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Meet Two Of The Women Leading The Cannabis Industry At Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference

Women Leading The Cannabis Industry: Kim Rivers and Yoko Miyashita  read more.....»»

Category: blogSource: benzingaOct 13th, 2021

Inside the World of Black Bitcoin, Where Crypto Is About Making More Than Just Money

“We can operate on an even playing field in the digital world” At the Black Blockchain Summit, there is almost no conversation about making money that does not carry with it the possibility of liberation. This is not simply a gathering for those who would like to ride whatever bumps and shocks, gains and losses come with cryptocurrency. It is a space for discussing the relationship between money and man, the powers that be and what they have done with power. Online and in person, on the campus of Howard University in Washington, D.C., an estimated 1,500 mostly Black people have gathered to talk about crypto—decentralized digital money backed not by governments but by blockchain technology, a secure means of recording transactions—as a way to make money while disrupting centuries-long patterns of oppression. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] “What we really need to be doing is to now utilize the technology behind blockchain to enhance the quality of life for our people,” says Christopher Mapondera, a Zimbabwean American and the first official speaker. As a white-haired engineer with the air of a lecturing statesman, Mapondera’s conviction feels very on-brand at a conference themed “Reparations and Revolutions.” Along with summit organizer Sinclair Skinner, Mapondera co-founded BillMari, a service that aims to make it easier to transmit cryptocurrency to wherever the sons and daughters of Africa have been scattered. So, not exactly your stereotypical “Bitcoin bro.” Contrary to the image associated with cryptocurrency since it entered mainstream awareness, almost no one at the summit is a fleece-vest-wearing finance guy or an Elon Musk type with a grudge against regulators. What they are is a cross section of the world of Black crypto traders, educators, marketers and market makers—a world that seemingly mushroomed during the pandemic, rallying around the idea that this is the boon that Black America needs. In fact, surveys indicate that people of color are investing in cryptocurrency in ways that outpace or equal other groups—something that can’t be said about most financial products. About 44% of those who own crypto are people of color, according to a June survey by the University of Chicago’s National Opinion Research Center. In April, a Harris Poll reported that while just 16% of U.S. adults overall own cryptocurrency, 18% of Black Americans have gotten in on it. (For Latino Americans, the figure is 20%.) The actor Hill Harper of The Good Doctor, a Harvard Law School friend of former President Barack Obama, is a pitchman for Black Wall Street, a digital wallet and crypto trading service developed with Najah Roberts, a Black crypto expert. And this summer, when the popular money-transfer service Cash App added the option to purchase Bitcoin, its choice to explain the move was the MC Megan Thee Stallion. “With my knowledge and your hustle, you’ll have your own empire in no time,” she says in an ad titled “Bitcoin for Hotties.” Read more: Americans Have Learned to Talk About Racial Inequality. But They’ve Done Little to Solve It But, as even Megan Thee Stallion acknowledges in that ad, pinning one’s economic hopes on crypto is inherently risky. Many economic experts have described crypto as little better than a bubble, mere fool’s gold. The rapid pace of innovation—it’s been little more than a decade since Bitcoin was created by the enigmatic, pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto—has left consumers with few protections. Whether the potential is worth those risks is the stuff of constant, and some would say, infernal debate. Jared Soares for TIMECleve Mesidor, who founded the National Policy Network of Women of Color in Blockchain What looms in the backdrop is clear. In the U.S., the median white family’s wealth—reflecting not just assets minus debt, but also the ability to weather a financial setback—sat around $188,200, per the Federal Reserve’s most recent measure in 2019. That’s about eight times the median wealth of Black families. (For Latino families, it’s five times greater; the wealth of Asian, Pacific Island and other families sits between that of white and Latino families, according to the report.) Other estimates paint an even grimmer picture. If trends continue, the median Black household will have zero wealth by 2053. The summit attendees seem certain that crypto represents keys to a car bound for somewhere better. “Our digital selves are more important in some ways than our real-world selves,” Tony Perkins, a Black MIT-trained computer scientist, says during a summit session on “Enabling Black Land and Asset Ownership Using Blockchain.” The possibilities he rattles off—including fractional ownership of space stations—will, to many, sound fantastical. To others, they sound like hope. “We can operate on an even playing field in the digital world,” he says. The next night, when in-person attendees gather at Barcode, a Black-owned downtown D.C. establishment, for drinks and conversation, there’s a small rush on black T-shirts with white lettering: SATOSHI, they proclaim, IS BLACK. That’s an intriguing idea when your ancestors’ bodies form much of the foundation of U.S. prosperity. At the nation’s beginnings, land theft from Native Americans seeded the agricultural operations where enslaved Africans would labor and die, making others rich. By 1860, the cotton-friendly ground of Mississippi was so productive that it was home to more millionaires than anywhere else in the country. Government-supported pathways to wealth, from homesteading to homeownership, have been reliably accessible to white Americans only. So Black Bitcoiners’ embrace of decentralized currencies—and a degree of doubt about government regulators, as well as those who have done well in the traditional system—makes sense. Skinner, the conference organizer, believes there’s racial subtext in the caution from the financial mainstream regarding Bitcoin—a pervasive idea that Black people just don’t understand finance. “I’m skeptical of all of those [warnings], based on the history,” Skinner, who is Black American, says. Even a drop in the value of Bitcoin this year, which later went back up, has not made him reticent. “They have petrol shortages in England right now. They’ll blame the weather or Brexit, but they’ll never have to say they’re dumb. Something don’t work in Detroit or some city with a Black mayor, we get a collective shame on us.” Read more: America’s Interstate Slave Trade Once Trafficked Nearly 30,000 People a Year—And Reshaped the Country’s Economy The first time I speak to Skinner, the summit is still two weeks away. I’d asked him to talk through some of the logistics, but our conversation ranges from what gives money value to the impact of ride-share services on cabbies refusing Black passengers. Tech often promises to solve social problems, he says. The Internet was supposed to democratize all sorts of things. In many cases, it defaulted to old patterns. (As Black crypto policy expert Cleve Mesidor put it to me, “The Internet was supposed to be decentralized, and today it’s owned by four white men.”) But with the right people involved from the start of the next wave of change—crypto—the possibilities are endless, Skinner says. Skinner, a Howard grad and engineer by training, first turned to crypto when he and Mapondera were trying to find ways to do ethanol business in Zimbabwe. Traditional international transactions were slow or came with exorbitant fees. In Africa, consumers pay some of the world’s highest remittance, cell phone and Internet data fees in the world, a damaging continuation of centuries-long wealth transfers off the continent to others, Skinner says. Hearing about cryptocurrency, he was intrigued—particularly having seen, during the recession, the same banking industry that had profited from slavery getting bailed out as hundreds of thousands of people of color lost their homes. So in 2013, he invested “probably less than $3,000,” mostly in Bitcoin. Encouraged by his friend Brian Armstrong, CEO of Coinbase, one of the largest platforms for trading crypto, he grew his stake. In 2014, when Skinner went to a crypto conference in Amsterdam, only about eight Black people were there, five of them caterers, but he felt he had come home ideologically. He saw he didn’t need a Rockefeller inheritance to change the world. “I don’t have to build a bank where they literally used my ancestors to build the capital,” says Skinner, who today runs a site called I Love Black People, which operates like a global anti-racist Yelp. “I can unseat that thing by not trying to be like them.” Eventually, he and Mapondera founded BillMari and became the first crypto company to partner with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to lower fees on remittances, the flow of money from immigrants overseas back home to less-developed nations—an economy valued by the World Bank and its offshoot KNOMAD at $702 billion in 2020. (Some of the duo’s business plans later evaporated, after Zimbabwe’s central bank revoked approval for some cryptocurrency activities.) Skinner’s feelings about the economic overlords make it a bit surprising that he can attract people like Charlene Fadirepo, a banker by trade and former government regulator, to speak at the summit. On the first day, she offers attendees a report on why 2021 was a “breakout year for Bitcoin,” pointing out that major banks have begun helping high-net-worth clients invest in it, and that some corporations have bought crypto with their cash on hand, holding it as an asset. Fadirepo, who worked in the Fed’s inspector general’s office monitoring Federal Reserve banks and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, is not a person who hates central banks or regulation. A Black American, she believes strongly in both, and in their importance for protecting investors and improving the economic position of Black people. Today she operates Guidefi, a financial education and advising company geared toward helping Black women connect with traditional financial advisers. It just launched, for a fee, direct education in cryptocurrency. Crypto is a relatively new part of Fadirepo’s life. She and her Nigerian-American doctor husband earn good salaries and follow all the responsible middle-class financial advice. But the pandemic showed her they still didn’t have what some of his white colleagues did: the freedom to walk away from high-risk work. As the stock market shuddered and storefronts shuttered, she decided a sea change was coming. A family member had mentioned Bitcoin at a funeral in 2017, but it sounded risky. Now, her research kept bringing her back to it. Last year, she and her husband bought $6,000 worth. No investment has ever generated the kinds of returns for them that Bitcoin has. “It has transformed people’s relationship with money,” she says. “Folks are just more intentional … and honestly feeling like they had access to a world that was previously walled off.” Read more: El Salvador Is Betting on Bitcoin to Rebrand the Country — and Strengthen the President’s Grip She knows frauds exists. In May, a federal watchdog revealed that since October 2020, nearly 7,000 people have reported losses of more than $80 million on crypto scams—12 times more scam reports than the same period the previous year. The median individual loss: $1,900. For Fadirepo, it’s worrying. That’s part of why she helps moderate recurring free learning and discussion options like the Black Bitcoin Billionaires chat room on Clubhouse, which has grown from about 2,000 to 130,000 club members this year. Jared Soares for TIMECharlene Fadirepo, a banker and former government regulator, near the National Museum of African American History and Culture There’s a reason Black investors might prefer their own spaces for that kind of education. Fadirepo says it’s not unheard-of in general crypto spaces—theoretically open to all, but not so much in practice—to hear that relying on the U.S. dollar is slavery. “To me, a descendant of enslaved people in America, that was painful,” she says. “There’s a lot of talk about sovereignty, freedom from the U.S. dollar, freedom from inflation, inflation is slavery, blah blah blah. The historical context has been sucked out of these conversations about traditional financial systems. I don’t know how I can talk about banking without also talking about history.” Back in January, I found myself in a convenience store in a low-income and predominantly Black neighborhood in Dallas, an area still living the impact of segregation decades after its official end. I was there to report on efforts to register Black residents for COVID-19 shots after an Internet-only sign-up system—and wealthier people gaming the system—created an early racial disparity in vaccinations. I stepped away to buy a bottle of water. Inside the store, a Black man wondered aloud where the lottery machine had gone. He’d come to spend his usual $2 on tickets and had found a Bitcoin machine sitting in its place. A second Black man standing nearby, surveying chip options, explained that Bitcoin was a form of money, an investment right there for the same $2. After just a few questions, the first man put his money in the machine and walked away with a receipt describing the fraction of one bitcoin he now owned. Read more: When a Texas County Tried to Ensure Racial Equity in COVID-19 Vaccinations, It Didn’t Go as Planned I was both worried and intrigued. What kind of arrangement had prompted the store’s owner to replace the lottery machine? That month, a single bitcoin reached the $40,000 mark. “That’s very revealing, if someone chooses to put a cryptocurrency machine in the same place where a lottery [machine] was,” says Jeffrey Frankel, a Harvard economist, when I tell him that story. Frankel has described cryptocurrencies as similar to gambling, more often than not attracting those who can least afford to lose, whether they are in El Salvador or Texas. Frankel ranks among the economists who have been critical of El Salvador’s decision to begin recognizing Bitcoin last month as an official currency, in part because of the reality that few in the county have access to the internet, as well as the cryptocurrency’s price instability and its lack of backing by hard assets, he says. At the same time that critics have pointed to the shambolic Bitcoin rollout in El Salvador, Bitcoin has become a major economic force in Nigeria, one of the world’s larger players in cryptocurrency trading. In fact, some have argued that it has helped people in that country weather food inflation. But, to Frankel, crypto does not contain promise for lasting economic transformation. To him, disdain for experts drives interest in cryptocurrency in much the same way it can fuel vaccine hesitancy. Frankel can see the potential to reduce remittance costs, and he does not doubt that some people have made money. Still, he’s concerned that the low cost and click-here ease of buying crypto may draw people to far riskier crypto assets, he says. Then he tells me he’d put the word assets here in a hard set of air quotes. And Frankel, who is white, is not alone. Darrick Hamilton, an economist at the New School who is Black, says Bitcoin should be seen in the same framework as other low-cost, high-risk, big-payoff options. “In the end, it’s a casino,” he says. To people with less wealth, it can feel like one of the few moneymaking methods open to them, but it’s not a source of group uplift. “Like any speculation, those that can arbitrage the market will be fine,” he says. “There’s a whole lot of people that benefited right before the Great Recession, but if they didn’t get out soon enough, they lost their shirts too.” To buyers like Jiri Sampson, a Black cryptocurrency investor who works in real estate and lives outside Washington, D.C., that perspective doesn’t register as quite right. The U.S.-born son of Guyanese immigrants wasn’t thinking about exploitation when he invested his first $20 in cryptocurrency in 2017. But the groundwork was there. Sampson homeschools his kids, due in part to his lack of faith that public schools equip Black children with the skills to determine their own fates. He is drawn to the capacity of this technology to create greater agency for Black people worldwide. The blockchain, for example, could be a way to establish ownership for people who don’t hold standard documents—an important issue in Guyana and many other parts of the world, where individuals who have lived on the land for generations are vulnerable to having their property co-opted if they lack formal deeds. Sampson even pitched a project using the blockchain and GPS technology to establish digital ownership records to the Guyanese government, which did not bite. “I don’t want to downplay the volatility of Bitcoin,” Sampson says. But that’s only a significant concern, he believes, if one intends to sell quickly. To him, Bitcoin represents a “harder” asset than the dollar, which he compares to a ship with a hole in it. Bitcoin has a limited supply, while the Fed can decide to print more dollars anytime. That, to Sampson, makes some cryptocurrencies, namely Bitcoin, good to buy and hold, to pass along wealth from one generation to another. Economists and crypto buyers aren’t the only ones paying attention. Congress, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Federal Reserve have indicated that they will move toward official assessments or regulation soon. At least 10 federal agencies are interested in or already regulating crypto in some way, and there’s now a Congressional Blockchain Caucus. Representatives from the Federal Reserve and the SEC declined to comment, but SEC Chairman Gary Gensler assured a Senate subcommittee in September that his agency is working to develop regulation that will apply to cryptocurrency markets and trading activity. Enter Cleve Mesidor, of the quip about the Internet being owned by four white men. When we meet during the summit, she introduces herself: “Cleve Mesidor, I’m in crypto.” She’s the first person I’ve ever heard describe herself that way, but not that long ago, “influencer” wasn’t a career either. A former Obama appointee who worked inside the Commerce Department on issues related to entrepreneurship and economic development, Mesidor learned about cryptocurrency during that time. But she didn’t get involved in it personally until 2013, when she purchased $200 in Bitcoin. After leaving government, she founded the National Policy Network of Women of Color in Blockchain, and is now the public policy adviser for the industry group the Blockchain Association. There are more men than women in Black crypto spaces, she tells me, but the gender imbalance tends to be less pronounced than in white-dominated crypto communities. Mesidor, who immigrated to the U.S. from Haiti and uses her crypto investments to fund her professional “wanderlust,” has also lived crypto’s downsides. She’s been hacked and the victim of an attempted ransomware attack. But she still believes cryptocurrency and related technology can solve real-world problems, and she’s trying, she says, to make sure that necessary consumer protections are not structured in a way that chokes the life out of small businesses or investors. “D.C. is like Vegas; the house always wins,” says Mesidor, whose independently published book is called The Clevolution: My Quest for Justice in Politics & Crypto. “The crypto community doesn’t get that.” Passion, she says, is not enough. The community needs to be involved in the regulatory discussions that first intensified after the price of a bitcoin went to $20,000 in 2017. A few days after the summit, when Mesidor and I spoke by phone, Bitcoin had climbed to nearly $60,000. At Barcode, the Washington lounge, Isaiah Jackson is holding court. A man with a toothpaste-commercial smile, he’s the author of the independently published Bitcoin & Black America, has appeared on CNBC and is half of the streaming show The Gentleman of Crypto, which bills itself as the one of the longest-running cryptocurrency shows on the Internet. When he was building websites as a sideline, he convinced a large black church in Charlotte, N.C., to, for a time, accept Bitcoin donations. He helped establish Black Bitcoin Billionaires on Clubhouse and, like Fadirepo, helps moderate some of its rooms and events. He’s also a former teacher, descended from a line of teachers, and is using those skills to develop (for a fee) online education for those who want to become crypto investors. Now, there’s a small group standing near him, talking, but mostly listening. Jackson was living in North Carolina when one of his roommates, a white man who worked for a money-management firm, told him he had just heard a presentation about crypto and thought he might want to suggest it to his wealthy parents. The concept blew Jackson’s mind. He soon started his own research. “Being in the Black community and seeing the actions of banks, with redlining and other things, it just appealed to me,” Jackson tells me. “You free the money, you free everything else.” Read more: Beyond Tulsa: The Historic Legacies and Overlooked Stories of America’s ‘Black Wall Streets’ He took his $400 savings and bought two bitcoins in October 2013. That December, the price of a single bitcoin topped $1,100. He started thinking about what kind of new car he’d buy. And he stuck with it, even seeing prices fluctuate and scams proliferate. When the Gentlemen of Bitcoin started putting together seminars, one of the early venues was at a college fair connected to an annual HBCU basketball tournament attended by thousands of mostly Black people. Bitcoin eventually became more than an investment. He believed there was great value in spreading the word. But that was then. “I’m done convincing people. There’s no point battling going back and forth,” he says. “Even if they don’t realize it, what [investors] are doing if they are keeping their bitcoin long term, they are moving money out of the current system into another one. And that is basically the best form of peaceful protest.”   —With reporting by Leslie Dickstein and Simmone Shah.....»»

Category: topSource: timeOct 15th, 2021

33 startup companies that are currently hiring remote workers

From meal delivery service Daily Harvest to video-sharing platform Cameo, more companies are offering positions with remote work flexibility. In amidst of The Great Resignation, 33 companies are rising as the top startups to work for remotely Jessie Casson/Getty Images More people are looking for jobs with flexibility to work from home amid the 'Great Resignation.' LinkedIn recently released its 2021 Top Startups list featuring businesses that are hiring remotely. From Daily Harvet to Cameo, here are 33 companies hiring with remote work availability. Looking for a new gig? You're not alone. 55% of us are planning to find a new job this year, according to a recent Bankrate survey, and the phenomenon even has a name: The Great Resignation. One big reason why many employees are looking to make a change is the need for flexibility - both in terms of hours and working location. Remote jobs typically offer both in spades, and who doesn't love being able to put on a load of laundry between conference calls? LinkedIn just released its 2021 Top Startups list, ranking companies that are providing the benefits and perks employees want most now."In addition to remote and hybrid models, many of the companies are supporting their workers with WFH stipends, increased mental health benefits, virtual trainings, and upskilling opportunities to help people succeed in this new normal," said LinkedIn Senior Editor at Large Jessi Hempel. The majority of the startups listed are embracing remote and hybrid roles. Of the 50 startups, 33 are actively hiring remote roles, and some companies have quite a few jobs available. One of them is Gemini, a next-generation cryptocurrency platform currently hiring more than 325 remote roles. "We see hiring remote employees as an opportunity not only to expand our talent pool but also to expand diversity of background in the crypto industry as a whole," said Gemini's Director of Talent Acquisition Jonathan Tamblyn. "By hiring for skills, knowledge, and potential first rather than geography, we are able to hire employees that represent the populations we want to empower through crypto - particularly women and minorities - who have traditionally been underrepresented in the industry."Another company is Gong, a revenue intelligence platform based in Palo Alto, California, that has more than 425 remote roles open now. "Hiring remotely has enabled our team composition to reflect the diversity of our customers and hire in communities where talented residents want more opportunities to shine professionally," said Sandi Kochhar, chief people officer at Gong. Here's a look at all of the companies from the recent LinkedIn Top Startups list that are hiring remote positions. Good luck! You got this! BetterBetter is a fintech company located in New York City aiming to improve the home buying and financing process. Remote jobs available include mortgage underwriter, senior UX writer, and creative designer.GlossierGlossier is a makeup and skincare company based in New York City that was started by beauty editors and is primarily direct-to-consumer but has a growing physical footprint. Remote jobs include lead front end engineer and creative operations project manager.BrexBrex is aiming to be the "all-in-one" finance option for businesses - offering high-limit credit cards, business accounts, a rewards program, expense tracking, and more. Small office hubs are located in San Francisco, New York City, Salt Lake City, and Vancouver, B.C. Remote jobs include art director and manager of social and community support.AttentiveAttentive is a personalized text messaging platform built for innovative e-commerce brands based in New York City. Remote jobs include mid-market sales manager and web marketing manager.OutreachOutreach is an integrated business-to-business platform helping companies drive sales based in Seattle. Remote jobs include corporate counsel, and product and senior email deliverability specialists. GongGong is a revenue intelligence platform based in Palo Alto, with more than 425 active remote roles. Remote jobs include senior user researcher and in-house counsel. MikMakBased in New York City, MikMak is a digital platform for consumer product companies that enables multi-retailer checkout by shoppers and insights solutions to help brands better understand customer behavior. Remote jobs include VP of sales operations and director of product marketing.GravyLocated in Alpharetta, Georgia, Gravy is a "virtual retention" startup helping subscription-based businesses retain their customers through remedying failed payments. Remote jobs include account manager and sales development representative. Daily HarvestDaily Harvest is a plant-based meal delivery service providing a range of smoothies, flatbreads, desserts, snacks, and more through a subscription-based model. (You may have seen their mouthwatering ads on Instagram recently!) The company is based in New York City. Remote jobs include software engineering manager and senior strategic analytics associate. CameoBased in Chicago, Cameo is a video-sharing platform where celebrities and public figures send personalized video messages to fans. Remote jobs include QA automation engineer and lifecycle marketing lead. TherabodyA tech wellness company in Los Angeles, Therabody is best known for the "Theragun," a popular massage-therapy device intended to reduce muscle tension and accelerate recovery. Remote jobs include a quality manager and a copywriter. RampRamp is a corporate credit card company based in New York City that helps business owners save money via expense management, savings opportunities, receipt matching, and other services. Remote jobs include demand generation lead and product and regulatory counsel. GitLabGitLab, a DevOps platform, helps companies deliver software faster and more efficiently from its headquarters in San Francisco. Remote jobs include backend engineering manager, pipeline execution, and senior technical content editor. MedableBased in Palo Alto, Medable is a global platform aiming to get effective therapies to patients quickly, minimizing the need for in-person clinical visits. Remote jobs include HR systems manager and android developer.Guild Education Based out of Denver, Colorado, Guild Education works with employers to help them provide strategic education and upskilling programs for employees. Remote jobs include vice president of operations and technical marketing operations manager. DriftDrift is a conversational marketing platform based in Boston that is designed to enhance the digital buying experience, including features like an AI-powered chatbot and customizable live chat widgets. Remote jobs include onboarding manager and manager of conversation design.RoHeadquartered in New York City, Ro is a health care company that provides virtual primary care services by connecting telehealth, diagnostics, and pharmacy delivery. Remote jobs include associate director of member experience, systems and platforms, and associate manager of offline marketing.BlockFi BlockFi is a financial services company where clients can buy, sell and earn cryptocurrency, based in Jersey City, New Jersey. Remote jobs include manager of retention and loyalty marketing and director of program management. Scale AIScale Al, which is based in San Francisco, is a platform that helps machine learning teams process their data faster and accurately and helps companies supercharge their artificial intelligence efforts. Remote jobs include an IT operations manager.Hawke MediaHawke Media is a marketing consultancy working to grow brands of all sizes, industries, and business models in Santa Monica, California. Remote jobs include content editor, social media, and influencer marketing manager. Boom SupersonicBased in Denver, Boom Supersonic is developing a high-speed airliner built to transport passengers at twice the speed of traditional planes. Remote jobs include senior creative director and recruiter. DutchieFrom Bend, Oregon, dutchie is a technology platform that enables cannabis dispensaries to set up e-commerce operations. Remote jobs include strategic finance associate and manager of database reliability.Lyra HealthLyra Health is an online mental health counseling platform based out of Burlingame, California, that provides therapy and mental health services. Remote jobs include event marketing coordinator and product design manager.GetawayGetaway is a hospitality company in Brooklyn that offers modern cabin rentals that are two hours from major urban centers. Remote jobs include reservations manager and head of growth. Catalyst SoftwareBased out of New York City, Catalyst Software helps sales and customer teams connect the various tools they use into a centralized data-driven view of how a client is doing. Remote jobs include engineering manager on the customer success intelligence team and sales development representative. RubrikRubrik is a cloud-based platform based in Palo Alto that helps companies with data management. Remote jobs include professional services consultants. GeminiGemini is a cryptocurrency exchange in New York City, that enables users to buy, sell and store digital assets. The more than 325 remote jobs available include engineering manager for credit cards, associate director of technical accounting, and senior software engineer. ClickUpClickUp's app combines task management, goal setting, calendars, to-do lists, and an inbox so that teams can be more productive. Headquartered in San Diego, remote jobs include program coaches and professional services consultants. SUPERHUMANSuperhuman, out of San Francisco, wants you to have a better, faster email experience, and they are "re-imagining the inbox" to make it more efficient. Remote jobs include senior mobile engineer and product marketing manager.InnovaccerBased in San Francisco, Innovaccer curates the world's health care information to make it more accessible and useful for providers and organizations. Remote jobs include platform data architect and senior director of healthcare AI.FlowcodeFlowcode allows users to create customized, advanced Quick Response (QR) codes that never expire, making it easier for companies to directly connect their customers to digital resources. Based in New York City, the company is hiring for a remote product analyst.JerryBased in Palo Alto, Jerry helps car owners save money on vehicle insurance. Remote jobs include associate editor and writer/editor.OneTrustHeadquartered in Atlanta and London, OneTrust helps companies manage privacy, security, and governance requirements through its compliance software. Remote jobs include UI architects.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 14th, 2021

Humble & Fume, Inc. Reports Fiscal 2021 Fourth Quarter and Full Year Financial Results

Fiscal year 2021 revenue increased 71% y-o-y to $74.1 million Appointed experienced cannabis industry leader, Joel Toguri, as Chief Executive Officer Company continues to execute against its plans to drive revenue with a strong focus on profit while further expanding the U.S. business TORONTO, Oct. 6, 2021 /PRNewswire/ - Humble & Fume Inc. (CSE:HMBL) ("Humble" or the "Company"), a leading North American distributor of cannabis and cannabis accessories, supported by a customer-centric sales team and strong fulfillment infrastructure, today reported its financial results for the fiscal 2021 fourth quarter and year ended June 30, 2021. "Humble bridges the gap between cannabis brands, accessory producers and the growing retail market in North America to drive increased sales and maximize financial performance for our partners. Throughout fiscal 2021, we significantly increased our new retailer accounts, which helped drive record fiscal year revenue of $74 million. Revenue increased 71% while gross margin increased by 143% year-over-year. We achieved this strong organic growth and margin enhancement while continuing to identify new opportunities to grow profitably," said Joel Toguri, Chief Executive Officer of Humble. "We believe that Humble is uniquely positioned to capitalize on actionable opportunities to expand our Canadian cannabis distribution model into the U.S., including dispensaries and partnering exclusively with leading plant touching brands. We plan to export the knowledge and experience from our Canadian operations to strategically enter new U.S. markets with a focused on measured growth," continued Mr. Toguri. "As we look ahead to the next few quarters, we are focused on rationalization of the business further to drive profitable growth. In addition to maintaining our rapid growth, we are laser focused on further improving margins and cash flow by managing expenses, finding efficiencies and streamlining our product procurement and inventory management systems. We believe that we have the vision and capital resources to continue executing during our rapid growth phase and as we move to generate sustainable profit and positive cash flow to deliver long-term shareholder value," concluded Mr. Toguri. "Fiscal 2021 resulted in significant milestones for Humble, most notably the successful closing of our go-public transaction, commencing trading on the CSE, and the introduction of new leadership, with Joel Toguri as Chief Executive Officer. As a proven leader, with strong experience in the cannabis industry, the Board is extremely pleased to have Joel at the helm as we streamline operations and continue to focus on retail distribution and sales growth over the coming year," said Shawn Dym, Executive Chairman of the Board of Humble. Operational Updates Completed its go-public transaction and commenced trading on the Canadian Stock Exchange under the symbol "HMBL." Strengthened its Board of Directors with the appointment of Jakob Ripshtein, former President of Aphria Inc., a leading global cannabis-lifestyle consumer packaged goods company that since merged with Tilray Inc. Enhanced leadership team with the appointment of Joel Toguri joining as Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Toguri, former Chief Revenue Officer at The Supreme Cannabis Company Inc., joined Humble with significant leadership experience and a proven track record of delivering superior execution and sales growth in the cannabis industry. Entered into a strategic supply agreement with ...Full story available on Benzinga.com.....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaOct 6th, 2021

Humble & Fume, Inc. Reports Fiscal 2021 Fourth Quarter and Full Year Financial Results

Fiscal year 2021 revenue increased 71% y-o-y to $74.1 million Appointed experienced cannabis industry leader, Joel Toguri, as Chief Executive Officer Company continues to execute against its plans to drive revenue with a strong focus on profit while further expanding the U.S. business TORONTO, Oct. 6, 2021 /CNW/ - Humble & Fume Inc. (CSE:HMBL) ("Humble" or the "Company"), a leading North American distributor of cannabis and cannabis accessories, supported by a customer-centric sales team and strong fulfillment infrastructure, today reported its financial results for the fiscal 2021 fourth quarter and year ended June 30, 2021. "Humble bridges the gap between cannabis brands, accessory producers and the growing retail market in North America to drive increased sales and maximize financial performance for our partners. Throughout fiscal 2021, we significantly increased our new retailer accounts, which helped drive record fiscal year revenue of $74 million. Revenue increased 71% while gross margin increased by 143% year-over-year. We achieved this strong organic growth and margin enhancement while continuing to identify new opportunities to grow profitably," said Joel Toguri, Chief Executive Officer of Humble. "We believe that Humble is uniquely positioned to capitalize on actionable opportunities to expand our Canadian cannabis distribution model into the U.S., including dispensaries and partnering exclusively with leading plant touching brands. We plan to export the knowledge and experience from our Canadian operations to strategically enter new U.S. markets with a focused on measured growth," continued Mr. Toguri. "As we look ahead to the next few quarters, we are focused on rationalization of the business further to drive profitable growth. In addition to maintaining our rapid growth, we are laser focused on further improving margins and cash flow by managing expenses, finding efficiencies and streamlining our product procurement and inventory management systems. We believe that we have the vision and capital resources to continue executing during our rapid growth phase and as we move to generate sustainable profit and positive cash flow to deliver long-term shareholder value," concluded Mr. Toguri. "Fiscal 2021 resulted in significant milestones for Humble, most notably the successful closing of our go-public transaction, commencing trading on the CSE, and the introduction of new leadership, with Joel Toguri as Chief Executive Officer. As a proven leader, with strong experience in the cannabis industry, the Board is extremely pleased to have Joel at the helm as we streamline operations and continue to focus on retail distribution and sales growth over the coming year," said Shawn Dym, Executive Chairman of the Board of Humble. Operational Updates Completed its go-public transaction and commenced trading on the Canadian Stock Exchange under the symbol "HMBL." Strengthened its Board of Directors with the appointment of Jakob Ripshtein, former President of Aphria Inc., a leading global cannabis-lifestyle consumer packaged goods company that since merged with Tilray Inc. Enhanced leadership team with the appointment of Joel Toguri joining as Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Toguri, former Chief Revenue Officer at The Supreme Cannabis Company Inc., joined Humble with significant leadership experience and a proven track record of delivering superior execution and sales growth in the cannabis industry. Entered into a strategic supply agreement with Fire & Flower Holding Corp. to offer an expanded ...Full story available on Benzinga.com.....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaOct 6th, 2021

Camber Energy: What If They Made a Whole Company Out of Red Flags? – Kerrisdale

Kerrisdale Capital is short shares of Camber Energy Inc (NYSEAMERICAN:CEI). Camber is a defunct oil producer that has failed to file financial statements with the SEC since September 2020, is in danger of having its stock delisted next month, and just fired its accounting firm in September. Its only real asset is a 73% stake […] Kerrisdale Capital is short shares of Camber Energy Inc (NYSEAMERICAN:CEI). Camber is a defunct oil producer that has failed to file financial statements with the SEC since September 2020, is in danger of having its stock delisted next month, and just fired its accounting firm in September. Its only real asset is a 73% stake in Viking Energy Group Inc (OTCMKTS:VKIN), an OTC-traded company with negative book value and a going-concern warning that recently violated the maximum-leverage covenant on one of its loans. (For a time, it also had a fake CFO – long story.) Nonetheless, Camber’s stock price has increased by 6x over the past month; last week, astonishingly, an average of $1.9 billion worth of Camber shares changed hands every day. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Henry Singleton Series in PDF Get the entire 4-part series on Henry Singleton in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q2 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Is there any logic to this bizarre frenzy? Camber pumpers have seized upon the notion that the company is now a play on carbon capture and clean energy, citing a license agreement recently entered into by Viking. But the “ESG Clean Energy” technology license is a joke. Not only is it tiny relative to Camber’s market cap (costing only $5 million and granting exclusivity only in Canada), but it has embroiled Camber in the long-running escapades of a western Massachusetts family that once claimed to have created a revolutionary new combustion engine, only to wind up being penalized by the SEC for raising $80 million in unregistered securities offerings, often to unaccredited investors, and spending much of it on themselves. But the most fascinating part of the CEI boondoggle actually has to do with something far more basic: how many shares are there, and why has dilution been spiraling out of control? We believe the market is badly mistaken about Camber’s share count and ignorant of its terrifying capital structure. In fact, we estimate its fully diluted share count is roughly triple the widely reported number, bringing its true, fully diluted market cap, absurdly, to nearly $900 million. Since Camber is delinquent on its financials, investors have failed to fully appreciate the impact of its ongoing issuance of an unusual, highly dilutive class of convertible preferred stock. As a result of this “death spiral” preferred, Camber has already seen its share count increase 50- million-fold from early 2016 to July 2021 – and we believe it isn’t over yet, as preferred holders can and will continue to convert their securities and sell the resulting common shares. Even at the much lower valuation that investors incorrectly think Camber trades for, it’s still overvalued. The core Viking assets are low-quality and dangerously levered, while any near- term benefits from higher commodity prices will be muted by hedges established in 2020. The recent clean-energy license is nearly worthless. It’s ridiculous to have to say this, but Camber isn’t worth $900 million. If it looks like a penny stock, and it acts like a penny stock, it is a penny stock. Camber has been a penny stock before – no more than a month ago, in fact – and we expect that it will be once again. Company Background Founded in 2004, Camber was originally called Lucas Energy Resources. It went public via a reverse merger in 2006 with the plan of “capitaliz[ing] on the increasing availability of opportunistic acquisitions in the energy sector.”1 But after years of bad investments and a nearly 100% decline in its stock price, the company, which renamed itself Camber in 2017, found itself with little economic value left; faced with the prospect of losing its NYSE American listing, it cast about for new acquisitions beginning in early 2019. That’s when Viking entered the picture. Jim Miller, a member of Camber’s board, had served on the board of a micro-cap company called Guardian 8 that was working on “a proprietary new class of enhanced non-lethal weapons”; Guardian 8’s CEO, Steve Cochennet, happened to also be part owner of a Kansas-based company that operated some of Viking’s oil and gas assets and knew that Viking, whose shares traded over the counter, was interested in moving up to a national exchange.2 (In case you’re wondering, under Miller and Cochennet’s watch, Guardian 8’s stock saw its price drop to ~$0; it was delisted in 2019.3) Viking itself also had a checkered past. Previously a shell company, it was repurposed by a corporate lawyer and investment banker named Tom Simeo to create SinoCubate, “an incubator of and investor in privately held companies mainly in P.R. China.” But this business model went nowhere. In 2012, SinoCubate changed its name to Viking Investments but continued to achieve little. In 2014, Simeo brought in James A. Doris, a Canadian lawyer, as a member of the board of directors and then as president and CEO, tasked with executing on Viking’s new strategy of “acquir[ing] income-producing assets throughout North America in various sectors, including energy and real estate.” In a series of transactions, Doris gradually built up a portfolio of oil wells and other energy assets in the United States, relying on large amounts of high-cost debt to get deals done. But Viking has never achieved consistent GAAP profitability; indeed, under Doris’s leadership, from 2015 to the first half of 2021, Viking’s cumulative net income has totaled negative $105 million, and its financial statements warn of “substantial doubt regarding the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern.”4 At first, despite the Guardian 8 crew’s match-making, Camber showed little interest in Viking and pursued another acquisition instead. But, when that deal fell apart, Camber re-engaged with Viking and, in February 2020, announced an all-stock acquisition – effectively a reverse merger in which Viking would end up as the surviving company but transfer some value to incumbent Camber shareholders in exchange for the national listing. For reasons that remain somewhat unclear, this original deal structure was beset with delays, and in December 2020 (after months of insisting that deal closing was just around the corner) Camber announced that it would instead directly purchase a 51% stake in Viking; at the same time, Doris, Viking’s CEO, officially took over Camber as well. Subsequent transactions through July 2021 have brough Camber’s Viking stake up to 69.9 million shares (73% of Viking’s total common shares), in exchange for consideration in the form of a mixture of cash, debt forgiveness,5 and debt assumption, valued in the aggregate by Viking at only $50.7 million: Camber and Viking announced a new merger agreement in February 2021, aiming to take out the remaining Viking shares not owned by Camber and thus fully combine the two companies, but that plan is on hold because Camber has failed to file its last 10-K (as well as two subsequent 10-Qs) and is thus in danger of being delisted unless it catches up by November. Today, then, Camber’s absurd equity valuation rests entirely on its majority stake in a small, unprofitable oil-and-gas roll-up cobbled together by a Canadian lawyer. An Opaque Capital Structure Has Concealed the True Insanity of Camber’s Valuation What actually is Camber’s equity valuation? It sounds like a simple question, and sources like Bloomberg and Yahoo Finance supply what looks like a simple answer: 104.2 million shares outstanding times a $3.09 closing price (as of October 4, 2021) equals a market cap of $322 million – absurd enough, given what Camber owns. But these figures only tell part of the story. We estimate that the correct fully diluted market cap is actually a staggering $882 million, including the impact of both Camber’s unusual, highly dilutive Series C convertible preferred stock and its convertible debt. Because Camber is delinquent on its SEC filings, it’s difficult to assemble an up-to-date picture of its balance sheet and capital structure. The widely used 104.2-million-share figure comes from an 8-K filed in July that states, in part: As of July 9, 2021, the Company had 104,195,295 shares of common stock issued and outstanding. The increase in our outstanding shares of common stock from the date of the Company’s February 23, 2021 increase in authorized shares of common stock (from 25 million shares to 250 million shares), is primarily due to conversions of shares of Series C Preferred Stock of the Company into common stock, and conversion premiums due thereon, which are payable in shares of common stock. This bland language belies the stunning magnitude of the dilution that has already taken place. Indeed, we estimate that, of the 104.2 million common shares outstanding on July 9th, 99.7% were created via the conversion of Series C preferred in the past few years – and there’s more where that came from. The terms of Camber’s preferreds are complex but boil down to the following: they accrue non- cash dividends at the sky-high rate of 24.95% per year for a notional seven years but can be converted into common shares at any time. The face value of the preferred shares converts into common shares at a fixed conversion price of $162.50 per share, far higher than the current trading price – so far, so good (from a Camber-shareholder perspective). The problem is the additional “conversion premium,” which is equal to the full seven years’ worth of dividends, or 7 x 24.95% ≈ 175% of face value, all at once, and is converted at a far lower conversion price that “will never be above approximately $0.3985 per share…regardless of the actual trading price of Camber’s common stock” (but could in principle go lower if the price crashes to new lows).6 The upshot of all this is that one share of Series C preferred is now convertible into ~43,885 shares of common stock.7 Historically, all of Camber’s Series C preferred was held by one investor: Discover Growth Fund. The terms of the preferred agreement cap Discover’s ownership of Camber’s common shares at 9.99% of the total, but nothing stops Discover from converting preferred into common up to that cap, selling off the resulting shares, converting additional preferred shares into common up to the cap, selling those common shares, etc., as Camber has stated explicitly (and as Discover has in fact done over the years) (emphasis added): Although Discover may not receive shares of common stock exceeding 9.99% of its outstanding shares of common stock immediately after affecting such conversion, this restriction does not prevent Discover from receiving shares up to the 9.99% limit, selling those shares, and then receiving the rest of the shares it is due, in one or more tranches, while still staying below the 9.99% limit. If Discover chooses to do this, it will cause substantial dilution to the then holders of its common stock. Additionally, the continued sale of shares issuable upon successive conversions will likely create significant downward pressure on the price of its common stock as Discover sells material amounts of Camber’s common stock over time and/or in a short period of time. This could place further downward pressure on the price of its common stock and in turn result in Discover receiving an ever increasing number of additional shares of common stock upon conversion of its securities, and adjustments thereof, which in turn will likely lead to further dilution, reductions in the exercise/conversion price of Discover’s securities and even more downward pressure on its common stock, which could lead to its common stock becoming devalued or worthless.8 In 2017, soon after Discover began to convert some of its first preferred shares, Camber’s then- management claimed to be shocked by the results and sued Discover for fraud, arguing that “[t]he catastrophic effect of the Discover Documents [i.e. the terms of the preferred] is so devastating that the Discover Documents are prima facie unconscionable” because “they will permit Discover to strip Camber of its value and business well beyond the simple repayment of its debt.” Camber called the documents “extremely difficult to understand” and insisted that they “were drafted in such a way as to obscure the true terms of such documents and the total number of shares of common stock that could be issuable by Camber thereunder. … Only after signing the documents did Camber and [its then CEO]…learn that Discover’s reading of the Discover Documents was that the terms that applied were the strictest and most Camber unfriendly interpretation possible.”9 But the judge wasn’t impressed, suggesting that it was Camber’s own fault for failing to read the fine print, and the case was dismissed. With no better options, Camber then repeatedly came crawling back to Discover for additional tranches of funding via preferred sales. While the recent spike in common share count to 104.2 million as of early July includes some of the impact of ongoing preferred conversion, we believe it fails to include all of it. In addition to Discover’s 2,093 shares of Series C preferred held as of February 2021, Camber issued additional shares to EMC Capital Partners, a creditor of Viking’s, as part of a January agreement to reduce Viking’s debt.10 Then, in July, Camber issued another block of preferred shares – also to Discover, we believe – to help fund Viking’s recent deals.11 We speculate that many of these preferred shares have already been converted into common shares that have subsequently been sold into a frenzied retail bid. Beyond the Series C preferred, there is one additional source of potential dilution: debt issued to Discover in three transactions from December 2020 to April 2021, totaling $20.5 million in face value, and amended in July to be convertible at a fixed price of $1.25 per share.12 We summarize our estimates of all of these sources of potential common share issuance below: Might we be wrong about this math? Absolutely – the mechanics of the Series C preferreds are so convoluted that prior Camber management sued Discover complaining that the legal documents governing them “were drafted in such a way as to obscure the true terms of such documents and the total number of shares of common stock that could be issuable by Camber thereunder.” Camber management could easily set the record straight by revealing the most up- to-date share count via an SEC filing, along with any additional clarifications about the expected future share count upon conversion of all outstanding convertible securities. But we're confident that the current share count reported in financial databases like Bloomberg and Yahoo Finance significantly understates the true, fully diluted figure. An additional indication that Camber expects massive future dilution relates to the total authorized shares of common stock under its official articles of incorporation. It was only a few months ago, in February, that Camber had to hold a special shareholder meeting to increase its maximum authorized share count from 25 million to 250 million in order to accommodate all the shares to be issued because of preferred conversions. But under Camber’s July agreement to sell additional preferred shares to Discover, the company (emphasis added) agreed to include proposals relating to the approval of the July 2021 Purchase Agreement and the issuance of the shares of common stock upon conversion of the Series C Preferred Stock sold pursuant to the July 2021 Purchase Agreement, as well as an increase in authorized common stock to fulfill our obligations to issue such shares, at the Company’s next Annual Meeting, the meeting held to approve the Merger or a separate meeting in the event the Merger is terminated prior to shareholder approval, and to use commercially reasonable best efforts to obtain such approvals as soon as possible and in any event prior to January 1, 2022.13 In other words, Camber can already see that 250 million shares will soon not be enough, consistent with our estimate of ~285 million fully diluted shares above. In sum, Camber’s true overvaluation is dramatically worse than it initially appears because of the massive number of common shares that its preferred and other securities can convert into, leading to a fully diluted share count that is nearly triple the figure found in standard information sources used by investors. This enormous latent dilution, impossible to discern without combing through numerous scattered filings made by a company with no up-to-date financial statements in the public domain, means that the market is – perhaps out of ignorance – attributing close to one billion dollars of value to a very weak business. Camber’s Stake in Viking Has Little Real Value In light of Camber’s gargantuan valuation, it’s worth dwelling on some basic facts about its sole meaningful asset, a 73% stake in Viking Energy. As of 6/30/21: Viking had negative $15 million in shareholder equity/book Its financial statements noted “substantial doubt regarding the Company’s ability to continue as a going ” Of its $101.3 million in outstanding debt (at face value), nearly half (48%) was scheduled to mature and come due over the following 12 months. Viking noted that it “does not currently maintain controls and procedures that are designed to ensure that information required to be disclosed by the Company in the reports it files or submits under the Exchange Act are recorded, processed, summarized, and reported within the time periods specified by the Commission’s rules and forms.” Viking’s CEO “has concluded that these [disclosure] controls and procedures are not effective in providing reasonable assurance of compliance.” Viking disclosed that a key subsidiary, Elysium Energy, was “in default of the maximum leverage ratio covenant under the term loan agreement at June 30, 2021”; this covenant caps the entity’s total secured debt to EBITDA at 75 to 1.14 This is hardly a healthy operation. Indeed, even according to Viking’s own black-box estimates, the present value of its total proved reserves of oil and gas, using a 10% discount rate (likely generous given the company’s high debt costs), was $120 million as of 12/31/20,15 while its outstanding debt, as stated above, is $101 million – perhaps implying a sliver of residual economic value to equity holders, but not much. And while some market observers have recently gotten excited about how increases in commodity prices could benefit Camber/Viking, any near-term impact will be blunted by hedges put on by Viking in early 2020, which cover, with respect to its Elysium properties, “60% of the estimated production for 2021 and 50% of the estimated production for the period between January, 2022 to July, 2022. Theses hedges have a floor of $45 and a ceiling ranging from $52.70 to $56.00 for oil, and a floor of $2.00 and a ceiling of $2.425 for natural gas” – cutting into the benefit of any price spikes above those ceiling levels.16 Sharing our dreary view of Viking’s prospects is one of Viking’s own financial advisors, a firm called Scalar, LLC, that Viking hired to prepare a fairness opinion under the original all-stock merger agreement with Camber. Combining Viking’s own internal projections with data on comparable-company valuation multiples, Scalar concluded in October 2020 that Viking’s equity was worth somewhere between $0 and $20 million, depending on the methodology used, with the “purest” methodology – a true, full-blown DCF – yielding the lowest estimate of $0-1 million: Camber’s advisor, Mercer Capital, came to a similar conclusion: its “analysis indicated an implied equity value of Viking of $0 to $34.3 million.”17 It’s inconceivable that a majority stake in this company, deemed potentially worthless by multiple experts and clearly experiencing financial strains, could somehow justify a near-billion-dollar valuation. Instead of dwelling on the unpleasant realities of Viking’s oil and gas business, Camber has drawn investor attention to two recent transactions conducted by Viking with Camber funding: a license agreement with “ESG Clean Energy,” discussed in further detail below, and the acquisition of a 60.3% stake in Simson-Maxwell, described as “a leading manufacturer and supplier of industrial engines, power generation products, services and custom energy solutions.” But Viking paid just $8 million for its Simson-Maxwell shares,18 and the company has just 125 employees; it defies belief to think that this purchase was such a bargain as to make a material dent in Camber’s overvaluation. And what does Simson-Maxwell actually do? One of its key officers, Daryl Kruper (identified as its chairman in Camber’s press release), describes the company a bit less grandly and more concretely on his LinkedIn page: Simson Maxwell is a power systems specialist. The company assembles and sells generator sets, industrial engines, power control systems and switchgear. Simson Maxwell has service and parts facilities in Edmonton, Calgary, Prince George, Vancouver, Nanaimo and Terrace. The company has provided its western Canadian customers with exceptional service for over 70 years. In other words, Simson-Maxwell acts as a sort of distributor/consultant, packaging industrial- strength generators and engines manufactured by companies like GE and Mitsubishi into systems that can provide electrical power, often in remote areas in western Canada; Simson- Maxwell employees then drive around in vans maintaining and repairing these systems. There’s nothing obviously wrong with this business, but it’s small, regional (not just Canada – western Canada specifically), likely driven by an unpredictable flow of new large projects, and unlikely to garner a high standalone valuation. Indeed, buried in one of Viking’s agreements with Simson- Maxwell’s selling shareholders (see p. 23) are clauses giving Viking the right to purchase the rest of the company between July 2024 and July 2026 at a price of at least 8x trailing EBITDA and giving the selling shareholders the right to sell the rest of their shares during the same time frame at a price of at least 7x trailing EBITDA – the kind of multiples associated with sleepy industrial distributors, not fast-growing retail darlings. Since Simon-Maxwell has nothing to do with Viking’s pre-existing assets or (alleged) expertise in oil and gas, and Viking and Camber are hardly flush with cash, why did they make the purchase? We speculate that management is concerned about the combined company’s ability to maintain its listing on the NYSE American. For example, when describing its restruck merger agreement with Viking, Camber noted: Additional closing conditions to the Merger include that in the event the NYSE American determines that the Merger constitutes, or will constitute, a “back-door listing”/“reverse merger”, Camber (and its common stock) is required to qualify for initial listing on the NYSE American, pursuant to the applicable guidance and requirements of the NYSE as of the Effective Time. What does it take to qualify for initial listing on the NYSE American? There are several ways, but three require at least $4 million of positive stockholders’ equity, which Viking, the intended surviving company, doesn’t have today; another requires a market cap of greater than $75 million, which management might (quite reasonably) be concerned about achieving sustainably. That leaves a standard that requires a listed company to have $75 million in assets and revenue. With Viking running at only ~$40 million of annualized revenue, we believe management is attempting to buy up more via acquisition. In fact, if the goal is simply to “buy” GAAP revenue, the most efficient way to do it is by acquiring a stake in a low-margin, slow- growing business – little earnings power, hence a low purchase price, but plenty of revenue. And by buying a majority stake instead of the whole thing, the acquirer can further reduce the capital outlay while still being able to consolidate all of the operation’s revenue under GAAP accounting. Buying 60.3% of Simson-Maxwell seems to fit the bill, but it’s a placeholder, not a real value-creator. Camber’s Partners in the Laughable “ESG Clean Energy” Deal Have a Long History of Broken Promises and Alleged Securities Fraud The “catalyst” most commonly cited by Camber Energy bulls for the recent massive increase in the company’s stock price is an August 24th press release, “Camber Energy Secures Exclusive IP License for Patented Carbon-Capture System,” announcing that the company, via Viking, “entered into an Exclusive Intellectual Property License Agreement with ESG Clean Energy, LLC (‘ESG’) regarding ESG’s patent rights and know-how related to stationary electric power generation, including methods to utilize heat and capture carbon dioxide.” Our research suggests that the “intellectual property” in question amounts to very little: in essence, the concept of collecting the exhaust gases emitted by a natural-gas–fueled electric generator, cooling it down to distill out the water vapor, and isolating the remaining carbon dioxide. But what happens to the carbon dioxide then? The clearest answer ESG Clean Energy has given is that it “can be sold to…cannabis producers”19 to help their plants grow faster, though the vast majority of the carbon dioxide would still end up escaping into the atmosphere over time, and additional greenhouse gases would be generated in compressing and shipping this carbon dioxide to the cannabis producers, likely leading to a net worsening of carbon emissions.20 And what is Viking – which primarily extracts oil and gas from the ground, as opposed to running generators and selling electrical power – supposed to do with this technology anyway? The idea seems to be that the newly acquired Simson-Maxwell business will attempt to sell the “technology” as a value-add to customers who are buying generators in western Canada. Indeed, while Camber’s press-release headline emphasized the “exclusive” nature of the license, the license is only exclusive in Canada plus “up to twenty-five locations in the United States” – making the much vaunted deal even more trivial than it might first appear. Viking paid an upfront royalty of $1.5 million in cash in August, with additional installments of $1.5 and $2 million due by January and April 2022, respectively, for a total of $5 million. In addition, Viking “shall pay to ESG continuing royalties of not more than 15% of the net revenues of Viking generated using the Intellectual Property, with the continuing royalty percentage to be jointly determined by the parties collaboratively based on the parties’ development of realistic cashflow models resulting from initial projects utilizing the Intellectual Property, and with the parties utilizing mediation if they cannot jointly agree to the continuing royalty percentage”21 – a strangely open-ended, perhaps rushed, way of setting a royalty rate. Overall, then, Viking is paying $5 million for roughly 85% of the economics of a technology that might conceivably help “capture” CO2 emitted by electric generators in Canada (and up to 25 locations in the United States!) but then probably just re-emit it again. This is the great advance that has driven Camber to a nearly billion-dollar market cap. It’s with good reason that on ESG Clean Energy’s web site (as of early October), the list of “press releases that show that ESG Clean Energy is making waves in the distributive power industry” is blank: If the ESG Clean Energy license deal were just another trivial bit of vaporware hyped up by a promotional company and its over-eager shareholders, it would be problematic but unremarkable; things like that happen all the time. But it’s the nature and history of Camber/Viking’s counterparty in the ESG deal that truly makes the situation sublime. ESG Clean Energy is in fact an offshoot of the Scuderi Group, a family business in western Massachusetts created to develop the now deceased Carmelo Scuderi’s idea for a revolutionary new type of engine. (In a 2005 AP article entitled “Engine design draws skepticism,” an MIT professor “said the creation is almost certain to fail.”) Two of Carmelo’s children, Nick and Sal, appeared in a recent ESG Clean Energy video with Camber’s CEO, who called Sal “more of the brains behind the operation” but didn’t state his official role – interesting since documents associated with ESG Clean Energy’s recent small-scale capital raises don’t mention Sal at all. Buried in Viking’s contract with ESG Clean Energy is the following section, indicating that the patents and technology underlying the deal actually belong in the first instance to the Scuderi Group, Inc.: 2.6 Demonstration of ESG’s Exclusive License with Scuderi Group and Right to Grant Licenses in this Agreement. ESG shall provide necessary documentation to Viking which demonstrates ESG’s right to grant the licenses in this Section 2 of this Agreement. For the avoidance of doubt, ESG shall provide necessary documentation that verifies the terms and conditions of ESG’s exclusive license with the Scuderi Group, Inc., a Delaware USA corporation, having an address of 1111 Elm Street, Suite 33, West Springfield, MA 01089 USA (“Scuderi Group”), and that nothing within ESG’s exclusive license with the Scuderi Group is inconsistent with the terms of this Agreement. In fact, the ESG Clean Energy entity itself was originally called Scuderi Clean Energy but changed its name in 2019; its subsidiary ESG-H1, LLC, which presides over a long-delayed power-generation project in the small city of Holyoke, Massachusetts (discussed further below), used to be called Scuderi Holyoke Power LLC but also changed its name in 2019.22 The SEC provided a good summary of the Scuderi Group’s history in a 2013 cease-and-desist order that imposed a $100,000 civil money penalty on Sal Scuderi (emphasis added): Founded in 2002, Scuderi Group has been in the business of developing a new internal combustion engine design. Scuderi Group’s business plan is to develop, patent, and license its engine technology to automobile companies and other large engine manufacturers. Scuderi Group, which considers itself a development stage company, has not generated any revenue… …These proceedings arise out of unregistered, non-exempt stock offerings and misleading disclosures regarding the use of offering proceeds by Scuderi Group and Mr. Scuderi, the company’s president. Between 2004 and 2011, Scuderi Group sold more than $80 million worth of securities through offerings that were not registered with the Commission and did not qualify for any of the exemptions from the Securities Act’s registration requirement. The company’s private placement memoranda informed investors that Scuderi Group intended to use the proceeds from its offerings for “general corporate purposes, including working capital.” In fact, the company was making significant payments to Scuderi family members for non-corporate purposes, including, large, ad hoc bonus payments to Scuderi family employees to cover personal expenses; payments to family members who provided no services to Scuderi; loans to Scuderi family members that were undocumented, with no written interest and repayment terms; large loans to fund $20 million personal insurance policies for six of the Scuderi siblings for which the company has not been, and will not be, repaid; and personal estate planning services for the Scuderi family. Between 2008 and 2011, a period when Scuderi Group sold more than $75 million in securities despite not obtaining any revenue, Mr. Scuderi authorized more than $3.2 million in Scuderi Group spending on such purposes. …In connection with these offerings [of stock], Scuderi Group disseminated more than 3,000 PPMs [private placement memoranda] to potential investors, directly and through third parties. Scuderi Group found these potential investors by, among other things, conducting hundreds of roadshows across the U.S.; hiring a registered broker-dealer to find investors; and paying numerous intermediaries to encourage people to attend meetings that Scuderi Group arranged for potential investors. …Scuderi Group’s own documents reflect that, in total, over 90 of the company’s investors were non-accredited investors… The Scuderi Group and Sal Scuderi neither admitted nor denied the SEC’s findings but agreed to stop violating securities law. Contemporary local news coverage of the regulatory action added color to the SEC’s description of the Scuderis’ fund-raising tactics (emphasis added): Here on Long Island, folks like HVAC specialist Bill Constantine were early investors, hoping to earn a windfall from Scuderi licensing the idea to every engine manufacturer in the world. Constantine said he was familiar with the Scuderis because he worked at an Islandia company that distributed an oil-less compressor for a refrigerant recovery system designed by the family patriarch. Constantine told [Long Island Business News] he began investing in the engine in 2007, getting many of his friends and family to put their money in, too. The company held an invitation-only sales pitch at the Marriott in Islandia in February 2011. Commercial real estate broker George Tsunis said he was asked to recruit investors for the Scuderi Group, but declined after hearing the pitch. “They were talking about doing business with Volkswagen and Mercedes, but everything was on the come,” Tsunis said. “They were having a party and nobody came.” Hot on the heels of the SEC action, an individual investor who had purchased $197,000 of Scuderi Group preferred units sued the Scuderi Group as well as Sal, Nick, Deborah, Stephen, and Ruth Scuderi individually, alleging, among other things, securities fraud (e.g. “untrue statements of material fact” in offering memoranda). This case was settled out of court in 2016 after the judge reportedly “said from the bench that he was likely to grant summary judgement for [the] plaintiff. … That ruling would have clear the way for other investors in Scuderi to claim at least part of a monetary settlement.” (Two other investors filed a similar lawsuit in 2017 but had it dismissed in 2018 because they ran afoul of the statute of limitations.23) The Scuderi Group put on a brave face, saying publicly, “The company is very pleased to put the SEC matter behind it and return focus to its technology.” In fact, in December 2013, just months after the SEC news broke, the company entered into a “Cooperative Consortium Agreement” with Hino Motors, a Japanese manufacturer, creating an “engineering research group” to further develop the Scuderi engine concept. “Hino paid Scuderi an initial fee of $150,000 to join the Consortium Group, which was to be refunded if Scuderi was unable to raise the funding necessary to start the Project by the Commencement Date,” in the words of Hino’s later lawsuit.24 Sure enough, the Scuderi Group ended up canceling the project in early October 2014 “due to funding and participant issues” – but it didn’t pay back the $150,000. Hino’s lawsuit documents Stephen Scuderi’s long series of emailed excuses: 10/31/14: “I must apologize, but we are going to be a little late in our refund of the Consortium Fee of $150,000. I am sure you have been able to deduce that we have a fair amount of challenging financial problems that we are working through. I am counting on financing for our current backlog of Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) projects to provide the capital to refund the Consortium Fee. Though we are very optimistic that the financial package for our PPA projects will be completed successfully, the process is taking a little longer than I originally expected to complete (approximately 3 months longer).” 11/25/14: “I am confident that we can pay Hino back its refund by the end of January. … The reason I have been slow to respond is because I was waiting for feedback from a few large cornerstone investors that we have been negotiating with. The negotiations have been progressing very well and we are close to a comprehensive financing deal, but (as often happens) the back and forth of the negotiating process takes ” 1/12/15: “We have given a proposal to the potential high-end investors that is most interested in investing a large sum of money into Scuderi Group. That investor has done his due-diligence on our company and has communicated to us that he likes our proposal but wants to give us a counter ” 1/31/15: “The individual I spoke of last month is one of several high net worth individuals that are currently evaluating investing a significant amount of equity capital into our That particular individual has not yet responded with a counter proposal, because he wishes to complete a study on the power generation market as part of his due diligence effort first. Though we learned of the study only recently, we believe that his enthusiasm for investing in Scuderi Group remains as strong as ever and steady progress is being made with the other high net worth individuals as well. … I ask only that you be patient for a short while longer as we make every effort possible to raise the monies need[ed] to refund Hino its consortium fee.” Fed up, Hino sued instead of waiting for the next excuse – but ended up discovering that the Scuderi bank account to which it had wired the $150,000 now contained only about $64,000. Hino and the Scuderi Group then entered into a settlement in which that account balance was supposed to be immediately handed over to Hino, with the remainder plus interest to be paid back later – but Scuderi didn’t even comply with its own settlement, forcing Hino to re-initiate its lawsuit and obtain an official court judgment against Scuderi. Pursuant to that judgment, Hino formally requested an array of documents like tax returns and bank statements, but Scuderi simply ignored these requests, using the following brazen logic:25 Though as of this date, the execution has not been satisfied, Scuderi continues to operate in the ordinary course of business and reasonably expects to have money available to satisfy the execution in full in the near future. … Responding to the post- judgment discovery requests, as a practical matter, will not enable Scuderi to pay Hino any faster than can be achieved by Scuderi using all of its resources and efforts to conduct its day-to-day business operations and will only serve to impose additional and unnecessary costs on both parties. Scuderi has offered and is willing to make payments every 30 days to Hino in amounts not less than $10,000 until the execution is satisfied in full. Shortly thereafter, in March 2016, Hino dropped its case, perhaps having chosen to take the $10,000 per month rather than continue to tangle in court with the Scuderis (though we don’t know for sure). With its name tarnished by disgruntled investors and the SEC, and at least one of its bank accounts wiped out by Hino Motors, the Scuderi Group didn’t appear to have a bright future. But then, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, a new business was born: Scuderi Clean Energy, “a wholly owned subsidiary of Scuderi Group, Inc. … formed in October 2015 to market Scuderi Engine Technology to the power generation industry.” (Over time, references to the troubled “Scuderi Engine Technology” have faded away; today ESG Clean Energy is purportedly planning to use standard, off-the-shelf Caterpillar engines. And while an early press release described Scuderi Clean Energy as “a wholly owned subsidiary of Scuderi Group,” the current Scuderi/ESG Clean Energy, LLC, appears to have been created later as its own (nominally) independent entity, led by Nick Scuderi.) As the emailed excuses in the Hino dispute suggested, this pivot to “clean energy” and electric power generation had been in the works for some time, enabling Scuderi Clean Energy to hit the ground running by signing a deal with Holyoke Gas and Electric, a small utility company owned by the city of Holyoke, Massachusetts (population 38,238) in December 2015. The basic idea was that Scuderi Clean Energy would install a large natural-gas generator and associated equipment on a vacant lot and use it to supply Holyoke Gas and Electric with supplemental electric power, especially during “peak demand periods in the summer.”26 But it appears that, from day one, Holyoke had its doubts. In its 2015 annual report (p. 80), the company wrote (emphasis added): In December 2015, the Department contracted with Scuderi Clean Energy, LLC under a twenty (20) year [power purchase agreement] for a 4.375 MW [megawatt] natural gas generator. Uncertain if this project will move forward; however Department mitigated market and development risk by ensuring interconnection costs are born by other party and that rates under PPA are discounted to full wholesale energy and resulting load reduction cost savings (where and if applicable). Holyoke was right to be uncertain. Though its 2017 annual report optimistically said, “Expected Commercial Operation date is April 1, 2018” (p. 90), the 2018 annual report changed to “Expected Commercial Operation is unknown at this time” – language that had to be repeated verbatim in the 2019 and 2020 annual reports. Six years after the contract was signed, the Scuderi Clean Energy, now ESG Clean Energy, project still hasn’t produced one iota of power, let alone one dollar of revenue. What it has produced, however, is funding from retail investors, though perhaps not as much as the Scuderis could have hoped. Beginning in 2017, Scuderi Clean Energy managed to sell roughly $1.3 million27 in 5-year “TIGRcub” bonds (Top-Line Income Generation Rights Certificates) on the small online Entrex platform by advertising a 12% “minimum yield” and 16.72% “projected IRR” (based on 18.84% “revenue participation”) over a 5-year term. While we don’t know the exact terms of these bonds, we believe that, at least early on, interest payments were covered by some sort of prepaid insurance policy, while later payments depend on (so far nonexistent) revenue from the Holyoke project. But Scuderi Clean Energy had been aiming to raise $6 million to complete the project, not $1 million; indeed, this was only supposed to be the first component of a whole empire of “Scuderi power plants”28 that would require over $100 million to build but were supposedly already under contract.29 So far, however, nothing has come of these other projects, and, seemingly suffering from insufficient funding, the Holyoke effort languished. (Of course, it might have been more investor-friendly if Scuderi Clean Energy had only accepted funding on the condition that there was enough to actually complete construction.) Under the new ESG Clean Energy name, the Scuderis tried in 2019 to raise capital again, this time in the form of $5 million of preferred units marketed as a “5 year tax free Investment with 18% cash-on-cash return,” but, based on an SEC filing, it appears that the offering didn’t go well, raising just $150,000. With funding still limited and the Holyoke project far from finished, the clock is ticking: the $1.3 million of bonds will begin to mature in early 2022. It was thus fortunate that Viking came along when it did to pay ESG Clean Energy a $1.5 million upfront royalty for its incredible technology. Interestingly, ESG Clean Energy began in late 2020 to provide extremely detailed updates on its Holyoke construction progress, including items as prosaic as “Throughout the week, ESG had met with and continued to exchange numerous e-mails with our mechanical engineering firm.” With frequent references to the “very fluid environment,” the tone is unmistakably defensive. Consider the September update (emphasis not added): Reading between the lines, we believe the intended message is this: “We didn’t just take your money and run – honest! We’re working hard!” Nonetheless, someone appears to be unhappy, as indicated by the FINRA BrokerCheck report for one Eric Willer, a former employee of Fusion Analytics, which was listed as a recipient of sales compensation in connection with the Scuderi Clean Energy bond offerings. Willer may now be in hot water: a disclosure notice dated 3/31/2021 reads: “Wells Notice received as a preliminary determination to recommend disciplinary action of fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and recommendation without due diligence in the sale of bonds issued by Scuderi Holyoke,” with a further investigation still pending. We wait eagerly for additional updates. Why does the saga of the Scuderis matter? Many Camber investors seem to have convinced themselves that the ESG Clean Energy “carbon capture” IP licensed by Viking has enormous value and can plausibly justify hundreds of millions of dollars of incremental market cap. As we explained above, we find this thoroughly implausible even without getting into Scuderi family history: in the end, the “technology” will at best add a smidgen of value to some generators in Canada. But track records matter too, and the Scuderi track record of failed R&D, delays, excuses, and alleged misuse of funds is worth considering. These people have spent six years trying and failing to sell power to a single municipally owned utility company in a single small city in western Massachusetts. Are they really about to end climate change? The Case of the Fictitious CFO Since Camber is effectively a bet on Viking, and Viking, in its current form, has been assembled by James Doris, it’s important to assess Doris’s probity and good judgment. In that connection, it’s noteworthy that, from December 2014 to July 2016, at the very start of Doris’s reign as Viking’s CEO and president, the company’s CFO, Guangfang “Cecile” Yang, was apparently fictitious. (Covering the case in 2019, Dealbreaker used the headline “Possibly Imaginary CFO Grounds For Very Real Fraud Lawsuit.”) This strange situation was brought to light by an SEC lawsuit against Viking’s founder, Tom Simeo; just last month, a US district court granted summary judgment in favor of the SEC against Simeo, but Simeo’s penalties have yet to be determined.30 The court’s opinion provided a good overview of the facts (references omitted, emphasis added): In 2013, Simeo hired Yang, who lives in Shanghai, China, to be Viking’s CFO. Yang served in that position until she purportedly resigned in July 2016. When Yang joined the company, Simeo fabricated a standing resignation letter, in which Yang purported to “irrevocably” resign her position with Viking “at any time desired by the Company” and “[u]pon notification that the Company accepted [her] resignation”…Simeo forged Yang’s signature on this document. This letter allowed Simeo to remove Yang from the position of CFO whenever he pleased. Simeo also fabricated a power of attorney purportedly signed by Yang that allowed Simeo to “affix Yang’s signature to any and all documents,” including documents that Viking had to file with the SEC. Viking represented to the public that Yang was the company’s CFO and a member of its Board of Directors. But “Yang never actually functioned as Viking’s CFO.” She “was not involved in the financial and strategic decisions” of Viking during the Relevant Period. Nor did she play any role in “preparing Viking’s financial statements or public filings.” Indeed, at least as of April 3, 2015, Yang did not do “any work” on Viking’s financial statements and did not speak with anyone who was preparing them. She also did not “review or evaluate Viking’s internal controls over financial reporting.” Further, during most or all of the Relevant Period, Viking did not compensate Yang despite the fact that she was the company’s highest ranking financial employee. Nevertheless, Simeo says that he personally paid her in cash. Yang’s “sole point of contact” at Viking was Simeo. Indeed Simeo was “the only person at Viking who communicated with Yang.” Thus many people at Viking never interacted with Yang. Despite the fact that Doris has served as Viking’s CEO since December 2014, he “has never met or spoken to Yang either in person or through any other means, and he has never communicated with Yang in writing.” … To think Yang served as CFO during this time, but the CEO and other individuals involved with Viking’s SEC filings never once spoke with her, strains all logical credulity. It remains unclear whether Yang is even a real person. When the SEC asked Simeo directly (“Is it the case that you made up the existence of Ms. Yang?”) he responded by “invoking the Fifth Amendment.”31 While the SEC’s efforts thus far have focused on Simeo, the case clearly raises the question of what Doris knew and when he knew it. Indeed, though many of the required Sarbanes-Oxley certifications of Viking’s financial statements during the Yang period were signed by Simeo in his role as chairman, Doris did personally sign off on an amended 2015 10-K that refers to Yang as CFO through July 2016 and includes her complete, apparently fictitious, biography. Viking has also disclosed the following, which we believe pertains to the Yang affair (emphasis added): In April of 2019, the staff (the “Staff”) of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement notified the Company that the Staff had made a preliminary determination to recommend that the SEC file an enforcement action against the Company, as well as against its CEO and its CFO, for alleged violations of Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder [laws that pertain to securities fraud] during the period from early 2014 through late 2016. The Staff’s notice is not a formal allegation or a finding of wrongdoing by the Company, and the Company has communicated with the Staff regarding its preliminary determination. The Company believes it has adequate defenses and intends to vigorously defend any enforcement action that may be initiated by the SEC.32 Perhaps the SEC has moved on from this matter and will let Doris and Viking off the hook, but the fact pattern is eyebrow-raising nonetheless. A similarly troubling incident came soon after the time of Yang’s “resignation,” when Viking’s auditing firm resigned, withdrew its recent audit report, and wrote a letter “advising the Company that it believed an illegal act may have occurred” – because of concerns that had nothing to do with Yang. First, Viking accounted for the timing of a grant of shares to a consultant in apparent contradiction of the terms of the written agreement with the consultant – a seemingly minor issue. But, under scrutiny from the auditor, Viking “produced a letter… (the version which was provided to us was unsigned), from the consultant stating that the Agreement was invalidated verbally.” Reading between the lines, the “uncomfortable” auditor suspected that this letter was a fake, created just to get him off Viking’s back. In another incident, the auditor “became aware that seven of the company’s loans…were due to be repaid” in August 2016 but hadn’t been, creating a default that would in turn “trigger[] a cross-default clause contained in 17 additional loans” – but Viking claimed it “had secured an oral extension to the loans from the broker-dealer representing the lenders by September 6, 2016” – after the loans’ maturity dates – “so the Company did not need to disclose ‘the defaults under these loans’ after such time since the loans were not in default.” It’s easy to see why an auditor would object to this attitude toward financial disclosure – no need to mention a default in August as long as you can secure a verbal agreement resolving it by September! Against this backdrop of disturbing behavior, the fact that Camber just dismissed its auditing firm three weeks ago on September 16th, even with delisting looming if the company can’t become current again with its SEC filings by November, seems even more unsettling. Have Camber and Viking management earned investors’ trust? Conclusion It’s not clear why, back in 2017, Lucas Energy changed its name to “Camber” specifically, but we’d like to think the inspiration was England’s Camber Castle. According to Atlas Obscura, the castle was supposed to help defend the English coast, but it took so long to build that its “advanced design was obsolete by the time of its completion,” and changes in the local environment meant that “the sea had receded so far that cannons fired from the fort would no longer be able to reach any invading ships.” Still, the useless castle was “manned and serviced” for nearly a century before being officially decommissioned. Today, Camber “lies derelict and almost unheard of.” But what’s in a name? Article by Kerrisdale Capital Management Updated on Oct 5, 2021, 12:06 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkOct 5th, 2021

Aurora Cannabis Announces Fiscal 2021 Fourth Quarter Results

NASDAQ | TSX: ACB #1 Canadian LP in Global Medical Cannabis; Total Medical Cannabis Net Revenue Rose 9% Compared to Prior Year; Strong Adjusted Gross Margin before FVA of 68% Business Transformation Plan on Track; Reiterates Annual Cost Savings of $60 Million to $80 Million, Providing Clear Pathway to Adjusted EBITDA Profitability Balance Sheet Remains Strong with $440.9 Million of Cash at June 30, 2021; Working Capital Improves by $404.3 Million Compared to Prior Year Adjusted EBITDA Loss, Excluding Restructuring Costs, Narrows to $13.9 Million, a $17.6 Million Improvement Compared to Prior Year Total Cannabis Net Revenue, Net of Provisions, of $54.8 Million Compared to $55.2 Million in the Prior Quarter, and $67.5 Million in the Year-Ago Period EDMONTON, AB, Sept. 27, 2021 /PRNewswire/ - Aurora Cannabis Inc. (the "Company" or "Aurora") (NASDAQ:ACB) (TSX:ACB), the Canadian company defining the future of cannabinoids worldwide, today announced its financial and operational results for the fourth quarter and full year fiscal 2021 ended June 30, 2021. "We are very pleased with our strategic and financial progress in growing our high-margin medical revenue, rationalizing expenses, strengthening our balance sheet, and reducing our cash burn during fiscal year 2021. Given ongoing challenges in the Canadian adult recreational market, our broad diversification across domestic medical, international medical, and adult recreational segments provides us with underlying strength, stability, and growth opportunities in an evolving industry for global cannabinoids. Additionally, our enviable leadership position as the #1 Canadian LP in global medical cannabis by revenue on a trailing twelve-month basis, supported by regulatory and compliance expertise, is a tailwind that we expect to enable us to ultimately expand into global adult recreational as medical regimes evolve" stated Miguel Martin, Chief Executive Officer of Aurora Cannabis. "During the quarter, we delivered another strong yet steady performance in domestic medical, the largest federally regulated medical market globally, exceptional year-over-year growth in our high-margin international medical segment, where we remain the #2 Canadian LP by revenue on a trailing twelve-month basis, and quarterly sequential growth in adult recreational which included higher sales of premium cultivars. We are now delighted to announce a long-term supply agreement with Cantek in Israel that we expect to provide us with a steady stream of high-margin revenue that could also evolve into a larger partnership over time. We further believe our Canadian adult recreational segment is poised for recovery due to our product portfolio enhancements coupled with an acceleration of new store openings and rising consumer demand," he continued. "We have positioned ourselves for long-term success by delivering further improvement in our industry-leading Adjusted gross margin and substantially narrowing our Adjusted EBITDA loss compared to the year-ago period. With annual cost savings of approximately $60 to $80 million across selling, general and administrative ("SG&A"), production cost, facility and logistic expenses, we have a clear pathway to achieve Adjusted EBITDA profitability. Importantly, our considerable cash balance of $440.9 million, substantial improvement in working capital, and strong balance sheet support our organic growth and can be utilized for opportunistic M&A, particularly in the U.S," he concluded. Fourth Quarter 2021 Highlights (Unless otherwise stated, comparisons are made between fiscal Q4 2021 and Q4 2020 results and are in Canadian dollars) Medical cannabis: Medical cannabis net revenue1 was $35.0 million, a 9% increase from the prior year period. The increase was primarily attributable to continued growth in the international medical business, 88% over the prior year comparative period, as the Company continued to grow new, high margin medical markets. Adjusted gross margin before fair value adjustments on medical cannabis net revenue1 was 68% versus 64% in the prior year, as a result of overall reduction in production costs due to the closure of non-core facilities as part of our business transformation plan and higher sales coming from our international sales, which yield higher margins. Consumer cannabis: Consumer cannabis net revenue1 was $19.5 million ($20.2 million excluding provisions), a 45% decrease from $35.3 million ($37.1 million excluding provisions) in the prior year. This was due primarily to a reduction in orders from Provinces in response to slower consumer demand, reflecting the impact of lockdown restrictions related to COVID-19. Sequentially, consumer cannabis net revenue increased 8% over the prior quarter mainly due to completion of the transition of our fixed sales force to Great North and a $2.5 million reduction in actual net returns, price adjustments and provisions as the company completed its product swap initiative to replace low quality product with higher potency product at the provinces. Adjusted gross margin before fair value adjustments on consumer cannabis net revenue[1] was 31% vs 36% in the prior year period. This was primarily driven by an increase in cost of sales due to under-utilized capacity at Aurora Sky as a result of the scaling back production (expected to partially reverse in future quarters), offset by an increase in the consumer cannabis sales mix attributed to our core and premium brands, contributing to an increase in our average net selling price per gram of dried cannabis. Consolidated: Adjusted gross margin before fair value adjustments on cannabis net revenue1 was 54% in Q4 2021 versus 49% in the prior year period and 44% in Q3 2021. The increase in Adjusted gross margin compared to Q4 2020 is due primarily to a shift in sales mix towards the medical market which commands higher average net selling prices and margins. Adjusted EBITDA1 loss improved to $19.3 million in Q4 2021 ($13.9 million loss excluding restructuring charges) compared to the prior year Adjusted EBITDA loss1 of $33.3 million ($31.5 million loss excluding restructuring charges) primarily driven by the substantial decrease in SG&A and R&D expenses and an increase in gross margins. Q4 2021 total cannabis net revenue1 was $54.8 million, essentially flat sequentially, and a 19% decrease in over fiscal Q4 of the prior year. Reflecting the shift in mix toward our medical businesses, the Q4 2021 average net selling price per gram of dried cannabis1 increased to $5.11 per gram from $3.60 in Q4 2020 and $5.00 in Q3 2021. This excludes the impact of bulk wholesale of excess mid-potency cannabis flower at clear-out pricing. Selling, General and Administrative ("SG&A"): SG&A, including Research and Development ("R&D"), was $44.8 million, excluding $5.2 million in severance and restructuring costs ($49.9 million reported), down $19.1 million or 30% from the prior year as a result of our business transformation plan. Operational Efficiency Plan, Balance Sheet Strength, & Working Capital Improvement Aurora has identified cash savings of $60 million to $80 million. We expect to deliver $30 million to $40 million of annualized cash savings within the next year, and the remainder by the end of Q2 fiscal 2023. ___________________________________ 1 These terms are non-GAAP measures, see "Non-GAAP Measures" below. Approximately 60% of the savings are expected to be driven out of our network through asset consolidation, and operational and supply chain efficiencies. In fact, last week we announced the centralization of much of our Canadian manufacturing processes to our River facility in Bradford, Ontario and the resultant closure of our western Canada manufacturing facility. The remaining 40% of savings are intended to be sourced through SG&A; a portion of those savings will be via insurance structures that are already partially executed.   These cash savings will be reflected in our P&L either as they occur for SG&A savings, or as inventory is drawn down for production-related savings.  These efficiencies are incremental to the approximately $300 million of total cost reductions achieved since the announcement of the Company's business transformation plan in February 2020. Aurora materially improved its balance sheet during fiscal year 2021 through a number of purposeful actions including repaying the credit facility in full in June 2021, which resulted in interest and principal repayment reductions of approximately $25 million annually. The Company views a strong balance sheet as critical to operating the business, executing its strategic plans, and pursuing growth opportunities in an unconstrained manner, including within the U.S. At June 30, 2021 Aurora has a cash balance of approximately $440.9 million, comprised of $421.5 million of cash and cash equivalents and $19.4 million in restricted cash, no secured term debt, and access to US$1 billion of capital under its shelf prospectus. The Company's focus on realizing operational efficiencies and ability to manage cash has greatly improved operating cash flow; reducing the need for incremental capital. In Q4 2021, Aurora managed cash flow tightly using $7.8 million in cash to fund operations, including working capital investments and restructuring and severance payments of $5.1 million. Cash inflow from capital expenditures, net of $17.5 million disposals and government grant income, in Q4 2021 was $6.2 million versus $32.8 million of cash used in Q4 2020 and $12.2 million of cash used in Q3 2021. Cash used in operations and for capital expenditures are crucial metrics in Aurora's drive toward generating sustainable positive free cash flow, and both have improved significantly over the past year. The Company's ongoing business transformation, with the additional cost efficiency savings described earlier, is expected to move the operating cash flow metric in a positive direction over the coming quarters. Fiscal Q4 2021 Cash Use The main components of cash source and use in Q4 2021 were as follows: ($ thousands) Q4 2021 Q4 2020(4) Q3 2021(4) Cash Flow Cash, Opening $520,238 $230,208 $434,386 Cash used in operations including working capital ($7,840) ($64,199) ($66,215) Capital expenditures, net of disposals and government grant income $6,230 ($32,789) ($12,320) Debt and interest payments ($90,141)(3) ($52,979) ($7,766) Cash use ($91,751) ($149,967) ($86,301) Proceeds raised from sale of marketable securities and investments in associates 11,929 33,673 $- Proceeds raised through debt - - - Proceeds raised through equity financing $435 $48,265 $172,153(1) Cash raised $12,364 $81,938 $172,153 Cash, Ending $440,851 $162,179 $520,238(2) (1) Includes impact of foreign exchange rates on USD cash raised from financing (2) Includes restricted cash of $50.0M for Q3 2021 held as cash collateral under the BMO Credit Facility. (3) Includes $88.7 million full principal repayment on the BMO Credit Facility. As of June 30, 2021, the BMO Credit Facility has been fully settled and discharged. (4) Previously reported amounts have been retroactively recast for the biological assets and inventory non-material prior period error. Refer to the "Significant Accounting Policies and Judgments" section in Note 2(h) of the Financial Statements. Refer to the "Consolidated Statement of Cash Flows" in the "Consolidated Financial Statements" for our cash flow statements prepared in accordance with IAS 7 – Statement of Cash Flows. ($ thousands, except Operational Results) Q4 2021 Q4 2020(5)(6) $ Change % Change Q3 2021 (5)(6) $ Change % Change Financial Results Total net revenue (1) $54,825 $68,426 ($13,601) (20) % $55,161 ($336) (1) % Cannabis net revenue (1)(2a) $54,825 $67,492 ($12,667) (19) % $55,161 ($336) (1) % Medical cannabis net revenue (2a) $35,022 $32,226 $2,796 9 % $36,378 ($1,356) (4) % Consumer cannabis net revenue (1)(2a) $19,514 $35,266 ($15,752) (45) % $18,023 $1,491 8 % Adjusted gross margin before FV adjustments on cannabis net revenue (2b) 54 % 49 % N/A 5 % 44 % N/A 10 % Adjusted gross margin before FV adjustments on medical cannabis net revenue (2b) 68 % 64 % N/A 4 % 53 % N/A 15 % Adjusted gross margin before FV adjustments on consumer cannabis net revenue (2b) 31 % 36 % N/A (5) % 33 % N/A (2) % SG&A expense $46,902 $57,969 ($11,067) (19) % $41,684 $5,218 13 % R&D expense $3,034 $7,645 ($4,611) (60) % $3,398 ($364) (11) % Adjusted EBITDA (2c) ($19,256) ($33,349) $14,093.....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaSep 27th, 2021

Aurora Cannabis Announces Fiscal 2021 Fourth Quarter Results

NASDAQ | TSX: ACB #1 Canadian LP in Global Medical Cannabis; Total Medical Cannabis Net Revenue Rose 9% Compared to Prior Year; Strong Adjusted Gross Margin before FVA of 68% Business Transformation Plan on Track; Reiterates Annual Cost Savings of $60 Million to $80 Million, Providing Clear Pathway to Adjusted EBITDA Profitability Balance Sheet Remains Strong with $440.9 Million of Cash at June 30, 2021; Working Capital Improves by $404.3 Million Compared to Prior Year Adjusted EBITDA Loss, Excluding Restructuring Costs, Narrows to $13.9 Million, a $17.6 Million Improvement Compared to Prior Year Total Cannabis Net Revenue, Net of Provisions, of $54.8 Million Compared to $55.2 Million in the Prior Quarter, and $67.5 Million in the Year-Ago Period EDMONTON, AB, Sept. 27, 2021 /CNW/ - Aurora Cannabis Inc. (the "Company" or "Aurora") (NASDAQ:ACB) (TSX:ACB), the Canadian company defining the future of cannabinoids worldwide, today announced its financial and operational results for the fourth quarter and full year fiscal 2021 ended June 30, 2021. "We are very pleased with our strategic and financial progress in growing our high-margin medical revenue, rationalizing expenses, strengthening our balance sheet, and reducing our cash burn during fiscal year 2021. Given ongoing challenges in the Canadian adult recreational market, our broad diversification across domestic medical, international medical, and adult recreational segments provides us with underlying strength, stability, and growth opportunities in an evolving industry for global cannabinoids. Additionally, our enviable leadership position as the #1 Canadian LP in global medical cannabis by revenue on a trailing twelve-month basis, supported by regulatory and compliance expertise, is a tailwind that we expect to enable us to ultimately expand into global adult recreational as medical regimes evolve" stated Miguel Martin, Chief Executive Officer of Aurora Cannabis. "During the quarter, we delivered another strong yet steady performance in domestic medical, the largest federally regulated medical market globally, exceptional year-over-year growth in our high-margin international medical segment, where we remain the #2 Canadian LP by revenue on a trailing twelve-month basis, and quarterly sequential growth in adult recreational which included higher sales of premium cultivars. We are now delighted to announce a long-term supply agreement with Cantek in Israel that we expect to provide us with a steady stream of high-margin revenue that could also evolve into a larger partnership over time. We further believe our Canadian adult recreational segment is poised for recovery due to our product portfolio enhancements coupled with an acceleration of new store openings and rising consumer demand," he continued. "We have positioned ourselves for long-term success by delivering further improvement in our industry-leading Adjusted gross margin and substantially narrowing our Adjusted EBITDA loss compared to the year-ago period. With annual cost savings of approximately $60 to $80 million across selling, general and administrative ("SG&A"), production cost, facility and logistic expenses, we have a clear pathway to achieve Adjusted EBITDA profitability. Importantly, our considerable cash balance of $440.9 million, substantial improvement in working capital, and strong balance sheet support our organic growth and can be utilized for opportunistic M&A, particularly in the U.S," he concluded. Fourth Quarter 2021 Highlights (Unless otherwise stated, comparisons are made between fiscal Q4 2021 and Q4 2020 results and are in Canadian dollars) Medical cannabis: Medical cannabis net revenue1 was $35.0 million, a 9% increase from the prior year period. The increase was primarily attributable to continued growth in the international medical business, 88% over the prior year comparative period, as the Company continued to grow new, high margin medical markets. Adjusted gross margin before fair value adjustments on medical cannabis net revenue1 was 68% versus 64% in the prior year, as a result of overall reduction in production costs due to the closure of non-core facilities as part of our business transformation plan and higher sales coming from our international sales, which yield higher margins. Consumer cannabis: Consumer cannabis net revenue1 was $19.5 million ($20.2 million excluding provisions), a 45% decrease from $35.3 million ($37.1 million excluding provisions) in the prior year. This was due primarily to a reduction in orders from Provinces in response to slower consumer demand, reflecting the impact of lockdown restrictions related to COVID-19. Sequentially, consumer cannabis net revenue increased 8% over the prior quarter mainly due to completion of the transition of our fixed sales force to Great North and a $2.5 million reduction in actual net returns, price adjustments and provisions as the company completed its product swap initiative to replace low quality product with higher potency product at the provinces. Adjusted gross margin before fair value adjustments on consumer cannabis net revenue[1] was 31% vs 36% in the prior year period. This was primarily driven by an increase in cost of sales due to under-utilized capacity at Aurora Sky as a result of the scaling back production (expected to partially reverse in future quarters), offset by an increase in the consumer cannabis sales mix attributed to our core and premium brands, contributing to an increase in our average net selling price per gram of dried cannabis. Consolidated: Adjusted gross margin before fair value adjustments on cannabis net revenue1 was 54% in Q4 2021 versus 49% in the prior year period and 44% in Q3 2021. The increase in Adjusted gross margin compared to Q4 2020 is due primarily to a shift in sales mix towards the medical market which commands higher average net selling prices and margins. Adjusted EBITDA1 loss improved to $19.3 million in Q4 2021 ($13.9 million loss excluding restructuring charges) compared to the prior year Adjusted EBITDA loss1 of $33.3 million ($31.5 million loss excluding restructuring charges) primarily driven by the substantial decrease in SG&A and R&D expenses and an increase in gross margins. Q4 2021 total cannabis net revenue1 was $54.8 million, essentially flat sequentially, and a 19% decrease in over fiscal Q4 of the prior year. Reflecting the shift in mix toward our medical businesses, the Q4 2021 average net selling price per gram of dried cannabis1 increased to $5.11 per gram from $3.60 in Q4 2020 and $5.00 in Q3 2021. This excludes the impact of bulk wholesale of excess mid-potency cannabis flower at clear-out pricing. Selling, General and Administrative ("SG&A"): SG&A, including Research and Development ("R&D"), was $44.8 million, excluding $5.2 million in severance and restructuring costs ($49.9 million reported), down $19.1 million or 30% from the prior year as a result of our business transformation plan. Operational Efficiency Plan, Balance Sheet Strength, & Working Capital Improvement Aurora has identified cash savings of $60 million to $80 million. We expect to deliver $30 million to $40 million of annualized cash savings within the next year, and the remainder by the end of Q2 fiscal 2023. ___________________________________ 1 These terms are non-GAAP measures, see "Non-GAAP Measures" below. Approximately 60% of the savings are expected to be driven out of our network through asset consolidation, and operational and supply chain efficiencies. In fact, last week we announced the centralization of much of our Canadian manufacturing processes to our River facility in Bradford, Ontario and the resultant closure of our western Canada manufacturing facility. The remaining 40% of savings are intended to be sourced through SG&A; a portion of those savings will be via insurance structures that are already partially executed.   These cash savings will be reflected in our P&L either as they occur for SG&A savings, or as inventory is drawn down for production-related savings.  These efficiencies are incremental to the approximately $300 million of total cost reductions achieved since the announcement of the Company's business transformation plan in February 2020. Aurora materially improved its balance sheet during fiscal year 2021 through a number of purposeful actions including repaying the credit facility in full in June 2021, which resulted in interest and principal repayment reductions of approximately $25 million annually. The Company views a strong balance sheet as critical to operating the business, executing its strategic plans, and pursuing growth opportunities in an unconstrained manner, including within the U.S. At June 30, 2021 Aurora has a cash balance of approximately $440.9 million, comprised of $421.5 million of cash and cash equivalents and $19.4 million in restricted cash, no secured term debt, and access to US$1 billion of capital under its shelf prospectus. The Company's focus on realizing operational efficiencies and ability to manage cash has greatly improved operating cash flow; reducing the need for incremental capital. In Q4 2021, Aurora managed cash flow tightly using $7.8 million in cash to fund operations, including working capital investments and restructuring and severance payments of $5.1 million. Cash inflow from capital expenditures, net of $17.5 million disposals and government grant income, in Q4 2021 was $6.2 million versus $32.8 million of cash used in Q4 2020 and $12.2 million of cash used in Q3 2021. Cash used in operations and for capital expenditures are crucial metrics in Aurora's drive toward generating sustainable positive free cash flow, and both have improved significantly over the past year. The Company's ongoing business transformation, with the additional cost efficiency savings described earlier, is expected to move the operating cash flow metric in a positive direction over the coming quarters. Fiscal Q4 2021 Cash Use The main components of cash source and use in Q4 2021 were as follows: ($ thousands) Q4 2021 Q4 2020(4) Q3 2021(4) Cash Flow Cash, Opening $520,238 $230,208 $434,386 Cash used in operations including working capital ($7,840) ($64,199) ($66,215) Capital expenditures, net of disposals and government grant income $6,230 ($32,789) ($12,320) Debt and interest payments ($90,141)(3) ($52,979) ($7,766) Cash use ($91,751) ($149,967) ($86,301) Proceeds raised from sale of marketable securities and investments in associates 11,929 33,673 $- Proceeds raised through debt - - - Proceeds raised through equity financing $435 $48,265 $172,153(1) Cash raised $12,364 $81,938 $172,153 Cash, Ending $440,851 $162,179 $520,238(2) (1) Includes impact of foreign exchange rates on USD cash raised from financing (2) Includes restricted cash of $50.0M for Q3 2021 held as cash collateral under the BMO Credit Facility. (3) Includes $88.7 million full principal repayment on the BMO Credit Facility. As of June 30, 2021, the BMO Credit Facility has been fully settled and discharged. (4) Previously reported amounts have been retroactively recast for the biological assets and inventory non-material prior period error. Refer to the "Significant Accounting Policies and Judgments" section in Note 2(h) of the Financial Statements. Refer to the "Consolidated Statement of Cash Flows" in the "Consolidated Financial Statements" for our cash flow statements prepared in accordance with IAS 7 – Statement of Cash Flows. ($ thousands, except Operational Results) Q4 2021 Q4 2020(5)(6) $ Change % Change Q3 2021 (5)(6) $ Change % Change Financial Results Total net revenue (1) $54,825 $68,426 ($13,601) (20) % $55,161 ($336) (1) % Cannabis net revenue (1)(2a) $54,825 $67,492 ($12,667) (19) % $55,161 ($336) (1) % Medical cannabis net revenue (2a) $35,022 $32,226 $2,796 9 % $36,378 ($1,356) (4) % Consumer cannabis net revenue (1)(2a) $19,514 $35,266 ($15,752) (45) % $18,023 $1,491 8 % Adjusted gross margin before FV adjustments on cannabis net revenue (2b) 54 % 49 % N/A 5 % 44 % N/A 10 % Adjusted gross margin before FV adjustments on medical cannabis net revenue (2b) 68 % 64 % N/A 4 % 53 % N/A 15 % Adjusted gross margin before FV adjustments on consumer cannabis net revenue (2b) 31 % 36 % N/A (5) % 33 % N/A (2) % SG&A expense $46,902 $57,969 ($11,067) (19) % $41,684 $5,218 13 % R&D expense $3,034 $7,645 ($4,611) (60) % $3,398 ($364) (11) % Adjusted EBITDA (2c) ($19,256) ($33,349) $14,093 42.....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaSep 27th, 2021

Civilized founders pushed out

Welcome to Insider Cannabis, where we're bringing you an inside look at the deals, trends, and personalities driving the multibillion-dollar cannabis boom. As the legal cannabis market grows in the US, there are many ways for investors to gain exposure to the industry. Bloomberg Creative/Getty Images Welcome to Insider Cannabis, our weekly newsletter where we're bringing you an inside look at the deals, trends, and personalities driving the multibillion-dollar global cannabis boom.Sign up here to get it in your inbox every week.Hello everyone,In some respects, the fight over how to legalize cannabis is a microcosm of larger social debates, pitting social justice activists against more free-market-oriented folks. Take the debate this week over the SAFE Banking Act. The cannabis banking bill passed the House for the fifth time last night. This go-around, language from the bill - which would open up the banking system to cannabis companies and allow consumers to pay with credit cards - was shoehorned into the National Defense Authorization Act.The NDAA usually passes the Senate without much fanfare. But Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Sen. Ron Wyden, and Sen. Cory Booker have their own more comprehensive cannabis bill, The Cannabis Opportunity and Administration Act. Booker has said that he opposes adding cannabis banking protections to the Senate's version of the NDAA ahead of broader criminal justice reforms.It remains to be seen whether SAFE will be included in the Senate's version of the NDAA. Many cannabis activists say that the SAFE Act would only help banks and large cannabis companies make more money in the industry. They'd rather see full-scale legalization or at least record expungement and other criminal and social justice measures passed first.But supporters of the SAFE Act say it's a necessary tool to help protect and grow small businesses since many social equity license holders are unable to get loans or open lines of credit to start their businesses, and that dealing in all cash is a safety risk. In other news, Amazon doubled down on its support for cannabis legalization and said it was lobbying the federal government for legalization. Aurora Cannabis closed a major facility and cut around 8% of its workforce. The company delayed its earnings until next week. Tilray closed its Nanaimo, British Columbia facility as well. California will be adding a cannabis competition to its state fair, where farmers will show off their best buds. I'll be moderating a panel about the New York cannabis opportunity at the Prohibition Partners x Business of Cannabis conference in New York City on Wednesday, September 29. I'm looking forward to seeing many of you in person, and let me know if you'll be around. - Jeremy Berke (@jfberke)If you like what you read, share this newsletter with your colleagues, friends, boss, spouse, strangers on the internet, or whomever else would like a weekly dose of cannabis news. Here's what we wrote about this week:Investors are pushing out the founders of troubled cannabis startup Civilized. We got ahold of the full memo.Investors are pushing Civilized founders Derek and Terri Riedle out of the company, according to a memo circulated among investors on Monday and obtained by Insider. The investors say the founders, Derek and Terri Riedle, saddled the company with debt.A startup accelerator that's worked with J&J and L'Oréal is getting into psychedelics as the industry goes mainstreamA new accelerator program is targeting early-stage ancillary startups focused on psychedelics, in the latest sign that psychedelics are entering the mainstream and that funding dollars are trailing closely behind. The House just passed cannabis reforms as part of a defense bill. Here's what would change for businesses and their customers.The US House of Representatives has passed the Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act, or SAFE Banking Act, yet again.Lawmakers tucked the cannabis banking bill into the National Defense Authorization Act that passed lower chamber on Thursday. It's not clear whether the Senate will include cannabis reforms in its version of the defense package once the upper chamber takes it up. Executive movesNew York Governor Kathy Hochul on Wednesday announced two more appointees - Reuben R. McDaniel, III and Jessica Garcia - to the board of the Office of Cannabis Management, the regulatory body responsible for building out the adult-use cannabis industry in the state. Deals, launches, and IPOsCannabis tech company Dispense said on Tuesday that it had raised a $2 million seed round led by NextView Ventures and Poseidon Asset Management.Michigan-based cannabis company SKYMINT said on Tuesday that it raised $78 million and acquired 3Fifteen Cannabis. Investors in the round include Tropics LP, an affiliate of Sundial Growers' JV SunStream Bancorp Inc., and Merida Capital Holdings.Christine De La Rosa, the CEO of The People's Ecosystem, is raising a $50 million fund to invest in BIPOC and women-led cannabis businesses. Psychedelics company Delic Holdings Corp said on Monday it would acquire Ketamine Wellness Centers Inc, increasing its footprint to 12 clinic locations across the US, in a $5 million cash-and-stock deal. Crain Communications is acquiring cannabis financial media site Green Market Report. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. Marijuana activists hold up a 51-foot inflatable joint during a rally at the U.S. Capitol to call on Congress pass cannabis reform legislation on Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2019. Photo by Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images Policy movesThe House of Representatives on Thursday passed the SAFE Banking Act, a cannabis banking bill, as part of the National Defense Authorization Act. It's not clear whether the Senate will include cannabis reforms in its version of the defense package once the upper chamber takes it up. Italy is expected to hold a referendum on legalizing cannabis early next year after organizers gathered the 500,000 signatures within a week, reports Reuters. Research and dataA new report from the nonprofit Economic Policy Institute found that unionized cannabis workers could make $8,690 more per year than non-unionized peers. Psychedelics company Atai Life Sciences said on Tuesday that its platform company DemeRx has started its early-stage clinical trials of ibogaine to treat opioid use disorder.Cannabis data firm BDSA says in a report that cannabis sales will hit $31 billion this year, a 41% increase over last year. By 2026, BDSA expects cannabis sales to exceed $62 billion. EarningsMedMen reported its Q4 and FY21 results on Thursday. The company reported $42 million in revenue and a net loss of $46 million in Q4. For the full year, the company reported $145 million in revenue and a net loss of $157.6 million. What we're reading Why Amazon wants to make sure everyone knows it's totally cool with smoking pot now (Insider)Lawyers, race and money: Illinois' messy weed experiment (Politico)'Millions of pounds' of legal marijuana diverted to underground market, California lawsuit alleges (MJ Biz Daily)Getting high before exercise is the secret to sticking with a fitness routine, some athletes say (Insider)Illegal marijuana farms take West's water in 'blatant theft' (Associated Press)Marijuana banking sponsor discusses path through Senate after House approves reform for fifth time (Marijuana Moment)Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 24th, 2021

Reitmans (Canada) Limited announces its results for the 13 and 26 weeks ended July 31, 2021

MONTRÉAL, Sept. 22, 2021 /CNW Telbec/ - The Company's results for the 13 weeks ended July 31, 2021 ("second quarter of 2022") and the results for the 26 weeks ended July 31, 2021 ("year to date fiscal 2022") and the respective comparative periods of the 13 weeks ended August 1, 2020 ("second quarter of 2021") and the 26 weeks ended August 1, 2020 ("year to date fiscal 2021") separately present continuing and discontinuing operations as described below under "Discontinued Operations". 13 weeks ended July 31, 2021 Despite an overall net reduction of 29 stores, sales for the second quarter of 2022 increased by $28.3 million, or 19.7%, to $172.3 million, primarily due to the Company's store network operating capacity being closed for fewer total number of days while under partial lockdowns during the second quarter of 2022 as compared to a phased store re-opening from full lockdowns during the second quarter of 2021 (see section entitled "COVID-19 and Other Key Company Updates") and an increase in the Company's e-commerce sales. Gross profit for the second quarter of 2022 increased $24.4 million to $95.7 million as compared with $71.3 million for the second quarter of 2021. Gross profit as a percentage of sales for the second quarter of 2022 increased to 55.5% from 49.5% for the second quarter of 2021. The increase both in gross profit and as a percentage of sales is primarily attributable to lower markdowns and promotional activity in the second quarter of 2022 combined with a favourable foreign exchange impact on U.S. dollar denominated purchases included in cost of goods sold, partially offset by higher merchandise freight costs as the global shipping industry disruption required an increased usage of air freight shipments to meet customer demand. Results from operating activities from continuing operations for the second quarter of 2022 were earnings of $25.0 million  as compared with a loss of $26.7 million for the second quarter of 2021. The increase in earnings of $51.7 million is primarily attributable to the increase in gross profit from higher sales and lower promotional activity and a decrease in overall operating costs of $27.3 million. The decrease in overall operating costs is primarily attributable to a decrease in restructuring costs of $29.4 million, fewer stores, improved lease arrangements, lower depreciation and amortization of $4.8 million, a decrease in impairment  charges of $ 2.5 million and a decrease in overall freight costs of $3.1 million, partially offset by a decrease of $7.4 million in financial support from both the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy ("CEWS") and Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy ("CERS") programs, higher store personnel wages as the Company's stores were closed for fewer days and higher digital media spend during the second quarter of 2022. Net earnings from continuing operations for the second quarter of 2022 was $23.9 million ($0.49 basic and diluted earnings per share) as compared with a $27.4 million net loss ($0.56 basic and diluted loss per share) for the second quarter of 2021. The increase in net earnings from continuing operations of $51.3 million is primarily attributable to the increase in gross profit and a decrease in overall operating costs, partially offset by an increase in net finance costs. Adjusted EBITDA1 from continuing operations for the second quarter of 2022 was $30.9 million as compared with $16.6 million for the second quarter of 2021. The increase of $14.3 million is primarily attributable to the increase of $24.4 million in gross profit, partially offset by an increase in operating costs (excluding restructuring costs recovery, depreciation, amortization and impairment of non-financial assets) of $9.4 million and a decrease of $0.7 million in foreign exchange gain. The Company, as part of its restructuring plan, closed the Thyme Maternity and Addition Elle banners during the fiscal year ended January 30, 2021 (see section entitled "Discontinued Operations"). Net earnings from discontinued operations for the second quarter of 2022 was $10.2 million as compared to a net loss from discontinued operations of $44.6 million for the second quarter of 2021. As the discontinued banners were no longer in operation during the second quarter of 2022, the net earnings of $10.2 million was due to an adjustment to the provision for disclaimed leases reflecting the most recent settlement discussions with certain landlords. 26 weeks ended July 31, 2021 Despite an overall net reduction of 29 stores, sales for year to date fiscal 2022 increased by $68.2 million, or 30.3%, to $293.5 million, primarily due to the Company's store network operating capacity being closed for far fewer total number of days while under partial lockdowns during the year to date fiscal 2022 as compared to a phased store re-opening from full lockdowns during the year to date fiscal 2021 (see section entitled "COVID-19 and Other Key Company Updates") and an increase in the Company's e-commerce sales. Gross profit for the year to date fiscal 2022 increased $55.8 million, or 55.9%, to $155.6 million as compared with $99.8 million for the year to date fiscal 2021. Gross profit as a percentage of sales for the year to date fiscal 2022 increased to 53.0% from 44.3% for the year to date fiscal 2021. The increase both in gross profit and as a percentage of sales is primarily attributable to lower markdowns and promotional activity in the year to date fiscal 2022 combined with a favourable foreign exchange impact on U.S. dollar denominated purchases included in cost of goods sold, partially offset by higher merchandise freight costs as the global shipping industry disruption required an increased usage of air freight shipments to meet customer demand. Results from operating activities from continuing operations for the year to date fiscal 2022 were earnings of $25.4 million as compared with a loss of $82.7 million for the year to date fiscal 2021. The increase in earnings of $108.1 million is primarily attributable to the increase in gross profit from higher sales and lower promotional activity and a decrease in overall operating costs of $52.3 million. The decrease in overall operating costs is primarily attributable to a decrease in restructuring costs of $35.9 million, fewer stores, improved lease arrangements, lower depreciation and amortization of $12.0 million, a decrease in impairment charges of $8.8 million and a decrease in overall freight costs of $1.3 million, partially offset by a decrease of $3.1 million in financial support from both the CEWS and CERS programs, higher store personnel wages as the Company's stores were closed for fewer days and higher digital media spend during the year to date fiscal 2022. Net earnings from continuing operations for the year to date fiscal 2022 was $23.9 million ($0.49 basic and diluted earnings per share) as compared with a net loss of $74.1 million ($1.52 basic and diluted loss per share) for the year to date fiscal 2021. The increase in net earnings from continued operations of $98.0 million is primarily attributable to the increase in gross profit and a decrease in overall operating costs, partially offset by an increase in net finance costs. Adjusted EBITDA1 from continuing operations for the year to date fiscal 2022 was $37.9 million as compared to a loss of $2.5 million for the year to date fiscal 2021. The increase of $40.4 million is primarily attributable to the increase of $55.8 million in gross profit, partially offset by an increase in operating costs (excluding restructuring costs, depreciation, amortization and impairment of non-financial assets) of $4.4 million and a decrease of $11.0 million in foreign exchange gain. The Company, as part of its restructuring plan, closed the Thyme Maternity and Addition Elle banners during the fiscal year ended January 30, 2021. Net earnings from discontinued operations for the year to date fiscal 2022 was $10.2 million as compared to a net loss from discontinued operations of $72.6 million for the year to date fiscal 2021. As the discontinued banners were no longer in operation during the year to date 2022, the net earnings of $10.2 million was due to an adjustment to the provision for disclaimed leases reflecting the most recent settlement discussions with certain landlords. COVID-19 and Other Key Company Updates The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a significant impact on the Company's results. As at January 30, 2021, the Company had 240 out of its 415 stores (58%) closed as a consequence of governmental lockdown directives. This partial lockdown of the Company's retail store network continued into the first quarter of 2022. Even though restrictions were relaxed and some stores reopened, in April 2021, a third wave resulting in increased COVID-19 cases required some further governmental lockdowns. As at July 31, 2021 and as of the date of this press announcement, there were no stores temporarily closed as a consequence of governmental lockdown directives. During the second quarter of fiscal 2021, the Company had a phased reopening of its stores and by the end of June 2020, all of the Company's stores were open for business. During the year to date fiscal 2021, all of the Company's stores were closed for 55 consecutive days. During partial or full lockdowns, the Company continued to fulfill e-commerce orders though sales were not sufficient to offset the lost sales due to the closures. In June 2021, the Company implemented its buy online pick up in store ("BOPIS") initiative to enhance its customers' omnichannel experience and reduce freight costs on fulfilling ecommerce orders. Since BOPIS only started in June 2021, the impact on the Company's operating results for the second quarter of fiscal 2022 and year to date fiscal 2022 was minimal in relation to freight costs. During the year to date fiscal 2022, the Company's measures to protect its financial situation continued to include furloughing retail sales associates during temporary store closures and obtaining financial assistance from federal programs, such as the CEWS and the CERS. Such measures and financial assistance mitigated the financial impact of COVID-19 on the Company's business. The extent to which COVID-19 will continue to impact the Company's business, including its supply chain, consumer shopping behavior and consumer demand, including online shopping, will depend on future developments, which are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted at this time. These future developments include the speed of COVID-19 vaccination rollouts in Canada, vaccination rates amongst the Canadian population and other measures taken by various government authorities to contain the virus and its variants spread for potential future waves as well as future customer shopping behavior including online sales. As the Company navigates through the challenges caused by COVID-19, its focus will be to adapt to customers' changing product preferences, closely monitor its cash position and control its spending, while managing its inventory levels in line with the unprecedented change in demand behavior since COVID-19 started. Current financial information may not necessarily be indicative of future operating results. On May 19, 2020, the Company obtained an initial order (the "Order") from the Superior Court of Québec (the "Court") to seek protection from creditors under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act (the "CCAA") and Ernst & Young Inc. was appointed as the Monitor. Since its initial filing on May 19, 2020, the Company obtained four extensions of the Order, with the most recent extension obtained until September 28, 2021. The CCAA process allowed the Company to implement an operational and commercial restructuring plan which included the closure of the Thyme Maternity and Addition Elle banners. See section entitled "Discontinued Operations". As well, the Company has re-negotiated more favourable lease terms with its landlords for virtually all of its remaining stores. The Company continues to make progress in the CCAA process with the assistance of the Monitor and expects to make announcements as further material progress is made, including a Plan of Arrangement to be filed and communicated at a later date. In August 2020, the Company had secured interim financing ("DIP Loan") up to a maximum amount of $60.0 million, including facilities available for securing letters of credit of up to $5.0 million, with a Canadian financial institution. On May 25, 2021, the Company obtained the Court's approval to reduce the DIP Loan facility from $60.0 million to $30.0 million. As of July 31, 2021, the Company had not drawn funds from the DIP Loan facility, other than for the issuance of letters of credit totalling $0.6 million. With the uncertainties surrounding the impact of COVID-19 going forward, the Company cannot guarantee that the DIP Loan will not be utilized in the future. These factors and conditions, combined with the unpredictability of the outcome of the matters arising from the CCAA proceedings, indicate that a material uncertainty exists that may cast significant doubt about the Company's ability to continue as a going concern and, therefore, realize its assets and discharge its liabilities in the normal course of business. The unaudited condensed consolidated interim financial statements have been prepared on a going concern basis, which assumes the Company will continue its operations for the foreseeable future and will be able to realize its assets and discharge its liabilities and commitments in the normal course of business. In assessing whether the going concern assumption is appropriate and whether there are material uncertainties that may cast significant doubt about the Company's ability to continue as a going concern, management must take into account all available information about the future, including estimated future cash flows, for a period of at least twelve months following the end of the reporting period. The unaudited condensed consolidated interim financial statements as at July 31, 2021 do not include any adjustments to the carrying amounts and classification of assets, liabilities and reported expenses that may otherwise be required if the going concern basis was not appropriate. Such adjustments could be material. It is not possible to reliably estimate the length and severity of COVID-19 and the impact on the financial results and financial condition of the Company in future periods. The Company will take into consideration the most recent developments and impacts of the pandemic, including updated assessments of future cash flows and any additional impacts resulting from COVID-19 will be reflected in the financial results of the current fiscal year, if applicable. Discontinued Operations As part of its restructuring plan, the Company closed the Thyme Maternity and Addition Elle banners during the year ended January 30, 2021 and, as a result, these results and cash flows have been classified as discontinued operations. IFRS 5, Non-current Assets Held for Sale and Discontinued Operations, requires that the comparative statements of earnings (loss) and comprehensive income (loss) be presented as if the operations were discontinued from the start of the comparative year. As a result, discontinued operations are excluded from the net earnings (loss) from continuing operations and are presented as earnings (loss) from discontinued operations, net of tax, as a separate line item in the consolidated statements of earnings (loss). About Reitmans (Canada) Limited The Company is a leading women's specialty apparel retailer with retail outlets throughout Canada.  As at July 31, 2021, the Company operated 411 stores consisting of 242 Reitmans, 91 Penningtons and 78 RW&CO.  As noted above, all Addition Elle and Thyme Maternity stores have been closed in connection with the restructuring plan. 1Non-GAAP Financial Measures The Company has identified several key operating performance measures and non-GAAP financial measures which management believes are useful in assessing the performance of the Company; however, readers are cautioned that some of these measures may not have standardized meanings under IFRS and, therefore, may not be comparable to similar terms used by other companies. In addition to discussing earnings in accordance with IFRS, this press announcement provides adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization ("Adjusted EBITDA") as a non-GAAP financial measure. Adjusted EBITDA is defined as net earnings (loss) before income tax expense/recovery, interest income, interest expense, depreciation, amortization, impairment of non-financial assets and restructuring costs. With the classification of the Addition Elle and Thyme Maternity businesses as discontinued operations, Adjusted EBITDA has also been modified to exclude discontinued operations. The following table reconciles the most comparable GAAP measure, net earnings or loss from continuing operations, to Adjusted EBITDA from continuing operations. Management believes that Adjusted EBITDA is an important indicator of the Company's ability to generate liquidity through operating cash flow to fund working capital needs and fund capital expenditures and uses the metric for this purpose. The exclusion of interest income and expense eliminate the impact on earnings derived from non-operational activities. The exclusion of depreciation, amortization and impairment charges eliminates the non-cash impact, and the exclusion of restructuring costs and discontinued operations presents the results of the on-going business. The intent of Adjusted EBITDA is to provide additional useful information to investors and analysts. The measure does not have any standardized meaning under IFRS. Although depreciation, amortization and impairment charges are non-cash charges, the assets being depreciated and amortized will often have to be replaced in the future, as such, Adjusted EBITDA does not reflect any cash requirements for these replacements. Adjusted EBITDA should not be considered either as discretionary cash available to invest in the growth of the business or as a measure of cash that will be available to meet the Company's obligations. Other companies may calculate Adjusted EBITDA differently. From time to time, the Company may exclude additional items if it believes doing so would result in a more effective analysis of underlying operating performance. The exclusion of certain items does not imply that they are non-recurring. Adjusted EBITDA should not be used in substitute for measures of performance prepared in accordance with IFRS or as an alternative to net earnings, net cash provided by operating, investing or financing activities or any other financial statement data presented as indicators of financial performance or liquidity, each as presented in accordance with IFRS. Although Adjusted EBITDA is frequently used by securities analysts, lenders and others in their evaluation of companies, it has limitations as an analytical tool, and should not be considered in isolation, or as a substitute for analysis of the Company's results as reported under IFRS. The Company uses a key performance indicator ("KPI"), comparable sales, to assess store performance and sales growth.  The Company engages in an omnichannel approach in connecting with its customers by appealing to their shopping habits through either online or store channels.  This approach allows customers to shop online for home delivery or to pick up in store, purchase in any of our store locations or ship to home from another store when the products are unavailable in a particular store.  Due to customer cross-channel behavior, the Company reports a single comparable sales metric, inclusive of store and e-commerce channels. Comparable sales are defined as sales generated by stores that have been continuously open during both of the periods being compared and include e-commerce sales. The comparable sales metric compares the same calendar days for each period. Although this KPI is expressed as a ratio, it is a non-GAAP financial measure that does not have a standardized meaning prescribed by IFRS and may not be comparable to similar measures used by other companies. Management uses comparable sales in evaluating the performance of stores and online sales and considers it useful in helping to determine what portion of new sales has come from sales growth and what portion can be attributed to the opening of new stores. Comparable sales is a measure widely used amongst retailers and is considered useful information for both investors and analysts. Comparable sales should not be considered in isolation or used in substitute for measures of performance prepared in accordance with IFRS. As highlighted in the section entitled "COVID-19 and Other Key Company Updates", at various times throughout the year to date fiscal 2022, the Company was required to temporary close some of its retail stores as a consequence of governmental lockdown directives. Due to the unprecedented nature of COVID-19 and its significant impact on consumers and our ability to service our customers, management believes that comparable sales are not currently representative of the underlying trends of our business and consequently would not provide a meaningful metric in comparisons of year-over-year sales results. Accordingly, this press announcement does not include a discussion of the Company's comparable sales in respect of the second quarter of and year to date fiscal 2022. Management will continue to monitor and evaluate the effects of COVID-19 and will resume the evaluation of comparable sales when year-over-year results are more representative. The following table reconciles net earnings (loss) from continuing operations to Adjusted EBITDA from continuing operations: For the second quarter of Year to date fiscal 2022 2021 2022.....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaSep 23rd, 2021

Micah Tapman Of BDSA Lays Out Cannabis Data In The Northeast

Micah Tapman, CEO of BDSA, a leading provider of market research solutions for the global cannabinoid industry, stopped by last week's Cannabis Capital Conference in New York to review the cannabis market of the northeast. read more.....»»

Category: blogSource: benzinga15 hr. 59 min. ago

Futures Surge As Banks Report Stellar Earnings; PPI On Deck

Futures Surge As Banks Report Stellar Earnings; PPI On Deck US equity futures, already sharply higher overnight, jumped this morning as a risk-on mood inspired by stellar bank earnings, overshadowed concern that supply snarls. a China property crunch, a tapering Fed and stagflation will weigh on the global recovery. Nasdaq futures jumped 1%, just ahead of the S&P 500 which was up 0.9%. 10-year Treasury yields ticked lower to about 1.5%, and with the dollar lower as well, oil jumped. Bitcoin and the broader crypto space continued to rise. Shares in Morgan Stanley, Citi and Bank of America jumped as their deal-making units rode a record wave of M&A. On the other end, Boeing shares fell more than 1% after a Dow Jones report said the plane maker is dealing with a new defect on its 787 Dreamliner. Here are some of the biggest other U.S. movers today: Occidental (OXY US) rises 1.6% in U.S. premarket trading after it agreed to sell its interests in two Ghana offshore fields for $750m to Kosmos Energy and Ghana National Petroleum Plug Power (PLUG US) rises 3.3% premarket, extending gains from Wednesday, when it announced partnership with Airbus SE and Phillips 66 to find ways to harness hydrogen to power airplanes, vehicles and industry Esports Entertainment (GMBL US) shares rise 16% in U.S. premarket trading after the online gambling company reported its FY21 results and reaffirmed its FY22 guidance Perrigo  (PRGO US) gains 2.8% in premarket trading after Raymond James upgrades to outperform following acquisition of HRA Pharma and recent settlement of Irish tax dispute AT&T (T US) ticks higher in premarket trading after KeyBanc writes upgrades to sector weight from underweight, saying it seems harder to justify further downside from here Avis Budget (CAR US) may be active after getting its only negative rating among analysts as Morgan Stanley cuts to underweight with risk/reward seen pointing toward downside OrthoPediatrics (KIDS US) dipped 2% Wednesday postmarket after it said 3Q revenue was hurt by the surge in cases of Covid-19 delta variant and RSV within children’s hospitals combined with staff shortage Investors continue to evaluate the resilience of economic reopening to supply chain disruptions, a jump in energy prices and the prospect of reduced central bank support. In the earnings season so far, executives at S&P 500 companies mentioned the phrase “supply chain” about 3,000 times on investor calls as of Tuesday -- far higher than last year’s then-record figure. “Our constructive outlook for growth means that our asset allocation remains broadly pro-risk and we continue to be modestly overweight global equities,” according to Michael Grady, head of investment strategy and chief economist at Aviva Investors. “However, we have scaled back that position marginally because of growing pains which could impact sales and margins.” Europe's Stoxx 600 index reached its highest level in almost three weeks, boosted by gains in tech shares and miners. The Euro Stoxx 50 rose over 1% to best levels for the week. FTSE 100 rises 0.75%, underperforming at the margin. Miners and tech names are the strongest sectors with only healthcare stocks in small negative territory. Here are some of the biggest European movers today: THG shares advance as much as 10%, snapping a four-day losing streak, after a non-executive director bought stock while analysts at Goldman Sachs and Liberum defended their buy recommendations. Steico gains as much as 9.9%, the most since Jan., after the insulation manufacturer reported record quarterly revenue, which Warburg says “leaves no doubt” about underlying market momentum. Banco BPM climbs as much as 3.6% and is the day’s best performer on the FTSE MIB benchmark index; bank initiated at buy at Jefferies as broker says opportunity to internalize insurance business offers 9%-16% possible upside to 2023 consensus EPS and is not priced in by the market. Hays rises as much as 4.3% after the recruiter posted a jump in comparable net fees for the first quarter. Publicis jumps as much as 3.7%, the stock’s best day since July, with JPMorgan saying the advertising company’s results show a “strong” third quarter, though there are risks ahead. Kesko shares rise as much as 6.1%. The timing of this year’s third guidance upgrade was a surprise, Inderes says. Ubisoft shares fall as much as 5.5% after JPMorgan Cazenove (overweight) opened a negative catalyst watch, citing short-term downside risk to earnings ahead of results. Earlier in the session, Asian stocks advanced, boosted by a rebound in technology shares as traders focused on the ongoing earnings season and assessed economic-reopening prospects in the region. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained as much as 0.7%, as a sub-gauge of tech stocks rose, halting a three-day slide. Tokyo Electron contributed the most to the measure’s climb, while Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. closed up 0.4% ahead of its earnings release. India’s tech stocks rose following better-than-expected earnings for three leading firms in the sector. Philippine stocks were among Asia’s best performers as Manila began easing virus restrictions, which will allow more businesses in the capital to reopen this weekend. Indonesia’s stock benchmark rallied for a third-straight day, as the government prepared to reopen Bali to tourists. READ: Commodities Boom, Tourism Hopes Fuel Southeast Asia Stock Rally Ilya Spivak, head of Greater Asia at DailyFX, said FOMC minutes released overnight provided Asian markets with little direction, which may offer some opportunity for recouping recent losses. The report showed officials broadly agreed last month they should start reducing pandemic-era stimulus in mid-November or mid-December. U.S. 10-year Treasury yields stayed below 1.6%, providing support for tech stocks.  “Markets seemed to conclude the near-term narrative is on pause until further evidence,” Spivak said. Shares in mainland China fell as the country reported factory-gate prices grew at the fastest pace in almost 26 years in September. Singapore’s stock benchmark pared initial losses as the country’s central bank unexpectedly tightened policy. Hong Kong’s equity market was closed for a holiday In rates, Treasuries were steady to a tad higher, underperforming Bunds which advanced, led by the long end.  Fixed income is mixed: gilts bull steepen with short dates richening ~2.5bps, offering only a muted reaction to dovish commentary from BOE’s Tenreyro. Bunds rise with 10y futures breaching 169. USTs are relatively quiet with 5s30s unable to crack 100bps to the upside. Peripheral spreads widen slightly. In FX, the Turkish lira was again the overnight standout as it weakened to a record low after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan fired three central bankers. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell and the greenback slipped against all of its Group-of-10 peers apart from the yen, with risk-sensitive and resource-based currencies leading gains; the euro rose to trade above $1.16 for the first time in a week.  The pound rose to more than a two-week high amid dollar weakness as traders wait for a raft of Bank of England policy makers to speak. Sweden’s krona temporarily came off an almost eight-month high against the euro after inflation fell short of estimates. The euro dropped to the lowest since November against the Swiss franc as banks targeted large option barriers and leveraged sell-stops under 1.0700, traders said; Currency traders are responding to stagflation risks by turning to the Swiss franc. The Aussie advanced to a five-week high versus the greenback even as a monthly jobs report showed employment fell in September; the jobless rate rose less than economists forecast. The kiwi was a among the top performers; RBNZ Deputy Governor Geoff Bascand said inflation pressures were becoming more persistent China’s yuan declined from a four-month high after the central bank signaled discomfort with recent gains by setting a weaker-than-expected reference rate. In commodities, crude futures extend Asia’s gains with WTI up ~$1 before stalling near $81.50. Brent regains a $84-handle. Spot gold drifts through Wednesday’s highs, adding $4 to print just shy of the $1,800/oz mark. Base metals are well bid with LME copper and aluminum gaining as much as 3%.  Looking at the day ahead, we’ve got central bank speakers including the Fed’s Bullard, Bostic, Barkin, Daly and Harker, the ECB’s Elderson and Knot, along with the BoE’s Deputy Governor Cunliffe, Tenreyro and Mann. Data releases from the US include the September PPI reading along with the weekly initial jobless claims. Lastly, earnings releases will include UnitedHealth, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, US Bancorp and Walgreens Boots Alliance. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.6% to 4,382.50 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.9% to 464.38 MXAP up 0.7% to 196.12 MXAPJ up 0.6% to 642.66 Nikkei up 1.5% to 28,550.93 Topix up 0.7% to 1,986.97 Hang Seng Index down 1.4% to 24,962.59 Shanghai Composite little changed at 3,558.28 Sensex up 0.7% to 61,190.63 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.5% to 7,311.73 Kospi up 1.5% to 2,988.64 Brent Futures up 1.0% to $83.98/bbl Gold spot up 0.2% to $1,796.13 U.S. Dollar Index down 0.25% to 93.84 German 10Y yield fell 1.5 bps to -0.143% Euro little changed at $1.1615 Brent Futures up 1.0% to $84.13/bbl Top Overnight News from Bloomberg A flattening Treasury yield curve signals increasing concern Federal Reserve efforts to keep inflation in check will derail the recovery in the world’s largest economy China’s factory-gate prices grew at the fastest pace in almost 26 years in September, potentially adding to global inflation pressure if local businesses start passing on higher costs to consumers. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan fired monetary policy makers wary of cutting interest rates further, driving the lira to record lows against the dollar with his midnight decree Singapore’s central bank unexpectedly tightened its monetary policy settings, strengthening the local dollar, as the city-state joins policymakers globally concerned about risks of persistent inflation Shortages of natural gas in Europe and Asia are boosting demand for oil, deepening what was already a sizable supply deficit in crude markets, the International Energy Agency said A tropical storm that’s lashing southern China mixed with Covid-related supply chain snarls is causing a ship backlog from Shenzhen to Singapore, intensifying fears retail shelves may look rather empty come Christmas A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk A constructive mood was seen across Asia-Pac stocks with the region building on the mild positive bias stateside where the Nasdaq outperformed as tech and growth stocks benefitted from the curve flattening, with global risk appetite unfazed by the firmer US CPI data and FOMC Minutes that suggested the start of tapering in either mid-November of mid-December. The ASX 200 (+0.5%) traded higher as tech stocks found inspiration from the outperformance of US counterparts and with the mining sector buoyed by gains in underlying commodity prices. The Nikkei 225 (+1.5%) was the biggest gainer amid currency-related tailwinds and with the latest securities flow data showing a substantial shift by foreign investors to net purchases of Japanese stocks during the prior week. The KOSPI (+1.5%) conformed to the brightening picture amid signs of a slowdown in weekly infections, while the Singapore’s Straits Times Index (+0.3%) lagged for most of the session following weaker than expected Q3 GDP data, and after the MAS surprisingly tightened its FX-based policy by slightly raising the slope of the SGD nominal effective exchange rate (NEER). The Shanghai Comp. (U/C) was initially kept afloat but with gains capped after slightly softer than expected loans and financing data from China and with participants digesting mixed inflation numbers in which CPI printed below estimates but PPI topped forecasts for a record increase in factory gate prices, while there was also an absence of Stock Connect flows with participants in Hong Kong away for holiday. Finally, 10yr JGBs were higher after the recent curve flattening stateside and rebound in T-notes with the US longer-end also helped by a solid 30yr auction, although gains for JGBs were capped amid the outperformance in Tokyo stocks and mostly weaker metrics at the 5yr JGB auction. Top Asian News Chinese Developer Shares Fall on Debt Crisis: Evergrande Update Japan’s Yamagiwa Says Abenomics Fell Short at Spreading Wealth China Seen Rolling Over Policy Loans to Keep Liquidity Abundant Malaysia’s 2020 Fertility Rate Falls to Lowest in Four Decades Bourses in Europe have modestly extended on the upside seen at the European cash open (Euro Stoxx 50 +1.1%; Stoxx 600 +0.9%) in a continuation of the firm sentiment experienced overnight. US equity futures have also conformed to the broader upbeat tone, with gains seen across the ES (+0.7%), NQ (+0.8%), RTY (+0.8%) and YM (+0.7%). The upside comes despite a lack of overly pertinent newsflow, with participants looking ahead to a plethora of central bank speakers. The major indices in Europe also see a broad-based performance, but the periphery narrowly outperforms, whilst the SMI (Unch) lags amid the sectorial underperformance seen in Healthcare. Overall, the sectors portray somewhat of a cyclical tilt. The Basic Resources sector is the clear winner and is closely followed by Tech and Financial Services. Individual moves are scarce as price action is largely dictated by the macro picture, but the tech sector is led higher by gains in chip names after the world's largest contract chipmaker TSMC (+3.1% pre-market) reported strong earnings and upgraded its revenue guidance. Top European News German 2021 Economic Growth Forecast Slashed on Supply Crunch U.K. Gas Shipper Stops Supplies in Another Blow to Power Firms Christmas Toy Shortages Loom as Cargo Clogs a Major U.K. Port Putin Is Back to Building Financial Fortress as Reserves Grow In FX, the Dollar and index by default have retreated further from Tuesday’s 2021 peak for the latter as US Treasury yields continue to soften and the curve realign in wake of yesterday’s broadly in line CPI data and FOMC minutes that set the schedule for tapering, but maintained a clear differential between scaling down the pace of asset purchases and the timing of rate normalisation. Hence, the Buck is losing bullish momentum with the DXY now eying bids and downside technical support under 94.000 having slipped beneath an early October low (93.804 from the 5th of the month vs 93.675 a day earlier) and the 21 DMA that comes in at 93.770 today between 94.090-93.754 parameters before the next IJC update, PPI data and a heavy slate of Fed speakers. NZD/AUD - No real surprise that the Kiwi has been given a new lease of life given that the RBNZ has already taken its first tightening step and put physical distance between the OCR and the US FFR, not to mention that the move sparked a major ‘sell fact’ after ‘buy rumour’ reaction. However, Nzd/Usd is back on the 0.7000 handle with additional impetus via favourable tailwinds down under as the Aud/Nzd cross is now nearer 1.0550 than 1.0600 even though the Aussie is also taking advantage of the Greenback’s fall from grace to reclaim 0.7400+ status. Note, Aud/Usd may be lagging somewhat on the back of a somewhat labour report overnight as the employment tally fell slightly short of expectations and participation dipped, but the jobless rate fell and full time jobs rose. Moreover, RBA Deputy Governor Debelle repeated that circumstances are different for Australia compared to countries where policy is tightening, adding that employment is positive overall, but there is not much improvement on the wage front. CAD/GBP/CHF - The next best majors in terms of reclaiming losses vs their US counterpart, with the Loonie also encouraged by a firm bounce in oil prices and other commodities in keeping with a general recovery in risk appetite. Usd/Cad is under 1.2400, while Cable is now over 1.3700 having clearly breached Fib resistance around 1.3663 and the Franc is probing 0.9200 for a big figure-plus turnaround from recent lows irrespective of mixed Swiss import and producer prices. EUR/JPY - Relative laggards, but the Euro has finally hurdled chart obstacles standing in the way of 1.1600 and gradually gathering impetus to pull away from decent option expiry interest at the round number and just above (1.5 bn and 1 bn 1.1610-20), and the Yen regrouping around the 113.50 axis regardless of dovish BoJ rhetoric. In short, board member Noguchi conceded that the Bank may have little choice but to extend pandemic relief support unless it becomes clear that the economy has returned to a pre-pandemic state, adding that more easing may be necessary if the jobs market does not improve from pent-up demand, though he doesn't see and immediate need to top up stimulus or big stagflation risk. In commodities, WTI and Brent front month futures are continuing the grind higher seen since the European close yesterday as the risk tone remains supportive and in the aftermath of an overall bullish IEA oil market report. The IEA upgraded its 2021 and 2022 oil demand forecasts by 170k and 210k BPD respectively, which contrasts the EIA STEO and the OPEC MOMR – with the former upping its 2021 but cutting 2022 forecast, whilst the OPEC MOMR saw the 2021 demand forecast cut and 2022 was maintained. The IEA report however noted that the ongoing energy crisis could boost oil demand by 500k BPD, and oil demand could exceed pre-pandemic levels in 2022. On this, China has asked Russia to double electricity supply between November-December. The morning saw commentary from various energy ministers, but perhaps the most telling from the Russian Deputy PM Novak who suggested Russia will produce 9.9mln BPD of oil in October (in-line with the quota), but that Russia has no problem in increasing oil output which can go to 11.3mln BPD (Russia’s capacity) and even more than that, but output will depend on market situation. Long story short, Russia can ramp up output but is currently caged by the OPEC+ pact. WTI Nov extended on gain about USD 81/bbl to a current high of USD 81.41/bbl (vs 80.41/bbl low) while its Brent counter topped USD 84.00/bbl to a USD 84.24/bbl high (vs 83.18/bbl low). As a reminder, the weekly DoEs will be released at 16:00BST/11:00EDT on account of the Columbus Day holiday. Gas prices have also moved higher in intraday, with the UK Nat Gas future +5.5% at the time of writing. Returning to the Russian Deputy PM Novak who noted that Nord Stream 2 will be ready for work in the next few days, still expects certification to occur and commercial supplies of gas via Nord Stream 2 could start following certification. Elsewhere, spot gold and silver have been drifting higher as the Buck wanes, with spot gold topping its 200 DMA (1,7995/oz) and in striking distance of its 100 DMA (1,799/oz) ahead of the USD 1,800/oz mark. Over to base metals, LME copper is again on a firmer footing, owing to the overall constructive tone across the market. Dalian iron ore meanwhile fell for a second straight day in a continuation of the downside seen as Beijing imposed tougher steel output controls for winter. World Steel Association also cut its global steel demand forecast to +4.5% in 2021 (prev. forecast +5.8%); +2.2% in 2022 (prev. forecast 2.7%). US Event Calendar 8:30am: Sept. PPI Final Demand MoM, est. 0.6%, prior 0.7%; YoY, est. 8.6%, prior 8.3% 8:30am: Sept. PPI Ex Food and Energy MoM, est. 0.5%, prior 0.6%; YoY, est. 7.1%, prior 6.7% 8:30am: Sept. PPI Ex Food, Energy, Trade MoM, est. 0.4%, prior 0.3%; YoY, est. 6.5%, prior 6.3% 8:30am: Oct. Initial Jobless Claims, est. 320,000, prior 326,000; Continuing Claims, est. 2.67m, prior 2.71m 9:45am: Oct. Langer Consumer Comfort, prior 53.4 Central Banks 8:35am: Fed’s Bullard Takes Part in Virtual Discussion 9:45am: Fed’s Bostic Takes Part in Panel on Inclusive Growth 12pm: New York Fed’s Logan Gives Speech on Policy Implementation 1pm: Fed’s Barkin Gives Speech 1pm: Fed’s Daly Speaks at Conference on Small Business Credit 6pm: Fed’s Harker Discusses the Economic Outlook DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap Inflation dominated the conversation yet again for markets yesterday, after another upside surprise from the US CPI data led to the increasing realisation that we’ll still be talking about the topic for some time yet. Equities were pretty subdued as they looked forward to the upcoming earnings season, but investor jitters were evident as the classic inflation hedge of gold (+1.87%) posted its strongest daily performance since March, whilst the US dollar (-0.46%) ended the session as the worst performer among the G10 currencies. Running through the details of that release, headline US consumer prices were up by +0.4% on a monthly basis in September (vs. +0.3% expected), marking the 5th time in the last 7 months that the figure has come in above the median estimate on Bloomberg, though core prices were in line with consensus at +0.2% month-over-month. There were a number of drivers behind the faster pace, but food inflation (+0.93%) saw its biggest monthly increase since April 2020. Whilst some pandemic-sensitive sectors registered soft readings, housing-related prices were much firmer. Rent of primary residence grew +0.45%, its fastest pace since May 2001 and owners’ equivalent rent increased +0.43%, its strongest since June 2006. These housing gauges are something that Fed officials have signposted as having the potential to provide more durable upward pressure on inflation. The CPI release only added to speculation that the Fed would be forced to hike rates earlier than previously anticipated, and investors are now pricing in almost 4 hikes by the end of 2023, which is over a full hike more than they were pricing in just a month earlier. In response, the Treasury yield curve continued the previous day’s flattening, with the prospect of tighter monetary policy seeing the 2yr yield up +2.0bps to a post-pandemic high of 0.358%, whilst the 10yr decreased -4.0bps to 1.537%. That move lower in the 10yr yield was entirely down to lower real rates, however, which were down -7.4bps, suggesting investors were increasingly concerned about long-term growth prospects, whereas the 10yr inflation breakeven was up +3.3bps to 2.525%, its highest level since May. Meanwhile in Europe, 10yr sovereign bond yields took a turn lower alongside Treasuries, with those on bunds (-4.2bps), OATs (-4.0bps) and BTPs (-2.3bps) all falling. Recent inflation dynamics and issues on the supply-side are something that politicians have become increasingly attuned to, and President Biden gave remarks last night where he outlined efforts to address the supply-chain bottlenecks. This followed headlines earlier in the session that major ports in southern California would move to a 24/7 schedule to unclog delivery backlogs, and Mr. Biden also used the opportunity to push for the passage of the infrastructure plan. That comes as it’s also been reported by Reuters that the White House has been speaking with US oil and gas producers to see how prices can be brought lower. We should hear from Mr. Biden again today, who’s due to give an update on the Covid-19 response. On the topic of institutions that care about inflation, the September FOMC minutes suggested staff still remained optimistic that inflationary pressures would prove transitory, although Committee members themselves were predictably more split on the matter. Several participants pointed out that pandemic-sensitive prices were driving most of the gains, while some expressed concerns that high rates of inflation would feed into longer-term inflation expectations. Otherwise, the minutes all but confirmed DB’s US economists’ call for a November taper announcement, with monthly reductions in the pace of asset purchases of $10 billion for Treasuries and $5 billion for MBS. Markets took the news in their stride immediately following the release, reflecting how the build-up to this move has been gradually telegraphed through the year. Turning to equities, the S&P 500 managed to end its 3-day losing streak, gaining +0.30% by the close. Megacap technology stocks led the way, with the FANG+ index up +1.13% as the NASDAQ added +0.73%. On the other hand, cyclicals such as financials (-0.64%) lagged behind the broader index following flatter yield curve, and JPMorgan Chase (-2.64%) sold off as the company’s Q3 earnings release showed muted loan growth. Separately, Delta Air Lines (-5.76%) also sold off along with the broader S&P 500 airlines index (-3.51%), as they warned that rising fuel costs would threaten earnings over the current quarter. European indices posted a more solid performance than the US, with the STOXX 600 up +0.71%, though the sectoral balance was similar with tech stocks outperforming whilst the STOXX Banks index (-2.05%) fell back from its 2-year high the previous session. Overnight in Asia equities have put in a mixed performance, with the KOSPI (+1.17%) and the Nikkei (+1.01%) moving higher whilst the Shanghai Composite (-0.25%) and the CSI (-0.62%) have lost ground. Those moves follow the release of Chinese inflation data for September, which showed producer price inflation hit its highest in nearly 26 years, at +10.7% (vs. +10.5% expected), driven mostly by higher coal prices and energy-sensitive categories. On the other hand, the CPI measure for September came in slightly below consensus at +0.7% (vs. +0.8% expected), indicating that higher factory gate prices have not yet translated into consumer prices. Meanwhile, equity markets in the US are pointing to a positive start later on with S&P 500 futures up +0.32%. Of course, one of the drivers behind the renewal of inflation jitters has been the recent surge in commodity prices across the board, and we’ve seen further gains yesterday and this morning that will only add to the concerns about inflation readings yet to come. Oil prices have advanced yet again, with Brent Crude up +0.69% this morning to be on track to close at a 3-year high as it stands. That comes in spite of OPEC’s monthly oil market report revising down their forecast for world oil demand this year to 5.8mb/d, having been at 5.96mb/d last month. Elsewhere, European natural gas prices were up +9.24% as they continued to pare back some of the declines from last week, and a further two energy suppliers in the UK collapsed, Pure Planet and Colorado Energy, who supply quarter of a million customers between them. Otherwise, copper (+4.4x%) hit a 2-month high yesterday, and it up a further +1.01% this morning, Turning to Brexit, yesterday saw the European Commission put forward a set of adjustments to the Northern Ireland Protocol, which is a part of the Brexit deal that’s caused a significant dispute between the UK and the EU. The proposals from Commission Vice President Šefčovič would see an 80% reduction in checks on animal and plant-based products, as well as a 50% reduction in paperwork by reducing the documentation needed for goods moving between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It follows a speech by the UK’s David Frost on Tuesday, in which he said that Article 16 of the Protocol, which allows either side to take unilateral safeguard measures, could be used “if necessary”. Mr. Frost is due to meet with Šefčovič in Brussels tomorrow. Running through yesterday’s other data, UK GDP grew by +0.4% in August (vs. +0.5% expected), and the July number was revised down to show a -0.1% contraction (vs. +0.1% growth previously). The release means that GDP in August was still -0.8% beneath its pre-pandemic level back in February 2020. To the day ahead now, and on the calendar we’ve got central bank speakers including the Fed’s Bullard, Bostic, Barkin, Daly and Harker, the ECB’s Elderson and Knot, along with the BoE’s Deputy Governor Cunliffe, Tenreyro and Mann. Data releases from the US include the September PPI reading along with the weekly initial jobless claims. Lastly, earnings releases will include UnitedHealth, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, US Bancorp and Walgreens Boots Alliance. Tyler Durden Thu, 10/14/2021 - 08:29.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 14th, 2021

Avant Brands Reports Third Quarter Fiscal 2021 Financial Results

KELOWNA, BC, Oct. 13, 2021 /CNW/ - Avant Brands Inc (TSX:AVNT) (OTCQX:AVTBF) (FRA: 1BUP) ("Avant" or the "Company"), a leading producer of high quality, handcrafted cannabis products, is pleased to announce its financial results for the third quarter of fiscal 2021 ended August 31, 2021 ("Q3 2021"). "We are excited to have posted two consecutive quarters of record revenues," said Norton Singhavon, Founder and CEO of Avant. "The Company has achieved positive momentum across three distinct channels: recreational, medical and export. In addition, the recent licensing of our 3PL Ventures facility in Vernon, British Columbia enables us to build on this growth trajectory." Key Financial Highlights (for the period ended August 31, 2021)All figures are compared to the Company's most recent fiscal quarter (Q2 2021); all financial information in this press release is reported in Canadian dollars. Maintained a strong capital position with approximately $16.3 million of cash, $26.7 million of working capital and no debt on its balance sheet. Achieved record gross revenue of $3.1 million, and net revenue of $2.7 million, representing the second consecutive quarter of record revenue. Sold 525 kilograms ("KG") of cannabis, compared to 394 KG, an increase of 33%. Gross margin(A) increased to 40% from 39%. Recreational cannabis sales in Canada accounted for 71% of total sales, compared to 92%, as the Company commenced its initial global export shipment to Israel. Overall weighted average selling price decreased by 20% or $1.43 to $5.78 per gram as the Company's export shipments received a lower average selling price than its Canadian recreational sales. Recreational weighted average selling price decreased 5% to $6.97 per gram, as sales for Avant's Tenzo™ brand increased with the launch of new cultivars and packaging. The Tenzo™ brand has a lower weighted average selling price compared to the Company's BLK MKT™ brand. Operating expenses(B) of $1.5 million increased by $311,000 or 25%, as the Company had various one-time non-reoccurring expenses related to its TSX graduation and other professional fees. Net loss from operations of $2.97 million, compared to a loss of $124,000, as the Company recorded a non-cash loss of $2.3 million on fair value changes of biological assets. Positive cash flow from operations (before changes in non-cash working capital items) of $831,000, compared to negative $512,000, indicating significant growth within the operations. Adjusted EBITDA(C) loss of $267,000 compared to a loss of $28,000. Key Corporate Highlights Completed a full corporate rebrand to Avant Brands Inc. to better align with our high-quality cannabis products, emphasize the strength of our capabilities and raise our profile and visibility with our customers and the investment community. Graduated to the Toronto Stock Exchange and strengthened the Company's Board of Directors with the appointment of Jurgen Schreiber as Chairman of the Board, Duane Lo as Chair of the Audit Committee and Ruairi Twomey as Independent Director. 3PL Ventures Inc., a purpose-built 60,000 sq. ft. facility received its Standard Cultivation, Standard Processing and Medical Sales Licences, in accordance with Health Canada's Cannabis Act and Regulations. Filed preliminary base shelf prospectus for up to an aggregate offering of $50 million to provide the Company with the flexibility to capitalize on financing opportunities in favourable market conditions during the 25-month period that it remains active. Added to NASDAQ-listed Global X Cannabis ETF (NASDAQ:POTX), which currently holds approximately 4.4 million shares of Avant. Key Sales and Market Highlights Successfully initiated global cannabis exports, with a first shipment of over 200 KG of dried cannabis to Focus Medical Herbs Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of IM Cannabis Corp. (NASDAQ:IMCC). Continued to expand international client portfolio by signing three additional export agreements with customers in Israel and Australia. BLK MKT™ continued to be a top selling premium brand in all Canadian Provinces. BLK MKT™ 1G pre-rolls rapidly emerged as the top seller in British Columbia, and experienced an increase in market share within Ontario. Achieved a steady increase in B2C medical clients while expanding the product offering in terms of ...Full story available on Benzinga.com.....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaOct 14th, 2021

Commercial Metals Company Reports Record Fourth Quarter And Full Year Fiscal 2021 Results

IRVING, Texas, Oct. 14, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Commercial Metals Company (NYSE:CMC) today announced financial results for its fiscal fourth quarter ended August 31, 2021.  Earnings from continuing operations were $152.3 million, or $1.24 per diluted share, on net sales of $2.0 billion, compared to prior year earnings from continuing operations of $67.8 million, or $0.56 per diluted share, on net sales of $1.4 billion.  For the full year, earnings from continuing operations were $412.9 million, or $3.38 per diluted share, compared to $278.3 million, or $2.31 per diluted share in the prior year. During the fourth quarter of fiscal 2021, the Company recorded a net after-tax charge of $1.9 million related to the impairment of recycling assets.  Excluding this item, fourth quarter adjusted earnings from continuing operations were $154.2 million, or $1.26 per diluted share, compared to adjusted earnings from continuing operations of $95.3 million, or $0.79 per diluted share, in the prior year period.  "Adjusted EBITDA from continuing operations", "core EBITDA from continuing operations", "adjusted earnings from continuing operations" and "adjusted earnings from continuing operations per diluted share" are non-GAAP financial measures. Details, including a reconciliation of each such non-GAAP financial measure, to the most directly comparable measure, prepared and presented in accordance with GAAP can be found in the financial tables that follow. Barbara R. Smith, Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer, commented, "CMC's performance during fiscal 2021 was exceptional. Our financial results once again demonstrate CMC's significantly enhanced earnings capabilities following several years of methodical strategic transformation.  Yesterday, we announced our first dividend increase in over a decade and a sizeable new share repurchase program, reflecting the board's confidence in the Company's enhanced financial position and future prospects.  We have built a strong operating platform that will allow us to continue pursuing value accretive growth, while returning a meaningful portion of free cash flow to investors and maintaining a high-quality balance sheet." Ms. Smith continued, "Looking at the quarter, I am extremely proud of the CMC team's execution on multiple fronts.  Commercially and operationally, we responded to robust market demand with record shipment and production levels at several of our steel mills.  This heightened activity did not detract from our ability to continue building for the future.  Our team in Europe successfully ramped up CMC's new rolling line, and we made meaningful progress at the future Arizona 2 micro mill site in North America. In addition, on September 29th we reached an agreement to sell our Rancho Cucamonga site for an expected $300 million, which will be reinvested directly into Arizona 2.  Importantly, we also maintained focus on keeping our employees safe, with several operations achieving record low incident rates during the year." The Company's liquidity position as of August 31, 2021 remained solid, with cash and cash equivalents of $497.7 million, and availability of $668.2 million under the Company's credit and accounts receivable facilities. On October 13, 2021, the board of directors declared a quarterly dividend of $0.14 per share of CMC common stock payable to stockholders of record on October 27, 2021. This represents a 17% increase over the previous dividend. The dividend will be paid on November 10, 2021, and marks 228 consecutive quarterly dividend payments by the Company. Business Segments - Fiscal Fourth Quarter 2021 Review The North America segment generated record adjusted EBITDA of $212.0 million for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2021, an increase of 22% compared to $174.2 million in the prior year period.  This improvement was driven by increased margins across multiple products lines, coupled with higher shipments of steel products and raw materials.  These positive factors were partially offset by a year-over-year increase in controllable costs per ton of finished steel shipped, due largely to inflationary pressures for freight and steelmaking consumables.  Shipment volumes of finished steel, which include steel products and downstream products, increased by 2% from the prior year fourth quarter.  Demand for rebar from the mills remained relatively steady, but shipments declined modestly from the prior year due to a shift in mix toward merchant bar and wire rod.  Shipments of merchant and other products increased by 29% from the prior year, driven by the broad reopening of the U.S. economy.  Margins over scrap cost on steel products increased $103 per ton from the prior year period and $41 per ton compared to the prior quarter.  Market conditions were favorable for each of CMC's key products, leading to mill volume growth of 5% and an increase of $300 per ton in average selling price compared to the fourth quarter of fiscal 2020.  Margin over scrap cost on downstream products declined compared to a year ago, driven by fulfillment of fabrication contracts that were booked prior to the fiscal 2021 increase in scrap costs.  Future pricing indicators on new work entering the backlog were positive during the quarter, as average price levels for bids and new awards increased significantly from the prior year quarter.  The Europe segment reported record adjusted EBITDA of $67.7 million for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2021, up 195% compared to adjusted EBITDA of $22.9 million for the prior year quarter.  The improvement was driven by a significant expansion in margin over scrap as well as volume growth, as demand for steel products from both the construction and industrial end markets were solid during the quarter.  Resilient construction activity supported a 16% increase in rebar shipments compared to a year ago, while the start-up of the third rolling line and the continuing manufacturing recovery in Poland and Central Europe drove 24% growth in volumes of merchant and other steel products.  Average selling price increased by $317 per ton compared to the prior year quarter, and $99 per ton sequentially. Outlook Ms. Smith said, "Based on our current view of the marketplace, we anticipate our strong operating and financial performance will continue in fiscal 2022.  Volumes should remain solid, supported by a replenished construction backlog in North America, as well as broad strength across key end markets in both North America and Europe." "In the first quarter of fiscal 2022, we expect finished steel volumes to follow typical seasonal patterns, which have historically declined modestly from our fourth quarter levels.  We expect first quarter margins to remain consistent with the historical high levels earned in the fourth quarter," Ms. Smith added. Conference Call CMC invites you to listen to a live broadcast of its fourth quarter of fiscal 2021 conference call today, Thursday, October 14, 2021, at 11:00 a.m. ET.  Barbara R. Smith, Chairman of the Board, President, and Chief Executive Officer, and Paul Lawrence, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, will host the call. The call is accessible via our website at www.cmc.com. In the event you are unable to listen to the live broadcast, the call will be archived and available for replay on our website on the next business day. Financial and statistical information presented in the broadcast are located on CMC's website under "Investors." About Commercial Metals Company Commercial Metals Company and its subsidiaries manufacture, recycle and fabricate steel and metal products and provide related materials and services through a network including seven electric arc furnace ("EAF") mini mills, two EAF micro mills, one rerolling mill, steel fabrication and processing plants, construction-related product warehouses, and metal recycling facilities in the U.S. and Poland. Forward-Looking Statements This news release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws with respect to general economic conditions, key macro-economic drivers that impact our business, the effects of ongoing trade actions, the effects of continued pressure on the liquidity of our customers, potential synergies and organic growth provided by acquisitions and strategic investments, demand for our products, metal margins, the effect of COVID-19 and related governmental and economic responses thereto, the ability to operate our steel mills at full capacity, future availability and cost of supplies of raw materials and energy for our operations, share repurchases, legal proceedings, the undistributed earnings of our non-U.S. subsidiaries, U.S. non-residential construction activity, international trade, capital expenditures, our liquidity and our ability to satisfy future liquidity requirements, estimated contractual obligations and our expectations or beliefs concerning future events. The statements in this release that are not historical statements, are forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements can generally be identified by phrases such as we or our management "expects," "anticipates," "believes," "estimates," "future," "intends," "may," "plans to," "ought," "could," "will," "should," "likely," "appears," "projects," "forecasts," "outlook" or other similar words or phrases, as well as by discussions of strategy, plans, or intentions. Our forward-looking statements are based on management's expectations and beliefs as of the time this news release was prepared. Although we believe that our expectations are reasonable, we can give no assurance that these expectations will prove to have been correct, and actual results may vary materially. Except as required by law, we undertake no obligation to update, amend or clarify any forward-looking statements to reflect changed assumptions, the occurrence of anticipated or unanticipated events, new information or circumstances or any other changes. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from our expectations include those described in Part I, Item 1A, "Risk Factors" of our annual report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended August 31, 2020, and Part II, Item 1A, "Risk Factors" of our quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended February 28, 2021, as well as the following: changes in economic conditions which affect demand for our products or construction activity generally, and the impact of such changes on the highly cyclical steel industry; rapid and significant changes in the price of metals, potentially impairing our inventory values due to declines in commodity prices or reducing the profitability of our downstream contracts due to rising commodity pricing; impacts from COVID-19 on the economy, demand for our products, global supply chain and on our operations, including the responses of governmental authorities to contain COVID-19 and the impact of various COVID-19 vaccines; excess capacity in our industry, particularly in China, and product availability from competing steel mills and other steel suppliers including import quantities and pricing; compliance with and changes in existing and future laws, regulations and other legal requirements and judicial decisions that govern our business, including increased environmental regulations associated with climate change and greenhouse gas emissions; involvement in various environmental matters that may result in fines, penalties or judgments; potential limitations in our or our customers' abilities to access credit and non-compliance by our customers; activity in repurchasing shares of our common stock under our repurchase program; financial covenants and restrictions on the operation of our business contained in agreements governing our debt; our inability to close the sale of our Rancho Cucamonga property, including if the buyer were to terminate the purchase agreement during its 60 day due diligence review period; our ability to successfully identify, consummate and integrate acquisitions, and the effects that acquisitions may have on our financial leverage; risks associated with acquisitions generally, such as the inability to obtain, or delays in obtaining, required approvals under applicable antitrust legislation and other regulatory and third party consents and approvals; operating and startup risks, as well as market risks associated with the commissioning of new projects could prevent us from realizing anticipated benefits and could result in a loss of all or a substantial part of our investments; lower than expected future levels of revenues and higher than expected future costs; failure or inability to implement growth strategies in a timely manner; impact of goodwill impairment charges; impact of long-lived asset impairment charges; currency fluctuations; global factors, such as trade measures, military conflicts and political uncertainties, including the impact of the Biden administration on current trade regulations, such as Section 232 trade tariffs and quotas, tax legislation and other regulations which might adversely impact our business; availability and pricing of electricity, electrodes and natural gas for mill operations; ability to hire and retain key executives and other employees; competition from other materials or from competitors that have a lower cost structure or access to greater financial resources; information technology interruptions and breaches in security; ability to make necessary capital expenditures; availability and pricing of raw materials and other items over which we exert little influence, including scrap metal, energy and insurance; unexpected equipment failures; losses or limited potential gains due to hedging transactions; litigation claims and settlements, court decisions, regulatory rulings and legal compliance risks; risk of injury or death to employees, customers or other visitors to our operations; and civil unrest, protests and riots. COMMERCIAL METALS COMPANYFINANCIAL & OPERATING STATISTICS (UNAUDITED) Three Months Ended Year Ended (in thousands, except per ton amounts) 8/31/2021 5/31/2021 2/28/2021 11/30/2020 8/31/2020 8/31/2021 8/31/2020 North America Net sales $ 1,660,409 $ 1,558,068 $ 1,257,486 $ 1,195,013 $ 1,224,849 $ 5,670,976 $ 4,769,933 Adjusted EBITDA 212,018 207,330 171,612 155,634 174,219 746,594 661,176 External tons shipped Raw materials 331 368 302 330 300 1,331 1,229 Rebar 469 500 472 486 498 1,927 1,897 Merchant and other 302 289 268 264 234 1,123 919 Steel products 771 789 740 750 732 3,050 2,816 Downstream products 415 408 343 371 429 1,537 1,635 Average selling price per ton Raw materials $ 1,069 $ 949 $ 846 $ 630 $ 605 $ 877 $ 567 Steel products 900 794 695 612 600 752 618 Downstream products 1,014 963 929 934 970 961 975 Cost of raw materials per ton $ 805 $ 697 $ 629 $ 458 $ 427 $ 650 $ 402 Cost of ferrous scrap utilized per ton 434 369 344 266 237 355 238 Steel products metal margin per ton $ 466 $ 425 $ 351 $ 346 $ 363 $ 397 $ 380 Europe Net sales $ 368,290 $ 284,107 $ 202,066 $ 194,596 $ 179,855 $ 1,049,059 $ 699,140 Adjusted EBITDA 67,676 50,005 16,107 14,470 22,927 148,258 62,007.....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaOct 14th, 2021

Dow (DOW) to Build Net-Zero Carbon Emissions Ethylene Cracker

The project is in sync with Dow's (DOW) broader goals to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and eliminate plastic waste in the environment. Dow Inc. DOW recently said that it intends to construct the world's first net-zero carbon emissions integrated ethylene cracker and derivatives site, which will advance its commitments to reduce carbon emissions.The organic, brownfield investment is expected to more than triple Dow's ethylene and polyethylene capacity from its Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta site, while retrofitting the site's existing assets to net-zero carbon emissions. The company selected the Fort Saskatchewan site as the region offers a highly competitive energy and feedstocks position. The project is also expected to boost the company’s capacity of advantaged ethylene, polyethylene and derivatives manufactured across Alberta. Dow, which is among the prominent players in the chemical space along with Eastman Chemical Company EMN, Celanese Corporation CE and PPG Industries, Inc. PPG, plans to allocate roughly $1 billion of capital expenditure annually to decarbonize its global asset base in a phased, site-by-site approach. It anticipates the new cracker to add roughly 1.8 million metric tons of capacity in a phased manner through 2030. This, along with derivatives capacity and site retrofit investments, will allow Dow to make and supply roughly 3.2 million metric tons of certified low to zero-carbon emissions polyethylene and ethylene derivatives for customers and joint venture partners globally.The Fort Saskatchewan site will convert cracker off-gas into hydrogen as a clean fuel to be utilized in the production process and carbon dioxide (CO2) that will be captured onsite to be transported and stored by adjacent third-party CO2 infrastructure. The products produced at the Fort Saskatchewan site will be used worldwide to facilitate the delivery of low to zero-carbon emissions solutions to address the sustainability needs of the customers.The project is expected to decarbonize around 20% of Dow's global ethylene capacity while growing polyethylene supply by about 15%. It will support around $1 billion of EBITDA growth across the value chain by 2030. The company expects the project to be completed with around 15% lower capital intensity than its industry-leading Texas-9 cracker in Freeport and derivative units.Dow noted that the investment builds on its strong leadership position and enables it to meet the rising needs of customers and brand owners looking to lower the carbon footprint of their products. It is also in sync with its broader goals to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and eliminate plastic waste in the environment. The investment also aligns with the company’s commitment to cut its net annual carbon emissions by an additional 15%, lowering net annual emissions by around 30% by 2030.Dow, in its second-quarter call, said that it expects earnings momentum from additional improvements in consumer spending, industrial production and international travel. With the ongoing global economic recovery, it is well placed to continue to capture value with its differentiated materials science portfolio and participation in fast-growing markets. Zacks Names "Single Best Pick to Double" From thousands of stocks, 5 Zacks experts each have chosen their favorite to skyrocket +100% or more in months to come. From those 5, Director of Research Sheraz Mian hand-picks one to have the most explosive upside of all. You know this company from its past glory days, but few would expect that it's poised for a monster turnaround. Fresh from a successful repositioning and flush with A-list celeb endorsements, it could rival or surpass other recent Zacks' Stocks Set to Double like Boston Beer Company which shot up +143.0% in a little more than 9 months and Nvidia which boomed +175.9% in one year.Free: See Our Top Stock and 4 Runners Up >>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 PPG Industries, Inc. (PPG): Free Stock Analysis Report Dow Inc. (DOW): Free Stock Analysis Report Eastman Chemical Company (EMN): Free Stock Analysis Report Celanese Corporation (CE): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksOct 13th, 2021

Port Of Los Angeles Prepares For 24/7 Operations To Tackle Massive Cargo Backlog 

Port Of Los Angeles Prepares For 24/7 Operations To Tackle Massive Cargo Backlog  With more than 80 container ships at anchor and 64 at berths across the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, congestion at the nation's top ports continues to snarl supply chains. To alleviate bottlenecks threatening the holiday shopping season, the White House has released a memo stating the twin ports will be operating on a 24/7 basis to counter the backlog.  The shipping industry is in complete chaos, and bottlenecks at Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, a point of entry for 40% of containers, continue to experience massive backlog that is disrupting the time it takes goods to reach store shelves, creating price inflation for consumer goods and shortages. President Biden is expected to meet with "business leaders, port leaders, and union leaders to discuss the challenges at ports across the country and actions each partner can take to address the delays and congestion across the transportation supply chain," according to the White House.  "The President will meet with the leadership from the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) to discuss the actions they are each taking to address these challenges in Southern California," the White House continued.  To solve such a crisis, it appears the Biden administration, businesses leaders, and port officials will "announce a series of public and private commitments to move more goods faster, and strengthen the resiliency of our supply chains, by moving towards 24/7 operations at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach" at a press conference this afternoon.  Snarled supply chains first became an issue earlier this year for the administration when automakers began to experience production difficulties because of the lack of semiconductor chips. This forced Biden to announce a review of the problem in February.  Since then, the administration has done very little to alleviate shortages and bottlenecks as they push for more fiscal stimulus, one of the culprits of a massive demand-pull of overseas goods from Asia, straining logistical networks. The problem continues to worsen and adds inflation to the economy that is becoming more persistent than transitory. There's also the issue of consumer goods shortages ahead of the holiday season.  Here are the White House's commitments to resolve the shipping crisis:  The Port of Los Angeles is expanding to 24/7 operation. The Port of Long Beach expanded operations in mid-September. The Port of Los Angeles is now joining them by adding new off-peak night time shifts and weekend hours. This expansion means the Port of Los Angeles has nearly doubled the hours that cargo will be able to move out of its docks and on highways.  The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) has announced its members are willing to work those extra shifts. This will add needed capacity to put towards clearing existing backlogs. This is an important first step, now the private businesses along the supply chain need to move their operations to 24/7. Large companies are announcing they will use expanded hours to move more cargo off the docks, so ships can come to shore faster. Unlike leading ports around the world, U.S. ports have failed to realize the full possibility offered by operation on nights and weekends. Moving goods during off-peak hours can help move goods out of ports faster. For example, at the Port of LA, goods move 25 percent faster at night than during the day. These commitments will help unlock capacity in the rest of the system—including highways, railroads and warehouses—by reducing congestion during the day. The commitments being announced today include: The nation's largest retailer, Walmart, is committing to increase its use of night-time hours significantly and projects they could increase throughput by as much as 50% over the next several weeks.  UPS is committing to an increased use of 24/7 operations and enhanced data sharing with the ports, which could allow it to move up to 20 percent more containers from the ports. FedEx is committing to work to combine an increase in night time hours with changes to trucking and rail use to increase the volume of containers it will move from the ports. Once these changes are in place, they could double the volume of cargo they can move out of the ports at night. Samsung is committing to move nearly 60% more containers out of these ports by operating 24/7 through the next 90 days. 72% of U.S. homes have at least one Samsung product, from appliances to consumer electronics. The Home Depot is committing to move up to 10% additional containers per week during the newly available off-peak port hours at the Ports of L.A. and Long Beach. Target, which is currently moving about 50 percent of its containers at night, has committed to increasing that amount by 10 percent during the next 90 days to help ease congestion at the ports. Across these six companies over 3,500 additional containers per week will move at night through the end of the year. Those boxes contain toys, appliances, bicycles, and furniture that Americans purchased online or at their local small business, and pieces and parts that are sent to U.S. factories for our workers to assemble into products. And this is just a start—these commitments provide a clear market signal to the other businesses along the transportation supply chain—rails, trucks, and warehouses—that there is demand to move additional cargo at off-peak hours. Secretary Buttigieg and Port Envoy Porcari will continue to work with all stakeholders to help more businesses access these expanded hours, and move the rest of the supply chain towards 24/7 operations. This effort is part of the ongoing work of the Biden-Harris Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force to continue to identify emerging bottlenecks to the economic recovery and take action to clear them to help families, workers, and businesses get the goods they need. Tyler Durden Wed, 10/13/2021 - 10:29.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 13th, 2021

Money Talks: Cannabis investor Christine De La Rosa explains why "not all money is good money"

Christine De La Rosa, who owns the The People's Ecosystem dispensary in Oakland, launched a $50 million fund and accelerator last year called The People's Group Fund to help other underrepresented founders in the cannabis industry get the capital they need to launch new businesses, along with the mentorship they need to see them succeed. The decision was inspired by her own struggles as an entrepreneur trying to find investors to back her idea. But, with cannabis businesses remain largely locked….....»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsOct 11th, 2021

WHO’S NEWS: Latest appointments & promotions

Hines announced that Sarah Hawkins has been promoted to chief executive officer of the U.S. East Region. She is now responsible for all development, acquisition, asset management and operations activity in the region and is a member of the firm’s global Executive Committee. Hawkins takes over the CEO position that... The post WHO’S NEWS: Latest appointments & promotions appeared first on Real Estate Weekly. Hines announced that Sarah Hawkins has been promoted to chief executive officer of the U.S. East Region. She is now responsible for all development, acquisition, asset management and operations activity in the region and is a member of the firm’s global Executive Committee. Hawkins takes over the CEO position that was previously held by Chris Hughes before he transitioned to co-head of Investment Management, as well as the CEO, Capital Markets. Hawkins joined Hines in the New York office as an Associate in 2011. Prior to her promotion, she served as the East Region’s chief operating officer, and before that, as a managing director in the New York regional office. Prior to joining Hines, she was an associate at Fortress Investment Group and, before that, an analyst with the Blackstone Group. She graduated from the University of Texas Phi Beta Kappa with a BA where she also received her BBA with High Honors. ••• JLL announced that Christine Colley will join the firm’s New York office as an executive managing director. Colley, previously a managing director at Cushman & Wakefield, has extensive experience in both the private and public sectors. During her career, Colley has leased more than four million square feet of space and has represented an array of clients including New York City Housing Authority, Atlice USA, Goldpoint Partners, Simons Foundation, Mitsui Fudosan and Alexandria Center. Colley has received multiple awards throughout her career, including Commercial Property Executives’ 2021 Stars to Watch, Real Estate Weekly’s 2020 Real Estate Rising Star Award, Commercial Observer’s 2019 30 Under 30 and Cushman & Wakefield’s Tri-State Top Producer in 2017 and 2016. ••• Cushman & Wakefield has welcomed a team led by industry veterans Deborah Van Der Heyden and Paul Ferraro, who will both serve as Executive Directors in brokerage. Based out of the firm’s 1290 Avenue of the Americas office, Van Der Heyden and Ferraro will be joined by Matthew Livingston and Ian O’Mahony. The team will focus on tenant representation in New York City. Deborah an Der Heyden is a 30-year industry veteran who has a wide breadth of experience across all property sectors across the US. Previously, she spent 12 years at JLL and 15 years at Newmark as a commercial real estate advisor. Van Der Heyden is a graduate of the College of Communications at Boston University and the master’s degree program at New York University’s Real Estate Institute. Paul Ferraro has more than 15 years of experience in transaction management and brokerage. Previously, he was a corporate real estate advisor at JLL and USI Real Estate Brokerage Services. He has a Bachelor of Science in Finance and Management from Villanova University. Livingston has seven years of experience and joins the firm as a Director. Previously at JLL, he graduated from Union College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and a minor in classics. O’Mahony has six years of experience and joins Cushman & Wakefield as a senior brokerage specialist. Previously at CBRE, he has a master’s degree in Real Estate from New York University. ••• Rockefeller Group announced that Jennifer Stein has been promoted to Assistant Vice President & Director, Leasing, for Core Holdings. She was previously a director, and will continue to be based in the company’s Manhattan headquarters. Stein is responsible for asset management, marketing and leasing of Rockefeller Group’s Midtown Manhattan office properties, primarily 1221 Avenue of the Americas and 1271 Avenue of the Americas, which total approximately five million square feet. She works closely with commercial real estate brokerage professionals, partners and clients and was a key contributor to the lease-up of approximately two million square feet of office space at 1271 Avenue of the Americas, which recently completed a $600 million repositioning program. In 2020, Stein was part of the team that secured Avra Estiatorio to approximately 17,000 s/f at 1271 Avenue of the Americas, which was the largest restaurant lease in Manhattan last year and recently recognized as the Real Estate Board of New York’s Most Ingenious Retail Deal of the Year. Stein joined Rockefeller Group in 2008 and has held positions of increasing authority in Leasing, Property Management and Design & Construction. She has been involved in more than 3.5 million square feet of new leases within Rockefeller Group’s portfolio, excluding renewals. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University and a master’s degree from New York University’s Schack Institute of Real Estate. ••• Rubenstein Partners announced the appointment of Michael Happel and Joseph Zuber as the new leadership for its equity investing activities in New York and other major Northeast markets. Michael Happel has over 30 years of experience investing in real estate, including acquisitions of office, retail, multifamily, industrial, and hotel properties, as well as acquisitions of real estate companies and real estate debt. He is the former CEO of New York REIT, as well as CEO of New York City REIT. He has been responsible for over $3.5 billion of real estate acquisitions in New York City since 2009, when he formed and launched NYRT. Previously, Happel worked at Morgan Stanley and held leadership roles at Westbrook Partners and Atticus Capital. He received a B.A. in economics from Duke University in 1985 and a J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1988. Joe Zuber has over 30 years of real estate investment, development, asset management and restructuring experience. For the past 10 years, Zuber was the managing principal of Black Walnut Capital LLC. Earlier in his career, he was president and chief operating officer of O’Connor Capital Partners. He also served as chief investment officer of The City Investment Fund, LP, an investment manager established by Fisher Brothers and Morgan Stanley. He was also previously an executive director of MSREF. Zuber received an MBA from The Colgate Darden Graduate School of Business at the University of Virginia and a B.Arch. degree from Cornell University. ••• Conifer Realty announced the appointment of Roger Snell as its new chief executive officer. The announcement follows a recent investment in the company by Belveron Partners. From 2010 to 2021, Snell was the chief investment officer of Veritas Investments. Prior to this he was the CEO of two public REITs. He presently serves on the board of Veritas Investments and a member of the investment committee, as well as CIM Income NAV, a public REIT.Snell’s education includes an MBA from Harvard Business School and a B.S. degree from the University of California, Berkeley. He is a member of the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC), the Pension Real Estate Association (PREA) and the Urban Land Institute (ULI). ••• New York Law School (NYLS) Dean Anthony W. Crowell announced the appointment of Erin Felker Bond ’08 as the Associate Dean for Academic Planning and Career Development. A 2008 graduate of NYLS, she is the first alumna to hold this critical position. She received her B.A. from the University of Virginia. Most recently, Bond served as NYLS’s Assistant Dean of Academic Program Development, Director of the Office of Continuing Legal Education (CLE), and an adjunct professor with the School’s Center for Real Estate Studies (which she formerly served as Associate Director). As a member of the School’s senior administration, she has provided leadership in implementing the NYLS Strategic Plan and engaged external partners for many programmatic initiatives. Her leadership has resulted in NYLS’s consistent recognition by the New York Law Journal as a top CLE provider in the State. Since 2019, she has served on the Board of Directors of Services: for the UnderServed (S:US). She also served as 2014 President of the NYC real estate industry’s longest-running and most consistent supporter of women real estate professionals, CREW New York. ••• Silverstein Properties announced that Yael Ron has joined the firm as Head of Global Hospitality & General Manager of Residential Properties. A luxury hotel veteran with over 25 years of hospitality experience, Ron will be responsible for Silverstein’s hospitality and residential divisions. She will also oversee Inspire, Silverstein’s customer experience program. Ron most recently, she served as managing director of the Leading Hotels of the World (LHW) Fifth Avenue Hotel in New York. Prior to that, she was the General Manager of The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco.She spent nearly a decade with The Ritz-Carlton company working in Cleveland as director of sales and marketing, Herzliya in Israel and Macau, China. Earlier, she worked at The Intercontinental Hotel in Tel Aviv, following a decade with Hilton Hotels. Ron holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Hotel Management from Technion Israel & Nova University, Florida, and an MBA from City University of New York, Baruch College. She is fluent in several languages. ••• Silverstein Properties announced that Keith A. Cody has joined the company as Senior Vice President of Commercial Leasing. Cody joins Silverstein Properties from Empire State Realty Trust (ESRT) where he was Vice President of Leasing for seven years. Prior to ESRT, he served as a Senior Vice President at CBRE. During his 24-year tenure at ESRT and CBRE, Cody completed around 700 transactions in excess of 6.5 million RSF, and represented a wide range of tenants in multiple industries. Cody received a Bachelor of Science degree from the State University of New York at Binghamton. ••• Savills announced that Jessica Jeffrey joined the firm as an associate director in New York. Jeffrey brings more than 15 years of experience in real estate development, project and construction management, with expertise that spans the full capital project life cycle. She has completed more than 1.5 million square feet of projects, including both ground-up developments and conversions in Manhattan and Brooklyn. She has also managed office building, retail and public plaza projects and led a team of subcontractors on Major League Baseball’s Nationals Ballpark in Washington, DC. Before joining Savills, Jeffrey spent four years as a senior project executive with Anbau. She also spent 11 years working in the real estate development and construction industries as both a project manager and superintendent in multiple major metro areas. ••• Savills has welcomed Ryan Walsh as a corporate managing director. Walsh has 20 years of real estate transaction and portfolio management experience, having worked with leading global brands, such as Willis Towers Watson, Morgan Stanley, Pfizer, and Bank of America. Prior to joining the firm, Walsh worked at CBRE, where he served as a director of transaction management. He was responsible for developing enterprise portfolio strategy, opportunity assessments and transaction execution for global accounts. Before CBRE, he held positions at Cushman & Wakefield and JLL. ••• Mortgage industry veteran Rick Bechtel has joined Compass as President of Mortgage. In his new role, Bechtel oversees Compass’ presence within the mortgage industry, including the recently announced joint venture with Guaranteed Rate, OriginPoint. Prior to Compass, Bechtel was the executive vice president and head of U.S. Residential Lending at TD Bank. Additionally, he has held senior leadership roles with major mortgage industry leaders such as Chase, Wells Fargo, and CIBC. Bechtel holds a BBA from the University of Wisconsin and MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management. ••• Romer Debbas announced that Stacie Bryce Feldman has joined the firm as a partner with the Litigation Team. Feldman focuses on real estate litigation related to rent regulatory issues, due diligence, J-51 class action suits, commercial lease disputes, commercial contract disputes, Article 78 Proceedings, and complex landlord/tenant issues. Recently, Feldman provided comments on proposed legislation in the landlord tenant field pertaining to the impacts of COVID-19 prior to its enactment. A member of the bar of the state of New York and admitted to practice before the United States District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts, Feldman received a Juris Doctorate degree from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. She completed her undergraduate degree at the State University of New York at Stonybrook where she was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa Society. ••• Eastern Union has named Victoria Smith senior data specialist in the company’s newly launched Commission Data Broker Division. Smith, who joined the firm earlier this year as a summer intern, will play a central role in the management and training of Commission Data Brokers (CDB), a new professional job category introduced to the industry by Eastern Union. Smith, who will be based in Jacksonville, FL, previously served as a senior customer service advocate in the Jacksonville office of OptumRx, a pharmacy and healthcare services company. She holds a bachelor of science degree in data management and data analytics from Western Governors University in Salt Lake City. She also earned an associate of science degree in computer science from Gateway Community College in New Haven. ••• Blank Rome LLP announced that Matthew J. Crawford has joined the firm’s New York office as an associate in the Real Estate group,. Crawford joins Blank Rome from Meister Seelig & Fein where he worked in their Real Estate and Hospitality groups. He concentrates his practice on commercial leasing, representing both landlords and tenants. Crawford is admitted to practice in New York, Connecticut, Florida, and New Jersey. He earned his J.D. from Hofstra University School of Law and his B.A. Political Science and Geography, magna cum laude, from Villanova University. ••• The Praedium Group announced the addition of three new hires. Molly Steckler joined the client development team as an associate, JK Lee joined the investment team as an analyst, and Allyson Lisser joined the portfolio management team as an analyst. Molly Steckler is an associate on the marketing and client development team. She is also a member of the ESG Committee. Previously, she was a relationship manager in the Multifamily Agency Finance group at Capital One, N.A. Steckler received a B.A. in Public Policy with a concentration in Environmental Policy from Vanderbilt University. JK Lee is an analyst on the investment team. He previously worked in the Agency Loan group at Greystone & Co. Lee received a B.A. in Financial Economics from Columbia University. Allyson Lisser is an analyst on the portfolio management team. Prior to joining Praedium, Lisser was a real estate valuation associate at KPMG LLLP and holds her BBA in Real Estate and Urban Land Economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. ••• Madison International Realty has appointed Anisa Keith as director of Equity Capital Markets. Keith will report to Michael Chen, managing director and Head of Capital Markets who oversees ECM/investor relations. Prior to joining Madison, Keith was Head of Investor Relations at Basis Capital Investment Group. She is a graduate of Georgetown University and earned an MBA from Columbia University. The post WHO’S NEWS: Latest appointments & promotions appeared first on Real Estate Weekly......»»

Category: realestateSource: realestateweeklyOct 11th, 2021

I went to an exclusive crypto conference in London where real-life llamas rubbed shoulders with bitcoin bros, and I was one of just a handful of women in the crowd. Here are 11 photos.

Even people whose work revolves around virtual assets are keen to start meeting up in the real world again, just as I did at Token2049 in London. Shalini Nagarajan/Insider I attended TOKEN2049 in London, one of 2021's first major in-person crypto events. Two real-life llamas were at the event, to represent a 'llamacorn' - the next stage from a crypto unicorn. Speakers explored pertinent topics such as DeFi, NFTs, and what the industry could look like in the future. Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell. Even people whose work revolves around virtual assets are keen to start meeting up in the real world again, and I did just that last week at the TOKEN2049 crypto conference in London.One of the key draws was billionaire Mike Novogratz, among the most influential voices in crypto, who was scheduled to headline the conference. But the Galaxy Digital CEO's recent trip to the Dominican Republic meant COVID-19 restrictions kicked in unexpectedly, and he wasn't able to enter the UK. His session was held virtually instead.The CEOs of Ava Labs and DeversiFi were among the 100 or so crypto industry stalwarts giving speeches or taking part in panel discussions at the two-day event, covering topics ranging from regulation to the metaverse.When one moderator asked how many people there hold NFTs, I saw several raised hands. Shalini Nagarajan/Insider These two glittering personalities added to the buzz with their brief appearances.Some people suggested the pair represented gold and silver's willingness to be overshadowed by crypto.The conference took place October 7 to 8 at the De Vere Grand Connaught Rooms in Covent Garden in London. Shalini Nagarajan/Insider They insisted on taking a selfie, and I happily obliged my cheerful acquaintances. Shalini Nagarajan/Insider It was odd to come across two llamas near the breakfast area.It turns out they symbolized a llamacorn — part llama and part unicorn — the conference's icon. It symbolizes the next stage on from a crypto unicorn, which is a company valued at more than $1 billion by venture capitalists. As these South American animals are quite rarely seen in the city, they've apparently broken the ice and sparked many conversations at past TOKEN 2049 conferences. Shalini Nagarajan/Insider The crowd was visibly male-dominated, a fact that a member of the organizational team admitted to me they were "painfully aware" of. Shalini Nagarajan/Insider Blockchain-based game Chain Guardians had the most eye-catching stall.Some companies had set up marketing stalls for attendees to find out about their contribution to the crypto ecosystem.Chain Guardians' blockchain-based platform enables users to play games where at different stages they can earn in-game currency. It can be redeemed for Chain Guardian tokens or can be spent within the game. Shalini Nagarajan/Insider More than 1,000 people attended to meet, network with, and hear from blockchain and fintech industry leaders from around the world.Token2049 held its last event in Hong Kong in March 2019. Its tagline for the London 2021 event was: "It's time to reunite." Shalini Nagarajan/Insider While executives from companies such as Coinbase, Binance, FTX, and Galaxy Digital spoke at panel discussions, attendees were able to talk to their representatives at breakout sessions. Shalini Nagarajan/Insider Huobi, Infinity Skies, BlockFi, ByteTree and Copper.co showcased some of their products, services, and experiences to those at the event. Shalini Nagarajan/Insider A fully-stocked bar right outside the main stage served free drinks for the networking event in the evening.Gin and other hard liquor was on offer alongside wine, beer, and mixers. I noticed a lot of people were nursing hangovers from Thursday evening. Shalini Nagarajan/Insider Each panel discussion had packed audiences to hear crypto experts debate a wide range of topics.Industry experts discussed subjects such as the European crypto scene, the foundation of Web 3, whether DeFi regulation is an opportunity or threat, and how gaming became blockchain's greatest ally.ByteTree's founder Charlie Morris argued bitcoin is overpriced. And Celsius Network CEO Alex Mashinsky, who wore a T-shirt with "HODL" on the front, said: "If you believe in bitcoin, why are you spending it?" Shalini Nagarajan/Insider Global supply chain issues, yet unlimited coffee. To be fair, the bar got more takers.There were plenty of networking opportunities at the event, which was aimed at discovering what the industry will look like by 2049.Registration cost £999 ($1,361) and about half that for early birds, with half of all tickets invite-only, according to the organizers. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 11th, 2021

Cannabis leaders raise concerns about city"s proposal to extend ownership transfer moratorium

City leaders are considering extending a moratorium on ownership transfers for cannabis businesses. Some local industry leaders say the restriction is limiting their ability to raise capital. In November 2019, the city adopted ordinances that prohibited any individual from obtaining an ownership interest in more than one storefront dispensary and established a 120-day suspension of ownership interest changes for storefront dispensaries. The ordinances were put in place in response to concerns that….....»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsOct 9th, 2021

Ransomware Attacks Spur Concern Among Cannabis Companies

Imagine logging on to your business’ computer systems, only to find your most critical information and tools locked and inaccessible. A message demands a ransom, often to be paid in cryptocurrency, or the data will be locked forever or even possibly leaked online. Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Ransomware attacks have spiked […] Imagine logging on to your business’ computer systems, only to find your most critical information and tools locked and inaccessible. A message demands a ransom, often to be paid in cryptocurrency, or the data will be locked forever or even possibly leaked online. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Henry Singleton Series in PDF Get the entire 4-part series on Henry Singleton in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Ransomware attacks have spiked since the start of the pandemic, increasing 150% over 2019, part of a larger international trend going back ten years. This trend has caught many businesses off-guard and unprepared, opening them up to lost data, interrupted operations, and high financial expense. I chatted with cannabis executives from Regrow and Confia to discuss the risk posed by ransomware and the steps businesses need to take to be protected. What Is Ransomware? Ransomware is a type of malicious computer software that blocks access to computer systems and data until a ransom is paid. Sometimes, ransomware threatens to publish sensitive data online as well. Basic ransomware simply blocks a user from accessing their computer and can be reversed by someone with the skill to do it. More advanced software encrypts the computer’s data, more effectively locking the computer. Payment of the ransom is typically made using cryptocurrency, so it is untraceable. Why Are Cannabis Companies Especially At Risk? As an emerging industry, some cannabis companies may believe that they are too small to be a target. Others simply don’t understand the extraordinary risk involved. You don’t need to be a large company to be targeted by ransomware. It is estimated that between 50 and 75 percent of all ransomware attacks are on small businesses simply because they are the least protected and the least prepared. According to a report from MJBiz Daily, 41% of cannabis businesses aren’t taking the necessary steps to protect themselves online. This lack of security makes it easier for ransomware attacks, even passive ones, to take hold of your systems. For cannabis businesses, many of which are startups, larger concerns like compliance are often prioritized over cybersecurity, leading to vulnerability. The Fallout From Ransomware Attacks The financial cost to your business from a ransomware attack can be significant. The average ransom demand in 2020 was over $300,000. The ransom paid or tech services hired to end a ransomware attack is just one the impacts your business might feel. If you are a retail business, stolen consumer information that is leaked online can damage your reputation and sow distrust among your customers. The same is true of employee personal information. Your employees trust you to keep their information safe. Failure to do so can erode their faith in your company. Cultivators hit by ransomware can also experience secondary effects. Many cannabis cultivators rely on automated systems and data analysis when running their operations. Removing access to a cultivator’s systems can derail current operations and halt attempts to restart. How Can I Keep My Business Safe? A good first step in cybersecurity is antivirus software equipped for the latest online threats. However, strong antivirus protection is just the beginning when defending against ransomware attacks. “To protect themselves and their customers before they get hit, cannabis organizations are going to need to adopt the same security procedures and protocols that those big Fortune 500 companies are employing,” says Rob Woodbyrne, CEO of Regrow, creators of dynamic operations software for the cannabis industry . “This would include implementing mobile workforce management systems to ensure that anyone interacting with company data, like email, files, etc., has adequate protection on their devices as defined by the business.” Training employees in best cybersecurity practices can help identify phishing attempts before they become big problems. “The primary attack vector for ransomware is email. Having proper email/spam filtering, as well as end user awareness through repeated training, will help mitigate potential threats,” Woodbyrne adds. A VPN (virtual private network) for remote workers ensures that your confidential information is secure at all times, even when conditions aren’t ideal. Adding a layer of security to your data, a VPN encrypts your data when both sent and received, making it harder to access. “But the ultimate way to safeguard against potential ransomware and security breaches is by housing data in cloud based services that have passed stringent certifications like ISO 27001 and ISO 27017, as well as built-in email, integration, and database encryptions. Regrow maintains every regulatory and industry compliance Information Security Management certification for all its data centers,” says Woodbyrne. Additionally, it’s critical to work with trusted partners that also take important measures to secure data. “Cannabis companies need to give great consideration to who they procure for software and banking providers,” says Mark Lozzi, CEO of Confia, which offers comprehensive financial systems to cannabis retailers. “The richest data is in banking/POS systems, where consumer and Personal Identifiable Information (PII) resides. Ransomware outfits look to capitalize on fiat or digital assets or marketable information - like PII. So when assessing your software and service providers, you need to ensure they have adequate security audits completed, as well as proof of penetration testing,” continues Lozzi. Ransomware can cost a business thousands of dollars and cripple operations, making it a frightening proposition for any company. Even as ransomware attacks surge, you can keep your business safe from online threats by taking steps to secure it internally, while also carefully choosing external partners that hold cybersecurity as a top priority. Updated on Oct 8, 2021, 12:43 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkOct 8th, 2021