Cathay Pacific freezes new hiring, to focus on cost cuts

Cathay last month swung to its first profit for the January-June period since 2016. (File/Reuters)
Updated 12 September 2019

Cathay Pacific freezes new hiring, to focus on cost cuts

  • Cathay has said it will cut capacity for the upcoming winter season after reporting an 11.3% fall in passenger numbers for August
  • The weak demand and cuts to capacity will heap more pressure on Cathay and its new management

HONG KONG: Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. has put a freeze on new hiring, according to an internal memo seen by Reuters, as the airline battles a slump in demand from fliers avoiding Hong Kong amid massive anti-government protests in the city.
In a memo to staff on Wednesday evening, new Chief Executive Augustus Tang said he had asked executives to examine spending and focus on cutting costs. The airline will also not replace departing employees in non-flying positions unless approved by a spending control committee, he said.
Cathay has said it will cut capacity for the upcoming winter season after reporting an 11.3% fall in passenger numbers for August. The airline does not expect September to be any less difficult, while analysts have projected it could swing to a loss in the second half.
Cathay shares fell 2.4% early on Thursday, lagging the benchmark Hang Seng Index that was down 0.4%.
The weak demand and cuts to capacity will heap more pressure on Cathay and its new management, appointed after CEO Rupert Hogg quit last month in a shock move and the resignation of Chairman John Slosar last week.
Cathay, which is trying to complete a three-year financial turnaround plan, has become the biggest corporate casualty of the Hong Kong protests after China demanded it suspend staff involved in, or supporting, the demonstrations that have plunged the former British colony into a political crisis.
Jefferies analyst Andrew Lee told clients he expected the airline could swing to a HK$973 million ($124.1 million) loss in the second half of the year. BOCOM International analyst Luya You said second-half earnings could be “notably dismal.”
Cathay last month swung to its first profit for the January-June period since 2016 and said at the time that the second half was likely to be better as usual due to seasonality.


Apple faces shareholder vote over Chinese app removal policies

Updated 26 February 2020

Apple faces shareholder vote over Chinese app removal policies

  • The apps allow users to bypass China’s so-called “Great Firewall” aimed at restricting access to overseas sites
  • Apple shareholders have voted down human rights measures related to China in the past

Apple Inc’s shareholders on Wednesday will vote on a proposal critical of its moves to remove apps at the request of the Chinese government and calling on the iPhone maker to report whether it has “publicly committed to respect freedom of expression as a human right.”
The proposal is one of six that will face a vote at the company’s annual shareholder meeting at Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, California.
The shareholder proposal on freedom of expression focuses on Apple’s 2017 removal of virtual private network apps from its App Store in China. Such apps allow users to bypass China’s so-called “Great Firewall” aimed at restricting access to overseas sites.
Apple opposes the proposal, saying it already provides extensive information about when it takes down apps at the request of governments around the world and that it follows the laws in countries where it operates.
” hile we may disagree with certain decisions at times, we do not believe it would be in the best interests of our users to simply abandon markets, which would leave consumers with fewer choices and fewer privacy protections,” Apple said in its opposition.
Proxy advisory firms Glass Lewis and Institutional Shareholder Services both recommend votes in favor the measure, according to reports from them seen by Reuters.
Apple shareholders have voted down human rights measures related to China in the past. They defeated a 2018 proposal that urged Apple to create a human rights panel to oversee issues such as workplace conditions and censorship in China, with 94.4 percent of shareholders voting against it.
Shareholders will also vote on a proposal to allow shareholders to nominate more than one director to Apple’s board and whether to tie executive compensation to environmental sustainability metrics. Apple opposes both proposals.