COMPANY NEWS IN BRIEF

13 January 2022 | Business

Volkswagen to double electric car salesVolkswagen AG said it would likely double sales of its ID battery electric vehicles in China this year and aims to do even better but the automaker could be hamstrung by a shortage of semiconductors.

The ID series, which Volkswagen produces at its Chinese joint ventures with SAIC Motor and FAW Group, is the backbone of its EV ambitions in China, the world's largest auto market.The German automaker sold 70 625 of its ID electric vehicles in China last year, missing its goal of selling 80 000 to 100 000 cars, with production also affected by regional Covid-19 outbreaks in addition to chip-related issues.

Volkswagen's China chief Stephan Wollenstein told a briefing in Beijing that the automaker would still like to double its original plan but that goal \"is not currently secured by the semiconductor supplies that we currently see.\"Volkswagen Group, which alongside its own brand owns other marques such as Audi, Lamborghini and Porsche, sold 3.3 million cars in China last year, down 14%, Wollenstein said. -Reuters

Nokia turnaround to continueFinnish telecoms equipment maker Nokia on Tuesday gave its first guidance for 2022, easing investors' concerns over the impact the global chip shortage may have had on its operations.

Nokia said it expected a comparable operating margin of 11-13.5% in 2022, sending its shares up 2.8% in the morning trade following the announcement.\"The outlook shows that the business turnaround is still progressing well and no offset is coming from cost inflation or component shortage,\" Inderes analyst Atte Riikola told Reuters.

The company said it also expected to exceed its 2021 earnings guidance, with its venture fund investments driving the boost.Nokia estimated a full-year 2021 comparable operating margin of 12.4-12.6%, above its previous guidance of 10-12%, and net sales of 21.7-22.7 billion euros, within its previously announced range. The company said its underlying business performed largely as expected in the fourth quarter.

\"However, other operating income was higher than expected including further benefits from venture fund investments, leading to a stronger comparable operating margin exceeding the 2021 guidance,\" it said in a statement. -ReutersTake-Two to buy Zynga

Video game publisher Take-Two announced Monday it reached a deal to acquire \"Farmville\" creator Zynga for US$12.7 billion, in a major mobile gaming push by the maker of \"Grand Theft Auto.\"The merger brings Take-Two, a leader in console and personal computing games, together with a company with strength in interactive games played on mobile devices, such as \"Farmville,\" which first became a phenomenon in the 2010s on Facebook.

The deal comes as Take-Two plans more smart phone versions of its games, which also include Red Dead Redemption and NBA2K.The transaction also is designed to promote Take-Two's growth outside of its core markets in the United States and Western Europe. Take-Two officials emphasized that Zynga has a presence in more than 175 countries.

Zynga's games are generally free to play and the company generates revenues through the sale of in-game virtual items and advertising.\"We are thrilled to announce our transformative transaction with Zynga, which significantly diversifies our business and establishes our leadership position in mobile, the fastest growing segment of the interactive entertainment industry,\" Take-Two Chief Executive Strauss Zelnick said in a statement. -AFP

Kroger King talks with union failsNegotiations between Kroger's King Soopers grocery store and the union that represents more than 8 700 workers at the Colorado chain have failed, setting the stage for a three-week strike starting from Wednesday.

United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7 President Kim Cordova said on Monday that King Soopers has not yet provided the information the union needs to evaluate its proposal, according to an update livestreamed on Facebook.The only proposal during the three days of talks was from the union, which the company representatives asked them to revisit, said Liz Wesley, a store manager at Colorado Springs who has spent 17 years with the grocery chain.

\"The company is not taking our proposals seriously,\" Wesley said. \"We want a better contract for us.\"The company has filed unfair practice charges against the union for refusing to bargain in good faith, King Soopers said on Monday. -Reuters

GM challenges CarvanaGeneral Motors Co said it will launch an online used vehicle market called CarBravo that will allow the automaker and its dealers to challenge Carvana Co, CarMax Inc and others profiting from selling second hand vehicles.

GM's CarBravo site will aggregate vehicles owned by Chevrolet, Buick and GMC dealers, as well as cars and trucks that GM Financial, the automaker's consumer finance arm, controls after taking them back from rental car agencies or vehicle leases.GM officials said the company's dealers have about 400 000 used vehicles in stock. GM said CarBravo will launch to consumers this spring.

About 40 million used vehicles are sold annually in the United States, more than twice the number of new cars and trucks. Auto manufacturers are largely removed from the profits from those sales, as well as information about customers and the opportunity to sell recurring revenue services such as satellite radio subscriptions. -Reuters

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