News Article | April 26, 2017
Stepan Chernovetsky, leading Ukrainian businessman and founder of top Eastern Europe venture capital firm Chernovetsky Investment Group, was arrested in July 2016 as part of a national Spanish police investigation into alleged money laundering offences and tax evasion. Almost one year on from his arrest and release, he is still unaware of the allegations against him. In July 2016, Mr Chertnovetskyi - then living in Barcelona with his family - was taken from his home and incarcerated for one month. His legal team successfully appealed his imprisonment. Three judges of the Appeal Court unanimously ordered for Mr. Chernovetskyi's release without any conditions to his freedom. They were satisfied that there was a lack of prima facie evidence of the alleged offences of money laundering or tax evasion. Despite this, Mr Chernovetskyi is still unaware of the detail of the allegations against him. The Spanish investigation remains under the secret summary procedure, meaning that those under investigation are not given information on the background of the potential charges against them. The procedure has previously been criticized in a report by Fair Trials International because of its potential to infringe a person's right to liberty. Mr Chernovetskyi has several times called out for the secret summary procedure to be lifted so that he can properly defend his position and continue to run his business. His venture capital firm Chernovetskyi Investment Group (CIG) is one of the largest investment companies in Ukraine investing in technology and innovation businesses. It is also currently looking to support Ukraine's traditional strength in agriculture and food production and considering funding requests from agri-businesses. In 2014-15 Ukraine was the third largest grain exporter in the world after the US and the European Union. Chernovetskyi Investment Group sees potential for further growth with the right investment in agricultural technologies and modernization. Mr. Chernovetskyi says, "All I seek is the opportunity to defend myself and my business interests against these groundless allegations against me - one of my most basic human rights. The secret summary procedure is not only obstructing my ability to achieve justice but also my ability to run my venture capital business. I am determined to clear my name and am confident I will do so, as the most recent appeal judgment in my favour indicates." Mr. Chernovetskyi has always been fully open and cooperative with the investigation and has instructed independent reputable consultants to undertake a forensic investigation into his financial affairs. He is confident that this will prove that he has been a victim of police error.
News Article | April 26, 2017
Developers of multiplayer video games often host referral programs encouraging existing players to recruit their friends for a boost in cash flow, and in that regard, the new referral contest from Star Citizen developer Cloud Imperium Games isn't much out of the ordinary. The same can't be said of the reactions from the players themselves. Venture into the Star Citizen subreddit, and you'll find it peppered with highly upvoted threads decrying the competition. Their concerns aren't without merit. Not only do many doubt Star Citizen is in an attractive enough position to lure in newcomers, but they're also pissed that Cloud Imperium seemingly aimed the promotion at prominent streamers rather than the rank-and-file players who've played all along. Considering Star Citizen's crowdfunding origins, the approach comes off as an insult. Today Star Citizen holds the record for the most money raised for a game through crowdfunding, and only one project—the DAO blockchain—beats it in crowdfunding overall. That's a staggering amount of cash, but Star Citizen is also a project of staggering ambition. It's so ambitious, in fact, that even years ago we wondered if Cloud Imperium could ever pull it off. And now here we are in 2017. Star Citizen can still wow audiences with new footage, but a hard-and-fast release date remains as elusive as Planet X. And in the midst of that uncertainty, Cloud Imperium is pushing out a referral contest that grants in-game rewards and the chance of a free trip to GamesCom to people who've brought anywhere from one to more than 2,942 people to the game. As many loyal current players see it, it's a strange marketing strategy considering how difficult it is to entice people to Star Citizen in its current state. "As someone who helps run a modest organization, I talk to and interact with people new to Star Citizen all the time," a Redditor named PoisonTaco says in a thread on the Star Citizen subreddit accusing Cloud Imperium's marketing of getting ahead of itself. "They keep coming in, just getting into the game, all excited. … Then somebody has to explain to them why the [persistent universe] is laggy. Someone has to explain why it's difficult to get into the game with a large group. Someone has to explain that all these things will be fixed in wonder patch 3.0 The problem is lots of people are being brought into this game, [but] they're uninformed and sold something that looks like it could be complete when it really isn't. " Mr. Taco also points out that Star Citizen does very little to welcome new players as it is, as there's currently no tutorial, no single-player mode, and no multiplayer mode that works exactly as it should. "What's worse is that players are now encouraged with rewards and a new contest to try and upsell the game as much as possible," he adds. "Usually in these cases, players will omit all the flaws and incomplete features." But it's not just that. Not only is the game still in a rough state, but many players believe Cloud Imperium's contest is aimed at amassing referral numbers that simply can't be reached by many of the normal players who've stuck with the game since the beginning. In one thread, for instance, FailureToReport argues that it's almost impossible to reach the reward goals unless you're a influential streamer or YouTuber. "I feel like rather than rewarding … average joe backers who have been putting out the word and doing their best to bring new blood to this game, CIG went the lazy route and just made a fast track reward program for streamers while handing a pink dragonfly [ship] (which I'm all for) and a shirt to us plebs," he says. It turns out there's some truth to that. In another post entitled "Where are the referral rewards for NORMAL backers?" Redditor tferroato points out that the players who were featured in Cloud Imperium's video for the promotion above are, in fact, the ones who are winning. Yet through almost thread, there's one dominant idea aimed at Cloud Imperium—finish a bit of what you have with that mountain-size pile of cash before trying to reel in more players. These are protests from players who've stuck through Star Citizen missing most of its deadlines, its surprising shift from the aging CryEngine to Amazon's Lumberyard, and the continued absence of a good new player experience. They now feel as though they're getting the shaft both in terms of rewards and appreciation of their loyalty, and it's not hard to see why. And, of course, with referrals having been a thing long before the contest, there's a big chance that Star Citizen is already in danger of draining its pool of interested players anyway. YouTuber General Makaba probably said it best in the comments for the referral contest's official video announcement, which currently has 991 downvotes versus 305 upvotes. "I swear to god, there will be no one left to buy the game when it comes out. LOL."
News Article | November 1, 2016
SHANGHAI, Nov. 1, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Now, 2016 One Show Awards and Festival is coming to Shanghai with a group of top international creatives and tons of great contents, promoting creative excellence inadvertising, design, interactive and digital innovation. Topnotch Internationaljuries, creative leaders' presentations and panels, creative workshop for young talents, and the most important awards gala of the Greater China creative advertising industry, party with international creatives, everything here is going to blow your mind with creativity. The creative industry is changing all the time. How to attract audiences with great storytelling, how to create better experiences to engage brands and consumers, how to approach young audiences with new way of using WeChat and QQ, how to make design more elegant in a digital mobile age, how to make amazing videoVFX, how to transform new business with the product innovation…All the topics above will be discussed at our festival. Anna Qvennerstedt is a Copywriter, Senior Partner and Chairman of the Board at Forsman & Bodenfors in Sweden. In the past ten years, Forsman & Bodenfors has been named one of the best advertising companies in the world. Anna joined Forsman & Bodenfors from 2004, and was appointed chairman in 2012. In 2007, Anna was awarded the Platinum Egg as the youngest person ever given this prize honoring individuals who have had an exceptional impact on the advertising industry in Sweden. This makes her the second woman through history to be elected onto the The Platinum Academy (the Hall of Fame for people in advertising). She's well known by Chinese people from the 'the Epic Split 'case for Volvo Trucks. She's going to come to China for the first time and share with us her idea of innovation. Alex is from Malaysia. He has a back ground of Communication Design, but found his interest and talent in Digital Multimedia. With 12 years of experience in digital marketing, he also has a profound understanding of the application of marketing technology. His is going to share with us How Creativity Makes Tech Alive. China never lacks technology, but we still need to put more thoughts into how people could use technology to make our lives better. How do we use technology to serve the brand marketing? What is the new challenges that the creative facing? How Technology Is Rewiring Our Brains Paul Collins is the Nordic Executive Creative Director of DigitasLBi. In this keynote speech he will share his thoughts on how technology is rewiring our brains, leaving us with a fragmented attention span. Given this fact, and that advertising is a disruptor, how do we create work that makes an indent in the consumer's mind. Tim Doherty joined Isobar China as Creative Director since 2008. He's been leading the Shanghai creative team to challenge the creative limits in the digital marketing industry. He has served brands including Coca-Cola, Sprite, HUAWEI, Budweiser etc. Tim worked in FCB Shanghai and New York. He is responsible for Motorola's global customers in New York. In Shanghai, he is mainly responsible for the creative business of Shanghai general motors. As an executive producer and manager of visual effects studios, Steven has been at the forefront of bringing world-class creative VFX and design to China's burgeoning advertising industry. Steven came to Shanghai in 2012 with MPC/Technicolor, with the mission to build the Asia arm of the international visual effects leader and the first studio capable of truly bridging the east and west in terms of craft and expertise. Under his management, MPC Shanghai has established itself as China's go-to creator of high-end effects, design and new media production. He is going to show insights into the art of Animal and Creature creation with VFX. It All Starts with a Pencil 2014 saw Nils awarded Greater China's Creative of the Year accolade, by Campaign Magazine. He also ranked 4th most awarded Creative Director in the world, and his Penguin 'Mic' campaign was the most awarded print in the world, according to the UK based Won Directory. Now, in 2015 Nils rejoins a resurgent TBWA as Asia Creative President and Greater China President His talk is about how the simplest start point and the right thinking processes can lead to great execution. Bin William is the Vc firm SOSV Accelerator VC - The partner, the company for the $235 million venture accelerator. He also served as director general of China's first venture accelerator, "China accelerated" Chinaccelerator. Prior to joining SOSV, he was a managing director of Innov8 SingTel, a Singapore Telecom's new power investment company, to help deal with investment activities in China. He will share with us the rise of start-up in the field of advertising people with the emerging technologies and ready to enter the business circle of the advertising skills of the long board and short board. Andy Azula is senior vice president and Executive Creative Director at The Martin Agency in Richmond Virginia. Andy began his career in advertising as an art director in Georgia and North Carolina. His work for North Carolina Travel and Tourism, Verbatim garnered many awards as well as the attention of Fallon in Minneapolis. Andy's work has been recognized by Cannes, Communication Arts, The One Show and the CLIOs, well as several other award shows. Andy has sat on the board of The One Club, and is still actively involved in the organization. Dan Li joined Tencent in 2015, Prior to joining Tencent, Dan has played a key role in the development of some leading brands including Tide, Head & Shoulders, and Safeguard. Dan is charged with driving forward some of the most cutting-edge initiatives and successfully creates a number of well known marketing cases. Although many brands are trying to reach out to Millennials, some of them are still stagnated to traditional "outbound marketing" strategy. In order to connect with the young generation, QQ successfully speaks to the young audience with the"entertainment-culture cross-branding" tactic, furthermore we start to establish a system for youngsters to open their imagination and practically bring their ideas into QQ's product. In here, we would like to share how we make this work. Aurora Liu has joint Tencent since 2010, participating in social network products, which based on billions of users. She witness QQ's shifting from PC to mobile devices, especially on young generation. Marketing environment are surrounding with young generations. Have a better understanding of their culture can make brand making process easier. QQ as the top one numbers of user's App/software, half of them are born after 90`s, what kind of chat tool can track their participation and become part of their life? Yash Egami is the Vice President of Content and Marketing for The One Club. He is also the editor of one. a magazine and One Show Annuals. With his rich experience of operating the One Show, he is going to tell us how to packaging Chinese works to an international award winning standard. The One Show has always value the opinion of the youth. For this session we have Mo said.At the age of 7, Mo was sent to detention for never doing his homework. At 20, he was arrested by the Pakistani Army for shooting a controversial documentary. And at 26 he was wanted by the NYPD for an illegal art installation with a political agenda. When he's not breaking the law, Mo works a Senior Copywriter at Droga5 and his work has been recognized by Cannes Lions, The One Show, Addys, The US Congress and The United Nations. In 2014, The One Show named Mo as one of the best creatives under 30. He is going to share How chasing his dream to work in New York advertising brought him face-to-face with an identity crisis and his journey to bring back the man under the cloak. Don Huang has fifteen years of experience in advertising. He had worked in 10 different 4A agencies in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou. Now, he joined Koubei.com as brand and public communication director. Cheng Feng is Didi Chuxing's senior design director.He had worked in Sohu, Baidu, OgilvyOne, Cheil, CIG and other digital agencies. He had been awarded for many awards and has a deep understanding about creativity and design. Since Apple began to set up their own in house creative department, a lot of internet and tech companies have been hiring in house creative team to serve their own marketing strategic requirements. Many senior creatives are joining them for the exciting new role to lead in house creative team. This is different from what it was in the past, ad person became a client. They need to manage the brand strategy and direction as a client, they also need to work out creative ideas and campaigns as an agency. They need to work on their own, they also need ideas from the outside, the agencies. What's the feeling to have this double role? What's the difference of running in house creative team and working as an agency? Is this model working well? Let's hear what they say, the senior creatives from agencies and now as creative team leaders in tech companies. Peter comes from Taiwan and was assigned to Beijing as sales general manager for DynaComware. He's in charge of the bussiness development in Mainland China. These three years Dycomware sees a rapid growth and became the leading font design company. Sheena is the backbone of China's advertising industry, she served as vice chairman of China 4A committee. Her works have been recognized in The One Show, Cannes, D&AD and other creative award shows. For the past 25 years, Eric Chang has specialized in marketing, direct marketing, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), and digital marketing. An expert in the theory and application of integrated marketing and digital marketing, he is one of the few people in Taiwan experienced at practically executing CRM from marketing and digital perspectives. He has advised clients in a wide array of industries such as finance, communications, high-tech, telecom, automotive, and fast-moving consumer goods. Jason McCann served as Group Creative Director of AKQA New York, Executive Creative Director of AKQA, London. He is active in the field of global creative education. In 2016, Jason is back in New York, and joined RED PEAK as Executive Creative Director. RED PEAK is a product innovation driven business transformation design and consulting firm. Ben Tollett is Executive Creative Director of adam&eveDDB. A creative partner at adam&eve since it was a start-up, he helped grow the agency almost from scratch and saw it through a successful merger with DDB in 2012.The agency is consistently the most awarded in the UK. Ben currently helms the multi-awarded Harvey Nichols account, but he is probably best known for helping establish the John Lewis brand with ads such as 'Always a Woman' and 'The Long Wait'.These commercials moved large numbers of the British public to tears and apparently prompted lots of clients to ask their own agencies if they could "do them a John Lewis". He's speech is about power of thinking small. When it comes to innovation,sometimes it's better not to try and make the big leap, come up with the big idea, or strive to be thebig shot. Sometimes it's better to think small. The advantages of small-minded thinking, by an adman from a small island. Come see this unique stage featuring the most stimulating creative works that will make people proud, inspire them and make them think. This stage is for people who breed innovation, who may be young and bold and full of hope; the super stars of this stage are the creatives who made these masterpieces of ingenuity and talent. Let's cheer for great work and great minds tonight! Celebrations are not limited to the stage. We invite you to carry the banner of creativity and party on, enjoy unlimited drinks with your unlimited passion. One Show Festival for Greater China is the first creative festival in China to hold an After Party because the passion and happiness that each Creative Warrior puts into the industry should be rewarded and celebrated. Famous English Talkshow Actor Tony Chou will be here and share the night with us, he's going to present his unique stand up comedy and bing humour to everyone. Tony Chou is an established stand-up comedian from Mainland China. He performed in both English and Mandarin Chinese to different audiences. As an English-speaking comedian, Tony has performed not only in Mainland China but also in America, Ireland, Thailand and Hongkong. Tony is also the co-founder and host of Humor Section，the best Chinese-speaking standup comedy club since 2014. As a comedian, Tony Chou has been featured in New York Times, Economist, BBC (Radio), The Atlantic, Bloomberg, AP, Sinovision, CCTV-News, China Radio International, Global Times, NBT-World (Thailand). Tony also has rich experience in media as he worked as a CCTV journalist for 7 years. Twelve years ago, the Creative Night Screening in Beijing Worker's stadium became a millstone in Chinese advertising industry. Now, the Creative Night Screening returns and will be part of the One Show not only to offer wonderful work to all ads-lovers, but also to transmit creative spirit and humor to hundreds of people. ONE SHOW Portfolio Review is a creative education and career guidance program which to promote outstanding young students who can get more opportunities to enter their favorite creative industries; and also for creative agencies, well-known Internet companies, to directly absorbed outstanding young creative people from China. There will be more than 30 international 4A-advertising companies, local advertising agencies and well-known Internet companies invited. Students will bring their own works to the interview and ask for advice; they can get the recruitment or employment guidance directly from the recruiters. At the same time, recruiting representatives can get more young creative talents through this platform. Big ideas are the concept and contents for a brand, innovation is the new way of using technology and media. Innovation is like a gun, shooting the bullets into the heart of consumers, influence people, and give people impact. One Show China Creative Competition is the leading competition for young creative talents in China, it gives a stage for young talents to open their minds and have creative thinking, to combine creativity and innovation and create works for brands across disciplines of advertising, product, contents, social innovation and business innovation. Those works with true insights from the young generation will blow your minds! What is going on? One Show Greater China Awards Ceremony Official After Party If you have any questions, please contact: Celia Wen, China Coordinator of the One Club, Mobile: +86 13146664183, Email: Celia@oneshow.cn Season Zhou, China Coordinator of the One Club, Mobile: +86 18801766306, Email: Season@oneshow.cn
News Article | April 26, 2016
Inside a large, windowless room in an electronics factory in south Shanghai, about 15 workers are eyeing a small robot arm with frustration. Near the end of the production line where optical networking equipment is being packed into boxes for shipping, the robot sits motionless. “The system is down,” explains Nie Juan, a woman in her early 20s who is responsible for quality control. Her team has been testing the robot for the past week. The machine is meant to place stickers on the boxes containing new routers, and it seemed to have mastered the task quite nicely. But then it suddenly stopped working. “The robot does save labor,” Nie tells me, her brow furrowed, “but it is difficult to maintain.” The hitch reflects a much bigger technological challenge facing China’s manufacturers today. Wages in Shanghai have more than doubled in the past seven years, and the company that owns the factory, Cambridge Industries Group, faces fierce competition from increasingly high-tech operations in Germany, Japan, and the United States. To address both of these problems, CIG wants to replace two-thirds of its 3,000 workers with machines this year. Within a few more years, it wants the operation to be almost entirely automated, creating a so-called “dark factory.” The idea is that with so few people around, you could switch the lights off and leave the place to the machines. But as the idle robot arm on CIG’s packaging line suggests, replacing humans with machines is not an easy task. Most industrial robots have to be extensively programmed, and they will perform a job properly only if everything is positioned just so. Much of the production work done in Chinese factories requires dexterity, flexibility, and common sense. If a box comes down the line at an odd angle, for instance, a worker has to adjust his or her hand before affixing the label. A few hours later, the same worker might be tasked with affixing a new label to a different kind of box. And the following day he or she might be moved to another part of the line entirely. Despite the huge challenges, countless manufacturers in China are planning to transform their production processes using robotics and automation at an unprecedented scale. In some ways, they don’t really have a choice. Human labor in China is no longer as cheap as it once was, especially compared with labor in rival manufacturing hubs growing quickly in Asia. In Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia, factory wages can be less than a third of what they are in the urban centers of China. One solution, many manufacturers—and government officials—believe, is to replace human workers with machines. The results of this effort will be felt globally. Almost a quarter of the world’s products are made in China today. If China can use robots and other advanced technologies to retool types of production never before automated, that might turn the country, now the world’s sweatshop, into a hub of high-tech innovation. Less clear, however, is how that would affect the millions of workers recruited to China’s booming factories. There are still plenty of workers around now as I tour CIG’s factory with the company’s CEO, Gerald Wong, a compact man who earned degrees from MIT in the 1980s. We watch a team of people performing delicate soldering on circuit boards, and another group clicking circuit boards into plastic casings. Wong stops to demonstrate a task that is proving especially hard to automate: attaching a flexible wire to a circuit board. “It’s always curled differently,” he says with annoyance. But there are some impressive examples of automation creeping through Wong’s factory, too. As we walk by a row of machines that stamp chips into circuit boards, a wheeled robot roughly the size of a mini-fridge rolls by ferrying components in the other direction. Wong steps in front of the machine to show me how it will detect him and stop. In another part of the factory, we watch a robot arm grab finished circuit boards from a conveyor belt and place them into a machine that automatically checks their software. Wong explains that his company is testing a robot that does the soldering work we saw earlier more quickly and reliably than a person. After we finish the tour, he says, “It is very clear in China: people will either go into automation or they will go out of the manufacturing business.” China’s economic miracle is directly attributable to its manufacturing industry. Approximately 100 million people are employed in manufacturing in China (in the U.S., the number is around 12 million), and the sector accounts for almost 36 percent of China’s gross domestic product. During the last few decades, manufacturing empires were forged around the Yangtze River Delta, Bohai Bay outside Beijing, and the Pearl River Delta in the south. Millions of low-skilled migrant workers found employment in gigantic factories, producing an unimaginable range of products, from socks to servers. China accounted for just 3 percent of global manufacturing output in 1990. Today it produces almost a quarter, including 80 percent of all air conditioners, 71 percent of all mobile phones, and 63 percent of the world’s shoes. For consumers around the world, this manufacturing boom has meant many low-cost products, from affordable iPhones to flat-screen televisions. In recent years, though, China’s manufacturing engine has started to stall. Wages have increased at a crippling 12 percent per year on average since 2001. Chinese exports fell last year for the first time since the financial crisis of 2009. And toward the end of 2015 the Caixin Purchasing Managers’ Index, a widely used indicator of manufacturing activity, showed that the sector had contracted for the 10th month in a row. Just as China’s manufacturing boom fed the global economy, the prospect of its decline has already started to spook the world’s financial markets. Automation appears to offer an enticing technological solution. China already imports a huge number of industrial robots, but the country lags far behind competitors in the ratio of robots to workers. In South Korea, for instance, there are 478 robots per 10,000 workers; in Japan the figure is 315; in Germany, 292; in the United States it is 164. In China that number is only 36. The Chinese government is keen to change this. On March 16, officials approved the latest Five Year Plan for China’s economy, which is reported to include an initiative that will make billions of yuan available for manufacturers to upgrade to technologies including advanced machinery and robots. The government also plans to create dozens of innovation centers across the country to showcase advanced manufacturing technologies. Some regional authorities in China have been especially bold in their own efforts. Last year the government of Guangdong, a province that contains many large manufacturing operations, promised to spend $150 billion equipping factories with industrial robots and creating two new centers dedicated to advanced automation. The goal is to overtake Germany, Japan, and the United States in terms of manufacturing sophistication by 2049, the 100th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. To make that happen, the government needs Chinese manufacturers to adopt robots by the millions. It also wants Chinese companies to start producing more of these robots. The hope is that this will create a virtuous cycle, helping to birth a new high-tech industry and inspiring innovations that could spill over from manufacturing into other sectors and products. Introducing hordes of robot workers is hardly something that can be done overnight, however. That much is clear from the struggles faced by Foxconn, a $130 billion Taiwanese manufacturer famous for employing hundreds of thousands of workers in city-size factories—and for making, among other products, Apple’s iPhones. In 2011, Foxconn’s founder and CEO, Terry Gou, said he expected to have a million robots in his company’s plants by 2014. Three years later, the effort had proved more challenging than expected, and just a few tens of thousands of robots had been deployed. Despite the challenges, Day Chia-peng, general manager of Foxconn’s automation technology development committee, says the company is automating a growing number of tasks on its lines. These include the manufacture of displays and printed circuit boards, although processes that involve bending or snapping components into place still pose challenges. The company is even exploring ways that products themselves can be redesigned to make automated manufacturing easier. And it recently said it will sell some of the robots it has developed in-house to other manufacturers. The transition from human to robot workers may upend Chinese society. Some displaced factory workers could find employment in the service sector, but not all of the 100 million now employed in factories will find such jobs a good match. So a sudden shift toward robots and automation could cause economic hardship and social unrest. “You can make the argument that robotic technology is the way to save manufacturing in China,” says Yasheng Huang, a professor at MIT’s Sloan School of Management. “But China also has a huge labor force. What are you going to do with them?” A few days before visiting CIG, I went to China’s first major robotics event, the World Robot Conference, held inside a vast exhibition hall located within Beijing’s Olympic Park. The city was in the grip of an unusually cold spell, and producing the electricity to meet its heating needs had resulted in lung-searing air pollution from nearby coal power plants. But the snow and smog had done nothing to deter hundreds of researchers and companies, and thousands of attendees, from coming to the event. First came a theatrical opening ceremony, during which a huge video wall showed innovations from China’s ancient history spliced, somewhat oddly, with clips of robots from science fiction movies. The guest list included several high-ranking Chinese politicians. Li Yuanchao, China’s vice president, read messages of congratulations from President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang. The vice president said that investing in robotics research would not only feed the country’s manufacturing industry but encourage greater domestic innovation. After watching several talks, I wandered past endless demos set up by robot companies and research institutes. I watched as an enormous industrial robot fitted with a fork-like appendage went through some sort of routine factory work at terrifying speed. Other demos were more whimsical, like a small industrial machine performing a mesmerizing rendition of a traditional Chinese dragon dance (in full costume), and a mobile robot equipped with two racquets playing badminton with excited attendees. A humanoid robot with flashing eyes was carrying a small automated vacuum cleaner around on a tray. It was also possible to grasp just how ambitious China will be in trying to replace human workers in its factories. HIT Robot Group, a company affiliated with one of the country’s foremost technical universities, Harbin Institute of Technology, had mocked up a battery production line that itself seemed like one giant robot. Robotic vehicles ferried components between various manufacturing machines. The only spots for humans were inside a control room in the center and on a line where especially fiddly manual work needed to be done. I later learned that HIT estimates the new factory could reduce human labor by as much as 85 percent. But it was also evident that as a country with a history of seemingly endless cheap labor, China had to date been outpaced in the robot revolution. Rethink Robotics, a Boston-based company, was showing off a pair of flexible and intelligent industrial machines. Unlike conventional industrial robots, these products, called Baxter and Sawyer, require very little programming, and they are equipped with sensors that allow them to recognize objects and avoid hitting people. They also cost between $20,000 and $30,000 instead of the hundreds of thousands typical of an industrial robot. Speaking to me after the event, Rethink founder and robotics pioneer Rodney Brooks said that China represents a huge potential market for his company, which recently opened offices in Shanghai. Chinese robot makers are likely to start making more flexible and intelligent robots, too. But for now their products lag behind those of Western manufacturers. “A game we often play when we go to a trade show in the Far East is we go and see the industrial robots from little companies and say, ‘Oh, that’s a copy of that, and that’s a copy of that,’” Brooks said. It will, he suggested, take time for China’s robotics companies to catch up. To see for myself how far China’s researchers have to go, I visited Shanghai Jiao Tong University, one of the country’s most prestigious institutions and home to China’s oldest academic robotics lab, founded in 1979. I found myself on a lush and sprawling campus in a quiet suburb in south Shanghai, surrounded by students cycling around on squeaky bicycles. There, I found a modern-looking building that housed the robotics lab. Zhu Xiangyang, a professor in his late 40s with thin glasses and a fleece sweater-vest, welcomed me to his office with tea and an irrepressible smile. The lab has a few dozen professors and research scientists and more than 100 doctoral and master’s students, and Zhu is justifiably proud of its research. In one room was a brain-controlled robotic wheelchair, operated by means of an electroencephalogram cap worn by a graduate student. A video showed a cyborg cockroach fitted with a wireless implant that connected to its peripheral nervous system and made it possible to control the creature’s movements from a computer. In another room, a researcher demonstrated snakelike and soft-bodied robots capable of reaching or crawling through narrow spaces. Inside a garage, a prototype self-driving car, not unlike one of Google’s, is being developed in collaboration with a Chinese carmaker called Chery. Despite the impressive research projects at places like Jiao Tong, I kept wondering just how China will fulfill its manufacturing ambitions. Kai Yu is the founder of a startup called Horizon Robotics and was previously the head of an AI-focused research lab set up by Baidu, China’s dominant Internet company. Within the Baidu lab, Yu and colleagues were focused on a field of AI called deep learning, which involves training large simulated neural networks to recognize patterns in data. Researchers are now starting to explore how machine learning might make the next generation of industrial robots even smarter and more flexible. “In the future, what I see is China being more creative [in robotics],” Yu told me. “Original design, original ideas, but also some of the fundamental technologies, like deep learning, neural networks, artificial intelligence.” Yu believes that the AI techniques developed by China’s big Internet companies for search, e-commerce, and other purposes could be applied to robots. “China has a very good opportunity to catch up,” he said. “The skills they have learned in the last five years can be transferred to making intelligent machines.” When I later toured CIG’s factory, it wasn’t too hard to imagine how such advances could start feeding into Wong’s efforts to automate his operation. For one thing, a robot capable of learning and adapting presumably wouldn’t be baffled by a misaligned box that needs labeling. After the tour, Wong took me through a PowerPoint presentation that laid out the company’s plan for the next few years, and then the conversation turned to intelligent robotics. “We’re going to use standard robots at first,” Wong said. “But then we’re going to use more advanced ones. More and more, we need to get into more advanced robotics. That can help make a dark factory.” Given the economic imperative, the government’s determination, and the country’s growing technological sophistication, it seems very likely that manufacturing companies across China will automate successfully and that the country will become a leader in the technologies of advanced automation. And yet it’s strange to think about the changes in store for Chinese manufacturing workers. At one point during our tour we had passed a group of about 20 people taking an afternoon break. Everyone was apparently snoozing, heads rested on arms folded in front of them. That’s hardly something a robot needs to do. But I couldn’t help wondering what will happen to these workers once robots have taken their jobs. Wong says they will most likely return to their hometowns and find employment there, on a farm or perhaps in a shop or restaurant. That may be so, but for some it won’t be so simple. A week after leaving China, I received an e-mail from Wong with some more information about his plans, along with a characteristically bold promise. “Stay in touch,” he wrote. “We will make the dark factory happen.”
News Article | December 14, 2016
Six new products using three different silicon providers have achieved certification at the event in China: ARRIS, CIG, Comtrend, NetBit, Zinwell and ZTE Six products have achieved G.hn certification in the latest of HomeGrid Forum's regular series of certification Plugfests, which are designed to bring quality G.hn products to market in the fastest possible time. The successful outcome of the Plugfest, which was hosted in China by China Telecom Shanghai Research Institute, demonstrates how HomeGrid Forum members are accelerating the rate of certification as market demand expands. G.hn is increasingly seen as the future of wired home networking as other technologies begin to reach their capacity limits and are on the wane. The November Plugfest was conducted by Allion Labs, HomeGrid Forum's Accredited Test House (ATH) and enabled members to perform testing of their G.hn devices against reference devices and previously certified products. Six system vendors, with products powered by three silicon vendors, submitted G.hn products operating over powerline and coax for testing and all achieved certification. These companies are ARRIS, CIG, Comtrend, NetBit, Zinwell and ZTE, with products powered by three silicon vendors: Marvell, Sigma Designs and Xingtera. HomeGrid Forum was very excited to have such a successful Plugfest in China. HomeGrid Forum President, Donna Yasay, said: "China is a massive market and we have already had major successes with products and devices being launched by Chinese e-commerce retailers back in 2015. Having China partners host this year's testing event is a major boost to our efforts in the region and our Plugfests will enable many more products to launch here." The range of products and number of vendors achieving certification are a testament to HomeGrid Forum's drive and guidance, ensuring multi-vendor silicon certified G.hn products are all interoperable. Yasay also commented on recent market developments that have strengthened the position of G.hn as the technology for the future in home networking: "There is no other technology on the market that is as versatile and future-proof as G.hn, and has the backing of international standards organizations. We are at the beginning of our journey with the potential of G.hn. We are witnessing its growing momentum as other technologies start to fall by the wayside." Full details of all G.hn certified products are available on the website at: http://www.homegridforum.org/content/pages.php?pg=certified_systems For more information please contact Sian Borrill on +44 (0) 1636 812152 or by email at email@example.com. About HomeGrid Forum HomeGrid Forum (HGF) is an industry alliance that brings together the world's best in technology innovators, silicon vendors, system manufacturers and service providers to promote G.hn, a globally recognized gigabit home networking technology based on ITU-T standards. Over 70 members promote the global adoption of G.hn, a single unified, multi-sourced networking technology - over coax, copper pairs, powerline, and plastic optical fiber - while continuing to support HomePNA deployments and their transition to G.hn. HomeGrid Forum provides G.hn silicon and system certification through a strict compliance and interoperability testing program. For more information on HomeGrid Forum, please visit our website at www.homegridforum.org.
News Article | November 28, 2016
In October, The Climate Trust (The Trust) quietly put ink to paper and executed a milestone contract with the David and Lucile Packard Foundation—securing a $5.5M Program-Related Investment (PRI) to seed their first-of-its-kind carbon investment fund. Climate Trust Capital, an independent firm of the long-standing and mission-driven nonprofit, The Climate Trust, will administer Fund I, which is focused on supporting innovative U.S.-based carbon offset projects in the forestry, grassland conservation, and livestock digesters sectors. Climate Trust Capital’s investment fund was launched earlier this year with backing from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s NRCS Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG), and an agreement to support the Fund from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. Climate Trust Capital released a request for proposals in January to begin the process of building a pipeline of qualified projects—aiming to execute contracts with selected project partners by the end of 2016. With the Packard PRI funding secured, Climate Trust Capital is now ready to invest in Fund I projects. “This partnership between NRCS and The Climate Trust will increase the funding available for conservation on America’s working lands,” said Jason Weller, Chief of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. “Not only will this partnership deliver innovative conservation finance solutions, but the projects made possible by this new fund will support implementation of USDA’s Building Blocks for Climate Change.” In a role highlighted by The Climate Trust’s leadership, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP provided pro bono legal support to the Fund I launch. “Even with access to PRI funding from Packard, the launching of Fund I would not have been possible without the considerable pro bono legal support of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe,” said Sean Penrith, Executive Director for The Climate Trust. “Procuring this caliber of legal expertise was a game-changer for Climate Trust Capital, as the legal costs associated with starting new funds can be a heavy burden. We couldn’t have asked for a more committed legal partner than Orrick, and we look forward to our continued collaboration as investments are deployed, and our fund becomes a reality.” “Orrick was delighted to be able to assist in a worthwhile and important project,” said Bob Lawrence, Orrick’s Senior Counsel for environmental law. “Climate Trust Capital will help drive the development of innovative technologies that will reduce carbon emissions and expand financing options in the energy sector,” said Lawrence. “We believe that offset projects can be an important and cost effective contributor to the U.S.’ stated climate reduction targets under the historic Paris Agreement,” added Kristen Kleiman, Director of Investments for Climate Trust Capital. “This significant investment from the Packard Foundation, as well as the valuable legal guidance provided by Orrick, will enable Climate Trust Capital to invest in vital offset projects that collectively make for big climate impacts, while leveraging our existing programs to attract private capital and further amplify our impact.” Investments in conservation projects from the $5.5M Fund I vehicle are expected to catalyze the development of four anaerobic digesters, three forestry projects and one grassland conservation program, collectively reducing 978,157 mtCO2e over their ten-year life. From a conservation perspective, this will ensure sustainable management on more than 20,000 acres of land, and greatly improve water and air quality domestically. Based upon its success, Climate Trust Capital plans to scale the carbon investment fund to become a $500M fund with the potential to reduce significant emissions both domestically and abroad. As Climate Trust Capital assembles additional impact investment dollars to scale the investment fund, there are plans to offer further rounds of increased financing for deployment in 2018, allowing for expanded offers of financing to more sectors and developers. “Lenders heavily or completely discount the future revenue conservation projects can generate by selling carbon offsets, significantly reducing the ability of carbon markets to mobilize capital for conservation projects,” said Peter Weisberg, Senior Investment Manager for Climate Trust Capital. “While the market currently undervalues carbon, Climate Trust Capital’s patient finance model was built with the conviction that carbon prices will continue to increase, and aims to unlock that value over a 10-year investment term—meeting an urgent need in the market for upfront conservation finance,” continued Weisberg. Fund I was structured to provide upfront capital to projects in return for partial ownership of the resulting carbon credits. The upfront investment can be used by projects for requisite costs such as construction, development or land acquisition. “The Trust has almost two decades of experience working in domestic carbon markets, and is in a unique position to manage the risks associated with investing in carbon projects through Fund I,” continued Kleiman. “The Trust has structured a portion of their existing $22 million of program funds to guarantee project developers and investors a minimum value for future carbon credits that also caps downside risk. Proceeds from the resale of emission reductions to California compliance and voluntary buyers are anticipated to generate sufficient revenues to provide a market-based rate of return to the fund.” Building upon a legacy of innovation and leadership in the carbon market, The Climate Trust mobilizes conservation finance to maximize environmental returns. We value air, water and soil through the development, purchase and sale of qualiﬁed oﬀsets and a relentless investment in people and projects with environmental purpose | http://www.climatetrust.org | @climatetrust | facebook.com/TheClimateTrust
News Article | December 5, 2016
DENVER, Dec. 05, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- PDC Energy, Inc. (“PDC”, the “Company”, “we” or “us”) (NASDAQ:PDCE) today announced its 2017 capital budget and production forecast. All 2017 forecasts and projections are inclusive of the expected early December closing of the Company’s Delaware Basin acquisition, previously announced in August 2016. Bart Brookman, President and Chief Executive Officer, commented, “Looking to 2017, we have a strong focus on several key initiatives. First, the integration of our Delaware Basin assets, a top-tier core position with tremendous resource potential. Look for PDC to focus on holding acreage, drilling longer laterals and multi-well pads and developing a long-term midstream strategy. Second, we will continue to build upon our tremendous operational momentum by continuing to push the envelope with our completion designs and technical enhancements. Finally, and equally important, we will continue to prioritize our balance sheet to ensure that we maintain strong debt metrics and ample liquidity. Our ability to not only execute on these initiatives, but deliver another year of significant, responsible growth, puts PDC in position for a terrific 2017.” PDC’s 2017 capital budget of $750 million at the mid-point is primarily focused on the continued execution in the Core Wattenberg and the integration of its Core Delaware Basin assets upon closing. 2017 production guidance of 30.0 to 33.0 MMBoe, or 82,200 to 90,400 Boe per day, represents an increase of greater than 40 percent at the mid-point compared to anticipated 2016 volumes. The anticipated commodity mix is approximately 43 percent oil, 21 percent NGLs and 36 percent natural gas. First quarter 2017 production is expected to be in-line with anticipated fourth quarter 2016 volumes due to the timing of turn-in-lines. Subsequent 2017 quarters are expected to show steady sequential growth culminating with an average December exit rate of approximately 97,000 Boe per day. PDC projects to exit 2017 with a debt to EBITDAX ratio of approximately 1.8 times. Total year-end liquidity is projected to be approximately $900 million, assuming its current $700 million borrowing base and anticipated cash on hand. Based on the mid-point of production guidance, nearly 50 percent of 2017 expected crude oil volumes are hedged at approximately $48 per barrel and approximately 52 percent of anticipated gas volumes are hedged at nearly $3.50 per thousand cubic foot (“Mcf”), including CIG basis swaps. Using internal weighted-average NYMEX pricing of approximately $51 per barrel of oil, $3.30 per Mcf of natural gas and NGL realizations of approximately 25% of NYMEX oil, the Company expects to outspend cash flow in the first half of 2017 and be approximately cash flow neutral in the second half. The Company anticipates its corporate well-head oil differential to NYMEX to be approximately $4.50 per barrel in 2017. In 2017, the Company plans to operate a three to four rig program and spend approximately $490 million in the Wattenberg Field. Approximately $460 million is allocated for operated activity with approximately $20 million anticipated to be spent on non-operated activity and the remaining $10 million on miscellaneous workover and capital projects. The Company plans to drill standard reach lateral (“SRL”), mid-reach lateral (“MRL”) and extended reach lateral (“XRL”) wells in 2017 with an average lateral length of approximately 7,300 feet. TILs for the field are expected to be approximately 150, an increase in terms of one mile-equivalent wells of more than 20 percent compared to 2016. The Company anticipates its average working interest in 2017 to be approximately 85 percent, as much of its planned activity is located in and around the recently blocked up Middle Core acreage. Due to successful testing of new completion technologies and longer average laterals, the anticipated number of total completion stages is expected to increase approximately 50 percent year-over-year. The Company expects its acquisition of approximately 57,000 net acres in Reeves and Culberson Counties, Texas to close in early December of 2016. In 2017, PDC anticipates operating a two rig program for the majority of the year with the addition of a third rig in the fourth quarter. Total capital spend is expected to be approximately $235 million, of which approximately $185 million is allocated to spud and turn-in-line an estimated 28 and 19 wells, respectively. The Company plans to drill 12 wells in its Eastern acreage block, 14 wells in the Central acreage block and two wells in its Western acreage block, with the majority of wells targeting the Wolfcamp A zone. Thirteen of the 19 planned turn-in-lines are expected to have laterals of approximately 10,000 feet with 72 completion stages. Similarly spaced completions are anticipated for the remaining six turn-in-lines. Estimated well costs for SRL, MRL and XRL wells are approximately $6.5, $8.0 and $9.5 million, respectively. PDC plans to spend approximately $35 million for leasing, seismic and technical studies with an additional $15 million for midstream related projects including gas connections, salt water disposal wells and surface location infrastructure. PDC plans to spend approximately $18 million in the Utica to drill, complete and TIL two wells in Guernsey County as well as execute selective lease renewals. The planned wells have laterals of approximately 12,000 feet and are expected to TIL in the second half of 2017. PDC is scheduled to present at the 2016 Capital One Energy Conference in New Orleans on Wednesday, December 7, 2016. The Company will also attend the 15th Annual Wells Fargo Pipeline, MLP and Utility Symposium in New York on Tuesday, December 6, 2016; and the Goldman Sachs Energy Conference on Thursday, January 5, 2017. An updated presentation will be posted to the Company’s website, www.pdce.com, prior to the start of the Wells Fargo conference. PDC Energy, Inc. is a domestic independent exploration and production company that produces, develops, acquires and explores for crude oil, natural gas and NGLs with operations in the Wattenberg Field in Colorado and in the Utica Shale in southeastern Ohio. Upon completion of the Company’s previously announced acquisition, the Company will also conduct those activities in the Delaware Basin portion of the Permian Basin region in West Texas. Its operations are focused on the liquid-rich horizontal Niobrara and Codell plays in the Wattenberg Field and the condensate and wet gas portion of the Utica Shale play. This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 regarding PDC's business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects. All statements other than statements of historical facts included in and incorporated by reference into this release are forward-looking statements. Words such as expects, forecast, guidance, anticipates, intends, plans, believes, seeks, estimates and similar expressions or variations of such words are intended to identify forward-looking statements herein, which may include statements regarding PDC's future production, cash flows, capital expenditures and projects, cost-saving initiatives, operational enhancements, rates-of-return, debt metrics, liquidity, future differentials and management's strategies, plans and objectives. However, these are not the exclusive means of identifying forward-looking statements herein. Although forward-looking statements contained in this press release reflect the Company's good faith judgment, such statements can only be based on facts and factors currently known to PDC. Consequently, forward-looking statements are inherently subject to risks and uncertainties, including risks and uncertainties incidental to the exploration for, and the acquisition, development, production and marketing of crude oil, natural gas and NGLs, and actual outcomes may differ materially from the results and outcomes discussed in the forward-looking statements. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to: unanticipated changes relating to the following: Further, PDC urges you to carefully review and consider the cautionary statements made in this press release and the Company's filings with the SEC for further information on risks and uncertainties that could affect the Company's business, financial condition and results of operations, which are incorporated by this reference as though fully set forth herein. The Company cautions you not to place undue reliance on the forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date hereof. PDC undertakes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements in order to reflect any event or circumstance occurring after the date of this release or currently unknown facts or conditions or the occurrence of unanticipated events. All forward-looking statements are qualified in their entirety by this cautionary statement.
News Article | October 28, 2016
TORONTO, Oct. 28, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Colliers International Group Inc. (NASDAQ:CIGI) (TSX:CIG) (“Colliers”) announced today that the Toronto Stock Exchange (the “TSX”) has approved a change of its trading symbol. Effective at the opening of trading on Tuesday, November 1, 2016, the subordinate voting shares of Colliers will commence trading on TSX under the symbol “CIGI”. The previous TSX trading symbol was “CIG”. Following this change, the TSX and NASDAQ trading symbols for Colliers’ shares will be the same. Beginning November 1, 2016, all TSX information relating to Colliers, including stock trading and market data, will be reported under the new trading symbol, “CIGI”. Outstanding share certificates are not affected by the symbol change and will not need to be exchanged. About Colliers Colliers International Group Inc. (NASDAQ:CIGI) (TSX:CIG) is an industry leading global real estate services company with more than 16,000 skilled professionals operating in 66 countries. With an enterprising culture and significant employee ownership, Colliers professionals provide a full range of services to real estate occupiers, owners and investors worldwide. Services include strategic advice and execution for property sales, leasing and finance; global corporate solutions; property, facility and project management; workplace solutions; appraisal, valuation and tax consulting; customized research; and thought leadership consulting. Colliers professionals think differently, share great ideas and offer thoughtful and innovative advice that help clients accelerate their success. Colliers has been ranked among the top 100 outsourcing firms by the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals’ Global Outsourcing for 11 consecutive years, more than any other real estate services firm. For the latest news from Colliers, visit Colliers.com or follow us on Twitter: @Colliers and LinkedIn. Forward-Looking Statements Certain information included in this news release is forward-looking, within the meaning of applicable securities laws. Much of this information can be identified by words such as “believe”, “expects”, “expected”, “will”, “intends”, “projects”, “anticipates”, “estimates”, “continues” or similar expressions suggesting future outcomes or events. Colliers believes the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable but no assurance can be given that these expectations will prove to be correct and such forward-looking statements should not be unduly relied upon. Forward-looking statements are based on current information and expectations that involve a number of risks and uncertainties, which could cause actual results or events to differ materially from those anticipated. These risks include, but are not limited to, risks associated with: (i) general economic and business conditions, which will, among other things, impact demand for Colliers’ services and the cost of providing services; (ii) the ability of Colliers to implement its business strategy, including Colliers’ ability to identify and acquire suitable acquisition candidates on acceptable terms and successfully integrate newly acquired businesses with its existing businesses; (iii) changes in or the failure to comply with government regulations; and (iv) such factors as are identified in the Annual Information Form of Colliers for the year ended December 31, 2015 under the heading “Risk Factors” (which factors are adopted herein and a copy of which can be obtained at www.sedar.com). Forward looking statements contained in this news release are made as of the date hereof and are subject to change. All forward-looking statements in this news release are qualified by these cautionary statements. Except as required by applicable law, Colliers undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
News Article | October 28, 2016
Quarterly revenue up 10% (11% in local currency); Year to date revenue up 13% (16% in local currency) TORONTO, Oct. 28, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Colliers International Group Inc. (NASDAQ:CIGI) (TSX:CIG) today reported solid financial results for its third quarter ended September 30, 2016. All amounts are in US dollars. Revenues for the third quarter were $462.1 million, a 10% increase (11% in local currency (note 3)) relative to the same quarter in the prior year and Adjusted EBITDA (note 1) was $37.6 million, down from a strong $43.0 million in the prior year period. Adjusted EPS (note 2) was $0.40, relative to $0.52 in the prior year period. GAAP Operating Earnings were $23.6 million, relative to $29.8 million in the prior year and GAAP EPS was $0.24 per share, versus $0.20 per share for the same quarter a year ago. For the nine months ended September 30, 2016, revenues were $1.32 billion, a 13% increase (16% in local currency) relative to the comparable prior year period and Adjusted EBITDA was $112.6 million, up 10% (13% in local currency). Adjusted EPS was $1.22, up 1% versus the prior year period. Year-to-date Adjusted EPS would have been approximately $0.04 higher excluding foreign exchange impacts. GAAP Operating Earnings were $70.1 million, relative to $15.4 million in the prior year period and GAAP EPS was $0.61 per share, compared to a loss of $0.37 per share in the prior year period. Similarly, year-to-date GAAP EPS would have been approximately $0.04 higher excluding changes in foreign exchange rates. Prior year GAAP Operating Earnings and GAAP EPS results included one-time charges related to the separation from FirstService Corporation completed on June 1, 2015. “Colliers delivered solid results in the third quarter despite challenging market conditions in the UK and Europe, highlighting the strength of our geographic and service line diversification,” said Jay S. Hennick, Chairman and CEO of Colliers International. “We completed three acquisitions during the quarter, two in the Americas and one in EMEA and just after the quarter ended, we added a fourth in the UK. We also appointed a new member to our board of directors, adding Canada’s former Prime Minister Stephen Harper who brings a wealth of experience as a former G7 leader. Most importantly, our strategy remains focused on building Colliers over the long term - investing prudently and strategically, and leveraging our strong balance sheet to capture opportunities as they present themselves. Assuming stable market conditions and with our strong pipelines currently in place, we expect to exceed the results reported in the fourth quarter of 2015,” he concluded. About Colliers International Group Inc. Colliers International Group Inc. (NASDAQ:CIGI) (TSX:CIG) is an industry leading global real estate services company with more than 16,000 skilled professionals operating in 66 countries. With an enterprising culture and significant employee ownership, Colliers professionals provide a full range of services to real estate occupiers, owners and investors worldwide. Services include strategic advice and execution for property sales, leasing and finance; global corporate solutions; property, facility and project management; workplace solutions; appraisal, valuation and tax consulting; customized research; and thought leadership consulting. Colliers professionals think differently, share great ideas and offer thoughtful and innovative advice that help clients accelerate their success. Colliers has been ranked among the top 100 outsourcing firms by the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals’ Global Outsourcing for 11 consecutive years, more than any other real estate services firm. For the latest news from Colliers, visit Colliers.com or follow us on Twitter: @Colliers and LinkedIn. Consolidated revenues for the third quarter grew 11% on a local currency basis, with each service line contributing strongly with the exception of Sales Brokerage which was up only 3%. Consolidated internal revenue growth in local currencies was 1% (note 3) with the balance coming from acquisitions completed during the past year. For the nine months ended September 30, 2016, consolidated revenues grew 16% on a local currency basis with each service line contributing strongly. Year-to-date consolidated internal revenue growth in local currencies was 6% with the balance coming from acquisitions completed during the past year. Segmented Quarterly Results Revenues in the Americas region totalled $256.5 million for the third quarter compared to $223.9 million in the prior year quarter, up 15% (15% on a local currency basis). All local currency revenue growth came from recent acquisitions. Internal revenue growth was flat relative to the strong results reported in the prior year quarter, with a change in mix toward Outsourcing & Advisory services. Adjusted EBITDA was $22.6 million, versus $22.8 million in the prior year quarter. Margins were negatively impacted by a reduction in broker productivity resulting from smaller average transaction sizes, as well as a greater proportion of more stable Outsourcing & Advisory revenues which generate lower margins. GAAP Operating Earnings were $16.3 million, versus $17.9 million in the prior period. EMEA region revenues totalled $106.6 million for the third quarter compared to $107.6 million in the prior year quarter, down 1% (up 4% on a local currency basis). Local currency revenue growth was comprised of a 1% internal decline and 5% growth from recent acquisitions. Internal revenues were impacted by a decline in Sales Brokerage, reflecting both the strong comparative quarter in 2015 and the effect of the June 2016 “Brexit” referendum, largely offset by a 15% increase in Outsourcing & Advisory services revenues. Adjusted EBITDA was $4.5 million, versus $13.2 million in the prior year quarter, and was impacted primarily by the above-noted change in revenue mix. The GAAP Operating Loss was $0.4 million, versus Operating Earnings of $8.5 million in the prior year quarter. Asia Pacific region revenues totalled $98.6 million for the third quarter compared to $88.5 million in the prior year quarter, up 12% (9% on a local currency basis), entirely from internal growth, with contributions from all three service lines. Adjusted EBITDA was $13.2 million versus $8.7 million in the prior year quarter. The prior year quarter results were impacted by recruiting costs and transaction costs for an acquisition that was ultimately not completed. GAAP Operating Earnings were $11.6 million, up from $6.8 million in the prior year period. Global corporate costs were $2.6 million in the third quarter, relative to $1.7 million in the prior year period. The GAAP Operating Loss for the third quarter was $4.0 million, relative to $3.4 million in the prior period. Prior year costs were favourably impacted by foreign currency translation. Conference Call Colliers will be holding a conference call on Friday, October 28, 2016 at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time to discuss the quarter’s results. The call, as well as a supplemental slide presentation, will be simultaneously web cast and can be accessed live or after the call at www.colliers.com in the “Shareholders / Newsroom” section. Forward-looking Statements This press release includes or may include forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements include the Company’s financial performance outlook and statements regarding goals, beliefs, strategies, objectives, plans or current expectations. These statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements contemplated in the forward-looking statements. Such factors include: economic conditions, especially as they relate to commercial and consumer credit conditions and consumer spending, particularly in regions where our business may be concentrated; commercial real estate property values, vacancy rates and general conditions of financial liquidity for real estate transactions; trends in pricing and risk assumption for commercial real estate services; the effect of significant movements in average cap rates across different property types; a reduction by companies in their reliance on outsourcing for their commercial real estate needs, which would affect revenues and operating performance; competition in the markets served by the Company; the ability to attract new clients and to retain major clients and renew related contracts; the ability to retain and incentivize producers; increases in wage and benefit costs; the effects of changes in interest rates on the cost of borrowing; unexpected increases in operating costs, such as insurance, workers’ compensation and health care; changes in the frequency or severity of insurance incidents relative to historical experience; the effects of changes in foreign exchange rates in relation to the US dollar on the Company’s Canadian dollar, Australian dollar, UK pound and Euro denominated revenues and expenses; the ability to identify and make acquisitions at reasonable prices and successfully integrate acquired operations; the ability to execute on, and adapt to, information technology strategies and trends; the ability to comply with laws and regulations related to our global operations, including real estate licensure, labour and employment laws and regulations, as well as the anti-corruption laws and trade sanctions; political conditions, including political instability and any outbreak or escalation of terrorism or hostilities and the impact thereof on our business; and changes in government laws and policies at the federal, state/provincial or local level that may adversely impact the business. Additional information and factors are identified in the Company’s Annual Information Form for the year ended December 31, 2015 under the heading “Risk Factors” (which factors are adopted herein and a copy of which can be obtained at www.sedar.com) and other periodic filings with Canadian and US securities regulators. Forward looking statements contained in this press release are made as of the date hereof and are subject to change. All forward-looking statements in this press release are qualified by these cautionary statements. Except as required by applicable law, Colliers undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Summary financial information is provided in this press release. This press release should be read in conjunction with the Company's quarterly financial statements and MD&A to be made available on SEDAR at www.sedar.com. Notes 1. Reconciliation of net earnings (loss) from continuing operations to adjusted EBITDA: Adjusted EBITDA is defined as net earnings from continuing operations, adjusted to exclude: (i) income tax; (ii) other expense (income); (iii) interest expense; (iv) depreciation and amortization; (v) acquisition-related items; (vi) corporate costs allocated to spin-off; (vii) restructuring costs and (viii) stock-based compensation expense. We use adjusted EBITDA to evaluate our own operating performance and our ability to incur debt, as well as an integral part of our planning and reporting systems. Additionally, we use this measure in conjunction with discounted cash flow models to determine the Company’s overall enterprise valuation and to evaluate acquisition targets. We present adjusted EBITDA as a supplemental measure because we believe such measure is useful to investors as a reasonable indicator of operating performance because of the low capital intensity of the Company’s service operations. We believe this measure is a financial metric used by many investors to compare companies, especially in the services industry. This measure is not a recognized measure of financial performance under GAAP in the United States, and should not be considered as a substitute for operating earnings, net earnings from continuing operations or cash flow from operating activities, as determined in accordance with GAAP. Our method of calculating adjusted EBITDA may differ from other issuers and accordingly, this measure may not be comparable to measures used by other issuers. A reconciliation of net earnings from continuing operations to adjusted EBITDA appears below. 2. Reconciliation of net earnings (loss) from continuing operations and diluted net earnings (loss) per share from continuing operations to adjusted net earnings and adjusted earnings per share: Adjusted earnings per share is defined as diluted net earnings (loss) per share from continuing operations, adjusted for the effect, after income tax, of: (i) the non-controlling interest redemption increment; (ii) amortization expense related to intangible assets recognized in connection with acquisitions; (iii) acquisition-related items; (iv) corporate costs allocated to spin-off; (v) restructuring costs and (vi) stock-based compensation expense. We believe this measure is useful to investors because it provides a supplemental way to understand the underlying operating performance of the Company and enhances the comparability of operating results from period to period. Adjusted earnings per share is not a recognized measure of financial performance under GAAP, and should not be considered as a substitute for diluted net earnings per share from continuing operations, as determined in accordance with GAAP. Our method of calculating this non-GAAP measure may differ from other issuers and, accordingly, this measure may not be comparable to measures used by other issuers. A reconciliation of net earnings from continuing operations to adjusted net earnings and of diluted net earnings (loss) per share from continuing operations to adjusted earnings per share appears below. Percentage revenue variances presented on a local currency basis are calculated by translating the current period results of our non-US dollar denominated operations to US dollars using the foreign currency exchange rates from the periods against which the current period results are being compared. Percentage revenue variances presented on an internal growth basis are calculated assuming acquired entities were owned for the entire current period as well as the entire prior period. Revenue from acquired entities is estimated based on the operating performance of each acquired entity for the year prior to the acquisition date. We believe that these revenue growth rate methodologies provide a framework for assessing the Company’s performance and operations excluding the effects of foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations and acquisitions. Since these revenue growth rate measures are not calculated under GAAP, they may not be comparable to similar measures used by other issuers. Notes to Condensed Consolidated Statements of Earnings (Loss) (1) Acquisition-related items include transaction costs, contingent acquisition consideration fair value adjustments, and contingent acquisition consideration-related compensation expense. (2) Stock-based compensation costs related to the exchange of non-controlling interests in the former Commercial Real Estate Services division for publicly traded shares of Colliers International Group Inc., in connection with the spin-off completed on June 1, 2015. (3) Transaction costs related to the spin-off of FirstService Corporation completed on June 1, 2015. (4) Discontinued operations comprise FirstService Corporation, which was spun off on June 1, 2015. (5) See definition and reconciliation above. (1) Operating loss of Corporate for the nine month period ended September 30, 2015 includes $35,400 of spin-off stock-based compensation costs and $14,147 of spin-off transaction costs.
News Article | November 2, 2016
ARDMORE, Okla., Nov. 2, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- CIG Logistics, an oil and gas logistics provider, has partnered with Ameripointe Logistics Hub to operate and jointly market the development of frac sand transloading and storage services at the newly constructed logistics terminal in Ardmore,...