Inc's US$29-billion buyout of the Australian buy now, pay later leader, as the Jack Dorsey-led payment company awaits regulatory nod in Spain.

The investor meet was set for Dec. 6, but Afterpay said it would likely take place next year as Square, which has rebranded itself to Block Inc, is likely to get an approval from the Bank of Spain only in mid-January.

The delay is unlikely to impact the completion of Australia's biggest deal, which is set for the first quarter of 2022, Afterpay said.

"We continue to believe the risks of the transaction closing are minimal," RBC Capital Markets analyst Chami Ratnapala said in a brief client note.

Meanwhile, Twitter Inc co-founder Dorsey is expected to focus on Square after stepping down as chief executive of the social media platform as it looks to expand beyond its payment business and into new technologies like blockchain. -Nampa/Reuters

China’s Kaisa struggles for relief

Chinese developer Kaisa Group Holdings Ltd is unlikely to win bondholders' approval to extend the maturity of a US$400 million bond due next week, analysts say, heaping more pressure on other indebted peers.

Kaisa's proposal to delay the maturity of the bond by 18 months comes against the backdrop of growing creditor concerns about Chinese property developers' ability to meet their near-term offshore repayment obligations.

Some developers in late October called on the regulators to extend their offshore bond maturities or undertake a debt restructuring, as a growing number of defaults hit the sector.

Kaisa's struggle in getting a much-needed lifeline from its creditors will also weigh on other smaller developers that are looking to avoid long and messy litigation and restructuring processes, analysts said.

James Wong, portfolio manager of GaoTeng Global Asset Management Ltd, said that for Kaisa, a debt restructuring is "quite certain", as the threshold of passing the bond maturity extension proposal was too high. -Nampa/Reuters

Apple’s iPhone 13 demand slows

Apple Inc has told its parts suppliers that demand for the iPhone 13 line-up has slowed, Bloomberg News reported on Wednesday, citing people familiar with the matter, signalling that some consumers have decided against trying to get the hard-to-find item.

The company had earlier cut production of iPhone 13 by as many as 10 million units due to a global chip shortage, but now it has informed vendors that those orders may not materialize, the report said.

Apple and some of its suppliers 3M Co, Broadcom Inc and Advanced Micro Devices Inc did not immediately respond to requests for comments from Reuters.

A global chip crunch, initially due to high demand for smartphones and personal gadgets during the coronavirus pandemic, has affected the auto industry and disrupted production at companies ranging from Apple to GM.

In October, Apple's Chief Executive Tim Cook warned that the impact of supply constraints, which cost the company US$6 billion in sales in the fiscal fourth quarter, will be worse during the holiday quarter and that chip shortage was affecting most of the company's products. -Nampa/Reuters

Goose under fresh fire in China

China's top consumer protection organisation has warned Canada Goose Holdings Inc against "bullying" customers in China with its return policies, just three months after the winterwear brand was fined for false advertising.

The premium down jacket manufacturer has been a hot topic on Chinese social media in recent days over its handling of a case involving a customer who wanted a refund of her purchases amounting to 11 400 yuan (US$1 790.17) after finding quality issues.

She said she was told by Canada Goose that all products sold at its retail stores in mainland China were strictly non-refundable, according to her account which went viral online.

State-backed media such as the Global Times newspaper later cited Canada Goose as denying that it had a no-refund policy and that all products sold at its retail stores in mainland China were refundable in line with Chinese laws. The company did not respond to Reuters' request for comment.

"No brand has any privileges in front of consumers," the government-backed China Consumer Association (CCA) said in an opinion piece posted on its website on Thursday morning. -Nampa/Reuters

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