Sainsbury’s, Volkswagen, and Fidelity International among European businesses working with Pivotal to re-tool for the software age
- Pivotal invests in a state of the art software innovation hub in the heart of Shoreditch’s ‘Silicon Roundabout’ in London to collaborate with the UK and Europe’s most admired companies
- Pivotal is making a significant commitment to the UK through operations and personnel investments to expand its presence
- Pivotal’s new UK innovation hub in London expects to grow to over 200 employees by the end of 2017
- European automotive, banking, insurance, service provider and retail giants are adopting Pivotal’s leading modern cloud platform, and next-generation software development methodologies to innovate at a speed and velocity primarily associated with Silicon Valley-based technology companies
- Minister of State for Digital and Culture Matt Hancock hails Pivotal’s commitment as a significant boost to UK’s thriving tech sector which will be instrumental in helping businesses bolster their digital capabilities
Pivotal®, the company accelerating digital transformation for enterprises, today announced the launch of its new flagship software innovation hub in the heart of Silicon Roundabout, London. Pivotal has made this significant commitment in response to the growing sense of urgency from the UK and Europe’s largest companies to acquire modern software development practices and a next-generation cloud platform to level the playing field against their software-driven competitors. Pivotal has been credited with shaping the software development cultures of many of Silicon Valley’s most admired companies, with investment from Ford, GE, Microsoft, EMC, and VMware.
With over 200 Pivotal employees in London expected by the end of 2017, UK and European enterprise customers will use the state of the art innovation hub to create compelling digital experiences with modern software methodologies, utilise one of the world’s most powerful modern cloud platforms—Pivotal Cloud Foundry—to build and run software at start-up speeds, and bolster analytics capabilities using Pivotal Big Data Suite.
Emma Hammond, Global PaaS Product Owner, at Fidelity International said, “Through our partnership with Pivotal over the past two years, Fidelity International has been able to access the benefits and real potential of agile software development using Pivotal Cloud Foundry within our business. The combination of innovative software, excellent coaching and a dynamic and contemporary working environment in the Pivotal London office provides a winning formula for companies to explore both the technological and cultural opportunities required for transformational change when adopting cloud.”
Tim Lennox, Senior Manager, Digital and Technology at Sainsbury’s said, “Our vision at Sainsbury’s is to serve our customers ‘wherever and whenever they want’ and technology is fundamental to being able to achieve this. We have built up a leading edge technology capability at Sainsbury’s with over 350 engineers delivering products that are making our customers lives easier everyday. One of our development teams has been pairing with Pivotal over the past few months as they share our same belief of being ruthlessly customer focused and have key skills in the ability to innovate and deliver with the speed and agility of a start up.”
“When Europe’s most storied companies such as Sainsbury’s, Volkswagen, and Fidelity International learn to create software like Silicon Valley-based companies, and combine that with their decades of historic data, industry expertise, and financial leverage, they have the unique opportunity to become the new disruptors in their industries,” said Rob Mee, CEO, Pivotal. “The UK continues to be one of the world’s most important financial centers, which is why Pivotal is deeply committed to helping the UK and Europe’s largest enterprises leverage its entrepreneurial spirit and depth of talent to create differentiated products and services for their customers.”
Pivotal will use its flagship innovation hub to pass on this philosophy and help UK and European enterprises strengthen digital innovation. Pivotal’s European customers will use the office as a base to learn, study, and implement Pivotal’s modern software development methodology that is at the heart of modern disruptive businesses.
Matt Hancock, Minister of State for Digital and Culture said, “We have worked hard to make the UK a vibrant, exciting and profitable place for tech businesses to locate and grow– and it’s fantastic to hear Pivotal has decided to expand its team here. This latest investment is another significant boost to our thriving tech sector and will be instrumental in helping UK businesses boost their digital capabilities.”
“Pivotal has deconstructed the success of the digital disruptor and brings both the technologies and user-centric, iterative software development practices to allow any established enterprise to operate with greater business agility and efficiency,” said Alan Coad, Vice President and Managing Director, EMEA, Pivotal. “Embracing this new way of working ushers a cultural transformation with many of our biggest customers across the automotive, banking, insurance, service provider and retail industries—allowing them to embrace Pivotal’s modern software development methodologies and next-generation Pivotal Cloud Foundry platform to maintain their leadership position.”
The launch of Pivotal’s new UK innovation hub in London comes at a time of economic volatility in the UK. However, with this announcement, Pivotal has backed the UK and London and will remain at the heart of and continue to lead Europe’s tech scene. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, this week begins a five-day trip to America and Canada to spread the message that London is open for business and is a key destination for North American investment and tourism.
Deputy Mayor for Business Rajesh Agrawal said, “With access to world-class tech talent and a strong culture of entrepreneurship, London is Europe’s leading destination for American tech businesses looking to expand into overseas markets. Having grown my own financial technology company in London, I have seen first-hand the opportunities for digital companies such as Pivotal that are looking to scale-up in London. I look forward to joining the Mayor and the exciting London businesses on this week’s trade mission to North America to show that London is open to business, trade, talent and collaborations with other global technology hubs such as New York and Chicago.”
Oil extends losses as Texas prepares to ramp up output
By Ahmad Ghaddar
LONDON (Reuters) – Oil prices fell from recent highs for a second day on Friday as Texas energy firms began to prepare for restarting oil and gas fields shuttered by freezing weather.
Brent crude futures were down $1.16, or 1.8%, to $62.77 per barrel, by 1150 GMT, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures fell $1.42, or 2.4%, to $59.10 a barrel.
Unusually cold weather in Texas and the Plains states curtailed up to 4 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil production and 21 billion cubic feet of natural gas, according to analysts.
Texas refiners halted about a fifth of the nation’s oil processing amid power outages and severe cold.
However, firms in the region on Friday were expected to prepare for production restarts as electric power and water services slowly resume, sources said.
“The market was ripe for a correction and signs of the power and overall energy situation starting to normalise in Texas provided the necessary trigger,” said Vandana Hari, energy analyst at Vanda Insights.
Oil fell despite a surprise fall in U.S. crude stockpiles in the week to Feb. 12, before the freeze. Inventories fell by 7.3 million barrels to 461.8 million barrels, their lowest since March, the Energy Information Administration reported on Thursday. [EIA/S]
The United States on Thursday said it was ready to talk to Iran about both nations returning to a 2015 agreement that aimed to prevent Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
While the thawing relations could raise the prospect of reversing sanctions imposed by the previous U.S. administration, analysts did not expect Iranian oil sanctions to be lifted anytime soon.
“This breakthrough increases the probability that we may see Iran returning to the oil market soon, although there is much to be discussed and a new deal will not be a carbon-copy of the 2015 nuclear deal,” StoneX analyst Kevin Solomon said.
(Additional reporting by Roslan Khasawneh in Singapore and Sonali Paul in Melbourne; editing by Jason Neely)
Analysis: Carmakers wake up to new pecking order as chip crunch intensifies
By Douglas Busvine and Christoph Steitz
BERLIN (Reuters) – The semiconductor crunch that has battered the auto sector leaves carmakers with a stark choice: pay up, stock up or risk getting stuck on the sidelines as chipmakers focus on more lucrative business elsewhere.
Car manufacturers including Volkswagen, Ford and General Motors have cut output as the chip market was swept clean by makers of consumer electronics such as smartphones – the chip industry’s preferred customers because they buy more advanced, higher-margin chips.
The semiconductor shortage – over $800 worth of silicon is packed into a modern electric vehicle – has exposed the disconnect between an auto industry spoilt by decades of just-in-time deliveries and an electronics industry supply chain it can no longer bend to its will.
“The car sector has been used to the fact that the whole supply chain is centred around cars,” said McKinsey partner Ondrej Burkacky. “What has been overlooked is that semiconductor makers actually do have an alternative.”
Automakers are responding to the shortage by lobbying governments to subsidize the construction of more chip-making capacity.
In Germany, Volkswagen has pointed the finger at suppliers, saying it gave them timely warning last April – when much global car production was idled due to the coronavirus pandemic – that it expected demand to recover strongly in the second half of the year.
That complaint by the world’s No.2 volume carmaker cuts little ice with chipmakers, who say the auto industry is both quick to cancel orders in a slump and to demand investment in new production in a recovery.
“Last year we had to furlough staff and bear the cost of carrying idle capacity,” said a source at one European semiconductor maker, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
“If the carmakers are asking us to invest in new capacity, can they please tell us who will pay for that idle capacity in the next downturn?”
The auto industry spends around $40 billion a year on chips – about a tenth of the global market. By comparison, Apple spends more on chips just to make its iPhones, Mirabaud tech analyst Neil Campling reckons.
Moreover, the chips used in cars tend to be basic products such as micro controllers made under contract at older foundries – hardly the leading-edge production technology in which chipmakers would be willing to invest.
“The suppliers are saying: ‘If we continue to produce this stuff there is nowhere else for it to go. Sony isn’t going to use it for a Playstation 5 or Apple for its next iPhone’,” said Asif Anwar at Strategy Analytics.
Chipmakers were surprised by the panicked reaction of the German car industry, which persuaded Economy Minister Peter Altmaier to write a letter in January to his counterpart in Taiwan to ask its semiconductor makers to supply more chips.
No extra supplies were forthcoming, with one German industry source joking that the Americans stood a better chance of getting more chips from Taiwan because they could at least park an aircraft carrier off the coast – referring to the ability of the United States to project power in Asia.
Closer to home, a source at another European chipmaker expressed disbelief at the poor understanding at one carmaker of how it operates.
“We got a call from one auto maker that was desperate for supply. They said: Why don’t you run a night shift to increase production?” this person said.
“What they didn’t understand is that we have been running a night shift since the beginning.”
NO QUICK FIX
While Infineon, the leading supplier of chips to the global auto industry, and Robert Bosch, the top ‘Tier 1’ parts supplier, both plan to commission new chip plants this year, there is little chance of supply shortages easing soon.
Specialist chipmakers like Infineon outsource some production of automotive chips to contract manufacturers led by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC), but the Asian foundries are currently prioritising high-end electronics makers as they come up against capacity constraints.
Over the longer term, the relationship between chip makers and the car industry will become closer as electric vehicles are more widely adopted and features such as assisted and autonomous driving develop, requiring more advanced chips.
But, in the short term, there is no quick fix for the lack of chip supply: IHS Markit estimates that the time it takes to deliver a microcontroller has doubled to 26 weeks and shortages will only bottom out in March.
That puts the production of 1 million light vehicles at risk in the first quarter, says IHS Markit. European chip industry executives and analysts agree that supply will not catch up with demand until later in the year.
Chip shortages are having a “snowball effect” as auto makers idle some capacity to prioritize building profitable models, said Anwar at Strategy Analytics, who forecasts a drop in car production in Europe and North America of 5%-10% in 2021.
The head of Franco-Italian chipmaker STMicroelectronics, Jean-Marc Chery, forecasts capacity constraints will affect carmakers until mid-year.
“Up to the end of the second quarter, the industry will have to manage at the lean inventory level,” Chery told a recent Goldman Sachs conference.
(Douglas Busvine from Berlin and Christoph Steitz from Frankfurt; Additional reporting by Mathieu Rosemain and Gilles Gillaume in Paris; Editing by Susan Fenton)
Aussie and sterling hit multi-year highs on recovery bets
By Tommy Wilkes
LONDON (Reuters) – The Australian dollar rose to near a three-year high and the British pound scaled $1.40 for the first time since 2018 on optimism about economic rebounds in the two countries and after the U.S. dollar was knocked by disappointing jobs data.
The U.S. currency had been rising in recent days as a jump in Treasury yields on the back of the so-called reflation trade drew investors. But an unexpected increase in U.S. weekly jobless claims soured the economic outlook and sent the dollar lower overnight.
On Friday it traded down 0.3% against a basket of currencies, with the dollar index at 90.309.
The Aussie rose 0.8% to $0.784, its highest since March 2018. The currency, which is closely linked to commodity prices and the outlook for global growth, has been helped by a recent rally in commodity prices.
The New Zealand dollar also gained, and was not far off a more than two-year high, while the Canadian dollar rose too.
Sterling rose to $1.4009 on Friday, an almost three-year high amid Britain’s aggressive vaccination programme.
Given the size of Britain’s vital services sector, analysts say the faster it can reopen the economy, the better for the currency. Sterling was also helped by better-than-expected purchasing managers index flash survey data for February.
The U.S. dollar has been weighed down by a string of soft labour data, even as other indicators have shown resilience, and as President Joe Biden’s pandemic relief efforts take shape, including a proposed $1.9 trillion spending package.
Despite the recent rise in U.S. yields, many analysts think they won’t climb too much higher, limiting the benefit for the dollar.
“Our view remains that the Fed will hold the line and remain very cautious about tapering asset purchases. We think it will keep communicating that tightening is very far off, which should dampen pro-dollar sentiment,” said UBS Global Wealth Management strategist Gaétan Peroux and analyst Tilmann Kolb.
ING analysts said “the rise in rates will be self-regulating, meaning the dollar need not correct too much higher”.
They see the greenback index trading down to the 90.10 to 91.05 range.
The euro rose 0.4% to $1.2134. The single currency showed little reaction to purchasing manager index data, which showed a slowdown in business activity in February. However, factories had their busiest month in three years, buoying sentiment.
The dollar bought 105.39 yen, down 0.3% and a continued retreat from the five-month high of 106.225 reached Wednesday.
(Editing by Hugh Lawson and Pravin Char)
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