10 August 2021 | Geschäft

COMPANY NEWS IN BRIEF

Airbus sees German jobs at risk

Airbus has warned employees of hundreds of possible job losses at its small-parts manufacturing business in Germany if the unit is not hived off in line with a cost-cutting strategy set out in April, a source familiar with the plan told Reuters.

The group sees 1 000 of its 2 500 small-parts manufacturing jobs in Germany at risk if it continues to manufacture parts within the group rather than spinning off the activities, said the source who is familiar with plans presented to its works council and trade unions.

Under the shakeup set out four months ago, Airbus's Premium Aerotec unit in Germany would be split off, with part combined with other Airbus manufacturing plants and the rest folded into a new business specialising in small mass-produced "detail" parts which could be spun off.

Premium Aerotec makes components for commercial and military aircraft, mainly in Augsburg and Varel near Bremen.

The unit has been lossmaking for years and Airbus argues that with a new owner it could also work for competitors or win customers from other industries, and thus better utilise its workforce.

The plane maker has previously said it calculates that Premium Aerotec is between 25% and 30% more expensive than other suppliers. -Nampa/Reuters

Alibaba fires manager

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd has fired a manager who allegedly sexually assaulted a female employee and will establish policies to prevent sexual harassment, Chief Executive Daniel Zhang said.

The manager at Alibaba's City Retail unit, which offers grocery delivery from local supermarkets - "has been fired and will never be rehired," Zhang said in a memo published on Alibaba's intranet that was seen by Reuters and later made public.

The man told management there were "intimate acts" with the employee when she was inebriated, Zhang said in the memo, adding that the police is investigating the matter.

"Alibaba Group has a zero-tolerance policy against sexual misconduct, and ensuring a safe workplace for all our employees is Alibaba's top priority," a company spokesperson told Reuters when asked about the memo.

Over the weekend, a female staffer posted an 11-page account on Alibaba's intranet in which she said her supervisor and a client sexually assaulted her while on a business trip, and that managers had failed to take action. -Nampa/Reuters

NAB to buy Citi's consumer unit

National Australia Bank said on Monday it would buy Citigroup's Australian consumer business in a deal valued at around A$1.2 billion (US$882.24 million), creating the second-largest credit card provider in the country.

Under terms, 800 Citi employees and its senior management will join NAB, although there would be no transfer of technology systems or platforms. NAB said it will invest in a new technology platform to support the combined business.

"The proposed acquisition of the Citigroup Consumer Business brings scale and deep expertise in unsecured lending, particularly credit cards," said NAB Chief Executive Officer Ross McEwan.

Citi's consumer business in Australia had lending assets of A$12.2 billion and deposits of A$9 billion at the end of June. The Australian lender said the deal is expected to result in annual pre-tax cost savings of A$130 million over three years. -Nampa/Reuters

NetEase delays Hong Kong listing

NetEase Inc has delayed the US$1 billion Hong Kong initial public offering of its music streaming service Cloud Village because of volatile trading in China's major tech companies, two people with direct knowledge of the matter said.

The people could not be named as the information was not yet made public. A NetEase spokesperson said the company had no immediate response.

The IPO was approved by the Hong Kong Stock Exchange listing committee, according to filings lodged with the exchange, and preliminary meetings were held with potential investors last week.

The deal was due to launch this week but was put on hold on Monday, the sources said, given the uncertain conditions facing China's tech companies following a regulatory crackdown ordered by Chinese officials.

NetEase's Hong Kong listed shares lost nearly 14% last week after it was reported China's gaming sector could be next in line for intensified regulatory scrutiny.

NetEase announced in May it would spin off Cloud Village and retain 62.4% ownership of the streaming business. -Nampa/Reuters

Saudi Aramco Q2 profit soars

Saudi Arabian state oil producer Aramco reported a near four-fold rise in second-quarter net profit on Sunday, beating expectations and boosted by higher oil prices and a recovery in oil demand.

Aramco said its results were supported by the global easing of Covid-19 restrictions, vaccination campaigns, stimulus measures and accelerating economic activity in key markets.

Aramco joins other oil majors who have reported strong results in recent weeks. Exxon Mobil last month said its net income for the second quarter came in at US$4.69 billion, or US$1.10 per share, compared with a loss of US$1.08 billion, or 26 cents per share, a year ago.

Royal Dutch Shell reported its highest quarterly profit in more than two years, with adjusted earnings at US$5.53 billion, compared with earnings of US$638 million a year earlier.

Oil prices, boosted by output cuts made by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and their allies, a group known as OPEC+, closed at $70.70 a barrel on Friday and has gained over 35% since the start of the year. -Nampa/Reuters