Thirteen U.S. House Democratic lawmakers on Monday urged the U.S. Postal Service's governing board to halt implementation of a contract that could be worth $6 billion to build up to 165,000 next-generation delivery vehicles.
Thirteen U.S. House Democratic lawmakers on Monday urged the U.S. Postal Service's governing board to halt implementation of a contract that could be worth $6 billion to build up to 165,000 next-generation delivery vehicles.
The US Navy has been accused of engaging in 'cognitive warfare' against China by sharing a rather unusual photograph.
Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Names Idie Si as Head of Accident & Health Insurance, Asia
(Bloomberg) -- After China imposed a record antitrust fine on Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., the e-commerce giant did an unusual thing: It thanked regulators.“Alibaba would not have achieved our growth without sound government regulation and service, and the critical oversight, tolerance and support from all of our constituencies have been crucial to our development,” the company said in an open letter. “For this, we are full of gratitude and respect.”It’s a sign of how odd China’s crackdown on the power of big tech has been compared with the rest of the world. Mark Zuckerberg and Tim Cook would likely not express such public gratitude if the U.S. government were to hit Facebook Inc. or Apple Inc. with record antitrust fines.Almost everything about China’s regulatory push is out of the ordinary. Beijing regulators wrapped up their landmark probe in just four months, compared with the years that such investigations take in the U.S. or Europe. They sent a clear message to the country’s largest corporations and their leaders that anti-competitive behavior will have consequences.For Alibaba, the $2.8 billion fine was less severe than many feared and helps lift a cloud of uncertainty hanging over founder Jack Ma’s internet empire. The 18.2 billion yuan penalty was based on just 4% of the internet giant’s 2019 domestic revenue, regulators said. While that’s triple the previous high of almost $1 billion that U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm Inc. handed over in 2015, it’s far less than the maximum 10% allowed under Chinese law. Alibaba’s shares rose 5.5% Monday morning in Hong Kong.“We’re happy to get the matter behind us,” Joseph Tsai, co-founder and vice chairman, said on an investor call on Monday. “These regulatory actions are undertaken to ensure fair competition.”The fine came with a plethora of “rectifications” that Alibaba will have to put in place -- such as curtailing the practice of forcing merchants to choose between Alibaba or a competing platform -- many of which the company had already pledged to establish. But Tsai said regulators won’t impose radical changes to its e-commerce strategy.“They’re affirming our business model,” he said. “This kind of model is good for the growth of the country’s economy and helps innovation.”He said the company is unaware of any other antitrust investigations into the company, except for a previously discussed probe into acquisitions and investments by Alibaba and other tech giants.Alibaba Chief Executive Officer Daniel Zhang on Saturday declared his company now ready to move on from its ordeal, while China’s Communist Party mouthpiece People’s Daily issued assurances that Beijing wasn’t trying to stifle the sector.The Hangzhou-based firm “has escaped possible outcomes such as a forced breakup or divestment of assets. The penalty will not shake up its business model, either,” said Jet Deng, an antitrust lawyer at the Beijing office of law firm Dentons.Beijing remains intent on reining in its internet and fintech giants, a broad campaign that’s wiped more than $250 billion off Alibaba’s valuation since October. The e-commerce giant’s speedy capitulation underscores its vulnerability to further regulatory action -- a far cry from just six years ago, when Alibaba openly contested one agency’s censure over counterfeit goods on Taobao and eventually forced the State Administration for Industry and Commerce to backtrack on its allegations.Beyond antitrust, government agencies are said to be scrutinizing other parts of Ma’s empire, including Ant Group Co.’s consumer-lending businesses and Alibaba’s extensive media holdings. And the shock of the crackdown will continue to resonate with peers from Tencent Holdings Ltd. and Baidu Inc. to Meituan, forcing them to tread far more carefully on business expansions and acquisitions for some time to come.What Bloomberg Intelligence SaysChina’s record fine on Alibaba may lift the regulatory overhang that has weighed on the company since the start of an anti-monopoly probe in late December. The 18.2 billion yuan ($2.8 billion) fine, to penalize the anti-competitive practice of merchant exclusivity, is equivalent to 4% of Alibaba’s 2019 domestic sales. Still, the company may have to be conservative with acquisitions and its broader business practices.-- Vey-Sern Ling and Tiffany Tam, analystsClick here for the full research.The investigation into Alibaba was one of the opening salvos in a campaign seemingly designed to curb the power of China’s internet leaders, which kicked off after Ma infamously rebuked “pawn shop” Chinese lenders, regulators who don’t get the internet, and the “old men” of the global banking community. Those comments set in motion an unprecedented regulatory offensive, including scuttling Ant’s $35 billion initial public offering.It remains unclear whether the watchdog or other agencies might demand further action. Regulators are said, for instance, to be concerned about Alibaba’s ability to sway public discourse and want the company to sell some of its media assets, including the South China Morning Post, Hong Kong’s leading English-language newspaper.Read more: China Presses Alibaba to Sell Media Assets, Including SCMPChina’s top financial regulators now see Tencent as the next target for increased supervision, Bloomberg News has reported. And the central bank is said to be leading discussions around establishing a joint venture with local technology giants to oversee the lucrative data they collect from hundreds of millions of consumers, which would be a significant escalation in regulators’ attempts to tighten their grip over the country’s internet sector.“The high fine puts the regulator in the media spotlight and sends a strong signal to the tech sector that such types of exclusionary conduct will no longer be tolerated,” said Angela Zhang, author of “Chinese Antitrust Exceptionalism” and director of the Centre for Chinese Law at the University of Hong Kong. “It’s a stone that kills two birds.”For now, it appears investors are just glad it wasn’t worse. In its statement, the State Administration for Market Regulation concluded Alibaba had used data and algorithms “to maintain and strengthen its own market power and obtain improper competitive advantage.” Its practice of imposing a “pick one from two” choice on merchants “shuts out and restricts competition” in the domestic online retail market, according to the statement.The firm will be required to implement “comprehensive rectifications,” including strengthening internal controls, upholding fair competition and protecting businesses on its platform and consumers’ rights, the regulator said. It will need to submit reports on self-regulation to the authority for three consecutive years.The company will have to make adjustments but can now “start over,” Zhang wrote in a memo to Alibaba’s employees Saturday.“We believe market concerns over the anti-monopoly investigation on BABA are addressed by SAMR’s recent decision and penalties,” Jefferies analysts wrote in a research note entitled “A New Starting Point.”Indeed, The People’s Daily said in its commentary Saturday that the punishment was intended merely to “prevent the disorderly expansion of capital.”“It doesn’t mean denying the significant role of platform economy in overall economic and social development, and doesn’t signal a shift of attitude in terms of the country’s support to the platform economy,” the newspaper said. “Regulations are for better development, and ‘reining in’ is also a kind of love.”(Updates with share rise in the fifth paragraph)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
Hideki Matsuyama looks forward to the reaction in Japan when he brings home the Masters champion green jacket and he would enjoy the idea of lighting the Tokyo Olympic cauldron.
And here are some tips for first-home buyers to get onto the property ladder.
* Graphic: World FX rates https://tmsnrt.rs/2RBWI5E By Kevin Buckland TOKYO, April 12 (Reuters) - The dollar languished near 2-1/2-week lows against major peers on Monday as a decline in Treasury yields restrained the U.S. currency. Both the greenback and bond yields are taking something of a breather after scaling multi-month peaks at the end of last month, powered by bets that an accelerating U.S. recovery from the pandemic will lift inflation faster than Federal Reserve policymakers anticipate. The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six rivals, was little changed at 92.193 early in the Asian session, following a 0.9% slump last week.
Hideki Matsuyama faced his most serious challenge on the 16th tee at Augusta National. What he did next won him the Masters.
Prince Philip had two great-grandchildren named after him that he was never able to meet. Read more.
Police want to identify a man involved in a violent carjacking in which a woman was threatened with a knife and then dragged along the road as her car was stolen.The incident in Kerrie Road, Glen Waverley in Melbourne's southeast occurred about 8.
(Bloomberg) -- Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. said that it’s unaware of any other probes by China’s antitrust regulator after the e-commerce giant was slapped with a record fine for its business practices.Apart from inquiries into mergers, acquisitions and strategic investments that span the entire internet industry, the company isn’t aware of any other investigations into its business by the State Administration for Market Regulation, executives told analysts on a conference call Monday. Going ahead, the firm will focus on providing better services for its customers and merchants while complying with regulators.“We experienced this scrutiny and we’re happy to get this matter behind us,” Vice Chairman Joseph Tsai told analysts. Large-scale internet companies are doing a lot of things to grow the economy, he added, “and we’re in the middle of this, promoting government policy.”Beijing fined Alibaba a record $2.8 billion after wrapping up a landmark probe into China’s e-commerce leader in just four months, versus the years such investigations take in the U.S. or Europe. That sent a clear message to the country’s largest corporations and their leaders that anti-competitive behavior will have consequences.Following the probe into the e-commerce platform, regulators will now be keen to look at other areas where unfair competition may exist, Tsai said. They are also focusing on data privacy and protection, something that the firm is cooperating with the government on.For Alibaba, the fine was less severe than many feared and helps lift a cloud of uncertainty hanging over founder Jack Ma’s internet empire. The 18.2 billion yuan penalty was based on just 4% of the internet giant’s 2019 domestic revenue, regulators said. While that’s triple the previous high of almost $1 billion that U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm Inc. handed over in 2015, it’s far less than the maximum 10% allowed under Chinese law.The fine came with a plethora of “rectifications” that Alibaba will have to put in place -- such as curtailing the practice of forcing merchants to choose between Alibaba or a competing platform -- many of which the company had already pledged to establish.Record Alibaba Fine Shows China’s Big Tech Can’t Fight BackAlibaba on Monday said it doesn’t rely on exclusivity to retain merchants and doesn’t expect “material negative impact” from changes to such arrangements. Only a small number of flagship stores had been under exclusive arrangements previously, but businesses today are operating on multiple platforms, Chief Executive Officer Daniel Zhang said.The impact of the fine will be reflected in the company’s earnings for the March quarter. Alibaba has also set aside billions of yuan of additional spending to support initiatives for merchants, executives said.(Updates with more details from the call starting in fifth paragraph)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
Thousands of people living and working in specialist disability care are still waiting for their first vaccine doses, eight weeks into the rollout.Disability accommodation providers and residents were supposed to be included in the first phase of the national rollout, which targets the country's most vulnerable residents.
(Bloomberg) -- Career banker Guillermo Lasso had a lead of nearly six percentage points over socialist economist Andres Arauz with most of the votes counted in Ecuador’s presidential election.Lasso had 52.8% of votes, while Arauz had to 47.2%, with 86% of ballots tallied. Lasso’s supporters honked car horns in the capital Quito, and jumped and cheered in the coastal city of Guayaquil. The atmosphere at Arauz’s campaign headquarters was subdued.The two contenders in the runoff vote on Sunday offer starkly different policies to confront the economic crisis. The result will also determine whether the country remains a U.S. ally with an IMF program, or revives its friendship with Venezuela and Cuba.Lasso, 65, says he’ll attract foreign investors and create jobs via policies that help the private sector. Arauz, 36, has pledged to pay a million poor families $1,000 each, with money taken out of the central bank’s reserves.Arauz is a protege of former President Rafael Correa, who shut the U.S. military’s base in the country and forged an alliance with then-Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez.The country of 17 million people has been struggling since oil prices crashed in 2014, and was already in recession when the pandemic hit. Last year the economy contracted 7.8%, its worst performance since at least the 1970s.Read More: Why Ecuador’s Runoff Vote Matters for the Bond Market: QuickTakeIn the first-round vote in February, Arauz came first with 32.7%, while Lasso got 19.7%. Recent polls showed Lasso having closed that gap, after receiving the endorsement of the majority of the candidates who were eliminated in the first round.Whoever wins and takes office in May will face a fragmented, potentially hostile legislature and voters who are hostile to austerity measures.Ecuador’s recently restructured dollar bonds have rallied in recent weeks, as investors bet that Lasso’s chances of victory were improving. Arauz’s campaign pledge to tap the central bank’s reserves to distribute $1 billion to needy families, would probably set him on a collision course with the International Monetary Fund, since central bank reform is a key part of the nation’s deal with the lender.(Updates with partial vote count from first paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
A woman seen in a viral video giving the finger to cancer patient, Heather Sprague, and then coughing in her face at a Jacksonville store has been sentenced to 29 days in jail for assault. Source: Facebook/Heather Reed Sprague
Schools and sports groups are encouraged to use more inclusive language to support young LGBTQIA+ people.
(Bloomberg) -- Two South Korean electric-vehicle battery makers reached a last-minute settlement in a bitter U.S. trade dispute, sparing President Joe Biden from choosing between undermining intellectual property rights or dealing a politically toxic blow to his climate agenda.SK Innovation Co. agreed to pay 2 trillion won ($1.8 billion) to LG Energy Solution, a unit of LG Chem Ltd., according to a statement from the two companies. The payment is divided equally in cash and royalties, they said.Shares of SK Innovation surged as much as 18% in early Seoul, and was trading while LG Chem gained as much as 4%. The deal is a “major positive” for SK Innovation, Morgan Stanley analysts said in a note to clients. “This settlement should allow SKI to reap the long-term benefit of EV proliferation in the U.S.,” Morgan Stanley analysts including Young Suk Shin said. The analysts raised their rating to overweight with a price target of 330,000 won, implying a 39% upside potential to the shares from Friday’s close. The two companies “will work to help the development of EV battery industry in South Korea and the U.S. through healthy competition and friendly cooperation,” according to the joint statement. “In particular, we will work together to strengthen the battery network and environmentally-friendly policy that the Biden administration is pursuing.”The settlement will avert a 10-year import ban of SK Innovation’s batteries into the U.S. and ends the two-year dispute between the two companies. The import ban threatened to complicate the rollout of Ford Motor Co.’s new F-150 electric pickup truck and the Volkswagen AG’s ID.4 SUV, both due to begin production next year with EV batteries assembled at an SK Innovation plant in politically important Georgia.Political ConundrumThe dispute became a political conundrum for Biden because it was said to jeopardize as many as 6,000 battery manufacturing jobs in Georgia, prompting the state’s two Democratic senators and Republican governor to urge an intervention by the president. One of those senators faces re-election next year.“This settlement agreement is a win for American workers and the American auto industry,” Biden said in a statement Sunday. U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said the deal follows “significant engagement” by the administration.SK and LG also agreed to withdraw all lawsuits lodged in South Korea and overseas, according to the statement. They also agreed not to undertake any legal action against each other for the next 10 years.The settlement removes a major headache for both South Korean and U.S. government officials, who’ve spent weeks pressing the two sides to reach an agreement. Biden was facing an April 11 deadline to decide whether to overturn the import ban or do nothing and let it take effect. His decision pivoted on two critical policy issues -- the new president’s desire to promote EVs as a way to help curb climate change, and the nation’s long-standing backing of strong intellectual property rights.The U.S. International Trade Commission, an independent agency set up to protect U.S. markets from unfair trade practices, had issued the import ban Feb. 10 based on what it called an “extraordinary” effort by SK Innovation to destroy evidence in a trade-secret case lodged by LG Energy. The ITC did carve out time to let SK Innovation import components for batteries to be assembled in Georgia for Ford and Volkswagen vehicles, but the automakers argued it was not enough.Both auto-makers expressed relief at the settlement.“We are pleased the two battery suppliers at the center of this recent trade dispute have come together and solved their differences,” Scott Keogh, president and CEO at Volkswagen Group of America, said in a statement. “Our complete focus now shifts to where it should be; the start of U.S. production of the all-electric ID.4 SUV in 2022, assembled by proud, skilled workers in Tennessee.”Ford, in a statement, said it could focus now on delivering a range of electric vehicles “for our retail and fleet customers, while also supporting American workers, the economy and our shared goal of protecting the planet.”Tai, who has been in her position less than a month and whose office is designated to take the lead in these cases, held meetings with the parties as the deadline loomed. Georgia officials, including the two recently-elected Democratic Senators critical to Biden’s agenda, also met with senior company executives and administration officials.The case prompted an extraordinary effort to lobby the Biden administration, with near-daily meetings over recent weeks involving officials from a dozen government agencies and officials from both companies and the automakers. LG and SK spent more than $1 million last year on lobbying efforts, according to data collected by the Center for Responsive Politics.Senator Jon Ossoff “was stressing the urgent need for both companies to come to the negotiating table and agree to a settlement to save the Georgia plant,” said Miryam Lipper, a spokeswoman for the Democratic senator. His fellow Democrat, Senator Raphael Warnock, who’s up for re-election in 2022, also had called for a resolution, describing the looming import ban as a “severe punch in the gut” to Georgia’s workers.Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, a Republican, had called on Biden to veto the import ban while accusing the president of responsibility for Major League Baseball’s decision to move its All-Star game because of the state’s new voting law and costing the state jobs.He called the settlement “fantastic news for northeast Georgia” and the state’s growing EV industry, while the state’s economic development agency declared itself “ecstatic” at the “positive outcome for all parties.”Climate ChangeSK Innovation argued the order would undermine Biden’s push for more American-made EVs as part an effort to combat climate change.The commission said it had already taken the president’s policies into account when fashioning a carve-out that allowed SK Innovation to bring in components needed for Ford’s EV F-150 pickup for four years, and for Volkswagen’s American ID.4 SUV line for two years. Neither carmaker was appeased.LG Energy, which makes batteries for General Motors Co. in Michigan, said such a decision would weaken policies to protect trade secrets -- a long-standing issue in U.S. talks with China -- and that the carve-outs ensures Ford and Volkswagen had time to adjust.LG Energy accused SK Innovation of stealing billions of dollars’ worth of crucial information on how to make batteries, enabling it to win the contracts from Ford and Volkswagen. SK Innovation denied receiving or using any confidential information from the LG Energy employees it hired.SK Innovation is nearing completion of one facility in Commerce, Georgia, and is already making battery samples, while a second facility is about 20% complete and projected to be done next year. A second phase is planned that would bring SK Innovation’s total investment to about $5 billion and create 6,000 jobs, the company has said.“Georgia’s incredible economic development success continues to gain momentum, and we remain 100% committed to developing the entire electric vehicle supply chain right here in our state,” said Pat Wilson, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development.Non-Captive PlantIn addition to making the batteries for Ford and Volkswagen, the SK Innovation facility would be the nation’s largest so-called non-captive plant, meaning it would be able to adapt for other manufacturers, the company has said.LG, which is building an additional plant with GM in Ohio in addition to its facility in Holland, Michigan, has announced plans to invest $4.5 billion in the U.S. by 2025 and hire 10,000 workers to expand battery capacity.Creating more U.S.-based manufacturing is critical because the automakers want components close to their assembly plants, especially since a shortage of computer chips has highlighted vulnerabilities for global supply chains. The supply of batteries for a coming wave of electric models is also extremely tight.Biden has committed to creating more American-made manufacturing, particularly to compete with China. The Asian nation makes 73% of the world’s lithium-ion batteries compared with 12% by the U.S., which ranks No. 2, Jonathan Jennings, Ford’s global commodity pricing vice president, told the Senate Finance Committee on March 16.The case is In the Matter of Certain Lithium Ion Batteries, Battery Cells, Battery Modules, Battery Packs, Components Thereof and Processes Therefor, 337-1159, U.S. International Trade.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Peru is heading to a presidential runoff in June after exit polls on Sunday showed a fragmented and politically divided nation with no candidate getting anywhere close to the threshold needed to win in the first round.As voting stations closed, Pedro Castillo, a rural community organizer and teacher who says he wants to boost the national education budget, was leading with 16.1% of the votes, according to a closely-watched exit poll by Ipsos. Former central bank director Hernando de Soto and ex-legislator Keiko Fujimori were tied at 11.9% each, followed by former congressman Yonhy Lescano with 11%.The poll also showed Rafael Lopez Aliaga, a socially conservative businessman, and Veronika Mendoza, a French-educated former congresswoman who wants the rich to pay a wealth tax, with 10.5% and 8.8% of the vote respectively. The exit poll had a 3% margin of error.With 18 candidates in the race, the final positions could change in the coming hours when official results are released.The country’s electoral authority, ONPE, said it will release preliminary data around midnight, but warned that those results won’t necessarily be representative of the final tally. The top two candidates will meet in a June runoff and the winner will take office on July 28.The fact that Castillo was in sixth place in two major polls a week ago highlights the volatility that has dominated Peruvian politics. The country has had three presidents since November. And every elected head of state but one since 1985 has either been impeached, imprisoned or sought in criminal investigations.Why Uncertainty Tops Ballot in April 11 Peru Election: QuickTakeThe election is also taking place amid a surge in Covid-19 infections and in the aftermath of the worst economic slump since the 1980s.Peruvians also voted Sunday for the 130 members of the unicameral congress. With 20 different parties fielding candidates, the new president will have a challenge in forming a governing coalition.“The candidates that have had a less-confrontational stance are the ones that might create a path toward stability,” said Jose Carlos Requena, a political analyst and columnist in Lima. “Whoever takes office will need to create a coalition so they can actually accomplish something.”RudderlessThe nation of 32 million people has been in political disarray since November when congress ousted Martin Vizcarra despite his high approval ratings at the time.Read More: Impeached, Jailed, Wanted: President Is a Dangerous Job in Peru“The bizarre spectacle of a president who was quite popular being forced out in what amounted to a rebellion in congress - for Wall Street and the international community it raises the question: Can anyone successfully govern Peru?” said Brian Winter, the editor-in-chief of Americas Quarterly, before the vote.(Recasts to include exit poll.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Hideki Matsuyama won the Masters Tournament by one shot on Sunday, becoming the first Japanese to claim one of the four majors in men’s golf.The 29-year-old from the island of Shikoku -- a five-time champion on the PGA Tour -- entered the final day with a four-stroke lead and, but for a couple of slight wobbles including finding water at the 15th, was rarely put under significant pressure on the lush fairways and manicured greens at Augusta National in Georgia.He shot a 1-over-par round of 73, ending the tournament at 10-under, ahead of Will Zalatoris in second place. Xander Schauffele and Jordan Spieth were two shots further back and tied for third. Dustin Johnson, last year’s champion, didn’t survive the two-round cut.Matsuyama surged to the head of the pack on Saturday after he returned to the course following a 75-minute rain delay. He blitzed the final eight holes in 6-under par, vaulting him into a lead that he never relinquished. He’ll now be eligible to play in every future Masters.A decade after making his tournament debut as the Asia-Pacific Amateur winner, Matsuyama is set to return to his native Japan as a national hero.Shares of companies involved in the golf industry surged in Tokyo. Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd., which makes the Srixon clubs used by Matsuyama, gained as much as 4.4%, while clothing supplier Descente Ltd. climbed 5.1%. Media firm Value Golf Inc. climbed as much as 19%, while retailer Golf Do Co. jumped 17% and Graphite Design Inc., a maker of plastic shafts used in golf clubs, rallied 18%.“It was really wonderful ... as the coronavirus pandemic drags on, he has moved the Japanese people and given us courage,” Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said on Monday. “Matsuyama is still young and I have great expectations for his future.”(Adds share moves in sixth paragraph and Prime Minister Suga’s remarks in last paragraph)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
Hoping to capitalise on a surge in demand for home deliveries, a Singapore technology company has deployed a pair of robots to bring residents their groceries in one part of the city state. Developed by OTSAW Digital and both named "Camello", the robots' services have been offered to 700 households in a one-year trial. They use ultraviolet light to disinfect themselves after every trip, said OTSAW Digital's chief executive, Ling Ting Ming.
In a rare admission of the weakness of Chinese coronavirus vaccines, the country's top disease control official says their effectiveness is low and the government is considering mixing them to get a boost.Chinese vaccines "don't have very high protection rates," said the director of the China Centers for Disease Control, Gao Fu, at a conference on Saturday in the southwestern city of Chengdu.
(Bloomberg) -- An Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund may join a group investing in Saudi Aramco’s oil pipelines, in a deal set to be backed by a loan of around $10.5 billion.Mubadala Investment Co., a fund with $232 billion of assets, is in talks with U.S. investor EIG Global Energy Partners LLC, the lead member of the consortium, according to a Mubadala spokesperson.Aramco has helped put together the loan, which the group will use to fund the transaction, according to other people familiar with the matter. BNP Paribas SA, Citigroup Inc., HSBC Holdings Plc and Mizuho Financial Group Inc are among the lenders, said the people. All four banks declined to comment.Washington-based EIG and Aramco, the world’s largest oil company, announced the $12.4 billion deal late Friday. The investors will buy 49% of Aramco Oil Pipelines Co., a recently-formed entity with rights to 25 years of tariff payments for crude shipped through the Saudi Arabian firm’s network. Aramco will own the rest of the shares and retain full ownership of the pipelines themselves.The transaction is part of Saudi Arabia’s drive to open up more to foreign investment and use the money to diversify its economy, which was hammered last year by coronavirus lockdowns and the fall in oil prices.The disposal may also help Aramco reduce its debt and maintain its dividend, the biggest of any listed firm globally. The company -- 98% owned by the Saudi government -- paid out $75 billion to shareholders for 2020.The deal is structured similarly to one last year involving Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. In June, Adnoc raised $10.1 billion by selling leasing rights over its natural-gas pipelines to a group including Global Infrastructure Partners and Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, GIC Pte.East-West PipelineHSBC advised EIG on the Aramco acquisition, one of the largest this year in the energy sector. Apollo Global Management Inc., Brookfield Asset Management Inc. and BlackRock Inc. were among the other investors that made or considered bids.Mubadala is the second-biggest wealth fund in the United Arab Emirates, of which Abu Dhabi is the capital.The transaction covers all of Aramco’s existing and future pipelines in the kingdom, according to EIG. The company’s vast network includes the East-West Pipeline, which can carry more than 5 million barrels of crude a day from Saudi Arabia’s main fields in the east to Yanbu on the Red Sea.EIG described it as a “lease and lease-back agreement.” Aramco will lease usage rights for its pipelines to the new subsidiary, which will then give Aramco the exclusive right to use the network for the 25-year period in exchange for a quarterly, volume-based tariff. Aramco will retain all operating and capital expense risk, EIG said.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.