Connect with us

Business

Mercedes unveils electric compact SUV in bid to outdo Tesla

Published

on

Mercedes unveils electric compact SUV in bid to outdo Tesla 1

By Nick Carey

(Reuters) – Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz on Wednesday unveiled the EQA, a new electric compact SUV as part of plans to take on rival Tesla Inc and offer more emission-free vehicles to consumers to meet targets in Europe and China.

The EQA, the first of several electric models Mercedes-Benz plans to launch this year, will initially have a range of 426 kilometres (265 miles), with a 500km model coming later, the premium brand carmaker said in a video presentation.

The SUV will go on sale in Europe on Feb 4 at what board of management Britta Seeger described as “very attractive price points”.

Electric vehicle (EV) sales took off in Europe last year as carmakers scrambled to meet European Union CO2 emissions targets. Sales received a boost from subsidies included in economic stimulus measures rolled out in France and Germany, in particular.

Sales of fully electric and plug-in hybrid models rose 122% across the EU through the first three quarters of 2020.

Mercedes-Benz describes the EQA as an “urban entry model” and board member Seeger touted its “sustainability, versatility and fresh look”.

Electric carmaker Tesla got a head start on traditional carmakers with their vast investments in fossil-fuel vehicles and has dominated global sales. The mass-market Tesla Model 3 is the world’s best-selling EV, followed in distant second place by Renault’s Zoe.

As well as emissions targets, carmakers face bans on fossil-fuel vehicles that come into effect as early as 2030 in some markets.

(Reporting by Nick Carey; editing by Jason Neely)

Business

ExxonMobil to sell some UK, North Sea assets to HitecVision for over $1 billion

Published

on

ExxonMobil to sell some UK, North Sea assets to HitecVision for over $1 billion 2

(Reuters) – Exxon Mobil Corp said on Wednesday it would sell its non-operating interest in its UK and North Sea exploration and production assets to private-equity fund HitecVision for more than $1 billion.

Exxon has been looking to sell its oil and gas assets since late 2019, seeking to free up cash to focus on a handful of mega-projects.

The deal includes ownership interests in 14 producing fields operated primarily by Shell as well as interests in the associated infrastructure. Exxon could also receive about $300 million in contingent payments based on a potential for increase in commodity prices.

Exxon’s share of production from these fields was about 38,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in 2019, the company said.

Exxon said it would retain its non-operated share in upstream assets in the southern part of the North Sea as well as its interest in the Shell Esso gas and liquids (SEGAL) infrastructure, which supplies ethane to the company’s Fife ethylene plant.

HitecVision, in partnership with Eni, had bought Exxon’s Norwegian North Sea assets for $4.5 billion in 2019.

Initially, Exxon hoped to raise more than $2 billion from the sale, which was planned for late 2019. In June 2020 sources told Reuters that the portfolio was more likely to fetch $1 to $1.5 billion given the oil price weakness last year.

(Reporting by Arathy S Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

Continue Reading

Business

JPMorgan’s blockchain payments test is literally out of this world

Published

on

JPMorgan's blockchain payments test is literally out of this world 3

By Anna Irrera

LONDON (Reuters) – Stuck in space with bills to pay? Don’t worry, the satellites could take care of it.

JPMorgan Chase & Co has recently tested blockchain payments between satellites orbiting the earth, executives at the bank told Reuters, showing that digital devices could use the technology behind virtual currencies for transactions.

The so-called Internet of Things (IoT), where devices connect to one another, is most associated with consumer electronics, including smart speakers like Amazon Echo and Google Home, and banks want to be ready to process payments when these smart devices start doing transactions autonomously.Umar Farooq, the CEO of JPMorgan’s blockchain business Onyx, thought space was a cool place to try it out.

“The idea was to explore IoT payments in a fully decentralised way,” Farooq said. “Nowhere is more decentralised and detached from earth than space.”

“Secondly we are nerdy and it was a much more fun way to test IoT,” he said.

To run the space experiment, the bank’s blockchain team did not send its own satellites into space, but worked with Danish company GOMspace, which allows third parties to run software on its satellites.

Farooq said the satellite test showed blockchain networks could power transactions between every day objects.

The test also showed it could be possible to create a marketplace where satellites send each other data in exchange for payments, as more private companies launch their own devices into space, Tyrone Lobban, head of blockchain launch, at Onyx said.

Back on earth, examples of IoT payments that could become a reality sooner include a smart fridge ordering and paying for milk on an ecommerce site, or a self-driving car paying for gas Farooq said.

Blockchain, which first emerged as the software underpinning cryptocurrencies, is a shared digital ledger of transactions. Financial companies have invested millions of dollars to find uses for the technology hoping it can reduce costs and simplify more complex IT processes, such as securities settlement or international payments.

But so far, blockchain has yet to have widespread impact in financial services.

JPMorgan has been one of the most active banks in blockchain, announcing it had created its own distributed ledger called Quorum in 2016, which was sold to blockchain company Consensys last year. The bank also developed a digital coin called JPM Coin and in 2020 created Onyx.

Onyx has more than 100 employees and its blockchain applications are close to generating revenues for the bank, it said.

Among the division’s applications is Liink, a payments information network involving more than 400 banks, a project to replace paper checks and IoT experiments, Farooq said.

(Reporting by Anna Irrera. Editing by Jane Merriman)

Continue Reading

Business

Garment workers in Thailand receive full compensation after wages expose

Published

on

Garment workers in Thailand receive full compensation after wages expose 4

By Nanchanok Wongsamuth

BANGKOK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Garment workers in Thailand who were illegally underpaid while making products for major brands have received all the wages owed to them after theme park operator and film producer Universal Studios agreed to pay the outstanding amount.

Universal Studios, owned by media giant Comcast Corp’s NBCUniversal, agreed to give $20,000 to a group of Myanmar workers on Wednesday – following three other global brands in making payments to settle the 3.5 million baht ($116,550) owed in unpaid wages.

“We take this matter very seriously and this is not in line with our core values,” a NBCUniversal spokeswoman said.

A Thomson Reuters Foundation investigation in September 2019 found dozens of migrants from Myanmar working at several factories in the western region of Mae Sot were paid less than the daily minimum wage of 310 Thai baht ($10.32).

A group of 26 workers at one of the factories raided in 2019 by officials sued the owner – Kanlayanee Ruengrit – in August last year for failing to pay the 3.5 million baht owed to them.

Interviews with workers by local and global rights groups found that her factory was making goods for several major brands from Universal Studios to Britain’s largest supermarket Tesco.

The workers later received a payment of about 2.88 million baht from Kanlayanee and three brands that said Kanlayanee’s factory had been subcontracted by their suppliers or partners without permission – Disney, Starbucks and Tesco.

The money from Universal Studios will be paid to MAP Foundation, which has supported the workers and been in discussion with the companies, and will distribute the funds directly to the workers.

“Since the former licensee has failed to respond to multiple requests to pay the affected Thai factory workers, we are making a goodwill donation to MAP Foundation … to distribute funds directly to the workers,” the NBCUniversal spokeswoman said.

Suchart Trakoonhutip, a coordinator at MAP Foundation, said the payment marked the first time that underpaid workers in Mae Sot had received the full amount owed to them in a wage dispute.

The Mae Sot case sets an example for other brands to follow in terms of taking responsibility, but workers should not have to rely on the goodwill of companies in order to receive money they have earned, said Ilona Kelly, a coordinator at pressure group Clean Clothes Campaign.

“The industry urgently needs binding agreements to hold brands to account, the lack of which has become even more notable during COVID-19 as millions of workers are now owed wages and severance pay,” she added.

“Without (government) legislation, the happy ending of the Kanlayanee story will continue to be as unobtainable as a fairytale ending for most workers.”

One of the Kanlayanee workers, who now works part-time on a farm, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that he plans to send the additional money to his sick father in Myanmar.

“I feel happy and proud that I will soon receive the full amount of money I am owed,” said the worker, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter.

($1 = 30.0300 baht)

(Reporting by Nanchanok Wongsamuth @nanchanokw; Editing by Michael Taylor. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit http://news.trust.org)

Continue Reading
Editorial & Advertiser disclosureOur website provides you with information, news, press releases, Opinion and advertorials on various financial products and services. This is not to be considered as financial advice and should be considered only for information purposes. We cannot guarantee the accuracy or applicability of any information provided with respect to your individual or personal circumstances. Please seek Professional advice from a qualified professional before making any financial decisions. We link to various third party websites, affiliate sales networks, and may link to our advertising partners websites. Though we are tied up with various advertising and affiliate networks, this does not affect our analysis or opinion. When you view or click on certain links available on our articles, our partners may compensate us for displaying the content to you, or make a purchase or fill a form. This will not incur any additional charges to you. To make things simpler for you to identity or distinguish sponsored articles or links, you may consider all articles or links hosted on our site as a partner endorsed link.

Call For Entries

Global Banking and Finance Review Awards Nominations 2021
2021 Awards now open. Click Here to Nominate

Latest Articles

Reasons Why You Should Be Opening an Offshore Savings Account Today 5 Reasons Why You Should Be Opening an Offshore Savings Account Today 6
Banking5 mins ago

Reasons Why You Should Be Opening an Offshore Savings Account Today

No one has to convince you that savings accounts are a bad idea. As a safe investment, this approach is...

Vodafone's towers arm plans biggest European IPO of 2021 so far 7 Vodafone's towers arm plans biggest European IPO of 2021 so far 8
Investing2 hours ago

Vodafone’s towers arm plans biggest European IPO of 2021 so far

By Paul Sandle and Arno Schuetze LONDON/FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Vantage Towers, the mobile masts company spun out of Vodafone Group,...

UK's Sunak to build bridge to recovery with more spending 9 UK's Sunak to build bridge to recovery with more spending 10
Top Stories2 hours ago

UK’s Sunak to build bridge to recovery with more spending

By William Schomberg LONDON (Reuters) – British finance minister Rishi Sunak will next week promise yet more spending to prop...

Oil rises despite surprise U.S. stock build weighs 11 Oil rises despite surprise U.S. stock build weighs 12
Investing2 hours ago

Oil rises despite surprise U.S. stock build weighs

By Ahmad Ghaddar LONDON (Reuters) – Oil prices firmed on Wednesday amid continued outages in the United States and a...

Sterling touches $1.42, hits highest vs euro in a year 13 Sterling touches $1.42, hits highest vs euro in a year 14
Trading2 hours ago

Sterling touches $1.42, hits highest vs euro in a year

By Ritvik Carvalho LONDON (Reuters) – Sterling hit $1.42 on Wednesday, coming within touching distance of $1.43, while also reaching...

Strong German data helps European shares recover; Wall Street futures subdued 15 Strong German data helps European shares recover; Wall Street futures subdued 16
Investing2 hours ago

Strong German data helps European shares recover; Wall Street futures subdued

By Elizabeth Howcroft LONDON (Reuters) – European shares rose but U.S. stocks futures pointed to a further tech sell-off in...

EasyJet to raise up to 1.2 billion euros from bond issue 17 EasyJet to raise up to 1.2 billion euros from bond issue 18
Investing6 hours ago

EasyJet to raise up to 1.2 billion euros from bond issue

By Yoruk Bahceli and Abhinav Ramnarayan AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – EasyJet will raise 1-1.2 billion euros from a seven-year bond sale...

ExxonMobil to sell some UK, North Sea assets to HitecVision for over $1 billion 19 ExxonMobil to sell some UK, North Sea assets to HitecVision for over $1 billion 20
Business6 hours ago

ExxonMobil to sell some UK, North Sea assets to HitecVision for over $1 billion

(Reuters) – Exxon Mobil Corp said on Wednesday it would sell its non-operating interest in its UK and North Sea...

JPMorgan's blockchain payments test is literally out of this world 21 JPMorgan's blockchain payments test is literally out of this world 22
Business6 hours ago

JPMorgan’s blockchain payments test is literally out of this world

By Anna Irrera LONDON (Reuters) – Stuck in space with bills to pay? Don’t worry, the satellites could take care...

Aussie, pound soar on reflation bets; dollar struggles 23 Aussie, pound soar on reflation bets; dollar struggles 24
Trading7 hours ago

Aussie, pound soar on reflation bets; dollar struggles

By Saikat Chatterjee LONDON (Reuters) – The dollar struggled at multi-year lows against the Antipodean currencies and held near a...

Newsletters with Secrets & Analysis. Subscribe Now