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France-based Natixis Corporate and Investment Banking has signed an agreement to finance ACWA Power projects over the next two years – with funding of up to $2 billion.

The MoU will allow both parties to “explore opportunities to develop new projects in the region,” the Saudi clean energy provider said in a bourse filing.

Natixis has previously underwritten some of ACWA Power’s high-profile projects, including the Sakaka solar project.

Business

Apple gears up for return to normal with office push

Company will require employees to work from the office at least three days a week as it gears up for September launches.

Apple Inc. set a Sept. 5 deadline for corporate employees to be in the office at least three days a week, marking its latest return attempt after Covid-19 spikes delayed its plans several times.

The company will require employees to work from the office on Tuesdays, Thursdays and a regular third day that will be determined by individual teams. That is a shift from Apple’s original plan, which called for in-person work on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. The company notified employees of the new approach on Monday.

The Cupertino, California-based tech giant has been working toward getting its employees back in the office since at least June 2021, when it first announced the three-day policy. But virus flare-ups forced the company to push back deadlines, leaving workers on a two-day-a-week schedule. The new policy will first take effect in Silicon Valley and then spread to other offices.

An Apple spokesman declined to comment on the updated deadline.

Apple has been making other Covid-19 adjustments. The new policy comes weeks after the company dropped its mask mandate in common areas of offices. Apple had removed such a requirement at individual desks several months ago.

 

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Business

How Sri Lanka’s economic collapse raises alarm bells for other emerging markets

During the 2010s, Sri Lanka had one of the fastest-growing economies in Asia.

Things took a 180-degree turn at the end of the decade as the country’s economy stumbled. In May 2022, the government defaulted on its debt for the first time in history.

As inflation continued to spiral out of control, with a massive shortage of food, fuel and medicine for the country’s 22 million people, Sri Lankans took to the street, forcing the president, Gotabaya Rajapaksato resign and flee the country.

Even though Sri Lanka has a new president, Ranil Wickremesinghe, protests continue. Inflation has risen past 50% — and could hit 70% — making it harder for people to survive.

Many experts believe that Sri Lanka’s story is a warning sign for emerging markets.

“Sri Lanka is facing its worst economic collapse in its modern history,” said Sumudu W. Watugala, assistant professor of finance at the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. “This is due to long-standing structural weaknesses exacerbated by a series of idiosyncratic shocks. Sri Lanka’s crisis can be a warning sign to other developing nations because it’s a classic emerging market crisis in many ways.”

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Business

Domino’s tried to sell pizza to Italians but failed

Seven years after its debut in the country, the American pizza giant has formally shut its stores after it failed to win over locals who preferred homegrown options, according to a report.
EPizza SpA, the franchise operator of the Domino’s (DMPZF) brand in Italy, filed for bankruptcy in April, after it struggled to make enough sales during two years of pandemic restrictions, according to a document filed in a Milan court.
The company stopped activity in all its Domino’s stores on July 20, according to a report by Food Service, an Italian food industry publication.
Although some may attribute Domino’s failure to its brazen attempt to infiltrate pizza’s homeland with American fare, ePizza said it went bust because of competition from food delivery apps.
The Milan-based company faced “unprecedented competition” from local restaurants that started using services such as Glovo, Just Eat and Deliveroo during the pandemic, the court filing said.

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