Media Focus on Multinational Corporations[2021.07.05]






Sinopec, CNPC expect profit boost in first half on economic rebound

China's two biggest energy companies, China National Petroleum Corp and China Petroleum and Chemical Corp, expect a large increase in their profits for the first half on the back of an economic rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic and the rapid recovery of the petrochemical products market in the country.

CNPC, the country's largest oil and gas company, estimated its net profit to reach 45 billion yuan ($6.9 billion) to 60 billion yuan during the first half, after it posted a net loss of around 30 billion yuan during the same period last year, the company said on Thursday.

China Petroleum and Chemical Corp, which is known as Sinopec and is the world's largest refiner by volume, said it expects a net profit of 36.5 billion to 38.5 billion yuan during the first six months, up from a net loss of 22.9 billion yuan during the January-June period of last year. The growth rate is expected to reach 259 percent to 268 percent year-on-year, it said.

Final results from both companies are due to be released in late August.


Shipbuilding giant CSSC moves closer to asset integration

Nine listed subsidiaries of China State Shipbuilding Corp Ltd, or CSSC, announced on late Thursday that they will transfer equity to CSSC, a major step in asset integration after their erstwhile parent groups started merger in 2019.

Three listed companies of previous China State Shipbuilding Corp, including CSSC Science and Technology Co Ltd and CSSC Offshore and Marine Engineering (Group) Co Ltd, and six listed firms of former China Shipbuilding Industry Corp, such as China Shipbuilding Industry Group Power Co Ltd, announced in separated notices that all of them will unconditionally transfer their equities to CSSC as part of the merger process.

As a result, the CSSC will own the controlling stakes of these nine companies.

To boost the nation's shipbuilding industry and facilitate the building of a strong navy, these two companies merged to form CSSC.

The new State-owned shipbuilding conglomerate now sets sail to dominate several industry segments relating to military vessels, liquefied natural gas or LNG carriers, luxury cruise liners, icebreakers and offshore engineering equipment among others.

The nine listed companies also said in their notices that after the completion of the transfer, CSSC will be able to optimize core capacities to focus on the development of marine defense equipment, ship, offshore equipment and technology application industries, as well as marine service business to build a world-class shipbuilding group with a reasonable industrial structure, leading quality and efficiency, and strong international competitiveness.



Didi pledges cooperation in security investigation

Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Global Inc said on Friday it will actively cooperate with relevant government departments in a cyber security investigation and comprehensively sort out network security risks.

The comments came after the Office of the Central Cyberspace Affairs Commission said it has launched a probe into Didi to protect national security and public interest in accordance with the nation's laws.

During the investigation period, Didi's app has stopped new user registration, the office said.

Didi said under the supervision and guidance of relevant departments, it will comprehensively sort out and investigate network security risks, and continue to improve the network security system and technical capabilities.

The probe came shortly after Didi raised $4.4 billion in its IPO on the New York Stock Exchange earlier this week.

【Loongson Technology】

Loongson's IPO may lift home chipmakers

Chinese chipmaker Loongson Technology is banking on its upcoming IPO in Shanghai to beef up its research and production of advanced semiconductor technologies.

Loongson's plans dovetail with Chinese technology companies' efforts to strengthen the security of supply chains and achieve self-sufficiency in crucial technologies.

Beijing-based Loongson's IPO is expected to be made on the STAR Market, or the Science and Technology Innovation Board of the Shanghai Stock Exchange, with up to 41 million shares likely to be up for sale, potentially netting 3.5 billion yuan ($542 million).

Loongson's journey as a business started in 2001 with a research team under the Chinese Academy of Sciences. In 2010, it was spun off as a separate entity to commercialize its chip development research.

The firm was behind China's first self-developed general purpose microprocessor. It also created the architecture for central processing units, or CPUs.



Clover and Dynavax announce commercial supply agreement

Chinese clinical-stage biotech Clover Biopharmaceuticals and Nasdaq-listed Dynavax Technologies Corp, a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing novel vaccines, announced on Wednesday a commercial supply agreement of Dynavax's CpG 1018TM advanced adjuvant for use in Clover's protein-based COVID-19 vaccine candidate, SCB-2019 (CpG 1018/Alum).

The commercial supply agreement extends to the end of 2022. The agreement includes doses for delivery in 2021, which were manufactured under the previously announced funding agreement between the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and Dynavax.

Clover separately announced on Wednesday an advanced purchase agreement with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, for supplying up to 414 million doses of SCB-2019 (CpG 1018/Alum) through 2022 for the COVAX facility. The COVAX facility is a global risk-sharing mechanism for pooled procurement and equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, regardless of income level.

Pending conditional regulatory approvals, Clover expects to commence product launch of SCB-2019 (CpG 1018/Alum) by the end of 2021, supplying the COVAX facility and countries directly via government procurement and/or bilateral supply agreements.

Clover is currently advancing SPECTRA, a global pivotal Phase 2/3 clinical trial evaluating the efficacy, safety, and immunogenicity of SCB-2019 (CpG 1018/Alum), and expects interim data for vaccine efficacy around the middle of 2021.

Pending positive interim data, Clover plans to submit conditional regulatory approval applications to the European Medicines Agency, China's National Medical Products Administration and the World Health Organization in the second half of 2021. It also plans to commence product launch by the end of 2021.



Budweiser builds new craft brewery in E China's Fujian province

Budweiser APAC has announced new investment worth $24.76 million in Putian, East China's Fujian province, to build a craft brewery in the city and expand its in-use brewery with additional capacity of 20 million hectoliters.

'We made this strategic move driven by the growth and recovery of China and the strong consumer needs in the high-end beer segment,' said Jan Craps, co-chair and CEO of Budweiser APAC.

'With strong support from the local government and the industry cluster in Putian, we are excited to build the craft brewery with our continuous investment in research and development,' he said.

The new craft brewery is set to provide consumers with more diversified high-end beer options.

The investment also will increase the capacity of Budweiser's Putian brewery, which is said to be the largest brewery in Asia and has the largest grid-connected distributed photovoltaic plant in the beer industry across China.


Miaofei partners with Focus Media for low-sugar ad campaign

Miaofei Food Company on Monday signed a strategic cooperation agreement with the world's leading elevator advertising group Focus Media, in a deal valued at hundreds of millions of yuan.

With Focus Media, Miaofei plans to explore the country's first, second and third-tier cities via popularizing the concept of '0 sucrose' to consumers.

【Sino-Ocean Group】

Sino-Ocean Group gains 30b yuan in credit in Ping An Bank deal

Sino-Ocean Group has signed a cooperation deal with Ping An Bank which will provide the group a credit of 30 billion yuan ($4.64 billion), as well as customized financial services and solutions.

In the past two months, Sino-Ocean Group has been continuing to expand its businesses in Zhenjiang, Shenyang, Xiamen, Tianjin, Wenzhou and other cities via open market land acquisition, urban renewal and mergers and acquisitions.



Ikea program helps suppliers move to renewable energy

IKEA has recently launched a new program to accelerate its suppliers' transition to 100 percent renewable electricity globally, including its direct suppliers in China.

Almost two-thirds of the IKEA climate footprint is directly connected to the supply chain, including production at suppliers. The company is moving toward 100 percent renewable energy throughout the entire value chain.


H&M's China sales plunge 28% in Q2 after Xinjiang cotton ban

H&M's sales in the Chinese market have suffered as a result of its rejection of Xinjiang-produced cotton, according to the Swedish fashion retailer's latest quarterly disclosure.

Its sales in China, one of its top 10 markets, plummeted 28 percent in Swedish krona terms in the second quarter from the year before, per the quarterly results.

The number of stores in the Chinese market totaled 489 as of May 31. Over the second quarter, its net new store numbers shrank by 13 in the market.

The disappointing readings are seen as undercutting optimism in the outlook for the fashion giant despite a surge of 75 percent year-on-year in its global net sales in local currencies in the second quarter.

H&M's ill-grounded refusal to use Xinjiang cotton over human rights abuses earlier this year has subjected the brand to a widespread consumer boycott, which has seen Chinese consumers strike back at a handful of foreign clothing brands banning Xinjiang-sourced cotton.


PwC links IPO boom to new system

The number of first-half A-share IPOs-245, up 108 percent year-on-year-as well as the funds raised from them-210.9 billion yuan ($32.5 billion), up 51 percent year-on-year-bear testimony to the effectiveness of the country's pilot registration-based system, a PwC report released on Friday stated.

Shanghai's Nasdaq-style STAR Market saw 86 IPOs and Shenzhen's startup board ChiNext witnessed 85 floats in the first half.

A-share IPOs via the registration system accounted for 70 percent of the total. In terms of funds raised, the corresponding figure was 59 percent, the report said.



Volvo unveils latest modern take with Recharge electric concept

Swedish automaker Volvo unveiled the electric Recharge concept model on Wednesday, highlighting its determination to develop premium electric vehicles.

The Recharge concept delivers Volvo's determination to achieve complete electrification and represents a new trend, according to Robin Page, head of design at Volvo. He added that it showcases a new and more modern body scale and a richer range of features, largely highlighting the limitless possibilities that technology allows for design.

By replacing the internal combustion engine with a whole battery pack, designers are allowed to extend the wheelbase and the wheel hub, to optimize the interior space, especially the rear space, according to the automaker.

Volvo said that its next-generation electric cars will focus on improving range and charging speed.

The automaker has plans to work with Northvolt, a Swedish battery manufacturer, to improve the energy density of its battery products by 50 percent compared with similar products on the market today.

In the next decade, the energy density of batteries on Volvo's vehicles is expected to exceed 1,000 watt-hours per liter, and achieve an actual range of 1,000 kilometers, according to Volvo.

Jardine Matheso

Jardine Matheson to transfer its Chinese Mercedes-Benz showroom business to affiliate Zhongsheng for US$1.3 billion

Jardine Matheson said it will transfer its Mercedes-Benz business in China to its mainland car showroom affiliate, Zhongsheng Group, in a US$1.3 billion cash and shares deal that would raise its stake in the dealer to 21.25 per cent and make it the second-largest shareholder.

The conglomerate, which is the biggest landlord in Central through its subsidiary Hongkong Land, has reached an agreement to transfer the China business, currently operated under its Zung Fu brand, to Zhongsheng Group, Jardine Matheson said in a statement on Thursday.

The deal will lift its stake in Zhongsheng Group from 19.58 per cent, according to Zhongsheng Group's 2020 annual report, making it the second-largest shareholder in Zhongsheng Group after its own founders.



Last October, Apple released the iPhone 12 series of mobile phones, which included the iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max.

The iPhone 12 mini features a 5.4-inch OLED display and is the company’s most inexpensive new smartphone. The low price didn’t help, though, and the iPhone 12 mini is currently the worst-selling model, accounting for about 6% of sales.

The renowned investment firm JPMorgan Chase recently released its latest forecast, in which analyst William Young cut its iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini production forecasts by 9 and 11 million, respectively. At the same time, he also confirmed that market demand for the iPhone 12 mini is weak and global sales are too low. The analysts, citing their supply chain sources, added that Apple will cease production of this phone in the second quarter of 2021.


Amazon, Tata say Indian govt e-commerce rules will hit businesses Inc and India's Tata Group warned government officials on Saturday that plans for tougher rules for online retailers would have a major impact on their business models, four sources familiar with the discussions told Reuters.

At a meeting organised by the consumer affairs ministry and the government's investment promotion arm, Invest India, many executives expressed concerns and confusion over the proposed rules and asked that the July 6 deadline for submitting comments be extended, said the sources.

The government's tough new e-commerce rules announced on June 21 aimed at strengthening protection for consumers, caused concern among the country's online retailers, notably market leaders Amazon and Walmart Inc's Flipkart.


Toyota tops GM sales in the U.S., expected to be America’s bestselling automaker

Toyota Motor outsold General Motors in the U.S. for the first time ever during a quarter and is expected to be America’s bestselling automaker.

The Japanese automaker on Thursday reported sales of 688,813 vehicles in the U.S. from April through June. That compares to GM at 688,236 vehicles during the second quarter. Toyota beat analyst expectations, while GM slightly missed forecasts.

The shake-up was caused by a global chip shortage that has significantly hampered vehicle production. Japanese automakers, specifically Toyota, have been able to manage the crisis better than their American competitors.