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Austria’s OMV mulls split into energy and chemicals businesses – report

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October 30, 2021

VIENNA (Reuters) – Austria’s OMV is drawing up plans to split into separate energy and chemicals businesses, Kurier newspaper reported on Saturday, adding that the company’s board had not yet reached a decision on the proposal.

A company spokesperson declined to comment on the report, which cited no sources for the information, and said OMV was working on a new corporate strategy that would be presented in the first quarter of 2022.

Kurier said a task force had been working for four weeks on the project, which still needed to be coordinated with shareholders Mubadala of Abu Dhabi and Austria’s state holding company OeBAG.

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OMV on Friday reported better-than-expected third-quarter results thanks in part to its chemicals and materials division, centred on its 75% stake in Borealis, whose former boss Alfred Stern is now group chief executive.

Stern has said the new strategy will focus on sustainability.

Under the plan reported by Kurier, Borealis, together with three refineries and petrol stations, would remain central to new OMV as “OMV Chemicals”.

The group’s energy exploration and production operations, as well as renewable energies projects, would be spun off into a separate company that would be delisted. OMV would sell a majority stake, probably to private equity companies, the report said.

According to the newspaper, OMV could raise 6 billion to 8 billion euros ($9.25 billion) in fresh capital for the energy business to invest in petrochemicals.

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Johann Pleininger, veteran head of OMV Exploration & Production, could run the energy company, it added.

OMV may buy the remaining 25% of Borealis from Mubadala for an estimated 3 billion-4 billion euros, the paper added.

Both companies in five to six years could be as big as OMV is today. Jobs would be preserved and both head offices would remain in Vienna, Kurier said.

($1 = 0.8650 euros)

(Reporting by Alexandra Schwarz-Goerlich and Michael Shields; Editing by Helen Popper)

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Canada’s Shopify records Black Friday sales up 21%

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November 27, 2021

(Reuters) – Canadian e-commerce company Shopify Inc recorded worldwide sales of nearly $2.9 billion on Black Friday, an increase of about 21% in comparison to last year, the company said Saturday.

New York, London and Los Angeles were among the top-selling cities, the company said, while apparel and accessories was the top-selling product category.

Shopify also said it funded 23,000+ tonnes of carbon removal to counteract emissions from the delivery of every order placed on its platform on Black Friday.

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(Reporting by Aakriti Bhalla in Bengaluru; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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Xiaomi to open car plant in Beijing with annual output of 300,000 vehicles – Beijing govt

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November 27, 2021

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Chinese smartphone giant Xiaomi Corp will build a plant that can produce 300,000 vehicles annually in Beijing for its electric vehicle unit, authorities in the capital said on Saturday.

The plant will be constructed in two phases and Xiaomi will also built its auto unit’s headquarters, sales and research offices in the Beijing Economic and Technological Development Zone, the government-backed economic development agency Beijing E-Town said on its official WeChat account.

Beijing E-Town said it anticipated the plant reaching mass production in 2024, a goal announced by Xiaomi’s Chief Executive Lei Jun in October.

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In March, Xiaomi said it would commit to investing $10 billion in a new electric car division over 10 years. The company completed the business registration of its EV unit in late August.

The company has been opening thousands of stores to spur domestic sales growth for its smartphone business but eventually intends to use these shops as a channel for its plans to sell electric vehicles.

(Reporting by Brenda Goh; Editing by William Mallard)

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Eni sells Snam 49.9% stake in Algeria gas pipelines for 385 million euros

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November 27, 2021

MILAN (Reuters) -Italian energy group Eni has agreed to sell gas group Snam 49.9% of its stake in strategic pipelines carrying Algerian gas into Italy for 385 million euros ($436 million), the two companies said on Saturday.

The pipelines will be jointly controlled by the two companies, they said in a joint statement.

Italy imports more than 90% of its overall gas needs and Algerian gas currently accounts for around 30% of flows.

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“This transaction allows us to free up new resources to be used on our energy transition path,” Eni Chief Executive Claudio Descalzi said.

Eni is working on spinning off a series of oil and gas operations into new joint ventures to help reduce debt and fund its shift to low-carbon energy.

Snam, which owns a 20% stake in the TAP pipeline that carries Azeri gas into Italy, makes most of its money from managing Italy’s gas transport grid.

It has pledged to spend more on new green business lines such as hydrogen and, like other gas grid operators in Europe, is upgrading its gas network to be hydrogen ready.

“In the future, North Africa could also become a hub for producing solar energy and green hydrogen,” Snam CEO Marco Alvera said.

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The pipeline companies involved in the deal posted net income of around 90 million euros in 2020.

($1 = 0.8836 euros)

(Reporting by Stephen Jewkes, editing by Giselda Vagnoni)

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