Would you ride a levitating elevator? Thyssenkrupp hopes so

Andreas Schierenbeck, CEO of ThyssenKrupp Elevators observes the viewing platform of Thyssenkrupp's elevator test tower in Rottweil, Germany. (Reuters)
Updated 07 October 2017

Would you ride a levitating elevator? Thyssenkrupp hopes so

ROTTWEIL, Germany: Thyssenkrupp is attracting strong demand for its next-generation elevators, which operate without steel cables or ropes, it said on Friday.
Based on magnetic-levitation technology developed for high-speed trains, the MULTI elevator moves from shaft to shaft with multiple cars in each, offering the potential to revolutionise the way people move within high-rise buildings.
The German group is banking on MULTI as well as internet-connected elevators as it strives to become a technology conglomerate and shift away from its core steelmaking business, which it plans to merge with Tata Steel.
“Demand is gigantic,” Andreas Schierenbeck, chief executive of Thyssenkrupp Elevator, told Reuters.
The company plans a gradual introduction of the MULTI, he said, aiming for two or three more initial customers to follow the first order announced for a high-rise building in Berlin.
“Demand is currently much higher than what we have in mind,” Schierenbeck said in Rottweil, where Thyssenkrupp operates its MULTI test tower, adding that a much broader customer base would be targeted once the product is established on the market.
Thyssenkrupp Elevator lifted adjusted earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) by 8 percent to €860 million ($1 billion) in the financial year to Sept. 30 last year, accounting for 59 percent of the group total.
Competing with Otis, Mitsubishi Electric, Kone and Schindler, the elevators business is Thyssenkrupp's most profitable division with an adjusted EBIT margin of 11.5 percent.
Schierenbeck said the margin would grow to 12-12.2 percent for the year to Sept. 30, 2017, for which Thyssenkrupp will report results on Nov. 23. He also said it had targeted adjusted EBIT of €1 billion before 2020 and a margin of 15 percent at a later stage.
Demand in the US was good and stable, Schierenbeck said, adding that China was difficult because of “enormous” pricing pressure amid fierce competition in a shrinking market.
“We're also a little worried about Spain due to the current political situation,” Schierenbeck said, referring to the crisis sparked by Catalonia's independence referendum, which was ruled illegal by Spain's constitutional court.
Thyssenkrupp Elevator makes 30 percent of its revenue in Europe, its second-biggest sales contributor behind the Americas, but does not provide a more detailed breakdown.
— Reuters

Oil price soars to highest level in years

Updated 19 April 2018

Oil price soars to highest level in years

  • Syria tension sends price surging
  • Oil reaches highest in three and a half years

Oil surged Thursday close to three and a half-year peaks on simmering Mideast tensions and keen US demand.

World oil prices extended Wednesday’s gains on the back of data showing a drop in US stockpiles — indicating improved demand — and expectations that a Russia-OPEC output cap deal will be kept in place.

Tensions in the oil-rich Middle East also kept prices elevated.

“Saudi Arabia still calls the shots on global oil markets, and it is increasingly obvious the Saudis are comfortable with oil at $80 or more,” said Interactive Investor analyst Lee Wild.

“Add a drop in weekly US oil reserves to the mix and the only way for crude prices is up.”

In early morning deals, oil surged to summits last seen in November 2014 before paring gains.

London Brent struck $74.44 per barrel and New York crude touched $69.27.

European equity markets meanwhile diverged amid lingering fears over Syria and a possible China-US trade war, but London rose 0.2 percent despite news of sliding March retail sales.

The British capital’s benchmark FTSE 100 index was given a shot in the arm from media reports that Japan’s Takeda Pharmaceuticals was mulling a takeover tilt at Shire.

Shire, which is based in Ireland and listed on the London stock market, saw its share price rocket 6.19 percent to 3,986.5 pence.

Both companies have yet to comment on the latest takeover speculation, but Takeda had stated in March that it was considering the purchase of Shire.

Asian markets enjoyed another day of gains Thursday as the region’s energy firms also tracked a surge in oil prices.

Fresh hopes that Donald Trump and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un will hold a historic summit within months also provided some much-needed optimism.

The positive trading environment is a far cry from the unease felt at the start of the week after US-led strikes on Syrian targets — in response to an alleged chemical attack — sparked worries of a confrontation with Russia, which is an ally of the Damascus regime.

However, reports have suggested Russian President Vladimir Putin is looking to ease tensions as he faces fresh sanctions.

China’s announcement of a timetable to remove restrictions on foreign ownership in its car market, the world’s biggest, also lifted optimism that a simmering trade war with the US can be avoided.

Tough rules on doing business in the country’s auto sector had been a major source of anger for Trump, who has already threatened tariffs on billions of dollars of Chinese imports in recent weeks as part of his “America First” protectionist agenda.

However, in its quarterly report on the US economy, the Federal Reserve warned there were concerns about the trade tensions among businesses and farmers, who had seen prices rise already.

The central bank’s Beige Book report said the world’s top economy continued to see moderate growth and it expected to lift interest rates twice more this year, having already hiked them in March.

Meanwhile, the British pound struggled to bounce back against the dollar after diving from post-Brexit vote highs on data Wednesday showing a surprise drop in British inflation.