ExxonMobil to invest more than US$ 2 billion on Transportation Infrastructure
Tencent leads US$ 5.4 billion investment in Wanda Commercial
Sanofi to acquire Ablynx for US$ 4.8 billion
SAP SE acquires Callidus Software in US$ 2.4 billion deal
Motorola Solutions to acquire Avigilon for US$ 1 billion
Nutrien announces agreement to purchase Agrichem
THE DEFINITIVE SOURCE FOR INVESTMENT PROMOTION EXECUTIVES
it & BPM i FOOD I HEALTHCARE i TEXTILES i INFRASTRUCTURE i ENGINEERING i tourism
29 jAN - 03 FEB 2018
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Sanofi and Ablynx, a biopharmaceutical company engaged in the discovery and development of Nanobodies®, entered into a definitive agreement under which Sanofi will offer to acquire all of the outstanding ordinary shares, including shares represented by American Depositary Shares (ADSs), warrants and convertible bonds of Ablynx at a price per Ablynx share of €45 in cash, which represents an aggregate equity value of approximately €3.9 billion. The transaction was unanimously approved by both the Sanofi and Ablynx Boards of Directors.
Sanofi’s Chief Executive Officer Olivier Brandicourt commented, “With Ablynx, we continue to advance the strategic transformation of our Research and Development, expanding our late-stage pipeline and strengthening our platform for growth in rare blood disorders. This acquisition builds on a successful existing partnership. We are also pleased to reaffirm our commitment to Belgium, where we have invested significantly over the years in our state-of-the-art biologics manufacturing facility in Geel. We intend to maintain and support the Ablynx science center in Ghent.”
Sustaining Innovation in R&D
The acquisition of Ablynx continues Sanofi’s commitment to breakthrough innovation, focused on technologies addressing multiple disease targets with single multi-specific molecules.
Nanobodies are a novel class of proprietary next generation biologicals. Ablynx is at the leading edge of Nanobody technology supporting a deep pipeline of more than 45 proprietary and partnered candidates for a wide range of therapeutic areas such as hematology, inflammation, immuno-oncology and respiratory diseases. Eight Nanobodies have entered clinical development.
Sanofi is committed to accelerating development and maximizing the commercial potential of Ablynx’s ongoing and emerging programs.
Sanofi to acquire Ablynx
for US$ 4.8 Billion
ExxonMobil to invest more than $2 billion on Transportation Infrastructure
ExxonMobil, announced that it plans to triple total daily production to more than 600,000 oil-equivalent barrels by 2025 from its operations in the Permian Basin in West Texas and New Mexico. Tight oil production from the Delaware and Midland basins will increase five-fold in the same period.
Recent changes in the U.S. corporate tax rate create an environment for increased future capital investments, including ExxonMobil’s plan to spend more than $2 billion on transportation infrastructure to support its Permian operations.
Through capital efficient production growth, the increased volumes will be driven by reduced drilling costs, technology improvements and expanded acreage. ExxonMobil has amassed a large, highly contiguous acreage position, located in the prolific, multi-layered oil zones of the Delaware and Midland basins. Combined with operating experience gained through drilling more than 5,000 horizontal unconventional wells, and a leading-edge technology organization, ExxonMobil has the ability to efficiently and profitably develop this attractive resource.
ExxonMobil is one of the most active operators in the Permian Basin. To help achieve this growth, the horizontal rig count in the Permian is expected to increase a further 65 percent over the next several years. ExxonMobil has doubled its footage drilled per day on horizontal wells in the Permian since early 2014 and reduced per-foot drilling costs by about 70 percent.
Through its $6 billion Bass companies acquisition in 2017, ExxonMobil added an estimated resource of 3.4 billion barrels of oil equivalent, with upside potential in multiple additional prospective horizons. A large majority of the development drill wells from the purchase are projected to have attractive returns at oil prices below current levels.
As part of its Permian-focused infrastructure, ExxonMobil recently acquired a crude oil terminal in Wink, Texas that is strategically positioned to handle Permian crude oil and condensate from Delaware basin sources near the Texas-New Mexico border for transport to Gulf Coast refineries and marine export terminals.
The company plans to expand the Wink terminal and add key infrastructure upgrades that will efficiently move ExxonMobil and third-party production from the Delaware, Central and Midland basins in the Permian to ExxonMobil’s operations and other market destinations in the Gulf Coast region. Those investments, expected to exceed $2 billion, will support short-term construction jobs and long-term positions.
VIAVI to acquire Cobham AvComm and Wireless Test and Measurement Businesses
Viavi Solutions Inc., announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire the Test and Measurement business of Cobham plc for $455 million cash consideration, subject to certain customary closing adjustments. The acquisition has been approved by the Board of Directors of each company and is expected to close during the second half of VIAVI's fiscal year 2018, subject to obtaining clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act, as well as other customary closing conditions.
The transaction significantly strengthens VIAVI's competitive position in 5G deployment and diversifies the company into military, public safety and avionics test markets. Cobham AvComm and Wireless T&M is the leader in comprehensively testing communication service providers' networks from the radio access network through to the network core. It has also served military, public safety and aviation markets for decades with its trusted land-mobile radio and avionics test solutions. The business generated more than $200 million of revenues in calendar year 2017.
"This combination is another step in our NSE strategy of driving operational scale and monetizing our NOL assets," said Oleg Khaykin, President and CEO of VIAVI. "Cobham AvComm and Wireless T&M are recognized leaders with a world-class team that has a long track record of successfully bringing innovative solutions to market. Together, we expect new opportunities to grow through channel expansion and technology sharing as we address rapidly emerging opportunities in 5G, software-defined and virtualized test."
Upon closing, the transaction is expected to be meaningfully accretive to VIAVI's free cash flow and non-GAAP earnings per share and monetize net operating losses (NOLs).
U.S., Patriot partners to invest up to $2.3 billion over 5 years in Patriot Integrated Air and Missile Defense System
Raytheon Company, is enhancing the Patriot Air and Missile Defense System under a $235 million modernization task order from the U.S. Army.
Announced by the Department of Defense on Jan 30, the system upgrades will be funded by the 14 nations that rely on Patriot for integrated air and missile defense. This is the first of five annual, indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity task order awards with a total contract ceiling of more than $2.3 billion.
"The 14 Patriot partner nations share the cost of further improving the system through upgrades," said Tom Laliberty, vice president of Integrated Air and Missile Defense at Raytheon's Integrated Defense Systems business. "As a result, all partner nations will be able to continue outpacing and defeating even the most advanced threats."
Some of the projects Raytheon will work on include:
Developing cutting edge methods to search, detect, track, discriminate, engage, and defeat a wide range of evolving threats including tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and military aircraft.
Enhancing Patriot's ability to counter advanced electronic countermeasures.
Increasing Patriot's ability to conduct combat identification.
Improving Patriot's interoperability with higher echelon systems.
Developing advanced training aids including high fidelity virtual simulators.
Reducing Patriot's life cycle costs through modernized hardware and reliability improvements.
Raytheon's Global Patriot Solutions is the most advanced, tactical air and missile defense system in the world, providing protection against a full range of advanced threats, including aircraft, tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles.
FUJIFILM Holdings Corporation, and Xerox Corporation, announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement to combine Xerox and their longstanding Fuji Xerox joint venture. The combined company will be a global leader in innovative print technologies and intelligent work solutions with annual revenues of $18 billion and leadership positions in key geographic regions.
This proposed combination provides Xerox shareholders with significant cash at closing, as well as a substantial interest in the significantly enhanced combined company. Under the terms of the agreement, Xerox shareholders will receive a $2.5 billion special cash dividend, or approximately $9.80 per share(*1), funded from the combined company’s balance sheet, and own 49.9% of the combined company at closing. The cash dividend represents more than 30% of Xerox’s unaffected share price of $30.35 based on closing share price as of January 10, 2018. Fujifilm will own 50.1% of the combined company and provide important operational support and transformational leadership.
*1 Based on diluted shares outstanding as of January 31, 2018, assuming no conversion of preferred shares.
The transaction has been unanimously approved by the Boards of Directors of both Fujifilm and Xerox. The combined company will be named “Fuji Xerox” and trade on the NYSE under the ticker XRX. The new Fuji Xerox will have dual headquarters in Norwalk, CT, U.S. and in Minato, Tokyo, Japan, with presence in over 180 countries. The combined company will go to market and maintain the iconic “Xerox” and “Fuji Xerox” brands within its respective operating regions.
Shigetaka Komori, chairman and chief executive officer of Fujifilm, said, “Fujifilm and Xerox have fostered an exceptional partnership through our existing Fuji Xerox joint venture, and this transaction is a strategic evolution of our alliance. The Document Solutions business represents a significant part of Fujifilm’s portfolio, and the creation of the new Fuji Xerox allows us to more directly establish a leadership position in a fast-changing market. We believe Fujifilm’s track record of advancing technology in innovative imaging and information solutions - especially in inkjet, imaging, and AI areas - will be important components of the success of the new Fuji Xerox.”
Jeff Jacobson, chief executive officer of Xerox, said, “The proposed combination has compelling industrial logic and will unlock significant growth and productivity opportunities for the combined company, while delivering substantial value to Xerox shareholders. The new Fuji Xerox will be better positioned to compete in today’s environment with truly global scale, increased presence in fast-growing markets, and innovation capabilities to effectively meet our customers’ rapidly-evolving demands. In addition, the combined company’s strong financial profile will enable investments that support continued market leadership, while also providing opportunities for increasing capital returns over time.”
FUJIFILM Holdings and Xerox agreement to combine Fuji Xerox JV with Xerox
Tronox's acquisition of Cristal cleared by Saudi Arabia's General Authority
Tronox Limited a global mining and inorganic chemicals company, announced the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's General Authority for Competition has approved the Company's proposed acquisition of the titanium dioxide business of Cristal, a privately held global chemical and mining company headquartered in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. To date, Australia, China, New Zealand, Turkey, South Korea, and Colombia have also approved the proposed acquisition.
"We are pleased the Saudi General Authority for Competition has approved our proposed pro-competition, output-enhancing combination with Cristal," said Jeffry N. Quinn, president and chief executive officer of Tronox. "This approval is an important step toward completion of this strategic acquisition. We are confident the significant synergies we have identified will enable us to increase production and lower our cost position to the benefit of our customers around the world."
AEM Holdings announces the acquisition of Afore Oy
AEM Holdings, announces the acquisition of Afore Oy, a leading Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems test solutions provider based in Finland. With the acquisition, AEM broadens its global solution offerings beyond logic IC handlers and RF test & measurement, to include complete MEMS testing solutions. The acquisition of Afore enables AEM to extend the reach of its semiconductor backend solutions into many of the fastest growing segments in technology such as IoT, mobile, robotics and autonomous driving.
Afore Oy has a long track record in MEMS testing, having delivered its first MEMS test cells in 1998. Since then, its innovative MEMS solutions have grown to include wafer probers and test handlers with multi-stimulus and package options, as well as tri-temperature testing. Afore is a pioneer in wafer-level MEMS testing, enabling its customers to realize the full cost and speed efficiencies of advanced IC packages. Afore Oy's solutions are used in MEMS development and manufacturing in the automotive, industrial, and consumer sectors, with customers in Europe, USA, and Japan.
AEM and Afore will achieve significant business synergies by combining their expertise and geographical presence. Leveraging AEM's worldwide presence, Afore can now offer global support for its high-performance MEMS test solutions to large Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). AEM's global manufacturing and supply chain also enable Afore to take advantage of production efficiencies, as its business scales.
"AEM has excelled at providing IC handling solutions to the most advanced factories in the semiconductor industry. In recent years, we have broadened our portfolio of high-performance solutions to address additional high-growth technology markets around the world. AEM's acquisition of InspiRain in 2017 provided us with an exciting product portfolio in automotive and network cable testing. Our acquisition of Afore further expands our footprint through high-performance test solutions in MEMS, one of the fastest growing segments in semiconductors," said Loke Wai San, Executive Chairman of AEM.
Tencent Leads US$ 5.4 Billion Investment in Wanda Commercial
Tencent Holdings Limited, as an initiator, together with investors including Suning Holdings Group, JD.com Inc. (“JD.com”), and Sunac China Holdings Group (“Sunac”), signed strategic investment agreements with Dalian Wanda Commercial Properties Co. (“Wanda Commercial”). The investor group plans to invest an aggregate amount of approximately RMB 34 billion to acquire Wanda Commercial’s approximately 14% equity interest held by investors who purchased the stake upon the company’s delisting from the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. This represents one of the world’s largest single strategic investments between Internet companies and brick-and-mortar commercial giants
Wanda Commercial is the flagship company of Dalian Wanda Group (“Wanda Group”), and is the world’s biggest commercial property company. As of the end of 2017, the company held 31.51 million square meters of operating commercial property spaces. Wanda Commercial operated 235 Wanda Plazas in China, which received 3.19 billion visitors last year. Wanda Group also owns cultural tourism parks, hotels, cinemas, children’s entertainment and other offline commercial businesses catering to various consumer needs.
Tencent is a leading Internet value added services provider in China, operating the largest social communications platform in the country. Leveraging its strong social communications platform and big data technology, Tencent provides users with diversified digital content and helps advertisers reach out to hundreds of millions of consumers in China.
Suning is China’s leading O2O Internet retailing company. The company aims to build new models for smart retailing using logistics, finance and technology innovation, and form omni-channel retailing capabilities in 3C appliances, maternal and infant care supplies, and fresh produce. In 2017 Suning Yigou was ranked No. 1 in offline retailing and No. 3 in online retailing in China, becoming the country’s only retail company to take a top spot in both online and offline rankings.
JD.com, China’s largest retailer by revenue, is a leader in e-commerce, logistics, technology and finance. It was the first Chinese internet company to make the Fortune Global 500 List.
Sunac, a Hong Kong-listed company, is one of the leading real estate developers in China, focusing on high-end real estate and commercial property development. In 2017, Sunac was China’s No. 4 real estate developer by sales.
After the introduction of strategic investors, Wanda Commercial will be renamed as Wanda Commercial Management Group. Wanda Commercial Management aims to sell off its existing for-sale properties in the next one to two years. Going forward, it will stop engaging in property development and will transform into a company solely focused on commercial management. The 2 / 2 relevant parties will strive to take the company public as soon as possible.
Datawatch acquires data science platform leader Angoss Software
Datawatch Corporation, the data intelligence provider with market leading enterprise data preparation, predictive analytics, and visualization solutions, announced that it has acquired Angoss Software Corporation, a privately-held data science platform provider based in Toronto, Canada. The acquisition will augment Datawatch’s Monarch data intelligence offering with expanded capabilities that enable data scientists to perform predictive and prescriptive analytics in a wide variety of enterprise applications. The transaction was completed in US$24.5 million, which was financed through a combination of Datawatch’s cash on hand and funding from a new credit facility with Silicon Valley Bank.
Angoss delivers powerful predictive and prescriptive analytics that help businesses discover valuable insights and intelligence in their data, and the company was recognized as one of the leaders in the Forrester Wave: Predictive Analytics and Machine Learning Solutions, Q1 2017. Angoss data science solutions are used by more than 300 organizations in 30 countries, including many global firms such as Barclays, Scotiabank, TD Bank, Bayer, Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Air Canada. Angoss provides rigorous modeling and validation tools for machine learning in high-value applications for customer segmentation, customer churn, credit risk scoring, fraud detection, next best action, collections and recovery, and many other mission-critical solutions.
“This is a transformative acquisition for Datawatch that offers a very natural complement to our core Monarch technology platform, significantly expands our addressable market and thus strengthens our competitive position,” said Michael A. Morrison, president and chief executive officer. “Our legacy in data preparation serves as the ideal foundation to extend into all levels of analytics, including predictive and prescriptive analytics. With the Angoss data science platform, we are uniting data preparation, machine learning and predictive analytics to provide an end-to-end data intelligence solution for the enterprise. We welcome the Angoss team to Datawatch, and we know that everyone is excited to work together to make advanced analytics even more accessible to users of all skill levels.”
SAP SE acquires Callidus Software in $2.4 billion deal
SAP SE, and Callidus Software Inc., announced that SAP America, Inc. has entered into an agreement to acquire CallidusCloud, the leader in cloud-based Lead to Money (Quote-to-Cash) solutions.
SAP will assemble the most complete and differentiated portfolio to manage today’s customer experience
CallidusCloud’s Lead to Money suite for sales combined with SAP’s Customer Engagement suite creates leading CRM solution portfolio
The CallidusCloud board of directors has unanimously approved the transaction. The per share purchase price of $36.00 represents a 21% premium over the 30-day volume weighted average price per share and a 28% premium over CallidusCloud’s 90-day volume weighted average price per share. The per share price represents an enterprise value of approximately $2.4 billion. SAP has elected to fund the transaction with existing cash balances and an acquisition term loan. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2018, subject to approval from CallidusCloud stockholders, clearances by the relevant regulatory authorities, and other customary closing conditions. The transaction is expected to be essentially neutral to SAP’s non-IFRS earnings per share for fiscal 2018 and accretive to SAP’s non-IFRS earnings per share for fiscal 2019.
Reinventing the Front Office
The acquisition gives SAP immediate leadership in the Lead to Money space that includes sales performance management (SPM) and configure-price-quote (CPQ).
CallidusCloud offers a full suite of SPM and CPQ solutions, including sales enablement, sales analytics and customer engagement. The combination of SAP’s assets with CallidusCloud’s will deliver the most complete, end-to-end, fully cloud-based ‘Lead-to-Cash’ offering. CallidusCloud has been a partner of SAP for several years, based on a joint selling agreement.
Two Growth Companies, Stronger Together
CallidusCloud is a synergistic addition to SAP’s portfolio and significantly strengthens SAP’s position in the customer relationship management (CRM) space. CallidusCloud’s solutions are tailored to the specific needs of sales people on the ground and link sales-related information, such as pricing, incentives, and commissions, to enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. CallidusCloud as part of SAP will seamlessly link front and back offices, align sales, compensation and corporate goals, and ensure real-time data flow between the field and finance department.
Statements by the Chief Executive Officers
“SAP is connecting the back office to the front office in this consumer-driven growth revolution,” said Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP. “Our customers are focused on reinventing sales, service, marketing, and commerce. The addition of CallidusCloud aligns perfectly to SAP’s innovation strategy to transform the front office. SAP gives CallidusCloud the global scale to accelerate its already impressive growth. These two strong companies will be better together, help the world run better and improve people’s lives.”
“We are super excited to join forces with SAP,” said CallidusCloud’s CEO Leslie Stretch. “This move gives customers precisely what they want, the market leading Sales Performance (SPM), Sales Execution (CPQ) and Sales Enablement clouds combined with SAP Hybris and S/4HANA. This is true Lead to Money, beyond CRM and beyond Quote-to-Cash. It’s the joined-up Front Office and Back Office Cloud everyone needs for 21st Century Business. In addition, the purchase price provides substantial value to our stockholders.”
CallidusCloud, combined with SAP’s solution portfolio, also will offer companies powerful tools to enhance sales execution and transform customer engagement. CallidusCloud’s portfolio will strengthen existing SAP sales solutions. The portfolio will be enriched with sales planning and forecasting, territory management, and pipeline management. SAP’s sales content management will benefit from easy access to contracts, collateral, and learning.
Motorola Solutions, announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Avigilon in an all-cash transaction that will enhance Motorola Solutions’ portfolio of mission-critical communications technologies.
Under the terms of the agreement, Motorola Solutions will acquire all of Avigilon’s outstanding shares for approximately US$1.0 billion including Avigilon’s net debt.
Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Avigilon designs, develops and manufactures advanced security surveillance solutions, including video analytics, network video management software and hardware, surveillance cameras, and access control solutions. Avigilon products are used by a range of commercial and government customers including critical infrastructure, airports, government facilities, public venues, healthcare centers and retail. The company holds more than 750 U.S. and international patents.
“This acquisition will bring Avigilon’s advanced video surveillance and analytics platform to the rapidly evolving public safety workflow, while also expanding our portfolio with new products and technologies for commercial customers,” said Greg Brown, chairman and CEO, Motorola Solutions. “Video can play a powerful role in creating safer cities and thriving businesses. It can serve as highly efficient ‘eyes and ears’ for monitoring a given location, and advanced video analytics can proactively alert officials to a perimeter breach or quickly find a person who left behind an object of interest.”
As more cameras feed into public safety workflows, video surveillance and analytics will enable more public-private partnerships between local communities and law enforcement. The acquisition will also enable Motorola Solutions to extend into new segments of its commercial markets business, which provides secure, reliable communications technology to industries such as oil and gas, transportation, utilities, manufacturing and higher education. Customers will now be able to purchase advanced security and surveillance solutions as part of Motorola Solutions’ portfolio of critical communications technology for commercial markets.
SharedLabs acquires ExoIS
SharedLabs, Inc. and ExoIS, Inc. announced they have completed a definitive agreement under which SharedLabs has acquired all of the stock of ExoIS for an undisclosed sum. ExoIS will continue to operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of SharedLabs until full integration is completed. Integration is expected to be completed within the first quarter of 2018. Jonathan Clark, Founder of ExoIS, will report to John Andrews, COO of SharedLabs, Inc. Jason Cory, CEO and Chairman of the board, fully supports this transaction.
ExoIS is a leader in building, running, monitoring, and maintaining Cloud solutions in Public, Private and Hybrid environments for companies in the most demanding industries, including banking and financial services, technology, retail, and fintech and payments. With deep expertise and well-defined solutions in IoT, Blockchain, Cyber Security, Mobility, DevOps, and Cloud, the company also has specialized offerings for clients in the fabless semi-conductor, IoT, and digital media spaces. Each of the solutions the company offers are designed to deliver better deep business insights and reduce risks in operations.
SharedLabs CEO, Jason Cory, commented on the transaction saying, "The purchase of ExoIS has expanded the portfolio of clients served by SharedLabs, while enriching our portfolio of offerings with new tools and techniques to build, support, and run private clouds and securely leverage appropriate publicly available Cloud services in a cost-effective manner. The purchase has also opened the door for expansion in new geographic areas where these services will prove very valuable, while allowing us to expand our wallet share in existing clients and win new clients in the markets we serve."
Summit Agricultural Group announced a $100 million expansion of FS Bioenergia, the leading corn ethanol production facility in Brazil. The expansion of the FS Bioenergia plant in Lucas do Rio Verde, Mato Grosso, is forecasted for completion in the first quarter of 2019 and will more than double annual corn ethanol production from 60 million gallons to 140 million gallons.
With this expansion, FS Bioenergia will annually process over 50 million bushels of corn and produce more than 14,000 tons of corn oil and 400,000 tons of valuable feed rations for Brazil's growing livestock industry.
"This is a significant step for FS Bioenergia, but it's even more important for the growth of corn ethanol production in Brazil," said Bruce Rastetter, founder and CEO of Summit Agricultural Group. "When we began this project several years ago, we were confident of the opportunities in Brazilian renewables".
"Brazil's long-standing commitment to renewable fuels coupled with an abundance of affordable feedstocks make for an attractive corn ethanol picture in Brazil," said Justin Kirchhoff managing director and head of private equity for Summit Agricultural Group. ''As we look at the expansion of FS Bioenergia over this next year, we're in a strong position to benefit from these favorable conditions."
Recognized today as the most modern and efficient corn ethanol production operation in the world, FS Bioenergia is a collaboration between a Mato Grosso agribusiness and U.S.-based Summit Agricultural Group, a leader in international agribusiness development, renewable energy and production agriculture headquartered in Alden, Iowa. Summit and its Brazilian partner broke ground on the corn-only ethanol production facility in early 2016, with the initial phase of production starting in mid-2017.
Summit Agricultural Group to expand its FS Bioenergia, facility in Brazil
Unilever to acquire Betty Ice
Unilever has announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire the business of Betty Ice SRL, the Romanian ice-cream producer. The value of the transaction is undisclosed.
Betty Ice was founded in 1994 by Romanian entrepreneur Vasile Armenean with the vision of transforming the perfect dessert into a reality, creating natural tastes and flavours with carefully selected ingredients. Betty Ice is the main local ice cream producer in Romania, with a total turnover of €30 million. The company owns one factory in Suceava and has more than 180 ice cream kiosks open during summer time. Betty Ice employs 760 employees in Romania.
Unilever’s South Central Europe Ice Cream division and Betty Ice will operate as a standalone unit within Unilever and will be led by Mr. Vasile Armenean, who will act as a General Manager. This partnership aims to further expand the brand by combining the strengths of the Unilever group with the local ice-cream market expertise and knowhow of Mr. Armenean.
Vasile Armenean, Betty Ice General Manager, added: “In 23 years we have grown a great business in Romania, and we are proud that Betty Ice, the number 1 Romanian ice cream brand, will join the portfolio of the number 1 ice cream producer in the world. Our legacy and Unilever’s vision are a perfect match for the future of Betty Ice brand.”
The farmer-owned dairy cooperative Arla Foods has announced a plan to invest over half a billion euro in 2018 as the company continues to deliver on its 2020 growth ambition.
The executive management’s decision to significantly increase the investments of the company was approved at a meeting in London, which consists mainly of elected farmer owners. Arla Foods will invest in new, expanded and improved production capacity as well as innovative technology.
Chairman of Arla Foods Åke Hantoft underlines that all investments by Arla Foods are made to secure long-term growth and profit opportunities for the company’s 11,200 farmer owners across Europe.
“Arla has a history of good investments for sustained growth. The board of directors has decided to increase our investments with this plan, because we have identified new projects and investments with short and long term potential for significant return. The business growth these investments will create for our company will generate growth opportunities for our farmer owners. We see these investments as essential to the future of our business,” says Åke Hantoft.
Having grown the business by 50 per cent, in the last decade, Arla, which now operates in 120 countries word wide is focusing its investment in four key areas:
Meeting the growing demand for dairy
Healthy and natural products that match consumer lifestyles
Leading the way in Whey
Sustainable food production that considers the future of our planet
While global milk production continues to be volatile, dairy consumption worldwide is growing faster than it ever has, and Arla Foods has extensive growth opportunities as it embraces the challenge to meet the growing demand for dairy.
50 per cent of the investments in 2018 are targeted projects aimed at growing Arla Foods’ sales outside Europe, where the company’s fastest growing strategic growth markets are Middle East and North Africa, China and Southeast Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and the United States.
Two thirds of this year’s spend will focus on increasing Arla’s European production capacity, with 266 million euro being invested in Denmark, 82 million in the UK, 78 million in Sweden, and 65 million in Germany and 36 million for production in other countries.
Commenting on the investment plan Peder Tuborgh, CEO, Arla Foods says, “This investment plan is a growth plan aimed at expanding our positions in key dairy categories and geographic markets where Arla is already a key player. Our ambition is to create an even stronger foundation for our farmer owners and our future business growth.”
Arla foods eyes further growth with $653 million investment
Nutrien Ltd. is pleased to announce that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Agrichem, a leading specialty plant nutrition and plant health product company in Brazil. Agrichem is one of Brazil's largest liquid NPK fertilizer companies, as well as a producer and marketer of plant health products, including bio-stimulants and health inductors. The company has 195 employees and 35 product registrations actively marketed and a strong platform for future growth. The primary production facility is located close to key agricultural markets in Brazil, with an annual production capacity of almost 12 million litres.
"As a leader in Brazilian specialty nutrient markets, the Agrichem team and extensive product profile will be an excellent fit with our Loveland products business," commented Chuck Magro, Nutrien's President and CEO. "Brazil will be a strategic focus for further expansion due to its large and growing agriculture retail and crop input market," added Mr. Magro.
Agrichem is expected to be accretive to earnings in 2018, with total annual historic net sales of over $55 million and historic EBITDA of over $15 million. The acquisition will be made in two tranches, with 80 percent of the business to be acquired in the coming months. The remaining 20 percent of the business will be acquired in 2019, based on 2018 EBITDA levels. Closing of the transaction is subject to regulatory approval and satisfaction of customary conditions precedent.
Travel Leaders Group has reached an agreement to acquire Barrhead Travel Group, one of Scotland’s largest retail travel companies and one of the largest in the United Kingdom, with more than 75 locations and more than 900 employees and agents. Barrhead will become part of Travel Leaders Group’s growing presence in the U.K. and around the world. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter.
“Barrhead is a great addition to our family of brands. It’s an innovative, award-winning travel business that is on a trajectory for continued growth,” said Travel Leaders Group CEO Ninan Chacko, CTC. “From its high-touch retail travel superstores to its online presence, Barrhead offers personalized attention, technology tools, highly-trained travel specialists and a wide range of travel products and services.”
Due to its leadership position in the U.K. market, Barrhead will retain its distinct brand identity within the Travel Leaders U.K. portfolio. Barrhead’s Chief Executive Sharon Munro will continue to manage the business. Her father and Barrhead founder, Bill Munro, will serve in a strategic advisory role as Chairman of the Barrhead division within Travel Leaders Group. No major changes in operations are anticipated.
He continued, “Bill and Sharon Munro have devoted their careers to building this extraordinary business. We’re pleased that the Munro family is entrusting the future of Barrhead, its employees, agents and customers to our organization. We’re excited about this chance to expand our presence in Scotland and the U.K. overall and the opportunities this affords both companies.”
Terms of the agreement will not be disclosed.
“Joining with Travel Leaders Group will give us the resources to expand into additional markets, access to new technology and the ability to innovate,” said Sharon Munro. “This agreement creates exciting new prospects for both our enterprises.”
“Barrhead’s successful ‘click, call and visit’ model and its cadre of highly-trained travel professionals has positioned the company as a leading multi-channel retailer for cruises, custom vacations and business travel,” said Chacko.
Travel Leaders Group agreement to acquire Barrhead Travel Group
Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants announced its first property in the Grove District Anaheim Resort area in the city of Garden Grove, expanding the brand in Southern California. The mixed-use development by SCG America Group is slated to open in 2021.
The hotel will join the ten Kimpton properties across the region including Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, San Diego, Huntington Beach and Palm Springs.
The five-acre Garden Grove development complex is located along Harbor Boulevard within the Grove District Anaheim Resort area. The project will include a four-star 200-room Kimpton hotel, along with retail stores, and restaurants. This iconic project will open just blocks from Disneyland, as well as the Anaheim Convention Center, Angel Stadium, and Honda Center.
The new Kimpton will showcase approximately 10,000 square-feet of meeting space, two restaurants, a rooftop pool and lounge. Guests will enjoy an unobstructed view of the Disneyland fireworks show from several suites as well as the rooftop bar. Ave Bradley, Global Senior Vice President of Design at Kimpton, will represent Kimpton in the design and architecture for the hotel, in partnership with SCG America’s selected team; the Friedmutter Group and Archilier Architecture.
Mike DeFrino, Chief Executive Officer at Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, said: “This is an exciting time for Kimpton as we strengthen our presence in Southern California. With this property, we will be able to introduce our unique approach to hospitality and extraordinary restaurant and bar experience to a growing audience. We’re thrilled to partner with SCG America on this cornerstone development.”
Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants announce new property in Orange County
Hyatt Hotels Corporation, announced the development of a new hotel in Hollywood, Calif., for The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand, slated to open in 2019. A Hyatt affiliate has entered into a franchise agreement with PNK Group, a subsidiary of S3D Partner, to build a new 64-room boutique lifestyle hotel, which will be located at 1525 N. Cahuenga Blvd. Located near the iconic Hollywood Palladium theater, famed Sunset Boulevard and star-lined Hollywood Walk of Fame, the new hotel will reflect the avant-garde attitude of Hollywood. The hotel will be managed by Interstate Hotels & Resorts.
A commercial, cultural, and entertainment destination, the Hollywood location will deliver on The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand promise of creating story-worthy and shareable experiences for modern travelers. In addition to its 39 guest rooms and 24 suites, The Unbound Collection by Hyatt hotel will feature a variety of food and beverage experiences, including a ground-level restaurant, street-front lounge, and rooftop pool deck and lounge. The hotel will cater to both leisure and business travelers seeking an upscale, lively hotel experience in the heart of vibrant Hollywood.
The Hollywood hotel is part of a broader expansion of The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand in North America. The brand added two new hotels in 2017: Holston House in Nashville, Tenn., and Spirit Ridge resort in Osoyoos, British Columbia, with the addition of two more hotels expected this spring: the newly built Eliza Jane hotel in New Orleans and The Bellevue Hotel in Philadelphia. These four new hotels will nearly double the brand’s current portfolio. From historic urban gems in Nashville and Philadelphia, to a contemporary trend-setter in New Orleans and an adobe-style resort on historical grounds in Canada, each new property in The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand portfolio will give guests the opportunity to create shareable experiences and will provide travelers with a variety of upper-upscale and luxurious accommodations.
“We are thrilled to continue growing The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand with these new North American properties,” said Sandra Cordova Micek, senior vice president, global brands for Hyatt. “Whether it’s a captivating past, an exclusive destination or world-class architecture and design, each of the new properties joining The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand will maintain their distinct character and the freedom to be unique, giving the modern traveler even more ways to enjoy one-of-a-kind choices when they travel.”
Named after the Holston River and inspired by the adventurous spirit of Tennessee’s founding fathers, this newly built 191-room premier boutique hotel opened in December 2017. It is located in an iconic 1920s Art Deco building in downtown Nashville, just blocks from the Cumberland River and the iconic Ryman Auditorium, an ideal location to discover Nashville’s vibrant streets and neighborhoods. New York-based design firm Stonehill Taylor reimagined the hotel’s design, combining rugged modernism with authenticity through various décor elements such as classic overdyed rugs, leather accents, and wooden features. Holston House’s thoughtful accommodations and amenities include four plush one-bedroom suites, two signature 12th-floor Penthouse Suites, a fitness center, and a series of food and beverage offerings, including a signature restaurant, spacious lobby bar and lounge, and dynamic rooftop pool bar – all concepted by New York-based APICII restaurant group.
Situated 250 miles east of Vancouver in Osoyoos, British Columbia, Canada, Spirit Ridge joined The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brand in December 2017. Although just 10 years old, the resort peacefully shares land that has been home of the Osoyoos Indian Band for thousands of years. Rich in culture and historical relevance, the resort’s design embraces the Okanagan First Nations people and celebrates their deep spiritual connection to natural surroundings. The adobe style resort provides a full range of services and amenities including a 7,000-square-foot conference center, 226 suites and villas with fully equipped kitchens and private terraces, private beach access to the nearby Lake Osoyoos, three food and beverage experiences, several pools with hot tubs and private cabanas.
The Unbound Collection By Hyatt Brand Announces New North America Developments & Openings
Radisson Jodhpur debuts in The Blue City Of Rajasthan, India
Radisson Jodhpur opened its doors to the magnificent city of Jodhpur. The hotel is the first Radisson –a brand synonymous with outstanding service and comfort, to open in the city.
“I am delighted to welcome our first Radisson hotel to Jodhpur. The hotel’s architectural grandeur combined with the brand’s service ethos will enthrall guests travelling to the city. We appreciate the commitment that Madhav Heritage has made in this hotel and the trust they have demonstrated in the Radisson brand,” said Raj Rana, chief executive officer, South Asia, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group.
Strategically located in the center of Jodhpur, the hotel is all set to serve discerning guests with its signature Yes I Can! SM service philosophy. Positioned to be a preferred hotel in the upscale segment and the first choice among leisure and business travelers, the hotel is situated two kilometers from the airport and four kilometers from the railway station. It is situated within a radius of five kilometers from international tourist attractions like Ummaid Palace, Birkha Bawri Step Well, Merangarh Fort, Ghanta Ghar and Mandore Garden.
“We are excited about the opening of Radisson Jodhpur. The hotel’s heritage-inspired rooms come with modern amenities and we are confident that guests will appreciate this combination. We are happy to partner Radisson and are looking forward to capitalize on the brand’s well-earned equity in the market,” said Badriram Jakhar, executive director, Mahadev Heritage Hotel Private Limited.
Spread over around 70,000 square feet, the hotel’s architecture is reminiscent of Rajasthan’s erstwhile culture and style. The hotel constitutes 96 rooms across Superior, Business Class, Studio Suites, Single Bedroom Suite, Two Bedroom Duplex Suites and Presidential Suite categories. Business Class Rooms include a separate living room and Deluxe Suites feature bathtub, powder room, microwave and TV in the separate living room. The hotel also features a state-of-the-art fitness center with modern equipment and a spa service with two treatment rooms for a rejuvenating stay.
UAE ranked eighth globally for introduction of autonomous vehicles
The United Arab Emirates is among the top 10 countries in the world when it comes its readiness to accommodate driverless vehicles, revealed KPMG’s Autonomous Vehicles Readiness Index (AVRI). The study, which evaluates the preparedness of countries globally, places the UAE at number eight, ahead of South Korea and New Zealand.
The KPMG AVR Index, a first-of-its-kind initiative, highlights global best practices to help countries accelerate their adoption of autonomous transport, capacity for adapting autonomous driving technology, as well as highlights the progress achieved in making driverless cars a reality. The Index places the UAE after the Netherlands, Singapore, the United States, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Canada.
The study carefully evaluates every country’s ability according to four pillars: policy legislation; technology and innovation; infrastructure; and consumer acceptance.
Each of these pillars considers a number of variables that reflect the wide range of factors that can impact a country’s autonomous driving readiness – from the availability of electric vehicle charging stations, to autonomous transport technology R&D, the public’s willingness to adopt the technology, and the regulatory environment.
The Netherlands, which earned first place on the Index, ranks consistently high—in the top four across all four pillars—with strengths including widespread acceptance of electric cars and a high density of charging stations; a robust telecommunications network, vital for directing AVs; and large-scale AV road tests planned.
As the world’s most innovative countries have started the journey to make driverless cars a reality, the UAE consolidated its dominance as number one among the 20 countries for road quality -- a critical factor in infrastructure readiness. At number six on the policy and legislation pillar, the UAE is also credited for having a dedicated and autonomous function within its transport department, for quality of regulation and for government capability in KPMG’s Change Readiness Index, which assessed countries’ ability to manage change and cultivate opportunity.
Fourth Industrial Revolution Technologies Are Transforming Healthcare
People will live to the age of 140 within a few decades, hospitals will be transformed into mere casualty rooms as patient self-management of health becomes the norm, 5G-connected ambulances will save millions of lives by accessing digitized trauma data and performing procedures in transit, experts told the World Economic Forum.
These exciting developments are coming soon. However, cancers are already being detected months earlier than before, thanks to small, wearable health-monitoring devices. Computer vision is allowing the visually impaired to “see”; dyslexia sufferers are reading and surgeons are rehearsing complicated operations in a holographic-robotics environment.
“Technology and healthcare have long existed in their own metaphorical silos, but now these two worlds are colliding,” said Albert Bourla, Chief Operating Officer, Pfizer Inc. This collision means more and better medicines are being delivered faster to sick people, while biological sensors have dramatically improved diagnosis, he added. Also, predictive diagnosis brings preventive measures rather than reactive. Such dramatic transformation in the sector is having a major disruptive effect on healthcare stakeholders and their relationships, he said.
“Even the mundane – but vital – area of hospital administration is being transformed, with real-time interactive recording of patient outcomes dramatically reducing bureaucracy and costs,” noted Satya Nadella, Chief Executive Officer, Microsoft Corp. Nadella said the artificial intelligence techniques working with data enable medical scientists to “stand on the shoulder of giants” as they can instantly access best-case history. This resolves the impossible task of practitioners keeping up with new developments and removes the problem of medical students’ knowledge becoming “outdated” on the day they graduate.
While the new technology may be dazzling, “the focus of healthcare must be on the patient,” emphasized Michael F. Neidorff, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Centene Corporation. Care will become increasingly personalized as the particular, often unique, issues of individuals are identified. Doctors will remain essential in detailed diagnosis and care regimes.
“Chronic diseases are the leading cause of morbidity in the world, accounting for more than 60% of all deaths. Yet most of these diseases are preventable and many are reversible with accurate and early diagnosis,” said Rajeev Suri, President and Chief Executive Officer, Nokia Corporation. Nokia is working on non-invasive, wearable devices that will continuously monitor vital signs – such as cortisol and glucose levels – and immediately pick up irregularities. Millions upon millions of lives can be saved, Suri said. He sees the collection of this personal data as filling the void between medical consultations, eliminating the need for repeated blood testing, for example.
Technological innovation is costly and the question of affordability and a possible widening of inequalities in healthcare provision was raised. Neidorff said this underlines the need “to recognize healthcare as a fundamental human right”. The debate has to move in the direction of political policy to ensure that everyone can benefit. The solution to the affordability issue lies with both government and the private sector.
Fifty per cent of the world's population is expected to be connected to the Internet by the end of 2019. This leaves the other half – an estimated 3.8 billion people – unconnected and unable to benefit from key social and economic resources in our expanding digital world. In response, the United Nations' Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development has set seven ambitious yet achievable 2025 targets in support of "Connecting the Other Half" of the world's population.
The targets were launched at a joint meeting of the Commission and the World Economic Forum, held during the 2018 Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos. The 2025 targets specifically seek to expand broadband infrastructure, and Internet access and use by populations around the world, in support of achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals established by the United Nations and the international community in September 2015 – and in so doing, to improve livelihoods and economies.
Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development 2025 Targets:
By 2025, all countries should have a funded national broadband plan or strategy, or include broadband in their universal access and services definition.
By 2025, entry-level broadband services should be made affordable in developing countries, at less than 2% of monthly gross national income per capita.
By 2025 broadband / Internet user penetration should reach: 75% worldwide, 65% in developing countries, and 35% in least developed countries.
By 2025, 60% of youth and adults should have achieved at least a minimum level of proficiency in sustainable digital skills.
By 2025, 40% of the world's population should be using digital financial services.
By 2025, unconnectedness of Micro-, Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises should be reduced by 50%, by sector.
By 2025, gender equality should be achieved across all targets.
The Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development brings together a high-powered and influential community – including top industry CEOs, senior policy-makers and government representatives, international agencies, academia and organizations concerned with development. Leaders in their field, they each believe strongly in a future based on broadband and offer rich insights and experience.
UN Broadband Commission sets global broadband targets to bring online the world’s 3.8 billion not connected to the Internet
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