Tag Archives: Banking and Investment Services (TRBC)

BlackRock bolsters European management as part of post-Brexit expansion

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FILE PHOTO: A sign for BlackRock Inc hangs above their building in New York U.S., July 16, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) – BlackRock (BLK.N), the world’s biggest asset manager, has appointed two executives to oversee Continental Europe for the first time as part of its efforts to expand in the region, a memo to staff on Wednesday seen by Reuters showed.

Over the last two years, BlackRock had accelerated its investment in the region as a “strategic priority” and now ran more than $1 trillion, “making us the largest independent asset manager on the Continent,” its head of Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Rachel Lord, said in the memo.

With “an ambitious strategy for growth” in the region, Lord said it needed “dedicated leadership” and so had appointed two country heads, Stephane Lapiquonne and Christian Hyldahl, to jointly lead the company’s efforts.

Reporting by Simon Jessop; editing by Sinead Cruise

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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UK watchdog to clamp down on insurance loyalty penalties

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LONDON, Feb 18 (Reuters) – Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority said on Tuesday it was finalising “remedies” to stop home and car insurance companies penalising loyal customers.

The watchdog said the “loyalty penalty” cost longstanding customers an extra 1.2 billion pounds ($1.56 billion) in 2018.

More than four in five adults in Britain have one or more insurance products, and consumers who stay with their existing insurer at renewal almost always pay higher premiums than those who switch or negotiate, the FCA said in Sector Views, its annual review of key concerns for the year ahead.

The FCA also said high-risk retail investment products were exposing consumers to more risk than they can absorb, the FCA said.

“Some of the highest-risk products are often marketed directly to retail consumers with poor communication of the risks involved and implications that the investments are regulated, when this is not the case,” it added.

Many new payments firms had been able to enter the market and grow quickly, and some of their products had offered no protection for consumers.

Sector Views are used by the FCA to shape its business plan for the coming financial year and determine whether to open new market investigations and use its powers to intervene.

$1 = 0.7696 pounds
Reporting by Huw Jones; editing by John Stonestreet

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Traders get misplaced in Huge Oil’s carbon accounting maze

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LONDON (Reuters) – Large variations in the best way oil corporations report their efforts to cut back carbon emissions make it troublesome to evaluate the danger of holding their shares because the world shifts away from fossil fuels, senior fund managers say.

FILE PHOTO: Oil pump jacks work at sundown close to Midland, Texas, U.S., August 21, 2019. REUTERS/Jessica Lutz/Recordsdata

Traders have poured cash into so-called sustainable funds, which take note of corporations’ environmental, social, authorized and different requirements, and funds are below strain from their clients and authorities to make these requirements sturdy.

Fund managers are additionally making use of environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards extra extensively in conventional investments to assist them decide how corporations will fare over the long run.

There’s a rising realization that some corporations’ income will shrink quicker than others as governments prioritize low-carbon vitality to satisfy the U.N.-backed Paris settlement’s objective of slicing emissions to “web zero” by the top of the century.

However oil and fuel corporations are among the many largest dividend payers, and main funds are reluctant to divest from them, arguing that by staying in they’re in a greater place to strain corporations to enhance.

“Do buyers have the information that we want? No, I don’t assume we’ve got the information that we want in any respect,” mentioned Nick Stansbury, funding strategist at British insurer Authorized & Common’s funding administration unit, Britain’s largest asset supervisor with round $1.three trillion below administration.

“Disclosure just isn’t essentially so we will search to vary the numbers, however so we will begin understanding and pricing the dangers,” Stansbury mentioned.

“A THOUSAND WAYS TO PARIS”

There are a lot of voluntary initiatives and frameworks to unify carbon accounting and goal setting; some overlap however none have been universally adopted. Additional tasks exist for different greenhouse gases reminiscent of methane.

The Greenhouse Fuel Protocol is one such set of requirements, established by non-governmental organizations and industrial teams within the 1990s.

Corporations can report their progress according to these requirements by way of non-profit CDP, previously often called the Carbon Disclosure Challenge, which then ranks them. Norway’s Equinor comes first in its listing of 24 oil main corporations, however not all of them report in yearly.

(GRAPHIC: Huge oil rating by the CDP – right here)

There’s additionally the Job Drive on Local weather associated Monetary Disclosures (TCFD), created by the G20’s Monetary Stability Board, in addition to business our bodies, in-house fashions at oil companies and banks and third-party verifiers and consultants.

“There are a thousand methods to Paris,” London-based BP’s Chief Govt Bob Dudley mentioned at a Chatham Home occasion earlier this yr referring to the 2015 accord aiming to maintain world warming properly beneath 2 levels.

BP Finance Chief Brian Gilvary advised Reuters BP would welcome extra consistency inside the sector to indicate what oil corporations are doing about emissions and that an business physique, the Oil and Fuel Local weather Initiative (OGCI), was discussing carbon accounting.

A plethora of third celebration ESG verifier corporations had been rising with various methods of measuring ESG metrics, he mentioned, including that some such companies would say to an oil firm, “We consider your rating is that this, and, by the best way, in case you spend $50,000 we’ll present you how one can enhance that rating.”

UBS, with $831 billion of invested property, has $2 billion in its Local weather Conscious passive fairness technique, which is partly primarily based on an organization’s emissions reporting.

In that technique “we tilt in the direction of corporations which are higher acting on a spread of local weather metrics and away from corporations that don’t carry out so properly on this respect,” Francis Condon, govt director for sustainable investing, mentioned.

“We don’t need to be accused of greenwashing or falling for it,” he mentioned, including that UBS commonly inspired corporations to organize for the local weather transition.

Utilizing a broad measure, world sustainable funding reached $30.1 trillion the world over’s 5 main markets on the finish of 2018, in keeping with the World Sustainable Funding Assessment. This equates to between 1 / 4 and half of all property below administration, as a consequence of various estimates of that determine.

Condon mentioned most buyers had been nonetheless extra centered on returns than wider sustainability standards however had been changing into involved that corporations could expose them to potential future climate-related monetary losses.

“There’s a very restricted urge for food for giving up efficiency for increased ESG. The query is extra: is administration taking over dangers it will possibly’t handle?”

To attempt to reply that query, the world’s largest monetary service suppliers are investing in corporations which offer ESG-related information.

This yr alone, Moody’s purchased Vigeo Eiris and 4 Twenty Seven, MSCI purchased Carbon Delta and the London Inventory Trade purchased Past Scores. S&P acquired Trucost in 2016.

Impartial local weather threat advisors Engaged Monitoring say they attracted two-thirds of their purchasers previously yr. All six corporations present information, assessments and consulting on the local weather publicity of corporations or bonds.

HOW TO COUNT

A central difficulty, mentioned at European oil majors’ shareholder conferences this yr, is how they cope with the emissions attributable to the merchandise they promote, reminiscent of gasoline or kerosene, that are often called Scope three emissions.

(GRAPHIC: Oil Majors’ Carbon emissions – right here)

Such emissions are usually round six occasions bigger than the mixed emissions from oil corporations’ direct operations and energy provide, also referred to as Scope 1 and a couple of emissions, in keeping with Reuters calculations.

Even when an organization publishes Scope three information, there are 15 completely different classes primarily based on the Greenhouse Fuel Protocol. These embrace use of bought merchandise reminiscent of gasoline alongside secondary elements reminiscent of enterprise journey or worker commuting.

Constantine Pretenteris at Engaged Monitoring mentioned some corporations achieved a excessive rating for comprehensiveness by disclosing information for a lot of the Scope three classes, however omitted the important thing ones, reminiscent of emissions from use of their gasoline.

“We’d like to see a basic commonplace which makes comparisons straightforward,” Sven Reinke of Moody’s mentioned. “It doesn’t totally exist as of late.”

RELATIVE OR ABSOLUTE

The vast majority of climate-related targets are primarily based on depth measures, which suggests absolute emissions can rise with rising manufacturing, even when the headline depth metric falls.

Complete recorded Scope three emissions from the world’s high public oil corporations are nonetheless rising, largely as a consequence of rising oil and fuel output, in keeping with Reuters calculations primarily based on information carried on Refinitiv’s Eikon platform and firm web sites.

They confirmed mixed Scope three emissions recorded by BP, Royal Dutch Shell, Exxon Mobil, ConocoPhillips’, Chevron, Eni, Complete, Equinor and Repsol rose round 1.6% over 2018, after a 1% related rise the earlier yr.

Particular person figures differ in keeping with the metrics an organization chooses to incorporate. Conoco mentioned its Scope three emissions had fallen 5%, whereas the opposite corporations’ particular person recorded Scope three emissions both rose or stayed roughly the identical.

Requested for remark, BP and Chevron pointed to absolute targets associated to their very own operations. Complete pointed to progress it had made in the direction of decreasing emissions depth per unit produced. Shell and Repsol referred to their short-term intensity-based targets and Equinor mentioned it couldn’t take accountability for emissions it doesn’t management.

U.S. agency Exxon didn’t reply to a request for remark. Eni had no fast remark.

Prime oil corporations have boosted funding in renewable vitality and low-carbon know-how lately, notably in Europe, however a lot larger sums are nonetheless going into growing oil and fuel.

“We can not change the patterns of consumption world wide – we can not make individuals fly much less. We are able to cut back the carbon depth of the merchandise we promote,” Shell Chief Govt Ben van Beurden mentioned in June.

Mark Lewis from BNP Paribas and a member of TCFD, mentioned total cuts had been what would depend ultimately. Repsol is at present the one main oil firm to have set absolute discount targets for all its output.

“The Paris Settlement is all a few carbon price range and that’s an absolute quantity. It’s not an depth quantity,” Lewis mentioned. “The environment works by way of absolutes not depth.”

Within the meantime, some buyers are avoiding oil corporations which others say needs to be supported for going additional than a lot of their friends.

London-based funding administration agency Sarasin & Companions mentioned in June it was promoting down its stake in Shell as a result of its spending plans had been out of synch with worldwide local weather targets.

Requested for remark, Shell pointed to feedback from representatives of the pension funds of the Church of England and Britain’s authorities Surroundings company, which praised the corporate’s transparency and mentioned others ought to comply with its lead.

(GRAPHIC: European Carbon costs – right here)

Modifying by Philippa Fletcher

Our Requirements:The Thomson Reuters Belief Rules.

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SoftBank turns towards WeWork’s dad or mum CEO Neumann: sources

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(Reuters) – Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp (9984.T), the largest investor in WeWork proprietor The We Firm, is exploring methods to exchange Adam Neumann as chief government of the U.S. office-sharing start-up, 4 folks aware of the matter mentioned on Sunday.

FILE PHOTO: Adam Neumann, CEO of WeWork, speaks to visitors throughout the TechCrunch Disrupt occasion in Manhattan, in New York Metropolis, NY, U.S. Might 15, 2017. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz -/File Photograph

The uncommon showdown between SoftBank and considered one of its largest investments comes after We Firm postponed its preliminary public providing (IPO) final week, following pushback from perspective traders, not simply over its widening losses, but additionally over Neumann’s unusually agency grip on the corporate.

This was a blow for SoftBank, which hoped for We Firm’s IPO to bolster its income because it seeks to woo traders for its second $108 billion Imaginative and prescient Fund. It invested in We Firm at a $47 billion valuation in January, but inventory market investor skepticism led to the startup contemplating a possible valuation within the IPO earlier this month of as little as $10 billion, Reuters reported.

Administrators on We Firm’s seven-member board which are aligned with SoftBank are deliberating learn how to exchange Neumann as CEO, the sources mentioned. Benchmark Capital, one other huge investor in We Firm, would additionally like Neumann to step apart, one of many sources mentioned.

No problem to Neumann has but been tabled, the sources mentioned. A We Firm board assembly to debate Neumann’s future might be held as early as this week, one other of the sources mentioned.

One possibility that SoftBank is contemplating is asking Neumann to develop into interim CEO whereas a headhunting agency is employed to search out an exterior alternative, the primary supply mentioned.

The sources requested to not be recognized as a result of the matter is confidential. We Firm and SoftBank declined to remark, whereas Neumann and Benchmark Capital couldn’t be instantly reached for remark. The Wall Avenue Journal first reported on SoftBank exploring methods to exchange Neumann as CEO.

As co-founder of the We Firm, Neumann holds particular voting shares that allow him to dismiss dissident board administrators and shoot down any problem to his authority. Nonetheless, SoftBank may select to not again We Firm’s IPO or present it with extra funding. It has already funded the cash-burning start-up to the tune of $10 billion, and was discussing committing one other $1 billion to the IPO.

We Firm mentioned final week it’s aiming to develop into a publicly traded firm by the tip of the 12 months.

In an indication of the deteriorating relations between SoftBank and WeWork, Neumann didn’t take part in a gathering of executives of corporations backed by SoftBank that occurred in Pasadena, California, final week and was organized by SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son, based on two folks aware of the matter.

Reporting by Anirban Sen in Bengaluru and Joshua Franklin in New York; Extra reporting by Greg Roumeliotis in new York and Rishika Chatterjee in Bengaluru; Modifying by Sonya Hepinstall and Daniel Wallis

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OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma information for chapter safety

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NEW YORK (Reuters) – OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma LP filed for chapter safety Sunday evening, succumbing to stress from greater than 2,600 lawsuits alleging the corporate helped gasoline the lethal U.S. opioid epidemic.

Purdue’s board met Sunday night to approve the long-expected chapter submitting, which the corporate is pursuing to restructure below phrases of a proposal to settle the widespread litigation.

Purdue, which filed for Chapter 11 safety in a federal chapter courtroom in White Plains, New York, reached a tentative deal to resolve lawsuits with 24 states and 5 U.S. territories, in addition to lead legal professionals for greater than 2,000 cities, counties and different plaintiffs, the corporate mentioned.

Two dozen states stay opposed or uncommitted to the proposed settlement, setting the stage for contentious authorized battles over who bears accountability for a public well being disaster that has claimed the lives of almost 400,000 individuals between 1999 and 2017, in accordance with the most recent U.S. knowledge.

Hundreds of cities and counties, together with almost each state, have sued Purdue and, in some circumstances, its controlling Sackler household. The lawsuits, in search of billions of {dollars} in damages, declare the corporate and household aggressively marketed prescription painkillers whereas deceptive docs and sufferers about their dependancy and overdose dangers.

Purdue and the Sacklers have denied the allegations.

Opposing states, together with Massachusetts, New York and Connecticut, need the Sacklers to ensure extra of their very own cash will go towards a settlement, and have questioned Purdue’s calculations valuing the general deal at greater than $10 billion.

The Sacklers, who would cede management of Purdue within the proposed settlement, have supplied $three billion in money and an extra $1.5 billion or extra by way of the eventual sale of one other firm they personal, known as Mundipharma, in accordance with the corporate and folks aware of the phrases. The Sacklers have declined to revise their supply.

“That is the fork within the highway. There are solely two methods to go from right here,” mentioned Purdue Chairman Steve Miller in an interview with Reuters.

Miller mentioned Purdue plans to argue to opposing states that preventing the proposed settlement will doubtless end in protracted litigation, growing authorized charges and depleting worth that might be steered to U.S. communities reeling from opioid abuse. He described chapter proceedings because the “finest hope for finalizing and implementing a worldwide decision to this litigation.”

In an announcement, members of the Sackler household controlling Purdue mentioned they hoped these opposing the present settlement supply would ultimately change their minds.

FILE PHOTO: Bottles of prescription painkiller OxyContin tablets, made by Purdue Pharma LP, are seen on a counter at an area pharmacy in Provo, Utah, U.S., April 25, 2017. REUTERS/George Frey

“It’s our hope the chapter reorganization course of that’s now underway will finish our possession of Purdue and guarantee its property are devoted for the general public profit,” the household mentioned.

The result of Purdue’s tried chapter reorganization and settlement negotiations will assist decide how a lot cash U.S. communities obtain from the corporate and the Sacklers to deal with hurt from opioids. A reorganization and settlement would in the end should be permitted by a U.S. chapter choose.

States suing the Sacklers, together with a number of over the previous week, allege the household improperly reaped billions of {dollars} from opioid gross sales regardless of information of their dangerous results. The Sacklers, a few of whom beforehand served on the Purdue’s board and are well-known rich philanthropists, have denied the allegations.

Purdue’s proposed settlement envisions it changing into a belief that might contribute to U.S. communities, at little or no value, tens of thousands and thousands of doses of medicine the corporate developed to fight opioid overdoses and dependancy, the corporate mentioned.

Purdue values the medication at $4.45 billion over a decade, the individuals aware of the matter mentioned. Underneath the proposal’s phrases, the restructured Purdue could be completely sure by so-called injunctive aid, which incorporates restrictions on the promotion and sale of opioids.

States opposing the settlement supply have vowed to battle makes an attempt by Purdue and the Sacklers to make use of chapter proceedings to comprise the litigation.

On Friday, New York Lawyer Basic Letitia James mentioned she uncovered roughly $1 billion in wire transfers “between the Sacklers, entities they management and completely different monetary establishments, together with those who have funneled funds into Swiss financial institution accounts.”

The knowledge, in information an unnamed monetary establishment produced in response to a subpoena from James’s workplace, detailed monetary transfers involving former Purdue board member Mortimer D.A. Sackler, in accordance with courtroom paperwork her workplace filed.

He allegedly used shell firms “to shift Purdue cash by way of accounts world wide after which conceal it in no less than two separate multimillion-dollar actual property investments again right here in New York, sanitized (till now) of any readily-detectable connections to the Sackler household,” a lawyer in James’ workplace mentioned in one of many courtroom filings.

“There’s nothing newsworthy about these decade-old transfers, which had been completely authorized and acceptable in each respect,” a spokesman for Mortimer D.A. Sackler mentioned in an announcement.

“This can be a cynical try by a hostile AG’s workplace to generate defamatory headlines to attempt to torpedo a mutually useful settlement that’s supported by so many different states and would end in billions of {dollars} going to communities and people throughout the nation that need assistance,” the assertion added.

FILE PHOTO: Bottles of prescription painkiller OxyContin tablets, made by Purdue Pharma LP sit on a counter at an area pharmacy in Provo, Utah, U.S., April 25, 2017. REUTERS/George Frey/File Photograph

Purdue, in the meantime, plans to ask a chapter choose to halt lively litigation so it could negotiate a closing settlement, the individuals mentioned. However the firm is making ready for states to argue their lawsuits can’t be halted by a Chapter 11 submitting as a result of their authorized actions had been delivered to implement public well being and security legal guidelines – exempting them from the standard chapter guidelines that might cease their complaints.

One other thorny authorized query entails the Sacklers and below what circumstances Purdue may use chapter legislation in an try and additionally halt lawsuits in opposition to them.

These authorized skirmishes may take a while to develop, as Purdue initially should search courtroom approval to proceed paying workers and tackle routine working bills.

Reporting by Mike Spector; modifying by Edward Tobin and Stephen Coates

Our Requirements:The Thomson Reuters Belief Ideas.

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PG&E evaluating proposal from hedge funds Knighthead Capital, Abrams Capital

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FILE PHOTO: PG&E works on energy strains to restore harm attributable to the Camp Hearth in Paradise, California, U.S. November 21, 2018. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage/File Photograph

(Reuters) – Energy producer PG&E Corp (PCG.N) mentioned on Friday it’s evaluating a proposal from hedge funds Knighthead Capital Administration and Abrams Capital Administration to offer fairness capital commitments supporting a plan to reorganize the corporate.

“The Firm has acquired the financing proposal from Abrams and Knighthead and is evaluating it, together with the backstop dedication letters and associated supplies, in session with the Firm’s advisors. The Firm will reply to the proposal sooner or later,” PG&E mentioned in a press release.

Shareholders Knighthead Capital and Abrams in a letter to PG&E on Thursday proposed elevating $15 billion in fairness to fund a deliberate reorganization of the facility producer, which is going through big liabilities from California wildfires.

The proposed fundraising, a rights providing of latest shares, is the most recent effort to rescue PG&E, which sought Chapter 11 chapter safety earlier this 12 months after extreme wildfires in 2017 and 2018 resulted in additional than $30 billion in liabilities.

Knighthead and Abrams pledged to buy a portion of the provided fairness if shares are left unsold by way of a so-called backstop dedication.

Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Modifying by Leslie Adler

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Italy’s Cattolica says submitted provide for UBI’s insurance coverage arm

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MILAN, Aug 9 (Reuters) – Italy’s Cattolica Assicurazioni has offered a non-binding provide for the life insurance coverage companies of UBI Banca, Chief Govt Alberto Minali stated on Friday.

Minali stated the provide was offered in June and that Cattolica was vying with different bidders for the division.

“We’re working to current a binding provide within the subsequent few weeks,” Minali stated.

Italy’s fifth-largest financial institution is trying to promote roughly 60-70% of the unit which incorporates stakes in a collection of three way partnership platforms with the likes of British insurer Aviva, sources have advised Reuters.

Primarily based in Verona, Cattolica Assicurazioni focuses on bancassurance merchandise and is hoping to take management of its current life insurance coverage partnership with UBI in addition to the opposite belongings on the market, the sources stated.

UBI has employed KPMG to public sale off the belongings and desires to obtain binding bids in direction of the top of September, one of many sources stated.

Minali stated any deal must be “worth accretive” for Cattolica and primarily based on an inexpensive monetary valuation of UBI’s enterprise enterprise. (Reporting by Silvia Aloisi, enhancing by Isla Binnie)

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Uber to kick off investor road show with IPO terms on Friday

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(Reuters) – Ride-hailing company Uber Technologies Inc will unveil terms for its initial public offering on Friday, telling investors it will seek to be valued at between $80 billion and $90 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.

The valuation sought is less than the $120 billion valuation that investment bankers told Uber last year it could fetch, and closer to the $76 billion valuation it attained in its last private fundraising round last year.

Uber’s moderation of valuation expectations reflects the poor stock performance of its smaller rival Lyft Inc following its IPO last month. Lyft shares ended trading on Thursday down 22 percent from their IPO price amid investor skepticism over its path to profitability.

Uber will unveil on Friday an IPO price range of between $44 and $50 per share, based on which it would raise between $8 billion and $9 billion, the sources said. This would rank it as the largest IPO since that of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd in 2014.

In addition, some Uber insiders will also sell their own shares in the IPO, the sources said. Reuters reported earlier this month that all the Uber shares sold in the IPO could be worth around $10 billion.

Uber also plans to unveil on Friday its last sale of stock as a private company, the sources said. The identity of the investor involved in the private placement could not immediately be learned.

The investor roadshow will kick off in earnest on Monday, setting the stage for Uber to debut on the New York Stock Exchange in early May.

For the roadshow, Uber’s top executives will travel the Unites States and make a stop in London to drum up investor interest in the IPO, sources said.

The sources asked not to be identified because the matter is confidential. Uber declined to comment. The price range was reported earlier by Bloomberg News.

Two other IPOs this month, those of online scrapbook company Pinterest Inc and video conferencing company Zoom Video Communications Inc, have performed much more strongly than Lyft. Uber, however, has chosen to still value itself conservatively.

“People are more cautious than they were 4 weeks ago,” said Duncan Davidson, general partner at Bullpen Capital, an early-stage venture capital investment firm.

Uber operates in more than 70 countries. In addition to ride hailing, its business includes bike and scooter rentals, freight hauling, food delivery, and an expensive self-driving car division.

The ride-hailing startup has disclosed it has 91 million users, but growth is slowing and it may never make a profit. Uber in 2018 had $11.3 billion in revenue, up around 42 percent over 2017, but below the 106 percent growth the prior year.

During the IPO roadshow, Uber’s chief executive, Dara Khosrowshahi, will be tasked with convincing investors that he has successfully changed the company’s culture and business practices after a series of embarrassing scandals over the last two years.

Those have included sexual harassment allegations, a massive data breach that was concealed from regulators, use of illicit software to evade authorities and allegations of bribery overseas.

Uber is reserving some shares in the IPO for drivers who have completed 2,500 trips among other criteria.

AUTONOMOUS DRIVING

Last week, Uber’s autonomous vehicle unit raised $1 billion privately from a consortium of investors, including top Uber shareholder SoftBank Group Corp, giving the company a much-needed funding boost for its self-driving ambitions.

Last year, Uber settled a legal dispute over trade secrets with Alphabet Inc’s Waymo self-driving vehicle unit. Waymo, in its lawsuit, had said one of its former engineers who became chief of Uber’s self-driving car project took with him thousands of confidential documents.

FILE PHOTO: Uber’s logo is displayed on a mobile phone in London, Britain, September 14, 2018. REUTERS/Hannah Mckay

One advantage Uber will likely seek to play up to investors is that it is the largest player in many of the markets in which it operates. Analysts consider building scale crucial for Uber’s business model to become profitable.

Lyft, which was valued at $24.3 billion in its IPO, has focused only in the U.S. and Canadian markets.

“Investors are now asking for more clarity on how ride-sharing companies will monetize data they are collecting and if this is a scalable business,” said Jordan Stuart, a client portfolio manager for Federated Kaufmann funds who often purchases stock in IPOs.

Reporting by Joshua Franklin in New York and Heather Somerville in San Francisco; additional reporting by Jennifer Ablan in New York; editing by Bill Rigby, Meredith Mazzilli and Chris Reese

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U.S. intelligence says Huawei funded by Chinese state security: report

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(Reuters) – U.S. intelligence has accused Huawei Technologies of being funded by Chinese state security, The Times said on Saturday, adding to the list of allegations faced by the Chinese technology company in the West.

A Huawei logo is pictured during the media day for the Shanghai auto show in Shanghai, China April 16, 2019. REUTERS/Aly Song

The CIA accused Huawei of receiving funding from China’s National Security Commission, the People’s Liberation Army and a third branch of the Chinese state intelligence network, the British newspaper reported, citing a source.

Earlier this year, U.S. intelligence shared its claims with other members of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing group, which includes Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand, according to the report bit.ly/2KT7ztd.

Huawei dismissed the allegations in a statement cited by the newspaper.

“Huawei does not comment on unsubstantiated allegations backed up by zero evidence from anonymous sources,” a Huawei representative told The Times.

The company, the CIA and China’s Foreign Ministry did not respond immediately to requests for comment.

The accusation comes at a time of trade tensions between Washington and Beijing and amid concerns in the United States that Huawei’s equipment could be used for espionage. The company has said the concerns are unfounded.

Authorities in the United States are probing Huawei for alleged sanctions violations.

Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s chief financial officer and daughter of its founder, Ren Zhengfei, was arrested in Canada in December at the request of the United States on charges of bank and wire fraud in violation of U.S. sanctions against Iran.

She denies wrongdoing and her father has previously said the arrest was “politically motivated”.

Amid such charges, top educational institutions in the West have recently severed ties with Huawei to avoid losing federal funding.

Another Chinese technology company, ZTE Corp 0763.HK, 000063.SZ, has also been at the center of similar controversies in the United States.

U.S. sanctions forced ZTE to stop most business between April and July last year after Commerce Department officials said it broke a pact and was caught illegally shipping U.S.-origin goods to Iran and North Korea. The sanctions were lifted after ZTE paid $1.4 billion in penalties.

Reuters reported earlier this week that the United States will push its allies at a meeting in Prague next month to adopt shared security and policy measures that will make it more difficult for Huawei to dominate 5G telecommunications networks.

(This version of the story clarifies in sixth paragraph that China’s Foreign Ministry did not respond to request for comment)

Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Nick Macfie

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Citigroup profit beats on investment banking boost

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(Reuters) – Citigroup Inc reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit on Monday, boosted by a surge in investment banking revenue and lower expenses.

FILE PHOTO: The Citigroup Inc (Citi) logo is seen at the SIBOS banking and financial conference in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Oct. 19, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Helgren/File Photo

Investment banking revenue rose 20 percent to $1.4 billion, as strong growth in advisory and investment-grade debt underwriting more than offset a drop in equity underwriting.

Bond trading rose 1 percent in sharp contrast to Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan, both of which reported declines.

But a 24 percent drop in equities trading pressured Citi’s overall revenue, which fell 2 percent to $18.58 billion and came in slightly below analysts’ estimates.

Revenue from consumer banking, the bank’s largest business, was flat at $8.5 billion, due to weakness in Asia.

Earlier this year, the bank said it would earn $2 billion more in revenue from lending activities than it did in 2018.

Total loans at the third-largest U.S. bank by assets rose 3 percent to $682.3 billion, while deposits grew 5 percent to $1.03 trillion, excluding foreign exchange fluctuations.

Citi’s net interest margin, a closely watched metric, expanded 8 basis points to 2.72 percent in the quarter, while total operating expenses fell 3 percent to $10.58 billion

Net income rose to $4.71 billion, or $1.87 per share, for the first quarter ended March 31 from $4.62 billion, or $1.68 per share, a year earlier.

Analysts were looking for a profit of $1.80 per share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Shares of the company were up 1.2 percent in trading before the bell.

Reporting by Imani Moise in New York and Sidharth Cavale in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva

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