Business This Week | The Economist
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At least two directors appointed by Engine No. 1, a small, environmentally conscious hedge fund, were elected by shareholders to the board of directors of ExxonMobil. It is the most significant victory to date in the push by activist investors to force the big oil companies to do more on climate change.
In a decision with ramifications for the entire oil industry, a Dutch court sided with green activists and concluded that Shell was partly responsible for climate change, ordering it to reduce its carbon emissions by 45% by 2030 from 2019 levels. Shell currently aims to reduce its emissions by 20% by 2030 and 45% by 2035 from at 2016 levels. This is to appeal the verdict.
Activist investors increased their influence at this year’s shareholder meetings across a wide range of industries. This week Aston Martin in the face of a mini revolt, when 18% of the shareholders opposed his policy of remuneration of directors and 17% opposed the re-election of Lawrence Stroll as president. Mr Stroll is credited with saving the struggling sports car maker with a capital injection in 2020.
The two largest real estate companies in Germany, Vonovia and Deutsche Wohnen, has agreed to merge, thus creating the largest residential real estate group in Europe. The deal is controversial. Rents have skyrocketed in Berlin, sparking a political backlash. The companies have given assurances that they will limit rent increases to 1% per year in Berlin for the next three years and provide apartments for young families at below market rents.
Singapore first quarter GDP the figure has been revised, revealing a much faster expansion than previously thought. The economy grew 3.1% over the previous three months; manufacturing output increased by 10.8%.
Joe Biden has confirmed that he will not impose sanctions on the company that built the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which will transport gas from Russia to Germany. Critics argue that the main goal of the project is to increase European dependence on Russian energy, but Mr Biden said the sanctions would be counterproductive, given that the pipeline is nearing completion. The move is a victory for the German government and a blow to Ukraine, which will lose revenue from transit charges for Russian gas.
Turkey The president sacked a deputy governor of the country’s central bank, the third defenestration of a senior official in two months. Recep Tayyip Erdogan has reduced central bank independence over the years in his attempt to remove interest rates, replacing the governor with a supporter in March. Since then, the lira has slipped 15%.
Uber said it would allow its drivers in Britain to join a union, the first time the ridesharing company has given official recognition to a union in any country. In February, the UK Supreme Court ruled that Uber should extend employee rights, such as minimum wages, to its drivers.
The fallout from the collapse of Greensill Capital, a finance company, has spread to Italy, where the central bank has pushed Aigis Banca, a specialized lender based in Milan, in compulsory liquidation. A basket of Aigis assets was sold to another Italian bank for € 1 ($ 1.20).
The city of Washington, DC, for follow-up Amazon, claiming that the retailer has forced third-party sellers to agree not to sell their products for lower prices elsewhere on the internet. Amazon, which is also under investigation in Europe and India, said it would fight the lawsuit. Meanwhile, Amazon has closed its purchase agreement MGM, paying $ 8.45 billion for the movie studio.
WhatsApp, a popular encrypted messaging service owned by Facebook, said it was suing the Indian government over new rules requiring it to be able to track messages sent on its platform. WhatsApp has long used privacy as a selling point; it is the most popular messaging app in India.
The first private license to operate mobile services in Ethiopia has been awarded to a consortium that includes Vodafone. The offer for a second license of MTN, a South African company, was dismissed as being too weak. The liberalization of Ethiopian telecommunications is a proxy in the technological war between America and China. The winning bid is backed by Washington with low-cost foreign aid loans; MTNThis proposal was supported in part by a Chinese public investor.
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Following an interrupted launch in December, Galactic Virgo successfully conducted a test flight of its VSS Unit spacecraft, which landed in New Mexico after reaching an altitude of 55.45 miles (89.2 km). The company hopes to put paying passengers into orbit next year. Blue Origin, a space tourism company backed by Jeff Bezos, will send its first paying passenger into space on July 20. The current bid to have the tourist seat occupied by the lucky (and courageous) person on this mission is $ 2.8 million.
This article appeared in the The World This Week section of the print edition under the headline “Business this week”