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Latest Articles

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Saudi Aramco valuation set at up to $1.7 trillion, no overseas roadshows for IPO

By Hadeel Al Sayegh, Saeed Azhar and Rania El Gamal

DUBAI (Reuters) - Saudi Aramco has set a price range for its listing that implies the oil giant is worth between $1.6 trillion to $1.7 trillion, below the $2 trillion the Saudi crown prince had targeted but still making it potentially the world's biggest IPO.

Aramco said on Sunday it plans to sell 1.5% of its shares or about 3 billion shares, at an indicative price range of 30 riyals ($8.00) to 32 riyals - valuing the IPO at as much as 96 billion riyals ($25.60 billion) at the top end of the range.

If priced at the top, the deal could just beat the record-breaking $25 billion raised by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) in its stock market debut in New York in 2014.

Aramco's float is the centrepiece of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's plan to diversify the world's top crude exporter away from oil.

Aramco does not plan to market its domestic IPO abroad, three people familiar with the matter said, which suggests international roadshows will not take place.

"This will put the burden of the deal on local and regional banks," one of the three people said.

"This means most of the investors will participate as Qualified Foreign Investors in a Saudi transaction," another one of the people said.

Aramco finally kicked off its IPO on Nov. 3 after a series of false starts. Prince Mohammed, who had floated the idea of the listing four years ago, is seeking to raise billions of dollars through the deal to invest in non-oil industries and create employment.

But the investment world is still trying to decide what the famously secretive company is worth. Analysts from banks working on the Riyadh bourse had projected a wide valuation range for Aramco of between $1.2 trillion to $2.3 trillion.

On one hand, Aramco is the world's most profitable company with a planned dividend of $75 billion next year, more than five times larger than Apple's payout, which is already the biggest of any S&P 500 company.

On the other, it is a bet on the price of oil at a time when global demand is expected to slow from 2025 as measures to cut greenhouse gas emissions are rolled out and the use of electric vehicles increases.

The deal is also rife with political risk as the Saudi government, which relies on Aramco for the bulk of its funding, will continue to control the company. Prince Mohammed's reputation was tarnished by the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi last year.

In addition, Aramco's oil plants were targeted on Sept. 14 in attacks which initially halved its output. The firm has said the strikes would not have a material impact on its business.

The share sale is expected to be a huge hit among Saudi citizens who are being offered 0.5% of the company.

Retail investors have until Nov. 28 to sign up for the IPO while institutional investors can subscribe until Dec. 4, with company management going on marketing roadshows this week.

The Aramco listing means a year-end rush for equity markets with Alibaba currently taking orders for a Hong Kong listing that is expected to raise up to $13.4 billion for the online retailer.

The Riyadh listing comes after initial hopes for a 5% IPO on the domestic and international bourses were dashed last year amid debate over valuation and where to list Aramco overseas.

Aramco said the IPO timetable was delayed because it began a process to acquire a 70% stake in petrochemicals maker Saudi Basic Industries Corp.

Original Article

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Saudi Aramco will not market IPO in the United States: sources

DUBAI (Reuters) - Saudi Aramco does not plan to market its domestic initial public offering (IPO) in the United States, two sources familiar with the matter said.

Aramco had said in its IPO prospectus earlier this month that the offering of shares would rely on the 144A rule of the U.S. Securities Act, which allows a non-U.S. issuer to tap the U.S. market.

The sources said Aramco will no longer rely on that rule, meaning it will not market the shares in the United States.

Aramco did not immediately respond to a comment request.

Original Article

China, U.S. had 'constructive' phone call on trade: Xinhua

BEIJING (Reuters) - China and United States had "constructive talks" on trade in a high-level phone call on Saturday, state media Xinhua said.

China's Vice Premier Liu He, U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin were on the call. The two sides discussed each other's core issues for the first phase of an initial trade agreement, and agreed to maintain dialogue, according to Xinhua.

Original Article

Nissan recalls nearly 400,00 vehicles over braking system defect

By Kanishka Singh

(Reuters) - Japan's Nissan Motor Co Ltd (T:7201) has said it is recalling 394,025 cars in the United States over a braking system defect, causing concerns that a brake fluid leak could potentially lead to a fire.

The leak into internal circuit boards will trigger a warning to drivers, which if ignored may lead to a fire in "rare instances," Nissan said in a filing dated Nov. 8 with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) under recall number 18V-601.

"... if the warning is ignored and the vehicle continues to be operated in this condition, the brake fluid leak may potentially create an electrical short in the actuator circuit, which in rare instances, may lead to a fire," the Japanese automaker said.

The recall, which was reported on Friday by U.S. media, includes Maxima sedans from 2016 through 2018, Infiniti QX60 luxury crossovers from 2017 to 2019, Murano SUVs from 2015 to 2018 and Pathfinder SUVs from 2017 to 2019, the filing showed.

The document does not mention whether the brake system defect actually caused any fires or injuries.

The company also reportedly https://n.pr/2rRlGpM said that it was working to fix the issue and that owners of the affected cars will be notified starting early next month.

"Once the remedy is available, owners will receive a final notification letter asking them to bring their vehicle to an authorized Nissan dealer or INFINITI retailer to have the remedy work completed at no cost for parts or labor," it told NPR in an emailed statement.

The development comes less than two months after NHTSA opened a preliminary investigation into 553,000 Nissan Rogue sport utility vehicles after reports of their automatic emergency braking systems engaging without warning or an obstruction.

Improper inspections of brakes, steering wheels, speed measurements and vehicle stability had also caused the company to issue a recall of several thousand vehicles in Japan late last year.

In September, the company recalled 1.3 million vehicles to fix a problem with its backup camera displays.

Original Article

Fed's Daly says low inflation presents opportunity

BERKELEY, Calif. (Reuters) - Sluggish U.S. inflation means the Federal Reserve can keep borrowing costs where they are without much cost and with a lot of potential benefit for workers, San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank President Mary Daly said on Saturday.

"We’re lucky right now," Daly said at University of California, Berkeley's Clausen Center's conference on global economic issues. "We can keep the policy rate accommodative and we can both find full employment experientially, by waiting for it to show up in wage and price inflation, and we can treat the problem of muted inflation pressures and get ourselves back up to target."

Original Article

UK's Corbyn: Labour to exclude NHS, medicines from trade deals with U.S.

(Reuters) - UK opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn said the Labour Party will exclude Britain's National Health Service and medicines from trade deals with the United States, as he accused Prime Minister Boris Johnson of covering up "secret talks" on the NHS.

"Boris Johnson is engaged in a cover-up of secret talks for a sell-out American trade deal that would drive up the cost of medicines and lead to runaway privatization of our health service," Corbyn wrote in the Observer

"Our public services are not bargaining chips to be traded in secret deals. I pledge a Labour government will exclude the NHS, medicines and public services from any trade deals – and make that binding in law", he added.

Original Article

Disney+ will fix The Simpsons’ joke-destroying 16:9 aspect ratio starting in 2020

The Simpsons

With the launch of Disney+ this week, many fans were excited to have easy access to all 30 seasons of The Simpsons — only to find to their chagrin that their original 4:3 aspect ratio had been discarded for a widescreen 16:9 aspect ratio, cropping out many visual gags entirely. But now, Disney says that it will be fixing this in “early 2020” by making an additional version of the first 19 seasons in 4:3, the way they were intended to be viewed.

Here’s Disney’s statement:

“We presented “The Simpsons” in 16:9 aspect ratio at launch in order to guarantee visual quality and consistency across all 30 seasons. Over time, Disney+ will roll out new features and additional viewing options. As part of this, in early 2020, Disney+ will make the first 19 seasons (and some episodes from Season 20) of “The Simpsons” available in their original 4:3 aspect ratio, giving subscribers a choice of how they prefer to view the popular series.”

To give you an idea of what you might be missing with the widescreen format, here’s an example:

All the classic Simpsons episodes on Disney+ are in cropped widescreen format -- this means you miss out on tons of great visual jokes, like how Duff, Duff Lite and Duff Dry all come from the same tube. pic.twitter.com/cTy9adulFl

— Tristan Cooper (@TristanACooper) November 12, 2019

Why 19 seasons, instead of all 30? From 2009 on, partway through The Simpsons20th season, the show had already switched to the 16:9 aspect ratio — so those episodes should be fine already.

Original Article ©Copyrights theverge.com