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News Article | May 9, 2017
Site: globenewswire.com

Chief executives report more subdued outlook in first quarter of the year, a reversal of the previous quarter's upswing ABU DHABI, 9 May 2017 - YPO, the premier chief executive leadership organisation in the world, reported today that confidence among business leaders in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) declined in the first quarter of the year (1Q 2017). The YPO Global Pulse Confidence Index for MENA, which tracks economic confidence levels among chief executives in the region on a quarterly basis, slipped 4.3 points to 55.2. The decline in sentiment reversed most of the gains achieved in the fourth quarter of 2016, when the Index jumped 5.6 points, from 53.9 to 59.5 across the region. MENA now trails the global composite score of 62.5 by 7.3 points, its biggest deficit in the seven-year history of the survey. For the Arab countries in the region, after an upward swing in confidence during the fourth quarter of 2016 to 39.1, chief executive confidence dropped to 32.9 in 1Q 2017. This dampened confidence follows austerity measures taken by most of these nations. The decline in confidence is largely driven by a significant fall in Saudi Arabia, which reported a confidence crash of 11.7 points, from 54.1 to 42.4, in firmly pessimistic territory. "Chief executives in Saudi Arabia were less optimistic about their outlook for fixed investment for Q1 2017 as the kingdom bore the brunt of OPEC cuts," explains Dr Florence Eid-Oakden, Founder and CEO of Arabia Monitor and a member of YPO. "We could see an improvement in business confidence in Q2 2017 as liquidity conditions improve, non-oil private sector growth picks up pace, and given how successful the bond and sukuk issuances have been in Q4 of 2016 and Q1 of 2017." The loss in confidence was not isolated to Saudi Arabia with many of the largest economies in the region reporting similar declines, on the back of a turbulent three months. In Lebanon, business confidence significantly declined, losing 6.1 points to land at 55.0. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) saw a modest drop in confidence, edging down 2.7 points to 57.0. Conversely, Egypt reported a significant gain in confidence around the world with a surge in confident of 14.9 points to the firmly optimistic territory of 79.4. Globally, the YPO Global Pulse Confidence Index edged up 0.3 point to 62.5 over the quarter, its highest level since January 2015. For the second consecutive quarter, the United States reported the highest level of confidence across the globe, inching up 0.3 point to 64.9. Confidence in the European Union (EU) remained flat at 60.9, while Asia climbed 2.1 points to 63.3, its highest level since April 2015. Elsewhere, confidence in Latin America dropped by 1.2 points to 57.1, while Africa, the second-least confident region in the world edged down 0.3 point to 54.4, and non-EU Europe reported the lowest level of confidence in the world, falling 2.5 points to 51.8. When asked to assess business and economic conditions over the next six months, chief executives were split, with 39% reporting that the economic environment will improve over that period, while 37% expected it to stay relatively unchanged, and 24% predicted that conditions would deteriorate. Business leaders in MENA were less positive about the prospects for their own organisations, as the three key indicators of the YPO Global Pulse Confidence Index, measuring sales, employment and fixed investment, all declined in 1Q 2017. The YPO Sales Confidence Index for the region showed that more than half (53%) of chief executives expected to improve their turnover in the next 12 months, while 11% predicted reduced revenues. This was a more pessimistic view than in the previous survey in January, when 67% expected to increase revenue over the following year and only 6% predicted a reduction. The situation was similar when it came to the YPO Employment Confidence Index, where chief executives were evenly split, with the same proportion (22%) of respondents predicting an increase in headcount over the next 12 months, as those expecting to reduce the size of their workforce. In the January survey, 35% expected to increase hiring and only 6% predicted a cut in staff numbers. Business leaders were also less confident about fixed investment, with the YPO Fixed Investment Index for the region indicating that 43% of chief executives expected to increase fixed investment over the next year while 17% expected reduced investment levels. In the previous survey, 45% were bullish about investment and only 9% expected cuts to spending. YPO Global Pulse Confidence Index The quarterly electronic survey, conducted in the first two weeks of April 2017, gathered answers from 1,216 YPO chief executive officers across the globe, including 49 in the Middle East and North Africa. Visit www.ypo.org/globalpulse for more information about the survey methodology and results from around the world. About YPO The premier leadership organization of chief executives in the world. YPO is the global platform for chief executives to engage, learn and grow. YPO members harness the knowledge, influence and trust of the world's most influential and innovative business leaders to inspire business, personal, family and community impact. Today, YPO empowers more than 24,000 members in more than 130 countries, diversified among industries and types of businesses. Altogether, YPO member-run companies employ more than 15 million people and generate USD6 trillion in annual revenues.


News Article | May 9, 2017
Site: globenewswire.com

Chief executives report more subdued outlook in first quarter of the year, a reversal of the previous quarter's upswing ABU DHABI, 9 May 2017 - YPO, the premier chief executive leadership organisation in the world, reported today that confidence among business leaders in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) declined in the first quarter of the year (1Q 2017). The YPO Global Pulse Confidence Index for MENA, which tracks economic confidence levels among chief executives in the region on a quarterly basis, slipped 4.3 points to 55.2. The decline in sentiment reversed most of the gains achieved in the fourth quarter of 2016, when the Index jumped 5.6 points, from 53.9 to 59.5 across the region. MENA now trails the global composite score of 62.5 by 7.3 points, its biggest deficit in the seven-year history of the survey. For the Arab countries in the region, after an upward swing in confidence during the fourth quarter of 2016 to 39.1, chief executive confidence dropped to 32.9 in 1Q 2017. This dampened confidence follows austerity measures taken by most of these nations. The decline in confidence is largely driven by a significant fall in Saudi Arabia, which reported a confidence crash of 11.7 points, from 54.1 to 42.4, in firmly pessimistic territory. "Chief executives in Saudi Arabia were less optimistic about their outlook for fixed investment for Q1 2017 as the kingdom bore the brunt of OPEC cuts," explains Dr Florence Eid-Oakden, Founder and CEO of Arabia Monitor and a member of YPO. "We could see an improvement in business confidence in Q2 2017 as liquidity conditions improve, non-oil private sector growth picks up pace, and given how successful the bond and sukuk issuances have been in Q4 of 2016 and Q1 of 2017." The loss in confidence was not isolated to Saudi Arabia with many of the largest economies in the region reporting similar declines, on the back of a turbulent three months. In Lebanon, business confidence significantly declined, losing 6.1 points to land at 55.0. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) saw a modest drop in confidence, edging down 2.7 points to 57.0. Conversely, Egypt reported a significant gain in confidence around the world with a surge in confident of 14.9 points to the firmly optimistic territory of 79.4. Globally, the YPO Global Pulse Confidence Index edged up 0.3 point to 62.5 over the quarter, its highest level since January 2015. For the second consecutive quarter, the United States reported the highest level of confidence across the globe, inching up 0.3 point to 64.9. Confidence in the European Union (EU) remained flat at 60.9, while Asia climbed 2.1 points to 63.3, its highest level since April 2015. Elsewhere, confidence in Latin America dropped by 1.2 points to 57.1, while Africa, the second-least confident region in the world edged down 0.3 point to 54.4, and non-EU Europe reported the lowest level of confidence in the world, falling 2.5 points to 51.8. When asked to assess business and economic conditions over the next six months, chief executives were split, with 39% reporting that the economic environment will improve over that period, while 37% expected it to stay relatively unchanged, and 24% predicted that conditions would deteriorate. Business leaders in MENA were less positive about the prospects for their own organisations, as the three key indicators of the YPO Global Pulse Confidence Index, measuring sales, employment and fixed investment, all declined in 1Q 2017. The YPO Sales Confidence Index for the region showed that more than half (53%) of chief executives expected to improve their turnover in the next 12 months, while 11% predicted reduced revenues. This was a more pessimistic view than in the previous survey in January, when 67% expected to increase revenue over the following year and only 6% predicted a reduction. The situation was similar when it came to the YPO Employment Confidence Index, where chief executives were evenly split, with the same proportion (22%) of respondents predicting an increase in headcount over the next 12 months, as those expecting to reduce the size of their workforce. In the January survey, 35% expected to increase hiring and only 6% predicted a cut in staff numbers. Business leaders were also less confident about fixed investment, with the YPO Fixed Investment Index for the region indicating that 43% of chief executives expected to increase fixed investment over the next year while 17% expected reduced investment levels. In the previous survey, 45% were bullish about investment and only 9% expected cuts to spending. YPO Global Pulse Confidence Index The quarterly electronic survey, conducted in the first two weeks of April 2017, gathered answers from 1,216 YPO chief executive officers across the globe, including 49 in the Middle East and North Africa. Visit www.ypo.org/globalpulse for more information about the survey methodology and results from around the world. About YPO The premier leadership organization of chief executives in the world. YPO is the global platform for chief executives to engage, learn and grow. YPO members harness the knowledge, influence and trust of the world's most influential and innovative business leaders to inspire business, personal, family and community impact. Today, YPO empowers more than 24,000 members in more than 130 countries, diversified among industries and types of businesses. Altogether, YPO member-run companies employ more than 15 million people and generate USD6 trillion in annual revenues.


ABU DHABI, Vereinigte Arabische Emirate--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Der International Fund for Houbara Conservation (IFHC, Internationaler Fonds für den Schutz der Kragentrappe) hat auf dem Fes Meknes Economic Forum, das in diesem Jahr vom 10. bis 12. Mai zum ersten Mal in Fes, Marokko stattfand und von der Industrie- und Handelskammer von Fes Meknes organisiert wurde, eine Ehrenauszeichnung erhalten. Der IFHC wurde ferner für seine bedeutsame Arbeit bei der Entwicklung von Gemeinden, die sich neben den beiden Houbara-Brutzentren in Missour und Enjil befinden und für sein Engagement zum Angebot von Infrastruktur, sozialer und wirtschaftlicher Unterstützung in diesen entscheidenden Gebieten gewürdigt. Durch die Schaffung von Arbeitsplätzen für Ortsansässige in den Houbara-Brutzentren hat sich der IFHC als erstklassiger sozioökonomischer Partner in Marokko erwiesen. 92 Prozent der Mitarbeiter sind Marokkaner. Der Fonds wurde ferner für die Nutzung neuester Technologien gewürdigt, die zur beruflichen Fortbildung der Mitarbeiter des Fonds beigetragen haben. Im Besonderen hat der IFHC mit dem Bau von Straßen und Brücken durch die Regierung der VAE, die den IFHC und seine Projekte in Marokko schon immer sehr unterstützt, stark zur Infrastruktur in der Nähe der beiden Zentren beigetragen. Außerdem hat der Fonds den Bau von Dämmen an mehr als einem Standort, einen Flughafen in Bouarfa sowie Sanitärprogramme in Kliniken unterstützt. Der Fonds hat außerdem durch Unterstützung des Baus von Häusern und Moscheen und durch die Bereitstellung von Wasser und Strom in den Dörfern Tendrara und Ain Echchair zur Weiterentwicklung der Gemeinden beigetragen. Anlässlich der Preisverleihung sagte H.E. Majid Al Mansouri: „Es ist uns eine große Ehre, dass wir heute auf dem Fes Meknes Economic Forum anwesend sein und diese Auszeichnung für unsere Arbeit in Marokko entgegennehmen können. Unsere Beziehungen mit den lokalen Gemeinden bleiben stark und sind eine unserer Prioritäten. Sie sind Teil unserer gemeinsamen Bemühungen mit der Regierung Marokkos, die uns bei allen unseren Initiativen immer unterstützt hat. Wir fühlen uns den Einwohnern Marokkos gegenüber verpflichtet und werden weiterhin dafür sorgen, dass sie kontinuierlich die sozioökonomische Mitarbeit des Fonds erhalten werden, der ohne ihre engagierte Arbeit nicht so viel erreicht hätte. Es gibt langjährige Beziehungen und eine historische Verbindung zwischen den VAE und Marokko, und wir sind sehr dankbar für die Arbeit, die die Regierung und Einwohner geleistet haben.” Er sagte außerdem: „Der International Fund for Houbara Conservation arbeitet auf die erfolgreiche Vollendung der in den 70er Jahren begonnenen Bemühungen von Scheich Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan und die Strategie Seiner Hoheit Scheich Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Präsident der Vereinigten Arabischen Emirate, zur Rehabilitierung der Kragentrappe in den VAE, auf der Arabischen Halbinsel und in anderen Ländern im Verbreitungsgebiet des Vogels hin. Damit wird die Vision Seiner Hoheit Scheich Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Kronprinz von Abu Dhabi, Stellvertretender Oberster Befehlshaber der Streitkräfte der VAE und Vorsitzender des IFHC-Vorstands, für Nachhaltigkeit für diese Vögel, ihre Aufzucht in Gefangenschaft und Freilassung in der Wildnis ergänzt.”


ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The International Fund for Houbara Conservation (IFHC) received an honorary award at the Fes Meknes Economic Forum that was held for the first time this year between May 10th to 12th in Fes, Morocco and organized by the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Services of Fes Meknes. The Fund was recognized for all its efforts in contributing to the economic boost of the local Moroccan community through its sustainability efforts in conserving the Houbara bustard. Representing the Fund at the award ceremony was H.E. Majid Al Mansouri, Board Member, Rapporteur of IFHC Governing Board and Managing Director, who received the award at the Forum that gathered national and international decision-makers that are concerned with economic issues and encouraging investment and trade. The IFHC was also recognized for its significant work in the development of communities surrounding the two Houbara breeding centres that are located in Missour and Enjil and for its dedication to offering infrastructural, social and economic support in these key areas. Through the provision of employment to local residents in the Houbara breeding centres, the IFHC has proven to be a prime socio-economic partner in Morocco as 92 percent of the workforce are Moroccan. The Fund was also acknowledged for its use of the latest technology that has helped the employees of the Fund with their professional development. Specifically, the IFHC has contributed greatly to the surrounding infrastructure next to the two centres through the building of roads and bridges by the UAE government that has always been a supporter of the IFHC and its projects in Morocco. Additionally, the Fund has supported the building of dams in more than one location, an airport in Bouarfa, and sanitary programmes in three hospitals. The Fund has also contributed to the development of the community through supporting the building of houses and mosques and providing water and electricity in the villages of Tendrara and Ain Echchair. On the occasion of the award, H.E. Majid Al Mansouri said, “It is a great honour for us to be here today at the Fes Meknes Economic Forum and to receive this award for the work that we have done in Morocco. Our relationship with the local communities remains strong and is a priority for us, as part of our collaborative efforts with the Moroccan government that has always supported us in all our initiatives. We are committed to the people of Morocco and will continue to ensure that socio-economically they find consistent cooperation from the Fund that could not have achieved as much without their hard work. There has always been a long-standing relationship and historical bond between the UAE and Morocco and we are very grateful for the efforts made by the government and the people.” He also said, “The International Fund for Houbara Conservation works towards the successful fulfillment of the efforts of the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, which began in the 1970s and the strategy of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates, to restore the Houbara bustard in the UAE, the Arabian Peninsula and other countries of the bird’s range. This is in addition to the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and Chairman of the IFHC Board, of sustainability for these birds, their captive-breeding and release into the wild.” He added that looking forward the Fund will continue its sustainability efforts in breeding and conserving the Houbara with the assistance of the local communities in Morocco that over the years have always been dedicated to this significant project that is the largest in the world for the Houbara bustard. The IFHC oversees an extensive network of affiliated global Houbara bustard conservation projects and Houbara captive breeding programmes. It is considered to be the leading authority on understanding and protecting this noble bird, which is so significant to Arabian heritage and culture.


ABU DHABI, Emirati Arabi Uniti--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Il Fondo internazionale per la protezione dell'ubara (The International Fund for Houbara Conservation, IFHC) ha ottenuto un premio d'onore al Foro economico di Fes Meknes che quest'anno è stato tenuto per la prima volta dal 10 al 12 maggio a Fes, Marocco, ed è stato organizzato dalla Camera del Commercio, dell'Industria e dei Servizi di Fes Meknes. Il fondo è stato riconosciuto per tutte le iniziative da esso intraprese per contribuire allo sviluppo economico della comunità marocchina locale tramite le sue attività di promozione della sostenibilità per la tutela dell'ubara africana.


ABU DHABI, Emiratos Árabes Unidos--(BUSINESS WIRE)--El Fondo Internacional para la Conservación de la Avutarda Hubara (International Fund for Houbara Conservation, IFHC) ha recibido el premio honorífico en el Foro Económico Fez Meknes que se celebró por primera vez este año del 10 al 12 de mayo en Fez, Marruecos, y fue organizado por la Cámara de Comercio, Industria y Servicios de Fez Meknes. El Fondo fue reconocido por sus esfuerzos a la hora de contribuir a impulsar la economía de la comunida


News Article | May 24, 2017
Site: www.reuters.com

ABU DHABI (Reuters) - Abu Dhabi's government-owned power utility has closed a 3.2 billion dirham ($872 million) financing package for what will be the world's largest solar power plant, the utility's top official said on Wednesday.


PHILADELPHIA and ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, April 19, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Hill International (NYSE:HIL), the global leader in managing construction risk, announced today that it has received a contract from the Sheikh Suroor Projects Department on behalf of H.H. Sheikh Suroor Bin Mohammed Al Nahyan to provide project management services during construction of a new Saadiyat Island resort development in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.  The initial one-year contract has an estimated value to Hill of approximately AED 7.0 million ($1.9 million). Saadiyat Island is located just off the coast of Abu Dhabi and is currently undergoing major development, with an approximate completion date of 2020.  It will feature various commercial, residential and leisure projects and is expected to become Abu Dhabi’s cultural center.  The island’s cultural district will eventually include eight museums designed by renowned architects such as Jean Nouvel, Tadao Ando, Frank Gehry and Zaha Hadid.  The new Saadiyat Island resort development to be managed by Hill will feature 293 rooms with a built-up area of approximately 113,000 square meters (1.2 million square feet). “Saadiyat Island will be an incredible destination for visitors to the region,” said Mohammed Al Rais, Regional President (Middle East) for Hill’s Project Management Group.  “This new resort development for H.H. Sheikh Suroor will become one of the premier hospitality destinations on the island.  We are very honored to be part of this exciting project,” added Al Rais. Hill International, with 4,300 professionals in 100 offices worldwide, provides program management, project management, construction management, construction claims and other consulting services primarily to the buildings, transportation, environmental, energy and industrial markets.  Engineering News-Record magazine recently ranked Hill as the eighth largest construction management firm in the United States.  For more information on Hill, please visit our website at www.hillintl.com. Certain statements contained herein may be considered “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, and it is our intent that any such statements be protected by the safe harbor created thereby.  Except for historical information, the matters set forth herein including, but not limited to, any projections of revenues, earnings or other financial items; any statements concerning our plans, strategies and objectives for future operations; and any statements regarding future economic conditions or performance, are forward-looking statements.  These forward-looking statements are based on our current expectations, estimates and assumptions and are subject to certain risks and uncertainties.  Although we believe that the expectations, estimates and assumptions reflected in our forward-looking statements are reasonable, actual results could differ materially from those projected or assumed in any of our forward-looking statements.  Important factors that could cause our actual results to differ materially from estimates or projections contained in our forward-looking statements are set forth in the Risk Factors section and elsewhere in the reports we have filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including that unfavorable global economic conditions may adversely impact our business, our backlog may not be fully realized as revenue and our expenses may be higher than anticipated.  We do not intend, and undertake no obligation, to update any forward-looking statement.


PHILADELPHIA and ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, April 19, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Hill International (NYSE:HIL), the global leader in managing construction risk, announced today that it has received a contract from the Sheikh Suroor Projects Department on behalf of H.H. Sheikh Suroor Bin Mohammed Al Nahyan to provide project management services during construction of a new Saadiyat Island resort development in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.  The initial one-year contract has an estimated value to Hill of approximately AED 7.0 million ($1.9 million). Saadiyat Island is located just off the coast of Abu Dhabi and is currently undergoing major development, with an approximate completion date of 2020.  It will feature various commercial, residential and leisure projects and is expected to become Abu Dhabi’s cultural center.  The island’s cultural district will eventually include eight museums designed by renowned architects such as Jean Nouvel, Tadao Ando, Frank Gehry and Zaha Hadid.  The new Saadiyat Island resort development to be managed by Hill will feature 293 rooms with a built-up area of approximately 113,000 square meters (1.2 million square feet). “Saadiyat Island will be an incredible destination for visitors to the region,” said Mohammed Al Rais, Regional President (Middle East) for Hill’s Project Management Group.  “This new resort development for H.H. Sheikh Suroor will become one of the premier hospitality destinations on the island.  We are very honored to be part of this exciting project,” added Al Rais. Hill International, with 4,300 professionals in 100 offices worldwide, provides program management, project management, construction management, construction claims and other consulting services primarily to the buildings, transportation, environmental, energy and industrial markets.  Engineering News-Record magazine recently ranked Hill as the eighth largest construction management firm in the United States.  For more information on Hill, please visit our website at www.hillintl.com. Certain statements contained herein may be considered “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, and it is our intent that any such statements be protected by the safe harbor created thereby.  Except for historical information, the matters set forth herein including, but not limited to, any projections of revenues, earnings or other financial items; any statements concerning our plans, strategies and objectives for future operations; and any statements regarding future economic conditions or performance, are forward-looking statements.  These forward-looking statements are based on our current expectations, estimates and assumptions and are subject to certain risks and uncertainties.  Although we believe that the expectations, estimates and assumptions reflected in our forward-looking statements are reasonable, actual results could differ materially from those projected or assumed in any of our forward-looking statements.  Important factors that could cause our actual results to differ materially from estimates or projections contained in our forward-looking statements are set forth in the Risk Factors section and elsewhere in the reports we have filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including that unfavorable global economic conditions may adversely impact our business, our backlog may not be fully realized as revenue and our expenses may be higher than anticipated.  We do not intend, and undertake no obligation, to update any forward-looking statement.


PHILADELPHIA and ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, April 19, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Hill International (NYSE:HIL), the global leader in managing construction risk, announced today that it has received a contract from the Sheikh Suroor Projects Department on behalf of H.H. Sheikh Suroor Bin Mohammed Al Nahyan to provide project management services during construction of a new Saadiyat Island resort development in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.  The initial one-year contract has an estimated value to Hill of approximately AED 7.0 million ($1.9 million). Saadiyat Island is located just off the coast of Abu Dhabi and is currently undergoing major development, with an approximate completion date of 2020.  It will feature various commercial, residential and leisure projects and is expected to become Abu Dhabi’s cultural center.  The island’s cultural district will eventually include eight museums designed by renowned architects such as Jean Nouvel, Tadao Ando, Frank Gehry and Zaha Hadid.  The new Saadiyat Island resort development to be managed by Hill will feature 293 rooms with a built-up area of approximately 113,000 square meters (1.2 million square feet). “Saadiyat Island will be an incredible destination for visitors to the region,” said Mohammed Al Rais, Regional President (Middle East) for Hill’s Project Management Group.  “This new resort development for H.H. Sheikh Suroor will become one of the premier hospitality destinations on the island.  We are very honored to be part of this exciting project,” added Al Rais. Hill International, with 4,300 professionals in 100 offices worldwide, provides program management, project management, construction management, construction claims and other consulting services primarily to the buildings, transportation, environmental, energy and industrial markets.  Engineering News-Record magazine recently ranked Hill as the eighth largest construction management firm in the United States.  For more information on Hill, please visit our website at www.hillintl.com. Certain statements contained herein may be considered “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, and it is our intent that any such statements be protected by the safe harbor created thereby.  Except for historical information, the matters set forth herein including, but not limited to, any projections of revenues, earnings or other financial items; any statements concerning our plans, strategies and objectives for future operations; and any statements regarding future economic conditions or performance, are forward-looking statements.  These forward-looking statements are based on our current expectations, estimates and assumptions and are subject to certain risks and uncertainties.  Although we believe that the expectations, estimates and assumptions reflected in our forward-looking statements are reasonable, actual results could differ materially from those projected or assumed in any of our forward-looking statements.  Important factors that could cause our actual results to differ materially from estimates or projections contained in our forward-looking statements are set forth in the Risk Factors section and elsewhere in the reports we have filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including that unfavorable global economic conditions may adversely impact our business, our backlog may not be fully realized as revenue and our expenses may be higher than anticipated.  We do not intend, and undertake no obligation, to update any forward-looking statement.

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