Monday, August 12th, 2019


CBS shareholders to get slight premium from Viacom deal, say sources

NEW YORK, Aug 12 — CBS Corp and Viacom Inc are in the final stages of negotiating an all-stock merger that values Viacom at a discount to its closing price on Friday, two sources told Reuters. Shares of CBS fell 0.2 per cent to US$48.81, while…

Dollar falls on rising fears trade war will hit US growth

NEW YORK, Aug 12 — Increasing expectations that the US-China trade war will impact American economic growth pushed the dollar lower today. In overnight trade the Japanese yen rose to its highest level against the dollar since March 2018 –…

New ‘coliving’ housing option spreads its wings in New York

NEW YORK, Aug 12 — Nandita Iyer landed in New York from Bombay without knowing anyone, but she didn’t want to live alone in a “sketchy studio.” So instead she opted for a room in a “coliving” unit. She lives with roommates in one of the…

Brexit turmoil drives UK towards recession

LONDON, Aug 12 — Britain’s economy unexpectedly shrank in the second quarter of the year on Brexit turmoil, official data showed Friday, placing the country on the verge of recession and sending the pound tumbling to a 2.5-year low. Gross…

Argentine peso, stock exchange plummet after crushing Macri vote defeat

BUENOS AIRES, Aug 12 — Argentina’s peso and the Buenos Aires stock exchange plunged today after populist centre-left candidate Alberto Fernandez crushed pro-business President Mauricio Macri in a party primary election over the weekend….

US stocks fall on Hong Kong protests, trade worries

NEW YORK, Aug 12 — Wall Street stocks fell early today as unrest in Hong Kong added to lingering anxiety over weakening growth and the grinding US-China trade war. Authorities said more than 5,000 people descended on the Hong Kong airport today…

Cathay Pacific warns staff over ‘illegal protests’

HONG KONG, Aug 12 — Hong Kong carrier Cathay Pacific warned staff today that they could be fired for supporting “illegal protests”, as the firm comes under pressure from Beijing over pro-democracy demonstrations. The flagship carrier’s stock…

India’s Reliance set to seal US$15 billion deal with Saudi Aramco

MUMBAI: India’s Reliance Industries is set to sell a 20% stake in its oil to chemicals business to Saudi Aramco, helping the Indian conglomerate to cut debt and giving Aramco better access to a fast growing market.

While terms of the deal are yet to be finalised, Reliance will get roughly US$15 billion (RM62.8 billion), including some debt adjustments for the 20% stake, P.M.S. Prasad, executive director of Reliance Industries, said today, adding the two companies aim to close the deal by March 2020.

The deal will see Reliance buy up to 500,000 barrels a day of crude oil from Aramco, Prasad told media after the company’s annual general meeting, noting this would more than double the volumes that Reliance now purchases from Aramco.

The deal ties in with Aramco’s push to expand its refining and marketing footprint globally by signing new deals and boosting the capacity of its plants to secure new markets for its crude oil.

Aramco is boosting its refining and petrochemicals business, particularly in Asia, and sees growth in chemicals as central to its downstream expansion strategy to reduce risk as oil demand slows.

“This signifies perfect synergy between the world’s largest oil producer and the world’s largest integrated refinery and petrochemicals complex,” said Reliance chairman Mukesh Ambani, while announcing the deal at the AGM today.

Ambani, who is Asia’s richest man, said the deal would be the biggest foreign investment in the history of Reliance and also one of the largest foreign investments ever in India.

Aramco declined to comment on the Reliance tie-up today, which coincided with its announcement of a 12% decline in half-year net profit.

Aramco reported a net profit of US$46.9 billion (RM196.3 billion) in the first half of 2019, down from US$53 billion for the same period last year. Despite the profit decline, Aramco remained the world’s most profitable company.

By comparison, Apple Inc, the world’s most profitable listed company, made US$31.5 billion, US rival Exxon Mobil Corp around US$5.5 billion and Royal Dutch Shell some US$8.8 billion.

“Despite lower oil prices during the first half of 2019, we continued to deliver solid earnings and strong free cash flow underpinned by our consistent operational performance, cost management and fiscal discipline,“ CEO Amin Nasser said in a statement in Riyadh today.

The company generated total half-year revenue, including other income related to sales, of US$163.88 billion, down from US$167.68 billion a year earlier. Free cash flow rose 6.7% to US$38 billion.

Aramco said the drop in earnings was mainly due to a 4% fall in the average realised price of crude oil to US$66 from US$69 per barrel and an increase in purchases, producing and manufacturing costs, and depreciation and amortisation costs.

The drop was partially offset by a decrease of US$2.62 billion in income taxes, the company said.

Aramco said today it will maintain its position as of the world’s biggest crude producer and would continue to expand its gas output and sustain its strong financial position.

“Our financials are strong and we will continue to invest for future growth,“ Nasser said.

Aramco also paid a dividend of US$46.4 billion to the government including a special dividend of US$20 billion, up from US$32 billion a year earlier.

German exports to Iran halve in first half as US sanctions bite

BERLIN, Aug 12 — German exports to Iran fell by nearly half in the first six months of 2019, data showed today, suggesting companies are scaling back business ties with Tehran to avoid trouble with the United States after Washington re-imposed…

Wall Street set to open lower as trade war stokes fears of recession

AUGUST 12 — Wall Street was set to open lower today, as investors shunned risky bets on fears that a drawn-out trade war between the United States and China could force the global economy into recession. The three main indexes ended marginally…