FAA Technology Glitch Hits US Flights Operations, Coca-Cola & PepsiCo Under FTC Probe, Rivian's Executive Departures: Today's Top Stories


StanChart Weighed Sale Of $4B Aircraft Leasing Division As Macro Headwinds Weigh

  • Standard Chartered PLC SCBFY eyed strategic options for its $3.7 billion aviation unit, including a sale. The aviation finance business represents around 2% of the total Group income and 1% of Group RWA.
  • The global aircraft leasing business faced challenges from inflation and rising borrowing costs despite the rebound in aviation demand.
  • The sector has recently consolidated significantly, with private equity firms rushing to buy smaller lessors and prominent players bulking up.

China Southern Airlines Might Use 737 MAX Flights During Upcoming Lunar New Year Holidays 

  • China Southern Airlines Co Ltd's ZNH mobile app showed two Boeing Co BA 737 MAX flights scheduled for Friday, which, if completed, would be the first commercial services for the model by a Chinese airline since a March 2019 grounding.
  • China Southern had also initially scheduled a return to commercial service for the 737 MAX in October 2022 but did not use it on the planned flights.

Lockheed Martin Backed Space Startup Suffers Failure During Maiden Mission 

  • A rocket operated by California-based space startup ABL Space Systems' maiden RS1 rocket mission failed after it was launched on Tuesday from the Pacific Spaceport Center in Alaska, after delays late last year.
  • The startup's previous attempt at launch was on Monday but was pushed to Tuesday due to high winds. ABL faced delays due to weather and technical reasons late last year.


Wall Street Journal

Tesla Rival Rivian Sees Executive Departures, Gets Big Price Target Cut

  • Shares of Rivian Automotive Inc RIVN were higher in premarket trading on Wednesday despite two negative headlines concerning the electric vehicle maker.
  • Several of Rivian's top executives have quit in recent months amid challenges faced by the company in the wake of the global supply chain challenges.
  • The report said that the executives who have left the company were Randy Frank, vice president of body and interior engineering, and Steve Gawronski, vice president in charge of parts purchasing. These executives quit at the start of this year, it added.
  • A Rivian spokesperson clarified to Benzinga that the company had a few C-suite hirings as well, including Diane Lye, who joined as its first chief information officer in October, and Anisa Costa, who joined as its first chief sustainability officer in April. 

    An internal email from Frank Klein, chief operations officer, dated Nov. 4 shared by the spokesperson showed that Gawronski's departure was a planned move.

Coca-Cola, PepsiCo Face FTC Probe On Pricing Practices

  • Coca-Cola Co KO and PepsiCo Inc PEP are facing Federal Trade Commission's investigation on pricing practices.
  • The probe is for violation of the law prohibiting advantageous pricing. 
  • The law, known as the Robinson-Patman Act, prohibits manufacturers from charging different prices to competing resellers of their products if the practice threatens to hurt competition.



Merck, Pfizer Rebuts China's Request For Further Price Cuts For COVID-19 Drugs

  • Merck & Co Inc MRK and Pfizer Inc PFE have reportedly signaled that they have not agreed to a request by the Chinese authorities for deeper price cuts for COVID-19 treatments.
  • Merck's Lagevrio (molnupiravir) will sell in China for 1,500 yuan ($221) per bottle, local media outlet Jiemian reported, saying that's lower than the cost in many western countries.

Activist Investor Builds Stake In Bayer, Pushes Breakup  

  • Activist investor Bluebell Capital Partners has built a stake in Bayer AG BAYRY BAYZF and is pushing it to split up. 
  • The activist has been speaking to Bayer's supervisory board behind the scenes over the past few months.
  • Bluebell has asked Bayer to separate its crop science business from its pharmaceutical unit, which it argues could lead to more than a 70% upside for shareholders, the report added.



Tesla Eyes Over $770M Spend In Giga Factory Expansion

  • Texas Department of Licensing and Registration filings disclosed that Tesla, Inc TSLA plans to spend over $770 million on constructing electric vehicle facilities there.
  • Tesla earmarked funds for activities including battery cell testing and manufacturing, cathode and drive unit manufacturing, and a die shop, among other things. 



FAA Technology Glitch Hits US Flights Operations, Travel Delays Expected Throughout Day

  • More than 1,200 U.S. flights were delayed Wednesday morning after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) witnessed an outage of the system that sends messages to pilots.
  • On its website, the FAA said it is still working to fully restore the Notice to Air Missions system following an outage.

Airbus Beats Boeing's Annual Plane Delivery Tally, Fourth Time In A Row

  • Boeing Co BA boosted deliveries by 41% in 2022 over the previous year to 480 commercial jets, while Airbus SE EADSY EADSF annual deliveries increased 8% to 661, marking the fourth consecutive year to it handed over fewer than Airbus.
  • While Airbus deliveries have eclipsed Boeing's tally, the European plane maker fell short of its own ambitions. It had started the year with plans to hand over around 720 aircraft across its portfolio to customers.

WWE Reportedly Sold To Saudi Arabia's Private Investment Fund Hours After Vince McMahon Takes Helm

  • World Wrestling Entertainment Inc WWE has reportedly been sold to Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund.
  • The purchase means that the WWE will no longer be a publicly traded company.
  • The development took hours after the company said that Stephanie McMahon had resigned and its board of directors had unanimously elected Vince McMahon as Executive Chairman.

FAA Asks To Extend Safety Mandate To Detect, Mitigate Risks Early

  • The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) proposed to extend the mandate to adopt Safety Management Systems (SMS) for charter, commuter, air tour operators, and aircraft manufacturers to reduce accidents.
  • The key safety tool is a set of policies and procedures to identify and address potential operational hazards early on proactively.
  • U.S. airlines have been required to have SMS since 2018 and some aerospace companies already voluntarily have SMS programs.

Luxury Goods Company LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault's Daughter Takes Helm Of Christian Dior

  • LVMH-Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton LVMHF has appointed Chairman and CEO Bernard Arnault's daughter, Delphine Arnault, as head of Christian Dior Couture.
  • Charles Delapalme, Executive Vice President of Christian Dior Couture in-charge of commercial activities since 2018, is named Managing Director of Christian Dior Couture.
  • Pietro Beccari, who has headed Christian Dior Couture since 2018, becomes Chairman and CEO of Louis Vuitton. He succeeds Michael Burke, who will take up new responsibilities, reporting directly to Bernard Arnault.

Photo via Shuttertock

Note: Amends headline based on comments received from Rivian spokesperson

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