Amazon becomes most valuable publicly-traded company

Amazon has seen remarkable growth as its business has spread beyond its origins as an online bookseller. (AFP)
Updated 08 January 2019
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Amazon becomes most valuable publicly-traded company

  • The online sales goliath assumed the top spot after notching a 3.4 percent gain to finish with a market capitalization of $796.8 billion
  • Apple, long the world’s biggest company by market capitalization first lost the distinction in late November

NEW YORK: Amazon for the first time closed out Monday’s trading session as the world’s biggest publicly-traded company, overtaking Microsoft and other fellow tech behemoths.
The online sales goliath assumed the top spot after notching a 3.4 percent gain to finish with a market capitalization of $796.8 billion, about $13.2 billion more than Microsoft.
Led by Chief Executive Jeff Bezos, Amazon has seen remarkable growth as its business has spread beyond its origins as an online bookseller to myriad other retail categories.
Revenues jumped from $74.5 billion in 2013 to $177.9 billion last year and are projected to reach $232.3 billion in 2018.
Even with its latest distinction as top dog in market value, Amazon’s market capitalization stands well below its own peak in September, when it crossed $1 trillion before Wall Street’s late-2018 selloff.
Amazon’s retreat during the pullback has been less steep than that of other tech titans.
Apple, long the world’s biggest company by market capitalization first lost the distinction in late November and is currently fourth with $702 billion, behind Amazon, Microsoft and Google parent Alphabet, which has a value of $745.2 billion.
Created in a garage in a suburb of Seattle, Washington, the company, originally dubbed “Cadabra,” sold its first book — Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought by Douglas Hofstadter — in mid-1995.
By the end of that year, Amazon was selling books online throughout the US. Amazon went public in early 1997.
The company for more than a decade put growth over profit, investing heavily in warehouses, distribution networks, and data centers.
Landmark moves include the $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods Market in 2017, which brought it an extensive network of brick-and-mortar stores for the first time.
The company has also emerged as a major creator of original entertainment content, netting acting awards for Amazon original series at Sunday’s Golden Globe Awards.


Shareholders of India’s Jet Airways approve debt-for-equity swap

Updated 23 February 2019
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Shareholders of India’s Jet Airways approve debt-for-equity swap

  • The plan will mean the lenders will have a bigger holding than any other shareholder
  • Currently, Chairman Naresh Goyal owns a 51 percent stake in the company and Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways owns 24 percent

MUMBAI: India’s Jet Airways said late on Friday that its shareholders approved a plan to convert existing debt to equity, paving the way for the troubled company’s lenders to infuse funds and nominate directors to its board.
Jet’s board last week approved a plan by lenders, led by State Bank of India, for an equity infusion, debt restructuring and the sale or sale-and-lease-back of aircraft.
The plan will mean the lenders will have a bigger holding than any other shareholder.
Currently, Chairman Naresh Goyal owns a 51 percent stake in the company and Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways owns 24 percent.
Jet, which had net debt of 72.99 billion rupees ($1.03 billion) as of end-December, has debt payments looming next month, according to rating agency ICRA. It has been unable to pay pilots’ salaries and has outstanding bills to aircraft lessors.
The company, India’s biggest full-service carrier, is struggling with competition from budget rivals, high oil prices and a weaker rupee. The share price took a beating in 2018, losing nearly 70 percent of its value.
In a regulatory filing, Jet said on Friday that 98 percent of its shareholders voted to increase the share capital to 22 billion rupees ($309.8 million) from 2 billion rupees at a special meeting.
Jet, whose financial woes are set against the backdrop of wider aviation industry problems, has been in the red for four straight quarters.