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UK’s Heathrow Airport flags tepid travel recovery until 2026

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October 26, 2021

(Reuters) -Britain’s Heathrow Airport Ltd said on Tuesday it was still reporting losses and does not expect air traffic to recover completely until at least 2026 even as the travel industry gathered steam in the third quarter on easing restrictions.

The London airport said passenger numbers in the third quarter recovered to 28% and cargo to 90% of pre-pandemic levels, although it has lost 3.4 billion pounds ($4.68 billion) cumulatively since the start of the pandemic.

Heathrow, which last year lost its crown as Europe’s busiest hub to Paris, has suffered heavy losses during the pandemic and has since tried to claw back gains by raising its charges to airlines.

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Last week, the UK aviation regulator said Heathrow will not be permitted to raise passenger charges by as much as it had wanted, but airlines opposed the scale of the hike as the hub and carriers battle to recoup pandemic losses.

“The CAA’s (Civil Aviation Authority’s) Initial Proposals do not go far enough to ensure that investors can achieve a fair return,” Heathrow said in a statement on Tuesday.

The airport, which is owned by Spain’s Ferrovial, the Qatar Investment Authority and China Investment Corp among others, said its shareholders have achieved negative returns in real-term over the last 15 years.

Heathrow, Britain’s biggest airport, said it had 4.1 billion pounds of cash to be able to come through until the market recovers.

($1 = 0.7272 pounds)

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(Reporting by Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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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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