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British Airways staff at London’s Heathrow vote to strike over pay

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: British Airways planes are seen at the Heathrow Airport in London, Britain, July 17, 2020. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

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LONDON (Reuters) – British Airways staff at London’s Heathrow voted on Thursday in favour of a strike for better pay, threatening disruption at Britain’s busiest airport during an already chaotic summer for air travellers.

The GMB union said 95% of those British Airways (BA) staff at Heathrow airport who voted chose to carry out a strike after BA failed to meet their demands for a 10% pay cut imposed during the pandemic to be rolled back. Around 700 workers had been balloted, of which 80% voted.

Dates for the strike are likely to be during the peak summer holiday period, GMB said. Workers must give two weeks’ notice to BA before carrying out any strike.

Air passengers across Europe have already faced delays and cancellations of hundreds of flights in recent weeks as airports struggle to cope with a shortage of trained staff and strong post-pandemic demand.

Any strike by Heathrow staff is likely to add to the pressure.

Representatives for British Airways, owned by International Consolidated Airlines Group (LON:ICAG), did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

“BA have tried to offer our members crumbs from the table in the form of a 10 per cent one off bonus payment, but this doesn’t cut the mustard,” GMB National Officer Nadine Houghton said in a statement.

“GMB members at Heathrow have suffered untold abuse as they deal with the travel chaos caused by staff shortages and IT failures.”

Meanwhile, demand for air travel showed little sign of slowing as Heathrow separately on Thursday raised its forecast for annual passenger numbers to 54.4 million from 53 million previously.

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China Evergrande says winding-up lawsuit won’t impact restructuring

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© Reuters. The Evergrande Center of China Evergrande Group is seen amid other buildings in Shanghai, China, September 24, 2021. REUTERS/Aly Song

By Clare Jim and Sameer Manekar

Hong Kong (Reuters) -China Evergrande Group, the world’s most indebted property developer, on Tuesday said it will “vigorously” oppose a winding-up lawsuit filed against it, and that the petition will not impact its restructuring plan or timetable.

Evergrande confirmed the filing by investment holding firm Top Shine Global Ltd in Hong Kong for not fulfilling a financial obligation of HK$862.5 million ($109.91 million).

The developer has over $300 billion in liabilities and defaulted on its offshore debt last year. It expects to announce a preliminary restructuring plan by the end of July.

In a stock exchange filing on Tuesday, it said, if wound up, any disposition of property directly held, including assets and shares, will be void unless the court grants a validation order.

In such a scenario, it said, any transfer of shares by shareholders or potential investors on or after June 24, when the petition was filed, would be void.

Trading of Evergrande shares has been suspended since March 21 as the firm was unable to publish financial results on time, and because unit Evergrande Property Services Group Ltd said it was is investigating how banks seized 13.4 billion yuan ($2.00 billion) in deposits that had been pledged as security for third-party guarantees.

On Monday, a Top Shine executive told Reuters his firm filed the petition because Evergrande had not honoured an agreement to repurchase shares it bought in Fangchebao (FCB), Evergrande’s online real estate and automobile marketplace.

The executive said Top Shine bought 0.46% of FCB for HK$750 million in March last year ahead of an initial public offering (IPO), and that Evergrande agreed to repurchase the shares with a 15% premium if an IPO did not materialise by April 8, 2022.

($1 = 7.8472 Hong Kong dollars)

($1 = 6.6969 Chinese yuan renminbi)

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Toshiba board gains two directors from activist hedge funds

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Toshiba logos are pictured at Toshiba Corp’s annual general meeting with its shareholders in Tokyo, Japan, June 25, 2021. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo

TOKYO (Reuters) -Toshiba Corp shareholders endorsed two board directors from activist hedge fund investors at its annual general meeting on Tuesday – an inclusion that is expected to add momentum to its exploration of potential buyout deals.

Nabeel Bhanji, a senior portfolio manager at Elliott Management, and Eijiro Imai, managing director at Farallon Capital Management were elected, as was Akihiro Watanabe, an executive from boutique U.S. investment bank Houlihan Lokey (NYSE:HLI), who becomes chairman of its board.

All in all, seven new board directors were appointed and six were reappointed.

The appointments of Bhanji and Imai were not without controversy with one board member publicly expressing concern that the board may become too skewed towards the input of activist investors.

Toshiba (OTC:TOSYY) said this month it had received eight initial buyout proposals to go private as well as two proposals for capital alliances that would see it remain listed.

Sources have told Reuters that at least one bidder is considering offering up to 7,000 yen per share to take the company private, valuing a potential deal at up to $22 billion.

Toshiba’s shares closed at 5,707 yen on Monday, up 21% since the end of the year and giving it a market value of $18 billion.

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Asian Stocks Down as Oil Rises on Tight Supply Concerns

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© Reuters

By Zhang Mengying

Investing.com – Asia Pacific stocks were mostly down on Tuesday morning after Wall Street fell and oil prices rose on tight supply concerns.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 edged up 0.16% by 10:31 PM ET (2:31 AM GMT).

South Korea’s KOSPI fell 0.30%.

In Australia, the ASX 200 rose 0.23%.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was down 1.01%

China’s Shanghai Composite was down 0.49% while the Shenzhen Component was down 0.38%. To boost the recovery from COVID-19 disruption, People’s Bank of China Governor Yi Gang vowed to maintain the supportive monetary policy.

The SS&P 500 fell 0.30%, tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 fell 0.81%. U.S. Treasuries yield hovered around 3.19%.

Crude rose past $110 per barrel as supply remained tight over lost Russian supply amid sanctions on Russian oil exports. Adding to the supply concerns, Libya and Ecuador flagged potential output cuts on political unrest.

The Group of Seven (G7) leaders are set to discuss the means to tackle rising energy prices. They are considering a possible price cap on Russian crude and oil product exports at the same time while reducing the damage to economies.

“A seam of tight supply news bolstered the (oil) market,” Commonwealth Bank of Australia (OTC:CMWAY) analysts said in a research note.

“Political unrest might curtail supply from a couple of second-tier producers, Ecuador and Libya. And then there’s the G7’s proposed price cap on Russian oil.”

Earnings revisions are a risk with the US economy set to slow next year, though China emerging from COVID strictures could act as a buffer for the world economy, according to Bloomberg, quoting Lorraine Tan, Morningstar director of equity research.

“You got a US slowdown in 2023 in terms of growth, but you have China hopefully coming out of its lockdowns,” Tan told Bloomberg.

The European Central Bank (ECB) President Christine Lagarde, U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, the Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey, and Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester due to speak at the ECB event this Wednesday.

In Asia-Pacific, China’s purchasing managers index is due on Thursday.

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