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.


Moody’s downgrades Nissan’s credit rating, citing weak sales in US

Updated 13 min 4 sec ago
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Moody’s downgrades Nissan’s credit rating, citing weak sales in US

  • Nissan reported a 45 percent plunge in annual operating profit in the year ending March
  • Moody’s cut its rating of Nissan’s credit to ‘A3’ from ‘A2’

TOKYO: Moody’s cut its rating on Nissan by one notch on Friday, citing weak sales in the United States and casting a shadow on the Japanese automaker’s move to improve its business following a decline in its annual profit.
Nissan — hit by former Chairman Carlos Ghosn’s arrest last year and troubles at its North American business — reported a 45 percent plunge in annual operating profit in the year ending March, and forecast a 28 percent drop in profit this fiscal year.
Moody’s cut its rating of Nissan’s credit to “A3” from “A2,” adding that the outlook was negative.
“The downgrade reflects the continuing slide in Nissan’s profitability, driven by weak sales in the US, its largest market,” Moody’s Vice President Motoki Yanase said in a statement.
While Nissan’s new strategy focuses on margin over unit sales growth and refreshing old models to improve its brand value, the ratings agency expects the overhaul will take “several years.”
“The negative outlook on Nissan reflects execution risk as Nissan implements its business strategies globally, reforms its corporate governance and stabilizes its alliance with Renault,” it said.
France’s Renault is the top shareholder in Nissan.