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Industry Update

Emirates airline on Sunday announced key management changes in its Dubai hub and across markets in the Far East, West Asia and Africa. As part of the changes, five Emirati commercial managers will be placed in key positions across the airlines’ network to support its commercial strategies as it responds to “shifting market dynamics and navigates the complex challenges posed by the global pandemic.” “We are sharpening our focus further and placing extremely capable leaders with diverse experiences to help drive commercial initiatives that stimulate demand and maximize revenue opportunities and margin performance,” said Adnan Kazim, Emirates’ Chief Commercial Officer, in a statement. The changes will come into effect on January 1, the airline said in a statement.

Source: Emirates makes management changes to “navigate” pandemic challenges | Aviation – Gulf News

Robinhood Markets drew millions of users to investing with a colorful app that makes trading seem empowering instead of intimidating. Robinhood exposed Massachusetts investors to “unnecessary trading risks” by “falling far short of the fiduciary standard” that requires broker-dealers to act in their clients’ best interests, according to a 23-page administrative complaint from the office of Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin. It focuses on the tactics that Robinhood employs to keep consumers engaged, alleging that it encourages them to use the platform through what it calls “gamification.” One Robinhood customer with no investment experience made more than 12,700 trades in just over six months, according to the complaint.

Source: Robinhood Accused of ‘Gamification’ of Trading by Massachusetts Regulator - Bloomberg

Abu Dhabi shareholders have signed off on another mega merger - this one involves the National Petroleum Construction Company and National Marine Dredging Company. The latter's shareholders have now voted in favour of the move. Now, the General Holding Corporation PJSC (or 'Senaat' as it's known) and other minority shareholders in NPCC would transfer their stakes to NMDC. NPCC is into engineering, procurement and construction services for the offshore and onshore oil and gas sector. Khalifa Sultan Al Suwaidi, Chairman of Senaat, said: “The transaction will create one of the largest and most diversified EPC players in the region, and the complementary nature of the businesses provides a strong platform to capture growth opportunities."

Source: Abu Dhabi signs off on another mega merger in energy services sector | Energy – Gulf News

French corporate and investment banking company Natixis has expanded its operations into Saudi Arabia in order to mediate between international investors and regional borrowers who want to focus on more sustainable and environmentally friendly ways of doing business.
While the company has had a presence in the Middle East for over 20 years, it was awarded a license to operate in the Kingdom by the Capital Market Authority in May this year.
Barbara Riccardi, the company’s regional head in the Middle East, said it was an obvious move as the Kingdom is “one of the largest contributors” to the region’s economy.

Source: French green bank expands into Saudi Arabia (

Apple Inc. said it’s placing a supplier in India on probation after lapses in labor practices led to rioting, and will hold off giving new orders to Wistron Corp. until the problems are fixed. Preliminary investigations showed the Taiwanese company, the first Apple supplier to produce iPhones in India, failed to implement proper working hour management processes which led to payment delays for some workers in October and November, Apple said in a statement on Saturday. Earlier this month, Wistron workers at a plant in Narasapura near Bengaluru rioted over unpaid wages, with many arrested for violence and vandalism. They damaged property and looted thousands of iPhones and laptops, according to local media.

Source: Apple to Suspend New Orders to Wistron After India Workers Riot - Bloomberg

When Tesla officially joins the S&P 500 on Monday, Elon Musk's electric car company will instantly become the top performing stock in the index for 2020. Shares of Tesla (TSLA) are up nearly 700% so far this year, more than double 2020's current top performer on the index. The stock has surged almost 65% since the mid-November announcement of its S&P 500 inclusion. The second best performing stock in the S&P 500 this year is also a recent addition. E-commerce firm Etsy (ETSY), which joined the index in September, is up about 325% for the year. Carrier Group, a spinoff of United Technologies following that company's merger with Raytheon, is up about 225%. Chip giants Nvidia (NVDA) and AMD (AMD), PayPal (PYPL) and Bath & Body Works and Victoria's Secret owner L Brands (LB) have all more than doubled this year too.

Source: Tesla will immediately become 2020's top S&P 500 stock. It's not even close - CNN

Coca-Cola is to cut about 2,200 jobs in its global workforce as part of a restructuring plan. The soft drinks giant's restructure has been accelerated by the coronavirus pandemic which has seen the widespread closure of venues where Coke is sold. The bulk of the layoffs will be in the US, where it will shed 1,200 jobs. At the end of 2019, Coca-Cola had around 86,000 employees but faces pressure on its revenues which have been hammered by the pandemic. About half of Coca-Cola's sales typically comes from consumers drinking its beverages away from home. Social restrictions to curb the spread of the virus have led to widespread closures of bars, restaurants, cinemas and sports stadiums where its drinks are sold. In August, Coke said it would offer 4,000 workers in the US, Canada and Puerto Rico voluntary layoff packages. Coke expects the job cuts to result in annual savings of between $350 million and $550 million, a spokesman for the company said.

Source: Coronavirus: Coca-Cola restructuring cuts 2,200 jobs worldwide - BBC News

Two days after one of his employees mistakenly approved a $900 million payment to a group of Revlon Inc. lenders, Citigroup Inc. executive Vincent Farrell was looking to report some good news about the bank’s recovery effort. “Quick update, just crossed the 100MM mark,” Farrell, head of North American loan operations, said in an instant message to his boss. “Good,” Brendan Zeigon, who oversees global loan operations and credit risk management services, messaged back. “I would love to get to 200.” The two were in a fix. An executive was “on a war path” over the error -- one of the biggest in the industry in recent memory -- which happened as Citigroup was trying to make a periodic interest payment. Instead the bank wound up sending the creditors the full amount they were owed, more than 100 times what it intended to distribute. And, as administrative agent on the loan, it had come out of its own pocket.

Source: Citigroup Execs Tried to ‘Lessen the Pain’ of $900 Million Error - Bloomberg

The normalization of relations between the UAE and Israel has opened huge opportunities for businesses and financial institutions from both countries to cooperate, Dov Kotler, CEO of Bank Hapoalim told Gulf News in a recent interview in Dubai. Founded almost 100 years ago, Bank Hapoalim is a household brand for consumer and corporate lending and has one of the largest retail branch network in the country. Bank Hapoalim has been in the forefront to establishing ties with UAE banks and financial institutions following the normalization of relations between the two countries. The Israeli bank entered to agreements with two the leading UAE banks such as the First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) and Emirates NBD in early September this year.

Source: Israel’s Bank Hapoalim sees huge opportunities for UAE - Israel banking cooperation | Banking – Gulf News

Britain’s AstraZeneca has agreed to buy US drug maker Alexion Pharmaceuticals for $39 billion in cash and shares to bolster its positions in immunology and rare diseases. AstraZeneca, one of the frontrunners in the drug industry’s search for a COVID-19 vaccine, said on Saturday that Alexion shareholders would receive $60 in cash and about $115 worth of equity, either in London-traded ordinary shares or in dollar-denominated American Depositary Shares. Based on a reference average ADR price of $54.14, that implies a total price of $175 per share. Alexion shares closed at around $121 apiece on Friday. “This acquisition allows us to enhance our presence in immunology,” AstraZeneca Chief Executive Pascal Soriot said in a statement. “Alexion has established itself as a leader in complement biology, bringing life-changing benefits to patients with rare diseases.”

Source: AstraZeneca to buy Alexion for $39 billion (