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Industry Update

People who lent a motorhome rental business money are facing big losses after it collapsed owing more than £7m. Unbeatable Hire Limited used the loans to buy more motorhomes, promising to give lenders all of their money back and returns of up to 10% a year. But many lenders are out of pocket after the company went into administration and numerous motorhomes were said to be missing. Its boss has denied doing anything deliberately wrong. Unbeatable Hire Limited made its money by renting motorhomes to holidaymakers. It traded under various names, including Motorholme, with depots across England and Scotland. People were invited to lend the company up to £36,000 a time, with each loan secured against an individual motorhome that would be bought with their money.

Source: Motorhomes 'missing' after rental firm collapsed - BBC News

Samsung predicts its profits rose nearly 26% last quarter. That suggests demand for many of its products has kept up during the coronavirus pandemic even as it faces tough competition in the smartphone market. The South Korean conglomerate said Friday that it expects to post operating profit of about 9 trillion Korean won ($8.2 billion) for the October-December quarter, an increase compared to the same period a year earlier but off somewhat from analyst estimates. The company predicted sales of some 61 trillion Korean won ($56 billion), in line with the expectations of analysts polled by Refinitiv. Samsung's (SSNLF) stock rose about 1.8% in Seoul on Friday.

Source: Samsung says profits likely ticked up, but smartphone competition is fierce - CNN

United Electronics Company (eXtra) reported an estimated net profit after Zakat and tax of SR280.3 million ($74.75 million) for fiscal year 2020, up by 36 percent year-on-year (YoY) due to higher sales across stores and e-commerce. The company also cited increase in gross profit and rise in revenues from consumer finance services. The Q4 2020 net profit increased by 41.2 percent YoY to SR101.8 million ($27.15 million) on higher sales and increase in revenues from services and consumer finance. On a sequential basis, Q4 2020 net profit rose by 90.4 percent on seasonality factors.

Source: eXtra posts 36% profit rise to $74.8m in FY2020 (

Shuaa Capital on Sunday announced that it has successfully completed a debt buyout of Stanford Marine Group's (SMG) Dh1.13 billion ($308 million) facility, resulting in a successful outcome for all parties involved, including the participating banks. SMG is one of the most prominent and diversified offshore services companies in the Middle East, with a focus on chartering, building and repairing offshore support vessels for the oil and gas industry. Since 2019, Shuaa  Capital has been working with SMG's lending syndicate and their advisors to arrive at a buyout deal that met all parties' objectives. The restructuring strengthens SMG's liquidity position. Following the debt buyout, SMG is poised for growth. The restructuring transaction has also helped save more than 1,800 jobs, and annual exports of close to $20 million worth of (Made in UAE) vessels made in the state-of-the-art Grandweld shipyard's facility in Dubai Maritime City.

Source: Shuaa Capital buys out Dubai-based Stanford Marine Group's Dh1.13 billion debt | Banking – Gulf News

Frenzied retail buying catapults equity benchmarks to records. A handful of mega-companies dominate, drawing daily warnings about nosebleed valuations. Suddenly a rotation takes hold, reviving left-behind industries while crushing the broader market. The 2021 setup in stocks? Maybe. They are the same circumstances investors faced two decades ago, when the popping of the dot-com bubble unleashed a protracted swoon in the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100. A less-discussed aspect of that episode is that it became a good time for stock-picking hedge funds, whose ability to navigate three years of volatility could be a blueprint for success today.

Source: Busting the Faang Oligarchy Is Stimulus Active Funds Could Savor - Bloomberg

General Motors Co. Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra plans to provide a peek of upcoming electric vehicles at CES next month and bolster the automaker’s credentials as a rising power in EVs, according to people familiar with the matter. Barra will give the opening keynote address on Jan. 12 for the all-digital expo, formerly known as the Consumer Electronics Show. She plans to explain how electrification is a necessary step to address environmental and societal change and how GM is ready to play a central role, said the people, who asked not to be named. In addition to Barra’s address, GM will show a video at CES featuring its latest technology and preview some concept vehicles, including a plug-in Chevrolet pick-up, some Cadillac models and vehicles for other brands, the people said. Company President Mark Reuss also will speak about the carmaker’s EV strategy.


Marston's is to take over the running of Brains pubs in a bid to save 1,300 jobs in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. The pub operator will take over the running of all 156 of the brewer's pubs, mainly in Wales. Brains said restrictions during the pandemic had put the business under "significant financial pressure". Chief executive Alistair Darby said the long-term agreement safeguarded 1,300 pub jobs. Under the agreement, Marston's will pay rent for the entire estate but keep the Brains name while running the pubs as a tenant.

Source: Covid: Marston's to run Brains pubs, saving 1,300 jobs - BBC News

China has launched an antitrust investigation into Alibaba (BABA) as it steps up scrutiny of the country's rapidly growing internet firms. The State Administration for Market Regulation, China's top market regulator, said Thursday that it would probe alleged monopolistic behavior by Alibaba, Jack Ma's online shopping and cloud computing giant. It gave few details but said it would investigate the company's practice of requiring merchants to sign agreements that prevent them selling products on rival platforms, known as "choosing one from two." Separately, the People's Bank of China announced that the country's four financial regulators will summon Ant Group, Alibaba's financial affiliate, to a meeting in the coming days. The meeting would "guide Ant Group" to implement financial supervision and regulate its services, the central bank said in a statement.

Source: Alibaba stock slumps as China launches antitrust investigation - CNN

The west coast’s famous fried chicken has made its way to foreign shores, as one of Saudi Arabia’s most popular fast-food brands Albaik opens two new branches in the kingdom of Bahrain. The company originally made the announcement in November of 2018 via Twitter. “In line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, which encouraged local businesses to expand internationally, Albaik was able to sign a lease for the first branch of the restaurant in the Kingdom of Bahrain,” the statement said. The two new branches are located in Sultan Mall, and at the Bahrain International Airport. While the Sultan Mall branch is officially open for business, the chain announced on Twitter that the airport location would be open soon.

Source: Albaik fried chicken opens first branches outside Saudi Arabia (

Robotics start-up Nuro plans to start its driverless delivery operations as early as next year. It previously tested its R2 vehicles in the state in April, but the permit will let it charge people for its service. The firm's vehicles will be limited to 35mph (56km/h), and will be restricted to operating in "fair weather" conditions. “Issuing the first deployment permit is a significant milestone in the evolution of autonomous vehicles in California,” said California Department of Motor Vehicles director Steve Gordon. “We will continue to keep the safety of the motoring public in mind as this technology develops.” Nuro was founded by two former Google engineers and has funding from Japanese firm Softbank.