France’s TotalEnergies has halted a planned $4bn green hydrogen investment with the beleaguered Indian conglomerate Adani Group, the energy titan told reporters at the Financial Times.
Total said on February 8 that it would not immediately proceed with its 25% stake in Adani New Industries Ltd, a hydrogen co-development with Adani Enterprises. Adani Group has come under fire after accusations of endemic fraud and stock manipulation made by Hindenburg Research, a New York-based group focused on finding corporate wrongdoings and making bets against companies. Adani Group denies the allegations.
Total has stakes in ventures with Adani worth over $3bn, making it one the largest foreign investors in businesses with the Indian group. The firm’s comments came the same day as Total joined the oil sector’s blockbuster profits, posting a record high net profit of $36.2bn in 2022 — double that of the previous year’s.
Adani has committed $50bn of investment to green hydrogen projects over the next decade, despite uncertainty over future demand, infrastructure and viability of large-scale clean hydrogen production.
Taiwan and Canada talk trade
Formal negotiations on bilateral trade and investment will begin between Taiwan and Canada, despite Chinese opposition to Taipei’s courting of Western governments.
In a virtual meeting on February 7, Canada’s Minister for International Trade, Mary Ng, agreed with Taiwanese trade negotiator Deng Zhenzhong, to begin formal talks on investment promotion, protection and liberalisation. This comes six months after initial discussions began in June 2022.
Ms Ng highlighted Taiwan’s key position as a trade partner, particularly in agriculture and advanced manufacturing, a government statement said, as Canada “deepens” economic partnerships in the Indo-Pacific.
China, which claims Taiwan as its own territory, has denounced other Western countries’ diplomatic engagement with Taiwan. This includes Lithuania, which came under Chinese pressure in 2022 after allowing Taiwan to open an embassy in its capital Vilnius.
Taiwan, which rejects China’s sovereignty claims, has become a focal point of US–China tensions due in part to local contract chipmaker TSMC and its role as a major hub for semiconductor manufacturing.
Unilever plans $400m Mexico investment
Consumer goods giant Unilever will build a new regional manufacturing plant in northern Mexico, as part of a $400m investment in the country over the next three years.
The plant will manufacture beauty and personal care products in the northern Mexican border state of Nuevo León, the company said on February 7, with operations expected to start in 2024. The investment will create 1200 new direct and indirect jobs in the country.
Unilever’s investment comes as “nearshore” locations such as Mexico benefit from multinationals regionalising their supply chains by building up production capacity close to the final markets of their products.
The Inter-American Development estimates that nearshoring could generate an extra $78bn in exports of goods and services from Latin America and the Caribbean in the near-to-medium term. Unilever says Mexico is “among the 10 most relevant countries” for its global operations, with four plants already in operations in the country.