News Archive

"The 30% m/m decline in net (copper) imports … seems alarming on first glance"

China’s net imports of copper fell 30% month on month as a result of seasonality but rose 10.3% year on year, Barclays analyst Dane Davis said in a note this week.

“Although the 30% m/m decline in net imports, to 184kt in October from 264kt in September, seems alarming on first glance, the retreat is attributable to a typical seasonal slowdown around the National Holiday in China,” Davis said.

“With the October numbers in, YTD net imports of refined copper total 2,312kt, an 11% y/y decline from the same period in 2016 (2,607kt).

“We attribute that to the rise of domestic smelting capacity (and, thus, more concentrate imports) instead of a drop in overall copper consumption.”

Overall imports were up 4% y/y for October which Davis acknowledged was not an impressive result, but better than the monthly data suggested.

Meanwhile, the copper price breached US$7,000 a tonne for the first time in a month earlier this week on strike action at copper mines in South America.

The Peru strike situation has been described as confusing with Southern Copper (US:SCCO) and the unions involved providing mixed messages about the impact of the ongoing action, Bloomberg reported today.

And in Chile, Escondida’s main union, Sindicato No 1, told its members yesterday there had been “developing” discussions with the company following last week’s 24-hour strike and meetings would be held later this week to decide “corresponding steps and actions”.

In a translated statement, the union said it had filed a complaint of anti-union practice against the company for “letters of admonition” to the workers who went on strike.

Article source:

Uber-Waymo trial delayed as U.S. judge raises prospect of ‘cover-up’

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Uber Technologies Inc withheld evidence in a lawsuit filed by Alphabet Inc’s Waymo, a U.S. judge said on Tuesday, delaying a trial to give Waymo time to review a letter alleging that Uber trained employees to steal trade secrets and hide their tracks.

The multibillion-dollar case, in which Waymo has accused Uber of stealing confidential information about its self-driving car designs, has hobbled Uber’s autonomous vehicle ambitions. It is the highest-stakes legal challenge on a lengthy list of litigation that Uber’s chief executive, Dara Khosrowshahi, inherited when he joined the company in August.

Tuesday’s hearing centered on a 37-page letter from a lawyer for former Uber security analyst Richard Jacobs, which Uber did not show Waymo as both sides prepared their cases. The letter turned up last week when U.S. District Judge William Alsup was informed of it by the U.S. Department of Justice, days before the trial was set to begin. The discovery led Alsup to issue a new order for Uber to compel Jacobs to appear in court.

Uber’s not turning over the letter months ago when the company was asked to gather such documents raised the judge’s ire, setting up one of the most heated hearings in the case to date.

“I can’t trust anything you say because it’s been proven wrong so many times,” Alsup told Uber at the hearing. “You’re just making the impression that this is a total cover-up.”

Alsup agreed to Waymo’s request to delay the jury trial scheduled for next week, saying in federal court in San Francisco that “if even half of what this letter says is true it would be a huge injustice to force Waymo to go to trial” as planned.

It was the second time the judge has agreed to delay a trial at Waymo’s request. In October, he chided Uber lawyers for disclosing thousands of emails to Waymo just before the trial had been set to begin..

Jacobs, who was fired from his job at Uber in April but still works for the company as a consultant, testified on Tuesday about the contents of the letter. The letter said an organization within Uber called marketplace analytics “exists expressly for the purpose for acquiring trade secrets, code base and competitive intelligence.”

In his testimony, Jacobs described an elaborate intelligence operation inside Uber to deliberately research competitors and gather data about them, and use technology to avoid a paper trail.

“I did not believe it was patently legal,” Jacobs said. “I had questions about the ethics of it.”

Uber employees involved in researching rivals were given training with the purpose to “impede, obstruct or influence any lawsuit against Uber,” Jacobs said, including a communication strategy to ensure Uber did not create a paper trail that could come back to haunt the company in any “anticipated litigation.”

The strategy included using ephemeral messaging apps such as Wickr and laptops and wireless internet devices that could not be traced back to the user, Jacobs said. Some Uber employees also used separate servers from the rest of the business, he said, and invented attorney-client privileges to keep communications secret. Uber also relied on as many as 10 outside security vendors.

Jacobs said he learned of this activity primarily through discussions at Uber involving his manager and other colleagues.

Jacobs, however, disagreed with a portion of the letter his attorney had written on his behalf that asserted a team of Uber employees stole trade secrets from Waymo.

“None of the testimony today changes the merits of the case. Jacobs himself said on the stand today that he was not aware of any Waymo trade secrets being stolen,” an Uber spokeswoman said.

Another former Uber security analyst, Ed Russo, testified Tuesday and rebuffed Jacobs’ claims that he was a key figure in Uber’s effort to recruit insiders at competitors to steal confidential information and instruct Uber staff to keep their communications covert.

“It’s never been our role or my role to engage in the theft of trade secrets,” Russo said. “That’s false.”

Waymo sued Uber in February, claiming that former Waymo executive Anthony Levandowski downloaded more than 14,000 confidential files before leaving to set up a self-driving truck company, called Otto, which Uber acquired soon after.

Uber has denied using any of Waymo’s trade secrets. Levandowski has declined to answer questions about the allegations, citing constitutional protections against self-incrimination. Uber has since fired him.

Waymo has estimated damages in the case at about $1.9 billion and wants to curtail Uber’s self-driving car program, which Waymo says uses its technology. Uber rejects the financial damages claim.

A new date for the trial has not yet been set, but the hearing will resume Wednesday with testimony from Uber’s in-house lawyer, Angela Padilla. Jacobs last May sent Padilla a letter outlining his concerns about Uber’s behavior similar to the letter obtained from the Justice Department.

Waymo has accused Uber of concealing Jacobs’ letter with Padilla.

Jacobs said that he believed Uber fired him because he objected to its practices. After his termination, he and Uber reached a $4.5 million settlement. He has been paid $2 million and will receive another $1 million at the end of his consulting contract, he said. Jacobs received another $1.5 million in Uber stock.

Uber attorneys characterized Jacobs’ letter as an ex-employee seeking money.

“There is not one bit of admissible jury evidence from that witness,” said Arturo Gonzalez of Morrison Foerster.

The ride-hailing service is the most valuable private U.S. company, but its aggressive expansion has been dogged by scandals.

The company revealed last week that the data of 57 million Uber customers and 600,000 drivers had been stolen in a breach more than a year ago, and that Uber had paid two hackers $100,000 to cover it up. Governments across the globe have launched investigations into the incident, and the Illinois Cook County prosecutor and Washington state attorney general have filed lawsuits against Uber for failing to comply with data breach notification laws.

Reporting by Heather Somerville; Writing by Dan Levine, Peter Henderson and Heather Somerville; Editing by Tom Brown and Leslie Adler

Article source:

RESOURCEStocks Q&A: Rob Henderson, Amerigo Resources

RESOURCEStocks: The ARG share price is at its highest level in five years, and well up on a year ago. Notwithstanding a 16.5% increase in the copper price YTD, is that a decent reflection of the progress you have made this year, or has ARG just turned the corner?

Rob Henderson: I believe that investor awareness of Amerigo is improving and our recent Q3 earnings of US$7.9 million demonstrate that we can generate good cash flow at a copper price of US$3.00/lb. Having said that I believe that our market capitalization of about US$150 million is relatively low given that we currently produce 62 million lbs of copper per year. Our investors get 0.4 lbs/yr copper for every dollar of market cap and this is double that of our peers. Our current price-to-earnings ratio is also very low, especially given that we will be increasing our production by 40% next year and reducing our cash costs.

RS: Given the leverage ARG offers to copper pricing, what are you seeing in the crystal ball for the metal in 2018 in terms of price upside?

RH: My crystal ball is a bit cloudy and I see the copper price staying flat in 2018 until the world’s copper supplies cannot meet demand and then the price will go up rapidly. The gurus forecast that this will happen in 2019.

RS: What have you seen in the (copper) market of late that has got your attention/why?

RH: I am seeing more junior financings taking place, more drilling done and more studies being completed. I believe this is a healthy start to the next cycle.

RS: What do revenues/total costs look like over the next six months based on current and/or trending price and cost paths?

RH: Production at our MVC facility in Chile should remain steady at current rates until Q3 next year and then should increase by 40% as our new plant comes on line. We are anticipating some cost inflation next year due to higher fuel and steel prices plus potential increases in the Chilean peso. We think that our cash costs in the second half of the year will be around $1.50/lb and cash costs in the first half of the year will be around $1.80/lb.

RS: What are any other catalysts, or factors, that you see supporting a higher ARG valuation?

RH: The biggest factor by far affecting our valuation is the copper price as this is directly related to our cash generation capability. A second factor is the health of the mining industry in general. I think the investors who abandoned the space five years ago are beginning to return now that industry price-to-earnings ratios are competitive again. For Amerigo, a major milestone expected in 2018 will be the completion of our phase two expansion project. Once the bank’s completion tests are met, Amerigo will be permitted to distribute dividends to our shareholders. We paid US$47 million in dividends over the periods of 2005 to 2008 and 2011 to 2012.

RS: You mentioned earlier this month that purchase orders for all the major equipment to be used in the current expansion (from c60-65Mlbs/yr Cu, to 85-90Mlbs/yr  Cu) had been placed. Do you foresee any issues with delivery schedules given the higher levels of mining/processing capital equipment purchasing activity we are starting to see in the market?

RH: Most of the new equipment is being fabricated in Chile and appears to be well on schedule. Our regrind ball mill is being fabricated offshore and we have been advised that the mill delivery will be at the later end of the scheduled time frame. MVC are making contingency plans to temporarily use their existing regrind ball mill in case the new mill is late.

RS: Any other project delivery risks/mitigation measures?

RH: Just the normal issues of ensuring the work is done safely and efficiently. We are fortunate to have the same team at MVC who delivered the phase one expansion project on time and under budget and they know what they are doing.  

RS: Is there any provision in your agreement with Codelco for higher payments/returns to them if copper reaches a certain (higher) pricing level?

RH: The royalty agreements between MVC and El Teniente are based on a sliding scale percentage of the copper price with upper and lower limits. For Cauquenes, the limits are $1.95/lb and $5.50/lb. If the copper price is outside these levels then the two parties have to agree on the rate to be applied.

RS: What is the view on hedging/locking in some of that stronger pricing, versus maintaining full exposure to rising copper?

RH: We do not have any copper hedges. If we think that copper price volatility is going to increase substantially we would consider purchasing put options which would lock in a floor price and maintain exposure to rising prices. However, this is expensive and we believe that the costs at MVC are robust enough to survive low copper prices as they have managed to do for the last 25 years. We have been patient over the last low price cycle and we intend to fully benefit from the anticipated upcoming high price cycle.


Article source:

AT&T and Time Warner say proposed merger is ‘pro-consumer’

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – ATT Inc (T.N) and Time Warner Inc (TWX.N) argued on Tuesday that their proposed $85.4 billion merger was “pro-competitive” and “pro-consumer”, as they sought to refute U.S. Justice Department allegations that the deal breaks antitrust law.

In a joint court filing, the companies focused on rebutting government efforts to show that ATT, which owns pay-TV provider DirecTV, would raise rates for rival pay-TV companies to use Time Warner’s movies and TV shows.

They also argued that the government was wrong to worry that the deal would hamper the development of online video.

They did not mention President Donald Trump or the White House. Trump has repeatedly criticized Time Warner’s CNN news unit and announced his opposition to the deal before last year’s presidential election, saying it would concentrate too much power in ATT’s hands.

Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal, who is skeptical of the deal, said last week he was nonetheless worried that the antitrust issue was being used for political reasons. Other lawmakers have expressed similar concerns.

The Justice Department last week sued ATT to block its planned acquisition of Time Warner.

In the filing on Tuesday, the companies said that they operate in highly competitive markets which will remain competitive after they close the deal.

They noted that streaming service Netflix (NFLX.O) has 100 million subscribers globally, while tech firms Apple (AAPL.O), Google (GOOGL.O) and Facebook (FB.O) were investing billions of dollars in video. Hulu and Amazon (AMZN.O) were becoming contenders in video distribution, while others, like social messaging company Snapchat (SNAP.N), were starting to enter the market, they added.

“Against this backdrop, the proposed merger of ATT and Time Warner is a pro-competitive, pro-consumer response to an intensely competitive and rapidly changing video marketplace,” the companies said in the filing.

“This transaction presents absolutely no risk of harm to competition or consumers.”

The trial will be heard by Judge Richard Leon at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Leon was nominated to the court by former Republican President George W. Bush and is no stranger to high-profile cases. Leon signed off on the Justice Department’s 2011 deal which allowed Comcast to buy NBC Universal and has heard a number of private antitrust cases. In the 1990s, he worked on House of Representatives panels looking at the Iran-Contra affair and the Whitewater controversy.

Termination date for the deal is April 22, 2018.

Reporting by Diane Bartz, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien

Article source:

Nighthawk intersects 152m at 2.47g/t gold

Hole C17-28 intersected several regions of continuous mineralisation over its entire 780.1m downhole length, with 152m at 2.47g/t gold (uncut), including 34.7m at 4.27g/t; and 185m at 1.13g/t.

“In confirming our model for the zone’s internal higher-grade core, and successfully tracking its continuous mineralisation to great depth, we are quickly developing a blueprint for exploration that we are confident will lead to other exciting discoveries,” president and CEO Michael Byron said.

Sweet start for Manuka

Sweet start for Manuka

Explorer poised for triumph

Explorer poised for triumph

RESOURCEStocks QA: Mustang's Christiaan Jordaan

RESOURCEStocks QA: Mustang’s Christiaan Jordaan

Mustang Resources QA: Christiaan Jordaan

Mustang Resources QA: Christiaan Jordaan

The company has a flow-through expenditure commitment of C$10.4 million for exploration at its Indin Lake property to be completed by the end of 2018.

Colomac has a current inferred resource of 2.1 million ounces with an average grade of 1.64g/t gold.

Shares in the company, which graduated to the TSX in May and had working $27.6 million cash at the end of September, rose 9.68% yesterday to C68c, capitalising it over $128 million.

Article source:

More U.S. shoppers than expected kick off holiday spending season

CHICAGO (Reuters) – More than 174 million U.S. shoppers made purchases over Thanksgiving weekend and Cyber Monday, the National Retail Federation said on Tuesday, beating the industry group’s expectations and signaling a strong start to the holiday quarter.

The NRF, which had estimated about 164 million shoppers, attributed the even stronger turnout to better technology and discounting, low unemployment, rising consumer confidence and good weather across the country.

“The climate was right, literally and figuratively, for consumers to tackle their holiday shopping lists online and in stores,” NRF Chief Executive Matthew Shay said on a media call.

The holiday season can represent 20 to 40 percent of annual sales for many retailers.

The long weekend had set retailers up for a strong finish to the year, Shay said, but they would need to keep inventory tight to deliver similar or deeper discounts that the vast majority of consumers are expecting for the rest of the holidays.

Shoppers on average spent $335.47 over the five-day period, with older millennials spending the most at $419.52 each, according to the NRF survey of 3,242 consumers on Nov. 25-26.

The figures are not comparable to the average 2016 Thanksgiving weekend spending of $300 because the methodology had changed and the year-ago survey excluded Cyber Monday.

Online shopping rose sharply this year, with Cyber Monday becoming the largest online sales day in history at $6.6 billion, according to retail analysts and consultants. Sales on Thanksgiving and Black Friday also topped prior years and e-commerce leader Inc (AMZN.O) said it broke sales records this weekend.

Preempting a decline in visits to brick-and-mortar stores, many traditional retailers have invested heavily in their websites, bulking up delivery options, and tightening store inventories to ward off any post-holiday liquidation that would weigh on profits.

The NRF said retailers’ investments in technology had paid off, noting that internet-only shoppers totaled more than 58 million during the 5-day period, over 64 million shopped both online and in stores, and about 51 million spent only in brick-and-mortar stores.

Retail research firm ShopperTrak said on Saturday that store traffic fell 1.6 percent on Thanksgiving and Black Friday compared to last year.

“The early parts of both days were busy but ongoing store traffic wasn’t stellar, and it wasn’t consistent from store to store, or mall to mall,” NPD Group’s chief retail analyst Marshal Cohen said, noting that the holiday season had just begun.

Reporting by Richa Naidu; Editing by Richard Chang

Article source:

Kaspersky CEO says he would leave if Russia asked him to spy

LONDON (Reuters) – Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab has never been asked by Russian intelligence services to spy on targets in the West and the company’s founder and the chief executive said he would move his company out of the country if he ever faced such a demand.

Fears about Kaspersky’s ties to Russian intelligence, and the capacity of its anti-virus software to sniff out and remove files, prompted an escalating series of warnings and actions from U.S. authorities over the past year.

They culminated in the Department of Homeland Security this year barring government agencies from using Kaspersky products.

“Never, Never,” CEO Eugene Kaspersky told reporters at a media briefing at the company’s offices in London, when asked if Russian intelligence had ever asked him to help them spy on the West. “They have never asked us to spy on people. Never.”

Kaspersky, who once served as an engineer for Soviet military intelligence before founding his company in the years following the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union, said he would move the company outside of Russia if he faced such a demand to spy.

“If the Russian government comes to me and asks me to anything wrong, or my employees, I will move the business out of Russia,” Kaspersky said in English.

Kaspersky said the company was under attack by the U.S. media and the U.S. government.

He acknowledged that such attacks – which were mostly, based on incorrect information – would hurt his company. He said revenues would top $700 million globally this year.

Revenues in the United States would be about 5-8 percent lower in its current fiscal year than last year due to the attacks, he said. Revenue in Europe is expected to be flat while revenue in the rest of the world would continue to see double digit growth, he predicted.

Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; editing by Eric Auchard

Article source:

Former Tesco UK finance director did not coerce staff his lawyer says

LONDON (Reuters) – Tesco’s (TSCO.L) former UK finance director Carl Rogberg did not coerce and bully employees to manipulate profit figures in 2014, his lawyer told a London court on Tuesday.

Rogberg, 50, is charged with fraud and false accounting at Britain’s biggest retailer in 2014, along with Christopher Bush, 51, who was managing director of Tesco UK, and John Scouler,49, who was UK food commercial director.

All three deny any wrongdoing and have pleaded not guilty.

At the start of Rogberg’s defense, barrister Nicholas Purnell told the jury at Southwark Crown Court that witnesses presented by the prosecution had not described being directed by Rogberg to act “one way or another”.

“These propositions that the prosecution would set out to show a group of people set out to coerce and bully people into behaving in a particular way are simply not reflected in the evidence that you have heard,” Purnell said.

The case centers on two statements made by Tesco to the stock market in 2014.

In the first Tesco published a trading update on Aug. 29 in which it downgraded its financial guidance. In the second, on Sept. 22, the retailer said it had found a 250 million pound ($332 million) over-statement of its expected profit, mainly due to booking commercial deals with suppliers too early.

The prosecution has alleged that it is the difference between the first and second statements that exposes fraud. It previously told the court the three former Tesco executives abused their positions of trust to encourage the manipulation of profit figures, lied to auditors and misled the stock market.

Purnell told the jury that Amit Soni, a senior Tesco accountant who is described as a whistleblower by the prosecution, did not bring any documentary evidence of his concerns to Rogberg’s attention.

He said Soni was based in Tesco’s Cheshunt office in south east England, while Rogberg was based at Welwyn Garden City – a 30 minute drive away.

Purnell said Rogberg was in charge of 200-300 people in the UK finance team and was receiving nearly 3,000 financial reports a month when he started his job in 2013.

The barrister said Tesco’s management was like the “civil service of a medium-sized country.”

Tesco’s September 2014 disclosure saw its shares tumble and plunged it into the worst crisis in its near 100-year history.

The forecast profit overstatement, identified three weeks after Dave Lewis took over as chief executive from Phil Clarke, was later raised to 263 million pounds.

The trial began on Sept. 29 and is expected to last beyond Christmas.

($1 = 0.7529 pounds)

Reporting by James Davey; editing by Alexander Smith

Article source:

U.S. boom in RV shipments keeps rolling

(Reuters) – The boom in U.S. recreational vehicle sales keeps on rolling, thanks to a strong economy and a wave of retiring Baby Boomers and others filled with wanderlust.

Shipments of RVs in 2017 are expected to hit their highest in nearly four decades, according to data from the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association. That would mark the eighth straight year of growth.

RV shipments are expected to hit 505,600 in 2017, a 17.4 percent jump from last year, and then hit 520,700 in 2018, according to the association. “Each and every month this year was the best on comparable record for that month,” said Frank Hugelmeyer, the RVIA’s president, speaking at a trade show in Louisville, Kentucky.

RV sales are quick to suffer when consumer confidence wilts, as happened during the Great Recession. Shipments plunged by a third in 2008 and then fell more than 30 percent in 2009. But in 2010, as the economy recovered and discretionary spending revived, sales surged more than 46 percent.

Low gasoline prices have helped fuel sales in recent years, as have low interest rates that have eased financing of items that range in price from $10,000 to $1 million. The vast bulk of shipments – an estimated 444,100 units this year – are so-called towables. The rest are motor homes.

Prices of RVs have increased by an annual rate of 2 percent since 2007, the RVIA says.

Michael Happe, chief executive of Winnebago Industries Inc. (WGO.N), a major manufacturer, says Americans of all ages are increasingly focused on health and outdoor living, which helps fuel sales of his company’s products.

But there are other reasons for the industry’s growth. Happe noted that there are more vehicles than ever on the road, such as large sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks, that are capable of pulling trailers.

“And they’re not just being used by snowbirds going from New York to Florida,” he said. More people are working out of RVs, such as oil-patch and seasonal workers, and there is growing demand for RVs used for tailgating at sport events.

Winnebago is based in Forest City, Iowa, but RV manufacturing is heavily concentrated in northern Indiana, which produces about 85 percent of the U.S.’s RVs. Indiana is home to the two largest producers, Thor Industries Inc. (THO.N) and Forest River Inc., owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (BRKa.N). The production boom has strained labor markets in the region, with many factories struggling to expand quickly enough to meet demand.

(This version of the story corrects stocks symbol for Thor Industries in the final paragraph)

Reporting by Timothy Aeppel; Editing by Dan Grebler

Article source: