COMPANY NEWS IN BRIEF

11 January 2022 | Business

GM recognizes California's authority

General Motors Co on Sunday said it had agreed to recognize California’s authority to set vehicle emission standards under the Clean Air Act.

The move will make the Detroit automaker eligible for government fleet purchases by the state of California, GM said.

The automaker made the commitment to recognize California's authority in a letter to California Governor Gavin Newsom. GM said in the letter it is "committed to complying with California's regulations."

Soon after Joe Biden was elected president, GM in November 2020 reversed itself and no longer backed an effort by the then-Trump administration to bar California from setting its own emissions rules.

"GM is joining California in our fight for clean air and emission reduction as part of the company's pursuit of a zero-emissions future," Newsom said. "This agreement will help accelerate California's nation-leading commitment to tackling the climate crisis."

GM announced in January plans to eliminate tailpipe emissions from new light-duty vehicles by 2035.-Reuters

Amazon files new legal challenges

Amazon.com Inc has filed fresh legal challenges in its long-running dispute with Indian retailer Future Group after the national antitrust agency suspended a 2019 deal between the two sides, leading to a halt in their arbitration, four sources told Reuters on Sunday.

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) last month suspended its approval of Amazon's 2019 deal with Future, denting the US e-commerce giant's attempts to block the sale of Future's retail assets to Indian market leader Reliance Industries.

Late on Saturday night, Amazon filed an appeal against the CCI suspension decision at India's National Company Law Appellate Tribunal, two of the sources said.

Separately, two other sources said, Amazon also filed a challenge in the Supreme Court against the Delhi court decision in which judges last week said Future-Amazon arbitration proceedings must remain on hold until Feb. 1 in light of the antitrust suspension of the deal.

The filings are the latest in the bitter legal dispute which has embroiled Amazon, Future and Reliance over what is seen as a battle for retail supremacy in India's booming consumer market. -Reuters

Virgin Australia to cut capacity

Virgin Australia said on Monday it would reduce capacity across its network by around 25% for the rest of January and for February due to reduced travel demand and staff being required to isolate as Covid-19 case numbers rise in Australia.

The airline, which competes against Qantas Airways Ltd, said it would cut some flight frequencies and suspend 10 routes temporarily.

Australia on Monday surpassed 1 million Covid-19 cases, with more than half of them recorded in the past week, as the Omicron variant ripped through most of the country driving up hospitalisation numbers and putting a strain on supply chains.

Virgin Australia Chief Executive Jayne Hrdlicka said the surge in Covid-19 cases had affected customer confidence.

"Virgin Australia remains focused on growing its network and consumer reach and will resume services as soon travel demand improves," she said in a statement.

The airline said in November it would add seven more Boeing Co 737 NG planes to its fleet, nearly restoring it to pre-pandemic levels, to help meet a goal of obtaining a one-third share of Australia's domestic travel market. -Reuters

Meta head of communications leaves

The head of communications at Facebook parent Meta Platforms Inc, John Pinette, is leaving the company, the social media company said late on Friday.

Chris Norton, vice president of international communications, will cover the role on an interim basis, a Meta spokesperson said in an emailed statement to Reuters.

"John Pinette has left Meta. We are thankful for his positive contributions during an intense and significant time in the company’s history, and we wish him well going forward," the statement said.

The spokesperson declined to say why Pinette was leaving, citing Meta policy of not commenting on personnel matters. The Wall Street Journal first reported Pinette's departure on Friday.

Pinette was appointed vice president of global communications in April 2019, according to the company's website. -Reuters

National Bank plans vaccine clinics

National Bank of Canada will become the first major bank in the country to offer Covid-19 booster shots to employees and their family members, setting up four vaccination sites across Quebec starting Monday.

The clinics will be located in Montreal, Laval, Brossard and Quebec City, and will be open to staff and members of their families over 30, a spokesperson for the bank told Reuters by email.

The bank also joined forces with other Quebec-based companies to set up vaccination clinics earlier in the pandemic, the spokesperson said. National Bank was one of 13 major employers picked by the Quebec government to host workplace vaccination clinics, local media reported in April.

None of the other large Canadian banks offer such clinics, but they do give employees paid time off to get vaccinated. -Reuters

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