Singapore’s Grab puts partnership with troubled Wirecard on hold

Grab and Wirecard struck a payments agreement in March under which the German payments firm was to process transactions made via the GrabPay e-wallet. (AFP file photo)
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Updated 24 June 2020

Singapore’s Grab puts partnership with troubled Wirecard on hold

  • The two companies had struck a payments agreement in March
  • Wirecard had not begun processing payments or signing up merchants on behalf of Grab

SINGAPORE: Southeast Asian ride-hailing and payments company Grab said it had put a partnership with scandal-hit Wirecard on hold, days after the German payments firm disclosed a $2.1 billion financial hole that threatens its future.
“We have not begun business integration work on the Wirecard partnership and we are pausing the partnership till further notice,” a spokeswoman from Grab said on Wednesday in response to a query about the status of the partnership.
The two companies had struck a payments agreement in March under which Wirecard was to process transactions made via the GrabPay e-wallet, starting with markets in Malaysia, Philippines and Singapore.
Wirecard had not begun processing payments or signing up merchants on behalf of Grab, Southeast Asia’s most valuable start-up, whose e-wallet is accepted by more than 600,000 merchants and small businesses in the region.
Responding to a query, the Monetary Authority of Singapore said on Tuesday that it had asked Wirecard to ensure that it keeps customer funds from its local activities in the country’s banks.
This week, Wirecard’s former boss was arrested on suspicion of falsifying its accounts, after the payments firm disclosed the financial hole and questioned whether trustees had actually held money on its behalf.
Germany’s financial regulator also filed a fresh complaint against Wirecard with the prosecutor, saying the company’s belated admission that billions were missing showed it had mis-stated its financial position between 2016 and 2018.


Libya’s NOC says production to rise as it seeks to revive oil industry

Updated 22 September 2020

Libya’s NOC says production to rise as it seeks to revive oil industry

  • Libya produced around 1.2 million bpd – over 1 percent of global production – before the blockade
  • Libya’s return to the oil market is sustainable

LONDON: Libya’s National Oil Company said it expected oil production to rise to 260,000 barrels per day (bpd) next week, as the OPEC member looks to revive its oil industry, crippled by a blockade since January.
Oil prices fell around 5 percent on Monday, partly due to the potential return of Libyan barrels to a market that’s already grappling with the prospect of collapsing demand from rising coronavirus cases.
Libya produced around 1.2 million bpd — over 1 percent of global production — before the blockade, which slashed the OPEC member’s output to around 100,000 bpd.
NOC, in a statement late on Monday, said it is preparing to resume exports from “secure ports” with oil tankers expected to begin arriving from Wednesday to load crude in storage over the next 72 hours.
As an initial step, exports are set to resume from the Marsa El Hariga and Brega oil terminals, it said.
The Marlin Shikoku tanker is making its way to Hariga where it is expected to load a cargo for trader Unipec, according to shipping data and traders.
Eastern Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar said last week his forces would lift their eight-month blockade of oil exports.
NOC insists it will only resume oil operations at facilities devoid of military presence.
Nearly a decade after rebel fighters backed by NATO air strikes overthrew dictator Muammar Qaddafi, Libya remains in chaos, with no central government.
The unrest has battered its oil industry, slashing production capacity down from 1.6 million bpd.
Goldman Sachs said Libya’s return should not derail the oil market’s recovery, with an upside risk to production likely to be offset by higher compliance with production cuts from other OPEC members.
“We see both logistical and political risks to a fast and sustainable increase in production,” the bank said. It expects a 400,000 bpd increase in Libyan production by December.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies led by Russia, are closely watching the Libya situation, waiting to see if this time Libya’s return to the oil market is sustainable, sources told Reuters.