World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report 2017-2018
it & BPM i FOOD I HEALTHCARE i TEXTILES i INFRASTRUCTURE i ENGINEERING i tourism
Alibaba Group to invest US$ 15.2 billion to
expand its logistics network
25 - 30 SEPTEMBER 2017
business operations in
THE DEFINITIVE SOURCE FOR INVESTMENT PROMOTION EXECUTIVES
Unilever to acquire
Carver Korea for
US$ 2.7 billion
Ten years on from the global financial crisis, the prospects for a sustained economic recovery remain at risk due to a widespread failure on the part of leaders and policy-makers to put in place reforms necessary to underpin competitiveness and bring about much-needed increases in productivity, according to data from the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2017-2018.
For the ninth consecutive year, the report’s Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) finds Switzerland to be the world’s most competitive economy, narrowly ahead of the United States and Singapore. Other G20 economies in the top 10 are Germany (5), the United Kingdom (8) and Japan (9). China is the highest ranking among the BRICS group of large emerging markets, moving up one rank to 27.
Drawing on data going back 10 years, the report highlights in particular three areas of greatest concern. These include the financial system, where levels of “soundness” have yet to recover from the shock of 2007 and in some parts of the world are declining further. This is especially of concern given the important role the financial system will need to play in facilitating investment in innovation related to the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Another key finding is that competitiveness is enhanced, not weakened, by combining degrees of flexibility within the labour force with adequate protection of workers’ rights. With vast numbers of jobs set to be disrupted as a result of automation and robotization, creating conditions that can withstand economic shock and support workers through transition periods will be vital.
The Global Competitiveness Report 2017-2018: WEF
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Alibaba Group to invest US$ 15.2 billion to expand its Logistics Network
Alibaba Group Holding Limited announced that as a further step to implement its New Retail strategy, the company has agreed to make an additional investment of US$807 million to increase its ownership of Cainiao Smart Logistics Network Limited ("Cainiao"), the logistics affiliate of Alibaba, to a majority stake of 51%. Alibaba also announced its intention to invest RMB100 billion (US$15.2 billion) over the next five years to further strengthen its global logistics network that aims to realize its mission of fulfilling orders in China within 24 hours and within 72 hours anywhere in the world. These investments are expected to enhance the overall logistics experience for consumers and merchants across the Alibaba ecosystem, as well as to enable greater efficiencies and lower costs in China's logistics sector.
Upon completion of the transaction, Alibaba's stake in Cainiao will increase from 47% to 51%, and Alibaba will gain one additional new seat on Cainiao's board of directors, increasing its board representation to four out of seven seats.
The additional investment of RMB100 billion (US$15.2 billion) over the next five years will be used to increase R&D in logistics data technology, as well as for development of smart warehousing, smart delivery and global logistics infrastructure, all of which are core to building the global logistics network of the future.
"Our goal with this investment is to provide comprehensive, first-class experience for consumers globally," said Daniel Zhang, CEO of Alibaba Group. "Our commitment to Cainiao and additional investment in logistics demonstrate Alibaba's commitment to building the most-efficient logistic network in China and around the world. By enhancing the logistics capabilities within the Alibaba ecosystem and extending our investment in this sector, we are further enabling our New Retail strategy to bring online and offline retail into one seamless experience for shoppers. We will also continue to deepen our collaboration with various logistics partners to achieve this goal."
ADB earmarks up to US$ 4 billion a year for new partnership with India 2018-2022
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) plans to raise its annual lending to India to a maximum of $4 billion to support the country to accelerate inclusive economic transformation toward upper middle-income status, as laid out in a new ADB Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for 2018-2022 endorsed today.
ADB’s program in India will focus on three main pillars of activity during the 5-year period—boosting economic competitiveness to create more and well-paid jobs, improved access to infrastructure and services, and addressing climate change and improving climate resilience. About 85% of lending will be focused on transport, energy, and urban infrastructure and services. Other finance will be aimed at public sector management, agriculture, natural resources and rural development, as well as skills development and urban health.
The planned lending level, which includes private sector operations, compares with an average of $2.65 billion a year in loans extended in the period 2012-2016. It will be complemented by technical assistance to help undertake strategic studies, build capacities, and prepare projects, increasing from the current average of $6.6 million in 2013-2016. ADB will also explore cofinancing opportunities, including climate funds for relevant projects.
“ADB’s new 5-year partnership with India supports the government’s goal of inclusive and sustainable growth grounded by economic structural transformation and job creation, with an increased focus on low-income states,” said Kenichi Yokoyama, ADB Country Director in India. “We aim to assist transformative investments, deliver holistic solutions removing sectoral boundaries, and demonstrate high value addition of our assistance in terms of innovation, timeliness, efficiency, and quality.”
CRH plc to buy Ash Grove Cement in US$ 3.5 billion
Ash Grove Cement Company announced that it has entered into a definitive merger agreement with CRH plc, under which CRH plc will acquire Ash Grove in a transaction valuing Ash Grove at $3.5 billion on an enterprise value basis. The transaction has been unanimously approved by the board of directors of Ash Grove and is currently expected to close in late 2017 or early 2018, subject to stockholder approval, regulatory approval and other customary conditions.
Under the terms of the merger agreement, Ash Grove stockholders will be entitled to receive cash merger consideration comprised of a pro rata share (based on the number of shares of stock outstanding) of the $3.5 billion enterprise value, minus adjustments for certain non-controlling interests and debt-like items and certain other liabilities, and further adjusted to the extent net working capital and cash on hand at closing vary from certain thresholds.
It is expected that approximately 98% of the merger consideration will be paid at the time of closing based on estimated information, and an additional amount, if any, will be paid following completion of a post-closing adjustment process intended to "true-up" the closing estimates to actual amounts as of the closing date. While the final amount of the merger consideration will not be determined until following closing of the transaction due to fluctuation of certain components thereof through closing, the Company currently estimates that the final amount of merger consideration will be in the range of approximately $449 - $454 per share based on Ash Grove’s balance sheet as of June 30, 2017.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has agreed to finance additional power transmission network components with cofinancing from the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) that will connect with an ADB-financed Green Energy Corridor and Grid Strengthening Project in India.
In support of the Indian government’s Green Energy Corridor initiative, ADB’s Board of Directors approved in December 2015 two loans to build and upgrade inter-regional grid systems between the western and southern regions, and high voltage transmission lines and substations in the northern region. The system will mainly deliver solar and wind energy to wider locations in India. The ADB financing for this comprised a $500 million government-backed loan and a further $500 million in nonsovereign lending to India’s national transmission company, Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (POWERGRID).
To increase energy delivery to more provinces in India, the project will now be expanded to include 400 kilovolt transmission components in Tamil Nadu to connect at Pugalur with the long-distance grid systems financed by ADB. ADB will provide $50 million from savings from the earlier loans while AIIB’s Board of Directors yesterday approved cofinancing of $100 million for this component, which has a total cost of $303.5 million. POWERGRID will finance the remainder.
“We are pleased that this first AIIB cofinanced project in India will bring clean energy to more people and help the country achieve its ambitious renewable energy targets,” said Priyantha Wijayatunga, Director of ADB’s Energy Division in its South Asia Department. “We look forward to broadening our partnership with AIIB in the coming years.”
ADB expands clean energy project in India with AIIB Cofinancing
ABB announced the acquisition of GE Industrial Solutions, GE’s global electrification solutions business. GE Industrial Solutions has deep customer relationships in more than 100 countries and an established installed base with strong roots in North America, ABB’s biggest market.
GE Industrial Solutions is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, and has about 13,500 employees around the world. In 2016, GE Industrial Solutions had revenues of approximately $2.7 billion, with an operational EBITDA margin of approximately 8 percent1 and an operational EBITA margin of approximately 6 percent1. ABB will acquire GE Industrial Solutions for $2.6 billion; the transaction will be operationally accretive in year one.
ABB expects to realize approximately $200 million of annual cost synergies in year five, which will be key in bringing GE Industrial Solutions to peer performance. As part of the transaction and overall value creation, ABB and GE have agreed to establish a long-term, strategic supply relationship for GE Industrial Solutions products and ABB products that GE sources today.
He added: “Together with the GE Industrial Solutions team, we will execute our well-established plans in a disciplined way to bring this business as part of the global ABB family back to peer performance. With this next step of active portfolio management, we continue to shift ABB’s center of gravity, in line with our Next Level strategy, by strengthening competitiveness, mainly in the North American market, and lowering risk with an early-cycle business.”
“This combination brings together two global businesses with a broad complement of electrical protection and distribution assets,” said John Flannery, CEO of GE. “ABB values our people, domain expertise, and our ability to operate in the segments where we have depth and experience. GE will also benefit through an expanded strategic supply relationship with ABB as the two companies work together.”
ABB to acquire GE Industrial Solutions for US$ 2.7 billion
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Ameren Missouri announced a forward-thinking plan to dramatically increase the amount of wind and solar generation to provide cost-effective and sustainable energy for its customers.
Ameren Missouri, a subsidiary of Ameren Corporation, plans to add at least 700 megawatts of wind generation by 2020, representing an investment of approximately $1 billion. The potential exists to add even more wind generation in the coming years as a result of improving technology and economics, as well as renewable energy initiatives with large customers.
The company also plans to add 100 megawatts of solar generation over the next 10 years, with 50 megawatts expected to come online by 2025.
"This is Ameren Missouri's largest-ever commitment to clean, renewable energy," said Michael Moehn, president of Ameren Missouri. "We are committed to bringing our customers innovative solutions that are both cost-effective and environmentally responsible while maintaining the reliability our customers expect."
The new wind generation is expected to be located in Missouri and neighboring states using American-made turbines. The source, location and cost of the new wind generation is still under negotiation with several developers.
"We expect this tremendous growth in wind generation to provide great value to our customers, who will save money on energy costs," Moehn said. "Because of significant advancement in technology, harnessing wind is less expensive than other forms of new generation."
Ameren Missouri to invest US$ 1 billion in wind,
Essar invests US$ 124 million to double Vizag Port iron ore handling capacity
Essar Ports, India’s second largest private port operator that has an operational capacity of 82 MTPA, announced that its Rs 830-crore expansion plan to upgrade the iron ore handling capacity of the Vizag Terminal (outer harbour) from 12.5 MMTPA to 23 MMTPA is nearing completion. On completion, the upgraded terminal will have a loading rate of 8,000 TPH (tonnes per hour), which will be among the highest for an Indian port.
Essar Vizag Terminals Limited (EVTL) took over the project in May 2015 on a Design- Build - Finance- Operate-Transfer (DBFOT) basis for a period of 30 years. Since then, the company has ramped up the iron ore loading capacity of the terminal from 25,000 TPD (tonnes per day) to 70,000 TPD. After the completion of the upgradation - cum- modernisation project, the loading capacity will increase to 120,000 TPD, and the facility will be able to berth vessels up to 200,000 DWT, with a draft of 18 metres, on the outer harbour.
EVTL’s Iron Ore Handling Terminal at Vizag Port is an all-weather deep draft facility that has the wherewithal to serve the rapidly growing markets of South East Asia, including China, Japan, and Korea. The project facilities are state-of-the-art and require minimal human intervention.
Receiving System: Completely mechanised facilities that comprise high capacity wagon tipplers for receiving cargo by rakes, and one of the longest integrated conveyor systems that transfer cargo to a stackyard that has high capacity multiple stackers. The stackyard has a capacity to store 0.6 MT of cargo.
Shipping System: The system comprises high capacity reclaimers to load vessels up to Capesize through ship loaders. It is one of fastest loading systems ever seen in an Indian port.
EIB agrees US$ 13.6 billion backing for transport, education, energy and private sector investment
The board of the European Investment Bank approved new financing totalling EUR 11.5 billion at its meeting in the Bulgarian capital Sofia. This includes support for investment to improve transport, education, urban development, water, energy and communications, alongside backing business investment across Europe and around the world. New Public-Private Partnership (PPP) financing for urban rail, motorway construction and flood defences was also agreed.
“Economies across Europe and around the world enjoy solid growth rates at the moment, but there is still a large investment gap that needs to be tackled. Investment is needed in many areas, from fighting climate change to supporting the digital transformation. As the Bank of the European Union the EIB helps companies of all sizes to flourish and develop new products and services”, said Werner Hoyer, President of the European Investment Bank.
Bulgarian Prime Minister opens new EIB office and welcomes strengthened EIB engagement.
Genuine Parts Company to acquire Europe's AAG in
US$ 2 billion Deal
Genuine Parts Company, and Alliance Automotive Group ("AAG"), a leading European distributor of vehicle parts, tools and workshop equipment, announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Genuine Parts Company will acquire Alliance Automotive Group from private equity funds managed by Blackstone and AAG's co-founders. The acquisition is valued at a total purchase price of approximately $2 billion (US$), including the repayment of AAG's outstanding debt upon closing.
AAG is the second largest parts distribution platform in Europe, with a focus on light vehicle and commercial vehicle replacement parts. Headquartered in London, AAG has 7,500 employees and over 1,800 company-owned stores and affiliated outlets across France, the U.K. and Germany. AAG has a consistent track record of organic revenue and earnings growth supported by strategic investments based on a proven M&A strategy to gain scale, efficiencies and geographic coverage.
AAG is expected to generate gross annual billings of approximately $2.3 billion (US$) including supplier direct billings, or $1.7 billion of revenue on a U.S. GAAP basis in 2017. Additionally, the Company expects the acquisition to be immediately accretive to earnings in the first year after closing. For 2018, incremental diluted earnings per share is estimated at $0.45 to $0.50 and adjusted earnings per share is estimated at $0.65 to $0.70, which excludes the amortization of acquisition-related intangibles. The Company expects to incur one-time transaction costs in the fourth quarter of 2017.
Japan's Kuraray to buy Calgon Carbon for
US$ 1.1 billion
Calgon Carbon Corporation and Kuraray Co., Ltd. announced that their respective Boards of Directors have unanimously approved, and the parties have entered into, a definitive merger agreement under which Kuraray will acquire Calgon Carbon for $21.50 per share in cash, which equates to an equity value of approximately $1.1 billion, and a transaction value in excess of $1.3 billion, including Calgon Carbon’s net indebtedness.
The transaction remains subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals and approval by Calgon Carbon stockholders. The parties are targeting a closing by the end of December, 2017. The acquisition will be completed through a merger of a newly-created subsidiary of Kuraray with and into Calgon Carbon, with Calgon Carbon as the surviving corporation.
While this acquisition will enhance Kuraray’s growth strategy and global presence in activated carbon and filtration media, it intends to operate Calgon Carbon as a separate subsidiary of Kuraray. The companies will align the organization and operation for optimal customer support from Calgon Carbon’s world headquarters in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Kuraray and Calgon Carbon have complementary products and services, and the combined organization will continue to focus on the highest quality activated carbon and filtration media products, equipment and services for customers around the world. The combination will strengthen Kuraray’s focus on contributing to human health, and the sustainability of the environment through innovative and high quality products around the world.
Randy Dearth, Calgon Carbon’s Chairman, President and CEO, said of the acquisition, “Not only does this transaction deliver premium value to our stockholders, it also benefits our customers and employees by making Calgon Carbon part of a much larger, stronger global company with resources to fully support our global activated carbon, filtration media and service businesses now, and well into the future.”
ABB and Northvolt have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for a wide-ranging supply and technology partnership, including products and services for Northvolt’s state-of-the-art lithium-ion battery factory and close collaboration on development of battery solutions and R&D activities. ABB Technology Ventures (ATV) will support the initial phase of this project through an early investment.
Northvolt is going to build Europe’s largest and most advanced lithium-ion battery factory in Sweden. Supported by ABB’s industrial automation expertise, integrating robotics, machine and factory automation, electrification and ABB AbilityTM, ABB’s unified, cross-industry digital offering, into one overall solution, the factory will supply European customers in the automotive and key industries with high quality and customizable battery solutions. The factory is expected to start production in 2020. A demonstration-line will be ready by 2019 and will allow Northvolt to continuously optimize products and processes.
“We are excited to support Northvolt’s project to build the battery factory of the future here in one of our home countries”, said ABB CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer. “This uniquely integrated factory would be a true showcase for ABB’s leadership in industrial automation and smart electrification and would help to meet the ever-increasing demand for smarter, greener storage solutions.”
The Energy Revolution has spurred the use of renewable energy sources and lowered the reliance on fossil fuels. Electrification and storage are the keys to a carbon neutral society. The shift to e-mobility alone will drive the need for batteries to new heights. The ability to store energy is also crucial to free the world’s energy generation and distribution from fossil fuels in a phased manner.
“The world is moving quickly towards electrification. We want to enable this transition by building the largest, cutting-edge lithium-ion battery factory on the European continent and producing the world’s greenest batteries. ABB is at the forefront of the electrification, and we are delighted to have them on-board as strategic partner, key supplier and investor”, said Peter Carlsson, CEO of Northvolt.
ABB and Northvolt partner for Europe’s largest
APEC has introduced a new business-to-business platform for enabling cross-border trade among underrepresented but economically vital micro, small, and medium enterprises in the Asia-Pacific.
The APEC Micro, Small and Medium Size Enterprise Marketplace showcases small firms from APEC member economies and helps to connect them with compatible production and supply chain partners. It also details tariffs and trade regulations as well as provides a portal to support services to help small businesses in the region build their trading operations.
“There are a huge range of market opportunities for micro enterprises all around the Asia-Pacific, particularly with advances in mobile technology and e-commerce,” said Philippine Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez, who announced the opening of the platform endorsed by APEC SME Ministers.
“The APEC Marketplace will make it easier for small businesses to trade and, in the process, boost their competitiveness and growth capacity in the region,” continued Secretary Lopez. “The benefits of wider participation in trade could be very significant for APEC economies and our people’s livelihoods.” (VIDEO: Secretary Lopez on the Value of Small Business Trade)
The platform caters to small firms that account for nearly all businesses and the majority of employment in the APEC region, and have substantial room for export growth. They range from handicraft suppliers in Luzon, to auto and machinery parts producers in Ohio, Nagoya and Ho Chi Minh City, to coffee growers and processors in the highlands of Papua New Guinea.
APEC economies aim to grow the APEC Marketplace’s directory of small businesses with export potential and, in turn, open up market opportunities for these firms in the Asia-Pacific through business matching with companies seeking value-adding goods and services suppliers.
APEC Launches Micro Enterprise Trading Platform
The European Investment Bank (EIB) and Eurobank have signed a EUR 150 million loan agreement to finance eligible projects undertaken by small and medium-sized enterprises and midcaps operating in Greece. Through this credit line, SMEs and MidCaps active in the agriculture, tourism, manufacturing, services and other sectors, may obtain financing in the form of investment loans and working capital liquidity.
This is the second loan to be signed between the EIB and Eurobank under the EIB’s EUR 1 billion “Loan for SMEs and MidCaps” credit line to Greek banks. The first one, signed in December 2016 for an amount of EUR 100 million, has been fully taken up by SMEs. As is the case with the previous financing agreement signed with Eurobank, the latest loan also incorporates the EIB’s “Skills and Jobs – Investing for Youth” initiative, offering competitive interest rates and additional financial advantages to enterprises that promote youth employment. The agreement will contribute actively and decisively to the strengthening of Greek real economy, the creation of sustainable growth and youth employment.
“This loan to Eurobank marks the continuation of the EIB's long-standing partnership with Greek banks, through which we are together improving access to finance for small and medium sized enterprises, and provides further support for the real economy,” said Jonathan Taylor, EIB Vice-President responsible for lending in Greece.
Further support for Greek SMEs and MidCaps:
EIB & Eurobank sign
US$ 176 million
Shenzhen Suishou Technology Co. a leading personal finance management platform in China, and global investment firm KKR announced the signing of a definitive agreement under which KKR will invest in Suishou's Series C funding round to support the Company's expansion across China.
Suishou's partnership with KKR expands the Company's group of world-class investors, which include Sequoia Capital, Fosun Group and Source Code Capital.
Suishou enables individuals to better manage their personal finances by providing them with a one-stop mobile destination to track spending, organize budgets, and manage credit card usage. Suishou's popular mobile applications include personal bookkeeping app Suishouji (随手记) and fully automated credit card manager Cardniu (卡牛). The Company's apps have been downloaded over 300 million times, making it the largest mobile personal finance management platform in China.
Much of the Company's success stems from China's growing middle class and rising urbanization. With these favorable demographic changes, disposable incomes of urban consumers have been expected to double between 2010 and 2020, according to McKinsey. As these consumers have become wealthier and more focused on their personal finances, there has been a growing demand for resources to help them manage their planning and budgeting.
Gu Feng, CEO of Suishou, said, "We are very excited to work with a high-caliber partner like KKR, which shares our vision for growth and can leverage its experience in China and the financial services and technology industries to support our expansion. The Suishou team is excited to build on our success as China's most-used personal finance management platform and enhance the lives of hundreds of millions of users who increasingly seek solutions to manage their budgets and achieve financial independence."
KKR invests in Shenzhen Suishou Technology
SAP SE announced it has entered into an agreement to acquire Gigya, a market leader for customer identity and access management. Major independent analyst firms, most recently Forrester Research,1 have positioned Gigya as a top vendor in this field.
Gigya’s customer identity and access management platform helps companies build digital relationships with their customers. Its platform allows companies to manage customers’ profile, preference, opt-in and consent settings, with customers maintaining control of their data at all times.
Gigya’s technology provides new capabilities to consumers across channels and touch points, builds rich intelligent profiles and creates a consent-based approach to personalization across sales, service and marketing. Gigya, an SAP Hybris2partner since 2013, has customers already using a solution extension from SAP Hybris and Gigya. This acquisition will enable the teams to further build upon this existing strong relationship.
“Gigya brings a wealth of skills and expertise that will significantly enhance the SAP® Hybris® Profile solution and allow us to take leadership of the emerging customer identity and access management market,” said Carsten Thoma, president and cofounder of SAP Hybris. “Consumer trust is the main currency to succeed for customer-driven organizations. This is what Gigya is known and recognized for.”
SAP to Acquire Gigya
NetSuite expands business operations in South Africa
Oracle NetSuite, one of the world’s leading providers of cloud- based financials / ERP, HR, Professional Services Automation (PSA) and omnichannel commerce software suites, announced the expansion of business operations in South Africa. With the support of Oracle’s global resources behind it, NetSuite has added a dedicated sales team and new leadership; new solution provider partners to strengthen its existing partner ecosystem; and new customers such as Jasco and ElectroMechanica on NetSuite OneWorld. This expansion is in response to the increasing demand for cloud ERP in the region from fast growing, innovative and emerging international businesses.
“South Africa and the region, as a whole, represent the next great opportunity for NetSuite,” said Mark Woodhams, Oracle NetSuite Vice President EMEA. “Today’s announcement is further proof that, with the global resources of Oracle behind us, we can now scale rapidly and better serve the needs of the region.”
NetSuite Bolsters Direct Sales Team and Leadership
NetSuite is extending its focus in South Africa and in the surrounding region with the addition of a dedicated sales team and country manager.
The dedicated sales office will be led by Khaled Ismail, Vice President, Oracle Digital Application Business, East, Central Europe, Middle East and Africa (ECEMEA), who will manage sales and marketing strategy for the region. In this role, Ismail will manage an organization of 250 sales professionals with almost 20 managers and directors. He will also be directly responsible for all the supporting functions working for ECEMEA OD from pre-sales, sales development, marketing and customer success.
HealthLink Acquired by Base Logistics
HealthLink Europe & International acquired by Base Logistics Group
Base Logistics Group, supported by Waterland Private Equity Investments, has announced the acquisition of HealthLink Europe & International. With offices in ‘s-Hertogenbosch (Netherlands), Raleigh (USA) and Memphis (USA), HealthLink is a logistics outsourcing partner for life science manufacturing companies. From its offices in The Netherlands and the United States, Healthlink offers support in the field of logistics, order-to-cash and customer service. The activities and strategy of the service provider from ‘s-Hertogenbosch fit well with those of Base Logistics, which strengthens its position in The Netherlands with the acquisition and realizes a strong position in the United States. Both organizations will continue to operate under their own names.
Base Logistics’ CEO Robin Voet about the acquisition: “HealthLink has been a partner for a long time, and the collaboration has grown ever since. HealthLink makes extensive use of our Transport and Warehouse Management System Klairy, which has become the basis of HealthLink’s strong service to its customers. HealthLink is a healthy and ambitious organization, so it fits well within the culture and future plans of Base Logistics.” The acquisition offers Base Logistics the opportunity to strengthen its position in the North American market. Voet explains: “In the field of Service Parts Logistics, we are already an important player in Europe, and we have built up a healthy customer base in America. Thanks to the acquisition of HealthLink, we are able to further develop our own SPL activities from HealthLink’s Memphis office.”
VWR announces New Kitting Center in Czech Republic
VWR, the leading global independent provider of product and service solutions to laboratory and production customers, celebrated the opening of its new kitting center in Skalice, Czech Republic. This new facility will support the growing business of Therapak, which VWR acquired in 2016, by expanding its existing footprint in Europe with a state of the art facility and comprehensive kitting services for regional and global customers.
"VWR's Czech Republic facility is strategically located to support customers in the EMEA region for all their clinical and commercial kitting needs," said Ulf Kepper, SVP, Services for VWR. "This location expands our VWRCATALYST offering to support the growing demand for quality services to the industries we support."
Therapak, a leading supplier of pre-packaged convenience kits and procedure packs for the clinical trial, pharmaceutical and clinical laboratory industries, has proven to be a valued addition to the VWRCATALYST Clinical and Biorepository Services.
Unilever to acquire Carver Korea for US$ 2.7 billion
Unilever announced that it has agreed to acquire Carver Korea, a leading skincare business in North Asia, for €2.27bn, from Bain Capital Private Equity and Goldman Sachs.
Founded in 1999, Carver has shown exponential growth over the last five years; delivering sales of €321m and EBITDA of €137m in 2016. Building on its origins as an aesthetics company supplying professional products to beauty salons, Carver has become the fastest-growing skincare business in South Korea, through sales of its brand, AHC. AHC’s portfolio is focused on two high-demand consumer spaces: age management, and hydration and nourishment. The range includes the hero product: ‘Eye Cream for Face’, along with essences, toners, moisturisers, masks, and sun protection.
Alan Jope, Unilever President Personal Care, says: “We are delighted to be acquiring Carver Korea. It is an impressive business that is completely aligned to our Personal Care strategy. It will significantly strengthen our position in North Asia, the largest skincare market in the world; and will complement our existing portfolio, enabling us to offer luxury skincare products at attainable price points. AHC has been strongly gaining popularity thanks to its efficacious, innovative and premium products; and it therefore offers great opportunities for growth.”
Alcobra Ltd. and Arcturus Therapeutics, agree to Merge
Alcobra Ltd., and Arcturus Therapeutics, Inc., a privately held biotechnology company developing novel RNA medicines, announced the signing of a definitive agreement to merge the two companies in an all-stock transaction. The transaction will result in a combined company focused on developing novel RNA medicines in therapeutic areas including infectious disease, cystic fibrosis, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and rare liver diseases.
Arcturus has developed proprietary technology platforms incorporating Unlocked Nucleomonomer Agent (UNA) Oligomer chemistry and lipid-mediated nanoparticle (LUNAR™) nucleic acid delivery systems. The UNA Oligomer platform incorporates improvements to the chemical structure of RNA to generate pharmaceutical and therapeutic benefits. The LUNAR delivery system is optimized for high RNA encapsulation efficiency, which improves manufacturing and cost-of-goods and enables particle size control to potentially improve the targeting of clinically important cells and tissues, including liver hepatocytes, liver stellate cells, myocytes and lung cells.
Arcturus is applying these technologies to develop RNA medicines, including under collaborations with Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical, Inc., Takeda Pharmaceutical Inc. and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. In addition, over the next two years, Arcturus plans to advance at least one internal program into clinical testing.
“In contrast to many traditional small molecule and biologic therapeutics, RNA medicines have the potential to cure diseases by addressing the underlying genetic cause rather than treating the symptoms,” said Stuart Collinson, Ph.D., Executive Chairman of Arcturus. “Arcturus’s technology combines delivery and RNA chemistry to generate innovative medicines with the potential to transform the lives of patients with serious diseases.”
Carnival Corporation & plc, the world's largest leisure travel company, announced that it has signed a memorandum of agreement with Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri S.p.A. to build a new cruise ship for the company's iconic Cunard brand.
The new ship for Cunard will be built at Fincantieri's shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy, with an expected delivery date in 2022. The as-yet-unnamed ship will join Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth as the fourth member of the Cunard fleet, marking the first time since 1998 that the luxury cruise brand will have four ships in simultaneous service.
The new cruise ship will be the 249th ship to fly the Cunard flag since the company's founding in 1839. Cunard will announce additional details about the new ship starting in 2018.
With this new ship agreement, Carnival Corporation now has 18 new ships scheduled to be delivered to its portfolio of leading global cruise brands between 2018 and 2022.
"We are very pleased to announce a fourth ship for our immensely popular Cunard brand, which is also one of the most legendary brands in the entire vacation industry," said Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation.
"Cunard offers a fleet of unrivaled vessels and one of the most unique travel experiences in the world, which together create an enchanting and memorable vacation for our guests. While today's news helps drive Cunard's overall strategic growth plans, we also look forward to launching this next-generation cruise ship to help meet increasing global demand and entice even more travelers to explore the Cunard experience."
Carnival Corporation to build New Cruise Ship for iconic Cunard Brand
Cargill and Faccenda Foods agree to establish a poultry joint venture in UK
Cargill and Faccenda Foods have agreed to establish a joint venture to create a leading UK food company focused on chicken, turkey and duck. The new company will have the capability to respond to changing customer needs in the retail and food service sectors with a strategy for growth. The formation of this joint venture is subject to clearance by the relevant regulatory authorities.
Cargill’s fresh chicken business in the UK is going to join Faccenda’s fresh chicken, turkey and duck business to form this new company. The new joint venture will be a standalone business, with Cargill and Faccenda taking an equal shareholding. It brings together two complementary businesses with a track record of success, shared values and a strong reputation in the UK poultry market.
Andy Dawkins, managing director for Faccenda Foods, will be appointed Chief Executive Officer of the newly formed company. Chris Hall, fresh chicken director for Cargill Meats Europe, will be appointed Chief Commercial Officer of the new joint venture.
The new business plans to employ approximately 6,000 people in the UK, with employees coming from both parent companies. It will operate across multiple agriculture and operational centres, with broad capabilities that span the supply chain focused on operational excellence and customer focused partnerships.
“We believe the two organisations are complementary. Combining into one entity allows us to build on our strengths, grow in the market and better serve our customers. The venture will facilitate greater opportunities to innovate and deliver new and exciting poultry products for consumers,” explains Chris Langholz, President of Cargill Poultry.
Ian Faccenda, Chief Executive Officer of Faccenda Investments, continues, “Both Cargill and Faccenda are recognised today by their customers for their high standards and great service. The new joint venture confirms our long-term commitment to being a responsible partner across the entire supply chain, providing stability and security to our customers, suppliers and growers for years to come.”
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), one of the world’s leading hotel companies, has announced the opening of the highest hotel in Vietnam, InterContinental Hanoi Landmark72 in Hanoi. Perched atop the towering Keangnam Landmark72 from the 62nd to 71st floors, InterContinental Hanoi Landmark72 is now welcoming guests to enjoy one of the 359 sophisticated and luxurious rooms.
The capital’s newest stand-out luxury hotel is within the wider Landmark72 complex, which comprises retail, commercial, and entertainment offerings, including a variety of meeting spaces ranging from 70 to 920 square metres. It is situated close to some of Hanoi’s major landmarks and attractions such as Hanoi Museum, Vietnam National Convention Centre, Garden Shopping Centre and the headquarters of many Vietnamese multinational corporations. The hotel is less than 40 minutes from Noi Bai International Airport, promising guests a smooth transit when visiting the capital city.
The hotel’s sophisticated and luxurious rooms, include 34 spacious and well-appointed suites, all offering panoramic views of the city skyline through floor-to-ceiling windows from the 62nd to the 70th floors. Club
Leanne Harwood, Vice President, Operations, South East Asia and Korea, commented: “Hanoi is truly a booming travel destination in the region, with double-digit year-on-year growth in international arrivals and attracting over four million visitors in 2016 alone. Opening our second InterContinental hotel in Hanoi puts us in even better position to offer top-notch luxury accommodation for travellers in the country.”
IHG opens Vietnam’s highest hotel in Hanoi
YOTEL announced that a fund affiliated with Starwood Capital Group (“Starwood”), a leading global private investment firm, has committed to making a strategic investment of $250 million in YOTEL, including acquiring a 30 percent stake in the company and investing in real estate acquisitions for new build, hotel conversion and adaptive reuse properties as YOTEL expands its international scale.
Starwood’s investment in and ongoing partnership with YOTEL will further enable YOTEL’s rapid worldwide expansion, with a specific focus on Europe, North America and Asia. It also will help YOTEL strengthen its brand identity, expand geographically and enhance YOTEL’s innovative guest experience. Starwood have already secured city centre sites in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Amsterdam which are expected to open as YOTELs by 2019.
Cody Bradshaw, Managing Director, Head of European Hotels at Starwood Capital Group and Sarah Broughton, Senior Vice President, Starwood Capital Group will join the YOTEL board of directors, alongside representatives of the company’s major shareholders including the Al-Bahar Group, IFA Hotels & Resorts, United Investment Portugal and Kuwait Real Estate Company (AQARAT) which jointly own 65% stake in the company.
Talal Al-Bahar, Chairman of YOTEL and the lead investor said, “We are delighted to announce a new institutional investor into YOTEL alongside our existing shareholders. Starwood Capital Group’s investment validates the company’s strategy, provides strength and stability at a critical expansion stage and opens up new horizons for YOTEL to become the leading affordable luxury hotel brand.”
Yotel announces US$ 250 Million partnership With Starwood Capital Group
Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s Incorporated, two iconic American outdoor companies, announced they have successfully completed the transaction in which Bass Pro Shops acquired Cabela’s for $61.50 per share in cash, representing an aggregate transaction value of approximately $5.0 billion. As a result of the completion of this transaction, Cabela’s common stock will no longer be listed for trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
The completion of this transaction formally brings together three of the nation's premier sporting brands: Bass Pro Shops, a leader in fishing; Cabela’s, a leader in hunting; and White River Marine Group, a leader in boating, which is part of Bass Pro Shops. The combined company will now offer expanded product line and geographic footprint, creating enhanced benefits for outdoor enthusiasts.
The completion of this transaction marks a historic moment for American outdoor enthusiasts. The combination brings together three companies that share humble origins, an abiding love for the outdoors and a passion for supporting conservation and serving sportsmen and sportswomen.
“We look forward to growing and celebrating conservation as we work to provide our combined customer base with enhanced product offerings, unique outdoor experiences and unrivaled services,” said Johnny Morris, founder and CEO of Bass Pro Shops.
In connection with the transaction, Synovus Bank, a wholly owned subsidiary of Synovus Financial Corp.(NYSE: SNV) completed its acquisition of certain assets and liabilities of World’s Foremost Bank (“WFB”), a wholly owned subsidiary of Cabela’s Incorporated for approximately $1.2 billion. Synovus also completed the sale of WFB’s credit card assets and related liabilities to Capital One Bank (USA), National Association (“Capital One”), a wholly owned subsidiary of Capital One Financial Corporation (NYSE:COF). Capital Onewill be the exclusive issuing partner of Cabela’s branded CLUB Visa program pursuant to a 10-year program agreement.
Bass Pro Shops acquired Cabela’s for US$ 5 billion
American Eagle Outfitters, plans to enter India through licensed stores
American Eagle Outfitters, Inc. announced plans to enter India through licensed stores. The company has signed a multi-year license agreement with the Aditya Birla Group, a leading Indian conglomerate with an extensive retail portfolio, as well as strong digital and omni-channel capabilities. The first stores are expected to open in Mumbai and Delhi in Spring 2018.
“India’s rapidly developing and vibrant economy, anchored by the world’s largest youth population, provides an exciting growth opportunity for our brands, expanding our global reach,” commented Andrew McLean, EVP-Global Commercial Operations. “Aditya Birla brings deep market experience and extensive retail capabilities, giving us a strong platform to deliver our leading AE jeans collections and casual American style to India’s growing market.”
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) have strengthened their cooperation on capacity development (CD) in Africa.
Germany’s Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Dr. Gerd Müller, announced that the BMZ will support the IMF’s CD efforts in Africa with a contribution of EUR 15 million. This will make Germany one of the IMF’s largest CD partners in the region, bringing its total contribution to IMF CD in Africa to EUR 30 million over the next three years.
In light of the announcement, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde stated that: “Under Germany’s leadership, job creation and poverty reduction in Africa have become strong priorities for the G20. We are pleased to deepen our partnership with Germany through the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and to continue working with Africa policymakers as they build resilient macroeconomic institutions that support investment and sustainable, inclusive growth.”
IMF and Germany expand Capacity Development partnership in Africa
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