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VinFast parts ways with four top executives as it readies expansion

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A VinFast electric SUV VF8 model is displayed at a store which the Vietnamese automaker plans to open in Santa Monica, California, U.S., May 23, 2022. REUTERS/David Swanson

By Phuong Nguyen and Norihiko Shirouzu

(Reuters) – Four senior executives at Vietnam’s VinFast have left the electric vehicle startup as it prepares to launch its first overseas model and roll out a network of showrooms in the United States and Europe, the company said.

The recent round of departures comes as VinFast prepares to start construction of a $4-billion factory in North Carolina, open its first showrooms in California, moves toward a potential initial public offering of shares and seeks financing from the U.S. government.

The executives who have left are Emmanuel Bret, deputy chief executive officer for global sales; Franck Euvrard, deputy CEO for product development; Hong Bae, deputy CEO for vehicle technology development and Bruno Tavares, who had been chief finance officer, the company said.

A spokesman for VinFast, a unit of conglomerate Vingroup, said it had “ended labour contracts” with the four with their consent. It said two of the executives, whom it did not name, had resigned for personal reasons.

“All of them agreed to end their contracts in legal terms,” the company said in a statement to Reuters. “Adjustment in human resources is a common business practice around the world. VinFast is no exception.”

Bret, a former BMW executive, had joined VinFast in January in Hanoi and was charged with rolling out the company’s planned overseas sales network. He was among the executives who represented VinFast at the New York auto show in April when it showed off prototypes of its VF8 and VF9 electric SUVs.

Euvrard, who joined VinFast in January from Tata Technologies, had been charged with developing VinFast’s all EV product line-up.

Hong Bae, a veteran of Samsung Electronics (OTC:SSNLF), Faraday Future and Fisker, joined VinFast last July.

None of the executives could be reached for comment.

BETTING ON U.S. MARKET

A memo from the office of VinFast Chief Executive Le Thi Thu Thuy seen by Reuters said all of the executives had been released from employment for a range of causes related to the quality of their work.

A company spokesman said that memo had not been properly reviewed and had been withdrawn.

Huy Chieu, a former GM engineer, who joined VinFast in November last year had been promoted to lead its EV development efforts after leading the work on the VF8, a separate memo seen by Reuters said. The same memo said the company had chief engineers for two planned, future models that have not made it to prototype, the VF5 and VF6.

VinFast confirmed that the appointments detailed in the memo had taken place. Chieu could not be reached for comment.

Thuy took over as VinFast CEO in December after the resignation of German executive Michael Lohscheller, who quit as CEO of the Stellantis brand Opel to lead VinFast. Lohscheller resigned for personal reasons, the company said.

VinFast has had three CEOs since its founding in 2017.

VinFast, which began production in 2019, is betting big on the U.S. market, where it hopes to compete with legacy automakers and startups with two all-electric SUVs and a battery leasing model that will reduce the purchase price.

VinFast has promised to create 7,500 jobs at its planned plant in North Carolina, where it will build the battery-powered VF8 and the larger and more expensive VF9.

It plans to begin exporting the two electric vehicles to the United States later this year from its existing plant in Vietnam.

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Easing chip shortages to help Volkswagen in H2 – CEO

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Volkswagen logo is pictured at the 2022 New York International Auto Show, in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., April 13, 2022. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

BERLIN (Reuters) – Volkswagen (ETR:VOWG_p) sees a strong second half of 2022 and expects progress in catching up with rival Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) as easing chip shortages start to offset supply chain bottlenecks and rising costs, the carmaker’s CEO said on Tuesday.

“We are earning more than ever,” Chief Executive Herbert Diess said at a works meeting, adding Volkswagen is ramping up electric vehicle volumes in its biggest markets in Germany and China thanks to easing semiconductor shortages.

This should allow the carmaker to narrow the Volkswagen-Tesla gap this year and meet its goal of becoming market leader by 2025 if it seizes the moment while the U.S. electric car maker burns cash on large investments, the CEO said.

“Elon (Musk) has to ramp up two highly complex factories in Austin and Gruenheide at the same time – as well as expand production in Shanghai. That’s going to take strength out of him,” Diess said.

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Reliance Chairman Mukesh Ambani steps down as director of telecom arm

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director of Reliance Industries, arrives to address the company’s annual general meeting in Mumbai, India July 5, 2018. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas

BENGALURU (Reuters) – Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani has stepped down as director of Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd, the conglomerate’s telecom arm said on Tuesday.

Reliance Jio said https://refini.tv/3Nrs773 it has appointed Mukesh’s son and non-executive director Akash Ambani as the chairman of its board. Akash has been involved with the telecom unit since its launch in late 2016, where he started as a director.

India’s telecoms sector had been upended after the entry of Jio, which triggered a price war that forced some rivals out of the market and turned profits into losses.

Jio, which started out offering mobile teleservices, has been aggressively investing in services like internet broadband and forging ties with handset makers to launch low-cost smartphones and providing 5G services.

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UBS Downgrades Ebay, Farfetch to Neutral on Guidance Risks

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© Reuters. UBS Downgrades Ebay (EBAY), Farfetch (FTCH) to Neutral on Guidance Risks

By Senad Karaahmetovic

UBS analyst Kunal Madhukar downgraded shares of Farfetch (NYSE:FTCH) and eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) to Neutral from Buy.

EBAY shares are cut alongside the price target (to $48.00 from $60.00 per share) despite low expectations. Still, the analyst expects 2022 GMV to fall by 17%, which is worse than the guidance of 16%-14% and the Street’s consensus of 15%.

“We think the buy side may already be lower than the Street. YTD, the stock has been one of the better performers within the eCommerce space, benefiting from both a ~2% dividend yield and aggressive share repurchases. However, when the market rebounds, we think EBAY shares could lag smaller cap peers (which are likely to grow much faster in a recovery) until investors have better visibility into organic growth at eBay. Consequently, we think the shares likely will remain range-bound until visibility improves,” Madhukar told clients in a note.

The price target on Farfetch shares goes to $10.00 from the prior $13.00 as Madhukar sees too optimistic assumptions for growth from the side of the company’s management.

“In addition to slower growth, we think upside is limited by lack of visibility into key drivers of value, including FPS volumes and economics, as well as on China. Granted, the YNAP deal could be a positive catalyst (link), but if the disclosure is limited (like with the recent deal with Neiman Marcus Group or NMG), it may be challenging for investors to understand if it creates shareholder value or not. Last, FTCH remains a profitless-tech company in an environment where investors are acutely focused on profits, and thus, there is limited valuation support,” the analyst added.

Similar to eBay, Madhukar sees shares remaining “range-bound until we have better visibility into growth and/or the path to profitability.”

Shares of eBay and Farfetch are down 2.4% and 2.2%, respectively, in pre-market Tuesday.

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