Uber sells autonomous vehicle division to start-up

Despite being the largest ride-sharing firm in the world, Uber has consistently failed to make a profit since its inception. The company lost around $8.5bn in 2019.

Under the new deal, Uber will invest $400m into self-driving vehicles start-up Aurora to hold a 26 per cent stake in the firm and Uber’s CEO Dara Khosrowshahi will join its board of directors. Aurora will also take control of Uber’s Advanced Technologies Group (ATG) and incorporate its team and technology into its own.

Uber has long been hedging its bets on driverless technology as a way to reach profitability and avoid the high cost of driver acquisition and onboarding as well as regulatory pressure to ensure hourly wage minimums.

It has also faced court battles following a fatal crash in one of its driverless cars that caused the death of a pedestrian and negative press for the firm.

Uber had already started pulling resources away from ...

Dec. 9, 2020

Porsche investing $24 million in ‘e-fuels’ to supplement electrification of sports cars

German automaker Porsche is investing about $24 million in the development of “e-fuels,” which officials say is a climate-neutral fuel to replace gasoline in nonelectric vehicles.

Production of such a fuel would allow the company and potentially other automakers a way to continue producing vehicles such as Porsche’s iconic 911 sports car with a traditional engine alongside, or rather than, a new electric model. While electric vehicles can offer outstanding performance, the driving dynamics of the vehicles are different than traditional engines.

The announcement does not change Porsche’s target to have half of Porsche models sold by 2025 to be electrified, including all-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.

Porsche, owned by Volkswagen, announced the investment in partnership with Siemens’ renewable energy unit and other international companies such as energy firm AME and the petroleum company ENAP from Chile. It includes developing and implementing a plant in Chile that is expected to yield the “world’s ...

Dec. 4, 2020

Facebook Plans to Launch Libra in January 2021

Facebook is reportedly planning to launch its ambitious project Libra as early as January 2021. The digital currency will be launched in a limited format than originally anticipated.

According to a report by the Financial Times on Friday, three people associated with the Libra project confirmed that the company may only introduce a single dollar-pegged stablecoin, means it will launch a single coin backed 1:1 by the US Dollar. The project is still pending approval from the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority FINMA.

The Libra project was officially announced on 18 June 2019 and the original plan was to launch a token backed by the basket of global currencies. In 2020, due to regulatory pressure, the Libra association dropped the idea of pegging the token with multiple fiat currencies.

The ambitious project of Facebook has seen backlash from regulators worldwide. European and Australian authorities warned Libra Association against potential scams using its name. 

In ...

Nov. 30, 2020

Repsol unveils new strategic plan to accelerate energy transition

Repsol SA has unveiled a new strategic plan for the next five years aimed at accelerating its energy transition while boosting shareholder value, according to a Nov. 26 news release.

The Spanish integrated oil and gas company said it will decarbonize its asset portfolio and establish a new operating model as it aims to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

The strategic plan will have two periods. For the first two years, Repsol plans to focus on ensuring financial strength and extending its efficiency and competitivity programs by prioritizing efficiency, investment cuts and optimization of capital, along with projects to lead the energy transition, according to the company. From 2022 onward, the company will shift its focus to the acceleration of growth.

Repsol intends to invest a total of €18.3 billion between 2021 and 2025, of which €5.5 billion, or 30%, will be spent on low-carbon businesses. As part of the strategic plan, Repsol ...

Nov. 26, 2020

George Soros laments investment in Palantir and says he will sell the rest when allowed

It’s common for fund managers to talk up their investments. Billionaire investor George Soros is taking the opposite tack.

His family office, Soros Fund Management, issued a statement criticizing one of its holdings, Palantir Technologies PLTR, -5.31%, after a Securities and Exchange Commission filing revealed it had a roughly 1% stake in the data analytics company.

That’s a statement issued on Soros’s Open Society website. The statement went on to explain that the investment was made by a portfolio manager at the firm in 2012 when Palantir was private. When Palantir went public, Soros’s investment was converted into shares in the public company.

“SFM has sold all shares in the company that it is not legally or contractually obliged to hold and will continue to sell shares as permitted,” the statement added.

Palantir has drawn criticism for the work it has done for the U.S. government, notably the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

Investors ...

Nov. 20, 2020

Pfizer CEO sold $5.6 million of stock as company announced vaccine data that sent shares soaring

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla sold almost $5.6 million worth of stock on Monday, the same day the drugmaker announced positive early data on its experimental coronavirus vaccine that sent shares soaring.

Shares of Pfizer jumped by almost 15% on Monday after the company and its partner BioNTech said its vaccine was more than 90% effective in preventing Covid-19 among those in the trial without evidence of prior infection.

Bourla sold 132,508 shares at an average price of $41.94 per share, or nearly $5.6 million, according to a securities filing. The sale was part of a pre-scheduled 10b5-1 trading plan, which was adopted on Aug. 19, the filing shows, as the company was enrolling participants in its late-stage trial.

According to the company’s 2019 proxy report, Bourla, who became CEO on Jan. 1, 2019, was being paid a base salary of $1.65 million starting April 1. Nine times that salary would be about $15 ...

Nov. 16, 2020

Zoom and other ‘stay-at-home’ stocks got crushed on the positive vaccine news

Shares of Zoom Video fell sharply Monday as names benefitting from people staying at home due to the coronavirus pandemic lost their appeal following the release of positive coronavirus vaccine data.

Zoom Video closed 17.4% lower. Fellow “stay-at-home” stocks Amazon and Netflix dropped 5.1% and 8.6%, respectively. Teladoc Health slid 13.7% and Shopify declined by 13.6%.

The losses came after Pfizer and BioNTech reported that their coronavirus vaccine candidate showed a 90% efficacy rate in preventing infections during a late-stage trial. Scientists were hoping for a vaccine that was at least 75% effective. White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci had said a vaccine that is 50% or 60% effective would be acceptable.

/Source: CNBC/

Nov. 11, 2020

Bunge Agrees to Sell its Refinery in Rotterdam

Bunge has announced that its Bunge Loders Croklaan oils and fats joint venture has agreed to sell its Rotterdam refinery to Neste for €258 million in cash, excluding working capital.

In a phased transition through 2024, Bunge will lease back the facility from Neste to enable it to continue to supply customers with its products.

Bunge says that it will invest a portion of the proceeds from the sale in its operations, in order to enhance efficiency and flexibility across its oils portfolio.

“This transaction supports our long-term strategy in value-added oils and oilseeds-based ingredients by enabling us to further enhance our footprint in an innovative and sustainable way,” said Bunge CEO, Greg Heckman.

The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2021, subject to regulatory approvals.

Last year, Bunge agreed to sell its margarine and mayonnaise assets in Brazil to Seara Alimentos, a subsidiary of Brazilian meat processor JBS, for 700 ...

Nov. 6, 2020

Bayer Acquires Gene Therapy Developer Asklepios BioPharma for $4 Billion

Bayer AG announced the acquisition of Asklepios BioPharmaceutical, Inc. (AskBio), a US-headquartered biopharmaceutical company specialized in the research, development and manufacturing of gene therapies across different therapeutic areas. AskBio’s development portfolio includes investigational pre-clinical and clinical stage candidates for the treatment of neuromuscular, central nervous system, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.

Bayer will own full rights to AskBio’s gene therapy platform, including a broad intellectual property portfolio and an established contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) laying the foundation for future partnerships in the area of adeno-associated virus (AAV) therapies. The addition of AskBio to Bayer’s emerging cell and gene therapy (CGT) business strengthens Bayer’s commitment to the field. It complements the 2019 acquisition of BlueRock Therapeutics and consolidates Bayer’s ambition to create platforms with the potential to have an impact in multiple therapeutic areas. Under the terms of the agreement, Bayer will pay an upfront consideration of USD 2 billion and ...

Nov. 2, 2020

Tesla will spend up to $12B on EV and battery production in coming years

We know Tesla has big plans for electric car production and battery projects in the coming years, but the price tag to go along with them could top $12 billion. According to Tesla's 10-Q filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, the automaker plans to spend anywhere between $4.5 billion and $6 billion in the next two fiscal years. Yes, those figures come with a big "B" on them. No one said building production plants was cheap, and Tesla has two of them under construction — one in Berlin, Germany and another in Austin, Texas.

The massive sums of money will not only go toward facility production, but eventual vehicle production as well. Tesla explicitly notes the capital expenditures will be a tad fluid as various projects' priorities come into play. It also accounts for "adjustments" to existing products. At the same time, the company is still working to ramp ...

Oct. 28, 2020