Wyndham Hotel Group Launches Newest Dual-Brand Concept in Miami
Ecopetrol will invest between US$ 3.5 - US$ 4 billion in 2018
20- 25 November 2017
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Iraqi Ministry of Electricity, GE sign US$ 400 million deal for power infrastructure
Ford is investing more than $870 million to build the next-generation SUV in Valencia, Spain
Volkswagen will invest $40 billion in electric cars & new technology by 2022
Alibaba Group, Auchan Retail and Ruentex Form New Retail Strategic Alliance
Marvell Technology to buy chipmaker Cavium Inc for US$ 6 billion
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Ford is investing US$ 870 million to build next-generation SUV in Valencia, Spain
Fordis investing more than $870 million in to build the next-generation Ford Kuga medium-sized Sports Utility Vehicle in Valencia, Spain.
The new investment brings the total sum invested in Ford’s Valencia operations to around $3.5 billion since 2011.
“This major investment of more than $870 million reconfirms in the clearest way our continuing commitment to the Valencia region and to Spain as one of our most important manufacturing locations in Europe,” said Steven Armstrong, president and CEO, Ford of Europe, Middle East and Africa.
“I also want to thank the national government in Madrid and the Generalitat Valenciana for their continued support, and for their ongoing work to maintain a favourable climate for business investment in the Valencia region.”
Employing more than 8,000 people across all of its operations, the new investment will help to secure employment at Ford’s Valencia site. The investment builds on cost efficiency and productivity improvements by the management team, union partners and workforce.
Today, around 25 percent of all new passenger vehicles sold in Europe are SUVs. Kuga accounts for close to 50 percent of Valencia’s vehicle production volume.European sales of Kuga so far this year at 126,900 are an improvement of 22 percent compared with the same period in 2016. Kuga is Ford’s third top-selling nameplate in Europe behind the Fiesta and Focus.
Further details concerning the new investment announcement and the next-generation Kuga will be made closer to launch.
Ford’s Valencia Operations
Manufacturing vehicles since 1976, Ford’s Valencia Vehicle Operations and Engine Plant has produced more than 12 million vehicles and 16 million engines, and is one of Spain’s top automotive exporters.
In addition to the Kuga medium-sized SUV, Valencia is the sole source of production for the Tourneo Connect people-mover and Transit Connect light commercial vehicle models, and for the full range of Ford’s Mondeo, S-MAX and Galaxy models.
Volkswagen will invest US$ 40 billion in electric cars & new technology by 2022
The Volkswagen Group has laid a key foundation for the future direction of the Group, this underpinning its strategic goals until 2025. In order to further enhance its powerful innovation and technology resources, the Group will invest billions of euros in electric mobility, autonomous driving, new mobility services and digitalization over the coming years. According to the outcome of the Group’s planning round for 2018 to 2022, expenditure totalling more than EUR 34 billion are to be made in these future technologies by the end of 2022. Most of this will go into the electrification and hybridization of all Group models. This marks another significant step up in Volkswagen’s commitment to this environment-friendly drivetechnology and a move to advance the Roadmap E electrification offensive at full speed. When the offensive was announced in September, the Group said it would electrify its entire model portfolio by 2030.
“With the planning round now approved, we are laying the foundation for making Volkswagen the world's number one player in electric mobility by 2025”, said Matthias Müller, CEO of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft, after the regular Supervisory Board meeting. “We are reinventing the car. We are making targeted investments in digitalization, autonomous driving, electric mobility and new mobility services by providing the necessary funds from our own resources. We are, however, doing so without sidelining existing technologies and vehicle projects, since this is how we will earn our money for the foreseeable future.
Given its brands and potential for synergy, I am convinced that the Volkswagen Group will master this balancing act like no other company in our industry.”
BMW Group invests 200 million euros in Battery Cell Competence Centre
The BMW Groupcontinues to focus on the implementation of its electro-mobility strategy, with the company concentrating all its technological expertise relating to battery cells at a new competence centre. Klaus Fröhlich, member of the BMW AG Board of Management, responsible for Research and Development, and Oliver Zipse, member of the BMW AG Board of Management, responsible for Production, were joined by Bavarian Minister of Economic Affairs Ilse Aigner for the symbolic ground-breaking of the BMW Group Battery Cell Competence Centre in Munich today. This interdisciplinary competence centre aims to advance battery cell technology and introduce it into production processes. The company will invest a total of 200 million euros in the location over the next four years, creating 200 jobs. The centre will open in early 2019.
Speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony, Klaus Fröhlich said: “We will be concentrating all our in-house expertise along the battery-cell value chain at our new high-tech competence centre. International experts working in the new development labs and facilities will conduct important research to refine cell chemistry and cell design. We will focus on further improvements in battery performance, lifespan, safety, charging and also costs. We will set the benchmark for the industry.”
Oliver Zipse added: “By producing battery-cell prototypes, we can analyse and fully understand the cell’s value-creation processes. With this build-to-print expertise, we can enable potential suppliers to produce cells to our specifications. The knowledge we gain is very important to us, regardless of whether we produce the battery cells ourselves, or not.”
Ilse Aigner said: “With its competence centre for battery cell technology, BMW is making another major investment in Bavaria. This shows a clear commitment to our state as an industrial, high-tech manufacturing location. Battery cells are a key technology on the road to emission-free mobility. Bavaria is at the forefront of electromobility – a position we will continue to expand to secure long-term growth, prosperity and jobs.”
The BMW Group’s Strategy NUMBER ONE > NEXTmakes electromobility, digitalisation and autonomous driving clear technological focus points, strengthening Germany’s position as an innovation driver for mobility and the future technologies. As the leading supplier of premium mobility, the BMW Group concentrates on customer needs and wishes, playing a decisive role in advancing the ACES topics (Autonomous, Connected, Electrified and Services).
Competence Centre for Battery Cells provides important competitive edge
The battery cell is the heart of the battery. It determines performance, energy content, charging capabilities and lifespan, thereby making a significant contribution to the performance of an electrified vehicle.
As a strong indication of its growing presence in North America, Mahindra Automotive North America (MANA) opened a new North American HQ and manufacturing facility, the first such new OEM facility in Southeast Michigan in over 25 years.
The expansion is part of a $230 million investment in Southeast Michigan that also includes a recently-opened warehouse and logistics operation in Pontiac and an existing prototype operation in Troy. In total, Mahindra has grown to 400,000 sq. ft. across three Detroit area facilities. Over the past 18 months, MANA will have tripled its workforce to 250. By 2020, additional planned projects will result in 400 more jobs and another $600 million in local investment over that same period. In addition, MANA will continue to provide Metro Detroit-based engineering support for new vehicle platform development for India and global markets.
The new facility will produce an off-highway vehicle which will extend Mahindra's current position in this growing segment. Designed and engineered by MANA, the vehicle promises to be unlike anything currently on the market.
Mahindra Group Chairman Anand Mahindra, Automotive Division EVP Rajan Wadhera and MANA President and CEO, Rick Haas participated in the facility inauguration along with Michigan Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley and Members of Congress Brenda Lawrence and Dave Trott. The event was also attended by elected officials, business leaders and Mahindra employees.
"This is an exciting day for Mahindra, our terrific employees and Detroit. I couldn't be prouder to be here to help open this new facility today,"
said Anand Mahindra. "This building opening represents our company's growing presence in North America and locally in the Metro Detroit area where we have tripled our workforce during the past 18 months. We are committed to growing the Mahindra brand in North America and Michigan."
Mahindra Automotive North America Opens New HQ and Manufacturing Facility in Metro Detroit
The Board of the African Development Bank Group(AfDB) has approved a loan of €112 million to help finance the North-East Road Connectivity Support Project in Tunisia.
The project aims to make the Tunisian economy more competitive through supporting the growing demand for the traffic of goods and people in Bizerte as well as better mobility and improved connections between the northern and eastern regions of the country.
It is in line with three of the AfDB’s High 5 strategic priorities. The first is ‘Industrialize Africa’ through developing nearby export-oriented industrial zones. The project will also ‘Improve the quality of life for Africans’ through cutting congestion and improving some neighborhoods. It will also contribute to the ‘Feed Africa’ priority through upgrading local agricultural land. The project is also in line with the Strategic Plan for Tunisia for 2016-21.
“This project will further improve the mobility of people and goods in Bizerte and Beja, as well as in Jendouba,” said Mohamed El Azizi, the AfDB’s director general for North Africa, when the Board of the Bank approved the project. He added that: “in due course, the port of Bizerte is expected to become the premier port in Tunisia, so strengthening the competitiveness of the country’s economy.”
The total cost of the project is €277.29 million, with the European Investment Bank lending €123 million and the Government of Tunisia contributing €32.29 million.
AfDB Group approves US$ 144m loan for Tunisia road Improvement Project
The Government of India andthe World Bank, signed a US$98 million Loan Agreement and US$2 million Grant Agreement to help India increase its power generation capacity through cleaner, renewable energy sources.
The Shared Infrastructure for Solar Parks Project will finance the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Limited (IREDA), to provide sub-loans to select states to invest in various solar parks, mostly under the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy’s (MNRE) Solar Park Scheme. The first two solar parks to be supported under the project are in the Rewa and Mandsaur districts of Madhya Pradesh, with targeted installed capacities of 750 MW and 250 MW, respectively. In addition, other states where potential solar parks could be supported under this project are in Odisha, Chhattisgarh, and Haryana.
“The Government of India is committed to set-up an enabling environment for solar technology penetration in the country. This Project will help establish large-scale solar parks and support the government’s plan to install 100 gigawatts (GW) of solar power out of a total renewable-energy target of 175 GW by 2022,” said Sameer Kumar Khare, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance. “The use of this clean and green technology will also help contribute to global efforts to meet the challenges of climate change.”
The Agreement for the project was signed by Sameer Kumar Khare, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, on behalf of the Government of India; K S Popli, Chairman and Managing Director, on behalf of IREDA; and Hisham Abdo, Acting Country Director, World Bank India, on behalf of the World Bank.
Government of India and World Bank Agreement to Set-Up Large-Scale
Quinbrook Acquires 84 MW Gas-Fired Power Project Portfolio in England and Wales
Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners a global investment manager specializing in lower carbon and renewable energy infrastructure, has acquired an 84 Megawatt (MW) gas-fired power project portfolio located across 4 sites in England and Wales. Quinbrook plans to invest over $60 million to acquire and construct the projects, which will become revenue-generating over the next twelve months. This latest investment marks the founder's return to the United Kingdom's clean energy infrastructure market and is the maiden investment in Quinbrook's UK low carbon power platform.
Quinbrook acquired 100 percent of the fully permitted and construction-ready 84 MW Eider Reserve Power portfolio for £4.6 million and plans to invest a further £40 million (US $53 million) in cash to construct and install the 4 projects, which are ideally located in close proximity to both gas and power grid connections. Three of the projects have secured 15 year fixed price, inflation escalated capacity contracts. This latest acquisition grows Quinbrook's investment portfolio to more than US $3 billion of committed and planned projects, diversified across onshore wind, distributed gas, utility scale solar and flexible peak power generation in the US, UK and Australia.
According to Energy UK, the trade association for the nation's energy industry, renewables already produce more than 20% of the UK's electricity.
That figure is expected to increase to 30% by 2020 and will continue to be dominated by intermittent renewable sources such as wind and solar PV.
"The rapid growth of intermittent renewables, like wind and solar, in the UK energy mix has led to an urgent need for flexible and 'dispatchable on demand' generation assets, such as the Eider portfolio, that can respond immediately when needed by the grid and ensure the lights stay on," said Rory Quinlan, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Quinbrook.
"This gas engine technology is efficient, reliable and well proven. The Quinbrook team that will oversee the construction and operation of the sites has substantial experience working on similar projects in the UK market. We are excited to return to the UK power market where we started investing decades ago. Our Quinbrook team is well-positioned to generate attractive risk-adjusted returns for our investors through smart distributed power and storage solutions that enjoy long-term contracted revenues with investment grade buyers."
Yingli Green Energy Holding Company Limited, one of the world's leading solar panel manufacturers, announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Yingli Energy (China) Company Limited ("Yingli China") recently announced the groundbreaking of a 100 MW "Top Runner" project in Wuhai City, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.
Following the Datong 50 MW "Top Runner" project in Shanxi province, this project, covering an area of about 2.04 square kilometers of coal-mining subsidence areas in Wuhai City, is Yingli's second "Top Runner" project. The project will also be installed with Yingli's patented PANDA Bifacial panels, which can generate both by front and rear sides. It is expected to be connected to the grid and begin operations in June 2018.
After put into operation, this project is expected to offset the emission of nearly 60.3 tons of dust, 13.4 tons of carbon and reduce the discharge of 1.8 tons of cinder annually. It is of great significance to energy pressure relief, environment improvement and climate conservation.
Yingli Announced the Groundbreaking of 100 MW "Topper Runner" Project in Inner Mongolia
Dentsu Inc., announced that its global business headquarters Dentsu Aegis Network Ltd.*, has reached an agreement to invest in Oxyma Group B.V. a full service omni-channel CRM agency in the Netherlands, with an option of making it a wholly owned subsidiary in the future.
Founded in 2000, Oxyma, which comprises a group of five specialist agencies, has today grown to become the leading omni-channel agency in the Netherlands. With over 300 professionals in CRM, data, technology, and performance marketing, the agency now offers a full suite of services in digital marketing, digital media, mobile and SMS, and CRM consulting across all media channels.
In 2017 Oxyma was listed in five categories as a "best performer" in Emerce 100, a special annual edition of the Dutch e-business/marketing industry magazine Emerce. The agency was recognized in the categories of Analytics, Digital Marketing, E-mail Marketing and Mobile and Social Content.
The acquisition of Oxyma aligns with the Merkle Group's strategy of increasing its scale in the EMEA market and further positions the agency as a global leader in the area of performance marketing. Furthermore, Oxyma's capabilities complement those of Merkle, one of the Dentsu Group's brands specializing in the digital domain, and will bolster Merkle's ability to deliver its core services in the Dutch and EMEA markets.
Post acquisition Oxyma will be rebranded to "Oxyma, a Merkle Company". All 300+ employees will also join Merkle, adding immediate scale to the EMEA business、which now exceeds 1,000 employees. The Group intends to accelerate its growth strategy in the Netherlands and throughout EMEA through close collaboration with other Group companies.
Dentsu Announces an Agreement to Acquire a 78.8% Stake in Oxyma
The Iraqi Ministry of Electricity, has signed an agreement worth over $400 million with GE Power (NYSE: GE) to develop 14 electric substations on a turnkey basis and supply critical equipment such as transformers, circuit breakers and other outdoor equipment to rehabilitate existing substations and bring much-needed power to areas facing significant electricity shortages across the country. The project represents a strategic milestone for GE to develop electric substations in Iraq, and will also see the Company support the MoE to secure funding through various financial institutions, including export credit agencies and commercial banks.
Mussab al-Mudaris, spokesperson of the Iraqi Ministry of Electricity said, “The agreement represents a major milestone in our efforts to strengthen Iraq’s power transmission sector, through a comprehensive grid project across the nation. Our focus remains on providing our people with the most reliable and advanced technology to meet their daily needs, and to accomplish this we need strong partners in this journey of development and reconstruction. GE has the technology, global capabilities and local presence to ensure the successful and sustainable execution of the project.”
GE will develop the substations to connect power plants spread across the governorates of Ninawa, Salah Al Din, Al Anbar, Karbala, Baghdad, Qadisiyyah and Basra to the national grid. Several of the locations, in conflict-affected areas, are continuing to recover and are in immediate need of reliable power infrastructure.
GE Power has previously provided power generation equipment for some of the power plants that the substations will be connected to, including the three gigawatt Basmaya Power Plant. The current agreement includes 4 substations critical to distributing power from the facility, which is also being equipped with eight of GE’s 9FA gas turbines, four GE C7 steam turbines and GE’s leading digital industrial applications.
Mohammed Mohaisen, President and CEO of GE Power’s Grid Solutions business in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey said, “A holistic approach to national infrastructure building is vital, from the provision of technical expertise to working with partners, such as Export Credit Agencies, in securing long-term financial solutions. This agreement is a continuation of our firm commitment to driving industry and infrastructure forward in Iraq, working with the Ministry of Electricity in finding sustainable and effective solutions to some of the country’s most pressing issues.”
The current agreement builds on GE’s significant legacy of contributions towards strengthening Iraq’s power sector. This includes establishing captive power plants to provide power for industrial use, converting power plants from simple cycle to combined cycle configuration, multi-year services to improve the reliability and efficiency of operations, upgrades solutions to increase the output and efficiency of the existing installed power generation asset base and the implementation of digital industrial solutions to monitor, analyze, enhance and predict equipment health.
Iraq, GE sign $400 million deal for power infrastructure
Progress Rail to Acquire Downer Freight Rail
In a move to further complement its rolling stock services portfolio, Progress Rail, a Caterpillar company, has signed an agreement to acquire Downer EDI’s (ASX: DOW) freight rail business (“Downer Freight Rail”).
Headquartered in North Ryde and with 15 maintenance facilities strategically located throughout Australia, Downer Freight Rail provides a full suite of rolling stock, aftermarket parts and services.
Upon completion, the acquisition will significantly strengthen Progress Rail’s existing Australian footprint, which currently includes rolling stock maintenance facilities, as well as infrastructure and signaling facilities.
“This acquisition allows Progress Rail to directly serve rail customers in Australia with best-in-class products and services,” said Billy Ainsworth, President and CEO of Progress Rail, and Senior Vice President of Caterpillar Inc. “It also reinforces Progress Rail’s commitment to the rail industry.”
Progress Rail and Downer have been business partners for nearly 70 years, with a primary focus on Progress Rail’s EMD-branded products. Historically, Progress Rail sold EMD locomotive component kits to Downer, from which Downer created its own locomotives for use in Australia. More recently, the companies collaborated on developing EMD freight locomotives for use in Australia. The locomotives are manufactured in Progress Rail’s state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Muncie, Indiana.
Ecopetrol will invest between USD 3.5 to USD 4 billion in 2018
Ecopetrol S.A., reports that it expects to invest USD 3.5 to USD 4 billion in 2018, up 35% to 55% over the projected investment at year-end 2017.
After two years of a successful transformation plan focused on cost reduction and capital discipline, the 2018 plan approved by the Board of Directors is aimed at increasing reserves and hydrocarbon production, capturing earnings through an improved international environment for the sector, and advancing along the path of efficiency.
Given the above, Ecopetrol is continuing to reduce its break-even price. In 2018 the Company expects that it will have a positive net income at Brent prices up to USD 35 per barrel.
The plan provides that 85% of funds will be allocated to strategic investments in the exploration and production segments, with over USD 1 billion more invested in those segments than in 2017.
Highlights include drilling over 620 development wells and at least 12 exploratory wells, using 28 rigs and acquiring over 41,000 kilometers of seismic. This projected 2018 activity represents an increase of some 140 wells and the use of 16 additional rigs compared to 2017.
The 96% of the investment will be executed in Colombia, with the remainder allocated to the Ecopetrol Group's projects in the United States (Gulf of Mexico), Mexico, Brazil and Peru.
The investments will allow the Ecopetrol Group to resume its path of production growth, leveraged on some 20 pilot projects to implement improved recovery technologies. 2018 production is projected at 715,000 to 725,000 barrels of petroleum- equivalent per day.
Investments in the transportation and refining segments, equivalent to 14% of the plan, will be oriented toward ensuring the reliability, integrity, performance standards and operating efficiency of the entire oil pipeline and polyduct network and the Barrancabermeja and Cartagena refineries.
Next year Ecopetrol expects to see the materialization of synergies and benefit from having two complementary refineries, one located in the middle of the country and the other on the Caribbean Coast, with capacity to achieve efficiencies in purchasing and crude mixtures, fuel production and exports.
In 2018, Ecopetrol anticipates stable and safe operations at the new Cartagena refinery, which will be capable of self-sustained financing, funding its own investments and generating profits, with an estimated EBITDA of at least COP 500 billion.
The investment plan will be financed with internal cash generation, and currently does not anticipate having to access financing sources, which demonstrates the efficiency achieved by the Company and resilience in a low-price environment.
Key Safety Systems(“KSS”), a global leader in mobility safety headquartered in Sterling Heights, Michigan, USA, and Takata Corporation (“Takata”), a leading global supplier of automotive safety systems such as seat belts, airbags and child seats, based in Tokyo, Japan, announced today that they have signed a definitive agreement under which KSS will acquire substantially all of Takata’s global assets and operations for an aggregate purchase price of $1.588 Billion (approximately ¥175 billion)*.
The definitive purchase agreement announced today is consistent with the memorandum of understanding announced by KSS and Takata on June 26, 2017. Specifically, under the agreement, KSS will acquire substantially all of Takata’s assets, except for certain assets and operations related to Takata’s manufacturing and sale of phase-stabilized ammonium nitrate (PSAN) airbag inflators. Takata’s PSAN-related operations will be run by reorganized Takata following the transaction closing and eventually will be wound down.
The transaction will position KSS to become a global leader in the automotive safety business with pro forma combined sales of approximately $7 Billion (¥771 billion)* and roughly 60,000 employees in 23 countries. KSS plans to continue to support and utilize Takata’s presence in Japan, and looks forward to working with all the Takata employees and manufacturing facilities in Japan and around the world.
Yuxin Tang, President of KSS, said: “The acquisition of Takata fits perfectly with KSS’s century-long commitment to the automotive business. The combined company will enhance our ability to serve customers globally and provide superior products and innovation in the rapidly evolving auto safety industry. We enter this transaction in a spirit of partnership and anticipate executives and employees from both KSS and Takata together will play important roles — from initial integration through strategic execution. We look forward to completing the transaction and advancing the next phase of growth for the new combined company.
KSS will acquire substantially all of Takata’s global assets and operations for $1.5 Billion
Marvell Technology to buy chipmaker Cavium Inc for about $6 billion
Marvell Technology Group Ltd., and Cavium, Inc., announced a definitive agreement, unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both companies, under which Marvell will acquire all outstanding shares of Cavium common stock in exchange for consideration of $40.00 per share in cash and 2.1757 Marvell common shares for each Cavium share.
Upon completion of the transaction, Marvell will become a leader in infrastructure solutions with approximately $3.4 billion1 in annual revenue.
The transaction combines Marvell's portfolio of leading HDD and SSD storage controllers, networking solutions and high-performance wireless connectivity products with Cavium's portfolio of leading multi-core processing, networking communications, storage connectivity and security solutions. The combined product portfolios provide the scale and breadth to deliver comprehensive end-to-end solutions for customers across the cloud data center, enterprise and service provider markets, and expands Marvell's serviceable addressable market to more than $16 billion. This transaction also creates an R&D innovation engine to accelerate product development, positioning the company to meet today's massive and growing demand for data storage, heterogeneous computing and high-speed connectivity.
"This is an exciting combination of two very complementary companies that together equal more than the sum of their parts," said Marvell President and Chief Executive Officer, Matt Murphy. "This combination expands and diversifies our revenue base and end markets, and enables us to deliver a broader set of differentiated solutions to our customers. Syed Ali has built an outstanding company, and I'm excited that he is joining the Board. I'm equally excited that Cavium's Co-founder Raghib Hussain and Vice President of IC Engineering Anil Jain will also join my senior leadership team. Together, we all will be able to deliver immediate and long-term value to our customers, employees and shareholders."
"Individually, our businesses are exceptionally strong, but together, we will be one of the few companies in the world capable of delivering such a comprehensive set of end-to-end solutions to our combined customer base," said Cavium Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, Syed Ali. "Our potential is huge. We look forward to working closely with the Marvell team to ensure a smooth transition and to start unlocking the significant opportunities that our combination creates."
The transaction is expected to generate at least $150 to $175 million of annual run-rate synergies within 18 months post close and to be significantly accretive to revenue growth, margins and non-GAAP EPS.
Danone Manifesto Ventures invests in Kona DeepTM
Danone Manifesto Ventures announced that it has taken a minority stake in the Hawaii-based company Kona Deep. Kona Deep is creating a new category of premium water with its unique deep ocean water, sourced 3,000 feet below ocean surface in Kona, Hawaii, from a pure source containing natural minerals. Aligned with Danone’s One Planet. One Health strategic vision, Kona Deep shares Danone’s sustainable business agenda and vision of bringing consumers great tasting water with compelling hydration benefits.
After launching in Hawaii in late 2015, Kona Deep has recently expanded onto the U.S. mainland where the demand for premium waters and performance waters is growing rapidly. Hawaiian deep ocean water offers consumers both the purity of a trusted natural source and the benefits of naturally occurring deep ocean electrolytes. Kona Deep is sold primarily in leading grocery and natural food stores.
Danone Manifesto Ventures participated in Kona Deep’s $5.5 million financing round alongside Grand Crossing Capital and local Hawaiian investors.
Kona Deep intends to use the investment to support growth initiatives by expanding distribution, increasing and optimizing production capacity and raising awareness for the Kona Deep ocean water. Kona Deep’s management team, led by CEO Patrick Turpin, will leverage Danone Manifesto Ventures’ resources and expertise, to capitalize on the opportunities ahead.
Orkla has signed an agreement to purchase Agrimex, a frozen vegetable producer in the Czech Republic
Through its wholly-owned subsidiary Hamé, Orkla has signed an agreement to purchase Agrimex, a leading frozen vegetable producer in the Czech Republic.
Hamé is a leading branded food company in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, and holds strong positions in the liver paté, ready meals, ketchup, jam, baby food and tinned vegetable categories. Through the acquisition of Agrimex Hamé has strengthened its position in the frozen vegetable category.
“Agrimex and Hamé are a good fit. We are market leader in several categories in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, and by purchasing Agrimex we will also acquire a solid foothold in frozen vegetables. Furthermore, we are strengthening our position in the out-of-home sector since more than one fourth of Agrimex’s sales are made through this channel,” says Atle Vidar Nagel Johansen, Orkla EVP and CEO of Orkla Foods.
Agrimex has a modern, automated production plant in Panenské Břežany, north of Prague. Raw materials are supplied by local Czech farmers in the factory’s vicinity. The products are sold under the Dione, Dione Premium and Agrimex Foodservice brands.
Agrimex is a privately owned company established in 1995 and has 32 employees. The company had a turnover of CZK 260 million (approx. NOK 96 million) in 2016. The company will be consolidated into Orkla’s financial statements as from 1 December 2017.
Danish Crown buys into South African foodservice sector
ESS-FOOD has acquired a majority stake in the South African foodservice business Overberg Food Distributors in Cape Town
ESS-FOOD, which has to date been a pure trading company, is now pursuing a new direction and establishing itself in the foodservice sector in South Africa.
- For several years we have enjoyed stable sales to South Africa. This prompted us to look at the possibility of entering the market for the sale and distribution of meat, which we now have acted on by acquiring a 70 per cent stake in Overberg Food Distributors, explains Morten Holm, CEO of ESS-FOOD.
In the long term, the plan is for Overberg Food Distributors to expand its activities to cover the whole of South Africa. At the same time, the company will act as the Danish Crown group's bridgehead on the continent, where the countries in West Africa are deemed to hold particular potential.
- It's important for Danish Crown as a group to create a strong foundation for future business on the African continent. In doing so, we’ll be able to benefit from the economic growth which is expected in Africa in the coming decades, says Jais Valeur, Group CEO of Danish Crown.
Overberg Food Distributors has 250 employees, and serves approx. 2,000 customers, largely in the southern part of South Africa, from cold stores in Cape Town and Port Elizabeth. The company was founded 25 years ago, and today has revenue of approx. DKK 350m a year.
Overberg Food Distributors is highly respected by its customers for its expertise, professionalism and focus on quality. This is fully in line with ESS-FOOD's values, and so the plan is that we provide competences in areas such as procurement and financial management, says Morten Holm.
In 2015/16, the Danish Crown group posted revenue of approx. DKK 600m in Africa, which included sales by ESS-FOOD of 25,000 tonnes of meat at a value of DKK 150m on the South African market.
Moving forward, ESS-FOOD will be responsible for selling all the Danish Crown group's products in Africa. In other words, everything from Danish bacon and German Schweinshaxe, to Polish sausages and canned products from Tulip.
Alibaba Group Holding Limited, Auchan Retail S.A., and Ruentex Group, announced a strategic alliance that brings together their online and offline expertise to explore new retail opportunities in China’s food retail sector.
As part of this strategic alliance, Alibaba Group will invest a total of HK$22.4 billion (approximately US$2.88 billion) to obtain an aggregate direct and indirect stake of 36.16% in Sun Art Retail Group Limited (HK stock code: 6808, “Sun Art”) by acquiring shares from Ruentex. Auchan Retail is also increasing its stake in Sun Art. The transaction will give Auchan Retail, Alibaba Group and Ruentex approximately a 36.18%, 36.16%, and 4.67% economic interest in Sun Art, respectively. Auchan Retail will continue to consolidate Sun Art in its financials following the transaction.
Sun Art is a leading multi-format offline food retailer in China. As of June 30, 2017, Sun Art operated with a total gross floor area of approximately 12 million square meters in China. Sun Art currently operates 446 hypermarkets as large as 17,000 square meters in 29 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities across China under the “RT-Mart” (大润发) and “Auchan” (欧尚) banners. It also operates superstores and innovative unmanned stores under the “Auchan Minute” brand.
The alliance reflects Alibaba’s “New Retail” vision to leverage its internet-based approach and new technology, while working closely with retailer partners to provide a seamless online and offline experience to consumers in China. It also aligns with Auchan Retail’s Vision 2025 “Auchan changes lives”. Building on the strengths of the three partners, the alliance aims to introduce a new shopping experience to China’s 1.3 billion consumers.
“Alibaba is excited to join with our new partners to redefine traditional retail through digital transformation,” said Daniel Zhang, Chief Executive Officer of Alibaba Group. “Physical stores serve an indispensable role during the consumer journey, and should be enhanced through data-driven technology and personalized services in the digital economy. By fully integrating online and physical channels together with our partners, we look forward to delivering an original and delightful shopping experience to Chinese consumers.”
EIB and BBVA to provide EUR 300m to finance innovation and digitisation in Spanish SMEs
The European Investment Bank (EIB) and BBVA have joined forces to provide Spanish SMEs with the funding they need to implement their digitisation and innovation strategies. ElB Vice-President Román Escolano and Head of BBVA Spain Cristina de Parias signed an agreement today in Madrid through which the EIB will provide BBVA with EUR 150m to finance SME investment projects related to innovation and digitisation. BBVA will provide an additional EUR 150m of its own resources to fund this new credit line.
This is the first EIB operation in Spain that is entirely dedicated to promoting and financing innovation and digitisation in SMEs, including funding for initiatives that enable them to digitise their operations. By implementing the latest technologies, companies that access this funding will be able to optimise and modernise their processes and equipment, improving data management, their web portals or business marketing, for example. These investments will enable them to ensure their competitiveness, thereby helping to generate wealth and create jobs.
The agreement signed today makes BBVA the first bank in Spain to collaborate with the EIB on this new credit line. It will enable the financing of up to 100% of projects with costs no greater than EUR 12.5m for small businesses and EUR 25m for midcaps (up to 3 000 employees). The companies that access this credit line will have the opportunity to benefit from the EIB’s favourable conditions, both in terms of maturity and interest rates.
At the signing ceremony today in Madrid attended by both institutions, the EIB Vice-President pointed to “the EIB’s important work in helping to boost the Spanish economy by joining forces with the banks. This agreement is a clear demonstration of our priorities in Spain: to provide the necessary funding to ensure SMEs’ growth and competitiveness by supporting their investments in innovation and digitisation.”
At a ribbon-cutting ceremony involving company executives and government officials, Varian Medical Systems (NYSE: VAR) announced the opening of its new facility in Jundiai, Brazil. One of its most comprehensive regional centers, Varian's new 50,600-square foot facility is located in the Multivias Industrial Park and currently features a demonstration room, two training classrooms and a fully-equipped Varian Trilogy® linear accelerator for hands-on training. In 2018 the manufacturing and warehousing areas of the facility will become operational. As its dedicated education and training headquarters for Latin America, Varian has already begun holding classes in Jundiaí.
"We are excited that this facility is now open and demonstrates our long-standing commitment and partnership with the Brazilian Ministry of Health in the fight against cancer and increase the access to advanced radiotherapy treatment in the country and across Latin America," said Humberto Izidoro, Varian Medical Systems' managing director in Brazil. "In the first year, we estimate that we will train up to 300 clinicians and therapists on the use of radiotherapy equipment, treatment plans and techniques."
Varian Announces Opening of New Facility in Brazil
AmerisourceBergen to acquire H.D. Smith for US$ 815 million
AmerisourceBergen Corporation, and H. D. Smith announced that the companies have signed a definitive agreement under which AmerisourceBergen will purchase H. D. Smith, the largest independent wholesaler in the U.S., for $815 million in cash.
AmerisourceBergen plans to fund the acquisition through the issuance of new long-term debt. The acquisition is expected to be slightly accretive to adjusted diluted earnings per share (EPS) in fiscal year 2018, and to achieve full run-rate synergies and be approximately $0.15 accretive to the Company’s adjusted EPS in fiscal year 20201. This acquisition was not contemplated in the previous guidance the Company provided for fiscal year 2018. Based on the estimated contribution of this acquisition, the Company now expects revenue growth to be in the range of 8 percent to 11 percent, adjusted operating income growth to be in the range of 4 percent to 7 percent and Pharmaceutical Distribution Services segment operating income growth in the range of 4 percent to 7 percent. AmerisourceBergen is reaffirming the rest of its previously announced fiscal 2018 financial guidance. The transaction is subject to regulatory review and other closing conditions and is expected to close in early calendar 2018.
“The acquisition of H. D. Smith – a best-in-class private distributor with facilities across the country and a diversified customer base – strengthens our core business and expands and enhances our strategic scale in U.S. pharmaceutical distribution,” said Steven H. Collis, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of AmerisourceBergen. “This acquisition also builds upon our foundation and meaningfully expands our support for independent community pharmacies.
We remain committed to building our business to meet the evolving needs of our customers, driving long-term value for the healthcare system and delivering compelling returns for our shareholders. Importantly, we are united in our responsibility to create healthier futures.”
“H. D. Smith has always shared our passion for supporting its customers – across community pharmacy, health systems, long-term care and specialty distribution,” said Robert P. Mauch, Group President, Pharmaceutical Distribution and Strategic Global Sourcing at AmerisourceBergen.
DSM expands strategic alliance with Amyris and acquires Brazilian production facility from Amyris
Royal DSM, a global science-based company active in health, nutrition and materials and Amyris, Inc. (Nasdaq: AMRS), the industrial bioscience company, announced that they have enhanced their strategic alliance through the sale of Amyris Brasil Ltda to DSM and the establishment of a long-term manufacturing partnership for Amyris’ high-volume products.
The consideration for Amyris Brasil Ltda (which owns and operates the Brotas 1 production facility) and intellectual property related to farnesene (a bio-based key intermediate for many applications) is US$ 58 million plus an additional value share arrangement over a three-year period amounting to US$ 37.5 million (aggregate upfront consideration of US$ 96 million). In addition to the consideration upfront, there is potential for a future value share in line with Amyris’ business model.
DSM will continue existing supply-agreements to Amyris and other parties. DSM will also supply Amyris with specialty compounds until it realizes its Brotas 2 specialties production facility. Amyris is accelerating the construction of its second facility dedicated to specialty products while maintaining the manufacturing process development and business support capability located in Campinas, Brazil.
Subject to customary conditions, the transaction is expected to close in the next few months.
With the acquisition of the Brotas 1 facility, DSM adds a state-of-the-art biotechnology-based production site in Brazil to its global network, with abundant availability of sustainable raw materials (sugar cane), securing production capacity for its rich pipeline of sustainable and bio-based solutions. Having broad experience in operating large-scale fermentation plants, DSM will optimize the operational performance of the site.
The strategic alliance between DSM and Amyris started in May 2017 with an equity investment by DSM in Amyris, and has since been expanded with several significant product development collaborations.
The sale of the Brotas 1 facility, which was designed to produce high volumes of farnesene, together with the creation of a long-term production relationship for high-volume farnesene-based intermediates will enable Amyris to focus on its core strength of developing breakthrough bioscience technologies through a portfolio approach that continues to target key markets, as well as the production of specialty products.
MNX Global Logisticshas acquired international logistics solutions provider Logical Freight Solutions P/L (LFS).
Founded in 1994 in Melbourne, Australia, LFS serves the healthcare industry, including life science, ag-bio, diagnostics, therapeutics, proteomics, medical devices, microbiology, genomics, chemicals, radiopharmaceuticals, instruments, spare parts and all consumables for these industries. LFS has locations in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and the U.S.
"The pace of growth in patient-centric medicine, with its strict requirements for temperature-controlled transportation and time-definite delivery, underscores the role that specialty time-critical logistics providers will continue to play in the life sciences and healthcare industries," said MNX CEO Paul J. Martins. "LFS shares our customer-centric culture and geographic footprint. This combination allows our new and existing customers to experience an expanded suite of logistics services tailored specifically for the healthcare, life sciences, and medical device industries around the world."
LFS CEO Steve Cheetham is enthusiastic about the potential for the combined business.
"Since its inception, Logical Freight Solutions has steadily built an infrastructure and specialized expertise that provides our customers with true door-to-door service, from internal supplier to end-user," said Cheetham. "Joining MNX further propels the growth of our business and service offerings across new geographies, and gives our customers access to a diversified range of logistics services and new technologies."
MNX Global Logistics acquires Specialty Healthcare Logistics Provider, Logical Freight Solutions
Travellers to Geelong will soon be introduced to the ‘Joy of Travel’, with IHG announcing a 20-year management agreement with Franzé Developments to open and operate Holiday Inn and Suites Geelong, the largest hotel in the city.
Opening in 2020, the 190-room property will be the first new hotel in Geelong in more than twenty years, signalling a renewed outlook for the vibrant Victorian coastal city. It’s also IHG’s first Holiday Inn® hotel in Australia to include a ‘suites’ offering, with 40 suites intended for the longer stay segment.
Franzé Developments announced that it had acquired the central CBD site in April, highlighting plans to build Geelong’s largest mixed-use development with a Gross Floor Area of over 33,000m2, including more than close to 10,000m2 of retail and office space, 24 modern residences, co-working space, and the flagship Holiday Inn hotel.
The hotel itself will boast an all-day dining restaurant and bar, swimming pool, gym, parking and a 300m2 of meeting facilities including a function room for 250 people.
Karin Sheppard, IHG’s Chief Operating Officer for Australasia & Japan, said: “We believe the joy of travel is for everyone, and it’s that philosophy that’s made the Holiday Inn brand family the largest in the world. It has certainly been a story of success for IHG here in Australasia, with 20 Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express hotels already open and 9 in the pipeline, mainly in large cities and airport locations. Now we are thrilled that forward-looking owners like Franzé Developments see even further opportunities for affordable, enjoyable hotels in satellite cities like Geelong.”
IHG and Franzé to bring Holiday Inn and Suites to Geelong, Australia, in 2020
As the number of visitors to Japan continues to grow, there is a segment of travellers who are looking for something different – a property to satisfy their senses of curiosity and creativity that delivers a memorable experience of a destination.
Looking to meet this need, IHGA Hotels Group Japan, the joint venture between InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG®) and ANA, signed an agreement with GHS K.K. and Daiwa House Industry Co., Ltd. to launch IHG’s popular boutique brand Hotel Indigo® in Japan.
The first property Hotel Indigo® Hakone Gora is scheduled to open in 2019, and will be a place where guests and locals alike can gather and enjoy the rich culture and history of Gora, with its famous, pastel coloured hot springs surrounded by majestic, green mountains and the charms of nature that change with the seasons.
The Hotel Indigo brand is built around the authentic local neighbourhood story concept, so Gora is the ideal location for the first Hotel Indigo in Japan. The hot springs of Hakone first opened in the Nara period, approximately 1,200 years ago, and has been frequented by countless travellers and prominent figures from around the world who come to relax and treat themselves in its soothing waters.
Hans Heijligers, Chief Executive Officer, IHG ANA Hotels Group Japan comments: “We are very excited to bring Hotel Indigo to Japan. One of Japan’s leading hot spring destinations, Hakone really is the perfect first location: with its stunning beauty around scenic Lake Ashi and its captivating history and museums, it exudes a local story which is what Hotel Indigo is all about. Just 90 minutes from the heart of Tokyo, Hotel Indigo Hakone Gora will add a new dimension to the neighbourhood that will resonate with Japanese and international travellers alike.
As the world’s first branded boutique hotel, every Hotel Indigo property is unique, and the local neighbourhood is reflected in the architecture and design, choice of artwork and the restaurant menus, adding up to an intimate boutique hotel experience with the international standards, consistency and personal service promised by a leading global hotel company.
Satoru Kondo, President of GHS, K.K., which has leased the property from Daiwa House and engaged IHG ANA to manage the Hotel, added: “More and more visitors are exploring Japan, attracted by the country’s wealth of tourism assets. One of travellers’ favourites is the hot spring, and we saw an opportunity for a new hot spring accommodation in Hakone Gora, which also has a reputation for breathtaking nature, history and culture. We feel Hotel Indigo is the perfect match, with its commitment to giving guests a genuine, local experience. We are proud to team up with IHG ANA to host Japan’s first Hotel Indigo, and our confidence is underscored by the success and close relationship we have built together with IHG ANA at its other hotel locations throughout Japan, such as ANA Crown Plaza Osaka.”
Hotel Indigo arrives in Japan to bring local neighbourhood stories to life for travellers
Home2 Suites by Hilton,part of Hilton's (NYSE: HLT) industry-first All Suites portfolio, announced its newest property, Home2 Suites by Hilton Jackson. Designed for travelers who want to maintain their normal routine, the hotel features 83 suites and a range of value, tech-focused and eco-conscious amenities. Home2 Suites by Hilton Jackson complements the city's inviting appeal, as it is known for its Midwestern charm, rich history, natural beauty, award-winning wineries and popular festivals.
"Whether on vacation or travelling for business, guests can explore a variety of unique, affordable attractions like The Cascades and Ella Sharp Park that make the city a desirable destination for visitors," said Eric Wenda, general manager. "Our hotel's contemporary accommodations, customizable guest room design and value-driven amenities make us a smart lodging choice."
Owned, developed and managed by Ontario Hospitality, Inc., Home2 Suites by Hilton Jackson offers guests all-suite accommodations featuring 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 a heated indoor pool and an outdoor patio area with barbecue grills and a fire pit. Home2 Suites by Hilton Jackson is pet-friendly.
Located at 2704 Bob McClain Drive, right off Interstate 94, Home2 Suites by Hilton Jackson is conveniently located near the Jackson station, one of the oldest continually operating rail stations in the United States, and Michigan International Speedway. Guests can also set up a Historic Prison Tour and attend the Michigan Shakespeare Festival at Jackson College's Baughman Theatre. Detroit Metropolitan Airport is about one hour's drive from the hotel.
Home2 Suites by Hilton Opens Newest Property in Jackson
Wyndham Hotel Group, the hospitality giant with an unparalleled global portfolio of more than 8,300 hotels, announced the signing of the largest hotel development in the Brickell district of Miami to its managed hotel portfolio: a new 445-room, dual-branded hotel leveraging a never-before-seen combination of the Wyndham Grand® and TRYP by Wyndham® brands.
The combination of brands celebrates Miami’s distinct spirit - both the upper-upscale Wyndham Grand brand and select-service, lifestyle TRYP by Wyndham brands embrace the charm and character of the local destination - incorporating Miami style into each brand’s’unique elements and enabling travelers to stay the way they want in one of the most diverse cities in the world.
Owned by Brazilian developer Galwan and designed by award-winning firm Aquitechtonica, the agreement comprises 445 guest rooms in Miami’s trendy Brickell neighborhood. The hotel, expected to open in late 2019, is the first U.S. development for Galwan, one of the largest residential and hotel developers in Brazil.
“With nearly 16 million visitors last year and projected increases for the years ahead, Miami continues to be one of the world’s most coveted travel destinations with a style all its own,” said Mark Kukulski, president of Wyndham Hotel Group’s management organization. “By combining our most worldly, destination-centric brands, we’re offering travelers a taste of Wyndham Hotel Group, Miami-style – with chic shared spaces, trendy dining options and their choice of brand experience via TRYP by Wyndham’s lifestyle flair or Wyndham Grand’s easy elegance.”
IHG signs its first Crowne Plaza hotel in Cairo
IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group),one of the world’s leading hotel companies, has announced the signing of Crowne Plaza Cairo Sheikh Zayed City in partnership with Al Badr For Investments and Commercial Spaces Company. The new development aligns with IHG’s strategy to grow the Crowne Plaza brand across Middle East and North Africa (MENA), by further strengthening its presence in top-tier business epicentres and primary markets in the region. IHG currently has 2,169 rooms in Cairo under the InterContinental Hotels and Resorts, Holiday Inn and Staybridge Suites brands.
Scheduled to open in 2021, the 187-room new build will form part of Phase II of Arkan Plaza, a prime up-scale mixed-used development, and is strategically located in the heart of Sheikh Zayed City, on the 26th of July corridor main spine, which connects the cities of Sheikh Zayed and 6th of October with the central Cairo area. The new Hotel is 10 min away from the New Cairo Museum and 15 minutes from the Great Pyramids of Giza. It is also in close proximity to Cairo International Airport and will be just 10km away from the Sphinx International Airport.
Business and leisure travellers can get the best of both worlds with three meeting rooms and a business centre along with an outdoor pool, Club Lounge and a spa to invigorate and revitalise both body and mind. Guests will be spoilt for choice with three food and beverage outlets enhancing their culinary experience.
Rajit Sukumaran, Chief Development Officer, Asia, Middle East and Africa, IHG, said: “The latest addition to our portfolio in Cairo underscores our commitment to the market and our overall expansion plan in MENA. The total number of Crowne Plaza hotels in MENA is set to grow over the next 3 to 5 years with 8 Crowne Plaza hotels in our development pipeline. Cairo is an important business hub and the upcoming opening of the Sphinx International Airport presents an excellent opportunity to introduce the brand to cater to the business travellers. We are excited to be partnering with Al Badr For Investments and Commercial Spaces Company and we are confident that Crowne Plaza Cairo Sheikh Zayed City is poised for success and will be a popular choice with both business and leisure travellers”
Amr Badreldin, Chairman, Al Badr For Investments and Commercial Spaces Company said: “Cairo continues to witness a growth in tourism numbers so it is the opportune time to be developing an internationally-branded hotel.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA)and the African Development Bank (AfDB) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to establish a framework for collaboration to boost the aviation sector in Africa.
The MoU was signed Tuesday in Abuja, Nigeria, on the sidelines of the International Civil Aviation Organization’s World Aviation Forum, “Financing the Development of Aviation Infrastructure” by IATA’s Director General and Chief Executive Officer, Alexandre de Juniac, and African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina.
The aviation industry in Africa currently supports US $72.5 billion in economic activity and 6.8 million jobs. Over the next 20 years, the industry is forecast to grow at nearly 6% per year.
“This creates significant opportunities. But achieving this potential will not happen by chance; strong partnerships are key. The MoU with AfDB will help facilitate the growth and development of Africa’s aviation industry. In so doing, it will expand prosperity and change peoples’ lives for the better in the continent’s 54 nations,” de Juniac told the African Aviation Ministers, Africa aviation industry experts, and airline executives present at the signing ceremony.
Under the MoU, IATA and the AfDB will work in partnership to further Africa’s economic and social development by helping build a safe, secure and efficient aviation industry. The two organizations commit to create and implement programs and projects, including technical cooperation for capacity building. Priority areas will include improving connectivity, safety and aviation infrastructure.
“The aviation sector is especially important as it opens up doors to investors,” said Adesina. “Very few invest where it’s difficult to travel to. That’s why ease of access via air travel is strongly correlated to economic growth. We must make regional aviation markets competitive and drive down costs, raise efficiencies and improve connectivity and convenience.”
IATA, African Development Bank sign MoU to advance Africa’s aviation
CPPIB acquires 30% stake in BGL Group for US$ 1.14-billion
BGL Group,a leading digital distributor of insurance and household financial services, and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), announced the signing of an agreement which will see CPPIB invest c.£675 million for a 30% stake in BGL Group. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions including regulatory approvals.
BHL, the current owner of BGL Group, will retain a majority shareholding in the business, and the investment is expected to be completed by the end of April 2018 subject to satisfaction of the closing conditions. CPPIB will nominate a non-executive director to represent it on the board of BGL. As a result of this investment, BGL Group will not be pursuing an IPO at this time.
BGL Group is a leading digital distributor of insurance and household financial services, which owns brands including comparethemarket.com, LesFurets.com and online life insurer BeagleStreet.com.
For the year ending 30 June 2017, BGL reported 14% underlying revenue growth to £585 million, and 19% growth in underlying profit before tax to £126 million. Total customers increased to over 8.5 million. To date, the business has seen growth at a similar rate in this financial year.
Peter Winslow, Chairman of BGL Group, said: “We are delighted to welcome CPPIB as an investor. During the course of our IPO preparations, our shareholder BHL received a number of approaches from different kinds of investors, as BGL represents a unique growth opportunity in UK financial services. A competitive process followed and our view was that CPPIB was the best partner for BGL. It is a hugely respected and experienced global institution, with a long-term ethos and track record of supporting growth. Building BGL Group and its brands into some of the most well known in the UK and France has created significant value for our stakeholders, and this investment reflects confidence in our continued success.”
Ryan Selwood, Managing Director & Head of Direct Private Equity, CPPIB, said: “Through this investment in BGL Group, CPPIB will participate in the continued growth of a leading financial technology business serving the UK consumer insurance distribution market, which provides greater transparency and choice to consumers. We are very pleased to create this partnership with BHL in a dynamic, high-growth sector to support the success of BGL’s iconic brands, including comparethemarket.com, which will further diversify our portfolio. This investment alongside a world class, aligned partner in BHL is a great example of our Private Equity Solutions strategy, where we provide capital solutions at scale to families, like-minded investors, corporations, funds and entrepreneurs, to pursue sizeable investments with an option to hold long term, ultimately delivering strong risk-adjusted returns to CPP contributors and beneficiaries.”
The Asian Development Bank (ADB)has disbursed $50.85 million of budget support assistance for the second phase of a program to expand economic opportunities, develop the private sector, and attract investments to Tajikistan.
“Creating good jobs through increased private investment, economic diversification, and competitiveness is a cornerstone of the government’s development policy,” said Pradeep Srivastava, ADB Country Director for Tajikistan. “ADB’s support for investment climate reforms will reduce costs of doing business, strengthen protection for businesses, and increase business innovation and productivity."
Major reforms included in the program are a new regulatory impact analysis system for recently proposed legal acts; increasing transparency of proposed legislation; improving product quality accreditation and certification; developing a new electricity tariff policy to eliminate cross-customer price subsidies; and establishing a microcredit fund to provide financing in local currency to food production businesses and farmers.
The program was designed and implemented in collaboration with other development partners.
The program is divided into three phases and is due for completion by 2020. The ADB financing for the second phase includes a $19.24 million grant and a $31.61 million concessional loan. The State Committee on Investments and State Property Management is the executing agency for the program. ADB provided $60 million in budget support in December 2015 during the program’s first phase.
ADB Supports Tajikistan Efforts to Attract Investments, Spur Private Sector Growth with Over $50 Million Financing Package
The Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa(SEFA) has approved US$990,000 to eThala Management Services, to support the development of a 10-MW Biomass-to-Power plant to be located in Harding, 200 km south of Durban in the KwaZulu Natal Province of South Africa.
SEFA to support the development of a Biomass-to-Power plant in South Africa
The project will enable further diversification of South Africa’s power generation mix away from coal dominance by adding renewable energy generation from biomass. The viability of the project will have a significant demonstration effect with regards to bioEnergy and showcase Corporate Power Purchase Agreements as an anchor for renewable energy generation. It is expected to deliver economic empowerment and boost the socio-economic development of Harding community. The project’s source of biomass is agricultural, forestry and timber processing waste which, coupled with the gasification technology presents significant CO2 emissions reductions benefits.
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