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Highlights of the day: TSMC expands partnership with OSATs

To meet surging demand for heterogeneous chips, TSMC is expected to adopt a more agile mode of cooperation with OSATs. TSMC's majr foundry competitor Samsung Electronics has announced plans to build a new fab in the US state of Texas. Samsung is eyeing orders from major US chip vendors. China first-tier lithium battery makers have refrained from raising prices this year, but they are now looking to raise prices by 20% next year......»»

Category: topSource: digitimesNov 25th, 2021

CIBC announces fourth quarter and fiscal 2021 results

CIBC's 2021 audited annual consolidated financial statements and accompanying management's discussion and analysis (MD&A) will be available today at www.cibc.com, along with the supplementary financial information and supplementary regulatory capital reports which include fourth quarter financial information. Our 2021 Annual Report is available on SEDAR at www.sedar.com. All amounts are expressed in Canadian dollars, unless otherwise indicated. TORONTO, Dec. 2, 2021 /CNW/ - CIBC (TSX:CM) (NYSE:CM) today announced its results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended October 31, 2021. "We delivered strong financial performance in 2021 with growth across all of our strategic business units as our entire team focused on helping our clients achieve their ambitions," said Victor Dodig, President and CEO, CIBC. "Against the backdrop of the ongoing global pandemic, our bank continued to invest for the future, including expanding our platform and capabilities in the U.S., accelerating the growth of our Canadian consumer franchise, and making foundational investments in cloud technology and other capabilities that will enable us to do more for clients in 2022 and beyond. We also launched our new brand, a statement on the bank we've become by living our purpose, and a symbol of the opportunities that lie ahead. We enter the new fiscal year well positioned for growth with a strong capital position, clear momentum across our business, and the full commitment of our team as we contribute to an equitable and sustainable future for our clients, our communities and our planet." Fourth quarter highlights Q4/21 Q4/20 Q3/21 YoY Variance QoQ Variance Reported Net Income $1,440 million $1,016 million $1,730 million +42% -17% Adjusted Net Income (1) $1,573 million $1,280 million $1,808 million +23% -13% Reported Diluted Earnings Per Share (EPS) $3.07 $2.20 $3.76 +40% -18% Adjusted Diluted EPS (1) $3.37 $2.79 $3.93 +21% -14% Reported Return on Common Shareholders' Equity (ROE) (2) 13.4% 10.7% 17.1% Adjusted ROE (1)(2) 14.7% 13.5% 17.9% Common Equity Tier 1 (CET1) Ratio (2) 12.4% 12.1% 12.3% CIBC's results for the fourth quarter of 2021 were affected by the following items of note aggregating to a negative impact of $0.30 per share: $109 million ($80 million after-tax) charge related to the consolidation of our real estate portfolio; $40 million ($29 million after-tax) increase in legal provisions; $19 million ($15 million after-tax) amortization of acquisition-related intangible assets; and $12 million ($9 million after-tax) in transaction and integration-related costs(3) associated with the acquisition of the Canadian Costco credit card portfolio. For the year ended October 31, 2021, CIBC reported net income of $6.4 billion and adjusted net income(1) of $6.7 billion, compared with reported net income of $3.8 billion and adjusted net income(1) of $4.4 billion for 2020. The following table summarizes our performance in 2021 against our key financial measures and targets, set over the medium term, which we define as three to five years, assuming a normal business environment and credit cycle. Financial Measure Target (4) 2021 Reported Results 2021 Adjusted Results (1) Diluted EPS growth 5% to 10% annually $13.93, up 69% from 2020 $14.47, up 49% from 2020 ROE (2) 15% + 16.1% 16.7% Operating leverage (2) Positive 5.3%, an increase of 930 basis points from 2020 0.7%, an increase of 130 basis points from 2020 CET1 ratio (2) Strong buffer to regulatory minimum 12.4% Dividend payout ratio (2) 40% to 50% 41.8% 40.3% Total shareholder return Outperform the S&P/TSX Composite Banks Index over a rolling five-year period CIBC – 91.9% S&P/TSX Composite Banks Index – 80.4% (1) This measure is a non-GAAP measure. For additional information, see the "Non-GAAP measures" section. (2) For additional information on the composition of these specified financial measures, see the "Fourth quarter financial highlights" section. (3) Transaction and integration costs are comprised of direct and incremental costs incurred as part of planning for and executing the integration of the Canadian Costco credit card portfolio, including enabling cross-sell opportunities, the upgrade and conversion of systems and processes, project management, and communication costs. These items are recognized in Canadian Personal and Business Banking. (4) Based on adjusted results. Adjusted measures are non-GAAP measures. For additional information, see the "Non-GAAP measures" section. Core business performanceF2021 Financial Highlights (C$ million) F2021 F2020 YoY Variance Canadian Personal and Business Banking (1) Reported Net Income $2,494 $1,785 up 40% Adjusted Net Income (2) $2,503 $1,791 up 40% Pre-provision, pre-tax earnings (2) $3,736 $3,614 up 3% Adjusted pre-provision, pre-tax earnings (2) $3,748 $3,622 up 3% Canadian Commercial Banking and Wealth Management Reported Net Income $1,665 $1,202 up 39% Adjusted Net Income (2) $1,665 $1,203 up 38% Pre-provision, pre-tax earnings (2) $2,227 $1,942 up 15% Adjusted pre-provision, pre-tax earnings (2) $2,227 $1,943 up 15% U.S. Commercial Banking and Wealth Management (1) Reported Net Income $926 $375 up 147% Adjusted Net Income (2) $976 $436 up 124% Pre-provision, pre-tax earnings (2) $1,073 $917 up 17% Adjusted pre-provision, pre-tax earnings (2) $1,141 $1,000 up 14% Capital Markets (1) Reported Net Income $1,857 $1,308 up 42% Adjusted Net Income (2) $1,857 $1,308 up 42% Pre-provision, pre-tax earnings (2) $2,403 $2,124 up 13% Adjusted pre-provision, pre-tax earnings (2) $2,403 $2,124 up 13% (1) Certain prior period information has been revised. See the "External reporting changes" section of our 2021 Annual Report for additional details. (2) This measure is a non-GAAP measure. For additional information, see the "Non-GAAP measures" section. Strong fundamentalsWhile investing in core businesses, CIBC has continued to strengthen key fundamentals. In 2021, CIBC maintained its capital strength and sound risk management practices: Capital ratios were strong, with a Basel III CET1 ratio(1) of 12.4% as noted above, and Tier 1(1) and Total capital ratios(1) of 14.1% and 16.2%, respectively, at October 31, 2021; Market risk, as measured by average Value-at-Risk, was $7.6 million in 2021 compared with $8.5 million in 2020; We continued to have solid credit performance, with a loan loss ratio(1) of 16 basis points compared with 26 basis points in 2020; Liquidity Coverage Ratio(1) was 127% for the three months ended October 31, 2021; and Leverage Ratio(1) was 4.7% at October 31, 2021. CIBC announced an increase in its quarterly common share dividend from $1.46 per share to $1.61 per share for the quarter ending January 31, 2022. Today we announced our intention to purchase for cancellation up to 10 million common shares, or approximately 2.2% of our outstanding common shares under a new normal course issuer bid, subject to the approval of the Toronto Stock Exchange. (1) For additional information on the composition of these specified financial measures, see the "Fourth quarter financial highlights" section. Credit qualityProvision for credit losses was $78 million for the fourth quarter, down $213 million or 73% from the same quarter last year. The current quarter included a provision reversal on performing loans of $34 million, while the same quarter last year included a provision for credit losses of $113 million. Provision for credit losses on impaired loans was down $66 million as the prior year quarter was adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Making a difference in our CommunitiesWe invest our time and resources to remove barriers to ambitions and demonstrate that when we come together, positive change happens that helps our communities thrive. This quarter, we further strengthened our communities through the following initiatives: Supported cancer research and care as Team CIBC participated in the annual Ride to Conquer Cancer and Weekend to Conquer Cancer benefitting the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation, and celebrated our 25th anniversary as title partner of the CIBC Run for the Cure as we worked with the Canadian Cancer Society to support innovative breast cancer research and support programs. Recognized the inaugural National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and announced initiatives supporting economic prosperity for Indigenous peoples in Canada. We announced further commitments to our newly launched Reconciliation Framework and donated $50,000 to the Orange Shirt Society, an organization working to support Survivors of the residential school system in Canada. CIBC and the BlackNorth Initiative announced that applications are now being accepted for the Youth Accelerator, in partnership with BGC Canada, that will provide students from the Black community $50,000 over four years for tuition, mentorship, financial education and opportunities to secure paid internships or co-ops. Together with our clients and team members, we responded to several global crises including donations to earthquake relief in Haiti, relief efforts following Hurricane Ida, clean drinking water for Iqaluit, and immediate aid to vulnerable groups in Afghanistan, including support for the evacuation and resettlement of Afghan women and families landing in Canada, and journalists fleeing persecution. In 2021, corporate and employee giving to more than 4,000 charities was $132.7 million(1), while employee volunteering totalled more than 99,000 hours. Subsequent to the end of the quarter, we announced the CIBC Foundation, which will serve our commitment to advance inclusion for a more equitable society and help make ambitions real for communities. To support this goal, we have made donations totalling $70 million in fiscal 2021 to launch the foundation, with plans to grow to $155 million over time. (1) Includes corporate giving, including $70 million to CIBC Foundation, corporate sponsorships and employee giving and fundraising. Fourth quarter financial highlights As at or for the As at or for the three months ended twelve months ended 2021 2021 2020 2021 2020 Unaudited Oct. 31 Jul. 31 Oct. 31 Oct. 31 Oct. 31 Financial results ($ millions) Net interest income $ 2,980 $ 2,893 $ 2,792 $ 11,459 $ 11,044 Non-interest income 2,084 2,163 1,808 8,556 7,697 Total revenue 5,064 5,056 4,600 20,015 18,741 Provision for (reversal of) credit losses 78 (99) 291 158 2,489 Non-interest expenses 3,135 2,918 2,891 11,535 11,362 Income before income taxes 1,851 2,237 1,418 8,322 4,890 Income taxes 411 507 402 1,876 1,098 Net income $ 1,440 $ 1,730 $ 1,016 $ 6,446 $ 3,792 Net income attributable to non-controlling interests 4 5 1 17 2 Preferred shareholders and other equity instrument holders 47 30 30 158 122 Common shareholders 1,389 1,695 985 6,271 3,668 Net income attributable to equity shareholders $ 1,436 $ 1,725 $ 1,015 $ 6,429 $ 3,790 Financial measures Reported efficiency ratio (1) 61.9 % 57.7 % 62.9 % 57.6 % 60.6 % Reported operating leverage (1) 1.7 % (0.6) % (5.5) % 5.3 % (4.0) % Loan loss ratio (2) 0.10 % 0.10 % 0.17 % 0.16 % 0.26 % Reported return on common shareholders' equity (1)(3) 13.4 % 17.1 % 10.7 % 16.1 % 10.0 % Net interest margin (1) 1.41 % 1.42 % 1.43 % 1.42 % 1.50 % Net interest margin on average interest-earning assets (4)(5) 1.58 % 1.60 % 1.60 % 1.59 % 1.69 % Return on average assets (5)(6) 0.68 % 0.85 % 0.52 % 0.80 % 0.52 % Return on average interest-earning assets (4)(5)(6) 0.77 % 0.96 % 0.58 % 0.89 % 0.58 % Reported effective tax rate 22.2 % 22.7 % 28.3 % 22.5 % 22.5 % Common share information Per share ($) - basic earnings $ 3.08 $ 3.77 $ 2.21 $ 13.97 $ 8.23 - reported diluted earnings 3.07 3.76 2.20 13.93 8.22 - dividends 1.46 1.46 1.46 5.84 5.82 - book value (7) 91.66 90.06 84.05 91.66 84.05 Closing share price ($) 150.17 145.07 99.38 150.17 99.38 Shares outstanding (thousands) - weighted-average basic 450,469 449,590 446,321 448,953 445,435 - weighted-average diluted 452,028 451,148 446,877 450,183 446,021 - end of period 450,828 450,082 447,085 450,828 447,085 Market capitalization ($ millions) $ 67,701 $ 65,293 $ 44,431 $ 67,701 $ 44,431 Value measures Total shareholder return 4.55 % 14.68 % 8.74 % 58.03 % (5.90) % Dividend yield (based on closing share price) 3.9 % 4.0 % 5.8 % 3.9 % 5.9 % Reported dividend payout ratio  (1) 47.3 % 38.7 % 66.2 % 41.8 % 70.7 % Market value to book value ratio 1.64 1.61 1.18 1.64 1.18 Selected financial measures - adjusted  (8) Adjusted efficiency ratio (9) 57.8 % 55.1 % 56.4 % 55.4 % 55.8 % Adjusted operating leverage (9) (2.8) % (0.6) % (0.7) % 0.7 % (0.6) % Adjusted return on common shareholders' equity (3) 14.7 % 17.9 % 13.5 % 16.7 % 11.7 % Adjusted effective tax rate 22.5 % 22.8 % 24.5 % 22.7 % 21.8 % Adjusted diluted earnings per share $ 3.37 $ 3.93 $ 2.79 $ 14.47 $ 9.69 Adjusted dividend payout ratio 43.2 % 37.0 % 52.2 % 40.3 % 60.0 % On- and off-balance sheet information ($ millions) Cash, deposits with banks and securities $ 218,398 $ 207,774 $ 211,564 $ 218,398 $ 211,564 Loans and acceptances, net of allowance for credit losses 462,879 449,167 416,388 462,879 416,388 Total assets 837,683 806,067 769,551 837,683 769,551 Deposits 621,158 602,969 570,740 621,158 570,740 Common shareholders' equity (1) 41,323 40,533 37,579 41,323 37,579 Average assets (5) 835,931 806,768 778,933 809,621 735,492 Average interest-earning assets (4)(5) 747,009 718,403 692,465 721,686 654,142 Average common shareholders' equity (1)(5) 40,984 39,263 36,762 38,881 36,792 Assets under administration (AUA) (1)(10)(11)(12) 2,963,221 2,982,469 2,364,005 2,963,221 2,364,005 Assets under management (AUM) (1)(11)(12) 316,834 310,560 261,037 316,834 261,037 Balance sheet quality and liquidity measures  (13) Risk-weighted assets (RWA) ($ millions) $ 272,814 $ 268,999 $ 254,871 $ 272,814 $ 254,871 CET1 ratio (14) 12.4 % 12.3 % 12.1 % 12.4 % 12.1 % Tier 1 capital ratio (14) 14.1 % 13.7 % 13.6 % 14.1 % 13.6 % Total capital ratio (14) 16.2 % 16.0 % 16.1 % 16.2 % 16.1 % Leverage ratio 4.7 % 4.6 % 4.7 % 4.7 % 4.7 % Liquidity coverage ratio (LCR) (15) 127 % 126 % 145 % n/a n/a Other information Full-time equivalent employees 45,282 44,904 43,853 45,282 43,853 (1) Certain additional disclosures on the composition of these specified financial measures have been incorporated by reference and can be found in the "Glossary" section on pages 100 to 102 of our 2021 Annual Report, available on SEDAR at www.sedar.com. (2) The ratio is calculated as the provision for (reversal of) credit losses on impaired loans to average loans and acceptances, net of allowance for credit losses. (3) Annualized. (4) Average interest-earning assets include interest-bearing deposits with banks, interest-bearing demand deposits with Bank of Canada, securities, cash collateral on securities borrowed, securities purchased under resale agreements, loans net of allowance for credit losses, and certain sublease-related assets. (5) Average balances are calculated as a weighted average of daily closing balances. (6) Net income expressed as a percentage of average assets or average interest-earning assets. (7) Common shareholders' equity divided by the number of common shares issued and outstanding at end of period. (8) Adjusted measures are non-GAAP measures. Adjusted measures are calculated in the same manner as reported measures, except that financial information included in the calculation of adjusted measures is adjusted to exclude the impact of items of note. For additional information and a reconciliation of reported results to adjusted results, see the "Non-GAAP measures" section. (9) Calculated on a taxable equivalent basis (TEB). (10) Includes the full contract amount of AUA or custody under a 50/50 joint venture between CIBC and The Bank of New York Mellon of $2,341.1 billion (July 31, 2021: $2,380.2 billion; October 31, 2020: $1,861.5 billion). (11) AUM amounts are included in the amounts reported under AUA. (12) Certain prior period information was restated in the second quarter of 2021. (13) RWA and our capital ratios are calculated pursuant to OSFI's Capital Adequacy Requirements (CAR) Guideline, the leverage ratio is calculated pursuant to OSFI's Leverage Requirements Guideline, and LCR is calculated pursuant to OSFI's Liquidity Adequacy Requirements (LAR) Guideline, all of which are based on BCBS standards. For additional information, see the "Capital management" and "Liquidity risk" sections on pages 32 and 72, respectively, of our 2021 Annual Report. (14) Effective beginning in the second quarter of 2020, ratios reflect the expected credit loss transitional arrangement announced by OSFI on March 27, 2020 in response to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. (15) Average for the three months ended for each respective period. n/a Not applicable.   Review of Canadian Personal and Business Banking fourth quarter results 2021 2021 2020 $ millions, for the three months ended Oct. 31 Jul. 31 Oct. 31(1) Revenue $ 2,128 $ 2,056 $ 1,997 Provision for (reversal of) credit losses Impaired 87 82 88 Performing 77 (15) 33 Total provision for credit losses 164 67 121 Non-interest expenses 1,152 1,118 1,076 Income before income taxes 812 871 800 Income taxes 215 229 210 Net income $ 597 $ 642 $ 590 Net income attributable to: Equity shareholders $ 597 $ 642 $ 590 Efficiency ratio 54.1 % 54.4 % 53.9 % Operating leverage (0.4) % 3.4 % (4.2) % Return on equity (2) 35.9 % 38.6 % 36.1 % Average allocated common equity (2) $ 6,608 $ 6,595 $ 6,509 Full-time equivalent employees 12,629 12,578 12,437 Net income for the quarter was $597 million, up $7 million from the fourth quarter of 2020. Adjusted pre-provision, pre-tax earnings(2) were $988 million, up $65 million from the fourth quarter of 2020, due to higher revenue partially offset by higher expenses. Revenue of $2,128 million was up $131 million from the fourth quarter of 2020, primarily due to strong volume growth and higher non-interest income, partially offset by lower product spreads.  Provision for credit losses of $164 million was up $43 million from the fourth quarter of 2020, due to a higher provision for credit losses on performing loans mainly as a result of model parameter updates. Non-interest expenses of $1,152 million were up $76 million from the fourth quarter of 2020 due to higher spending on strategic initiatives and higher performance-based compensation. (1) Certain prior period information has been revised. See the "External reporting changes" section of our 2021 Annual Report for additional details. (2) This measure is a non-GAAP measure. For additional information, see the "Non-GAAP measures" section.   Review of Canadian Commercial Banking and Wealth Management fourth quarter results 2021 2021 2020 $ millions, for the three months ended Oct. 31 Jul. 31 Oct. 31 Revenue Commercial banking $ 489 $ 475 $ 409 Wealth management 751 732 619 Total revenue 1,240 1,207 1,028 Provision for (reversal of) credit losses Impaired 6 (11) 21 Performing (11) (38) 4 Total provision for (reversal of) credit losses (5) (49) 25 Non-interest expenses 646 617 540 Income before income taxes 599 639 463 Income taxes 157 169 123 Net income $ 442 $ 470 $ 340 Net income attributable to: Equity shareholders $ 442 $ 470 $ 340 Efficiency ratio 52.0 % 51.2 % 52.5 % Operating leverage 1.1 % 0.2 % (1.5) % Return on equity (1) 24.9 % 27.2 % 20.7 % Average allocated common equity (1) $ 7,039 $ 6,863 $ 6,551 Full-time equivalent employees 5,241 5,256 4,984 Net income for the quarter was $442 million, up $102 million from the fourth quarter of 2020. Adjusted pre-provision, pre-tax earnings(1) were $594 million, up $105 million from the fourth quarter of 2020, due to higher revenue partially offset by higher expenses. Revenue of $1,240 million was up $212 million from the fourth quarter of 2020, driven mainly by volume growth reflecting market appreciation and record net sales, as well as higher commissions in wealth management. Revenue increased in commercial banking due to volume growth in loans and deposits, and higher credit fees from increased client transactional activity. Provision for credit losses was a reversal of $5 million due to a favourable change in economic conditions as well as our economic outlook, compared with a provision for credit losses of $25 million in the fourth quarter of 2020, reflective of an increased provision on one fraud-related impairment and a higher provision on impaired loans in the retail and wholesale sectors. Non-interest expenses of $646 million were up $106 million from the fourth quarter of 2020, primarily due to higher performance-based compensation. (1) This measure is a non-GAAP measure. For additional information, see the "Non-GAAP measures" section.   Review of U.S. Commercial Banking and Wealth Management fourth quarter results in Canadian dollars 2021 2021 2020 $ millions, for the three months ended Oct. 31 Jul. 31 Oct. 31(1) Revenue Commercial banking $ 366 $ 350 $ 362 Wealth management 196 189 157 Total revenue (2) 562 539 519 Provision for (reversal of) credit losses Impaired 8 25 55 Performing (59) (82) 27 Total provision for (reversal of) credit losses (51) (57) 82 Non-interest expenses 296 274 267 Income before income taxes 317 322 170 Income taxes 61 56 35 Net income $ 256 $ 266 $ 135 Net income attributable to: Equity shareholders $ 256 $ 266 $ 135 Efficiency ratio 52.5 % 50.9 % 51.7 % Return on equity (3) 11.2 % 12.1 % 5.9 % Average allocated common equity (3) $ 9,085 $ 8,738 $ 9,127 Full-time equivalent employees 2,170 2,155 2,085   Review of U.S. Commercial Banking and Wealth Management fourth quarter results in U.S. dollars 2021 2021 2020 $ millions, for the three months ended Oct. 31 Jul. 31 Oct. 31(1) Revenue Commercial banking $ 293 $ 284 $ 272 Wealth management 155 154 120 Total revenue (2) 448 438 392 Provision for (reversal of) credit losses Impaired 7 19 41 Performing (47) (65) 20 Total provision for (reversal of) credit losses (40) (46) 61 Non-interest expenses 235 223 203 Income before income taxes 253 261 128 Income taxes 49 45 26 Net income $ 204 $ 216 $ 102 Net income attributable to: Equity shareholders $ 204 $ 216 $ 102 Operating leverage (1.9) % 3.8 % 12.0 % Net income for the quarter was $256 million (US$204 million), up $121 million (up US$102 million) from the fourth quarter of 2020. Adjusted pre-provision, pre-tax earnings(3) were $282 million (US$226 million), up $13 million (up US$24 million) from the fourth quarter of 2020, due to higher revenue partially offset by higher expenses. Revenue of US$448 million was up US$56 million from the fourth quarter of 2020, primarily due to higher loan and deposit volumes and strong growth in asset management fees. Provision for credit losses was a reversal of US$40 million due to a favourable change in economic conditions as well as our economic outlook, compared with a provision of US$61 million in the fourth quarter of 2020. The same quarter last year reflects a higher provision on performing loans as a result of an unfavourable change in our economic outlook, and a higher provision in the real estate and construction, and manufacturing sectors. Non-interest expenses of US$235 million were up US$32 million from the fourth quarter of 2020, primarily due to higher employee-related compensation and higher expenses related to investments in the business and infrastructure. (1) Certain prior period information has been revised. See the "External reporting changes" section of our 2021 Annual Report for additional details. (2) Included $3 million (US$3 million) of income relating to the accretion of the acquisition date fair value discount on the acquired loans of The PrivateBank, for the quarter ended October 31, 2021 (July 31, 2021: $3 million (US$2 million); October 31, 2020: $5 million (US$4 million)). (3) This measure is a non-GAAP measure. For additional information, see the "Non-GAAP measures" section.   Review of Capital Markets fourth quarter results 2021 2021 2020 $ millions, for the three months ended Oct. 31 Jul. 31 Oct. 31(1) Revenue Global markets $ 420 $ 503 $ 427 Corporate and investment banking 382 428 322 Direct financial services 210 209 185 Total revenue (2) 1,012 1,140.....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaDec 2nd, 2021

UBER Teams Up With Hims & Hers to Deliver Personal Care Products

UBER expands its delivery network, partnering with Hims & Hers to offer on-demand delivery of personal wellness products to customers across the United States. Uber Technologies UBER has partnered with Hims & Hers Health HIMS, a telehealth company offering medical care and personal wellness-related products and services, for on-demand delivery services.As part of the agreement, Uber customers in Los Angeles, San Francisco, CA; Sacramento, CA; Miami, FL; Houston, TX; Austin, TX; Dallas, TX; San Antonio, TX; Philadelphia, PA; Seattle, WA; Atlanta, GA; and Phoenix, AZ can have access to a wide variety of products offered by Hims & Hers through the Uber Eats app. The service is expected to expand to other places later.Melissa Baird, chief operating officer of Hims & Hers, said, "We have found that adding in the on-demand factor to Hims & Hers products is a game-changer for many consumers."Uber Technologies, Inc. Price Uber Technologies, Inc. price | Uber Technologies, Inc. QuoteUber customers can also order Hims & Hers products online through the Postmates app. Uber acquired the food delivery company last year for $2.65 billion.Beryl Sanders, head of U.S. Uber Eats Partnerships, said, "We’re always focused on making sure our customers can get anything - and personal wellness is no exception."With Uber’s delivery operations booming amid the pandemic, the company’s efforts to expand its delivery network are encouraging. Earlier this month, the company partnered with Serve Robotics, a company offering autonomous delivery services, to offer on-demand robotic delivery service through Uber Eats. The service will begin early next year in Los Angeles. Regarding the partnership, Sarfraz Maredia, VP and head of Uber Eats in the US & Canada, said that the company is looking forward to “test a new kind of delivery in Los Angeles, that's safe, reliable and environmentally friendly”.Both Uber and Hims & Hers carry a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).Key PicksHere are some better-ranked stocks in the Internet - Services industry:Alphabet GOOGL sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). The company has a stellar earnings surprise history having trumped the Zacks Consensus Estimate in each of the preceding four quarters, the average beat being 41.5%. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.Shares of Alphabet have rallied more than 62% in a year’s time.Dropbox DBX carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). The company’s earnings have outperformed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in each of the trailing four quarters, the average beat being 16.3%.Shares of Dropbox have gained more than 23% in a year’s time. Tech IPOs With Massive Profit Potential: Last years top IPOs surged as much as 299% within the first two months. With record amounts of cash flooding into IPOs and a record-setting stock market, this year could be even more lucrative. See Zacks’ Hottest Tech IPOs Now >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL): Free Stock Analysis Report Dropbox, Inc. (DBX): Free Stock Analysis Report Uber Technologies, Inc. (UBER): Free Stock Analysis Report Hims & Hers Health, Inc. (HIMS): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksNov 30th, 2021

QIAGEN (QGEN), DiaSorin to Broaden Access to Latent TB Testing

QIAGEN (QGEN) and DiaSorin gained FDA approval for their jointly-created LIAISON QuantiFERON-TB Gold Plus assay for use on DiaSorin's automated LIAISON XS platform. QIAGEN N.V. QGEN and DiaSorin recently announced the receipt of FDA approval of the LIAISON QuantiFERON-TB Gold Plus assay for use on DiaSorin’s automated LIAISON XS platform. QIAGEN and DiaSorin developed the LIAISON QuantiFERON-TB Gold Plus, an interferon-gamma release assay (IGRA), to provide streamlined laboratory automation for latent tuberculosis (TB) screening. QuantiFERON-TB tests for interferon-gamma generated by T-cells that have encountered TB bacteria.The recent FDA approval for LIAISON XS platform builds on the already approved use of QuantiFERON-TB assay running on the LIAISON XL platforms in the United States since 2019. This authorization expands U.S. customers’ accessibility to automation solutions for processing QIAGEN’s blood-based test for latent TB detection and facilitates the transition from traditional tuberculin skin tests.Strategic SignificanceQuantiFERON customers are expected to benefit from the highly automated workflow on LIAISON platforms, which provides a powerful, flexible automated option for all throughput ranges. The addition of the fully automated LIAISON XS platform to the previously authorized use of the QuantiFERON assay on the LIAISON XL version broadens the range of potential customers from smaller healthcare clinics to larger hospitals, medical centers and reference laboratories.Per QIAGEN management, the partnership with DiaSorin has given customers access to a proven automation solution on the LIAISON XL platform, allowing them to meet the increasing demand for TB detection, particularly in larger reference labs and hospitals. The addition of the LIAISON XS platform is expected to present new joint opportunities to reach out to new consumer segments that require lower-throughput solutions.The recent FDA approval, according to DiaSorin management, marks the company’s first premarket approval (PMA) assay available on the LIAISON XS platform. This solution is a crucial milestone in DiaSorin’s LIAISON XS strategy in the United States.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchQIAGEN and DiaSorin will continue to work closely on the promotion and sale of their joint solutions for TB testing to ensure that customers benefit fully from their collaboration.Industry ProspectsPer a report published in Transparency Market Research, the global tuberculosis testing market is expected to see a CAGR of 4% from 2019 to 2027. Factors such as increasing prevalence of drug-resistant TB infection, improvement in bacteriological confirmation, rising demand for improved and technologically advanced TB testing procedures, and growing TB awareness and control programs are expected to drive the market during the forecast period.Given the substantial market prospects, the recent FDA approval for LIAISON QuantiFERON-TB Gold Plus assay for use on DiaSorin’s automated LIAISON XS platform seems well-timed. The QuantiFERON-TB Gold Plus continues to set new benchmarks in the global fight against TB.Other Notable DevelopmentsQIAGEN engaged in a number of significant developments in November 2021.The company announced that its SARS-CoV-2 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, including the artus SARS-CoV-2 Prep&Amp UM Kit, QIAstat-Dx and NeuMoDx 96 and 288, have been successfully evaluated to be effective in detecting SARS-CoV-2 infections, in light of the emergence of a new variant of concern (known by its scientific name, B.1.1.529) detected in South Africa. The evaluation was based on data available in the GISAID and GenBank public databases.The company announced the receipt of CE-marking and the subsequent launch of the QIAstat-Dx Respiratory 4 Plex Flu A-B/RSV/SARS-CoV-2 test for the QIAstat-Dx system. This test is designed to quickly detect if patients are suffering from common seasonal respiratory infections or SARS-CoV-2. This test expands QIAGEN’s large portfolio of PCR solutions to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.Share Price PerformanceThe stock has outperformed its industry over the past year. It has gained 14.7% against the industry’s 18.2% fall.Zacks Rank and Key PicksCurrently, QIAGEN carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).A few better-ranked stocks in the broader medical space are Omnicell, Inc. OMCL, Varex Imaging Corporation VREX and West Pharmaceutical Services, Inc. WST, each carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.Omnicell has a long-term earnings growth rate of 16%. The company surpassed earnings estimates in the trailing four quarters, delivering a surprise of 17.4%, on average.Omnicell has outperformed its industry over the past year. OMCL has gained 65.3% against the 39.2% industry decline.Varex has a long-term earnings growth rate of 5%. The company surpassed earnings estimates in the trailing four quarters, delivering an average surprise of 115.3%.Varex has outperformed the industry it belongs to in the past year. VREX has gained 76.1% versus the industry’s 4.7% fall.West Pharmaceutical has a long-term earnings growth rate of 27.6%. The company surpassed earnings estimates in the trailing four quarters, delivering an average surprise of 29.4%.West Pharmaceutical has outperformed its industry over the past year. WST has gained 64.5% against the industry’s 13.3% fall. Tech IPOs With Massive Profit Potential: Last years top IPOs surged as much as 299% within the first two months. With record amounts of cash flooding into IPOs and a record-setting stock market, this year could be even more lucrative. See Zacks’ Hottest Tech IPOs Now >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Omnicell, Inc. (OMCL): Free Stock Analysis Report QIAGEN N.V. (QGEN): Free Stock Analysis Report West Pharmaceutical Services, Inc. (WST): Free Stock Analysis Report VAREX IMAGING (VREX): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksNov 30th, 2021

NIO & Shell Strike Deal to Enhance EV Driver Experience

The agreement between NIO and Shell (RDS.A) will provide EV users with superior services and experiences. NIO Inc. NIO recently announced a partnership with energy giant Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A) to enhance the charging experience for electric vehicle (EV) customers by jointly constructing and operating a network of co-branded battery swapping stations.The agreement encompasses a plan to develop a network of 100 battery swapping stations in China by 2025, starting with two pilot sites. Further, additional battery swap stations will be installed at Shell EV charging hubs, while Shell Recharge fast chargers will be made available at NIO locations.The agreement in Europe will commence with the construction and operation of pilot stations in 2022. Further, NIO users will have access to Shell’s charging infrastructure in Europe, one of Europe’s largest roaming EV charging networks.The companies are highly optimistic about the partnership. The agreement between NIO and Shell will provide EV users with superior services and experiences.For Shell, the deal offers the advantages of NIO’s already massive network of fast-charging stations, battery swapping stations and destination chargers in China. Further, amid the heightening climate change concerns, this collaboration highlights Shell’s commitment to expedite the transition to green vehicles globally and make a worthwhile contribution to sustainable energy development.For NIO, the European leg of the deal is particularly enticing as it will enable it to expand its operations internationally. Through its partnership with Shell, the China startup will have an ally with whom it can work toward improving every aspect of the EV experience by offering Shell Recharge high-speed charging at attractive NIO locations and making battery swapping available at Shell locations.Meanwhile, NIO and Shell will continue to search for further alliance opportunities in battery asset management, fleet management, home charging services, advanced battery charging and swapping technology development as well as construction of charging facilities in China.NIO and Shell currently carry a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.Key Auto Companies to Tap OnA few better-ranked stocks in the auto space include Tesla TSLA and Harley-Davidson HOG, both of which flaunt a Zacks Rank of 1.Tesla has an expected earnings growth rate of 166.96% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current-year earnings has been revised upward by 6 cents over the last 30 days.  Tesla beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings in three of the last four quarters while missing once. TSLA has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 25.38%, on average. Its shares have also rallied 90.6% over the past year.Harley-Davidson has an expected earnings growth rate of 31.75% for the current quarter. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current-year earnings has been revised upward by 32 cents over the last 30 days.  Harley-Davidson beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings in three of the last four quarters while missed once. HOG has a trailing four-quarter negative earnings surprise of138.45%, on average. Its shares have dropped around 7% over the past year. Investor Alert: Legal Marijuana Looking for big gains? Now is the time to get in on a young industry primed to skyrocket from $13.5 billion in 2021 to an expected $70.6 billion by 2028. After a clean sweep of 6 election referendums in 5 states, pot is now legal in 36 states plus D.C. Federal legalization is expected soon and that could kick start an even greater bonanza for investors. Zacks Investment Research has recently closed pot stocks that have shot up as high as +147.0% You’re invited to immediately check out Zacks’ Marijuana Moneymakers: An Investor’s Guide. It features a timely Watch List of pot stocks and ETFs with exceptional growth potential.Today, Download Marijuana Moneymakers FREE >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDS.A): Free Stock Analysis Report HarleyDavidson, Inc. (HOG): Free Stock Analysis Report Tesla, Inc. (TSLA): Free Stock Analysis Report NIO Inc. (NIO): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksNov 29th, 2021

EV Roundup: XPEV"s Q3 Results, GM"s Investment in E-Boat Startup & More

While XPeng (XPEV) cheers investors with a massive year-over-year revenue surge in Q3, General Motors (GM) makes waves by acquiring a stake in electric-boat startup Pure Watercraft. Last week, China-based electric vehicle (EV) maker XPeng Inc. XPEV reported third-quarter 2021 results and issued an upbeat fourth-quarter 2021 guidance. Its close peer NIO Inc. NIO collaborated with Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A) to enhance the charging experience of EV drivers as they plan to jointly build 100 battery swap stations in China by 2025. XL Fleet XL, the provider of electrification technology for commercial and municipal fleets, also hogged the limelight on securing a key military contract. Meanwhile, U.S. auto giant General Motors GM made a splash with investment in an electric boating company.Last Week’s Top Stories1. XPeng reported third-quarter adjusted loss per American Depositary Share of 29 cents. The China-based EV maker posted revenues of $887.7 million, up a whopping 187.4% year over year on the back of robust deliveries. Deliveries totaled 25,666 units, skyrocketing 199.2% year over year. The P7 model constituted 76.8% of total deliveries. The bottom line was adversely impacted by escalating R&D and SG&A costs, which summed $196.2 million and $238.8 million, reflecting a year-over-year surge of 99% and 27.8%, respectively.As of Sep 30, XPEV had cash and cash equivalents of around $2.4 billion. For fourth-quarter 2021, XPeng expects deliveries in the band of 34,500-36,500 units, indicating an uptick of 166-181.5% year over year. Revenues are envisioned within RMB 7.1-RMB 7.5 billion, implying year-over-year growth of 149-163%.2. NIO announced a partnership with energy giant Shell to jointly construct and operate a network of co-branded battery swapping stations. The agreement encompasses a plan to develop a network of 100 battery swapping stations in China by 2025, starting with two pilot sites. Cooperation in Europe will commence with the construction and operation of pilot stations in 2022.The deal highlights Shell’s commitment to expedite the transition to green vehicles globally and leverages NIO’s already massive network of fast-charging stations, battery swapping stations and destination chargers in China. For NIO, the European leg of the deal is particularly enticing as it will enable it to expand operations internationally. Shell Recharge high-speed charging options at NIO sites and additional battery swapping stations at Shell locations will benefit the firms.3. XL Fleet clinched a major contract from the Department of Defense (“DoD”) to equip a slew of tactical vehicles with hybrid conversion technology over the next year. Per the pact, XL Fleet will hybridize tens of thousands of vehicles across a wide range of military applications. The contract is part of DoD’s emission-reduction efforts for its fleet of more than a quarter million U.S. Army vehicles.XL Fleet is currently developing hybrid conversion kits for deployment in the military fleet, which would help reduce emissions and boost fuel efficiency. The contract provides XL Fleet with the opportunity to become a long-term preferred choice for the government to electrify fleets. Quoting XL Fleet’s founder and President, “XL Fleet’s proven technology, flexible platform and deep experience in applying sustainable technologies to fleet vehicles make us an ideal fit for the U.S. military’s specialized needs for this project.”4. General Motors acquired a 25% stake in electric-boat startup Pure Watercraft. Per the deal, worth $150 million, General Motors will be Seattle-based Pure Watercraft’s components supplier. It will also co-develop new products and provide engineering, design and manufacturing expertise to aid the company in establishing new factories. General Motors is optimistic that its present expertise in deploying technology across rail, truck, and aerospace industries, coupled with the latest collaboration with Pure Watercraft, will effectively contribute toward zero-emission marine products.In another development, General Motors will start delivering the GMC Hummer electric pickup truck in December. The starting price is above $100,000, and it plans to add subsequent models with higher EV driving ranges and lower starting prices in 2023.General Motors currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.Price PerformanceThe following table shows the price movement of some of the major EV players over the past week and six-month period.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchWhat’s Next in the Space?Stay tuned for announcements of upcoming EV models and any important updates from the red-hot industry. Investor Alert: Legal Marijuana Looking for big gains? Now is the time to get in on a young industry primed to skyrocket from $13.5 billion in 2021 to an expected $70.6 billion by 2028. After a clean sweep of 6 election referendums in 5 states, pot is now legal in 36 states plus D.C. Federal legalization is expected soon and that could kick start an even greater bonanza for investors. Zacks Investment Research has recently closed pot stocks that have shot up as high as +147.0% You’re invited to immediately check out Zacks’ Marijuana Moneymakers: An Investor’s Guide. It features a timely Watch List of pot stocks and ETFs with exceptional growth potential.Today, Download Marijuana Moneymakers FREE >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDS.A): Free Stock Analysis Report XL Fleet Corp. (XL): Get Free Report General Motors Company (GM): Free Stock Analysis Report NIO Inc. (NIO): Free Stock Analysis Report XPeng Inc. Sponsored ADR (XPEV): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksNov 29th, 2021

Twitter (TWTR) Down 13.3% Since Last Earnings Report: Can It Rebound?

Twitter (TWTR) reported earnings 30 days ago. What's next for the stock? We take a look at earnings estimates for some clues. A month has gone by since the last earnings report for Twitter (TWTR). Shares have lost about 13.3% in that time frame, underperforming the S&P 500.Will the recent negative trend continue leading up to its next earnings release, or is Twitter due for a breakout? Before we dive into how investors and analysts have reacted as of late, let's take a quick look at its most recent earnings report in order to get a better handle on the important catalysts. Twitter's Q3 Earnings Miss Estimates, Ad Revenues RiseTwitter reported third-quarter 2021 adjusted loss of 54 cents per share in contrast to the Zacks Consensus Estimate of earnings of 17 cents per share. The company had reported earnings of 19 cents per share in the year-ago quarter.Revenues increased 37% year over year to $1.28 billion that missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 0.3%. The year-over-year top-line growth was driven by strong performance across all major products and geographies. Strength in brand advertising as well as accelerating year-over-year growth in Mobile App Promotion (MAP) revenues aided growth.Twitter stated that the impact of Apple’s iOS 14.5 privacy change was less than expected in the third quarter and will be modest in the fourth quarter.Earlier this year, Apple introduced a major privacy feature called App Tracking Transparency (ATT) that allowed users to opt out of third-party app tracking. This means apps can no longer collect data about users from third parties and use that data to better target them with ads unless a user specifically gives the app permission to do so.Other tech giants including Snap and Facebook cited Apple’s new privacy features as the key factor that made ad-targeting difficult in the latest quarter.Advertising Revenue DetailsAdvertising revenues increased 41% year over year to $1.14 billion driven by strong demand in the United States and continued momentum across key markets around the world, fueled by revenue product improvements, strong sales execution, and increased demand for digital ads in general.U.S. advertising revenues totaled $647.4 million, up 51% year over year. International ad revenues increased 30% to $493 million.The company’s advertising revenues witnessed strong contributions from SMB customers, with revenues accelerating in double digits. This reflected increased investments across sales and products with higher spending per advertiser.Twitter benefited from strong advertiser demand as it looked to launch products and services across a number of key verticals, including technology, retail, media & entertainment, and financial services.Total ad engagements increased 6%, driven by steady growth in ad impressions due to growing audience and increased demand for ads.Cost per engagement (CPE) increased 33%, primarily driven by the mix shift to lower funnel ad formats and like-for-like price increases across most ad formats.Twitter launched a new brand measurement service for third-party partners in the third quarter that provides real-time ad impressions, engagements, and viewability data to support Viewability Verification and Audience Verification for ads.The company also more than doubled the available language targeting options, making 25 new languages available for targeting in the Twitter Ads Manager and through Ads API.Besides, for Website Clicks, Twitter introduced Multi-Destination Carousels, enabling advertisers to market and drive traffic to multiple products inside the same ad.For MAP advertisers, Twitter released an updated Learning Period model in the third quarter. The model delivers more consistent campaign performance, leading to a 36% increase in the number of campaigns that achieved the minimum viable threshold for campaign performance and advertiser retention.User DetailsAverage monetizable daily active users (mDAU) grew 13% year over year to 211 million, driven by global conversation around current events and ongoing product improvements. Average mDAU grew 5 million sequentially.The average U.S. mDAU was 37 million, up 4% from the year-ago quarter and 2% from the previous quarter. The average international mDAU was 174 million, rising 15% year over year and 3% from the previous quarter.In the third quarter, Twitter launched more than 2,300 new Topics, bringing the total number of Topics that people can follow up to 11,800 across 11 languages. Markedly, 230 million accounts now follow at least one Topic.Twitter made it easier for new customers to sign up in the third quarter, with a single sign-on, allowing people to sign up or log into Twitter with their Google Account or Apple ID.The company launched three new monetization products for creators in the third quarter, including Tips, Super Follows, and Ticketed Spaces. Tip Jar enables people to directly support creators through tipping. Ticketed Spaces allows people to pay for access to exclusive live audio experiences and other exclusive content is available via monthly subscription through Super Follows. These features helped Twitter gain subscribers in the reported quarter.The company also started to roll out Communities, an easy way to find and connect with people who have similar interests.Twitter continued to enhance the global conversation on its platform with live and on-demand video content. The company extended its existing partnership with Dow Jones Corporation to include a renewal of the successful WSJ What’s Now series, as well as new Barrons, Investor’s Business Daily, and MarketWatch content on its platform.The company also signed a deal with Fox Sports to bring the best of college football content to its platform with real-time highlights.In the third quarter, Twitter also introduced Safety Mode to protect user privacy. This new feature aims to reduce disruptive interactions by temporarily blocking accounts for using potentially harmful language (such as insults or hateful remarks) or sending repetitive and uninvited replies or mentions.Revenue DetailsU.S. revenues (58% of revenues) surged 45% year over year to $741.8 million. International revenues (42% of revenues) increased 28% to $541.9 million.Japan remained the company’s second-largest market in the reported quarter. Revenues from the country (12% of total revenues) increased 20% to $159 million.Data licensing and other revenues increased 12% from the year-ago quarter to 43 million, driven by MoPub.Operating DetailsTwitter’s total costs and expenses were $2.03 billion, up 130% on a year-over-year basis, driven by a one-time litigation-related net charge of $766 million, as well as higher sales-related expenses, headcount growth, and infrastructure costs.Research and development expenses jumped 55% year over year to $324 million, primarily due to higher personnel-related costs. Sales and marketing expenses increased 40% to $301 million, primarily due to higher sales-related expenses. General and administrative expenses rose 60% to $151 million, primarily due to higher personnel-related costs offset by a decrease in supporting overhead expenses.Adjusted EBITDA loss was $444.8 million against the year-ago quarter’s adjusted EBITDA of $294 million.Twitter incurred operating loss of $743 million, which included a one-time litigation-related net charge of $766 million against the year-ago quarter’s operating income of $56 million. Adjusted operating income, which excludes the $766 million litigation-related net charge, was $23 million, reflecting an adjusted operating margin of 2%.Balance SheetAs of Sep 30, 2021, Twitter had $7.41 billion in cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities, reflecting the repayment of an aggregate principal amount of $954 million in senior convertible notes due in September 2021. The company had $8.61 billion in cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities as of Jun 30, 2021.Net cash provided by operating activities in the reported quarter was $389 million, up from $382 million in the previous quarter.In the third quarter, adjusted free cash flow was $20 million compared with $105.8 million in the previous quarter.The company repurchased $169 million of stock during the third quarter, bringing the total repurchase amount to $915 million to date.OutlookFor the fourth quarter of 2021, Twitter expects total revenues between $1.5 billion and $1.6 billion. GAAP operating income is expected between $130 million and $180 million.For 2021, Twitter expects headcount, along with total costs and expenses, to grow 30% or more with a focus on engineering and products. The company continues to expect total revenues to grow faster than expenses in 2021.How Have Estimates Been Moving Since Then?It turns out, estimates revision flatlined during the past month. The consensus estimate has shifted -31.69% due to these changes.VGM ScoresCurrently, Twitter has an average Growth Score of C, though it is lagging a lot on the Momentum Score front with an F. Following the exact same course, the stock was allocated a grade of F on the value side, putting it in the lowest quintile for this investment strategy.Overall, the stock has an aggregate VGM Score of F. If you aren't focused on one strategy, this score is the one you should be interested in.OutlookTwitter has a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell). We expect a below average return from the stock in the next few months. Breakout Biotech Stocks with Triple-Digit Profit Potential The biotech sector is projected to surge beyond $2.4 trillion by 2028 as scientists develop treatments for thousands of diseases. They’re also finding ways to edit the human genome to literally erase our vulnerability to these diseases. Zacks has just released Century of Biology: 7 Biotech Stocks to Buy Right Now to help investors profit from 7 stocks poised for outperformance. Recommendations from previous editions of this report have produced gains of +205%, +258% and +477%. The stocks in this report could perform even better.See these 7 breakthrough stocks now>>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Twitter, Inc. (TWTR): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksNov 25th, 2021

Highlights of the day: TSMC expands partnership with OSATs

To meet surging demand for heterogeneous chips, TSMC is expected to adopt a more agile mode of cooperation with OSATs. TSMC's majr foundry competitor Samsung Electronics has announced plans to build a new fab in the US state of Texas. Samsung is eyeing orders from major US chip vendors. China first-tier lithium battery makers have refrained from raising prices this year, but they are now looking to raise prices by 20% next year......»»

Category: topSource: digitimesNov 25th, 2021

Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes admits to adding Pfizer logo to company reports and hiding the use of third-party devices: Trial week 12 recap

Holmes said she added Pfizer's logo to reports to show testing was done in partnership with the company but now wishes she had "done it differently." Brittany Hosea-Small/Reuters Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes returned to the stand this week in her criminal fraud trial. She admitted using Pfizer's logo without authorization but said, "I wish I had done it differently." Holmes also said she concealed Theranos' use of third-party devices over trade secret concerns. Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes continued testifying in the 12th week of her federal fraud trial this week. Her defense has argued she couldn't have knowingly duped people about the company's technology because she believed it worked, thanks to information she received from an array of then-employees, and positive research involving pharmaceutical companies, the military, and other parties.Here are some highlights from her testimony:Reassuring researchHolmes cited research she received from Theranos' then-vice president, Tony Nugent, that she interpreted to mean most errors occurred in the pre-analytical process."If we had the ability to automate much of that process, we could reduce the error associated with traditional lab testing," she said, according to Reuters.A 2008 email from Ian Gibbons, Theranos' former chief scientist, said "performance design goals have been demonstrated," and Theranos' system was in clinical evaluation at multiple sites. Jurors also saw a 2008 presentation Gibbons sent Holmes about a Stanford study in which Theranos aimed to predict sepsis in cancer patients. The study was two-thirds through, and test results had been precise so far."It meant our system was working well," Holmes testified.A 2012 email from former Theranos vice president Daniel Young said the company could do tests for more than 1,000 billing codes.'Completed successes' with drugmakersJurors saw a 2009 slide of "completed successes" naming studies conducted with pharmaceutical companies like Novartis, AstraZeneca, and Merck, according to The Washington Post.Gibbons emailed Holmes in 2010 that "essentially all" analyses would be possible with Theranos 4.0, which Holmes took to mean Theranos would be able to run any blood test, according to The New York Times. "I think we have demonstrated capabilities fully equivalent to lab methods in areas where we have done assay development," Gibbons said in another email that year.Holmes added Pfizer logo to reportsTheranos wanted partnerships with "every pharmacy company we knew of" and reached out. Walgreens and Safeway bit.A 2010 presentation Holmes showed to Walgreens' then-CFO Wade Miquelon said: "Theranos systems have been comprehensively validated over the course of the last seven years by ten of the fifteen largest pharmaceutical companies."Holmes said she put Pfizer and Schering-Plough's logos on validation reports before sharing them with Walgreens "because this work was done in partnership with those companies and I was trying to convey that," according to NPR.She said she didn't mean for executives to assume those companies produced the reports but added, "I've heard that testimony in this case, and I wish I had done it differently."Holmes hid commercial device use over trade secret concernsHolmes said Theranos' original intention was to have a device at a point of care. Transitioning to have many devices at a central lab raised challenges, like needing to test multiple samples simultaneously.Holmes admitted Theranos modified Siemens devices for this and said she never told Walgreens or investors because company counsel said to protect it as a trade secret, according to The Wall Street Journal. Theranos disclosed third-party device use to the FDA because it could give trade secret protection.Inside the Walgreens and Safeway dealsHolmes discussed delaying the 2013 Walgreens launch because Theranos wasn't ready yet. Jurors saw a 2013 email to the FDA listing tests Theranos ran in Walgreens in which Holmes said some samples were from venous draws. She recalled ending the Walgreens deal in 2016 over regulatory and lab challenges, according to The New York Times.She also said former Safeway CEO Steven Burd asked Theranos to modify its devices into what would have essentially been "a whole new product." Theranos tried regardless of the difficulty, she says. The challenges that plagued the Walgreens launch also affected the Safeway launch; Burd retired before the launch could happen, and Safeway didn't pursue it after that.Holmes talks about her ex Holmes rarely mentions former Theranos president and COO Ramesh "Sunny" Balwani but said he made Theranos' financial projections, according to ABC News.Military studiesHolmes recalled Theranos' unsuccessful attempt to partner with the army's Telemedicine & Advanced Technology Research Center in 2008 and 2009 to have devices predict PTSD, according to CNBC.In a burn study with the Department of Defense, Theranos "performed well" but the sample size was small. Holmes discussed a 2012 military study examining device performance in remote areas and high heat in Africa.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 24th, 2021

Alimentation Couche-Tard Announces its Results for its Second Quarter of Fiscal Year 2022

Net earnings were $694.8 million, or $0.65 per diluted share for the second quarter of fiscal 2022 compared with $757.0 million, or $0.68 per diluted share for the second quarter of fiscal 2021. Adjusted net earnings1 were approximately $693.0 million compared with $735.0 million for the second quarter of fiscal 2021. Adjusted diluted net earnings per share1 were $0.65, representing a decrease of 1.5% from $0.66 for the corresponding quarter of last year. Total merchandise and service revenues of $4.0 billion, an increase of 5.8%. Same-store merchandise revenues increased 1.4% in the United States and 3.9% in Europe and other regions, and decreased 2.1% in Canada. On a 2-year basis, same-store merchandise revenues increased at a compound annual growth rate of 2.9% in the United States, 6.3% in Europe, and 4.5% in Canada. Merchandise and service gross margin increased 0.2% in the United States to 33.8%, and 0.4% in Canada to 32.3% and decreased 1.8% in Europe and other regions to 38.4%, which was impacted by the integration of Circle K Hong Kong. Same-store road transportation fuel volume increased 3.3% in the United States and 2.8% in Canada, and decreased 0.3% in Europe and other regions. On a 2-year basis, same-store road transportation fuel volume decreased at a compound annual rate of 6.5% in the United States, 2.0% in Europe, and 4.9% in Canada, still impacted by work from home trends. Road transportation fuel gross margin of 36.39¢ per gallon in the United States, an increase of 0.18¢ per gallon, and CA 11.03¢ per liter in Canada, an increase of CA 1.02¢ per liter. In Europe and other regions, it decreased by US 0.53¢ per liter to US 10.57¢ per liter. Fuel margins remained healthy throughout our network, from a favorable competitive landscape and a strong sourcing efficiency. As the COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on our prior year financial results, looking at gross profit1 on a 2-year basis provides additional insight given the volatility in the various key measures of our business. Excluding the disposal of CAPL and the acquisition of Circle K Hong Kong, merchandise and service, as well as road transportation fuel gross profit1, are higher by 9.8% and 17.9%, respectively, compared with the pre-pandemic second quarter of fiscal 2020. On a 2-year basis, excluding the costs of employee retention measures implemented, which totaled approximately $24.0 million, normalized expenses increased at a compound annual growth rate of only 2.2%. 25.7% increase of the quarterly dividend, from CA 8.75¢ to CA 11.0¢. Under its current share repurchase program, the Corporation repurchased shares for an amount of $238.5 million during the quarter, and an amount of $50.0 million subsequent to the end of the quarter, reaching a total of $587.7 million under this program. LAVAL, QC, Nov. 23, 2021 /PRNewswire/ - For its second quarter ended October 10, 2021, Alimentation Couche- Tard Inc. ("Couche-Tard" or the "Corporation") (TSX:ATD) (TSX:ATD) announces net earnings of $694.8 million, representing $0.65 per share on a diluted basis. The results for the second quarter of fiscal 2022 were affected by a pre-tax net foreign exchange gain of $4.9 million, as well as pre-tax acquisition costs of $1.8 million. The results for the comparable quarter of fiscal 2021 were affected by a pre-tax gain on disposal of $40.9 million related to the sale of a property located in Toronto, Canada, a pre-tax net foreign exchange loss of $8.9 million, as well as pre-tax acquisition costs of $1.2 million. Excluding these items, the adjusted net earnings1 were approximately $693.0 million, or $0.65 per share on a diluted basis for the second quarter of fiscal 2022, compared with $735.0 million, or $0.66 per share on a diluted basis for the second quarter of fiscal 2021, a decrease of 1.5% in the adjusted diluted net earnings per share1, explained by higher operating expenses, partly offset by organic growth in both convenience and road transportation fuel activities as well as by the favorable impact of our share repurchase program. All financial information presented is in US dollars unless stated otherwise. "I am pleased to report that across our global network, we had solid results during the second quarter in both convenience and fuel. Same-store sales were particularly notable in our U.S. and European markets as we continue to see growing momentum with our food program. Fuel volumes showed an upward trend in Europe, while other geographies remained impacted by COVID-19 traffic patterns. Across the board, we continue to achieve healthy fuel margins. I am particularly proud of the work we did this quarter to improve the customer experience and drive traffic to our stores from enhancing Sip & Save, our beverage subscription offer, to introducing frictionless checkout in our Arizona stores and pioneering a global partnership bringing our stores to life in a leading augmented reality mobile game," said Brian Hannasch, President and Chief Executive Officer of Alimentation Couche-Tard. _____________________________ 1 Please refer to the section "Non-IFRS Measures" for additional information on performance measures not defined by IFRS. "Like our peers across the retail and convenience landscape in North America, this quarter we continued to face unprecedented labor and supply chain challenges. No doubt, this is the most difficult market in recent history, and we are working hard to mitigate the situation. We have instituted hiring and retention initiatives including bonuses and other offers and increased recruitment capacity and pipeline visibility. We have also focused more intensely on training and engagement to be recognized as an employer of choice. After meeting our summer goal of hiring over 20,000 store team members, we are starting to see some stabilization. We are also working with our partners and finding new solutions to critical supply chain issues. As we faced these obstacles head-on, I am proud that we delivered a solid quarter and kept on track with our strategic goals," concluded Brian Hannasch. Claude Tessier, Chief Financial Officer, added: "We delivered another solid quarter despite the unparalleled staffing hurdles in North America combined with an overall challenging inflationary environment. This has put pressure on expenses as we work to alleviate the situation. As we start to see improvements in the various economies in which we operate, we will continue with our customary cost discipline and advance our network-wide cost optimization projects. I am especially proud of our teams' execution this quarter as we furthered our strategic plans and our strong financial position, highlighted by our leverage ratio of 1.23, resulting in the announcement today of a dividend increase of 25.7% to CA 11.0¢ per share." Significant Items of the Second Quarter of Fiscal 2022 As the COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on our prior year financial results, looking at gross profit1 on a 2-year basis provides additional insight given the volatility in the various key measures of our business. Excluding the disposal of CAPL and the acquisition of Circle K Hong Kong, merchandise and service, as well as road transportation fuel gross profit1, are higher by 9.8% and 17.9%, respectively, compared with the pre-pandemic second quarter of fiscal 2020. On April 21, 2021, the Toronto Stock Exchange approved the implementation of a share repurchase program, which took effect on April 26, 2021. The program allows us to repurchase up to 4.0% of the public float of our Class B subordinate voting shares. During the second quarter and first half-year of fiscal 2022, we repurchased 6,351,895 and 14,822,895 Class B subordinate voting shares, respectively. These repurchases were settled for amounts of $238.5 million and $537.7 million, respectively. During the first half-year of fiscal 2022, 6,351,895 Class B subordinate voting shares were repurchased, for an amount of $238.5 million, from a related party. In addition, subsequent to the end of the second quarter of fiscal 2022, we repurchased 1,294,700 Class B subordinate voting shares for an amount of $50.0 million. Changes in our Network during the Second Quarter of Fiscal 2022 We acquired 36 company-operated stores, including the acquisition of 35 stores operating under the Porter's brand and located in the United States. We settled these transactions using our available cash and existing credit facilities. On July 30, 2021, we entered into a binding agreement in connection with the acquisition of Cape D'Or Holdings Limited, Barrington Terminals Limited and other related holding entities, which operate an independent convenience store and fuel network in Atlantic Canada under the Esso, Go! Store and Wilsons Gas Stops brands ("Wilsons"). The Wilsons network comprises 79 company-operated convenience retail and fuel locations, 147 dealer locations, and a fuel terminal in Halifax, Canada. The transaction is expected to close in the first half of calendar year 2022 and is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals, including those under the Competition Act (Canada). On September 9, 2021, we entered into a binding agreement to acquire 10 company-operated stores, operating under the Londis brand and located in Ireland. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of fiscal 2022. On March 22, 2021, we announced our intention to sell certain sites across 28 states in the United States and 6 provinces in Canada. The decision to dispose of these sites was based on the outcome of a strategic review of our network. As at October 10, 2021, 261 sites in the United States and 36 sites in Canada met the criteria for classification as held for sale, including 210 sites already subject to multiple sales agreements with various buyers. We completed the construction of 7 stores and the relocation or reconstruction of 3 stores, reaching a total of 40 stores since the beginning of fiscal 2022. As of October 10, 2021, another 77 stores were under construction and should open in the upcoming quarters. _________________________________ 1 Please refer to the section "Non-IFRS Measures" for additional information on performance measures not defined by IFRS. Summary of changes in our store network The following table presents certain information regarding changes in our store network over the 12–week period ended October 10, 2021: 12–week period ended October 10, 2021 Type of site Company-  operated CODO DODO Franchised and other affiliated Total Number of sites, beginning of period 9,906 397 689 1,263 12,255 Acquisitions 36 — — — 36 Openings / constructions / additions 7 3 9 11 30 Closures / disposals / withdrawals (33) (1) (5) (12) (51) Store conversion 9 (7) (2) — — Number of sites, end of period 9,925 392 691 1,262 12,270 Circle K branded sites under licensing agreements 1,917 Total network 14,187 Number of automated fuel stations included in the period-end figures 979 — 9 — 988 Exchange Rate Data We use the US dollar as our reporting currency, which provides more relevant information given the predominance of our operations in the United States. The following table sets forth information about exchange rates based upon closing rates expressed as US dollars per comparative currency unit: 12–week periods ended  24–week periods ended October 10, 2021 October 11, 2020 October 10, 2021 October 11, 2020 Average for the period Canadian dollar 0.7923 0.7541 0.8045 0.7416 Norwegian krone 0.1142 0.1101 0.1165 0.1064 Swedish krone 0.1154 0.1136 0.1171 0.1097 Danish krone 0.1581 0.1582 0.1600 0.1538 Zloty 0.2572 0.2653 0.2617 0.2568 Euro 1.1758 1.1777 1.1901 1.1453 Ruble 0.0137 0.0134 0.0136 0.0137 Hong Kong dollar 0.1285 — 0.1287 — Summary Analysis of Consolidated Results for the Second Quarter and First Half-year of Fiscal 2022 The following table highlights certain information regarding our operations for the 12 and 24–week periods ended October 10, 2021 and October 11, 2020. Europe and other regions include the results from our operations in Asia. 12-week periods ended 24-week periods ended (in millions of US dollars, unless otherwise stated) October 10,2021 October 11,2020 Variation% October 10,2021 October 11,2020 Variation% Statement of Operations Data: Merchandise and service revenues(1): United States 2,754.0 2,736.4 0.6 5,583.4 5,587.8 (0.1) Europe and other regions 580.4 394.6 47.1 1,141.8 737.8 54.8 Canada 644.5 629.8 2.3 1,321.7 1,293.0 2.2 Total merchandise and service revenues 3,978.9 3,760.8 5.8 8,046.9 7,618.6 5.6 Road transportation fuel revenues: United States 6,654.8 4,438.3 49.9 13,118.5 8,344.3 57.2 Europe and other regions 2,154.9 1,496.2 44.0 3,948.5 2,678.6 47.4 Canada 1,267.7 875.7 44.8 2,405.6 1,552.7 54.9 Total road transportation fuel revenues 10,077.4 6,810.2 48.0 19,472.6 12,575.6 54.8 Other revenues(2): United States 11.4 9.5 20.0 22.2 17.0 30.6 Europe and other regions 147.6 69.5 112.4 247.6 144.7 71.1 Canada 4.4 5.4 (18.5) 9.3 9.3 — Total other revenues 163.4 84.4 93.6 279.1 171.0 63.2 Total revenues 14,219.7 10,655.4 33.5 27,798.6 20,365.2 36.5 Merchandise and service gross profit(1)(3)(4): United States 932.1 920.3 1.3 1,899.8 1,897.1 0.1 Europe and other regions 222.8 158.6 40.5 438.2 297.8 47.1 Canada 208.3 200.7 3.8 427.3 407.0 5.0 Total merchandise and service gross profit 1,363.2 1,279.6 6.5 2,765.3 2,601.9 6.3 Road transportation fuel gross profit(3)(4):.....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaNov 23rd, 2021

Alimentation Couche-Tard Announces its Results for its Second Quarter of Fiscal Year 2022

Net earnings were $694.8 million, or $0.65 per diluted share for the second quarter of fiscal 2022 compared with $757.0 million, or $0.68 per diluted share for the second quarter of fiscal 2021. Adjusted net earnings1 were approximately $693.0 million compared with $735.0 million for the second quarter of fiscal 2021. Adjusted diluted net earnings per share1 were $0.65, representing a decrease of 1.5% from $0.66 for the corresponding quarter of last year. Total merchandise and service revenues of $4.0 billion, an increase of 5.8%. Same-store merchandise revenues increased 1.4% in the United States and 3.9% in Europe and other regions, and decreased 2.1% in Canada. On a 2-year basis, same-store merchandise revenues increased at a compound annual growth rate of 2.9% in the United States, 6.3% in Europe, and 4.5% in Canada. Merchandise and service gross margin increased 0.2% in the United States to 33.8%, and 0.4% in Canada to 32.3% and decreased 1.8% in Europe and other regions to 38.4%, which was impacted by the integration of Circle K Hong Kong. Same-store road transportation fuel volume increased 3.3% in the United States and 2.8% in Canada, and decreased 0.3% in Europe and other regions. On a 2-year basis, same-store road transportation fuel volume decreased at a compound annual rate of 6.5% in the United States, 2.0% in Europe, and 4.9% in Canada, still impacted by work from home trends. Road transportation fuel gross margin of 36.39¢ per gallon in the United States, an increase of 0.18¢ per gallon, and CA 11.03¢ per liter in Canada, an increase of CA 1.02¢ per liter. In Europe and other regions, it decreased by US 0.53¢ per liter to US 10.57¢ per liter. Fuel margins remained healthy throughout our network, from a favorable competitive landscape and a strong sourcing efficiency. As the COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on our prior year financial results, looking at gross profit1 on a 2-year basis provides additional insight given the volatility in the various key measures of our business. Excluding the disposal of CAPL and the acquisition of Circle K Hong Kong, merchandise and service, as well as road transportation fuel gross profit1, are higher by 9.8% and 17.9%, respectively, compared with the pre-pandemic second quarter of fiscal 2020. On a 2-year basis, excluding the costs of employee retention measures implemented, which totaled approximately $24.0 million, normalized expenses increased at a compound annual growth rate of only 2.2%. 25.7% increase of the quarterly dividend, from CA 8.75¢ to CA 11.0¢. Under its current share repurchase program, the Corporation repurchased shares for an amount of $238.5 million during the quarter, and an amount of $50.0 million subsequent to the end of the quarter, reaching a total of $587.7 million under this program. LAVAL, QC, Nov. 23, 2021 /CNW/ - For its second quarter ended October 10, 2021, Alimentation Couche- Tard Inc. ("Couche-Tard" or the "Corporation") (TSX:ATD) (TSX:ATD) announces net earnings of $694.8 million, representing $0.65 per share on a diluted basis. The results for the second quarter of fiscal 2022 were affected by a pre-tax net foreign exchange gain of $4.9 million, as well as pre-tax acquisition costs of $1.8 million. The results for the comparable quarter of fiscal 2021 were affected by a pre-tax gain on disposal of $40.9 million related to the sale of a property located in Toronto, Canada, a pre-tax net foreign exchange loss of $8.9 million, as well as pre-tax acquisition costs of $1.2 million. Excluding these items, the adjusted net earnings1 were approximately $693.0 million, or $0.65 per share on a diluted basis for the second quarter of fiscal 2022, compared with $735.0 million, or $0.66 per share on a diluted basis for the second quarter of fiscal 2021, a decrease of 1.5% in the adjusted diluted net earnings per share1, explained by higher operating expenses, partly offset by organic growth in both convenience and road transportation fuel activities as well as by the favorable impact of our share repurchase program. All financial information presented is in US dollars unless stated otherwise. "I am pleased to report that across our global network, we had solid results during the second quarter in both convenience and fuel. Same-store sales were particularly notable in our U.S. and European markets as we continue to see growing momentum with our food program. Fuel volumes showed an upward trend in Europe, while other geographies remained impacted by COVID-19 traffic patterns. Across the board, we continue to achieve healthy fuel margins. I am particularly proud of the work we did this quarter to improve the customer experience and drive traffic to our stores from enhancing Sip & Save, our beverage subscription offer, to introducing frictionless checkout in our Arizona stores and pioneering a global partnership bringing our stores to life in a leading augmented reality mobile game," said Brian Hannasch, President and Chief Executive Officer of Alimentation Couche-Tard. _____________________________ 1 Please refer to the section "Non-IFRS Measures" for additional information on performance measures not defined by IFRS. "Like our peers across the retail and convenience landscape in North America, this quarter we continued to face unprecedented labor and supply chain challenges. No doubt, this is the most difficult market in recent history, and we are working hard to mitigate the situation. We have instituted hiring and retention initiatives including bonuses and other offers and increased recruitment capacity and pipeline visibility. We have also focused more intensely on training and engagement to be recognized as an employer of choice. After meeting our summer goal of hiring over 20,000 store team members, we are starting to see some stabilization. We are also working with our partners and finding new solutions to critical supply chain issues. As we faced these obstacles head-on, I am proud that we delivered a solid quarter and kept on track with our strategic goals," concluded Brian Hannasch. Claude Tessier, Chief Financial Officer, added: "We delivered another solid quarter despite the unparalleled staffing hurdles in North America combined with an overall challenging inflationary environment. This has put pressure on expenses as we work to alleviate the situation. As we start to see improvements in the various economies in which we operate, we will continue with our customary cost discipline and advance our network-wide cost optimization projects. I am especially proud of our teams' execution this quarter as we furthered our strategic plans and our strong financial position, highlighted by our leverage ratio of 1.23, resulting in the announcement today of a dividend increase of 25.7% to CA 11.0¢ per share." Significant Items of the Second Quarter of Fiscal 2022 As the COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on our prior year financial results, looking at gross profit1 on a 2-year basis provides additional insight given the volatility in the various key measures of our business. Excluding the disposal of CAPL and the acquisition of Circle K Hong Kong, merchandise and service, as well as road transportation fuel gross profit1, are higher by 9.8% and 17.9%, respectively, compared with the pre-pandemic second quarter of fiscal 2020. On April 21, 2021, the Toronto Stock Exchange approved the implementation of a share repurchase program, which took effect on April 26, 2021. The program allows us to repurchase up to 4.0% of the public float of our Class B subordinate voting shares. During the second quarter and first half-year of fiscal 2022, we repurchased 6,351,895 and 14,822,895 Class B subordinate voting shares, respectively. These repurchases were settled for amounts of $238.5 million and $537.7 million, respectively. During the first half-year of fiscal 2022, 6,351,895 Class B subordinate voting shares were repurchased, for an amount of $238.5 million, from a related party. In addition, subsequent to the end of the second quarter of fiscal 2022, we repurchased 1,294,700 Class B subordinate voting shares for an amount of $50.0 million. Changes in our Network during the Second Quarter of Fiscal 2022 We acquired 36 company-operated stores, including the acquisition of 35 stores operating under the Porter's brand and located in the United States. We settled these transactions using our available cash and existing credit facilities. On July 30, 2021, we entered into a binding agreement in connection with the acquisition of Cape D'Or Holdings Limited, Barrington Terminals Limited and other related holding entities, which operate an independent convenience store and fuel network in Atlantic Canada under the Esso, Go! Store and Wilsons Gas Stops brands ("Wilsons"). The Wilsons network comprises 79 company-operated convenience retail and fuel locations, 147 dealer locations, and a fuel terminal in Halifax, Canada. The transaction is expected to close in the first half of calendar year 2022 and is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals, including those under the Competition Act (Canada). On September 9, 2021, we entered into a binding agreement to acquire 10 company-operated stores, operating under the Londis brand and located in Ireland. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of fiscal 2022. On March 22, 2021, we announced our intention to sell certain sites across 28 states in the United States and 6 provinces in Canada. The decision to dispose of these sites was based on the outcome of a strategic review of our network. As at October 10, 2021, 261 sites in the United States and 36 sites in Canada met the criteria for classification as held for sale, including 210 sites already subject to multiple sales agreements with various buyers. We completed the construction of 7 stores and the relocation or reconstruction of 3 stores, reaching a total of 40 stores since the beginning of fiscal 2022. As of October 10, 2021, another 77 stores were under construction and should open in the upcoming quarters. _________________________________ 1 Please refer to the section "Non-IFRS Measures" for additional information on performance measures not defined by IFRS. Summary of changes in our store network The following table presents certain information regarding changes in our store network over the 12–week period ended October 10, 2021: 12–week period ended October 10, 2021 Type of site Company-  operated CODO DODO Franchised and other affiliated Total Number of sites, beginning of period 9,906 397 689 1,263 12,255 Acquisitions 36 — — — 36 Openings / constructions / additions 7 3 9 11 30 Closures / disposals / withdrawals (33) (1) (5) (12) (51) Store conversion 9 (7) (2) — — Number of sites, end of period 9,925 392 691 1,262 12,270 Circle K branded sites under licensing agreements 1,917 Total network 14,187 Number of automated fuel stations included in the period-end figures 979 — 9 — 988 Exchange Rate Data We use the US dollar as our reporting currency, which provides more relevant information given the predominance of our operations in the United States. The following table sets forth information about exchange rates based upon closing rates expressed as US dollars per comparative currency unit: 12–week periods ended  24–week periods ended October 10, 2021 October 11, 2020 October 10, 2021 October 11, 2020 Average for the period Canadian dollar 0.7923 0.7541 0.8045 0.7416 Norwegian krone 0.1142 0.1101 0.1165 0.1064 Swedish krone 0.1154 0.1136 0.1171 0.1097 Danish krone 0.1581 0.1582 0.1600 0.1538 Zloty 0.2572 0.2653 0.2617 0.2568 Euro 1.1758 1.1777 1.1901 1.1453 Ruble 0.0137 0.0134 0.0136 0.0137 Hong Kong dollar 0.1285 — 0.1287 — Summary Analysis of Consolidated Results for the Second Quarter and First Half-year of Fiscal 2022 The following table highlights certain information regarding our operations for the 12 and 24–week periods ended October 10, 2021 and October 11, 2020. Europe and other regions include the results from our operations in Asia. 12-week periods ended 24-week periods ended (in millions of US dollars, unless otherwise stated) October 10,2021 October 11,2020 Variation% October 10,2021 October 11,2020 Variation% Statement of Operations Data: Merchandise and service revenues(1): United States 2,754.0 2,736.4 0.6 5,583.4 5,587.8 (0.1) Europe and other regions 580.4 394.6 47.1 1,141.8 737.8 54.8 Canada 644.5 629.8 2.3 1,321.7 1,293.0 2.2 Total merchandise and service revenues 3,978.9 3,760.8 5.8 8,046.9 7,618.6 5.6 Road transportation fuel revenues: United States 6,654.8 4,438.3 49.9 13,118.5 8,344.3 57.2 Europe and other regions 2,154.9 1,496.2 44.0 3,948.5 2,678.6 47.4 Canada 1,267.7 875.7 44.8 2,405.6 1,552.7 54.9 Total road transportation fuel revenues 10,077.4 6,810.2 48.0 19,472.6 12,575.6 54.8 Other revenues(2): United States 11.4 9.5 20.0 22.2 17.0 30.6 Europe and other regions 147.6 69.5 112.4 247.6 144.7 71.1 Canada 4.4 5.4 (18.5) 9.3 9.3 — Total other revenues 163.4 84.4 93.6 279.1 171.0 63.2 Total revenues 14,219.7 10,655.4 33.5 27,798.6 20,365.2 36.5 Merchandise and service gross profit(1)(3)(4): United States 932.1 920.3 1.3 1,899.8 1,897.1 0.1 Europe and other regions 222.8 158.6 40.5 438.2 297.8 47.1 Canada 208.3 200.7 3.8 427.3 407.0 5.0 Total merchandise and service gross profit 1,363.2 1,279.6 6.5 2,765.3 2,601.9 6.3 Road transportation fuel gross profit(3)(4):.....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaNov 23rd, 2021

Humana (HUM) Ties Up With Allina Health to Boost Value-Based Care

Humana (HUM) expands value-based agreement with Allina Health, which is aimed at offering enhanced outcomes for HUM's MA members in Minnesota. Humana Inc. HUM recently extended the value-based agreement with Minnesota-based Allina Health in a bid to offer enhanced health outcomes to Humana Medicare Advantage (“MA”) members across the state.Effective from the beginning of 2022, the multi-year deal with Allina Health underscores Humana’s consistent efforts to deliver value-based care across the United States. The agreement is primarily focused on devising personalized care plans with the aid of well-versed medical teams, and offering proactive health screenings and programs best suited for each patient’s needs.Value-based agreements utilize advanced technologies to enhance care coordination between physicians and patients. This integrated care delivery model is basically a transition from fee-for-service, which reimburses physicians on the basis of the number of services provided, to the value-based payment model that reimburses the physicians on the basis of the recovery of the patients they treat.Initiatives similar to the latest one are expected to strengthen Humana’s MA business. Concurrently, the move aims to include additional members within HUM’s value-based relationships. As of Sep 31, 2021, roughly 68% of the individual MA members of Humana were in value-based relationships under its integrated care delivery model compared to 66% in the prior-year comparable period.The latest initiative also highlights HUM’s efforts to bolster its presence in Minnesota, wherein it provides cost-effective HMO-POS and local PPO plans. Meanwhile, Allina Health, with its robust healthcare network, seems to be the apt partner for expanding Humana’s Minnesota footprint.Humana boasts of a strong Medicare business across the United States, where it has been offering a minimum of one Medicare plan across 50 states. HUM has been providing private health plans coming under the Medicare program for more than 30 years. The COVID-19 outbreak coupled with an aging population in the United States has further spurred the demand for MA plans, which remains the preferred choice for consumers owing to several bundled benefits, improved care coordination and affordable nature.Humana continues to pursue collaborations with physicians and well-established health care professionals to deliver enhanced care to patients. These initiatives have enabled HUM to bolster its nationwide footprint and delve into underserved areas.The MA business of Humana continues to witness increased membership, which has fetched higher premiums. Several contract wins and renewals similar to the latest one have been driving the Medicare business.Higher premiums have been contributing the most to Humana’s revenues, which have risen consistently since 2010, except in 2017. HUM’s Medicare products contribute significantly to the consistent top-line growth and the nine months of 2021 was no exception to the trend. In the said time frame, Medicare products accounted for around 83% of the total premiums and services revenues fetched by Humana.Similar to HUM, other medical stocks such as Cigna Corporation CI, Centene Corporation CNC and UnitedHealth Group Incorporated UNH also cater to healthcare needs of people through MA plans.Cigna’s MA business has performed well courtesy of constant product expansions, growing membership, and new collaborations or contract extensions with renowned healthcare systems. This has been bolstering CI’s partner networks and strengthening its U.S. footprint. Cigna remains on track to achieve MA customer growth in the targeted range of 10-15% this year.Centene caters to more than 1.1 million MA members across 33 states. Several contract wins and renewals have resulted in higher membership growth for the MA business. For 2022, with enhanced MA offerings, Centene has plans to foray into 327 new counties and three new states, namely Massachusetts, Nebraska and Oklahoma. This will bring the count of MA states to 36.UnitedHealth Group remains well-poised to benefit from a strong MA business. The business has performed well courtesy of numerous business wins and robust membership rise in individual MA business amid the annual enrollment period. The 2021 Medicare enrollment season marked the largest MA footprint expansion of UNH in five years. UnitedHealth Group expects to add nearly 900,000 people to its Medicare plans in 2021.Shares of Humana have gained 5.9% in a year compared with the industry’s rally of 26.9%.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchHumana presently has a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.Shares of Cigna, Centene and UnitedHealth Group gained 0.8%, 16.9% and 30.2%, respectively, in a year. Zacks' Top Picks to Cash in on Artificial Intelligence In 2021, this world-changing technology is projected to generate $327.5 billion in revenue. Now Shark Tank star and billionaire investor Mark Cuban says AI will create "the world's first trillionaires." Zacks' urgent special report reveals 3 AI picks investors need to know about today.See 3 Artificial Intelligence Stocks With Extreme Upside Potential>>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report UnitedHealth Group Incorporated (UNH): Free Stock Analysis Report Humana Inc. (HUM): Free Stock Analysis Report Cigna Corporation (CI): Free Stock Analysis Report Centene Corporation (CNC): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here......»»

Category: topSource: zacksNov 23rd, 2021

Mastercard (MA) Teams Up to Boost Somalia"s Digital Growth

Mastercard (MA) teams up with MyBank and Network International for launching a debit card for popularizing digital payments throughout Somalia. Mastercard Incorporated MA recently collaborated with MyBank and Network International to introduce a Mastercard debit card that will enable consumers in Somalia to opt for hassle-free digital payments.With the new physical card, consumers of the country will not only be able to utilize e-commerce channels for making online payments but also undertake digital payments at stores through several points-of-sale and at ATMs.The latest initiative highlights Mastercard’s sincere efforts to roll out innovative card offerings for easing transactions and enhancing the efficiency of the payments process in Somalia. This, in turn, is expected to upgrade the digital payments landscape of the nation. People and businesses of the country will benefit from easier access to enhanced financial services. By offering more transaction terminals, MA intends to penetrate into the underserved sectors of Somalia and bring more parts of the country under the ambit of a growing digital space.Additionally, customers, business clients and other users of MyBank will be able to avail faster and reliable payments at all Mastercard-accepting locations across the world as a result of the recent move. This is likely to provide a boost to the customer base of MA.The latest partnership is expected to strengthen Mastercard’s presence in Somalia. MA already boasts of a strong base in the country as it was the first international payments network to issue and accept card payments across the country back in 2015. Since then, Mastercard continues to make constant efforts to upgrade the utilization benefits of cards and promote popularity of digital payments throughout the country.Initiatives similar to the latest one underscore Mastercard’s focus on infusing digitization across every sphere of life. This leader in the payments technology industry pursues rampant digital transformation efforts to build a strong worldwide digital economy. Recently, MA collaborated with Trinidad & Tobago International Financial Centre (“TTIFC”) with an aim to roll out solutions for boosting digital growth across Trinidad & Tobago and more broadly in the Caribbean. The recent move will also help Mastercard in moving a step closer to its global target of bringing 1 billion people and 50 million micro and small businesses under the ambit of a digital economy within 2025.Mastercard, which carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold), remains the preferred choice for partners owing to its strong brand name, local knowledge, expanded capabilities, extensive network and global presence. Hence, MA keeps on collaborating with several renowned organizations and pursues significant investments to upgrade digital capabilities. This, in turn, has led to creation of a robust digital services portfolio on the back of which Mastercard has facilitated enhanced management of global payments.Apart from Mastercard, other companies like Visa Inc. V, American Express Company AXP and The Western Union Company WU have also resorted to several digital transformation efforts for capitalizing on a growing digital era.Visa continues to launch innovative and secured digital payment solutions amid the payments industry and replace age-old processes. V has several programs in place for aiding fintechs, including an accelerator program, Visa Fintech Partner Connect and Fast Track program. Visa pursues collaboration with several fintechs for enhancing its digital capabilities and penetrating further into the underserved areas through technological offerings.American Express has been committed to launching secured digital payment solutions and technology upgradations to cater to the growing adoption of digital means. AXP has also pursued several buyouts and partnerships in the past, which were aimed at solidifying its digital capabilities. American Express also launches tools for assisting businesses in regulating payments.Western Union boasts of a robust digital arm, which it has built on the back of several digital partnerships and significant investments. WU has been teaming up with global and local financial service providers for building a solid digital services portfolio, and digitizing the money movement process for consumers and businesses.Shares of Mastercard have lost 6.2% in a year compared with the industry’s decline of 21.4%. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchWhile shares of American Express has gained 42% in a year, stocks of Visa and Western Union have lost 6.7% and 24.2%, respectively, in the same time frame. Zacks' Top Picks to Cash in on Artificial Intelligence In 2021, this world-changing technology is projected to generate $327.5 billion in revenue. Now Shark Tank star and billionaire investor Mark Cuban says AI will create "the world's first trillionaires." Zacks' urgent special report reveals 3 AI picks investors need to know about today.See 3 Artificial Intelligence Stocks With Extreme Upside Potential>>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Mastercard Incorporated (MA): Free Stock Analysis Report Visa Inc. (V): Free Stock Analysis Report American Express Company (AXP): Free Stock Analysis Report The Western Union Company (WU): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksNov 23rd, 2021

Alaska Air (ALK) Arm Launches Belize Flights From West Coast Hubs

Alaska Air's (ALK) subsidiary, Alaska Airlines, expands its West Coast services by launching flights to Belize City from Seattle and Los Angeles. Alaska Air Group’s ALK subsidiary Alaska Airlines, has launched nonstop services to Belize City, Belize from Seattle, WA and Los Angeles. With the winter holiday season around the corner, the services are expected to attract substantial traffic as international travel restrictions ease with widespread vaccinations. Alaska Air carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.With “strong demand for flights to Belize”, Alaska Airlines began a seasonal service running through May 22, 2022 to Belize's capital city from Seattle (Seattle-Tacoma International Airport) and a year-round service from Los Angeles (Los Angeles International Airport) on Nov 19.From Los Angeles, Alaska Airlines is operating flights four times per week to Belize City, while from Seattle, it is running twice weekly flights. The new flights to Belize add to the airline’s existing services to Canada, Mexico and Costa Rica from its West Coast hubs.Alaska Air Group, Inc. Price Alaska Air Group, Inc. price | Alaska Air Group, Inc. QuoteWith international travel demand gradually improving as countries reopen their borders to vaccinated travelers, Alaska Airlines recently announced a codeshare agreement with British Airways. The codeshare pact gives the carrier access to 16 additional markets. The airline’s network beyond Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles will be connected to British Airways' nonstop services from London Heathrow through this deal.To capitalize on the uptick in international travel demand, Delta Air Lines DAL recently broadened the scope of its codesharing deal with LATAM Airlines Group. Following the expansion, more than 20 international routes have been added between the United States and South America.Delta, carrying a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell), has put its code on 12 international routes operated by the LATAM group across the continents. DAL is also adding its code to six interregional routes in South America and four new domestic destinations in Chile. In turn, LATAM is putting its code on eight international routes (operated by DAL) connecting South America and the United States.In September, United Airlines UAL had struck a new codeshare deal with the South African carrier Airlink. The deal will offer one-stop connection from the United States to more than 40 destinations in Southern Africa.United Airlines, carrying a Zacks Rank #3, will be the first airline to connect its loyalty program with Airlink, allowing MileagePlus members to earn and redeem miles when they travel on the Airlink flights. This is in addition to the carrier’s existing partnership with the Star Alliance member South African Airways. Zacks' Top Picks to Cash in on Artificial Intelligence In 2021, this world-changing technology is projected to generate $327.5 billion in revenue. Now Shark Tank star and billionaire investor Mark Cuban says AI will create "the world's first trillionaires." Zacks' urgent special report reveals 3 AI picks investors need to know about today.See 3 Artificial Intelligence Stocks With Extreme Upside Potential>>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Delta Air Lines, Inc. (DAL): Free Stock Analysis Report United Airlines Holdings Inc (UAL): Free Stock Analysis Report Alaska Air Group, Inc. (ALK): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksNov 23rd, 2021

United Bankshares (USBI) Stock Up on 2.9% Dividend Hike

United Bankshares (USBI) announces a 2.9% dividend hike. This, along with buybacks and strategic acquisitions, will continue to enhance shareholder value going forward. Shares of United Bankshares, Inc. USBI rallied 1.8% in response to the announcement of a quarterly dividend hike. The company has announced a dividend of 36 cents per share, which represents a hike of 2.9% from the prior payout. The dividend will be paid out on Jan 3, 2022, to shareholders on record as of Dec 2, 2021.In aggregate, United Bankshares will pay nearly $46.5 million on 129.2 million shares. Prior to the recent hike, the company had announced an increase in its quarterly dividend by 2.9% to 35 cents per share in November 2019. Last year, amid the COVID-19 mayhem and resultant uncertainty, the company had maintained dividends at the same level.Considering the last day’s closing price of $38.87 per share, United Bankshares’ dividend yield currently stands at 3.70%. Not only is the yield attractive for income investors, but it also represents a steady income stream. The yield is also substantial compared with the industry average of 1.73%.Apart from dividend payments, United Bankshares has a share repurchase program in place. In October 2019, the company’s board of directors had approved a buyback plan of up to 4 million shares. As of Sep 30, 2021, approximately 3.03 million shares remained under the authorization.Further, United Bankshares has been actively pursuing acquisitions. The company’s last buyout was closed in May 2020, when it acquired Charleston, SC-based Carolina Financial Corporation. At that time, Richard M. Adams, Chairman and CEO, had noted, “This transaction marks the 32nd acquisition of the current administration and expands our presence in some of the most desirable banking markets in the nation.”Hence, United Bankshares’ robust business model highlights the company’s commitment toward enhancing value to shareholders with its strong cash-generation capabilities.Over the past year, shares of United Bankshares have rallied 23.1%, underperforming 44% growth recorded by the industry it belongs to. Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchCurrently, United Bankshares carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.Similar Steps by Other BanksLast week, M&T Bank Corporation MTB announced a dividend per share of $1.20, marking an increase of 9.1% from the prior payout. The dividend will be paid out on Dec 31 to shareholders on record as of Nov 30.Since the 2008 financial crisis, when it paid out a dividend of 70 cents per share, M&T Bank has come a long way in displaying its capital and balance sheet strength. Prior to this hike, MTB had raised the quarterly dividend by 10% in November 2019 to $1.10 per share.Last month, Bank OZK OZK declared a quarterly cash dividend of 29 cents per share, reflecting a rise of 1.8% from the prior payout. The dividend was paid out on Oct 22 to shareholders on record as of Oct 15.This was the 45th consecutive quarter of a dividend hike by Bank OZK. Prior to this, the company hiked its dividend by 1.8% to 28.5 cents per share in July. We believe that such disbursements highlight OZK’s operational strength and commitment toward enhancing shareholder wealth.In September, JPMorgan JPM announced a dividend of $1 per share, representing a hike of 11.1% from the prior payout. The dividend was paid out on Oct 31 to shareholders on record as of Oct 6.In addition to paying regular dividends, JPMorgan has an efficient share buyback plan in place. For 2021, JPM authorized to repurchase shares worth up to $30 billion. Zacks' Top Picks to Cash in on Artificial Intelligence In 2021, this world-changing technology is projected to generate $327.5 billion in revenue. Now Shark Tank star and billionaire investor Mark Cuban says AI will create "the world's first trillionaires." Zacks' urgent special report reveals 3 AI picks investors need to know about today.See 3 Artificial Intelligence Stocks With Extreme Upside Potential>>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM): Free Stock Analysis Report M&T Bank Corporation (MTB): Free Stock Analysis Report Bank OZK (OZK): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksNov 23rd, 2021

A new deal and a major operation show how the US military is bulking up in a tense corner of Europe

Amid tensions with Turkey and Russia, the US and Greece are making plans to expand their defense cooperation. US soldiers fold the blades of a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter at the port of Alexandroupoli in Greece, November 18, 2021.US Army/Staff Sgt. Jennifer Reynolds The US and Greece are making plans to update and deepen their defense cooperation. Exercises by US and Greek troops in Greece will increase, and the US presence in Greece will grow. The efforts come amid tensions in southeastern Europe between NATO members and foes outside the bloc. In October, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias updated and deepened the two countries' Mutual Defense and Cooperation Agreement."MDCA is the bedrock of our defense cooperation," Blinken said in a statement, referring to what is essentially a bilateral defense agreement.The agreement is timely for both countries, coming amid rising tensions in the region.The update "highlights the geo-strategic importance of Greece specifically and the Balkans and Eastern Mediterranean in general. In the context of 'renewed great-power competition' these regions are increasingly important," Andrew Novo a non-resident fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis, a think tank, told Insider."Greece has an important role to play in contributing stability in the Balkans, the Eastern Mediterranean, and even looking north toward the countries on the Black Sea," Novo said.All roads lead to AlexandroupoliUS soldiers move military vehicles after their arrival in Alexandroupoli, May 22, 2019.US Army/Spc. Elliott PageUnder MDCA, exercises between American and Greek troops in Greece will increase in number and duration, promoting interoperability between the two NATO allies in a tense corner of Europe.One of the first exercises under the updated agreement was the recently concluded Olympic Cooperation 21, in which the US Army and Navy worked alongside their Greek partners. The Sixth Fleet's flagship, USS Whitney, also took part, underscoring the partnership's importance.The agreement "also provides for increased American presence in Greece and the expansion and improvement of existing facilities," Novo said.Notable among those facilities are those in the port city of Alexandroupoli on the northern edge of the Aegean Sea. Alexandroupoli is close to Greece's borders with Bulgaria and Turkey and is connected to Black Sea ports by roads and railways. The city is also increasingly important for regional energy security.A US Army M1A2 tank is unloaded in Alexandroupoli, July 20, 2021.US Army/Andre CameronDeveloping Alexandroupoli's port and facilities will allow the US to deploy troops to the southwestern and western coasts of the Black Sea faster. Better access means more assistance to allies in the region and will increase NATO's ability to deter Russia in the Black Sea and the Balkans.In October, the US conducted its largest disembarkation operation ever in Greece. The offload was done in Alexandroupoli, and another, bigger offload operation is planned for mid-November.The strategically located port was also instrumental in the US Army-led multinational exercise Defender Europe 2021 in March and a July rotation of US troops and equipment as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve.Alexandroupoli "plays a leading role in our countries' shared goals of increasing European energy security and regional stability" US Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt said in May during one of his many visits to the city.The increased presence of US troops in Greece has Russia worried.Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov recently raised the issue to his Greek counterpart. Dendias replied that the American presence has no anti-Russian character. That is unlikely to assuage Russia, but Moscow is not the only country concerned about the MDCA.A complicated allianceErdogan, right, with Greek Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Kostas Fragogiannis at a summit in Turkey, June 17, 2021.Mustafa Kamaci/Anadolu Agency via Getty ImagesAcross the Aegean, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has expressed dismay with the US deployments in Alexandroupoli, telling reporters this month that he told President Joe Biden that the US "establishing a base there bothers us and our people."Greece and Turkey are nominally NATO allies, but they have fought many wars against each other throughout history. They narrowly averted another conflict in August 2020.Athens and Ankara have a highly contentious relationship because of a number of issues, including Turkey's occupation of northern Cyprus, which is considered illegal under international law, as well as their disputes over maritime delimitation zones and Turkey's weaponization of migrants.Turkey is also increasingly antagonistic toward other NATO members, particularly France, which recently signed a defense agreement with Greece.Turkey's disputes with its neighbors and the alliance come as it moves closer to Russia, raising concerns in NATO capitals, especially Washington.Although the MDCA is not directed against any particular country, "it does provide certain comfort for Greece in its disputes with Turkey," Novo told Insider.It will also provide comfort to Greece's Eastern Mediterranean partners.Eastern Mediterranean stabilityUS and Greek special-operation forces during Eddie's Odyssey, a first-time joint exercise in the Aegean Sea, January 14, 2021.US Army National Guard/Sgt. Renee SeruntineCooperation and disputes between countries around the Eastern Mediterranean have increased following the discovery of large natural-gas supplies there.Israel, Cyprus, and Greece reached a deal last year on the creation of the EastMed pipeline, which will transport gas from Israel and Cyprus to Greece and on to the rest of Europe. The project is supported by the US, which views it as a way to reduce European dependency on Russian gas.The three countries conduct frequent military exercises alongside France, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates. All six have a strained relationship with Turkey, which views the coalition as antagonistic.France recently dispatched a frigate in the region to protect French and Italian offshore drilling and exploration activities, which Turkey has frequently harassed.Russia is also active in the region. It reestablished its 5th Operational Squadron in 2013 to support its operations in Syria. Moscow has also invested heavily in its naval base in Tartus, Syria.Safeguarding common valuesBlinken and Dendias after renewing the US-Greece Mutual Defense Cooperation Agreement, in Washington, October 14, 2021.REUTERS/Jonathan ErnstThe updated MDCA will last for five years and will remain in place thereafter until either country chooses to terminate it. It may expand in the future."Adding potential new sites for bases was a part of the negotiations and could be something that Greece and the United States look at again," Novo said.The agreement signals the importance the US puts on Greece's strategic location and on its relationship with Greece itself.As Blinken said in October, the defense relationship between the US and Greece "is rooted in a common history and shared values and interests going back more than two centuries."Constantine Atlamazoglou works on transatlantic and European security. He holds a master's degree on security studies and European affairs from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 22nd, 2021

Transcript: Edwin Conway

   The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Edwin Conway, BlackRock Alternative Investors, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ BARRY RITHOLTZ, HOST, MASTERS IN BUSINESS:… Read More The post Transcript: Edwin Conway appeared first on The Big Picture.    The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Edwin Conway, BlackRock Alternative Investors, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ BARRY RITHOLTZ, HOST, MASTERS IN BUSINESS: This week on the podcast, man, I have an extra special guest. Edwin Conway runs all of alternatives for BlackRocks. His title is Global Head of Alternative Investors and he covers everything from structured credit to real estate hedge funds to you name it. The group runs over $300 billion and he has been a driving force into making this a substantial portion of Blackrock’s $9 trillion in total assets. The opportunity set that exists for alternatives even for a firm like Blackrock that specializes in public markets is potentially huge and Blackrock wants a big piece of it. I found this conversation to be absolutely fascinating and I think you will also. So with no further ado, my conversation with Blackrock’s Head of Alternatives, Edwin Conway. MALE VOICEOVER: This is Masters in Business with Barry Ritholtz on Bloomberg Radio. RITHOLTZ: My extra special guest this week is Edwin Conway. He is the Global Head of Blackrock’s Alternative Investors which runs about $300 billion in assets. He is a team of over 1,100 professionals to help him manage those assets. Blackrock’s Global alternatives include businesses that cover real estate infrastructure, hedge funds private equity, and credit. He is a senior managing director for BlackRock. Edwin Conway, welcome to Bloomberg. EDWIN CONWAY, GLOBAL HEAD OF ALTERNATIVE INVESTORS, BLACKROCK: Barry, thank you for having me. RITHOLTZ: So, you’ve been in the financial services industry for a long time. You were at Credit Suisse and Blackstone and now you’re at BlackRock. Tell us what the process was like breaking into the industry? CONWAY: It’s an interesting on, Barry. I grew up in a very small town in the middle of Ireland. And the breakthrough to the industry was one of more coincident as opposed to purpose. I enjoyed the game of rugby for many years and through an introduction while at the University, in University College Dublin in Ireland, had a chance to play rugby at a quite a – quite a decent level and get to know people that were across the industry. It was really through and internship and the suggestion, I’ve given my focus on business and financing things that the financial services sector may be a great place to traverse and get to know. And literally through rugby connections, been part of a good school, I had an opportunity to really understand what the service sector, in many respects, could provide to clients and became absolutely intrigued with it. And what – was it my primary ambition in life to be in the financial services sector? I can definitively say no, but through the circumstance of a game that I love to play and be part of, I was introduced to, through an internship, and actually fell in love with it. RITHOLTZ: Quite interesting. And alternative investments at Blackrock almost seems like a contradiction in terms. Most of us tend to think of Blackrock as the giant $9 trillion public markets firm best known for ETFs and indices. Alternatives seems to be one of the fastest-growing groups within the firm. This was $50 billion just a few years ago, it’s now over 300 billion. How has this become such a fast-growing part of BlackRock? CONWAY: When you look at the various facets which you introduced at the start, Barry, we’ve actually been an alternatives – will be of 30 years now. Now, the scale, as you know, which you can operate on the beta side of business, far surpasses that on the alpha side. For us, throughout the years, this was very much about how can we deliver investment excellence to our clients and performance? Therefore, going an opportunity somewhere else to explore an alpha opportunity in alternatives. And I think being so connected to our clients understanding, that this pivots was absolutely taking place at only 30 years ago but in a very pronounced way today, you know, we continue to invest in this business to support those ambitions. They’re clearly seeing this as the world of going through a tremendous amount of transformation and with some of the challenges, quite frankly, in the traditional asset classes, being able to leverage at BlackRock, the Blackrock muscle to really explore these alpha opportunities across the various alternative asset classes that in our mind wasn’t imperative. And the imperative, really, is from the firm’s perspective and if you look at our purpose, it’s to serve the client. So the need was coming from them. The necessity to have alternatives and their whole portfolio was very – was very much growing in prominence. And it’s taken us 30 years to build this journey and I think, Barry, quite frankly, we’re far from being done. As you look at the industry, the demand is going to continue to grow. So, I think you could expect to see from us a continued investment in the space because we don’t believe you can live without alternatives in today’s world. RITHOLTZ: That’s really – that’s really interesting. So let’s dive a little deeper into the product strategy for alternatives which you are responsible for at BlackRock. Our audiences is filled with potential investors. Tell them a little bit about what that strategy is. CONWAY: So we’re – I think as you mentioned, we’re in excess of 300 billion today and when we started this business, it was less about building a moat around private equity or real estate. I think Larry Fink’s and Rob Kapito’s vision was how do we build a platform to allow us to be relevant to our clients across the various alternative asset classes but also within the – within the confines of what they are permitted to do on a year-by-year basis. So, to always be relevant irrespective of where they are in their journey from respect of liabilities, demand for liquidity, demand for returns, so we took a different approach. I think, Barry, to most, it was around how do we scale into the business across, like you said, real estate equity and debt, infrastructure equity and debt. I mean, we think of that as the real assets platform of our business. Then you take our private equity capabilities both in primary investing, secondary et cetera, and then you have private credits and a very significant hedge fund platforms. So we think all of these have a real role and depending on clients liquidities and risk appetite, our goal was, to over the years, really build in to this to allow ourselves for this challenging needs that our clients have. I think as an industry, right, and over the many years alternatives have been in existence, this is been about return enhancement initially. I think, fundamentally, the changes around the receptivity to the role of alternatives in a client’s portfolio has really changed. So, we’ve watched it, Barry, from this is we’re in the pursuit of a very total return or absolute return type of an objective to now resilience in our portfolio, yield an income. And so things that probably weren’t perceived as valuable in the past because the traditional asset classes were playing a more profound role, alternatives have stepped up in – in many respects in the need to provide more than just total return. So, we’re taking the approach of how do you have a more holistic approach to this? How do we really build a global multi-alternatives capability and try to partner and I think that’s the important work for us. Try to partner with our clients in a way that we can deliver that outperformance but delivered in a way that probably our clients haven’t been used to in this industry before. Because unfortunately, as we know, it has had its challenges with regard to secrecy, transparency, and so many other aspects. We need to help the industry mature. And really that was our ambition. Put our client’s needs first, build around that and really be relevant in all aspects of what we’re doing or trying to accomplish on behalf of the people that they support and represent. RITHOLTZ: So, we’ll talk a little bit about transparency and secrecy and those sorts of things later. But right now, I have to ask what I guess is kind of an obvious question. This growth that you’ve achieved within Blackrock for nonpublic asset allocation within a portfolio, what is this coming at expense of? Are these dollars that are being moved from public assets into private assets or you just competing with other private investors? CONWAY: It’s really both. What – what you are seeing from our clients – if I take a step back, today, the institutional client community and you think about the – the retirement conundrum we’re all facing around the world. It’s such an awful challenge when you think how ill-prepared people are for that eventual stepping back from the workplace and then you know longevity is your friend, but can also be a very, very difficult thing to obviously live with if you’re not prepared for retirement. The typical pension plan today are allocating about 25 percent to 28 percent in alternatives. Predominantly private market. What they’re telling us is that’s increasing quite substantially going forward. But you know, the funding for that alpha pursue for that diversification and that yield is coming from fixed-income assets. It’s coming from equity assets. So there’s a real rebalancing that’s been taking place over the past number of years. And quite frankly, the evolution, and I think the innovation that’s taken place particularly in the past 10 years, alternatives has been really profound. So the days where you just invest in any global funds still exist. But now you can concentrate your efforts on sector exposure, industry exposures, geographic exposures, and I think the – the menu of things our clients can now have access to has just been so greatly enhanced at and the benefit is that but I think in some – in some respects, Barry, the next question is with all of those choices, how do you build the right portfolio for our client’s needs knowing that each one of our client’s needs are different? So, I would say it absolutely coming from the public side. We’re very thankful. Those that had a multiyear journey with us in the public side are now allocating capital to is now the private side to because I do think the – the industry given that change, given that it evolution and given the complexity of these private assets, our clients are looking to, quite frankly, do more with fewer managers because of the complexion of the industry and complexity that comes with it. RITHOLTZ: Quite – quite interesting. (UNKNOWN): And attention RIA’s. Are your clients asking for crypto? At interactive brokers, advisers can now offer crypto to their clients and you could trade stocks, options, futures currencies, bonds and more from the same platform. Commissions on crypto are just 12-18 basis points with no hidden spreads or markups and there are no ticket charges, custody fees, minimums platform or reporting fees. Learn more at IBKR.com/RIA crypto. RITHOLTZ: And I – it’s pretty easy to see why large institutions might be rotating away from things like treasuries or tips because there’s just no yield there. Are you seeing inflows coming in from the public equity side also? The markets put together a pretty good string of years. CONWAY: Yes. It absolutely has. And many respects, I think, we’ve had a multiyear where there was big questions around the alpha that can be generated, for example, from active equities? The question was active or passive? I think what we’ve all realized is that at times when volatility introduces itself which is frequent even independent of what’s been done from a fiscal and monetary standpoint, that these Alpha speaking strategies on the traditional side still make a lot of sense. And so, as we think about what – what’s happening here, the transition of assets from both passive and active strategies to alternative, it – it’s really to create better balance. It’s not that there’s – there’s a lack of relevance anymore in the public side. It’s just quite frankly the growth of the private asset base has grown so substantially. I moved, Barry, to the U.S. in 1998. And it’s interesting, when you look back at 1998 to today, you start to recognize the equity markets and what was available to invest in. The number of investable opportunities has shrunk by 40 plus percent which that compression is extraordinarily high. But yet you’ve seen, obviously, the equity markets grow in stature and significance and prominence but you’re having more concentration risk with some of the big public entities. The converse is true, though on the – on the private side. There’s this explosion of enterprise and innovation, employment creation, and then I believe opportunities has been real. So, I look at the public side, the investable universe is measured in the thousands and the private side is measured in the millions. RITHOLTZ: Wow. CONWAY: And I think part of the – part of the part of the thing our clients are not struggling with but what we’re really recognizing with – with enterprises staying private for longer, if not forever, and with his growth of the opportunities that open debt and equity in the private market side, you really can’t forgo this opportunity. It has to be part of your going forward concerns and asset allocation. And I think this is why we’re seeing that transformation. And it’s not because equities on fixed income just aren’t relevant anymore. They’re very relevant but they’re relevant now in a total portfolio or a whole portfolio context beside alternatives. RITHOLTZ: So, let’s discuss this opportunity set of alternatives where you guys at Blackrock scene demand what sectors and from what sorts of clients? Is this demand increasing? CONWAY: We’re very fortunate, Barry. Today, there isn’t a single piece of our business within – within Blackrock alternatives that isn’t growing. And quite frankly too, it’s really up to us to deliver on the investment objectives that are set forth for those clients. I think in the back of strong absolute and relative performance, thankfully, our clients look to us to – to help them as – as they think about what they’re doing and as they’re exploring more in the alternatives areas. So, as you know, certainly, the private equity and real estate allocations are quite mature in many of our client’s portfolios but they’ve been around for many decades. I think that the areas where we’re seeing – that’s called an outside demand and opportunity set, just but virtue of the small allocations on a relative basis that exist today is really around infrastructure, Barry, and its around private credits. So, to caveat that, I think all of the areas are certainly growing, and thankfully, for us that’s true. We’re looking at clients who we believe are underinvested, we believe they’re underinvested in those asset classes infrastructure both debt and equity and in private credit. And as you think about why that is, the attributes that they bring to our client is really important and in a world where your correlation and understanding those correlations is important that these are definitely diversifying assets. In a world where you’re seeing trillions of dollars, quite frankly, you’re providing little to no or even there’s negative yield. Those short falls are real and people need yield than need income. These assets tend to provide that. So the diversification, it comes from these assets. The yield can come from these assets and because of the immaturity of the asset classes, independence of the capital is flowing in, we still consider them relatively white space. You’re not crowded out. There’s much room for development in the market and with our client’s portfolios. And to us, that’s exciting because it presents opportunities. So, at the highest level, they’re the areas where I believe are most underdeveloped in our clients. RITHOLTZ: So let’s talk about both of those areas. We’ll talk about structured credit in a few minutes. I think everybody kind of understands what – what that is. What – when you see infrastructure as a sector, how does that show up as an investment are – and obviously, I have infrastructure on the brink because we’re recording this not too long after the giant infrastructure bill has been passed, tell us a little bit about what alternative investments in infrastructure looks like? CONWAY: Yes. It’s really in its infancy and what the underlying investments look like. I think traditionally, you would consider it as – and part of the bill that has just been announced, roads, bridges, airports. Some of these hard assets, some of the core infrastructure investments that have been around for actually some time. The interesting thing is the industry has evolved so much and put the need for infrastructure. It’s so great across both developed and emerging economies. It’s become something that if done the right way, the attributes we just spoke of can really have a very strong effect on our client’s portfolios. So, beyond the core that we just mentioned, well, we’ve seen a tremendous demand as a result of this energy transition. You’re really seeing a spike in activity and the necessity transition industry to cleaner technologies, a movement, not away completely from fossil fuel but integrating new types of clean energy. And as a result, you’ve seen a lot of demand on a global basis for wind and solar. And quite frankly, that’s why even us at BlackRock, albeit, 10-12 years ago, we really established a capability there to help with that transition to think about how do we use these technologies, solar panels, wind farms, to generate clean forms of energy for utilities where in some cases they’re mandated to procure this type of this type of – this type of power. And when you think about pre-contracting with utilities for long duration, that to me spells, Barry, good risk mitigation and management and ability to get access to clean forms of energy that throw off yield that can be very complementary to your traditional asset classes but for very long periods of time. And so, the benefits for us of these – these assets is that they are long in duration, they are yield enhancing, they’re definitely diversifying. And so, for us, where – we’ve got about, let’s call this 280 assets around the world that we’re managing that literally generate this – this clean electricity. I think to give the relevance of how much, I believe today, it’s enough to power the country of Spain. RITHOLTZ: Wow. CONWAY: And that’s really that’s really changing. So you’re seeing governments – so from a policy standpoint, you’re seeing governments really embracing new forms of energy, transitioning out of bunker fuels, for example, you know, burning diesels which really spew omissions into the – into the into the environment. But it’s really around modernizing for the future. So, developed and emerging economies alike, want to retain capital. They want to attract new capital and by having the proper infrastructure to support industry, it’s a really, really important thing. Now, on the back of that too, one things we’ve learned from COVID is that the necessity to really bring e-commerce into how you conduct your business is so important and I think from the theme of digitalization within infrastructure to is a huge part. So, it’s not just the energy transition that you’re seeing, it’s not just roads and bridges, but by allowing businesses to connect to a global consumer, allowing children be educated from home, allowing experiences that expand geographies and boundaries in a digital form is so important not just for commerce but in so many other aspects. And so, you think about cable, fiber optics, if you think about all the other things even outside of power, that enable us to conduct commerce to educate, there are many examples where, Barry, you can build resilience into your portfolio because that need is not measured in years. Actually, the shortfall of capital is measured in the trillions so which means this is – this is a multi-decade opportunity set from our vantage point and one of which our clients should really avail of. RITHOLTZ: Quite interesting. And I mentioned in passing, structured credit, tell us a little bit about what that opportunity looks like. I think of this as a space that is too big for local banks but too small for Wall Street to finance. Is that an oversimplification? What is going on in that space. CONWAY: I probably couldn’t have set it better, Barry. It’s – if we go back to just the even the investable universe, in the tens of thousands of companies, just if we take North America that are private, that have great leadership that really have strategic vision under – at the – in some cases, at the start of their growth lifecycles are even if they maintain, they have a very credible and viable business for the future they still need capital. And you’re absolutely right. With the retreat of the banks from the space to various regulations that have come after the global financial crisis, you’re seeing the asset managers in many respects working behalf of our clients both wealth and institutional becoming the new lenders of choice. And – and when we – when we think about that opportunity set, that is really understanding the client’s desire for risk or something maybe in a lower risk side from middle-market lending or midmarket enterprises where you can support that organization through its growth cycle all the way to some higher-yielding, obviously, with more risk assets on the opportunistic or even the special situations side. But it – it expands many things. And going back of the commentary around the evolution of the space, private credit today and what you can do has changed so profoundly, it expands the liquidity spectrum, it expands the risk spectrum. And the great news is, with the number of companies both here and abroad, the opportunities that is – it’s being enriched every single day. And were certainly seeing, particularly going back to the question are some of these assets coming from the traditional side, the public side. When we think of private credit, you are seeing private credit now been incorporated in fixed-income allocations. This is a – it’s a yelling asset. This is – these are debt instruments, these are structures that we’re creating. We’re trying to flexible and dynamic with these clients. But it really is an area where we think – it really is still at its – at its infancy relevant to where it can potentially be. RITHOLTZ: That’s really quite – quite interesting. (UNKNOWN): It’s Rob Riggle. I’m hosting Season 2 of the iHeart radio podcast, Veterans You Should Know. You may know me as the comedic actor from my work in the Hangover, Stepbrothers or 21 Jump Street. But before Hollywood, I was a United States Marine Corps officer for 23 years. For this Veterans Day, I’ll be sitting down with those who proudly served in the Armed Forces to hear about the lessons they’ve learned, the obstacles they’ve overcome, and the life-changing impact of their service. Through this four-part series, we’ll hear the inspiring journeys of these veterans and how they took those values during their time of service and apply them to transition out of the military and into civilian life. Listen to Veterans You Should Know on the iHeart radio app, Apple Podcast or wherever you get your podcast. RITHOLTZ: Let’s stick with that concept of money rotating away from fixed income. I have to imagine clients are starved for yields. So what are the popular substitutes for this? Is it primarily structured credit? Is it real estate? How do you respond to an institution that says, hey, I’m not getting any sort of realistic coupon on my bonds, I need a substitute? CONWAY: Yes. It’s all of those in many respects. And I think to the role, even around now a time where people have questions around inflation, how do substitute this yield efficiency or certainly make up for that shortfall, how do you think about a world where increasingly seeing inflation, not of the transitory thing it feels certainly quasi-permanent. These are a lot of questions we’re getting. And certainly, real estate is an is important part of how they think about inflation protection, how client think about yield, but quite frankly too, we’ve – we’ve gone through something none of us really had thought about a global pandemic. And as I think about real estate, just how you allocate to the sector, what was very heavily influenced with retail assets, high street, our shopping behaviors and habits have changed. We all occupied offices for obviously many, many years pre the pandemic. The shape of how we operate and how we do that has changed. So, I think some of the underlying investment – investments have changed where you’ve seen heavily weighted towards office space to leisure, travel in the past. Actually, now using a rotation in some respects out of those, just given some of the uncertainties around what the future holds as we come – come through a really difficult time. But the great thing about this sector is between senior living, between student housing, between logistics and so many other parts, there are ways in real estate to capture where there’s – where there’s demand. So still a robust opportunity set and it – and we do think it can absolutely be yield enhancing. We mentioned infrastructure. Even if you think about – and we mention OECD and non-OECD, emerging and developed, when I think about Asia, in particular, just as a subset of the world in which we’re living in, that is a $2.6 trillion alternative market today growing at a 15 percent CAGR. And quite frankly, the old-growth is driven by the large economic growth in the region. So, even from a regional perspective, if we pivot, it houses 57 percent of the world’s population and yet delivers 47 percent of the world’s economic growth. So, think of that and then with regard to infrastructure and goes back to that, this is truly a global phenomenon. So if we just even take that sector, Barry, you’ll realize that the way to maintain that type of growth, to attract capital, to keep capital, it really requires an investment of significant amount of money to be able to sustain that. And when you have 42 million people in a APAC migrating to cities in the year going back to digitalization, that’s an important thing. So, when I say we’re so much at the infancy in infrastructure, I really mean it. It can be water, it can be sewer systems, it can be digital, it can be roads, there’s so much to this. And then even down to the regional perspective, it’s a – it’s a need that doesn’t just exist in the U.S. So, for these assets, this tend to be long in duration. There’s both equity and debt. And on the debt side, quite frankly, very few outside of our insurance clients and their general account are taking advantage of the debt opportunity. And – and as we both know, to finance these projects that are becoming more plentiful every single day, across the world, including like, I said, in APAC in scale, there’s an opportunity in both sides. And I think that’s where the acid mix change happen. It’s recognizing that the attributes of these assets can have a role, the attributes of these assets can potentially replace some of these traditional assets and I think you’re going to see it grow. So, infrastructure to us, it’s really equity and debt. And then on the credit side, like I mentioned, again, too, it’s a very, very big and growing market. And certainly, the biggest area today from our vantage point is middle-market lending from a scale opportunity standpoint. So, we think much more to come in all of those spaces. RITHOLTZ: Really interesting. And let’s just stay with the concept of public versus private. That line is kind of getting blurred and the secondary markets is liquidity coming to, for lack of a better phrase, pre-public equities, tells little bit about that space. Is that an area that is ripe for growth for BlackRock? CONWAY: Yes. We absolutely think it is and you’re absolutely correct. The secondary market is – has grown quite substantial. If you even look at just the private equity secondary market and what will transact this year, I think it will be potentially in excess of 100 billion. And that’s what were clear, not to mention what will be visible and what will be analyzed. And that speaks to me what’s really happening and the innovation that we mentioned earlier. It’s no longer about just primary exposure. It’s secondary exposure. When we see all sort of interest and co-investment opportunities as well, I think the available sources of alpha and the flexibility you can now have, albeit if directed and advised, I believe the right way, Barry, can be very helpful and in the portfolio. So, your pre-IPO, it is a big part of actually what we do and we think about growth equity. There is – it’s a significant amount of capital following that space. Now, from our vantage point, as one of the largest investors in the public equity market and now obviously one of the largest investors and they in the private side, the bridge between – between private to public – there’s a real need. IPOs are not going away. And I think smart, informed capital to help with this journey, this journey is really – is really a necessity and a need. RITHOLTZ: So let’s talk a little bit about this recent restructuring. You are first named Global Head of Blackrock Alternative Investors in April 2019, the entire alternatives business was restructured, tell us a little bit about how that restructuring is going? CONWAY: Continues to go really well, Barry. When you look at the flow of acid from our clients, I think, hopefully, that’s speaks to the performance we’ve been generating. I joined the firm, as you know, albeit, 11 years ago and being very close to the alternative franchise as a critical thing for me and running the institutional platform. To me, when you watched this migration of asset towards alternatives, it was obviously very evident for decades now that this is a critical leg of the stool as our clients are thinking about their portfolios. We’re continuing to innovate. We’re continuing to invest, and thankfully, we’re continuing to deliver strong performance. We’re growing at about high double digits on an annual basis but we’re trying to purposeful too around where that growth is coming from. I think the reality is when you look at the competitive universe, I think the last number I saw, it was about 38,000 alternative asset managers out there today, obviously, coming from hedge funds all the way to private credits and private equity. So, competition is real and I do think the outcomes for our clients are starting to really grow. Unfortunately, some – in some cases, obviously, very good, and in some cases, actually not great. So our focus, Barry, is really much on how can we deliver performance, how can we be a partner? And I think we been rewarded with a trust and the faith our clients have in us because they’re seeing something different, I think, from us. Now, the scale of the business that you mentioned earlier really gives us tentacles into the market that I believe allows us to access what I think is the new alpha which is in many respects, given the heft of competition sourcing and originating new investments is certainly harder but for us, sitting in or having alternative team, sitting in 50 offices around the world, really investing in the markets because that – the market they grew up with and have relationships within, I think this network value that we have is something that’s quite special. And I think in the world that’s becoming increasingly competitive, we’re going to continue to use and harness that network value to pursue opportunities. And thankfully, as a result of the partnership we’ve been pursuing with her clients, like, we’ve – we’re certainly looking for opportunities and investments in our funds. But because of the brand, I think because of the successes, opportunities seeks us as much as we seek opportunity and that has been something that we look at an ongoing basis and feel very privileged to actually have that inbound flow as well. RITHOLTZ: Really quite interesting. There was a quote of yours I found while doing some prep for this conversation that I have to have you expand on. Quote, “The relationship between Blackrock’s alternative capabilities and wealth firms marked a large opportunity for growth in the coming years.” This was back in 2019. So, the first part of the question is, was your expectations correct? Did you – did you see the sort of growth you were hoping for? And more broadly, how large of an opportunity is alternatives, not just for BlackRock but for the entire investment industry? CONWAY: Yes. It’s been very much an institutional opportunity set up until now. And there’s so much to be done, still, to really democratize alternatives and we certainly joke around making alternatives less alternative. Actually, even the nomenclature we use and how we describe it doesn’t kind of make sense anymore. It’s such a core – an important allocation to our clients, Barry, that just calling it alternative seems wrong. Just about the institutional clients. It ranges, I think, as I mentioned on our – some of our more conservative clients which would be pension plans which really have liquidity needs on a monthly basis because of the liabilities they have to think about. At about 25 plus percent in private markets, to endowments, foundations, family offices, going to 50 percent plus. So, it’s a really important part and has been for now many years the institutional client ph communities outcomes. I think the thing that we, as an industry, have to change is alternatives has to be for the many, not for the few. And quite frankly, it’s been for the few. And as we talked about some of the attributes and the important attributes of these asset classes to think that those who have been less fortunate in their careers can’t access, things they can enrich their future retirement outcomes, to me, is a failing. And we have to address that. That comes from regulation changes, it comes from structuring of new products, it comes from education and it comes from this knowledge transmission where clients in the wealth segment can understand the role of alternatives and the context of what can do as they invest in equities and fixed income too. And we think that’s a big shortfall. So, the journey today, just to give you a sense, as we look at her clients in Europe on the wealth side, on average, as you look from what we would call the credited investors all the way through to more ultra-high-net worth individuals, their allocation to alternatives, we believe, stands at around two to three percent of their total portfolio. In the U.S., we believe it stands at three to five. So, most of those intermediaries, we speak to our partners who were more supporting and serving the wealth channel. They have certainly an ambition to help their clients grow that to 20 percent and potentially beyond that. So, when I look at that gap of let’s call it two to three to 20 percent in a market that just given the explosion in wealth around the world, I think the last numbers I saw, this is a $65 trillion market. RITHOLTZ: Wow. CONWAY: That speaks to the shortfall relative to the ambition. And how’s it been going? We have a number of things and capabilities we’ve set up to allow for this market to experience, hopefully, private equity, hedge funds, credit, and an infrastructure in ways they haven’t in the past. We’ve done this in the U.S., we’re doing it now in Europe, but I will say, Barry, this is still very much at the start of the journey. Wealth is a really important part of our future given our business, quite, frankly is 90 plus percent institutional today, but we’re looking to change that by, hopefully, democratizing these asset classes and making it so much more accessible in that of the past. RITHOLTZ: So, we hinted at this before but I’m going to ask the question outright, how significant is interest rates to client’s risk appetites, how much of the current low rate environment are driving people to move chunks of their assets from fixed income to alternatives? CONWAY: It’s really significant, Barry. I think the transition of these portfolios is quite profound, So you – and I think the unfortunate thing in some respects as this transition happens that you’re introducing new variables and new risks. The reason I say it’s unfortunate and that I think as an industry, this goes back to the education around the assets you own, understanding the role, understanding the various outcomes. I think it’s so incredibly important and that this the time where complete transparency is needed. And quite frankly, we’re investing capital that’s not ours. As an industry, we’re investing our client’s assets and they need to know exactly the underlying investments. And in good and bad times, how would those assets behave? So certainly, interest rates are driving a flow of capital away from these traditional assets, fixed-income, and absolutely in towards real estate, infrastructure, private creditors, et cetera, in the pursuit of this – this yield. But I do – I do think one of the things that’s critically important for the institutional channel, not just the wealth which are newer entrants is this transmission of education, of data because that’s how I think you build a better balanced portfolio and that’s a – that’s a real conundrum, I think, that the industry is facing and certainly your clients too. RITHOLTZ: Quite interesting. So let’s talk a little bit about the differences between investing in the private side versus the public markets, the most obvious one has to be the illiquidity. When you buy stocks or bonds, you get a print every microsecond, every tick, but most of these investments are only marked quarterly or annually, what does this illiquidity do when you’re interacting with clients? How do you – how do you discuss this with them in and how do perceive some of the challenges of illiquid investments? CONWAY: Over the – over the past number of decades, I think our clients have largely held too much liquidity in their portfolios. Like, so what we are finding is the ability to take on illiquidity risk. And obviously, in pursuit of that premium above, the traditional markets, I mean, I think the sentiment they are is it an absolute right one. That transition towards private market exposure, we think is an important one just given the return objectives, the majority of our clients’ need but then also again, most importantly now, with geo policy, with uncertainty, with interest rate uncertainty, inflation uncertainty, I mean, the – going back to the resilience point, the characteristics now by introducing these assets into the mix is important. And I think that’s – that point is maybe what I’ll expand on. As were talking to clients, using the Aladdin systems, and as you know, we bought eFront technologies, albeit a couple of years ago, by allowing, I think, great data and technology to help our clients understand these assets and the context of how they should own them relative to other liquidity needs, their risk tolerances, and the return expectations are really trying to use tech and data to provide a better understanding and comprehension of the outcomes. And as we continue to introduce these concepts and these approaches, by the way, that there is, as you know, so used to in the traditional side, it – it gives them more comfort around what they should and can expect. And that, to me, is a really important part of what we’re doing. So, we’ve released recently new technology to the wealth sector because, quite frankly, we mentioned it before, the 60-40 portfolio is a thing of the past. And that introduction of about 20 percent into alternatives, we applaud our partners who are – who are suggesting that to their clients. We think it’s something they have to do. What we’re doing to support that is really bringing thought leadership, education, but also portfolio construction techniques and data to bear in that conversation. And this goes back to – it’s no longer an alternative, right? This is a core allocation so the comprehension of what it is you own, the behavior of the asset in good and bad times is so necessary. And that’s become a very big thing with regard to our activities, Barry, because your clients are looking to understand better when you’re talking about assets that are very complex in their nature. RITHOLTZ: So, 60-40 is now 50-30-20, something along those lines? CONWAY: Yes. RITHOLTZ: Really, really intriguing. So, what are clients really looking for these days? We talked about yield. Are they also looking for downside protection on the equity side or inflation hedges you hinted at? How broad are the demands of clients in the alternative space? CONWAY: Yes. It ranges the gamut. And even – we didn’t speak to even hedge funds, we’ve had differing levels of interest in the hedge fund world for years and I, quite frankly, think some degree of disappointment too, Barry, with regard to the alpha, the returns that were produced relevant to the cost. RITHOLTZ: It’s a tough space to say the very least exactly. CONWAY: Exactly right. But when you start to see volatility introducing itself, you can really see where skill plays a critical factor. So, we are absolutely seeing, in the hedge fund, a resurgence of interest and demand by virtue of those who really have honed in on their scale, who have demonstrated an up-and-down markets and ability to protect and preserve capital, but importantly, in a low uncorrelated way build attractive risk-adjusted returns. We’re starting to see more activity there again too. I think with an alternatives, you’ve really seen a predominant demand coming from privates. These private markets, like a set of growths so extraordinarily fast and the opportunities that is rich, the reality too on the public side which is where our hedge funds operate, they continue to, in large part, do a really good job. The issue with our industry now with these 38,000 managers is how do you distill all the information? How do you think about your needs as a client and pick a manager who can deliver the outcomes? And just to give you a sense, the difference now between a top-performing private equity manager, a top quartile versus the bottom quartile, the difference can be measured in tens of percent. RITHOLTZ: Wow. CONWAY: Whereas if you look at the public equity side, for example, a large cap manager, top quartile versus bottom quartile is measured in hundreds of basis points. So, there is definitely a world that has started where the outcomes our clients will experience can be great as they pursue yield, as they pursue diversification, inflation protection, et cetera. I think the caveat that I would say is outcomes can vary greatly. So manager underwriting and the importance of it now, I think, really is this something to pay attention to because if you do have that bottom performing at the bottom quartile manager, it will affect your outcomes, obviously. And that’s what we collectively have to face. RITHOLTZ: So, let’s talk a little bit about real estate. There are a couple of different areas of investment on the private side. Rent to own was a very large one and we’ve seen some lesser by the flip algo-driven approaches. Tell us what Blackrock is doing in the real estate space and how many different approaches are you bringing to bear on this? CONWAY: Yes, we think it’s both equity and debt. Again, no different to the infrastructure side, these projects need to be financed. But on the – as you think about the sectors in which you can avail of the opportunity, you’ve no doubt heard a lot and I mentioned earlier this demand for logistics facilities. The explosion of shopping online and having, until we obviously have the supply chain disruption, an ability to have nearly immediate satisfaction because the delivery of the good to your home has become so readily available. It’s a very different consumer experience. So the explosion and the need for logistics facilities to support this type of behavior of the consumer is really an area that will continue to be of great interest too. And then you think about the transformation of business and you think about the aging world. Unfortunately, you can look at various economies where our populations are decreasing. And quite frankly, we’re getting older. And so, were you’re thinking of the context of that senior living facilities, it becomes a really important part, not just as part of the healthcare solution that come with it, but also from living as well. So, single-family, multifamily, opportunities continue to be something that the world looks at because there is really the shortfall of available properties for people to live in. And as the communities evolve to support the growing age of the population, tremendous opportunity there too. But we won’t give up on office space. It really isn’t going away. Now, if you even think about our younger generation here in BlackRock, they love being in New York, they love being in London, they love being in Hong Kong. So, the shape and the footprint may change slightly. But the necessity to be in the major financial centers, it still exists. But how we weighed the risks has definitely changed, certainly, for the – for the short-term and medium-term future. But real estate continues to be, Barry, a critical part of how we express our thought around the investment opportunity set. But clients largely do this themselves too. The direct investing from the clients is quite significant because they too see this as still as a rich investment ground, albeit, one that has changed quite a bit as a result of COVID. RITHOLTZ: Well, I’m fascinated by the real estate issue especially having seen some massive construction take place in cities pre-pandemic, look over in Manhattan at Hudson Yards and look at what’s taking place in London, not just the center of London but all – but all around it and I’m forced to admit the future is going to look somewhat different than the past with some hybrid combination of collaborative work in the office and remote work from home when it’s convenient, that sort of suggests that we now have an excess of capacity in office space. Do you see it that way or is this just something that we’re going to grow into and just the nature of working in offices is changing but offices are not going away? CONWAY: Yes. I do think there’s – it’s a very valid point and that in certain cities, you will see access, in others we just don’t, Barry. And quite frankly, as a firm, too, as you know, we have adopted flexibility with our teams that were very fortunate. The technologies in which we created at BlackRock has just become such an amazing enabler, not just to help us as we mention manage the portfolios, help us a better portfolio construction, understand risks, but also to communicate with our clients. I think we’ve all witnessed and experienced a way to have connectivity that allows them to believe that commerce can exist beyond the boundaries of one building. However, I do look at our property portfolios and even the things that we’re doing. Rent collections still being extraordinarily high, occupancy now getting back up to pre-pandemic levels, not in all cities, but in many of the major ones that have reopened. And certainly, the demand for people to just socialize, that the demand for human connectivity is really high. It’s palpable, right? We see it here too. The smiles on people’s faces, they’re back in the office, conversing together, innovating together. When people were feeling unsafe, unquestionably, I think the question marks around the role of office space was really brought to bear. But as were coming through this, as you’ve seen vaccine rates change, as you’ve seen the infection rates fall, as you’ve seen confidence grow, the return to work is really happening and return to work to office work is really happening, albeit, now with degrees of flexibility. So, going back to the – I do believe in certain areas. You’re seeing a surplus. But in many areas you’re absolutely seeing a deficit and the reason I say that, Barry, is we are seeing occupancy in certain building at such a high level. And frankly, the demand for more space being so high, it’s uneven and this goes back to then where do you invest our client’s capital, making sense of those trends, predicting where you will see resilience versus stress and building that into the portfolio of consequences as you – as you better risk manage and mitigate. RITHOLTZ: Very interesting. And so, we are seeing this transition across a lot of different segments of investing, are you seeing any products that were or – or investing styles that was once thought of as primarily institutional that are sort of working their way towards the retail side of things? Meaning going from institutional to accredited to mom-and-pop investors? CONWAY: Well, certainly, in the past, private equity was really an asset class for institutional investors. And I think that’s – that has changed in a very profound way. I mentioned earlier are the regulation has become a more adaptive, but we also have heard, in many respects, in providing this access. And I think the perception of owning and be part of this illiquid investment opportunity set was hard to stomach because many didn’t understand the attributes and what it could bring and I think we’ve been trying to solve for that and what you’re seeing now with – with regulators, understanding that the difference between if we take it quite simply as DD versus DC, the differences between the options you as a participant in a retirement plan are so vastly different that – and I think there’s a broad recognition now that there needs to be more equity with regard to what happens there. And private equity been a really established part of the alternatives marketplace was once, I think, really believed to be an institutional asset class, but albeit now has become much more accessible to wealth. We’ve seen it by structuring activities in Europe working with the regulators. Now, we’re able to provide private equity exposure to clients across the continent and really getting access to what was historically very much an institutional asset class. And I do think the receptivity is extraordinarily high just throughout people’s careers, they have seen wealth been created as a result of engineering a great outcome with great management teams integrate business. And I do believe the receptivity towards private equity is high as an example. In the U.S., too, working with the various intermediaries and being able to wrap now private equity in a ’40 Act fund, for example, is possible. And by being able to deliver that to the many as opposed to the few, we think has been a very good success story. And I think, obviously, appreciated by our clients as well. So, I would look at that were seeing across private equity as well as private credit and quite frankly infrastructure accuracy. You’re seeing now regulation that’s becoming more appreciative of these asset classes, you’re seeing a more – a greater level of openness and willingness to allow for these assets to be part of many people’s experiences across their investment portfolio. And now, with innovation around structures, as an industry, were able to wrap these investments in a way that our clients can really access them. So, think across the board, it probably speaks the innovation that’s happening but I do think that accessibility has changed in a very significant way. But you’ve really seen it happen in private equity first and now that’s expanding across these various other asset classes. RITHOLTZ: Quite intriguing. I know I only have you for a relatively limited period of time, so let’s jump to our favorite questions that we ask all of our guests. Starting with tell us what you’ve been streaming these days. Give us your favorite Netflix or Amazon Prime shows. CONWAY: That is an interesting question, Barry. I don’t a hell of a lot of TV, I got to tell you. I am – I keep busy with three wonderful children and a beautiful wife and between the sports activities. When I do watch TV, I have to tell you I’m addicted to sports and having – I may have mentioned earlier, growing up playing rugby which is not the most common sport in the U.S., I stream nonstop the Six Nations that happens in Europe where Ireland is one of those six nations that compete against each other on an annual basis. Right now, they’re playing a lot of sites that are touring for the southern hemisphere. And to me, the free times I have is either enjoying golf or really enjoying rugby because I think it’s an extraordinary sport. Obviously, very physical, but very enjoyable to watch. And that, that truly is my passion outside of family. RITHOLTZ: Interesting stuff. Tell us a bit about your mentors, who helped to shape your early career? CONWAY: Well, it even goes back to some of the aspects of sports. Playing on a team and being on a field where you’re working together, there’s a strategy involved with that. Now, I used to really appreciate how we approach playing in the All-Ireland League. How we thought about our opponents, how we thought about the structure, how we thought about each individual with on the rugby field and the team having a role. They’re all different but your role. And actually, even starting from an early age, Barry, thinking about, I don’t know, it’s sports but how to build a great team with those various skills, perspective, that can be a really, really powerful combination when done well. And certainly, from an early age, that allowed me to appreciate that – actually, in the work environment, it’s not too different. You surround yourself with just really great people that have high integrity that are empathetic and have a degree of humility that when working together, good things can happen. And I will say, it really started at sports. But I think of today and even in BlackRock, how Larry Fink thinks about the world and I think Larry, truly, is a visionary. And then Rob Kapito who really helps lead the charge across our various businesses. Speaking and conversing with them on a daily basis, getting their perspectives, trying to get inside your head and thinking about the world from their vantage point. To me, it’s a huge thing about my ongoing personal career and development and I really enjoy those moments because I think what you recognize is independent of how much you think you know, there’s so much more to know. And this journey is an ever evolving one where you have to appreciate that you’ll never know everything and you need to be a student every single day. So, I’d probably cite those, Barry, as certainly the two most important mentors in my life today, professionally and personally quite frankly. RITHOLTZ: Really. Very interesting. Let’s talk about what you’re reading these days. Tell us about some of your favorite books and what you’re reading currently? CONWAY: Barry, what I love to read, I love to read history, believe it or not. From a very small country that seems to have exported many, many people, love to understand the history of Ireland. So, there’s so many books. And having three children that have been born in the U.S. and my wife is a New Yorker, trying to help them understand some of their history and what made them what they are. I love delving into Irish history and how the country had moments of greatness and moments of tremendous struggle. Outside of that, I really don’t enjoy science fiction or any of these books. I love reading, you name any paper and any magazine on a daily basis. Unfortunately, I wake at about 4:30, 5 o’clock every day. I spent my first two hours of the day just consuming as much information as possible. I enjoy it. But it’s all – it’s really investment-related magazines, not books. It’s every paper that you could possibly imagine, Barry, and I just – I have a great appreciation for certainly trying to be a student of the world because that’s what we’re operating in an I find it just a very interesting avenue to get an appreciation to for the, not just the opportunities, but the challenges we’re collectively facing as a society but also as a business. RITHOLTZ: I’m with you on that mass consumption of investing-related news. It sounds like you and I have the same a morning routine. Let’s talk about of what sort of advice you would give to a recent college graduate who was interested in a career of alternative investments? CONWAY: Well, the industry has – it’s just gone through such extraordinary growth and the difference, when I’ve started versus today, the career opportunity set has changed so much. And I think I try to remind anyone of our analysts who come into each one of our annual classes, right, as we bring in the new recruits. I think about how talented they are for us, Barry, and how privileged we all are to be in this industry and work for the clients that we do. It’s just such an honor to do that. But I kind of – I try to remind them of that. At the end of the day, whether you’re supporting an institution, that institution is the face of many people in the background and alternatives has really now become such an important part of their experience and we talked about earlier just this challenge of retirement, if we do a good job, these institutions that support the many, they can have, hopefully, a retirement that involves dignity and they can have an ability to do things they so wanted to do as they work so hard over their lives. Getting that that personal connection and allowing for those newbies to understand that that’s the effect that you can have, an alternatives whether it’s private equity, real estate, infrastructure, private credit, hedge funds, all of these now, with the scale at which they’re operating at can allow for a great career. But my advice to them is always don’t forget your career is supporting other people. And that comes directly to how we intersect with wealth channel, it comes indirectly as a result of the institutions. And it’s such a privilege to do that. I didn’t envision when I grew up, as I mentioned, my first job, milking cows and back in a small town in the middle of Ireland that I would be one day leading an alternatives business within BlackRock. I see that as a great privilege. So, for those who are joining afresh, hopefully, try to remind them that it is for all of us and show up with empathy, dignity, compassion, and do the best you can, and hopefully, these people be sure will serve them well. RITHOLTZ: And our final question, what you know about the world of alternative investing today you wish you knew 25 years or so ago when you were first getting started? CONWAY: I think if we had invested much more heavily as an industry in technology, we would not be in the position we are today. And I say that, Barry, from a number of aspects. I mentioned in this shortfall of information our clients are dealing with today. They’re making choices to divest from one asset class to invest in another. To do that and do that effectively, they need great transparency, they needed real-time in many respects, it can’t be just a quarterly line basis. And if we had been better prepared as an industry to provide the technology and the data to help our clients really appreciate what it is they own, how we’re managing the assets on their behalf, I think they would be so much better served. I think we’re very fortunate at this firm to have built a business on the back of technology for albeit 30 plus years and were investing over $1 billion a year in technology as I’m sure you know. But we need to see more of that in the industry. So, the client experience is so important, stop, let’s demystify alternatives. It’s not that alternative. Let’s provide education and data and it’s become so large relative to other asset classes, the need to support, to educate, and transmit information, not data, information, so our client understand it, is at a paramount now. And I think it certainly as an industry, things have to change there. If I knew how big the growth would have been and how prominent these asset classes were becoming, I would oppose so much harder on that front 30 years ago. RITHOLTZ: Thank you, Edwin, for being so generous with your time. We’ve been speaking with Edwin Conway. He is the head of Blackrock Investor Alternatives Group. If you enjoy this conversation, please check out all of our prior discussions. You can find those at iTunes, Spotify, wherever you get your podcast at. We love your comments, feedback and suggestions. Write to us at MIB podcast@Bloomberg.net. You can sign up for my daily reads at ritholtz.com. Check out my weekly column at Bloomberg.com/opinion. Follow me on Twitter, @ritholtz. I would be remiss if I did not thank the crack team that helps put these conversations together each week. Mohammed ph is my audio engineer. Paris Wald is my producer, Michael Batnick is my head of research, Atika Valbrun is our project manager. I’m Barry Ritholtz, you’ve been listening to Masters in Business on Bloomberg Radio.   ~~~   The post Transcript: Edwin Conway appeared first on The Big Picture......»»

Category: blogSource: TheBigPictureNov 22nd, 2021

Olayan lands Chubb as 550 Madison anchor

The Olayan Group announced that global property and casualty insurance firm Chubb has signed a lease for 240,000 square feet of office space at the newly revitalized 550 Madison Avenue. The insurance is the the first tenant of the iconic, Philip Johnson designed office tower that has been transformed by... The post Olayan lands Chubb as 550 Madison anchor appeared first on Real Estate Weekly. The Olayan Group announced that global property and casualty insurance firm Chubb has signed a lease for 240,000 square feet of office space at the newly revitalized 550 Madison Avenue. The insurance is the the first tenant of the iconic, Philip Johnson designed office tower that has been transformed by Olayan Group to a world-class multi-tenant new office space.  The building is now the city’s healthiest place to work, the only building in New York targeting both LEED Platinum and WELL Gold certifications. The Chubb lease represents more than 31% of the building’s rentable office space. 550 MADISON “550 Madison is unlike any building in New York, combining the single healthiest office environment in the city with globally recognized landmark architecture,” said Erik Horvat, Managing Director, Head of Real Estate for Olayan America. “We pride ourselves on creating world-class spaces that inspire leadership and creativity, and we are proud to welcome Chubb –a company that shares those values–as our anchor tenant.” Earlier this year, the building’s newly renovated lobby, redesigned by Gensler, was unveiled with a new art installation from world-renowned artist Alicja Kwade, entitled Solid Sky. The work is a 24 ton Azul do Macaubas sphere hanging by ten polished stainless steel chains just 12 feet above the floor, and highlights the impressive height and clear verticality of the main hall, honoring Johnson’s original postmodern vision. 550 Madison has also partnered with luxury publisher Assouline to curate a library for the landmark office tower as an exclusive amenity for tenants on the club level, which is being designed by Rockwell Group. The partnership is the first of its kind for the publisher, the first office amenity to be envisioned by Assouline. Rendering of renovated property. Since its opening in 1984, 550 Madision has housed just two tenants – AT&T and Sony. The Olayan Group acquired the tower in 2016 and the building became New York City’s youngest landmark in 2018. It will open in 2022 as a multi-tenant building for the first time. The 800,000 s/f tower features 14-foot high ceilings; large, column-free floor plates; north, south, east, and west-facing views of New York City; river to river sightlines; and offices overlooking Central Park. The ownership and development team is creating a one-of-a-kind amenity package which all tenants and visitors can access – this will include food and beverage concepts, lounges, shared conferencing and work spaces, as well as distinctive fitness and wellness offerings. Olayan is working with development partner RXR Realty on the revitalization of 550 Madison. Both firms have deep experience preserving and modernizing historic and landmark buildings in the US and internationally, includingthe iconic Helmsley Building, 75 Rockefeller Plaza, and the Starrett-Lehigh Building in New York City. AECOM Tishman is the Construction Manager for the revitalization of 550 Madison. CBRE is the exclusive leasing agent for the building.  Rendering of the showcase retail space now on the market at 550 Madison. The post Olayan lands Chubb as 550 Madison anchor appeared first on Real Estate Weekly......»»

Category: realestateSource: realestateweeklyNov 18th, 2021

The avalanche token has gained 25% in a week, while other cryptocurrencies have tumbled, thanks to Ava Labs" tie-up with Deloitte

The avalanche token has gained 25% in a week, after Ava Labs secured a blockchain development deal with "Big Four" accountant Deloitte. AvalancheNatchapol18 The avalanche token has gained 25% in a week after Ava Labs secured a deal with "Big Four" accountant Deloitte. Deloitte will build more efficient disaster relief platforms using the avalanche blockchain, Ava Labs' boss Emin Gun Sirer said. While avalanche has soared, bitcoin has lost 10.5%, shiba inu has shed 19% and ether has fallen 13%. Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell. The cryptocurrency market has had a rough week. Almost $300 billion in total market value was wiped out in a matter of days after investors cashed in on recent record highs. But one coin in particular has bucked that trend.Avalanche's avax token was up by over 20% in the week to Thursday, compared with losses of around 9% in bitcoin and 11% in direct rival ether, while the cardano and solana networks' tokens fell around 13%, according to CoinMarketcap.The catalyst for avalanche was developer Ava Labs' partnership with "Big Four" accounting firm Deloitte, which chief executive Emin Gün Sirer unveiled on Wednesday on Twitter. Avax hit an all-time high of around $110 on the Binance exchange on Thursday.  "​​Ava Labs is thrilled to announce its partnership with Deloitte to build more efficient disaster relief platforms using the avalanche blockchain," Emin Gün Sirer, avalanche founder said in a tweet. Deloitte's government crisis management services will build a disaster recovery platform on the avalanche blockchain, according to a press release by the accounting firm. The "Close as You Go Service" will help simplify applications for reimbursements for victims of natural disasters."The new platform gives state and local officials a decentralized, low-cost and fully immutable system that empowers both the grant funders, and the aid recipients, while using the transparency of blockchain to minimize fraud, waste and abuse," Ava Labs' Sirer tweeted.A big consulting firm stepping into blockchain technology highlights how mainstream the digital world is becoming. Deloitte is one of the world's four largest accounting firms along with ​​PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Ernst & Young, and KPMG. "This effort combines the speed, resilience and adaptability of Avalanche, and Deloitte's Fortune 100 enterprise knowledge," Sirer tweeted.Avalanche is one of a number of ethereum-rival blockchains that offer smart-contract capabilities that are a  key element to decentralized finance, in that they allow two parties to execute a transaction automatically, with no intermediary, when certain criteria are met.Its avax token is one of the strongest performing cryptocurrencies so far this year, with a gain of over 3,000%, behind top performer solana token, sol, which is up around 14,000% and compared with a gain of around 100% in bitcoin.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytNov 18th, 2021

Children’s therapy service expands with new Bronx facility

OWL Early Intervention, a Brooklyn-based company that serves young children diagnosed with neurologic or orthopedic disabilities, has leased the ground floor community facility space at 1016 Washington Avenue in the Bronx. KZA realty arranged the 7,850 s/f lease on behalf of the landlord. Paul Moulins of KW Commercial represented the... The post Children’s therapy service expands with new Bronx facility appeared first on Real Estate Weekly. OWL Early Intervention, a Brooklyn-based company that serves young children diagnosed with neurologic or orthopedic disabilities, has leased the ground floor community facility space at 1016 Washington Avenue in the Bronx. KZA realty arranged the 7,850 s/f lease on behalf of the landlord. Paul Moulins of KW Commercial represented the tenant in the 10-year lease. Asking rent was $30 psf. Developed in 2014 by Amnon Shalhov’s Joy Construction, 1016 Washington Avenue is a 65-unit workforce housing property built in partnership with the non-profit New York Partnership Housing Development Fund. KZA Realty’s Kathy Zamechansky commented, “We are thrilled to have OWL Early Invention as the newest lessee at 1016 Washington Ave. They offer valuable services that will have a positive impact on both the children and families who live in the area – and we couldn’t be more excited for them to join the Morrisania community.” Gina Levy, CEO of OWL, commented, “Our early intervention program is unique, and it is extremely successful with the children we care for.  However, because of the success of the children, our center in Brooklyn always has a waiting list to become part of the OWL program.  We realized that to help more children and families, we needed to expand.  “We are very excited to finalize this deal to call the Bronx another home that will allow us to help more children and their families achieve their full potential.” The post Children’s therapy service expands with new Bronx facility appeared first on Real Estate Weekly......»»

Category: realestateSource: realestateweeklyNov 17th, 2021

BOX Gets Picked by Panasonic for Secure Content Collaboration

Panasonic selects BOX for seamless and safe cloud content management and collaboration. Box BOX has been chosen by Panasonic Information Systems for seamless and safe cloud content management and collaboration.Panasonic’s cloud services, which are built on Box, are incorporated into microservices. With the help of this, Panasonic has implemented a secure platform that can manage large files.Panasonic leverages Box to securely share and collaborate information, both internally and externally, across multiple ecosystems.With the help of Box’s solutions, Panasonic strives to digitally transform its infrastructure and processes for better business performance.Box, Inc. Price and Consensus Box, Inc. price-consensus-chart | Box, Inc. QuoteExpanding ClienteleBox is making strong efforts to offer cloud management solutions according to customer needs. This, in turn, is driving the company’s customer loyalty and increasing the customer base.Apart from the latest partnership, Lotte Corporation has picked Box to make advancement in its Digital Transformation program and strengthen collaboration infrastructure.Box was also selected by BT for organizing, managing, and distributing digital assets as well as secured collaboration with customer forums and external agencies.Further, some leading government organizations have leveraged Box’s technologies to digitize and modernize their functionalities.Recently, the U.S. General Services Administration selected Box’s e-signature capability, Box Sign, for a seamless signing experience.In addition, the Defense Contract Management Agency chose Box’s cloud content management platform for workload operations and reducing operating costs.Previously, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services selected Box for providing an advanced technical edge to healthcare services in the country.Portfolio StrengthBox’s expanding collaboration with private companies and government organizations highlights the efficiency and reliability of the strengthening product portfolio.We believe its robust product portfolio will continue to drive customer momentum in the days ahead, which in turn will benefit financial performance. This will aid the company in winning investors’ confidence.Box has gained 42.9%, outperforming the Zacks industry’s decline of 6.6% on a year-to-date basis.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchThe company recently added new features to its security control and intelligent threat detection solution, namely Box Shield, to provide users with improved security without disruption in business workflows.It also launched Box Shuttle, which helps in the seamless transfer of large content to the Box Content Cloud.Further, Box has integrated with Microsoft’s MSFT Office Software Suite named Microsoft 365 so that customers can seamlessly and securely work in the cloud.The partnership with Microsoft includes integrations of Box with Teams and Box Shield with Office 365 as well as new advancements in Box for Microsoft Office Online and Box Connector for Microsoft Graph.Zacks Rank & Stocks to ConsiderCurrently, Box carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).Investors interested in the broader technology sector can consider better-ranked stocks like ON Semiconductor ON and Advanced Micro Devices AMD. While ON Semiconductor sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Advanced Micro Devices carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.ON Semiconductor has gained 89.8% on a year-to-date basis. The long-term earnings growth rate for the stock is currently projected at 53.9%.Advanced Micro Devices has gained 66.2% on a year-to-date basis. The long-term earnings growth rate for the stock is currently projected at 46.2%. Zacks’ Top Picks to Cash in on Artificial Intelligence This world-changing technology is projected to generate $100s of billions by 2025. From self-driving cars to consumer data analysis, people are relying on machines more than we ever have before. Now is the time to capitalize on the 4th Industrial Revolution. Zacks’ urgent special report reveals 6 AI picks investors need to know about today.See 6 Artificial Intelligence Stocks With Extreme Upside Potential>>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD): Free Stock Analysis Report Microsoft Corporation (MSFT): Free Stock Analysis Report Box, Inc. (BOX): Free Stock Analysis Report ON Semiconductor Corporation (ON): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksNov 17th, 2021