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FB Roundup: Maersk, Samsung, and Koch Industries

By Alexandra Newlove

Maersk charts blockchain future

AP Moller—Maersk has entered into a joint venture with IBM and logistics company Agility, which aims to use blockchain technology to make the companies' supply chains more efficient and secure.

Maersk, controlled by the eponymous family via AP Moller Holding A/S, wants to create a trade platform using distributed ledger technology, which establishes a shared, set-in-stone record of transactions. It also allows those within a particular network to access the data minutes after transactions take place.

In a statement announcing the JV, Maersk said more than $4 trillion in goods are shipped each year, with the processing of documentation accounting for a fifth of transportation costs.

“According to the World Economic Forum, by reducing barriers within the international supply chain, global trade could increase by nearly 15%, boosting economies and creating jobs,” Maersk said.

In August last year, Maersk sold its oil and gas assets to French firm Total for $7.45 billion, as it aimed to focus on its logistics and shipping businesses. In 2016, it turned over more than $40 billion, though this figure included the sold assets.

Ane Maersk Mc-Kinney Uggla, is chairwoman of the AP Moller Holding, which owns the controlling stake in AP Moller-Maersk. She is the granddaughter of Peter Maersk Moller, who founded Maersk in 1904.

Samsung heir's release may 'boost' economy

Samsung vice chairman Lee Jae-young has been released just five months after he was sentenced to five years in prison.

Lee was found guilty of bribery and corruption-related charges. But some businesspeople are breathing a sigh of relief at the suspension of his sentence, saying his release will have positive economic consequences.

The size of chaebol—the name for South Korea's enormous, often family-owned conglomerates—mean their fortunes impact thousands of SMEs and sub-contractors.

Kim Kyung-man, of the Korea Federation of SMEs, told Reuters that while many felt the suspended sentence was “against the people's will”, his being imprisoned has been a burden to Samsung's “countless” subcontractors.

“One good thing about having the owner of the conglomerate back is he can make decisions quickly. We are looking forward to any action to boost the economy by Samsung, our global brand, which also can help calm public ire,” Kim said.

Lee took over Samsung after his father Lee Kun-hee suffered a debilitating heart attack in 2014.

Samsung reported 2017 revenue of KRW 239.58 trillion ($220 billion) and full-year operating profits of $49 billion.

Ads to help correct 'misperceptions' of Koch Industries

Koch Industries is looking to address its ultra-conservative public image, through a series of advertisements shown during the Winter Olympics which will focus on determination, entrepreneurship, and integrity.

Steve Lombardo, a spokesman for Koch Industries, told The Wall Street Journal the ads would tell people more about the philosophy of the $100-billion-a-year conglomerate, which has sprawling interests across areas including energy, minerals, fabrics, and media.

He said there were “misperceptions” about Charles (pictured) and David Koch, the Republican Party donor brothers who own the company, and have come under fire for their promotion of libertarian causes, like weakening worker unions.

One of the ads, part of a series also shown during the Super Bowl, shows people overcoming every day challenges, overlaid with dialogue about how belief can triumph over doubt.

“Among some people, there's a misperception about Charles and David Koch, and while this [campaign] won't directly address those misperceptions, it will fill in the blanks a little bit about Koch and about what kind of company our shareholders lead,” Lombardo told The Journal.

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