01 September 2021 | Geschäft

Company news in brief

BHP considers mandatory vaccinations

Global miner BHP Group is mulling whether to make vaccinations for Covid-19 mandatory at its workplaces in Australia as the country's east battles ballooning virus cases.

The world's biggest miner on Monday set out measures it was taking to support vaccination in communities where it operates including on-site jabs at its Mt Arthur Coal Mine in New South Wales state that are to begin this week.

BHP said in a statement that it was actively assessing vaccination as a condition of entry to its workplaces.

"As vaccinations become more accessible to all Australians, we have been encouraging our people to better protect themselves and their families and communities, and we will look for further opportunities to increase access and uptake of vaccinations," Edgar Basto, who runs BHP's Minerals Australia business, said.

BHP expects to complete its assessment in September, with a policy likely to come into effect in early 2022, once people have had a reasonable opportunity to be fully vaccinated. – Nampa/Reuters

Lufthansa cash-positive this summer

German airline Lufthansa will generate positive cash flow this summer, while it should be possible to fully unwind a Covid-19 rescue package in a year's time, CEO Carsten Spohr told Reuters yesterday.

Most Lufthansa flights were grounded by the coronavirus pandemic in early 2020, plunging the airline into crisis and leading the German government to acquire a 20% stake as part of a 6-billion euro (US$7.1 billion) rescue package.

Germany's economic stabilisation fund said last week it would start selling down its stake in the coming weeks with a view to disposing of it fully by the end of 2023.

Cost savings mean Lufthansa can generate cash even with passenger numbers at half pre-pandemic levels - a level reached during the summer holiday season, said Spohr. For the year as a whole, Lufthansa can reach 40% of pre-crisis capacity. – Nampa/Reuters

Zoom's growth forecast tepid

Zoom Video Communications Inc posted its first billion-dollar revenue quarter but signalled a faster-than-expected easing in demand for its video-conferencing service after a pandemic-driven boom, sending its shares tumbling 11%.

The company on Monday forecast third-quarter revenue between US$1.015 billion and US$1.020 billion, compared with the analysts' average estimate of US$1.013 billion, according to Refinitiv data.

That indicates a rise of just about 31.2% from a year earlier, compared with multiple-fold growth rates in 2020 when the Covid-19 crisis had turned Zoom into a household name due to the rise of remote working and schooling.

"We had expected that [the slowdown] towards the end of the year, but it's just happened a little bit more quickly than we expected," chief financial officer Kelly Steckelberg said on an earnings call.

Zoom has faced pressure this year as vaccinations encourage schools to reopen and more companies to bring employees back to offices. It expects a decline in revenue from customers with 10 or fewer employees. This group consists mainly of small and medium businesses which pay bills monthly.

Zoom forecast third-quarter adjusted earnings between US$1.07 and US$1.08 per share, compared with expectations of US$1.09 a share. It posted a profit of US$1.04 per share in the second quarter on revenue of US$1.02 billion, both of which were higher than estimates. – Nampa/Reuters

Ryanair sees 'very strong recovery'

Ryanair, Europe's largest airline by passenger numbers, expects a "very strong recovery" in the coming months, group chief executive Michael O'Leary said yesterday.

O'Leary said the airline was set to exceed its target of flying 10.5 million passengers in August and expected traffic to hold at around 10.5 million passengers per month in September, October and November, albeit at lower prices than before the pandemic.

"As long as there are no adverse COVID developments, things are set fair for a very strong recovery," O'Leary told Reuters ahead of a press briefing in Brussels. – Nampa/Reuters

McDonald's mulls closing indoor seating

Some US fast-food restaurants are closing indoor seating areas or limiting hours of operation because of the spread of the Delta variant of Covid-19, according to franchisees.

McDonald's Corp had temporarily closed indoor dining at nearly all US locations in early 2020, but it reopened 70% by last month. The global burger chain said on July 28 that it was on track to open nearly 100% by Labour Day - barring any Covid-19 resurgence.

But last week, McDonald's instructed its franchisees on steps they should take to re-close their dining rooms in areas where the Delta variant is rapidly spreading, according to internal company materials seen by Reuters.

"We have a much deeper sense of what actions make a difference for the safety of our restaurant teams and crew," McDonald's USA president Joe Erlinger said during a meeting, according to the materials.

"We’re monitoring the impact of the Delta variant closely and recently convened together with our franchisees to underscore existing safety protocols, reinforce our people first approach and provide updates on the rise in cases in the country," McDonald's Corp said in a statement on Friday. – Nampa/Reuters

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