Company news in brief

10 September 2019 | Sakenuus
Fired Old Mutual boss stopped at work

Sacked Old Mutual chief executive Peter Moyo yesterday turned up for work but has again been prevented from resuming his duties despite a court ruling last week that dismissed the insurer's attempt to block his temporary reinstatement.

Moyo, who was fired in June in a dispute over a conflict of interest, was temporarily reinstated by the court in July but Old Mutual said he could not return to work while it appealed.

"They are again preventing Mr Moyo from taking over his duties as CEO," said Eric Mabuza, Moyo's lawyer, adding that the CEO was seeking a board resolution that said he could not resume his duties. – Nampa/Reuters

China not interested in Cathay Pacific

Air China Ltd has no plans to take over Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd, an independent director of the state-owned Chinese carrier told the South China Morning Post newspaper.

"Based on what I know, I wouldn't think that is anywhere on the agenda, no way," Air China non-executive director Stanley Hui told the newspaper when asked if the carrier, a 30% shareholder, might seek to buy Cathay outright.

The Hong Kong airline has become the biggest corporate casualty of anti-government protests after China demanded it suspend staff involved in, or who support, demonstrations that have plunged the former British colony into a political crisis.

Cathay chairman John Slosar last week announced plans to step down in November, less than three weeks after CEO Rupert Hogg left amid mounting regulatory scrutiny.

Air China is Cathay's second-largest shareholder, behind manager Swire Pacific Ltd with a 45% stake. Long-time Swire executive Patrick Healy was last week appointed as Slosar's replacement. – Nampa/Reuters

Aramco’s likely IPO favourites

Saudi Aramco is likely to give roles to Citi, Goldman Sachs, HSBC and Samba Financial Bank for its planned initial public offering (IPO), a source familiar with the transaction said on Sunday.

The four banks would likely get these roles in addition to Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan Chase & Co. who were chosen to play a leading role in the transaction before the process was halted last year, the source said.

Aramco is preparing to sell up to a 5% stake by 2020-2021, in what could be the world's biggest IPO. It is expected to appoint the advisers on its share sale in the coming days.

Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan declined to comment. Aramco, Citi, HSBC and Samba did not immediately respond to a request for comment outside of office hours.

The IPO is a centrepiece of Saudi Arabia's economic transformation drive to attract foreign investment and diversify away from oil. – Nampa/Reuters

Intu report private equity bid

Shares in struggling British shopping centre operator Intu Properties Plc jumped more than 20% yesterday after the Sunday Times reported that private equity firm Orion Capital Managers was considering a buyout of the company.

Orion Capital, founded by Aref Lahham, is in the early stages of finding partners for a buyout of Intu, which has been hit by store closures and several high-profile retail failures, the report said.

A series of company voluntary agreements have led to uncertainty over the value of the income from retail properties and many British property developers have been looking to move away from the ailing retail sector.

Intu, which owns the Trafford Centre in Manchester, has also been hit with high-profile closures and company voluntary agreements - an insolvency procedure used by retailers to restructure leases - from brands like Debenhams, Toys R Us, House of Fraser, New Look and HMV.

Intu shares, which have shed nearly two-thirds of their value this year, rose as much as 21% to 44.2 pence, but were still well away from their peak value of 947 pence in 2006. – Nampa/Reuters

Air France-KLM might rescue Aigle Azur

Shares in Air France-KLM fell 7% yesterday amid market speculation that Air France could step in to help rescue troubled airline Aigle Azur, one market trader said.

Financial daily Les Echos reported on Sunday that France's national flag carrier, Air France, had put forward the "leading offer" to rescue bankrupt Aigle Azur.

"They have expressed an interest in Aigle Azur and the government is likely to push them to get involved," one market trader told Reuters.

The slump in Air France-KLM shares also came after the release of the Franco-Dutch group's August traffic data, which showed load factor and cargo activity down during the month. – Nampa/Reuters

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