The Ritz-Carlton Unveils Tropical Paradise In Malaysia
Google and HTC US$ 1.1 billion
Post Holdings to acquire Bob Evans
for US$ 1.5 billion
18 - 23 SEPTEMBER 2017
Mercedes-Benz strengthens footprint with US$ 1 billion investment in Alabama, USA
AAI will invest US$ 255 million for development of Airports in India
Northrop Grumman to acquire Orbital ATK for US$ 9.2 billion
it & BPM i FOOD I HEALTHCARE i TEXTILES i INFRASTRUCTURE i ENGINEERING i tourism
THE DEFINITIVE SOURCE FOR INVESTMENT PROMOTION EXECUTIVES
IHG extend its midscale leadership with avid hotels
Read full article on globalfdi.net
Northrop Grumman Corporation, a leading global security company, and Orbital ATK, Inc., a global leader in aerospace and defense technologies, announced they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Northrop Grumman will acquire Orbital ATK for approximately $7.8 billion in cash, plus the assumption of $1.4 billion in net debt. Orbital ATK shareholders will receive all-cash consideration of $134.50 per share. The agreement has been approved unanimously by the Boards of Directors of both companies. The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2018 and is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory and Orbital ATK shareholder approval.
“The acquisition of Orbital ATK is an exciting strategic step as we continue to invest for profitable growth. Through our combination, customers will benefit from expanded capabilities, accelerated innovation and greater competition in critical global security domains. Our complementary portfolios and technology-focused cultures will yield significant value creation through revenue synergies associated with new opportunities, cost savings, operational synergies, and enhanced growth. We look forward to welcoming Orbital ATK’s talented employees to Northrop Grumman, and believe our combined strength will benefit our customers and shareholders,” said Wes Bush, chairman, chief executive officer and president of Northrop Grumman.
“We are very pleased to announce this agreement with Northrop Grumman. It reflects the tremendous value Orbital ATK has generated for our customers, shareholders and employees. The unique alignment in culture and mission offered by this transaction will allow us to maintain strong operational performance on existing programs while we pursue new opportunities that require the enhanced technical and financial resources of a larger organization. Our employees will also benefit from greater development and career opportunities as members of a larger, more diverse aerospace and defense enterprise. We will remain focused on operational excellence and execution during and after the transition into Northrop Grumman,” said David Thompson, president and chief executive officer of Orbital ATK.
Northrop Grumman to acquire Orbital ATK for US$ 9.2 billion
Total has signed an agreement with EREN RE to accelerate its growth in the production of power from renewable sources. Total will acquire an indirect interest of 23% in EREN RE by subscribing to a capital increase for an amount of €237.5 million. The agreement also gives Total the possibility to take over control of EREN RE after a period of 5 years.
Founded in 2012, EREN RE has developed a diversified asset base (notably wind, solar and hydro) representing a global installed gross capacity of 650 MW in operation or under construction. Its ambition is to achieve a global installed capacity of more than 3 GW within 5 years. The capital increase subscribed by Total will enable EREN RE to cover its financing needs to accelerate its development in the coming years.
“Total integrates climate challenge into its strategy and is pursuing steady growth in low-carbon businesses, in particular in renewable energy. By partnering with EREN RE, we are leveraging a team that has a proven track record in renewable power production, and we are investing in an additional asset to accelerate our profitable growth in this segment, in line with our ambition to become the responsible energy major. So we welcome to Total Eren into the Total Group!” said Patrick Pouyanné, Chairman and CEO of Total.
“EREN RE’s momentum will allow us to accelerate our growth in solar energy and move us into the wind power market. The agreement with EREN RE is a major step towards our objective of achieving 5GW of installed capacity in 5 years,” commented Philippe Sauquet, President Gas, Renewables and Power. “In line with the Group's integrated strategy along the oil and gas value chains, we are rebalancing our portfolio in renewables between the upstream manufacturing with SunPower and the downstream power production with EREN RE. Today we want to provide this high-potential company with the means to reach a new level and support its ambitions for international development.”
Total partners with EREN Renewable Energy to expand its renewable Business
AAI will invest US$ 255 million for the Development of Airports
With an objective of improving and developing airport infrastructure to meet the growing traffic, Airports authority of India (AAI) will undertake new development works at Lucknow, Deoghar, Rajkot and Allahabad airport.
AAI plans to construct new integrated passenger terminal building at Chaudhary Charan Singh International Airport, Lucknow with estimated cost of Rs. 1230 Crores resultant of the increasing passenger traffic during last 5 years. The new terminal will be able to handle 4000 passengers during peak hour and 6.35 million passengers per annum.
AAI will develop Deoghar airport in Jharkhand, to facilitate the joint use of civil operation up to Airbus-320 and DRDO operation up to C-130 type of aircraft. The work will be carried out at an estimated cost of Rs. 401.34 crore on fixed cost basis and Rs. 427.43 crore on completion cost basis. An MoU was signed between the Govt. of Jharkhand, DRDO and AAI in March, 2017. As per the MOU, there will be financial input to the tune of Rs. 50 Cr by Govt. of Jharkhand, Rs. 200 Cr by DRDO and balance cost to be funded by AAI.
To meet the demand of increasing air travel in Allahabad, a new civil enclave at Allahabad will be developed by AAI at an estimated cost of 125.76 crores. The new terminal is to be made operational before the ‘Ardh Kumbh Mela’ to be held in January 2019.
The agreement was signed in Pamplona by EIB Vice-President Román Escolano and the President of the Navarre Region, Uxue Barkos. The ceremony was also attended by Pablo Zalba, CEO of ICO, the institution working with the EIB to implement the Investment Plan for Europe in Spain.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) is helping to facilitate access to affordable social housing in metropolitan areas of Navarre by providing EUR 40 million to finance the construction of 524 units. These will be Nearly Zero Energy Buildings (NZEB), i.e. buildings with very low energy consumption owing to their design and the materials used in their construction. The agreement is supported by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the main plank of the European Commission's Investment Plan for Europe, also known as the Juncker Plan.
Miguel Arias Cañete, the Commissioner responsible for Climate Action and Energy, affirmed that "this project is a clear example of smart investment: people’s quality of life will be improved, energy consumption will be reduced and jobs will be created. These are the goals of the EU’s energy efficiency policies, and I therefore welcome this agreement and sincerely hope that investment of this type will continue to be requested and supported. "
At the signing cereThis investment will have a positive employment impact by helping to create over 700 jobs in the implementation phase, which will run until 2020. The financing provided by the EIB will be managed by NASUVINSA, the public agency responsible for urban development and social housing projects in Navarre. The 524 new units will be built in the next three years, up to 2020, in metropolitan areas of Navarre. A total of 78 000 square metres of housing will be constructed under the project.
EIB to finance construction of 524 Social Housing Units in Navarre
The Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Board of Directors has approved an additional $30 million grant to further improve maintenance works on sections of Afghanistan’s regional highways and road networks in a bid to enhance the sustainability of the country’s transport sector.
“Since 2002, we have seen efforts to rebuild and reconstruct around 8,000 kilometers of roads in Afghanistan, but there is still a need to make sure that they are maintained,” said Nana Soetantri, Transport Specialist at ADB's Central and West Asia Department. “Having a functional and reliable transport sector is an important pillar for Afghanistan to recover economically. ADB remains committed to help the country achieve its growth and development goals.”
The additional financing of the Road Asset Management Project will help finance the gap arising from changes in financing arrangements as well as in revisions of the project’s scope. This includes priority maintenance works for the Southern National Ring Road of Afghanistan’s regional highway from Ghazni to Kandahar, which is considered as an economic lifeline of the country’s eastern region. The additional financing will also include a capacity development component to introduce sustainable practices in road asset management and road maintenance.
About 220 kilometers in the Kabul-Jalalabad highway and the Kabul-Kandahar highway from Kabul to Ghazni were selected for maintenance due to their economic and strategic importance. The overall project will facilitate regional connectivity, improve the quality and efficiency of road transport services, and promote inclusive economic growth in Afghanistan.
ADB provides additional funding to improve Roads, Highways in Afghanistan
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, announced an agreement to help BMW South Africa build local capacity through a $150 million rand-equivalent loan. The IFC financing is part of ZAR 6 billion investment in a BMW plant in Rosslyn that will produce the new BMW X3.
The financing comes as South Africa seeks new sources of economic growth after a period of slowdown driven in part by sluggish mining and manufacturing sectors. The country suffers from unemployment estimated at 27 percent overall and nearly 50 percent among youth.
South Africa Minister of Trade and Industry Dr. Rob Davies said, “This partnership between IFC and BMW will help South Africa create highly skilled jobs and wages through deeper participation in the global automotive supply chain. It is aligned with the industry’s development vision of significant growth in domestic vehicle production, and increasing local content and employment across the automotive supply chain”
The auto industry—South Africa’s largest manufacturing sector—is a major employer at its assembly plants, and through suppliers of goods and services required by global vehicle manufacturers. Yet today local content accounts on average for about one-third of each vehicle produced in South Africa. IFC estimates that raising that share of local content to 45 percent could inject $4 billion into the local economy and support 80,000 more jobs over the next three years.
IFC supports BMW investment in South Africa Auto Industry
Mercedes-Benz strengthens footprint with US$ 1 billion investment in Alabama, USA
Investment announcement made during the Tuscaloosa based plant’s 20th anniversary celebration.
Strategic move of Mercedes-Benz to start production of electric passenger cars in the U.S. as part of its worldwide electric initiative.
Tuscaloosa plant will manufacture SUV models for the company’s EQ brand.
New battery plant to be built near the existing passenger-car plant, making it the fifth factory in the global battery production network of Mercedes-Benz Cars with sites on three continents.
Company expands logistics activities for supply of worldwide markets.
Investment expected to create more than 600 new jobs in the region.
Tuscaloosa, AL/USA – As part of its ongoing commitment to engineer and manufacture the world’s most attractive vehicles, Mercedes-Benz will set up electric vehicle production in the United States. The company plans to produce EQ-branded SUV models at MBUSI (Mercedes-Benz U.S.
“We are excited to celebrate 20 years of production in Tuscaloosa by expanding our operations in the region and by bringing our electric initiative to the United States. With this one billion dollar investment, we are significantly growing our manufacturing footprint here in Alabama, while sending a clear message to our customers across the U.S. and around the world: Mercedes-Benz will continue to be on the cutting-edge of electric vehicle development and production,” said Markus Schäfer, Member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain.
Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd (M&M Ltd), part of the USD 19 billion Mahindra Group, headquartered in Mumbai, India, announced its second foray into Turkey through the acquisition of Erkunt Traktor Sanayii A.S. (Erkunt), the 4th largest tractor brand in Turkey.
This association with Erkunt on the back of the Hisarlar acquisition earlier in the year will help in growing Mahindra’s farm equipment business in the strategic market of Turkey. With two strong brands such as Mahindra and Erkunt coming together and with a wider combined product portfolio, this association will offer complete mechanisation solutions to the diverse needs of Turkish farmers, thereby creating a more significant presence in Turkey. The association will also build an export business especially in the neighbouring markets of the Middle East, CIS and Europe.
Commenting on the development, Dr. Pawan Goenka, Managing Director, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. said "At Mahindra’s Farm Equipment Sector, our strategy is to globalise aggressively and also expand our portfolio to include various new categories of tractors and farm machinery. Turkey is a very important market in our globalisation journey and we wish to participate in its entire agri mechanization landscape. The acquisition of Erkunt will enable Mahindra to expand its footprint in the world’s 4th largest tractor market”.
Rajesh Jejurikar, President, Farm Equipment Sector, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. said, ““Erkunt is a strong local Turkish brand that has grown very rapidly over the last decade, by expanding its product range. We look forward to collaborate with the Erkunt leadership team to bring synergy and expand our footprint in Turkey”.
Mahindra Farm Equipment strengthens its position in Turkey
thyssenkrupp and Tata Steel have signed a memorandum of understanding to combine their European steel activities in a 50/50 joint venture. Their aim is to create a leading European flat steel player to be positioned as quality and technology leader. The new entity is set to have pro-forma sales of about €15 billion and a workforce of about 48,000, currently at 34 locations. Shipments are envisioned to be about 21 million tons a year.
Dr. Heinrich Hiesinger, CEO of thyssenkrupp AG: “Under the planned joint venture, we are giving the European steel activities of thyssenkrupp and Tata a lasting future. We are tackling the structural challenges of the European steel industry and creating a strong No. 2. In Tata, we have found a partner with a very good strategic and cultural fit. Not only do we share a clear performance orientation, but also the same understanding of entrepreneurial responsibility toward workforce and society.”
To be named thyssenkrupp Tata Steel, the planned joint venture will be managed through a lean holding company based in the Netherlands. It is to have a two-tier management structure comprising a management board and a supervisory board. Both boards are to have equal representation from thyssenkrupp and Tata. The codetermination structures in Germany, the Netherlands and Great Britain will be retained.
thyssenkrupp intends to contribute its Steel Europe business to the planned joint venture. There are also plans for the joint venture to include thyssenkrupp MillServices & Systems GmbH, a steel mill services provider that is part of the Materials Services business. Tata would add all of their flat steel activities in Europe.
Tata Steel & Thyssenkrupp sign MOU to create a leading European Steel Enterprise
Joslin Diabetes Center Agreement with China Horae Capital Management Group
Joslin Diabetes Center, the world's preeminent diabetes care and research center, announced it has signed an agreement with China Horae Capital Management Group Co., Ltd. to advise the Horae Nanjing Diabetes Center project currently in development in the city of Nanjing, China. Initial work for Joslin experts will focus on providing guidance on the scope of the new center and training key leadership. Following that, Joslin experts will help develop the Center's inpatient and outpatient care models, create the educational curriculum for patients and educate the center's caregivers.
"We are excited to partner with Joslin Diabetes Center to bring Joslin's world-renowned best practices in diabetes prevention, treatment and management to the people of Nanjing. This is just the beginning; we hope to eventually spread what we learn from the experts at Joslin to our other locations throughout China," said Yuet Chai, Chairman, China Horae Capital Management Group Co., Ltd. Read more...
MilliporeSigma opens China's first BioReliance End-to-End Biodevelopment Center in Shanghai
MilliporeSigma announced the opening of its first BioReliance End-to-End Biodevelopment Center in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region.
Located in Shanghai, China, the center will provide a full range of process development capabilities and services, including cell line development, upstream and downstream process development and non-GMP clinical production.
"Our new BioReliance End-to-End Biodevelopment Center will host small-scale drug manufacturers working on early-phase clinical trials," said Udit Batra, CEO, MilliporeSigma. "MilliporeSigma has 30 years of process development experience and a track record of delivering robust clinical production process and clinical material within nine to 12 months. We look forward to advancing scientific discovery and innovation in China and beyond.
The Shanghai center is designed to meet the specific needs of customers in the APAC region. Staffed by local process scientists and engineers, the center will provide an integrated suite of services for biopharmaceutical companies in China and across APAC to accelerate clinical drug development from molecule to commercial production. Customers will get full support, not only with process development or production, but also with regulatory, quality and training.
"MilliporeSigma is a leading solutions provider," said Dr. Chengbin Wu, founder and CEO, EpimAb Biotherapeutics, a privately held start-up company dedicated to generating novel bi-specific antibody therapeutics in oncology and immune-oncology based on its proprietary FIT-Ig (Fabs-In-Tandem) platform. "The opening of this center will provide biopharma and emerging biotech companies like us access to the latest technologies and experienced scientists, helping us in accelerating our drug development and providing more affordable medicine to patients."
Nobilis Health Announces the Acquisition of
Nobilis Health Corp., American: announced the acquisition of DeRosa Medical, P.C.
DeRosa Medical is a primary care practice that specializes in health and wellness, medically supervised weight loss, and chronic health condition management. DeRosa Medical has 10,000 active patients, and serves these patients with its nine primary care providers, comprised of physicians and nurse practitioners. The practice has three locations in the Phoenix, Arizona metropolitan area: Scottsdale, Chandler, and Glendale. These locations complement Nobilis' existing surgical facilities in North Phoenix, Chandler and Scottsdale.
The acquisition of DeRosa Medical allows the Company to enhance its ability to serve patients across the continuum of care, from primary care needs to surgical procedures, utilizing its concierge care delivery model. The DeRosa Medical purchase price is $915,000 cash, which represents 3x adjusted EBITDA.
The DeRosa Medical acquisition represents the most recent addition to the Company's Concertis portfolio. "The DeRosa Acquisition brings the Arizona market into Concertis' clinically integrated network. Our CIN has already begun to contribute significantly to Nobilis' surgery patient flow in our Texas markets, and we look forward to achieving similar growth in Arizona," said Harry Fleming, Nobilis CEO. Concertis advances health care delivery through its CIN that is committed to improving patient care and reducing overall healthcare costs. Clinical integration coordinates care across a continuum of services including physicians, hospitals, and ancillary services. Concertis currently includes bundled payment surgical procedures provided in three states, primary care practice acquisitions, and the Company's 360Concierge care management IT solution. This portfolio of products coupled with the Company's facilities and ancillary services comprise the CIN. Controlling the entire patient experience from aligned primary care providers, to facilities, surgeries, and ancillary services improves patient outcomes while encouraging more efficient cost control for Nobilis, patients, and physicians. Read more...
Catalent, Inc., the leading global provider of advanced delivery technologies and development solutions for drugs, biologics, and consumer health products, announced it has reached an agreement to acquire Bloomington, Indiana-based Cook Pharmica LLC, an integrated provider of drug substance and drug product manufacturing and related services. The purchase price is $950 million, with $750 million to be paid at closing and the balance to be paid in equal installments, without interest, on each of the next four anniversaries of the closing. The acquisition will strengthen Catalent’s position as a leader in the rapidly growing area of biologics development and analytical services, manufacturing, and finished product supply.
Cook Pharmica is a privately held, biologics-focused contract development and manufacturing organization with capabilities across biologics development, clinical and commercial cell culture manufacturing, formulation, finished-dose manufacturing, and packaging. Founded in 2004 as a division of the Cook Group, Cook Pharmica today operates a world-class, 875,000 square foot development and manufacturing facility in Bloomington. For the twelve months ended June 30, 2017, Cook Pharmica generated $179 million in revenue.
“The complementary biologics development, biomanufacturing, and fill-finish capabilities of Catalent and Cook Pharmica will provide biopharmaceutical firms with a single, integrated partner supporting a wide range of clinical and commercial needs,” said John Chiminski, Chair and CEO of Catalent. “We are very excited to join forces with the talented Cook Pharmica team in Bloomington, Indiana and plan to invest aggressively there, in our rapidly expanding Madison, Wisconsin facility, and in the rest of the Catalent Biologics network to build a true global leader in the biologics market, which will help us to improve the lives of patients around the world.”
Catalent to acquire Cook Pharmica For US$ 950 Million
Körber plans takeover of Systec & Services GmbH
The international technology group Körber seeks to further strengthen its Business Area Pharma Systems with the acquisition of system partner Systec & Services GmbH. The aim of the acquisition is to strengthen existing skill sets in the companies Seidenader and Werum IT Solutions in the areas of MES (manufacturing execution systems) and serialization, and to increase expertise in the consulting business.
With the planned takeover, Körber Medipak Systems GmbH, the holding company of Business Area Pharma Systems, is expanding the range of services it offers its customers in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. As a system partner, Systec & Services GmbH specializes in consultation for the implementation of manufacturing execution systems and track and trace solutions. The company is headquartered in Karlsruhe (Germany) with an additional location in Pratteln near Basel (Switzerland).
With its more than 80 employees, Systec & Services GmbH advises clients in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries in selecting and implementing software. The company has decades of experience and comprehensive industry knowledge in the implementation of MES systems and solutions for tracing medical products. Medipak Systems company Seidenader Maschinenbau and Systec & Services have previously worked together very successfully in the area of track and trace.
"From our many years of working together as partners, we have great respect for Systec & Services and its expertise in integration. Together we will be even better positioned to offer integrated solutions from a single source, from project start to commissioning," emphasizes Clemens Berger, CEO of Körber Medipak Systems GmbH. "This planned acquisition underscores our commitment to optimally combining process know-how and engineering expertise for the benefit of our customers in the international pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry. This will allow us to offer added value to our customers and thus become their first stop for system solutions.
Google and HTC announce US$ 1.1 billion
Google and HTC Corporation (nnounced a definitive agreement under which certain HTC employees – many of whom are already working with Google to develop Pixel smartphones – will join Google. HTC will receive US$1.1 billion in cash from Google as part of the transaction. Separately, Google will receive a non-exclusive license for HTC intellectual property (IP).
The agreement is a testament to the decade-long strategic relationship between HTC and Google around the development of premium smartphones.
This agreement also supports HTC’s continued branded smartphone strategy, enabling a more streamlined product portfolio, greater operational efficiency and financial flexibility. HTC will continue to have best-in-class engineering talent, which is currently working on the next flagship phone, following the successful launch of the HTC U11 earlier this year. HTC will also continue to build the virtual reality ecosystem to grow its VIVE business, while investing in other next-generation technologies, including the Internet of Things, augmented reality and artificial intelligence.
For Google, this agreement further reinforces its commitment to smartphones and overall investment in its emerging hardware business. In addition to the talented and experienced team of professionals, Google will continue to have access to HTC’s IP to support the Pixel smartphone family. Additionally, this agreement also represents a significant investment by Google in Taiwan as a key innovation and technology hub.
“As a pioneer of the smartphone market, we are very proud of our history of innovation. Our unmatched smartphone value chain, including our IP portfolio, and world-class talent and system integration capabilities, have supported Google in bolstering the Android market,” said Cher Wang, Chairwoman and CEO of HTC. “This agreement is a brilliant next step in our longstanding partnership, enabling Google to supercharge their hardware business while ensuring continued innovation within our HTC smartphone and VIVE virtual reality businesses. We believe HTC is well positioned to maintain our rich legacy of innovation and realize the potential of a new generation of connected products and services.” Read more...
IBA Group unveils new office in Prague
IBA Group announced the opening of its new premises in Prague, Czech Republic. The premises are intended for IBA CZ, the Czech-based development center of IBA Group.
Numerous high-profile guests, including IBA Group’s customers, partners, and government officials attended the opening ceremony. The event’s program included a ribbon-cutting ceremony, welcome addresses, and tours of the new premises, both virtual and real, a fingerstyle guitar concert, and a molecular gastronomy show.
Sergei Levteev, IBA Group Chairman and Aleš Hojka, Managing Director of IBA CZ cut the ribbon to inaugurate the opening.
Addressing the audience, Mr. Hojka said: “Moving into a larger space was a necessity for us because the capacity of the former space was no longer sufficient. We are growing in all areas of our portfolio to provide our customers with the solutions that best suit their needs. We can also organize company events in our office and are very excited to explore the new opportunities“.
According to Mr. Levteev, IBA Group applies the Agile methodology when building its infrastructure. “Today, Agile is a popular software development methodology. We at IBA began using Agile long before the term was coined. We believe that people working on the same project should see each other. Communication via email or phone is not enough. Last year, we created an infrastructure for more than 1,500 people in Minsk and Gomel. Today, we are doing the same in Prague. We provide a comfortable environment for our employees, and stable teams and high quality and timely project delivery for our customers. Our today’s event is yet another prove that we continue following our principles, which are now called the Agile methodology,” he concluded.
A new study from Juniper Research has found that IBM is clearly regarded as having the strongest credentials in the blockchain sector, well ahead of competitors.
Blockchain Technology Leaders
Almost 400 company founders, executives, managers and IT leaders responded to Juniper’s Blockchain Enterprise Survey.
Amongst enterprises either actively considering, or in the process of deploying blockchain technology, more than 4 in 10 (43%) ranked IBM first - more than twice the proportion selecting second-placed Microsoft (20%).
According to the study, this reflected IBM’s high-profile R&D engagement with initiatives such as Hyperledger and its extensive list of blockchain clients across an array of key verticals and use cases, including banking, asset tracking and the music industry.
Read more in Juniper’s complimentary whitepaper, ‘Which Industries are the Best Fit for Blockchain?’
Initial Blockchain Tests Spur Further Investment
Amongst respondents who were prepared to state their levels of investment in blockchain, more than two-thirds (67%) stated they had already invested more than $100,000 by the end of 2016, while 91% of these companies confirmed that they would be spending at least this amount in 2017. The study stated that this suggested most initial investments had delivered results that were sufficiently encouraging for companies to pursue more extensive trials and/or integrations. Read more...
IBM Ranked No 1 Blockchain Technology Leader
RoviSys announces opening of a new office in Taiwan
RoviSys, a leading independent provider of comprehensive process automation, systems integration, and building management solutions, announced the opening of an office in Taipei, Taiwan. This new location allows RoviSys to better support existing customers in Taiwan and the Greater China region, while developing new relationships in the region. Located in the Neihu area of Taipei, the office allows for convenient access to rail and air transportation, which supports quick response time and localized support to customers.
“RoviSys has been supporting customers in Taiwan for more than 10 years, and has recently seen an increased demand for localized support both within Taiwan and Greater China. A presence in Taiwan allows us to provide improved support to existing customers, while expanding our footprint in the region. Maintaining the competitive rates and high quality standards that have driven our growth will continue,” explained Bill Hurder, Managing Director Asia-Pacific. “The automation industry in Taiwan is a mature industry, however, a strong interest in higher levels of automation and a desire to do more with existing systems, has emerged. RoviSys is uniquely suited to support these efforts, leveraging our vendor independence and seeking out technologies that fit specific requirements for each plant and project.” Read more...
Nestlé announced that it has acquired a majority stake in Blue Bottle Coffee, a high-end speciality coffee roaster and retailer based in Oakland, California.
Over the last 15 years, Blue Bottle Coffee has achieved iconic status amongst discerning coffee drinkers. It offers one of the highest quality coffees available, with an uncompromising attention to taste, freshness and sustainability.
The company operates coffee shops in major US cities and in Japan, with a unique minimalist style that also incorporates elements of the surrounding neighbourhood. The total number of Blue Bottle Coffee shops is expected to reach 55 by the end of 2017, up from 29 at the end of last year. Blue Bottle Coffee has also launched super premium ready-to-drink and roast and ground products, sold online and in the retail market.
Blue Bottle Coffee will continue to operate as a stand-alone entity, while having full access to Nestlé’s well-recognised capabilities in coffee and its strong global consumer reach. The current management and employees will retain a minority stake and continue to run the business with the same entrepreneurial spirit that has made the brand so successful. That includes Bryan Meehan remaining as CEO and founder James Freeman as Chief Product Officer.
With the acquisition of Blue Bottle Coffee, Nestlé is entering the fast-growing, super premium coffee shop segment with an iconic brand for discerning coffee drinkers. Blue Bottle Coffee allows Nestlé to strengthen its position in the US coffee market, the largest in the world, as well as internationally, building on success in Japan. It also offers opportunities to grow in super premium ready-to-drink and roast and ground coffee, largely through online subscription.
Blue Bottle Coffee CEO Bryan Meehan: “My goal as CEO has been to secure a sustainable future for Blue Bottle Coffee that would enable it to flourish for many years to come. I’m excited to work with Nestlé to take a long-term approach to becoming a global leader in speciality coffee. We felt a real kinship with the team and knew it was the right move for us.”
Nestlé acquires majority interest in Blue Bottle Coffee
Post Holdings will acquire Bob Evans for US$ 1.5 billion
Post Holdings, Inc. and Bob Evans Farms, Inc. announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement in which Post will acquire Bob Evans for $77.00 per share. The highly complementary combination will significantly strengthen Post’s portfolio of brands, expand choices for customers and increase Post’s presence in higher growth categories of the packaged food market.
Founded in 1948, Bob Evans is a leading producer and distributor of refrigerated potato, pasta and vegetable-based side dishes, pork sausage, and a variety of refrigerated and frozen convenience food items under the Bob Evans, Owens, Country Creek and Pineland Farms brands. Bob Evans also has a growing foodservice business, representing approximately 35% of volume. The foodservice business sells a range of products, including sausage, sausage gravy, breakfast sandwiches and side dishes, which are made to match individual customer specifications.
The addition of Bob Evans’ highly complementary portfolio of brands and products will meaningfully enhance Post’s refrigerated side dish offering, provide Post with a presence in breakfast sausage and will immediately provide Post with a leading position in the higher growth perimeter of the store. The combination with Bob Evans will also strengthen Post’s presence in commercial foodservice, create opportunities for future growth and enhance Post’s position as one of North America’s largest packaged food companies.
“We have enormous respect for Bob Evans’ success and are excited about the growth opportunities this combination will create,” said Rob Vitale, President and Chief Executive Officer of Post Holdings. “Combining with Bob Evans expands our portfolio of top brands and gives Post a leading position in the perimeter of the store. We look forward to welcoming the talented Bob Evans team to Post and working to create a successful future together.” Read more...
Müller invests US$ 135 million in UK Yogurt & Desserts business
Müller will invest US$ 135 million over the next three years to develop, manufacture and market a new generation of branded and private label yogurt and desserts products, made from milk produced by British farmers.
Already the UK’s favourite yogurt and desserts brand picked from supermarket shelves 208 million times each year*, Müller aims to strengthen its leadership in parts of the category where it is already ever-present whilst introducing exciting new branded and private label products where it is currently absent.
The company plans to further grow and innovate brands including category leader Müllerlight, Müller Corner and Müller Rice, and aims to broaden their usage occasions and availability. Müller will also build on its successful licensing agreement with Mondelez to develop its range of Cadbury products, including entry to new segments of the desserts sector.
To accommodate its plans, capacity and capabilities at its three sites in Shropshire will be further upgraded, including doubling the size of the Telford facility by 2020.
Müller will also increase its marketing spend by almost 25% over the next three years, ensuring that its growing portfolio of branded products benefit from sustained and focused support in line with the company’s ambitions.
Plans for its yogurt and desserts business are guided by a category vision which identified a potential £233m of yogurt and desserts category growth by 2020, to be delivered by bringing excitement, innovation and game changing new products to the market.
Already this year, Müller has successfully introduced a range of ‘Big Pot’ yogurts, its first ever whipped fat free Greek style yogurt and its first branded shareable dessert.
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and Mars Incorporated signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to work to increase incomes and economic opportunities for thousands of smallholder farmers in developing countries.
IFAD President, Gilbert F. Houngbo, and Frank Mars, Board Member of Mars Incorporated, signed the MOU on the side lines of this week’s United Nations General Assembly in New York. The agreement outlines how IFAD and Mars will work together to provide farmers in Mars’ extended supply chain with greater access to the tools, technology and training that will help them improve their livelihoods.
Three quarters of the world's poorest people and most undernourished people live in rural areas and depend on agriculture and related activities for their livelihoods. Yet millions of rural people lack the resources, training and infrastructure to change their lives.
“Agriculture can generate great prosperity for smallholder farmers and it can lift millions out of poverty, create new jobs and business opportunities for rural people, especially youth,” Houngbo said. “We look forward to working with Mars to further develop the potential of smallholder farming, by improving the sustainability of their production and opening doors to new markets.”
The signing of the MOU follows the launch of Mars’ Sustainable in a Generation plan, in which it will invest $1 billion over the next few years to tackle urgent threats including climate change, poverty in the supply chain and scarcity of resources. As part of the plan, Mars has announced an ambition to meaningfully improve the working lives of one million people in its value chain to enable them to thrive. Read more...
IFAD and Mars to working together to improve livelihoods of farmers in Developing Countries
Pagoda's meeting for global suppliers convened in Hong Kong. More than 200 people from Zespri in New Zealand, SunWorld in the U.S.A., AgroFresh in the U.S.A. and other giant farms from more than ten other international fruit producing countries and regions attended the meeting. This year's supplier meeting was the largest in scope since Pagoda started hosting them 15 years ago. It was also the first time the meeting has taken place in Hong Kong.
Among all the activities that night, the one that attracted the most attention was the ceremony in which Pagoda signeda cooperative agreement with the global tycoon in supplying technologies to preserve fruits -- AgroFresh. Holding all guests present as witnesses, the chairman of Pagoda, Yu Huiyong, and AgroFresh's CEO, Jordi Ferre, contractually agreed to jointly set up an after-harvest processing center for fruit in China. Both parties will invest in the project and devote efforts to researching the difficulties of processing fruit after harvest. This way they will be able to reduce the damage done to fruit during the transportation and storing periods, and they will be able to guarantee the freshness and quality of fruits, and increase the market value.
The firm AGroFresh was founded in 1999. Its headquarters are located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is the sole owner of the patent of SmartFresh, a smart quality system. Currently they are registered and active in more than 40 countries all over the world. The smart quality system -- SmartFresh is a technology that preserves fruits using 1-MCP (1-methylcyclopropene). It mainly helps vegetables and fruits that are easily damaged during long transportation or storage periods, keeping away the ethylene from internal and external sources which usually would cause fruit to ripen, and thus maintaining freshness and good quality. The technology can also maintain the thickness, veins and appearance of fruit during transportation and storage, keeping the fruit fresh at all times. It is currently the most effective technology available to keep fruit fresh. The technology is already widely used in developed countries to preserve fruit, vegetables and plants or flowers, but has only now officially received the permission of the Chinese agricultural industry's examination office to register in China. Read more...
Pagoda and AgroFresh sign agreement to supply fruit preserving tech
Obela, part of the global international Dips and Spreads company, a Joint Venture held by Pepsico and Strauss Group, will start selling Hummus products in Germany. Obela will initially sell five Hummus products which include Classic Hummus, Hummus with sun-dried Tomatoes, Hummus with roasted pine nuts, Hummus with Garlic and Mediterranean Hummus all in packs of 175 grams.
The sales in Germany follow the successful acquisition of Florentine, a Netherlands based company in June 2017 and the establishment of a dedicated production line for Obela at the Florentine premises.
Shali Shalit, CEO of Sabra (responsible for the international operations under the Obela brand name): “We are excited to continue our global journey and translate our love for Hummus as a tasty, healthy and connecting product, into additional countries. Our experience coupled with our uncompromising use of the highest quality raw materials and production processes, have turned Sabra and Obela’s Hummus products into global leaders and the Dips and Spreads JV of Pepsico and Strauss to the most meaningful global company in the space.
Obela expands into Europe with launch of German Operations
Rotana, one of the leading hotel management companies in the region with hotels across the Middle East, Africa and Turkey, has signed a strategic partnership with ConnecME Education, a leading education services provider based in Abu Dhabi, to become the company’s regional hotel partner.
The agreement was signed in the presence of Nasser Al Nowais, Chairman of Rotana, and Mohammmad Shadid, CEO of ConnecME Education, at a press conference marking the partnership.
As part of the partnership, Rotana properties across the region will be the exclusive host of ConnecME Education’s international crew, with room nights from this segment in Rotana hotels expected to exceed 25,000 by end of 2017. In addition, Rotana will also be the UAE’s official test centre for ACT, which is a curriculum-based education and career planning tool for high school students that assesses the mastery of college readiness standards.
“As a leading home-grown hospitality company, Rotana remains committed to playing an active role in driving the growth of the tourism sector in the UAE. Our partnership with ConnecME is in line with our focus on education as part of our sustainability platform Rotana Earth. The agreement will enable us to do this through tapping into the country’s growing prominence as a regional educational hub. By being the exclusive host of ConnecME Education’s international crew, we look forward to extending UAE’s warm and welcoming hospitality to members of the global educational community,” said Nasser Al Nowais, Chairman of Rotana.
Rotana signs partnership agreement with Abu Dhabi-based ConnecME Education
Home2 Suites by Hilton Opens Newest Property in Pensacola
Home2 Suites by Hilton, part of Hilton's industry-first All Suites portfolio, announced its newest property, Home2 Suites by Hilton Pensacola I-10 at North Davis Hwy. Designed for travelers who want to maintain their normal routine, the hotel features 106 suites and a range of value, tech-focused and eco-conscious amenities. Home2 Suites by Hilton Pensacola I-10 at North Davis Hwy complements the county's major growth, as it experienced a 30 percent year-over-year increase in visitors and a 16 percent increase in visitor spending last year.
Owned and managed by A & R Hospitality, Home2 Suites by Hilton Pensacola I-10 at North Davis Hwy offers all-suite accommodations with fully equipped kitchens and modular furniture providing guests the flexibility to customize their suite to their style and preference. The hotel also features complimentary Internet, inviting communal spaces, and trademark Home2 Suites amenities such as Spin2 Cycle, a combined laundry and fitness area, Home2 MKT for grab-and-go items and the Inspired Table, a complimentary breakfast that includes more than 400 potential combinations. Guests can also enjoy an outdoor pool and patio area with a fire pit. Home2 Suites by Hilton Pensacola I-10 at North Davis Hwy is pet-friendly.
Located at 7753 North Davis Highway, right off Interstate 10, the new hotel is conveniently situated near an eclectic mix of attractions, from go-karts and boardwalk entertainment, to historic military sites and museums. Guests seeking a family-friendly adventure can explore Sam's Fun City, Pensacola's only amusement and waterpark or enjoy the challenge with Escape on Palafox. Along Pensacola Beach, guests can find options for snorkeling, kayaking and fishing along with shops, bars and entertainment venues. The property is located five miles away from Pensacola International Airport.
IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) revealed the name of its new high-quality midscale brand, avid™ hotels, alongside a brand logo and renderings of the hotel exterior, public space and guest rooms.
More than 150 owners have already expressed interest in the brand demonstrating the strong demand and great potential for avid hotels in this market segment. IHG expects the first avid hotels locations to begin construction in early 2018, and the first hotel is anticipated to open in early 2019.
Keith Barr, Chief Executive Officer, IHG, said: “We built our Holiday Inn Express® brand into a hugely successful, leading midscale brand. Now, with the introduction of avid hotels, we’re set to add another one and extend IHG’s leadership position in this segment. With 14 million potential customers looking for the type of hospitality avid hotels will offer, this new hotel brand represents a significant growth opportunity for IHG and our family of owners.”
This brand is designed for travelers who want a hotel stay that finally meets their expectations for the type of hospitality they value most – the basics done exceptionally well – at a price point expected to be about $10-15 less than IHG’s industry-leading Holiday Inn Express brand.
Elie Maalouf, Chief Executive Officer, IHG, The Americas, added: “Our extensive consumer research and conversations with owners identified a clear opportunity to reach an important set of business and leisure travelers in a vastly underserved $20 billion segment of the U.S. midscale market. We applied our insights, expertise and scale to deliver an experience that features modern and stylish designs, superior guest rooms and public spaces and great service – all at an excellent value. I have no doubt avid hotels will continue IHG’s success in delivering what our guests want, while driving superior returns for our owners.
Luneng Group and Four Seasons Hotels announce plans for
Four Seasons Hotel Dalian
Luneng Group, one of the major real estate developers in China, and Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, the world's leading luxury hospitality company, jointly announced plans to open a luxury Four Seasons hotel in Dalian, located in the Liaodong Peninsula in northeastern China.
Situated within the Donggang (East Harbour), Four Seasons Hotel Dalian will open in the redeveloped financial and commercial hub of the city. A growing and diverse urban centre, Dalian is home to leading industry, port activities and commerce, and is a popular destination for domestic and foreign travellers. Dalian is known for its cosmopolitan culture, showcasing traditional and modern architecture with global influences reflecting its long history as an important seaport.
The new mixed-use tower in the Donggang will feature office space along with the Hotel, and is ideally located to offer views of both the historic port and downtown core. Business and leisure travellers alike will have easy access to industrial and commercial centres; restaurants, bars and shopping; as well as other popular tourist destinations, including swimmable beaches and theme parks.
"We are proud to work with Luneng Group to introduce another Four Seasons experience in China in such a diverse and fascinating city," says J. Allen Smith, President and CEO, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. "Together, we are dedicated to introducing guests to the highest standard of quality and the most genuine and personal service – the markers of a Four Seasons stay the world over."
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C. is pleased to announce the debut of The Ritz-Carlton, Langkawi, as the oceanfront resort opens on the Malaysian island. Set in a tranquil private bay, the resort is surrounded by an ancient jungle, while its beachfront is shelter by trees and gently lapped by the Andaman Sea. Designed to reflect the beauty and vibrancy of the nearby traditional villages – which are known as Kampongs – The Ritz-Carlton, Langkawi incorporates influences from local culture, creating a uniquely luxurious retreat with an authentic touch.
“We are thrilled to be introducing The Ritz-Carlton to Langkawi. This exciting opening marks our first resort destination in Malaysia, and the second property in the country following The Ritz-Carlton, Kuala Lumpur,” said Hervé Humler, President and Chief Operating Officer of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.C.C. “With spectacular coastal views, lush rainforests and a blend of cultures, Langkawi offers stunning natural beauty with a fascinating story. The Ritz-Carlton, Langkawi provides guests with the opportunity to experience the wonders of this unique island for themselves.”
Designed by Philippe Villeroux of Kuala Lumpur-based Tropical Area Architects, the resort has been carefully created to fully immerse travelers in the island’s natural ecosystem and local culture. Spacious interiors in the 70 guest rooms, 15 suites and 29 villas are framed by delicate references to Malay architecture, which can be seen in the intricately-designed features, large windows and gabled roofs. The rooms vertical lines fully integrate the living spaces into the surrounding jungle, while elegant overwater villas offer panoramic views of the sea, complete with magnificent Langkawi sunsets. Especially suitable to multi-generational families or other groups, the resort’s Villa Mutiara, offers deluxe accommodations for up to eight and boasts two pools and access to a private beach.
Intended to allow guests to soak up the island’s rich culture and beauty from their first moment, the resort’s Walkway of Wishes entrance offers a warm welcome with a water fountain inspired by the island’s mystical granter of wishes, Tasik Dayang Bunting, ‘The Lake of Pregnant Maiden.’ Each guest will be invited to write their wishes on a flat stone, which is then placed into the water in hopes that it will come true, as the first of many special memories to be created during their stay.
Commonwealth Bank sells life insurance arm to AIA Group for US$ 3.8 billion
AIA Group Limited, has reached agreement with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (“CBA”), subject to securing all necessary regulatory and governmental approvals, to acquire CommInsure Life and Sovereign, CBA’s life insurance business in Australia and life and health insurance businesses in New Zealand. In addition, AIA will enter into 20-year strategic bancassurance partnerships with CBA in Australia and ASB Bank Limited (“ASB”) in New Zealand.
Ng Keng Hooi, AIA’s Group Chief Executive and President, commenting on the Proposed Transaction, said:
“This transaction provides a highly-attractive opportunity to transform AIA's businesses in Australia and New Zealand by extending our protection market leadership positions and expanding our distribution capabilities through strategic long-term partnerships with leading retail banks in these markets.
“The transaction will generate substantial financial benefits for our shareholders through enabling us to deliver further profitable new business growth by leveraging AIA’s capabilities and leading product solutions.
“The acquisition of CBA’s life insurance businesses and the new 20-year bancassurance partnerships with CBA will strengthen AIA’s protection market leadership and expand our distribution capabilities in these markets. We look forward to welcoming our new customers and colleagues, and working with CBA to deliver innovative insurance products and services that meet the growing financial protection needs of customers across Australia and New Zealand.”
The gross consideration to be paid with respect to the transaction is AUD3,800 million (which is equivalent to US$3,036 million) payable in cash on completion of the transaction and subject to certain adjustments at completion. After taking into account the proceeds from reinsurance agreements, and the free surplus within CommInsure Life and Sovereign, the final net cash outlay by AIA is expected to be AUD1,882 million (equivalent to US$1,503 million). The aggregate gross embedded value of CommInsure Life and Sovereign was AUD3,531 million (equivalent to US$2,821 million) as at 30 June 2017.
DSW Designer shoe warehouse opens first warehouse in Saudi Arabia
DSW Inc., a leading branded footwear and accessories retailer, is pleased to announce the opening of its first warehouse in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The new warehouse, located at the Mall of Dhahran, marks the second DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse outside North America. The company opened a location at the Muscat Grand Mall in Oman in June with its regional franchise partner, Apparel Group.
Customers will find a breathtaking assortment of sandals, athletic, dress, casual footwear and accessories for the entire family. Top designer brands like Nike, Adidas, Aldo, Birkenstock, TOMS, and Franco Sarto, are among the enormous assortment of brands offered at an everyday value. DSW's engaging retail experience and convenient, self-service environment will give customers access to thousands of choices that fuel countless possibilities for self-expression.
"We are excited to provide the broadest retail footwear assortment in the region," said Simon Nankervis, Chief Commercial Officer for DSW Inc. "At 15,000 square feet, this new store design delivers the same capacity on half the space of our North American locations, giving our Saudi guests the same experience they would expect to receive in the USA, while positioning the warehouse as a potential fulfillment center for future digital initiatives.
Panama, Chile and Argentina leading the way in Latin America to close the Workforce Gender Gap
A new Gender Parity Task Force is being established in Panama to increase the number of women entering and progressing in the labour market.
Applying a model of public-private collaboration on workplace gender parity developed by the Forum and being taken forward in Latin America in partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Panama is the latest country committing to action. The task force will be led by senior government and business leaders in the country.
“Gender parity is not just about equality: it also yields a growth dividend. If Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region achieved parity in labour force participation of men and women, our GDP could increase by 16%,” said Luis Alberto Moreno, President, Inter-American Development Bank, Washington DC. “Working with the Forum, we are helping LAC countries establish gender parity task forces to boost female participation in the labour force, reduce gender wage gaps and increase female representation in management and professional positions.”
Women are still less likely to enter the labour force in Panama. While the country has closed the gap in terms of women’s participation in professional roles, Panama currently ranks 105th out of 144 countries on the broader labour force participation gap. Women who are in the workforce are also much less likely to be paid the same as their male colleagues for equivalent work or to reach senior management roles.
In recent years however, Panama has closed the gender gap in education, with women outperforming men in secondary and tertiary educational enrolment. This presents the country with a huge opportunity to leverage the skills and talents of women in business, the public sector and the wider economy and society. It is this potential that a Gender Parity Task Force can help maximize, building on the good work, leadership and desire for additional action already present in Panama.
Isabel Saint Malo de Alvarado, Vice-President of Panama and Minister of Foreign Affairs, said: “Women have made significant advances in education and the workplace in Panama. Through this public-private partnership we will accelerate their progress further and ensure that they are ready for the future of work.
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