Microsoft's $69bn Activision deal under investigation by UK regulator

Microsoft's $69bn Activision deal under investigation by UK regulator
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Updated 06 July 2022

Microsoft's $69bn Activision deal under investigation by UK regulator

Microsoft's $69bn Activision deal under investigation by UK regulator

RIYADH: Microsoft Corp.’s $68.7-billion planned purchase of American video game company Activision Blizzard Inc is under investigation by the UK's antitrust watchdog, Bloomberg reported.

The Competition and Markets Authority will decide by Sept. 1 whether the agreement between the US tech giant and the maker of the Call of Duty game series limits competition and increases prices.

The regulators will take notice of Microsoft's ownership of Activision to understand if the deal could limit rivals' access to the company's biggest games.

The US Federal Trade Commission is also reviewing the deal, chair Lina Khan told lawmakers in June.


MG sells over 120,000 cars since its debut in Mideast

MG sells over 120,000 cars since its debut in Mideast
Updated 20 sec ago

MG sells over 120,000 cars since its debut in Mideast

MG sells over 120,000 cars since its debut in Mideast

RIYADH: British automotive company MG has sold over 120,000 cars in the Middle East alone since its debut in the region in 2014, according to a press release.

The company claimed that it is currently ranked sixth in the list of manufacturers in the region.

Meanwhile, MG also exported its one-millionth vehicle since it started overseas sales following its acquisition by SAIC Motor in 2007.

Tom Lee, managing director of MG, said: “This latest milestone illustrates the commitment MG has to its customers, both globally and regionally, ranging from the support provided by our Advanced Design Studio in London, our extended support team in headquarters to that delivered by our dedicated partners across the Middle East.”

It further noted that MG is ranked among the top 10 brands in 18 countries including Saudi Arabia, New Zealand and Australia. 


Oil demand rises as gas prices surge: IEA

Oil demand rises as gas prices surge: IEA
Updated 6 min 51 sec ago

Oil demand rises as gas prices surge: IEA

Oil demand rises as gas prices surge: IEA

PARIS: Global oil demand will rise more than previously forecast this year as heatwaves and soaring gas prices are prompting countries to switch fuels for power generation, the International Energy Agency said Thursday, according to AFP.

Oil prices have dropped by $30 per barrel from a peak in June due to growing supplies and “escalating concerns over the deteriorating economic outlook,” the Paris-based agency said in a monthly report.

Meanwhile, prices of natural gas and electricity have jumped to new records, prompting some countries to switch to oil use, the IEA said.

“With several regions experiencing blazing heatwaves, the latest data confirm increased oil burn in power generation, especially in Europe and the Middle East but also across Asia,” the agency said.

“Fuel switching is also taking place in European industry, including refining,” said the IEA, which advises developed countries on energy policy.

Consequently, the IEA raised its demand forecast by 380,000 barrels per day.

Demand is now seen rising by 2.1 million bpd to a total of 99.7 million bpd in 2022. It will reach 101.8 million bpd in 2023, exceeding pre-Covid levels.

The IEA said European oil deliveries are being boosted by “exceptional demand” for heat and power generation and in industry.

The report comes as a EU plan to cut gas consumption across the 27-nation bloc by 15 percent came into effect on Tuesday.

The effort is aimed at coping with the energy price crisis spurred by Russia’s war in Ukraine.

EU countries also fear Russia may cut gas supplies during winter in retaliation to Western sanctions over the war.

The IEA said the heatwaves and “the beginning of what may be a major rise in gas-to-oil switching under new EU guidelines in response to uncertainty surrounding gas supply from Russia are augmenting fuel oil and gasoil use.”


NEOM's subsidiary plans district cooling plant in OXAGON

NEOM's subsidiary plans district cooling plant in OXAGON
Updated 27 min 59 sec ago

NEOM's subsidiary plans district cooling plant in OXAGON

NEOM's subsidiary plans district cooling plant in OXAGON

RIYADH: ENOWA, NEOM’s subsidiary energy, water and hydrogen, plans to build a district cooling plant at OXAGON.

It is set to issue a request for proposals for the contract by November, reported MEED.
The planned cooling plant will have a capacity of 25,000 refrigeration tons. 

It will be connected to the district cooling network, which will be built separately, according to MEED. 

Earlier in June, ENOWA announced a partnership with Japan-headquartered Itochu and France’s Veolia to develop a desalination plant powered by renewable energy in OXAGON.

The new plant has a design capacity of 500,000 cubic meters and is expected to produce water as early as 2024.

The project is scheduled to become commercially operational in 2025 and is expected to meet around 30 percent of the total projected water demand in NEOM once completed.

In addition to using 100 percent renewable energy, the proposed plant will use membrane technology to produce separate brine streams.


Saudi PIF supported Lucid during times of supply crunch, says top official 

Saudi PIF supported Lucid during times of supply crunch, says top official 
Updated 34 min 26 sec ago

Saudi PIF supported Lucid during times of supply crunch, says top official 

Saudi PIF supported Lucid during times of supply crunch, says top official 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund has been supportive of Lucid Group Inc. during times when the firm faced a supply crunch which led to two production target cuts, said a top official. 

Earlier this month, Lucid cut its production targets to 6,000 to 7,000 cars from an original target of 20,000 cars due to supply chain issues. 

Faisal Sultan, managing director of global operations at Lucid, said that PIF — which owns over 60 percent share in the electric car manufacturing firm — understands the challenges around supply chain issues and costs. 

“The PIF have been very supportive. When the world re-emerges from the pandemic and the supply chain catches up, we will be ready,” Sultan told Bloomberg TV. 

Sultan, however, noted that supply chain issues will be solved soon, and conditions will improve by the end of this year. 

“We’re a new company, so definitely there will be challenges in the next three-four months, but we’re hoping things will get better by the end of this year,” he added. 

In the first quarter of 2022, Lucid sold 360 cars to Saudi Arabian customers, and in April alone, 300 cars were delivered in the Kingdom. 

Lucid has inked a deal with Saudi Arabia to deliver 100,000 cars over the next decade, as the Kingdom continues its focus to achieve a sustainable future. 

Sultan noted that Lucid has huge opportunities in the Kingdom. 

“The government is very serious and they’ve been working very hard with us to make sure the environment is ready,” added Sultan.

On May 18, Lucid signed an agreement to build a production factory in King Abdullah Economic City, the western part of the Kingdom, with an annual capacity of 150,000 zero-emission electric vehicles.


India In-Focus — Shares hit 4-month high; HDFC to issue nearly 1-year CP; India to produce ethanol from farm waste

India In-Focus — Shares hit 4-month high; HDFC to issue nearly 1-year CP; India to produce ethanol from farm waste
Updated 26 min 59 sec ago

India In-Focus — Shares hit 4-month high; HDFC to issue nearly 1-year CP; India to produce ethanol from farm waste

India In-Focus — Shares hit 4-month high; HDFC to issue nearly 1-year CP; India to produce ethanol from farm waste

RIYADH: Indian shares scaled four-month highs on Thursday, with technology and banking stocks leading the pack after softer-than-expected US inflation data eased fears of aggressive rate hikes from the Federal Reserve.

The NSE Nifty 50 index, with most of its major sub-indexes in the positive territory, climbed 0.83 percent to 17,681.05, as of 0449 GMT, and the S&P BSE Sensex was up 0.94 percent at 59,371.43.

India’s HDFC to issue nearly 1-year CP: traders

India’s Housing Development Finance Corp. Ltd. plans to raise funds through commercial papers maturing in nearly one year, three merchant bankers said on Thursday.

The housing finance company will offer a yield of 6.90 percent on this issue, and has received commitments worth around five billion rupees ($63.06 million), the bankers said.

The notes are rated A1+ by CRISIL and will mature in July 2023. The terms of the deal were set on Wednesday.

SIDBI to issue 3-year-plus bonds

Small Industries Development Bank of India plans to raise at least 15 billion rupees through issuance of bonds maturing in three years, six months and 10 days, three merchant bankers said on Thursday.

The state-run company has invited coupon and commitment bids from bankers and investors for the same on Friday, they said.

The notes are rated AAA by CARE Ratings and the issue will close for subscription on Aug. 17.

The issue has a greenshoe option to retain an additional 25 billion rupees and will mature on Feb. 27, 2026.

Oil costs spur India to produce ethanol from farm waste

India opened its first factory to produce ethanol from rice straw or stubble on Wednesday as part of measures to reduce its reliance on oil imports and meet its net zero carbon goal.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the project will help cut pollution in India’s capital New Delhi, which has been blanketed by smog from stubble burning in recent winters, as well as in the northern states of Haryana and Punjab.

India, one of the world’s biggest emitters of greenhouse gasses, has set a 2070 goal for net zero carbon emissions and has expedited steps to switch to cleaner energy to cut projected emissions by a billion tons by 2030.

Modi said India, the world’s third-biggest oil importer, could not remain insulated from disruption in global markets, adding that the Panipat project would boost farmers’ incomes.

A combination of oil prices rising well above $100 per barrel and a strong US dollar have piled pressure on countries which are dependent on crude imports to drive their economies.

Indian state-run oil firms have announced plans for 12 plants in several states to produce ethanol using farm waste.

Apart from financial savings, the new plant will also help in disposing of rice crop-waste, which is a major source of air pollution when farmers burn stubble.

The new plant will use 200,000 tons of rice straw.

India’s Adani Enterprises plans to invest $5.2 billion in alumina refinery

India’s Adani Enterprises is planning to invest $5.2 billion in an alumina refinery in the eastern Indian state of Odisha, as the country’s richest man Gautam Adani rapidly expands his business portfolio, Bloomberg reported citing a tweet by the state’s Chief Minister, Naveen Patnaik.

According to the report, the refinery will have an annual capacity of 4 million tons.

In December, Adani had set up a wholly owned subsidiary named Mundra Aluminium Ltd. indicating his aspirations in a sector dominated by heavyweights like Aditya Birla Group.

(With input from Reuters)