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Tenneco powertrain unit gets $4.3B bid; AutoZone fiscal Q1 profit beats Street

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Tenneco powertrain unit gets $4.3B bid; AutoZone fiscal Q1 profit beats Street

TOP NEWS

* New York-based private equity fund Apollo Global Management offered to acquire Tenneco Inc.'s powertrain business for about $4.3 billion, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. However, the automotive-parts maker is reportedly expected to reject the bid because it includes several adjustments and does not assume pension and other liabilities linked to the powertrain division.

* AutoZone Inc.'s shares jumped 6.9% to a record $1,250 on Dec. 10 after reporting better-than-expected results for the first fiscal quarter 2020. The Memphis, Tenn.-based parts distributor's sales grew 5.7% year over year to $2.8 billion, beating the S&P Global Market Intelligence mean consensus estimate of $2.77 billion. Diluted EPS for the period increased to $14.30, up 6.16% and surpassing a mean consensus analysts estimate of $13.75.

CARMAKERS

* General Motors Co. could expand the lineup of vehicles with its profitable large vehicle architecture that it uses in pickup trucks and SUVs to help fund its electric-car push, Reuters reported, citing President Mark Reuss. The company introduced larger versions of Chevrolet's Suburban and Tahoe SUVs, which are built on the new architecture and can be updated over the air.

* Nissan Motor Co. Ltd.'s Indian arm will increase prices across all models by up to 5% from January 2020, The Economic Times (India) reported, citing a statement.

ELECTRIC VEHICLES

* Tesla Inc. is planning an annual production capacity of 500,000 vehicles for its Berlin gigafactory, Reuters reported, citing German newspaper Bild. Telsa will invest up to €4 billion in the factory, which will employ 10,000 people to produce Model 3 and Model Y vehicles, German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung added. Construction is set to begin in 2020.

* Tesla plans to increase the prices of imported Model 3 vehicles in China in January 2020, Reuters reported, citing sources briefed with the matter. Tesla, which is building a car plant in Shanghai, aims to deliver China-made Model 3 sedans, which are priced at 355,800 yuan, to customers before Jan. 25, 2020.

* Bayerische Motoren Werke AG will order €540 million worth of lithium for its electric-vehicle batteries from China's Ganfeng Lithium. The carmaker said its renewed partnership with Gangfeng will run through 2024. BMW recently ordered €7.3 billion worth of lithium from Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd. and €2.9 billion from South Korea's Samsung SDI Co. Ltd.

* Porsche's all-electric Taycan has pulled in 30,000 preorders from Europe, Reuters reported, citing CEO Oliver Blume. The Volkswagen-owned carmaker, which already received the €2,500 downpayment from customers, will begin U.S. deliveries within the month and is planning to deliver 20,000 Taycans in 2020, Blume said.

* Chinese electric-car makers NIO Ltd. and Xpeng Motors agreed to share their charging network and payment processing systems.

* Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV said it joined the Responsible Sourcing Blockchain Network, which uses blockchain technology to trace the supply chain of raw materials including the lithium used for electric-vehicle batteries.

AUTONOMOUS AND CONNECTED VEHICLES

* Walmart will pilot an autonomous driving grocery delivery service in Houston in partnership with robotics startup Nuro Inc. The retailer has previously partnered with Ford Motor Co. and self-driving vehicle startup Udelv to test driverless deliveries of groceries and other consumer goods in Miami-Dade, Fla., and Surprise, Ariz., respectively.

* Ford said it teamed up with Microsoft on a project to use quantum-computing to reduce traffic by improving routing and navigation services.

MOBILITY SERVICES

* PT Go-Jek Indonesia is nearing a deal to acquire Moka as part of its plans to enter the digital payment industry, Bloomberg News reported, citing sources. The Indonesian ride-hailing company will acquire Moka for at least $120 million. Moka provides digital payment platforms, inventory tracking and employee management software.

POLICY, REGULATIONS AND SAFETY

* The American International Automobile Dealers Association welcomed the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Free Trade Agreement reached between the U.S. House Democrats and the Trump administration, saying the deal "removes the cloud of uncertainty that has hovered over North American trade and production." The bipartisan deal puts an end to a painstaking negotiation process since the USMCA was first signed by the three countries in November 2018 and ratified in Mexico in June.

AUTOMOTIVE RETAIL

* Volkswagen AG's namesake brand saw sales grow to 586,400 vehicles in November, up 3.9% year over year, with China sales growing 4% to 316,700. European sales grew 6.4% to 152,800 vehicles, with a 20.2% jump in Germany.

* Australian online automotive platform carsales.com Ltd. could join the list of bidders for German car trading business AutoScout24 GmbH, which could sell for about €2.3 billion, the Financial Times (London) reported, citing people close to the auction.

* Honda Motor Co. Ltd. began delivering its HondaJet Elite in China through its dealer Honsan General Aviation.

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The day ahead

Early morning futures indicators pointed to a mixed opening for the U.S. market.

In Asia, the Hang Seng rose 0.79% to 26,645.43, while the Nikkei 225 ticked 0.08% lower to 23,391.86.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 lost 0.08% to 7,208.31, and the Euronext 100 went down 0.21% to 1,120.01.

On the macro front

The U.S. Consumer Price Index, the quarterly services survey, the Atlanta Fed Business Inflation Expectations report, the U.S. Energy Information Administration Petroleum Status Report, the Federal Open Market Committee meeting announcement and the Treasury budget are due out today.

Click here to read about today's financial markets, setting out the factors driving stocks, bonds and currencies around the world ahead of the New York open.

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