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Exclusive-Pension fund Caisse weighs protest vote over lack of francophone directors at CN Rail-source

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Trains are seen in the yard at the CN Rail Brampton Intermodal Terminal after Teamsters Canada union workers and Canadian National Railway Co. failed to resolve contract issues, in Brampton, Ontario, Canada November 19, 2019. REUTERS/Mark Blin

By Allison Lampert and Simon Jessop

MONTREAL/LONDON (Reuters) – Canada’s second-largest pension fund is considering withholding support from certain Canadian National Railway (TSX:CNR) Co directors at an upcoming annual meeting over French-speaking representation on the company’s board, a source familiar with the matter said.

Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec is weighing the protest vote, after denouncing an earlier move in April by Canada’s biggest railroad operator that would have left its board without any local, native French-speaking directors.

Montreal-based Caisse, which is CN’s tenth biggest shareholder, declined to disclose its voting intentions ahead of the railway’s May 20 annual general meeting.

CN declined comment. The source declined to be identified as the discussions are confidential.

In late April, after concerns were raised over language, CN’s board said it would appoint a francophone and Quebec-based director “in the coming months,” to replace former provincial premier Jean Charest, who is bilingual.

Caisse had also privately mentioned board representation to shareholder TCI Fund Management Ltd which owns just over 5% of CN shares according to Eikon Refinitiv data. TCI declined comment.

Stock Markets

Hyundai Motor Group to invest more than $10 billion in U.S. up to 2025

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3/3

© Reuters. Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Euisun Chung delivers remarks along with U.S. President Joe Biden on the automaker’s decision to build a new electric vehicle and battery manufacturing facility in Savannah, Georgia, as Biden ends his visit to Seoul, South K

2/3

By Heekyong Yang

SEOUL (Reuters) -Hyundai Motor Group said on Sunday it would invest an additional $5 billion in the United States by 2025 to strengthen collaboration with U.S. firms in advanced technology.

The investments, announced during a visit to Seoul by President Joe Biden, are for robotics, urban air mobility, autonomous driving and artificial intelligence, the group said.

Hyundai Motor Group, which houses Hyundai Motor Co and Kia Corp, on Friday announced plans to invest $5.5 billion in Georgia to build electric vehicle (EV) and battery facilities.

The new investment brings its planned U.S. total through 2025 to about $10 billion, above the $7.4 billion it announced last year.

The world’s third-biggest automaker by vehicles sales did not say where in the United States the additional $5 billion would be invested.

“Thanks to Hyundai, we are being part of this transformative automobile sector and accelerating us on a road where we’re going to be handing to United States of all electric future,” Biden told a news conference.

Standing next to him after a meeting, Hyundai Motor Group executive chair Euisun Chung said, “I am confident that this new plant in Georgia will help us become a leader in the America automobile industry with regards to building high quality electric vehicles for our U.S. customers.”

Hyundai’s new EV and battery manufacturing facilities will be based in the southern “right to work” state, where labour unions are less prevalent and cannot require workers to join.

Biden, a Democrat, has described himself as the most pro-union president in history. But the deal, announced by Georgia’s Republican governor, showed the compromises the president may have to make as he woos investment overseas.

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Analysis-Tesla brand threatened by Musk harassment claim, criticism of Democrats

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3/3

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks about new Autopilot features during a Tesla event in Palo Alto, California October 14, 2015. REUTERS/Beck Diefenbach

2/3

By Hyunjoo Jin and Paul Lienert

(Reuters) – Elon Musk has made a name for himself and Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) by breaking the rules, but the billionaire’s latest comments on politics and a claim of sexual harassment against him that he said is untrue may hurt the brand in the eyes of some car owners and employees.

Musk on Thursday denied a report by Business Insider that he sexually harassed a flight attendant on a private jet in 2016, calling the person who made the claim a liar.

The previous day, the Tesla chief executive, in the midst of a contentious effort to buy Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR), said he would now vote Republican instead of Democrat and called the Democrats a “party of division and hate.”

Tesla also was cut this week from the widely followed S&P 500 ESG Index, which an index executive said was due to issues including claims of racial discrimination within the company and crashes linked to its vehicles.

Musk responded by calling such ratings around environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues a “scam,” and questioned how the index could drop an electric car firm while adding oil and gas producers.

Tesla could not immediately be reached to comment.

While Musk has made attention-grabbing headlines before – once calling one critic a “pedo guy” on Twitter – the latest controversies again raise the question whether his outspokenness will tarnish his likeability. And – since Musk is so closely tied to Tesla – whether that will that hurt the carmaker’s sales, especially in California.

The left-leaning state is Tesla’s largest market, accounting for nearly 40% of the company’s U.S. retail registrations last year, according to Experian (OTC:EXPGF) data. Tesla sales in California were up almost 70% in the year and it had a 6.5% share of all vehicles in the state, according to the California New Car Dealers Association.

#BoycottTesla was trending on Twitter on Friday and several people claimed they were canceling their car orders.

“In the past, I admired him for working to build a green business that’s transformational in energy use. But he is sadly becoming divisive as an attention seeking troll and I no longer trust that he is dedicated to the quality of his products. I will cancel my Tesla order,” said J Yeh, a Twitter user who describes herself as a lawyer who has lived in several cities including Los Angeles.

“You lost a potential customer,” a Twitter user named Ute Bauer from Germany said, adding in German: “To anyone reading this, cancel your orders.”

Reuters was unable to confirm if any Tesla orders had been canceled.

Many institutional investors may stand by Musk no matter what given the company’s strong performance, but that doesn’t mean some aren’t frustrated.

“They’re doing a lot of good things,” said Taylor Ogan, CEO of Snow Bull Capital, which owns Tesla shares. “It’s just disappointing when that is tainted by Elon Musk’s antics. Elon Musk is the best thing for Tesla and the worst thing for Tesla.”

One Tesla employee, who asked not to be identified, voiced frustration that Musk’s efforts outside Tesla appeared to be hurting the carmaker’s stock. “The company needs to do something to address the issue,” he said.

On Friday, Tesla shares dropped almost 9%, knocking about $66 billion off of Tesla’s stock market value and putting the stock at its lowest level since last August, with analysts citing “distraction risks” from the Twitter deal. Musk assured people on Thursday Tesla was constantly on his mind.

If discussion around water coolers at work focused on the sexual harassment claim against Musk rather than Tesla products, the end result could be “corrosive” for the Tesla brand, said John Smith, a former group vice president at GM who ran global product planning.

Tesla and SpaceX employees also could become “a little bit rattled and angry” because of Musk’s anti-Democratic party comments as technology company staff in California tend to be more liberal, said Jason Stomel, founder of tech talent agency Cadre.

Bill Nelson, administrator of NASA, which relies on Musk’s SpaceX to fly its astronauts to space, told Reuters on Thursday that Musk has a strong team of executives at the spacecraft maker and the agency’s partnership with the company was “going without a hitch.”

And Musk still has plenty of fans online. Twitter user @JVega103 said he was a Republican who owned a Tesla and just signed up for Tesla solar panels. “Thanks for everything you do,” the user tweeted.

That left some industry observers wondering whether Musk and Tesla would simply shake off these latest controversies, as they have in the past.

“Is Elon Musk now crazy, or crazy like a fox? He has earned the benefit of the doubt as he is often playing chess when the rest of us are playing checkers,” Northwestern (NASDAQ:NWE) University professor Erik Qualman said. “As Musk himself on ‘Saturday Night Live’ famously stated, ‘What, did you think I would be normal?'”

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Stock Markets

Hyundai Motor Group to invest $5 billion in U.S. up to 2025

Published

on

3/3

© Reuters. Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Euisun Chung delivers remarks along with U.S. President Joe Biden on the automaker’s decision to build a new electric vehicle and battery manufacturing facility in Savannah, Georgia, as Biden ends his visit to Seoul, South K

2/3

By Heekyong Yang

SEOUL (Reuters) -Hyundai Motor Group said on Sunday it would invest an additional $5 billion in the United States by 2025 to strengthen collaboration with U.S. firms in advanced technology.

The investments, announced during a visit to Seoul by President Joe Biden, are for robotics, urban air mobility, autonomous driving and artificial intelligence, the group said.

Hyundai Motor Group, which houses Hyundai Motor Co and Kia Corp, on Friday announced plans to invest $5.5 billion in Georgia to build electric vehicle (EV) and battery facilities.

The new investment brings its planned U.S. total through 2025 to about $10 billion, above the $7.4 billion it announced last year.

The world’s third-biggest automaker by vehicles sales did not say where in the United States the additional $5 billion would be invested.

“Thanks to Hyundai, we are being part of this transformative automobile sector and accelerating us on a road where we’re going to be handing to United States of all electric future,” Biden told a news conference.

Standing next to him after a meeting, Hyundai Motor Group executive chair Euisun Chung said, “I am confident that this new plant in Georgia will help us become a leader in the America automobile industry with regards to building high quality electric vehicles for our U.S. customers.”

Hyundai’s new EV and battery manufacturing facilities will be based in the southern “right to work” state, where labour unions are less prevalent and cannot require workers to join.

Biden, a Democrat, has described himself as the most pro-union president in history. But the deal, announced by Georgia’s Republican governor, showed the compromises the president may have to make as he woos investment overseas.

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