Saudi transport plans in focus as Talgo says train deal scrapped

Updated 15 July 2015
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Saudi transport plans in focus as Talgo says train deal scrapped

MADRID: Talgo said on Wednesday Saudi Arabia had cancelled a contract for six high-speed trains, suggesting the Gulf state is scaling back some infrastructure projects in a climate of low oil prices.
The Spanish trainmaker won the $201 million contract in February, following on from a feasibility study into building a high-speed rail line between Riyadh and Dammam, capital of the country's oil-rich Eastern Province.
Talgo, whose share price tumbled 12 percent after its statement, gave no explanation for the cancellation, and Saudi officials responsible for the project could not be reached for comment.
The world's top oil exporter is spending tens of billions of dollars on upgrading its transport infrastructure as part of efforts to diversify the economy.
In September, Spanish transport consultancy Consultrans said it had won a contract for a 10-month feasibility study into the rail project. The high-speed link would cut the rail travel time between Riyadh and Dammam to under three hours from 4-1/2 hours. In May, the government in Riyadh awarded a $2.1 billion contract to operate a new bus system in the capital.
Talgo said the canceled contract would not materially affect its financial projections for 2015 and 2016.


Apple’s Cook to China: keep opening for sake of global economy

Updated 23 March 2019
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Apple’s Cook to China: keep opening for sake of global economy

  • Cook’s comments come as Apple weathers sinking sales in China
  • Despite official pledges and repeated assurances that China would continue to open its markets

BEIJING: Apple chief executive Tim Cook nudged China on Saturday to open up and said the future would depend on global collaboration, as the United States and China remained locked in a bitter trade dispute.
“We encourage China to continue to open up, we see that as essential, not only for China to reach its full potential, but for the global economy to thrive,” Cook said at a China Development Forum in Beijing.
Despite official pledges and repeated assurances that China would continue to open its markets, some analysts worry that its reform project has slowed or even stalled under President Xi Jinping, who has sought greater control over the economy and a bigger role for state-owned firms at the expense of the private sector.
Cook’s comments come as Apple weathers sinking sales in China because of a contracting smartphone market, increasing pressure from Chinese rivals, and slowing upgrade cycles. The company reported a revenue drop of 26 percent in the greater China region during the quarter ending in December.
Before those results came out, in a January letter to investors, Cook blamed the company’s poor China performance on trade tension between the United States and China, suggesting that pressure on the economy was hurting sales in China.