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News Article | May 13, 2017
Site: news.yahoo.com

London (AFP) - The European Union could end up paying a Brexit bill to Britain instead of the other way round, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson told The Daily Telegraph in an interview on Saturday. Asked if he believed that Britain might end up receiving a payment, Johnson replied: "I do, I think there are very good arguments". "There are assets that we share, that we have paid for over the years and there will need to be a proper computation of the value of those assets," said Johnson, one of the leading lights in last year's Brexit referendum campaign. Johnson dismissed as "absurd" the various estimates for the exit fee that would have to be paid by Britain, which some reports have said could be as high as 100 billion euros ($109 billion). "They are going to try to bleed this country white with their bill," he said, threatening that Britain could "definitely" walk away from the negotiations without paying anything. The payments that London must make to settle financial commitments made when it was a member are considered one of the most difficult Brexit issues and are a top priority for the talks. A report in the Telegraph earlier this week said British officials estimated that Britain was entitled to £9 billion ($11.6 billion, 10.6 billion euros) in funds held by the European Investment Bank and £14 billion of other EU assets including property and cash. Johnson also criticised the "shameful" leaking of details of a meeting in Downing Street last month between Prime Minister Theresa May and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker. "Brussels is ruthless in its negotiating techniques. They are going to play dirty. We have got to be very wary and intellectually very firm," the former London mayor said. Quoting the famous Eagles hit, he added: "Jean-Claude Juncker thinks it's the Hotel California where you can check out but you can never leave. He is wrong." Tensions between Brussels and London have risen in the run-up to Britain's general election on June 8, with the government accusing EU officials of "meddling" in the election campaign.


News Article | May 12, 2017
Site: tech.eu

This week, Tech.eu tracked 16 technology M&A transactions, one IPO and 71 tech funding deals totalling about €1.5 billion in Europe, Turkey and Israel. Like every week, we listed every single one of them in our free weekly newsletter, along with interesting news regarding fledgling European startups, tech investors old and new, a number of good reads published elsewhere, government and policy news, as well as an overview of interesting lists, facts and figures from a wide variety of sources. You can subscribe to our newsletter below to receive all this information in your inbox every Friday afternoon for free, but here’s an overview of the 10 biggest European tech news items for this week: 1) Japanese giant Softbank has led an investment of $502 million into UK gaming company Improbable, making it one of the largest VC rounds in a private UK company. The sizeable deal puts the company at a reported valuation of over $1 billion. Existing investors Andreessen Horowitz and Horizons Ventures also participated in the investment. 2) Apple has acquired the Finnish sleep sensor Beddit, dubbed the “Fitbit for sleep”, which helps users control snoring and sleep quality. The amount of the deal was not disclosed. 3) Berlin-based take-away food ordering and delivery service Delivery Hero has raised €387 million (about $423 million) from Naspers, a global Internet and media group. 4) German fintech startup Kreditech has received an investment of €110 million from the payment services provider PayU, which is owned by the Internet and media group Naspers. This investment brings the total raised by the company to €242 million. 5) Uber suffered a setback to its global expansion plans on Thursday when a senior adviser to Europe’s highest court recommended that the ride-hailing company comply with the region’s tough transportation rules. 6) Cabify, the Madrid-based ride-hailing app, has reportedly raised $100 million from previous investors including Rakuten, Seaya Ventures, and AngelList. 7) The European Commission this week published the mid-term review of its Digital Single Market strategy. Politico argues that it barely scraped a pass. 8) MariaDB, an open source database provider, has secured €25 million in funding from the European Investment Bank (EIB) to increase its client base globally. 9) StarLeaf, a cloud-based video conferencing platform, has raised $40 million in its first round of external capital. The funding comes from Highland Europe, Grafton Capital, and the company’s founders. 10) Finnish publicly-listed cybersecurity firm F-Secure has acquired British IT security consultants Digital Assurance to boost its portfolio of UK clients. No terms for the deal were disclosed. Bonus link: After two years of apathy, the Russian venture market showed signs of revival in 2016, reveals the latest edition of the annual Russian venture report.


News Article | May 29, 2017
Site: news.europawire.eu

LONDON, 29-May-2017 — /EuropaWire/ — The EBRD is improving the living conditions of approximately three million inhabitants of Egypt’s Fayoum governorate – of whom around one million will have access to sanitation services for the first time – with a loan of up to €186 million to the Fayoum Water and Wastewater Company for the development and expansion of its wastewater services. The EBRD financing will be complemented by a loan of €172 million provided by the European Investment Bank, while the EU Neighbourhood Investment Facility (NIF) is extending an investment grant of €30 million and over € 7 million for technical assistance. The funding will support the construction of 8 new wastewater treatment plants, the expansion of 9 units and the rehabilitation of 10 plants as well as the installation of 3,433 km of pipes and 139 pumping stations. In addition, 350 sewage removal trucks will be procured to serve remote rural communities. The investment will increase the company’s treatment capacity by almost 300,000 m3 per day and provide sanitation services to almost 90 per cent of the rural population in the Fayoum governorate from a current level of slightly more than 30 per cent. The expansion of the wastewater treatment facilities will also substantially reduce the level of pollution caused by untreated domestic wastewater and the contamination of surface and ground water, which affects many waters including Lake Qarun, the third-largest lake in Egypt. Reducing the level of pollution in Lake Qarun will help restore tourism and boostagricultural and fishing activities. This is expected to create over 30,000 permanent jobs in one of the poorest governorates in Egypt. Technical assistance funded by the EU NIF includes support for the project procurement and implementation as well as for corporatisation, financial and operational improvements and stakeholder-engagement activities. The EBRD will also provide technical assistance to support women’s access to economic opportunities and to assess economic inclusion outcomes. “We are moving quickly to respond to the urgent priorities of citizens in all governorates. We are confident that EBRD is a key partner and provide all the necessary support for the immediate implementation of the project,” said Dr. Sahar Nasr, Minister of Investment and International Cooperation. Janet Heckman, EBRD Managing Director for the southern and eastern Mediterranean region and Head of the EBRD in Egypt, said: “We are proud to sign a project that combines the strategic priorities of the EBRD with those of Egypt. It is a vital investment for the country and will not only develop the wastewater infrastructure, but also improve the environment and contribute to employment in a remote rural area substantially.” “Water is life. The European Union has a long and lasting commitment to work with Egypt in supporting this vital sector. Our aim is to improve the quality of life of nearly 10 million inhabitants, which is part of our ongoing support to the water sector. The EU has allocated €425 million in grants, leveraging €2 billion in blended finance through European financial institutions to support the water sector in Egypt,” said Ambassador Ivan Surkoš, Head of the EU Delegation to Egypt. The EBRD believes that successful economies should be competitive, well-governed, green, inclusive, resilient and integrated. Egypt is a founding member of the EBRD and has been receiving funding since 2012. To date the Bank has invested €2.3 billion in 43 projects in the country. The EBRD’s areas of investment include the financial sector, agribusiness, manufacturing and services, as well as infrastructure projects such as power, municipal water and wastewater services and support for transport services. The EBRD has also provided technical assistance support to more than 500 small and medium-sized local enterprises.


News Article | May 25, 2017
Site: news.yahoo.com

An European Union (EU) flag is pictured during a ceremony in Lausanne, Switzerland May 4, 2017. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union will next month demand Britain agree to pay a fixed percentage of the EU's outstanding obligations on the day it leaves the bloc, in defiance of a British rejection of that logic as "preposterous". A draft EU negotiating paper, seen by Reuters, that will be put to London when Brexit talks begin following a national election in Britain on June 8 makes clear that suggestions from Prime Minister Theresa May's government that the Union might end up owing rather than getting money cut no ice in Brussels. The paper on principles of the financial settlement that the EU wants from London on departure in March 2019 sets no figure, and chief negotiator Michel Barnier has made clear it cannot be calculated until the end as it depends on the EU's spending. However, he wants an agreement on how the "Brexit bill" will be calculated, perhaps by late this year, before the Europeans agree to launch talks that May wants on a free trade agreement. EU chief executive Jean-Claude Juncker has said Britain may have to pay its 27 allies some 60 billion euros on departure and some experts estimated the up-front cost, before later refunds, could be nearly double that -- suggestions May's foreign minister Boris Johnson called "absolutely preposterous". The paper to be discussed among diplomats next week before Barnier presents the opening demands to London in the week of June 19, spells out that while Britain will get some credit -- notably its 39 billion-euro share of the capital of the European Investment Bank. But the list of what it must pay, and go paying for some years after Brexit, is much longer. Four pages of appendix details list more than 70 EU bodies and funds to which Britain has committed payment in a budget set out to 2020. Yet the three-page main document made no mention of Britain getting credit for a share of, say, EU buildings, as British ministers have said it should have. EU officials argue Britain was not asked to pay extra for existing infrastructure in Brussels when it first joined the bloc in 1973. Among obligations Britain will be asked to cover are the funding until summer 2021 of British teachers seconded to schools catering to the EU's staff and diplomats. Other payments include promises to fund Syrian refugees in Turkey, aid for the Central African Republic, the EU aviation safety agency and the European Institute for Gender Equality. "The United Kingdom obligations should be fixed as a percentage of the EU obligations calculated at the date of withdrawal in accordance with a methodology to be agreed in the first phase of the negotiations," the paper states. It adds that people, businesses and organizations in Britain would continue to benefit from some EU funds for some time after Brexit. Britain has about 13 percent of the EU's 507 million population and accounts for some 16 percent of its economy. Its net contribution to the EU's 140 billion-euro annual budget has typically been roughly 10 billion euros in recent years.


News Article | May 29, 2017
Site: www.greentechmedia.com

Investor appetite for cleantech remains strong following the Paris climate agreement. But experts at the World Bank's Innovate4Climate conference in Barcelona, Spain said that funding levels are still not high enough to reach global emissions targets. “I think that since COP21 there has been a visible increase in the interest and appetite in investing in this sector, from more general investors,” said Jonathan Taylor, vice president of the European Investment Bank (EIB). “You see an increasing number of investors using ESG [environmental, social and governance] metrics as part of their investment decisions. COP21 is making us think: ‘These guys really mean it.’ And I haven’t seen this change significantly since the U.S. election in November," said Taylor. Institutional investors are also becoming more wary of putting money into fossil-fuel ventures that may end up as stranded assets, he said. For example, AXA Investment Managers (AXA IM) last month announced that it will pull cash out of companies that get more than half of their revenues from coal-related activities. “This decision is consistent with our ambitions for continued and greater ESG integration across AXA IM,” said company CEO Andrea Rossi in a press release. “It is also in line with our belief that asset managers have an important role to play in helping the global transition to a low-carbon economy.” The EIB makes sure at least 25 percent of its annual lending goes toward projects related to climate change mitigation and adaptation. In 2016, this lending rose to 26 percent, totaling €19 billion (USD $21 billion). Of this, €8 billion ($9 billion) went to climate-friendly transport, €3.9 billion ($4.4 billion) to renewables, €3.6 billion ($4 billion) to energy-efficiency measures, €1.8 billion ($2 billion) to research and innovation, and €1.2 billion ($1.4 billion) to climate change adaptation. The bank also has a policy of not lending to energy projects that will emit in excess of 550g of carbon-dioxide equivalent per kilowatt-hour, which restricts it from supporting coal- or lignite-fired plant proposals unless the plants are equipped with carbon capture and storage. So far, none have been put forward, Taylor said. Neither have any new nuclear projects, although these could conceivably be funded. The EIB expects to lend $100 billion to climate-related initiatives over the next five years,  “which is consistent with the number for last year,” said Taylor. He said the bank would also remain committed to green bonds, which it pioneered 10 years ago. So far, the EIB remains the world’s largest provider of the instruments, having issued €16 billion ($18 billion) in Climate Awareness Bonds across 11 currencies. A World Bank study released during Innovate4Climate showed the number of carbon pricing initiatives worldwide has nearly doubled in the last five years. And the growing appetite for carbon-related investments is forcing the EIB to shift its loan strategy, Taylor told GTM. Previously the bank focused on large-scale projects, such as the Noor Ouarzazate solar power complex in Morocco or the Lake Turkana wind project in Kenya. Now it is looking to support aggregated small-scale initiatives, such as building efficiency plans. “What we’re now doing is we’re spreading out to do smaller-size lending, [especially] inside Europe,” Taylor said. “It is a change in business model for us.” Other development finance bodies also see their role becoming more important. At an Innovate4Climate side event organized by the Global Green Growth Institute, Jiwoo Choi, the Green Climate Fund’s private sector facility acting head, said $250 million in junior equity investments by the fund had helped attract around $30 billion for 200 projects globally. However, financing still needs to increase by a lot. Assaad Razzouk, CEO of Sindicatum Sustainable Resources Group, worried that global lenders weren't on a path to achieving the trillion-dollar-level annual investments needed to meet the Paris agreement goals. “The gap to how you get to the trillion [dollars] is the critical issue,” he said. “If you don’t get to the trillion in time, we’re not going to build a global clean economy. I’m talking about how do we get hold of another $640 billion per year. It’s a huge number.” Razzouk’s concerns echoed those of Dr. Stephan Singer, senior adviser for global energy policies at Climate Action Network International, who this month wrote in the London Financial Times that change was not happening fast enough to curtail climate change. To achieve the step change in investment that is needed, said Razzouk, cleantech must do more to court the world’s capital markets. “We have to be very careful not to give the private sector the idea that we’re addicted to aid,” he warned. “We’re not going to plug the $640 billion gap without the participation of the stock markets. The stock markets, local and global, are simply not participating," said Razzouk.


Milan, 11 May, 2017 - Prysmian Group, world leader in the energy and telecom cable systems industry, and the Italian Permanent Representation to the EU today co-hosted a meeting with Ambassadors, Commission officials, the European Investment Bank and telecoms industry representatives, to discuss the EU’s ambitions for its telecoms networks at a crucial moment in the legislative process. With the Parliament poised to finalise its negotiating position on the telecoms reform, and the Council not far behind, the Italian Deputy Permanent Representative, Giovanni Pugliese, was joined by his counterparts from Portugal, Denmark, Romania, Croatia, Hungary, and Finland. Discussion centred on the need to build on the Commission’s vision for a connected society, and how to move from vision to implementation at the Member State and regional level. Ambassador Pugliese commented: “In Italy and other Member States we have seen steadily climbing demand for both mobile data and fixed ultra broadband internet access. We are addressing this demand with specific instruments to develop future-proof networks starting from market failure areas. We need a European framework that will sustain the investment conditions that allow the expansion of the underlying telecom networks to match future demand.” A key issue being discussed in both the European Parliament and Council is what constitutes a very high capacity network. The more ambitious members of both institutions are pushing for a more stringent definition that emphasises the role of fibre, and will ensure that the networks matching this standard are truly future-proof. As pointed out during the lunch-debate, the advantage of optical fibre in this regard is not only that it is able to out-perform other technologies in terms of download speed, but also on other key measures including latency, reliability and upload speed. With talk focussed on the European vision, Philippe Vanhille, Senior Vice President Telecom Business at Prysmian Group, drew attention back to the need to ensure this vision was endorsed by Member States also. He stated: “Member States are due to update or renew their national broadband plans. We expect to see an appropriate level of ambition in these plans, with targets in terms of coverage and connectivity that will place Europe in the position to become a global digital leader. We also hope that decision makers will optimize Capex and Opex by choosing the best solutions, building robust and future-proof infrastructures.” Prysmian Group Prysmian Group is world leader in the energy and telecom cable systems industry. With nearly 140 years of experience, sales of over €7.5 billion in 2016, 21,000 employees across 50 countries and 82 plants, the Group is strongly positioned in high-tech markets and offers the widest possible range of products, services, technologies and know-how. It operates in the businesses of underground and submarine cables and systems for power transmission and distribution, of special cables for applications in many different industries and of medium and low voltage cables for the construction and infrastructure sectors. For the telecommunications industry, the Group manufactures cables and accessories for voice, video and data transmission, offering a comprehensive range of optical fibres, optical and copper cables and connectivity systems. Prysmian is a public company, listed on the Italian Stock Exchange in the FTSE MIB index.


News Article | May 12, 2017
Site: globenewswire.com

Luxembourg, May 12, 2017 - ArcelorMittal (referred to as "ArcelorMittal" or the "Company") (MT (New York, Amsterdam, Paris, Luxembourg), MTS (Madrid)), the world's leading integrated steel and mining company, today announced results[1] for the three month period ended March 31, 2017. Financial highlights (on the basis of IFRS1): "I am satisfied with the first quarter results, which reflect the anticipated positive momentum in the market and the progress we are making internally to make the business stronger. All parts of the business reported improved EBITDA as steel prices responded to higher raw material costs and strong volume growth saw steel shipments increase by 5.1% compared with the fourth quarter. Our mining segment benefitted from an increase in iron-ore shipped at market prices as well as the higher raw material price environment. Looking ahead, we expect market conditions to be broadly stable in the second quarter. While this is encouraging, the steel industry is still impacted by unfair imports in many of our key markets and we hope to see further progress in ensuring the necessary trade solutions". ArcelorMittal will hold a conference call hosted by Heads of Finance and Investor Relations for members of the investment community to discuss the three-month period ended March 31, 2017 on: This document may contain forward-looking information and statements about ArcelorMittal and its subsidiaries. These statements include financial projections and estimates and their underlying assumptions, statements regarding plans, objectives and expectations with respect to future operations, products and services, and statements regarding future performance. Forward-looking statements may be identified by the words "believe", "expect", "anticipate", "target" or similar expressions. Although ArcelorMittal's management believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, investors and holders of ArcelorMittal's securities are cautioned that forward-looking information and statements are subject to numerous risks and uncertainties, many of which are difficult to predict and generally beyond the control of ArcelorMittal, that could cause actual results and developments to differ materially and adversely from those expressed in, or implied or projected by, the forward-looking information and statements. These risks and uncertainties include those discussed or identified in the filings with the Luxembourg Stock Market Authority for the Financial Markets (Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier) and the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC") made or to be made by ArcelorMittal, including ArcelorMittal's latest Annual Report on Form 20-F on file with the SEC. ArcelorMittal undertakes no obligation to publicly update its forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise. ArcelorMittal is the world's leading steel and mining company, with a presence in 60 countries and an industrial footprint in 18 countries. Guided by a philosophy to produce safe, sustainable steel, we are the leading supplier of quality steel in the major global steel markets including automotive, construction, household appliances and packaging, with world-class research and development and outstanding distribution networks. Through our core values of sustainability, quality and leadership, we operate responsibly with respect to the health, safety and wellbeing of our employees, contractors and the communities in which we operate. For us, steel is the fabric of life, as it is at the heart of the modern world from railways to cars and washing machines. We are actively researching and producing steel-based technologies and solutions that make many of the products and components people use in their everyday lives more energy efficient. We are one of the world's five largest producers of iron ore and metallurgical coal. With a geographically diversified portfolio of iron ore and coal assets, we are strategically positioned to serve our network of steel plants and the external global market. While our steel operations are important customers, our supply to the external market is increasing as we grow. In 2016, ArcelorMittal had revenues of $56.8 billion and crude steel production of 90.8 million metric tonnes, while own iron ore production reached 55.2 million metric tonnes. ArcelorMittal is listed on the stock exchanges of New York (MT), Amsterdam (MT), Paris (MT), Luxembourg (MT) and on the Spanish stock exchanges of Barcelona, Bilbao, Madrid and Valencia (MTS). For more information about ArcelorMittal please visit: http://corporate.arcelormittal.com/ Health and safety - Own personnel and contractors lost time injury frequency rate Health and safety performance, based on own personnel figures and contractors lost time injury frequency (LTIF) rate of 0.80x in the first quarter of 2017 ("1Q 2017") as compared to 0.84x for the fourth quarter of 2016 ("4Q 2016") and 0.72x for the first quarter of 2016 ("1Q 2016"). The Company's effort to improve the Health and Safety record continues and remains focused on both further reducing the rate of severe injuries and preventing fatalities. Analysis of results for 1Q 2017 versus 4Q 2016 and 1Q 2016 Total steel shipments in 1Q 2017 were 5.1% higher at 21.1 million metric tonnes as compared with 20.0 million metric tonnes for 4Q 2016 primarily due to improved shipments in NAFTA (+12.0%), Europe (+7.1%) and ACIS (+4.1%) offset in part by lower shipments in Brazil (-21.7%). Total steel shipments for 1Q 2017 were 1.9% lower as compared to 1Q 2016 primarily due to lower shipment volumes in Brazil (-9.9%), Europe (-2.3%) and ACIS (-2.8%) offset in part by improved shipments in NAFTA (+2.7%). On a comparable basis (considering the sale of long steel producing subsidiaries in the US (LaPlace and Vinton) in 2Q 2016 and Zaragoza in Spain during 3Q 2016), total steel shipments for 1Q 2017 were 0.9% lower as compared with 21.2 million metric tonnes for 1Q 2016. Sales in 1Q 2017 were $16.1 billion as compared to $14.1 billion for 4Q 2016 and $13.4 billion for 1Q 2016. Sales in 1Q 2017 were 13.9% higher as compared to 4Q 2016 primarily due to higher average steel selling prices (+10.2%), higher steel shipments (+5.1%), higher seaborne iron ore reference prices (+21.0%) and higher market-priced iron ore shipments (+6.4%). Sales in 1Q 2017 were 20.1% higher as compared to 1Q 2016 primarily due to higher average steel selling prices (+24.9%), higher seaborne iron ore reference prices (+77.3%) and higher market-priced iron ore shipments (+11.2%), offset in part by lower steel shipments (-1.9%). Depreciation for 1Q 2017 was lower at $655 million as compared to $696 million for 4Q 2016 and stable as compared to $652 million in 1Q 2016. FY 2017 depreciation is expected to be approximately $2.8 billion (based on current exchange rates). Impairment charges for 1Q 2017 and 1Q 2016 were nil. Impairment charges for 4Q 2016 were $156 million mainly related to the Vanderbijlpark plant in South Africa. Operating income for 1Q 2017 was $1.6 billion as compared to $0.8 billion in 4Q 2016 and $275 million in 1Q 2016. Operating income for 4Q 2016 was impacted by impairments as discussed above. Operating income for 1Q 2017 was higher as compared to 4Q 2016 primarily due to higher operating results in steel business as well as improved results in the Mining segment driven primarily by higher seaborne iron ore prices. Income from associates, joint ventures and other investments for 1Q 2017 was $86 million as compared to $14 million for 4Q 2016, primarily due to the annual dividend declared by Erdemir ($45 million) and improved performance of Calvert, offset in part by a loss on dilution of the Company's stake in China Oriental[4]. Income from associates, joint ventures and other investments for 1Q 2016 of $324 million included a $329 million gain on disposal of Gestamp[5]. Net interest expense in 1Q 2017 was $223 million as compared to $221 million in 4Q 2016 and $332 million in 1Q 2016. Net interest expense was lower in 1Q 2017 as compared to 1Q 2016 primarily due to debt reduction including early bond repayment via debt tenders during 2016. Foreign exchange and other net financing costs in 1Q 2017 were $133 million as compared to $278 million for 4Q 2016 and a gain in 1Q 2016 of $9 million. Foreign exchange gains/losses primarily relate to the impact of the USD movements on Euro denominated deferred tax assets and Euro denominated debt. For 1Q 2017 a foreign exchange gain of $35 million was recorded (as compared to a loss of $128 million for 4Q 2016) mainly on account of a 1.4% depreciation of the USD against the Euro (versus 5.6% appreciation in 4Q 2016). Foreign exchange and other net financing costs for 1Q 2017 includes $159 million in premium accrued on an early repayment of bonds (settled in April 2017), offset by non-cash mark to market gains on certain derivatives (primarily mandatory convertible bonds call options following the market price increase in the underlying shares). Foreign exchange and other net financing costs in 4Q 2016 included $0.1 billion non-cash expense in connection with the issuance of shares in the context of the B-BBEE transaction in South Africa[6]. Foreign exchange and other net financing gain for 1Q 2016 included a foreign exchange gain of $107 million primarily on account of a 4.6% depreciation of the USD against the Euro. ArcelorMittal recorded an income tax expense of $283 million for 1Q 2017 as compared to an income tax benefit of $13 million for 4Q 2016 and an income tax expense of $700 million for 1Q 2016. The tax expense in 1Q 2017 largely reflects improved results in a number of countries. The prior periods were impacted by the tax rate change and recoverability assessment of deferred tax assets in Luxembourg. Net income attributable to non-controlling interests for 1Q 2017 of $21 million represents minority shareholders' share of net income recorded in ArcelorMittal Mines Canada[7] and Belgo Bekaert Arames in Brazil offset in part by their share of losses generated by ArcelorMittal South Africa. Net loss attributable to non-controlling interests for 4Q 2016 of $66 million and for 1Q 2016 of $8 million primarily represents their share of losses generated by ArcelorMittal South Africa. ArcelorMittal recorded net income for 1Q 2017 of $1,002 million, or $0.33 earnings per share3, as compared to net income for 4Q 2016 of $403 million, or $0.13 earnings per share3, and a net loss for 1Q 2016 of $416 million, or $0.23 loss per share3. The following tables summarize the Company's principal growth and optimization projects involving significant capital expenditures. NAFTA segment crude steel production increased 19.6% to 6.2 million metric tonnes in 1Q 2017 as compared to 5.2 million metric tonnes for 4Q 2016 in line with improved demand. Steel shipments in 1Q 2017 increased by 12.0% to 5.6 million metric tonnes as compared to 5.0 million metric tonnes in 4Q 2016, primarily driven by a 14.9% increase in flat products volumes reflecting the end of the destock in the US which negatively impacted shipments in the prior period. Sales in 1Q 2017 increased by 17.5% to $4.5 billion as compared to $3.8 billion in 4Q 2016, primarily due to higher average steel selling prices (+5.6%) and higher steel shipment volumes as discussed above. Compared to the 4Q 2016, average steel selling prices for long products improved +10.0% and for flat products improved +4.1%. Operating income in 1Q 2017 increased to $396 million as compared to operating income of $164 million in 4Q 2016 and operating income of $205 million in 1Q 2016. EBITDA in 1Q 2017 increased by 74% to $524 million as compared to $301 million in 4Q 2016 primarily due to higher steel shipment volumes (+12.0%) and a positive price cost impact with average steel selling prices higher by +5.6%. EBITDA in 1Q 2017 improved 54.4% as compared to $339 million in 1Q 2016 due primarily to a positive price cost impact with average steel selling prices higher by +13.2%. Brazil segment crude steel production decreased by 2.5% to 2.7 million metric tonnes in 1Q 2017 as compared to 2.8 million metric tonnes in 4Q 2016, primarily due to planned maintenance at Tubarao, Brazil. Steel shipments in 1Q 2017 decreased by 21.7% to 2.2 million metric tonnes as compared to 2.8 million metric tonnes in 4Q 2016, primarily due to a 27.3% decrease in flat product steel shipments (primarily export shipments, given the need to rebuild inventory following maintenance and ahead of the seasonally stronger demand period, as well as temporary shipment delays) and a 10.2% decrease in long product steel shipments (primarily reflecting weak domestic demand). Sales in 1Q 2017 decreased by 8.0% to $1.6 billion as compared to $1.8 billion in 4Q 2016, due to lower steel shipments as discussed above, offset in part by 20.1% increase in average steel selling prices, with average US dollar selling prices for flat products improving by 28% (reflecting higher domestic prices as well as the mix benefit of lower slab exports) and improving by 11.3% for long products. Operating income in 1Q 2017 increased to $175 million as compared to an operating income of $143 million in 4Q 2016 and operating income of $89 million in 1Q 2016. EBITDA in 1Q 2017 increased by 15.3% to $246 million as compared to $213 million in 4Q 2016 primarily due to a $21 million provision reversal as well as a positive price cost impact offset in part by lower steel shipment volumes. EBITDA in 1Q 2017 was 69.1% higher as compared to $145 million in 1Q 2016 due to a positive price cost impact with a 43.2% increase in average steel selling prices in US$ terms, offset in part by lower steel shipments by -9.9% (flat exports down 14.8% and long product down 14.2%). Europe segment crude steel production increased by 10.2% to 11.2 million metric tonnes in 1Q 2017, as compared to 10.2 million metric tonnes in 4Q 2016 (which was impacted by the planned reline at ArcelorMittal Asturias, Spain). Steel shipments in 1Q 2017 increased by 7.1% to 10.2 million metric tonnes as compared to 9.5 million metric tonnes in 4Q 2016, primarily due to a 12.8% increase in flat product shipments due to improved demand offset partly by a 5.4% decline in long product steel shipments. Sales in 1Q 2017 increased 15.2% to $8.2 billion as compared to $7.1 billion in 4Q 2016, primarily due to higher average steel selling prices (+9.9%), (with flat and long products average steel selling prices increasing +9.4% and +9.9%, respectively), and higher steel shipments as discussed above. Operating income in 1Q 2017 was $636 million as compared to $387 million in 4Q 2016 and $86 million in 1Q 2016. EBITDA in 1Q 2017 increased by 30.3% to $909 million as compared to $698 million in 4Q 2016 primarily due to higher steel volumes. EBITDA in 1Q 2017 improved 150.4% as compared to 1Q 2016 primarily on account of higher average steel selling prices (+22.3%) and cost efficiency improvements, offset in part by higher input costs. ACIS segment crude steel production in 1Q 2017 decreased by 4.2% to 3.5 million metric tonnes as compared to 3.6 million metric tonnes in 4Q 2016 primarily due to planned maintenance of BF#9 in Ukraine. Steel shipments in 1Q 2017 increased by 4.1% to 3.2 million metric tonnes as compared to 3.1 million metric tonnes in 4Q 2016 primarily due to a seasonal improvement in South Africa offset in part by lower steel shipments in the CIS impacted by the planned maintenance as described above. Sales in 1Q 2017 increased 18.4% to $1.8 billion as compared to $1.5 billion in 4Q 2016, primarily due to higher steel shipments (+4.1%) and higher average steel selling prices (+16.2%). Operating income in 1Q 2017 was $116 million as compared to an operating loss of $92 million in 4Q 2016 and operating loss of $15 million in 1Q 2016. Operating loss in 4Q 2016 was impacted by impairments of $156 million mainly related to the Vanderbijlpark plant in South Africa. EBITDA in 1Q 2017 increased +34.2% to $191 million as compared to $142 million in 4Q 2016. EBITDA in 4Q 2016 was impacted by a one-time charge of $28 million in relation to environmental liabilities at the Thabazimbi mine in South Africa. EBITDA in 1Q 2017 was higher than 4Q 2016 primarily on account of higher steel shipment volumes (+4.1%). EBITDA in 1Q 2017 was higher as compared to $61 million in 1Q 2016, primarily due to a positive price cost impact. (a) Own iron ore and coal production not including strategic long-term contracts. (b) Iron ore and coal shipments of market-priced based materials include the Company's own mines, and share of production at other mines, and exclude supplies under strategic long-term contracts. Own iron ore production in 1Q 2017 increased by 0.7% to 14.0 million metric tonnes as compared to 13.9 million metric tonnes in 4Q 2016 due to increased production in Mexico (Volcan mine restarted February 2017) and Liberia, offset in part by seasonally lower production in Canada and lower production in the US. Own iron ore production in 1Q 2017 decreased by 1.0% as compared to 14.1 million metric tonnes in 1Q 2016 primarily due to decreased production in Liberia and US offset in part by higher production in Mexico. Own iron ore production is expected to increase in 2017: In Liberia, based on Tokadeh ore together with the transition to the new Gangra deposit production is expected to increase to 3Mt in 2017 (versus 2Mt in 2016) before ramping up to 5Mtpa in 2018; the restart of the Volcan mine in Mexico in February 2017 is expected to produce an additional 2Mt (in 2017 versus 2016); production in Ukraine is expected to recover following resolution of a delay in accessing new tailings disposal land which negatively impacted production in 2016 by approximately 1Mt. Market-priced iron ore shipments in 1Q 2017 increased 6.4% to 8.7 million metric tonnes as compared to 8.1 million metric tonnes in 4Q 2016, primarily driven by higher shipments in Mexico, Ukraine and ArcelorMittal Mines Canada. During 4Q 2016 market-priced iron ore shipments in ArcelorMittal Mines Canada were impacted by logistics and transportation issues following severe weather conditions. Market-priced iron ore shipments in 1Q 2017 increased by +11.2% as compared to 1Q 2016 driven by increased ArcelorMittal Mines Canada shipments and Mexico offset in part by lower Liberia shipments. Given expected higher production described above, FY 2017 market-priced iron ore shipments are expected to increase by approximately 10% versus FY 2016. Own coal production in 1Q 2017 decreased marginally by 2.6% to 1.7 million metric tonnes as compared to 4Q 2016. Own coal production in 1Q 2017 increased 20.0% as compared to 1Q 2016 with increases at both Kazakhstan and Princeton (US) mines. Market-priced coal shipments in 1Q 2017 decreased 11.9% to 0.8 million metric tonnes as compared to 4Q 2016 primarily due to decreased shipments at Princeton (US). Market-priced coal shipments in 1Q 2017 decreased 7.1% as compared to 1Q 2016 primarily due to decreased shipments at Princeton (US) offset in part by increased shipments in Kazakhstan. Operating income in 1Q 2017 increased to $378 million as compared to an operating income of $203 million in 4Q 2016, and an operating loss of $2 million in 1Q 2016, primarily for the reasons discussed below. EBITDA in 1Q 2017 increased 61.5% to $480 million as compared to $297 million in 4Q 2016, primarily due to increased seaborne iron ore market reference prices (+21.0%) and increased coal prices. EBITDA in 1Q 2017 was significantly higher as compared to $98 million in 1Q 2016, primarily due to higher seaborne iron ore reference prices (+77.3%), higher market-priced iron ore shipment volumes (+11.2%) and higher coal prices. For 1Q 2017, net cash used in operating activities was $299 million as compared to net cash provided by operating activities of $1,653 million in 4Q 2016. The net cash used in operating activities during 1Q 2017 was impacted by a working capital investment ($2,181 million) as compared to a working capital release ($495 million) in 4Q 2016. The change in the working capital position reflects seasonal changes in inventory and receivables as well as the effects of higher selling and raw material prices. Net cash used in investing activities during 1Q 2017 was $598 million as compared to $809 million in 4Q 2016 and $572 million in 1Q 2016. Capital expenditure decreased to $580 million in 1Q 2017 as compared to $802 million in 4Q 2016 and $586 million in 1Q 2016. FY 2017 capital expenditure is expected to be $2.9 billion. Net cash provided by financing activities for 1Q 2017 was $666 million as compared to net cash used in financing activities of $468 million for 4Q 2016 and net cash provided by financing activities of $140 million for 1Q 2016. Net cash provided by financing activities for 1Q 2017 primarily includes proceeds from the European Investment Bank loan[9] of €350 million ($373 million) and $0.3 billion of commercial paper issuances. Net cash used in financing activities for 4Q 2016 primarily includes repayments of a $0.3 billion loan and $0.5 billion of short term facilities, offset in part by a $0.3 billion increase in commercial paper issuances. In addition, while not reflected in the above amounts, the Company used $1,040 million of cash and liquidity resources to redeem outstanding bonds on April 3, 2017 (see Key recent developments). During 1Q 2017, the Company paid dividends of $40 million primarily to minority shareholders in ArcelorMittal Mines Canada. During 4Q 2016 and 1Q 2016, the Company paid dividends of $7 million and $6 million, respectively, to minority shareholders in Belgo Bekaert Arames in Brazil. As of March 31, 2017, the Company's cash and cash equivalents amounted to $2.4 billion as compared to $2.6 billion at December 31, 2016 and $2.9 billion at March 31, 2016. Gross debt increased to $14.5 billion as at March 31, 2017, as compared to $13.7 billion at December 31, 2016 and $20.2 billion at March 31, 2016. The above-referenced usage of cash to redeem bonds on April 3, 2017 is noted in this respect. As of March 31, 2017, net debt increased to $12.1 billion as compared with $11.1 billion at December 31, 2016 (primarily due to a working capital investment), but lower as compared to $17.3 billion as of March 31, 2016. As of March 31, 2017, the Company had liquidity of $7.9 billion, consisting of cash and cash equivalents of $2.4 billion and $5.5 billion of available credit lines[10]. The $5.5 billion credit facility contains a financial covenant of 4.25x Net debt / EBITDA. On March 31, 2017, the average debt maturity was 6.4 years. The following global apparent steel consumption ("ASC") figures have been updated to reflect the Company's final 2016 estimates. The outlook for 2017 remains unchanged from those presented in connection with the full year 2016 results announcement. Global ASC is estimated to have expanded by +1% in 2016. Based on the current economic outlook, ArcelorMittal expects global ASC to grow further in 2017 by between ~ +0.5% to +1.5%. By region: ASC in the US (excluding Pipe & tube) declined in 2016 by approximately -2.0%, driven in large part by a significant destock in the 2H 2016. However, underlying demand continues to expand, and the expected absence of a further destock in 2017 should support ASC growth in the US of approximately +3.0% to 4.0% in 2017. In Europe, ArcelorMittal expects the pick-up in underlying demand to continue, supported by the strength of the automotive end market, but apparent demand is expected to be modest at +0.5% to +1.5% in 2017 (versus growth of +3.0% in 2016). In Brazil, following the significant decline in ASC in 2016 (-13.8%) ASC is expected to grow by +3.0% to +4.0% in 2017 as the economy mildly recovers as consumer confidence returns. In the CIS, following an ASC decline of -3.8% in 2016, the region should stabilize in 2017 with ASC similar to 2016 levels (-0.5% to +0.5%). In China, following ASC growth of +1.3% in 2016, demand is expected to stabilise in 2017 (decline of around 0% to -1.0%). Capex spend in 2017 is expected to increase to $2.9 billion (from $2.4 billion in 2016) as the Group seeks to capitalize on opportunities to grow value and returns. In addition, interest expense is expected to decline to $0.9 billion (as compared to $1.1 billion in FY 2016); while cash taxes and contributions to fund pensions are expected to increase by a total of $0.2 billion. As a result, the Company expects the cash needs of the business in 2017 to increase to $5.0 billion (from $4.5 billion in 2016). Note: "Others and eliminations" lines are not presented in the table Note: "Others and eliminations" lines are not presented in the table * 2017 bonds include $0.9 billion of bonds that were early redeemed in April 2017 ** Other loans in 2017 includes a $0.5 billion drawing under the ArcelorMittal USA $1 billion asset based loan (facility available until 2021) Appendix 4: Credit lines available as of March 31, 2017 Note: Segment EBITDA is reconciled to segment operating income in each of the segment discussions above. At the Extraordinary General Meeting held on May 10, 2017, the ArcelorMittal Shareholders approved a share consolidation based on a ratio 1:3, whereby every three current shares will be consolidated into one share (with a change in the number of shares outstanding and the accounting par value per share). The table below presents the weighted average common shares outstanding and basic and diluted earnings per share following the share consolidation for the 3 months ended March 31, 2017 and for the 3 months ended December 31, September 30, June 30 and March 31, 2016 recast for comparative purposes. Unless indicated otherwise, or the context otherwise requires, references in this earnings release report to the following terms have the meanings set out next to them below: LTIF: lost time injury frequency rate equals lost time injuries per 1,000,000 worked hours, based on own personnel and contractors. EBITDA: operating income plus depreciation, impairment expenses and exceptional income/(charges). Exceptional income / (charges): relate to transactions that are significant, infrequent or unusual and are not representative of the normal course of business such as restructuring costs or asset disposals. Cash and cash equivalents: represents cash and cash equivalents, restricted cash and short-term investments Net debt: long-term debt, plus short term debt less cash and cash equivalents Gross debt: long-term debt, plus short term debt (including those held as part of liabilities held for sale). Market-priced tonnes: represent amounts of iron ore and coal from ArcelorMittal mines that could be sold to third parties on the open market. Market-priced tonnes that are not sold to third parties are transferred from the Mining segment to the Company's steel producing segments and reported at the prevailing market price. Shipments of raw materials that do not constitute market-priced tonnes are transferred internally and reported on a cost-plus basis. Foreign exchange and other net financing (loss) / gain: include foreign currency exchange impact, bank fees, interest on pensions, impairments of financial instruments, revaluation of derivative instruments and other charges that cannot be directly linked to operating results. Average steel selling prices: calculated as steel sales divided by steel shipments. Mining segment sales: i) "External sales": mined product sold to third parties at market price; ii) "Market-priced tonnes": internal sales of mined product to ArcelorMittal facilities and reported at prevailing market prices; iii) "Cost-plus tonnes" - internal sales of mined product to ArcelorMittal facilities on a cost-plus basis. The determinant of whether internal sales are reported at market price or cost-plus is whether the raw material could practically be sold to third parties (i.e. there is a potential market for the product and logistics exist to access that market). Working capital: trade accounts receivable plus inventories less trade and other accounts payable. Capex: includes the acquisition of tangible and intangible assets. Seaborne iron ore reference prices: refers to iron ore prices for 62% Fe CFR China. Own iron ore production: Includes total of all finished production of fines, concentrate, pellets and lumps (excludes share of production and strategic long-term contracts). On-going projects: Refer to projects for which construction has begun (excluding various projects that are under development), even if such projects have been placed on hold pending improved operating conditions. EBITDA/tonne: calculated as EBITDA divided by total steel shipments. Steel-only EBITDA: calculated as EBITDA less Mining segment EBITDA. Steel-only EBITDA/tonne: calculated as steel-only EBITDA divided by total steel shipments. Iron ore unit cash cost: includes weighted average pellet and concentrate cost of goods sold across all mines. Liquidity: Cash and cash equivalents plus available credit lines excluding back-up lines for the commercial paper program. Shipments information at segment and group level eliminates intra-segment shipments (which are primarily between Flat/Long plants and Tubular plants) and inter-segment shipments respectively. Shipments of Downstream Solutions are excluded. Operating segments: The NAFTA segment includes the Flat, Long and Tubular operations of USA, Canada and Mexico. The Brazil segment includes the Flat operations of Brazil, and the Long and Tubular operations of Brazil and its neighboring countries including Argentina, Costa Rica and Venezuela. The Europe segment comprises the Flat, Long and Tubular operations of the European business, as well as Downstream Solutions. The ACIS segment includes the Flat, Long and Tubular operations of Kazakhstan, Ukraine and South Africa. YoY: Refers to year-on-year. Free cash flow: Refers to net cash provided by (used in) operating activities less capex. Net debt/EBITDA: Refers to Net debt divided by last twelve months EBITDA calculation. Operating results: Refers to operating income/(loss). [1] The financial information in this press release has been prepared consistently with International Financial Reporting Standards ("IFRS") as issued by the International Accounting Standards Board ("IASB") and as adopted by the European Union. The interim financial information included in this announcement has been also prepared in accordance with IFRS applicable to interim periods, however this announcement does not contain sufficient information to constitute an interim financial report as defined in International Accounting Standard 34, "Interim Financial Reporting". The numbers in this press release have not been audited. The financial information and certain other information presented in a number of tables in this press release have been rounded to the nearest whole number or the nearest decimal. Therefore, the sum of the numbers in a column may not conform exactly to the total figure given for that column. In addition, certain percentages presented in the tables in this press release reflect calculations based upon the underlying information prior to rounding and, accordingly, may not conform exactly to the percentages that would be derived if the relevant calculations were based upon the rounded numbers. This press release also includes certain non-GAAP financial measures. ArcelorMittal presents EBITDA, and EBITDA/tonne, which are non-GAAP financial measures and defined in appendix 8, as additional measurements to enhance the understanding of operating performance. ArcelorMittal believes such indicators are relevant to describe trends relating to cash generating activity and provides management and investors with additional information for comparison of the Company's operating results to the operating results of other companies. ArcelorMittal also presents net debt and the ratio of net debt to EBITDA as an additional measurement to enhance the understanding of its financial position, changes to its capital structure and its credit assessment. Non-GAAP financial measures should be read in conjunction with and not as an alternative for, ArcelorMittal's financial information prepared in accordance with IFRS. Such non-GAAP measures may not be comparable to similarly titled measures applied by other companies. [2] On a comparable basis (considering the sale of long steel producing subsidiaries in the US (LaPlace and Vinton) in 2Q 2016 and Zaragoza in Spain during 3Q 2016), total steel shipments for 1Q 2017 of 21.1Mt was 0.9% lower as compared with 21.2Mt for 1Q 2016. [3] At the Extraordinary General Meeting held on May 10, 2017, the ArcelorMittal Shareholders approved a share consolidation based on a ratio 1:3, whereby every three current shares will be consolidated into one share (with a change in the number of shares outstanding and the accounting par value per share). The figures presented for the basic and diluted earnings per share do not reflect this change and are prior to the share consolidation. See Appendix 7 for the EPS calculated after the share consolidation exercise. [4] China Oriental completed a share placement to restore the minimum 25% free float as per HKEx listing requirements. Following the share placement, ArcelorMittal's interest in China Oriental decreased from 47% to 39%, as a result of which ArcelorMittal recorded a net dilution loss of $44 million. [5] On February 5, 2016 ArcelorMittal announced it had sold its 35% stake in Gestamp Automoción ("Gestamp") to the majority shareholder, the Riberas family, for a total cash consideration of €875 million ($971 million) received in June 2016. In addition to the cash consideration, ArcelorMittal received in 2Q 2016 a payment of $11 million as a 2015 dividend. [6] On September 28, 2016, ArcelorMittal South Africa ("AMSA") announced that it had entered into agreements to implement a Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) transaction which includes: the issuance of a 17% shareholding in AMSA using a new class of notionally funded shares to a special purpose vehicle owned by Likamva Resources Proprietary Limited (Likamva). Likamva has undertaken to introduce broad-based social and community development organisations as shareholders to hold an effective 5% interest (of the 17%, leaving Likamva with a 12% shareholding) within 24 months; and a 5.1% shareholding in AMSA using another new class of notionally funded shares to the ArcelorMittal South Africa Employee Empowerment Share Trust for the benefit of AMSA employees and AMSA management. All the shares have certain restrictions on disposal for a period of 10 years ("Lock-in Period"), thereby promoting long-term sustainable B-BBEE in AMSA. [7] ArcelorMittal Mines Canada, otherwise known as ArcelorMittal Mines and Infrastructure Canada [8] On June 23, 2016, following the ratification by the United Steelworkers of a new labor agreement which is valid until September 1, 2018, ArcelorMittal made changes mainly to healthcare post-retirement benefits in its subsidiary ArcelorMittal USA (NAFTA). The changes resulted in a gain of $832 million recorded in 2Q 2016. [9] On December 16, 2016, ArcelorMittal signed a €350 million finance contract with the European Investment Bank in order to finance European research, development and innovation projects over the 2017-2020 period within the European Union, predominantly France, Belgium and Spain, but also in the Czech Republic, Poland, Luxembourg and Romania. The Company benefits from a guarantee from the European Union under the European Fund for Strategic Investments. [10] On December 21, 2016, ArcelorMittal signed an agreement for a $5.5 billion revolving credit facility (the "Facility"). This Facility amends and restates the $6 billion revolving credit facility dated April 30, 2015. The amended agreement incorporates a first tranche of $2.3 billion maturing on December 21, 2019, and a second tranche of $3.2 billion maturing on December 21, 2021. The Facility may be used for general corporate purposes. As of March 31, 2017, the $5.5 billion revolving credit facility remains fully available. [11] Assets and liabilities held for sale, as of March 31, 2017, include the carrying value of the USA long product facilities at Steelton ("Steelton"). Assets and liabilities held for sale, as of December 31, 2016, include the carrying value Steelton and some activities of ArcelorMittal downstream solutions in the Europe segment and America's Tailored Blanks. [12] The comparative amounts as of March 31, 2016, were reclassified to conform with the presentation as of December 31, 2016 in the annual report.


News Article | February 16, 2017
Site: tech.eu

UK-based Upstream, a mobile commerce platform, announced that it has raised €25 million in growth financing from the European Investment Bank (EIB). The financing has been granted with the support of the EU budget guarantee under the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI). Through Upstream's software and infrastructure platform, 1.2 billion people are able to receive and pay for digital subscription services on their mobile devices. Upstream offers products ranging from infotainment and microinsurance, to mobile security and antivirus, cloud storage, gaming, video portals, app stores, language learning courses and award-winning mobile marketing promotions. The company already has a strong international presence, with 10 regional hubs, and employs over 330 professionals. The EIB funding will allow Upstream to expand its global operations and to invest in R&D. The investment will also help the company to continue to improve its technology platform and its big data capabilities. “We are proud to have been selected by the EIB for growth financing," commented Marco Veremis, CEO of Upstream, in a statement. "This is testament to our ambitious growth prospects, and the excellent work we have done on research and development, to date. We look forward to continue to invest in this important area in the years to come.”


News Article | March 3, 2017
Site: globenewswire.com

The company's significant transformation and the largest investments in its history The result for the 2016 review period was excellent, based on the increase in the value of our apartment assets, the success of our operating activities and a good financial occupancy rate. We underwent a major transformation, building future competitiveness in an environment where Finland is becoming increasingly urbanised, digitalisation is proceeding and people's housing preferences are developing rapidly. The strategic decision to focus, as a housing investment company, on market-based operations and rental housing service design was turned into concrete action in the review period: the Group made the largest investments in its history and divested non-profit properties subject to long-term restrictions. As stated in our mission, we create better urban housing. We have boldly developed our operations and innovated housing solutions and services, with the aim of generating even better customer experience. In five years, we have invested nearly EUR 1.5 billion in boosting the Lumo business operations. In addition to acquisitions, we have launched the construction of nearly 4,000 privately financed rental apartments. The Lumo brand has achieved a strong market position, and it already constitutes 90 per cent of our Group's business. The Lumo online store has revolutionised the customer's role in renting an apartment, and more than a thousand tenancy agreements have already been signed through the service. Lumo Kompakti will offer a new housing solution, and the car-share scheme has expanded to several locations. During the review period, we developed the Lumo business with record-breaking EUR 700 million investments. We acquired ICECAPITAL Housing Fund II with its 2,274 market-based rental apartments. The apartments are mainly located in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area and Tampere. Our Group's binding acquisition agreements, amounting to more than EUR 300 million at the end of the year, are key to the completion of 2,635 new Lumo homes. We have actively divested properties that do not support our strategy due to their characteristics or location. We sold 8,571 non-profit cost principle apartments to Y-Foundation and, towards the end of the year, we signed an SPA whereby a total of 1,344 non-restricted apartments, located around Finland, were sold after the review period to a company managed by Avant Capital Partners. Our extensive investments also require diverse financing solutions. We issued a EUR 200 million senior secured bond on 17 October 2016 and had it listed on the official list of Nasdaq Helsinki Ltd. The Group and the European Investment Bank agreed on EUR 170 million of long-term financing, which will be used to fund new net or nearly zero-energy buildings (nZEBs) in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area and other major growth centres over the next few years. The financing from the EIB is part of an investment programme in which we will implement a total of 1,800 apartments. During the review period, we specified our strategy and updated our values so that they are aligned with our restructured operations as well as with future success factors identified on the basis of the operating environment and megatrends. Our strategic focal points are Delivering the best customer experience, Dynamic and professional place to work, Generating long-term shareholder value and Leading on sustainable development. These focal points are turned into concrete, practical actions together with our competent personnel. Our new values are Happy to serve, Strive for success and Courage to change. Our personnel showed utmost commitment and forward-looking thinking in their contribution to defining the values, which provides a solid foundation for our operations. The volume of construction and the level of activity in the housing market have been delightfully high. Nevertheless, even the current pace is not sufficient to fully meet the needs of the fastest growing urban centres. During the review period, our Group was the leading operator in property investments and the largest real estate investor in Finland with its EUR 4.3 billion apartment assets. Our market share of the entire rental housing supply is 4.2 per cent and, in line with our 2021 strategy, we will continue making significant investments both through the development of new properties and through the acquisition of existing properties in the largest growth centres. We want to respond to the demand for rental housing, particularly in the Helsinki region, making it easier for people to move around in pursuit of employment in urbanising Finland. By investing in profitable growth, we are building the future and we believe that the Lumo brand and service design will lead the way in the housing sector. I would like to thank our customers for their active contribution to our versatile cooperation. VVO Group estimates that in 2017, net rental income will be EUR 208-220 million. Investments in new development and housing stock acquisitions are forecast to exceed EUR 300 million. VVO Group estimates that in 2017, its operative result will be EUR 96-107 million. The outlook takes into account the effects of both the significant housing divestments carried out in 2016 and the housing divestments and acquisitions planned for 2017, the estimated occupancy rate and the number of apartments under construction. Proposal by the Board of Directors for the distribution of profits The parent company VVO Group plc's distributable unrestricted shareholders' equity at 31 December 2016 was EUR 152,587,002.95, of which the profit for the financial year was EUR 67,499,178.76. No significant changes have taken place in the company's financial position since the end of the financial year. The Board of Directors proposes to the Annual General Meeting that the distributable funds be used as follows: a dividend of EUR 6.80 per share to be paid for every Series A share, totalling EUR 50,337,408.00, and EUR 102,249,594.95 to be retained in unrestricted shareholders' equity. VVO Group plc offers rental apartments and housing services in Finnish growth centres. The vision of the housing investment company is to be a pioneer in housing and the customer's number-one choice.


Receive press releases from ClearViewIP Ltd.: By Email European Investment Bank Selects ClearViewIP to Lead Support Programme on Intangible Assets and IP in the Western Balkans UK IP strategy consultancy, ClearViewIP has been selected by the European Investment Bank to help lead support programme on intangible assets and Intellectual property in the western Balkans region. London, United Kingdom, March 01, 2017 --( Ultimately, the assignment will promote IP-driven business transactions and partnerships and support innovators’ ability to raise finance, be it through IP transfer, IP-based business partnerships, or by demonstrating to potential investors the economic and financial value of their intangible assets. ClearViewIP was specifically chosen based on its breadth of global IP commercialization experience and track record of helping companies of all sizes reach the full monetisation potential for their innovations. The assignment is expected to bring together representatives from financial intermediaries, IP professionals, universities, business support networks and businesses (particularly SMEs) in the Western Balkans. "ClearViewIP is excited for the opportunity to work with the EIB and is looking forward to meeting and developing relationships with innovative SMEs and key stakeholders in the Western Balkan IP ecosystem to unlock the region’s IP potential," commented ClearViewIP Director, Benoit Geurts. About the Western Balkans Enterprise Development and Innovation Facility (WB EDIF) The Western Balkans Enterprise Development and Innovation Facility (WB EDIF) was launched in December 2012 at the initiative of the EIB Group, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and with the support of the Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF) as a new complementary measure for improving access to finance for SMEs and supporting economic development in the region. This platform was created with the aim of promoting the emergence and growth of innovative and high-potential SMEs as well as the creation of a regional venture capital market. The Facility is coordinated by the European Investment Fund (the EIB’s arm specialised in supporting Europe’s SMEs) and implemented in close cooperation between the governments of the Western Balkans, the European Commission, the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. IFIs, international organisations, and bilateral donors active in the region, such as the World Bank, DEG, OECD, and others are participating in order to streamline the efforts to develop the private sector in the Western Balkans. London, United Kingdom, March 01, 2017 --( PR.com )-- ClearViewIP, a leading IP Strategy Consultancy, and Patent Brokerage Firm, based in Winchester, UK is pleased to announce they have started an ambitious project commissioned by the European Investment Bank (EIB) as part of the Western Balkans Enterprise Development and Innovation Facility (WB EDIF). ClearViewIP will support the design and implementation of a toolkit aimed at releasing investment opportunities and unlocking commercial and funding potential in intangible and intellectual property (IP) assets in 6 countries of the Western Balkans region: Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia.Ultimately, the assignment will promote IP-driven business transactions and partnerships and support innovators’ ability to raise finance, be it through IP transfer, IP-based business partnerships, or by demonstrating to potential investors the economic and financial value of their intangible assets. ClearViewIP was specifically chosen based on its breadth of global IP commercialization experience and track record of helping companies of all sizes reach the full monetisation potential for their innovations.The assignment is expected to bring together representatives from financial intermediaries, IP professionals, universities, business support networks and businesses (particularly SMEs) in the Western Balkans."ClearViewIP is excited for the opportunity to work with the EIB and is looking forward to meeting and developing relationships with innovative SMEs and key stakeholders in the Western Balkan IP ecosystem to unlock the region’s IP potential," commented ClearViewIP Director, Benoit Geurts.About the Western Balkans Enterprise Development and Innovation Facility (WB EDIF)The Western Balkans Enterprise Development and Innovation Facility (WB EDIF) was launched in December 2012 at the initiative of the EIB Group, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and with the support of the Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF) as a new complementary measure for improving access to finance for SMEs and supporting economic development in the region.This platform was created with the aim of promoting the emergence and growth of innovative and high-potential SMEs as well as the creation of a regional venture capital market. The Facility is coordinated by the European Investment Fund (the EIB’s arm specialised in supporting Europe’s SMEs) and implemented in close cooperation between the governments of the Western Balkans, the European Commission, the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. IFIs, international organisations, and bilateral donors active in the region, such as the World Bank, DEG, OECD, and others are participating in order to streamline the efforts to develop the private sector in the Western Balkans. Click here to view the list of recent Press Releases from ClearViewIP Ltd.

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