Economy

Business • Economy
Disney to lay off 28,000 employees as Covid-19 affects its theme park business
Disney to lay off 28,000 employees as Covid-19 affects its theme park business
Credit: Joe Penniston (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

In a memo sent to employees on Tuesday, Disney announced it would lay off 28,000 employees across its parks, experiences and consumer products segment. Around 67% of the laid-off workers were part-time employees.

The company blamed prolonged closures and capacity limits at open parks for the layoffs. While Disney's theme parks in Florida, Paris, Shanghai, Japan and Hong Kong have been able to reopen with limited capacity, both California theme parks have remained shuttered.

Business • Economy
EasyJet is "hanging by a thread" due to Covid-19 pandemic, union official says
EasyJet is "hanging by a thread" due to Covid-19 pandemic, union official says
Credit: unsplash.com/Frederick Tubiermont

According to a union official, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has left the British low-cost airline group EasyJet "hanging by a thread".

"If easyJet don’t have a good summer and make money next summer, I suspect none of us will have a job this time next year," pilots’ union official Martin Entwisle said in a now leaked recording of an EasyJet staff conference call. Entwisle claimed the information was shared by the company’s chief financial officer, Andrew Findlay, who allegedly warned that the company's situation was "even worse than their worst fears."

"The easiest way to put it is: the company is hanging by a thread," Entwisl added.

EasyJet has denied that Entwisl's comments "reflect what EasyJet or its finance officer said."

Business • Economy
Investment bank JPMorgan announces move of €200 billion in assets from UK to Germany following Brexit
Investment bank JPMorgan announces move of €200 billion in assets from UK to Germany following Brexit
Credit: unsplash.com / Igor Flek

According to reports by Bloomberg, the investment bank JPMorgan Chase & Co. is moving assets worth around €200 billion from the United Kingdom to Frankfurt, Germany. The reason for the move is the end of the transition period and the Brexit with the United Kingdom leaving the European Union.

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Spanish Supreme Court rules that riders for delivery companies are falsely self-employed
Spanish Supreme Court rules that riders for delivery companies are falsely self-employed
Credit: unsplash.com / Connor Houtman

The Spanish Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that the riders are wage earners and are therefore now working as falsely self-employed. "The relationship between a rider and Glovo is of a labor nature," says the note issued by the Supreme Court, which adds that the company "is not a mere intermediary in the hiring of services between stores and rider"

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Facebook to open new office in Lagos in 2021
Facebook to open new office in Lagos in 2021
Credit: unsplash.com/Brett Jordan

Facebook will open its second African office in Lagos, Nigeria in 2021 to support the Sub-Saharan region, the company said in a statement.

“The opening of our new office in Lagos, Nigeria presents new and exciting opportunities in digital innovations to be developed from the continent and taken to the rest of the world," the Head of New Product Experimentation Ime Archibong said. “All across Africa we’re seeing immense talent in the tech ecosystem, and I’m proud that with the upcoming opening of our new office, we’ll be building products for the future of Africa, and the rest of the world, with Africans at the helm. We look forward to contributing further to the African tech ecosystem.”

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Spain: CaixaBank and Bankia merger blessed by shareholders
Spain: CaixaBank and Bankia merger blessed by shareholders
Credit: CaixaBank

Spanish banks CaixaBank and Bankia teams agreed to a merger that would create an entity with total assets of about 665 billion. Reuters reports that sources close to the deal confirmed the main shareholders greenlight the merger, to be signed in the next few days.

The new bank would surpass Santander and BBVA in the Spanish market with a combined market share of around 30%. Both Santander and BBVA would remain bigger globally, but not in Spain.

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Austria reports 20% decline in sales of new cars since beginning of 2020
Austria reports 20% decline in sales of new cars since beginning of 2020
Credit: GFreihalter (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0)

The Austrian car sales are heavily impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, which led to a -67% and -65% decline in sales in March and April. The market since then recovered to a low of -18% in June and went back to -20% in August.

The statistics are based on the registration number of new cars per month.

Business • Economy
Report: 45 of 58 Austrian publicly traded companies have all-male boards
Report: 45 of 58 Austrian publicly traded companies have all-male boards
Credit: unsplash.com / M. B. M.

According to a report from the consultancy Ernst & Young out of 58 Austrian companies that are publically traded at the stock exchange, only 13 have a female board member. In total out of 191 board members, only 14 are female.

Every fourth company does not fulfill the quorum of 30%.

Business • Economy
GDP falls 9.7% record in the 2nd quarter and Brazil enters recession again
Closed stores in Santos, Brazil
Closed stores in Santos, Brazil Credit: Marcelo dos Santos

The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Brazil had a historical fall of 9.7% in the 2nd quarter, in comparison with the first 3 months of the year, due to the impact of the coronavirus crisis,

With a pandemic, the Brazilian economy regressed to the level of late 2009.

Business • Economy
Insolvency administrator considers Wirecard not capable of being restructured
Insolvency administrator considers Wirecard not capable of being restructured
Credit: Leo Molatore (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

According to a progress report of the insolvency administrator Michael Jaffé the situation is too desolate for resturcturing, after years of reporting profits, but in reality accumulating losses.

Following the report a mountain of debt of more than 3.2 billion euros is offset by usable assets of only 428 million, which means that the company is over-indebted by around 2.8 billion euros. In liquid assets there are only 26.8 million euros left. These figures are the result of a long series of losses.

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Department store chain Lord & Taylor to close all its stores
Department store chain Lord & Taylor to close all its stores
Credit: Lord & Taylor

After 194 years in business, the American department store chain Lord & Taylor is closing all its 38 remaining stores after filing bankruptcy on August 2 and has begun liquidation sales.

"While we are still entertaining various opportunities, we believe it is prudent to simultaneously put the remainder of the stores into liquidation to maximize value of inventory for the estate while pursuing options for the company's brands," so Lord & Taylor's chief restructuring officer Ed Kremer.

Business • Economy
US: Powell announces new Fed approach to inflation that could keep rates lower for longer

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell announced a major policy shift Thursday to "average inflation targeting."

That means the central bank will be more inclined to allow inflation to run higher than the standard 2% target before hiking interest rates.

"Many find it counterintuitive that the Fed would want to push up inflation," Powell said in prepared remarks. "However, inflation that is persistently too low can pose serious risks to the economy."

Business • Economy
Jeff Bezos' net worth surpasses $200b
Jeff Bezos at Amazon Spheres Grand Opening in Seattle, 2018
Jeff Bezos at Amazon Spheres Grand Opening in Seattle, 2018 Credit: Seattle City Council from Seattle / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' net worth has reached approx. $202 billion, a $87 billion increase since January. Amazon's stock has seen a 25%-rise since June and 86%-rise since the start of the year, boosted mostly by online shopping during the pandemic.

Business • Economy
Airbnb files to go public
Airbnb files to go public
Credit: Open Grid Scheduler / Grid Engine (Public Domain)

Airbnb announced on Wednesday that it had confidentially filed to go public. Reports indicate the company could have an IPO as soon as the end of the year.

The company had been privately valued at $31 billion before this year and it must now convince investors that it can thrive and turn a profit in a new era of limited travel.

Business • Economy
Tencent smash second quarter earnings expectations due to strong games demand
Tencent smash second quarter earnings expectations due to strong games demand
Credit: Tencent

Tencent reported on Wednesday results. for the three months through to the end of June. that beat analyst expectations in one of the fastest revenue-growing quarters in two years.

The company is one of the targets of the executive order signed by President Donald Trump, prohibiting any transaction related to WeChat, the popular messaging app owned by Tencent.

Revenue from online games, which accounts for one-third of total sales, increased 40% in the second quarter, primarily driven by mobile games including Honor of Kings and Peacekeeper Elite.

Business • Economy
UK officially in recession for first time in 11 years
UK officially in recession for first time in 11 years
Credit: Franck V.

The UK economy suffered its biggest slump on record between April and June as coronavirus lockdown measures pushed the country officially into recession.

The economy shrank 20.4% compared with the first three months of the year.

Business • Economy
Disney reports $4.7b loss in third quarter
Disney reports $4.7b loss in third quarter
Credit: Coolcaesar / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Walt Disney Co. reports its first quarterly loss since 2001 largely due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with a loss of $4.72 billion in its third fiscal quarter ending with June 27.

Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Disney had to close its theme parks and lost revenue from theatrical parks, live sports and movie distribution. However, due to people staying at home, Disney+ has gained over 60 million subscribers in less than nine months.

Business • Economy
German retail: 5% increase in theft

In the German retail trade, the inventory differences have increased again. In the current study, the trade research institute EHI published a damage of €3.75 billion due to theft. If you add organizational errors such as incorrectly priced goods, the total damnages in 2019 have been around €4.4 billion. This makes for an increase of around 5% compared to 2018.

Business • Economy
Google will reportedly keep staff working remotely until at least July 2021
Google will reportedly keep staff working remotely until at least July 2021
Credit: unsplash.com/ Greg Bulla

The Wall Street Journal has reported that Google plans to keep its 200,000+ employees working remotely until at least July 2021. Google would be the first technology company to extend the Covid-19 remote work measures into the next year.

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LinkedIn to cut 960 jobs globally
LinkedIn to cut 960 jobs globally
Credit: Greg Bulla

Microsoft's professional networking site LinkedIn has said it plans to cut 6% of its global workforce as the Covid-19 pandemic is having a sustained impact on demand for its recruitment products. Nine hundred sixty jobs will be cut across sales and hiring divisions of the group globally.

LinkedIn said employees affected by its job cuts would be informed this week, and they will start receiving invitations in the next few hours to meetings to learn more about next steps.

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Apple wins court case against European Commission over 13 billion euros in unpaid taxes
Apple wins court case against European Commission over 13 billion euros in unpaid taxes
Credit: unsplash.com/https://unsplash.com/photos/f-3mUXFLY2o

Apple has won the appeal against the European Commission over whether the company owed €13 billion in Irish taxes. The European Union's general court ruled that the European Commission wasn't able to prove that Apple had gotten an advantage by the Irish government.

Business • Economy
German retail to face worst retraction since WWII
Stefan Genth (Middle)
Stefan Genth (Middle) Credit: Bundestagsfraktion Bündnis 90/Die Grünen (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

The HDE Managing Director Stefan Genth said German non-food retailers would see sales drop by around 22% this year, putting the sector on track for its worst retraction since 1945.

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed consumer behavior, with many customers going online for their shopping needs.

Genth said: “Many consumers have changed their shopping habits and retailers need to adapt.”.

Business • Economy
Massachusetts sues Uber and Lyft alleging they misclassified workers as contractors
Uber app on a mobile phone
Uber app on a mobile phone Credit: Charles Deluvio (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Massachusetts on Tuesday followed California in suing Uber and Lyft over how drivers are classified as independent contractors instead of employees entitled to extensive benefits. The complaint filed in Suffolk Superior Court claims both companies violate state minimum wage, hour and sick time laws.

"Uber and Lyft have built their billion-dollar businesses while denying their drivers basic employee protections and benefits for years," said State Attorney General Maura Healey. "This business model is unfair and exploitative. We are seeking this determination from the court because these drivers have a right to be treated fairly."

Business • Economy
Big U.S. retailers stopped "hero pay" due to decline in panic buying
A supermarket checker with face mask works behind a plastic shield
A supermarket checker with face mask works behind a plastic shield Credit: Russ Allison Loar / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

U.S. retailers, including Amazon, Stop & Shop and Kroger, have quietly ended the pandemic-related "hero pay" for its employees. The additional payment was initially meant as a pay raise, implemented as sales surged in March due to panic buying and hoarding.

Employees have voiced criticism as they are still being exposed to the novel Coronavirus on a daily basis. Stop & Shop produce manager Eddie Quezada, who contracted the virus, pointed out that their jobs were still "very risky", adding: "We should get at least something for that."

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Starbucks makes face masks mandatory for customers
Starbucks makes face masks mandatory for customers
Credit: pexels.com/Dom J

Starbucks announced that customer would be required to wear face masks when entering its U.S. based coffee shops, starting July 15. In a statement issued Thursday, the coffeehouse chain said it would enhance cleaning measures and ad additional precautions, such as taking their employees temperatures.

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Harley-Davidson to cut 700 jobs globally
Extract of the tank of a Harley-Davidson
Extract of the tank of a Harley-Davidson Credit: Matthias Schack (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Harley-Davidson CEO Jochen Zeitz announce Thursday the company would cut about 700 jobs, 13% of its global workforce, as part of The Rewire turnaround strategy. Zeitz also announced CFO John Olin was leaving the company.

Zeitz's strategy is aimed at making the company leaner, resetting product lines, focusing on the company's core strengths and prioritising profitable markets.

Business • Economy
Uber to launch commuter boat service in London
Galaxy Clipper, a Thames Clippers riverboat, on the River Thames
Galaxy Clipper, a Thames Clippers riverboat, on the River Thames Credit: Acabashi (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

A Thames Clippers London riverboat service will be rebranded Uber Boat later this summer. The deal will allow Uber users to book a Thames river journey through the app, and board using a QR code on their phone.

Uber will buy the naming rights for the fleet of riverboats and piers along the river at Canary Wharf in the east, the London Eye in the centre of town and Battersea Power Station in the west.

Jamie Heywood, Uber's regional manager for Northern and Eastern Europe, stated: "Many Londoners are looking for new ways to travel around the city, particularly when they start commuting back to work,".

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Uber acquires Postmates for $2.65 billion
Uber acquires Postmates for $2.65 billion
Credit: Logos via Uber & Postmates

The ride-hailing company Uber has acquired the food delivery company Postmates for $2.65 billion. In a statement on Uber's website, the company announced the acquisition, stating: "Uber Technologies, Inc. and Postmates Inc. today announced that they have reached a definitive agreement under which Uber will acquire Postmates for approximately $2.65 billion in an all-stock transaction."

"Uber and Postmates have long shared a belief that platforms like ours can power much more than just food delivery—they can be a hugely important part of local commerce and communities, all the more important during crises like COVID-19," the statement continued.

Business • Economy
Cirque du Soleil files for bankruptcy
Cirque du Soleil files for bankruptcy
Credit: Elemaki / CC BY (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0)

Cirque du Soleil has filed for creditor protection under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act in Quebec, Canada on Monday. The Montreal-based company stated that the Covid-19 pandemic had caused "immense disruption and forced show closures," including six shows in Las Vegas and 10 shows on tour worldwide.

"For the past 36 years, Cirque du Soleil has been a highly successful and profitable organization. However, with zero revenues since the forced closure of all of our shows due to COVID-19, management had to act decisively to protect the company's future," so president and CEO Daniel Lamarre said in a statement.

Cirque du Soleil has received $300 million in funding from Quebec's major institutional investors and multinational private equity firms to "support a successful restart, provide relief for Cirque du Soleil's affected employees and partners, and assume certain of the company's outstanding liabilities."

The company also announced the termination of approximately 3,480 employees previously furloughed in March.

Business • Economy
German development bank KfW could lose €100 million from Wirecard insolvency
Wirecard Headquarters, Aschheim
Wirecard Headquarters, Aschheim Credit: Leo Molatore (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

KfW, Germany’s state development bank, could lose €100 million euros after Wirecard filed for insolvency last Thursday.

Ipex Bank, a KfW subsidiary, granted Wirecard the sum over a credit line two years ago and the funds were fully drawn down but were not hedged by Ipex.