Media Focus on Multinational Corporations[2021.08.02]






Amazon was heavily fined $887 million for violating EU data protection regulations

according to the documents submitted by Amazon to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Friday, because the processing of personal data by the company’s European core department does not comply with the EU general data protection regulations (gdpr), it violates the EU data protection law, The Luxembourg Data Protection Commission (CNPD) issued a fine of 746 million euros (about US $887 million) to the company on July 16.


Alphabet reports Q2 revenue with 62% growth

SAN FRANCISCO - Alphabet Inc, Google's parent company, on Tuesday reported its second-quarter revenue at $61.88 billion, up 62 percent from the same period last year.

Announcing its financial results for the quarter that ended June 30, 2021, the company said that its net income was $18.53 billion or $27.26 in earnings per diluted share, compared with $6.96 billion or $10.13 in earnings per diluted share in the same period of 2020.

Among the entire quarterly revenue of $61.88 billion, a total of $57.07 billion came from Google Services total including YouTube advertising, according to the company's financial report.

The quarterly report also showed that Google Cloud sales grew to $4.63 billion from $3.01 billion in the same period of 2020.


Apple reports Q3 record revenue

SAN FRANCISCO - Apple on Tuesday announced financial results for its fiscal 2021 third quarter ended June 26, with a June quarter record revenue of $81.43 billion, up 36 percent year over year.

The company posted quarterly earnings per diluted share of $1.30, compared to $0.65 for the same period of fiscal 2020.

Its net income for the quarter increased to $21.744 billion from $11.253 billion a year ago.

Sales of iPhone amounted to $39.57 billion, up from $26.418 billion a year ago.

Its sales of Wearables, Home and Accessories products increased to $8.775 billion from $6.45 billion a year ago.

The services income reached $17.486 billion, compared to $13.156 billion the previous year.

Apple's net sales in the Greater China region increased to $14.762 billion from $9.329 billion a year ago, according to its financial statement.

'This quarter, our teams built on a period of unmatched innovation by sharing powerful new products with our users, at a time when using technology to connect people everywhere has never been more important,' said Tim Cook, Apple's CEO.

'Our record June quarter operating performance included new revenue records in each of our geographic segments, double-digit growth in each of our product categories, and a new all-time high for our installed base of active devices,' said Luca Maestri, Apple's CFO.

'We generated $21 billion of operating cash flow, returned nearly $29 billion to our shareholders during the quarter, and continued to make significant investments across our business to support our long-term growth plans,' he added.

Apple's board of directors has declared a cash dividend of $0.22 per share of the company's common stock. The dividend is payable on Aug 12, 2021, to shareholders of record as of the close of business on Aug 9, 2021, the company said.


SES announces plans for public offering

Battery maker SES Holdings is looking to occupy 5 percent of the world's EV battery market by 2028, as it announced plans to go public through a merger and advance collaboration with world-leading automakers.

The deal with Ivanhoe Capital Acquisition Corp will fetch $476 million in proceeds for SES, including a private investment in public equity of $200 million from General Motors Co, Hyundai Motor Co Geely Holding Group and others.

The Singapore-based company produces hybrid lithium-metal batteries, which, according to founder and CEO Qichao Hu, achieves better energy density compared with conventional lithiumion batteries and can be manufactured at scale.

The company operates a battery prototyping facility in Shanghai's Jiading district, an area known for piloting EVs and conducting auto driving tests in the country. Hu forecasted 10 Gigawatt-hours of production to begin between 2023 to 2024, and commercialization should be achieved in 2025.

'We hope to claim five percent of the world's EV battery market by 2028,' he said.

Upon the completion of the deal, the combined company will trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol 'SES'.


Starbucks China aims for 6,000 stores by 2022

Global leading coffee house chain Starbucks Corp has continued to accelerate its store expansions in China to reach the goal of 6,000 stores by 2022, as it has already opened 5135 stores by its third fiscal quarter this year, with comparable store sales increasing 19 percent year-on-year.

In China, the company has gained strong momentum in terms of revenue growth, store traffic recovery and margin expansion. Its year-on-year revenue grew by 45 percent to $905.2 million. Its transactions have seen a 30 percent increase, though partially offset by a 9 percent decline in average purchase price, propelling growth in comparable store sales.

In the third quarter alone, the company opened 162 new stores. Belinda Wong, chairman and CEO of Starbucks China, said in a recent discussion with investors and analysts that revenue growth and ability to attract new consumers have been their priority to deliver top profitability and returns. Nearly 70 percent of the growth in total revenue hasbeen generated from their new stores, the chairman said.

In digital terms, Starbucks China has increased adoptions and created new experiences, making mobile ordering even more convenient and personalized.

Starbucks China on Wednesday launched a new collaboration with Tencent's WeChat to allow consumers to create their own Starbucks status on their WeChat application. The new digital function has integrated strengths from the traditional on-premise coffee experience with mobile communication platforms to encourage more interactions among young consumers.

'Mobile ordering sales propelled by innovations have gone up to 34 percent of company sales, higher than 23 percent in the prior year and more than double pre-COVID-19 levels,' the company's fiscal report read.

Additionally, active members of the coffee house have reached 17 million, a 4 percent increase over the previous quarter and 71 percent over the previous year.

Wong said, 'It is important to note year-on-year revenue grew by 45 percent as we fully regained our pre-COVID pace of store development, and our new stores continue to deliver best-in-class profitability and returns.'

She said the short-term volatilities that they face today are only temporary, adding the recovery path will continue to be nonlinear.

Looking ahead, Wong is very positive about the prospects of the coffee chain.

'We have a huge runway for growth in China, and we are only in the early chapters of our China growth story,' Wang said.'Our rapidly growing national footprint, market-leading digital ecosystem,customer engagement, robust innovation pipeline and the strength of the Starbucks brand are all unmatched in the market.'

Starbucks globally reports a net revenue increase of78 percent to a record $7.4 billion in the third quarter, with comparable store sales up 73 percent.


IMAX China releases half-year financial results

IMAX China Holding, Inc on Wednesday announced that it generated a revenue of $53.4 million in Greater China in the first half of 2021, up from $6.7 million a year ago.

The company stated that the growth was driven by the strong box office recovery and increased installation activities.

The company's adjusted net profit reached $21.3 million, a stark contrast to the $15.5 million net loss in the first half of 2020.

IMAX China Holding Inc had also approved of an interim dividend of approximately $9.7 million at $0.028 per share, up from $7 million historically on an increased payout ratio of 50 percent.

'Our strong first-half revenue and earnings rebounding to levels approaching that of 2019 underscores the rising value of IMAX to Chinese consumers, filmmakers and exhibitors,' said Richard Gelfond, Chairman of IMAX China.


Lenovo opens Shanghai future center to empower industrial upgrade

Lenovo Group Ltd unveiled a 'future center' in Shanghai to showcase how its digital technologies can help advance industrial upgrade, as the Chinese tech titan accelerates steps to empower the real economy.

The Lenovo Shanghai Future Center spread on a 3,000-square-meter exhibition area showcases smart life and smart industry empowered by 'new IT' through five scenarios: smart city, smart manufacturing, smart education, smart agriculture, and smart office, Lenovo said.


Huawei's HarmonyOS 2 users exceed 40 million

SHENZHEN - The users of HarmonyOS 2, the operating system for the smartphones of Chinese telecom giant Huawei, have exceeded 40 million, the company said at a new-product launch event Thursday.

Huawei officially launched HarmonyOS 2 on June 2. Since then, an average of eight users per second have updated their devices to the operating system, the company said.

HarmonyOS, or Hongmeng in Chinese, is an open-source operating system designed for various devices and scenarios. It was first launched in August 2019.

Huawei expects the number of devices equipped with HarmonyOS to reach 300 million by the end of 2021, including more than 200 million for Huawei devices.


Coca-Cola China, Coca-Cola Foundation support flood relief efforts in Henan

Global beverage giant Coca-Cola China and the Coca-Cola Foundation have delivered more than 1 million bottles of drinking water to people in need in central China's Henan province with a donation of $500,000 for the purchase of much-need relief supplies and support in the post-disaster relief efforts.

Many places in the province were recently hit hard by torrential rainstorms and floods, which battered the region and affected millions. To support the emergency relief efforts in the affected areas, Coca-Cola China, along with its bottling partner Swire Coca-Cola, quickly activated its 'Clean Water 24' Emergency Drinking Water Supply Mechanism to deliver bottled drinking water to those in need.

Shortly following the Level-I emergency response activation issued by the Zhengzhou Command Center for Floods Control and Drought Relief, the first batch of bottled drinking water was successfully delivered to the affected areas.

As of July 28, Coca-Cola China System has delivered 1,009,112 bottles of drinking water and beverages through the initiative, in partnership with the government's emergency response lines and the One Foundation.

Meanwhile, a mobile water purification truck jointly developed by the company and the One Foundation arrived in Shilin Town, Hebi, Henan province, providing people in need of clean drinking water.

Coca-Cola China's employees in Zhengzhou were also hit by the nonstop rainstorms as Swire Coca-Cola Zhengzhou plant was also seriously flooded. On that day, 403 employees were trapped in the plant due to the flood, and spent the night providing help and comfort to each other.

Immediately after transportation was restored, those employees joined in the 'Clean Water 24' initiative, and delivered the first batch of drinking water to the frontlines on the evening of July 21st. At present, a team of 52 volunteers in the plant in Zhengzhou have followed up on the delivery of supplies. Since July 26, Swire Coca-Cola Zhengzhou plant has gradually resumed operations to ensure the follow-up emergency relief and stable market supply.

The Coca-Cola Foundation, located in Atlanta, United States, has responded rapidly with a donation of $500,000 to the One Foundation for the purchase of much-needed relief supplies including tents, sleeping bags, rescue equipment, food, and other supplies, for support in the post-disaster relief efforts such as disinfection and other health and safety related items.

Meanwhile, Swire Coca-Cola Beverages Zhengzhou Ltd also donated 5 million yuan to the Zhengzhou Charity Federation for disaster relief and post-disaster reconstruction.

Since the initial response to the Sichuan Ya'an earthquake in 2013, by June 2021, the 'Clean Water 24' mechanism has responded to 229 disasters and other emergencies in China, including the fight against COVID-19 in 2020.

Through this initiative, more than 18.97 million bottles of drinking water have been delivered to 2.24 million people affected by disasters, with an average delivery time of 11 hours.


CATL unveils new battery with record energy density

Contemporary Amperex Technology Co Ltd, better known as CATL, unveiled on Thursday one of the world's first sodium-ion batteries, as the battery giant continues to diversify its technical routes to gain a leg up in the industry.

According to Huang Qisen, deputy dean of the CATL Research Institute, its first sodium-ion battery can reach an energy density of 160 Wh/kg, currently the highest level in the world.

It is able to charge to 80 percent at room temperature in 15 minutes, with a discharge retention rate still above 90 percent in environments with temperatures below -20°C, he said.

'Sodium-ion batteries are compatible and complementary with lithium-ion batteries. Diversified technical routes are also an important guarantee for the long-term development of the industry,' said Robin Zeng Yuqun, founder and chairman of CATL, at an online launch event on Thursday.

The company also announced it has developed a brand new solution, the AB battery system solution, which is able to realize the integration and mixed use of sodium-ion batteries and lithium-ion batteries.


Siemens to enhance SOE ties

Siemens AG, a German technology company, will enhance its ties with China's State-owned enterprises to help push their digital transformation and carbon emissions reductions during the country's 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-25), a senior executive said.

To better integrate into China's new development pattern, including the dual-circulation development pattern, one of Siemens' growth focuses is to reinforce collaboration with SOEs and other leading companies in the nation as they have huge demand to further improve their operational efficiency and cut carbon emissions through digital solutions, said Xiao Song, Siemens' global executive vice-president.


Shell Q2 net income jumps to $3.4bn alongside LNG deal with Tellurian

Shell has posted a net income of $3.4bn for the second quarter of 2021, compared to a loss of $18.13bn a year ago.

Profit was affected by $1.8bn post-tax impairment charges and $1.2bn charges due to the reasonable value accounting of commodity derivatives, the company noted.

The British-Dutch company’s adjusted earnings for the quarter was $5.5bn versus $638m in the second quarter of 2020.

Shell attributed the surge in adjusted earnings to higher realised oil prices, higher marketing margins and lower operating expenses.

The energy firm declared a dividend of $0.24 per share for the second quarter compared to $0.16 per share a year ago.

Shell also launched a $2bn share buyback programme with plans to complete by the end of the year.

Royal Dutch Shell CEO Ben van Beurden said: “The quality of Shells operational and financial delivery and strengthened balance sheet have given the Board confidence to rebase the dividend per share from Q2 2021 onwards to 24 US cents.

Total shareholder distributions for 2021 are expected to be around the middle of the 20%-30% range of CFFO from the previous four quarters. Our progressive dividend policy to grow dividends per share by 4% annually, subject to Board approval, remains unchanged.




French energy group Engie is reportedly set to divest part of its majority stake in French natural gas transmission operator GRTgaz.

The stake will be acquired by Société d’Infrastructures Gazières (SIG), a public consortium of CNP Assurances and Caisse des depots, that already owns a 25% stake in GRTgaz, Reuters reported citing sources.

One of the people familiar with the matter told the news agency that Engie could fetch more than €1bn ($1.18bn) from the sale of the 11% stake in GRTgaz.

The potential deal, which is planned to be signed on 30 July 2021, would value GRTgaz at around €10bn as a whole, according to sources.

The sale forms part of French electric utility company’s plan to raise funds for its renewable energy projects and to simplify its structure by offloading assets.

During the 2021-2023 period, Engie aims to divest between €9bn-10bn ($11bn-$12bn) worth of non-core assets.

GRTgaz operates through two subsidiaries, including GRTgaz Deutschland and Elengy, that are claimed to be key players in the European natural gas transportation market.


ExxonMobil make fresh oil discovery offshore Guyana

ExxonMobil and its partners have made a new significant oil discovery in the Stabroek Block offshore Guyana at Whiptail.

The Whiptail-1 well, which is being drilled using the Stena DrillMAX rig, has encountered 246ft of net pay in high-quality oil-bearing sandstone reservoirs.

The Whiptail discovery is located approximately four miles south-east of the Uaru-1 discovery and approximately three miles west of the Yellowtail field.

ExxonMobil exploration and new ventures senior vice-president Mike Cousins said: “This discovery increases our confidence in the resource size and quality in the southeast area of the Stabroek Block and could form the basis for a future development as we continue to evaluate the best sequence of development opportunities within the block.

Hess, which owns a stake in the Stabroek Block, said that the Whiptail discovery will add to the discovered recoverable resource estimate of approximately nine billion barrels of oil equivalent.

It is also expected to support a future oil development in the south-east area of the Stabroek Block.

The partners are also drilling the Whiptail-2 in 6,217ft of water using the Noble Don Taylor rig.

ExxonMobil said that the drilling at the two wells is aimed at testing deeper targets. The results are planned to be evaluated for future development.


PGNiG terminates LNG supply deal with Sempra Energy

Polish Oil & Gas Company (PGNiG) has terminated an LNG offtake deal with US firm Sempra Energy citing delays in developing the Port Arthur LNG project in Texas, US.

Under the 20-year deal signed in 2018, Poland’s biggest gas company was to receive around two million tonnes per year (Mtpa) of LNG from the Port Arthur LNG project, effective from 2023.

In May 2021, Sempra deferred the final investment decision on the Port Arthur LNG export plant to 2022 from originally planned 2021.

The Polish company simultaneously agreed to receive the LNG volumes originally contracted at Port Arthur project from other Sempra LNG’s North America projects: Cameron LNG, a 12Mtpa export facility operating in Hackberry, Louisiana; a proposed expansion of Cameron LNG terminal; and an under-construction 3-Mtpa ECA LNG project in Mexico.

Separately, the Polish company signed agreements with the subsidiaries of US-based Venture Global LNG to purchase 2Mtpa of LNG for 20 years.

The deal with Venture Global Calcasieu Pass and Venture Global Plaquemines increases the PGNiG’s contracted LNG volume from Venture Global LNG to 5.5Mtpa.

PGNiG chief commercial officer Paweł Majewski said: “LNG plays a vital role in PGNiGs strategy. It is a key component of our supply portfolio diversification and the plan to reinforce the energy security of our customers.

Moreover, based on LNG, we plan to develop our commercial activity in the global trading market. Expanding our cooperation with Venture Global LNG fits in with both of these goals.


Shell approves oil field development in US Gulf of Mexico

Royal Dutch Shell has made a final investment decision for the Whale oil field development in the US Gulf of Mexico.

Located nearly 321km south-west of Houston, Texas, the deepwater field is expected to have a peak production capacity of nearly 100,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d).

According to current estimates, the deepwater field has a recoverable resource volume of 490 million barrels of oil equivalent (Mboe).

Scheduled to start production in 2024, the Whale development is contained in Alaminos Canyon Block 773.


The Whale field will produce oil from 15 wells via a semi-submersible production unit installed in a water depth of more than 8,600ft.

Shell has an operating stake of 60% in the Whale oil field while its partner Chevron USA holds the remaining stake of 40%.

Shell upstream director Wael Sawan said: “Whale is the latest demonstration of our focus on simplification, replication and capital projects with shorter cycle times to drive greater value from our advantaged positions.

We are building on more than 40 years of deepwater expertise to deliver competitive projects that yield high-margin barrels so that we are able to meet the energy demands of today while generating the cash required to help fund the development of the energy of the future.


Intel announced that it will contract for Qualcomm: strive to catch up with TSMC and Samsung in 2025

Intel said on Monday that its factory would start producing Qualcomm chips and announced a roadmap to expand its new OEM business to catch up with rivals TSMC and Samsung Electronics by 2025. Intel said it would use the 20A process to produce Qualcomm chips, but did not disclose which Qualcomm products it would produce and the launch time of the first chips. Intel also said that the company is expected to regain its leading edge in chip manufacturing in 2025, and announced five process development stages to be launched in the next four years, including 10 nm, 7 nm, 4 nm, 3 nm and 20A.


AstraZeneca East China headquarters officially opened

Yesterday, AstraZeneca East China headquarters was officially opened. On the same day, AstraZeneca CICC medical industry fund also announced the signing of cooperation intentions with Hangzhou municipal and district government guidance funds. Hangzhou hi tech investment and Hangzhou Gongshu District Industrial investment plan to jointly participate in AstraZeneca CICC medical industry fund cooperation and jointly promote the innovative development of China's medical and health industry through the cooperation of government, industry and investment.