HSBC weighs on banks as European stocks advance

HSBC was expected to release the bank's annual results later in the day on February 20. (AFP)
Updated 20 February 2018
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HSBC weighs on banks as European stocks advance

LONDON: European shares rose on Tuesday thanks to a slew of well-received results, though banks were a weak spot after HSBC reported weaker than expected earnings and said it needed as much as $7 billion of fresh capital.
The pan-regional STOXX 600 benchmark ended the session with a gain of 0.6 percent, while the banking index declined 0.1 percent.
A weaker euro also helped euro zone stocks make headway after a lacklustre start to the week.
HSBC dropped 3 percent after its trading update, the last under outgoing CEO Stuart Gulliver, who has pushed through a painful restructuring of Europe’s biggest bank by market value.
Credit Suisse analysts said HSBC’s pledge to undertake share buybacks “as and when appropriate” could mark a change in capital-return strategy by the new management.
Elsewhere, some positive earnings buoyed sentiment.
Edenred was among top performers, rising 6.5 percent after the French provider of prepaid meal vouchers and cards reported record 2017 earnings, increased its dividend and expressed confidence for 2018.
Danish software developer Simcorp led the STOXX index with a 12.2 percent rise after its full-year results.
Energy stocks supported indices, with BP, Total , Royal Dutch Shell and ENI up between 0.2 percent and 1.6 percent.
Among regional indexes, London’s FTSE 100 was flat, with the world’s biggest miner, BHP, joining HSBC among fallers as it dropped by 4.6 percent after missing results forecasts.
InterContinental Hotels fell 2.7 percent after putting shareholder payouts on ice as it pursues a new strategy to accelerate growth.
Swiss financial software company Temenos was 6 percent lower after news that it was in talks to buy British rival Fidessa Group for about 1.4 billion pounds.
Germany’s HeidelbergCement gained 0.3 percent after raising its target for savings resulting from the takeover of Italcementi for the third time in less than a year.


Egypt inks deal with Cyprus for power link to Europe

Updated 23 May 2019
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Egypt inks deal with Cyprus for power link to Europe

  • It is estimated the project will take 36 months to implement from the start of construction, with the lowest point 3,000 meters below sea-level
  • Phase 1 will see the interconnector carry a capacity of 1,000 MW which can be upgraded to 2,000 MW at a later stage

NICOSIA: Egypt has signed a deal with a Cypriot firm to lay a 310-kilometer (195-mile) cable under the Mediterranean to export electricity to Europe, the company said on Thursday.
Nicosia-based EuroAfrica described the deal, worth an estimated two billion euros, as a “landmark.”
“Cyprus now becomes a major hub for the transmission of electricity from Africa to Europe,” said company chairman Ioannis Kasoulides.
It is estimated the project will take 36 months to implement from the start of construction, with the lowest point 3,000 meters below sea-level.
Phase 1 will see the interconnector carry a capacity of 1,000 MW which can be upgraded to 2,000 MW at a later stage.
“The national electricity grid of Egypt will be linked to the European electricity system through Cyprus and will contribute to energy security,” Kasoulides said.
Following the crises in Crimea and eastern Ukraine, the EU has been keen to develop alternative sources of energy to reduce its dependence on imports from Russia.
In the past year, gas has started flowing from four major new fields off Egypt’s Mediterranean coast, and output is already sufficient to meet domestic needs.
The Arab world’s most populous country is now seeking to develop the infrastructure to export its newfound energy wealth, both as liquefied natural gas and as electricity.
Egypt is also seeking to import gas from fields off Cyprus and Israel to boost the profitability of the new liquefaction and export facilities it is developing on its Mediterranean coast.
In September, Egypt signed a deal with Cyprus to build an undersea pipeline to pump Cypriot offshore gas to Egypt for processing for export to Europe.
The plans have led to closer eastern Mediterranean ties, with Cyprus, Egypt, Greece and Israel holding regular high-level meetings.