News Article | February 14, 2017
The German economy expanded less than expected in the final three months of 2016, dragging down growth in the 19-nation eurozone. Europe’s largest economy expanded by 0.4% between October and December, according to the German statistics office, Destatis. This was lower than the 0.5% forecast by economists. German growth in the third quarter was revised lower too, to 0.1% from 0.2%. With Italian growth also disappointing, economic conditions in the eurozone at the end of last year were not quite as rosy as previously thought. Eurostat, the European commission’s stats office, cut its growth estimate from 0.5% to 0.4%, the same pace as in the third quarter, with industrial production down sharply in December. Germany, generally regarded as Europe’s economic powerhouse, is lagging behind the UK, which grew at 0.6% in each of the last three quarters. Despite uncertainty caused by the Brexit vote, consumer spending has stayed strong in Britain, although it is expected to slow in coming months as rising inflation starts to eat into people’s pockets. In Germany, growth in the fourth quarter was driven by government spending, while household consumption increased slightly. Business investment also improved, especially in the construction sector. But growth was held back by trade for the second quarter in a row, with imports outstripping exports. Italy also disappointed, trailing other major European economies with just 0.2% growth and rising unemployment rates. France grew by 0.4% in the fourth quarter while the Netherlands expanded by 0.5%, a slower pace than before. The bright spot among the large economies was Spain with 0.7% growth. At the other end of the growth scale, the Greek economy contracted by 0.4%, while Finland shrank 0.5%, as years of austerity and the sanctions imposed on neighbouring Russia took their toll. Jessica Hinds, European economist at the research consultancy Capital Economics, said: “Rising energy prices and concerns about euro breakup are likely to cause GDP growth to slow this year.” She noted that the closely watched German ZEW investor survey dropped markedly in February due to political uncertainty surrounding Brexit, US economic policy and European elections. Several economists are expecting the eurozone’s 0.4% growth rate to be achieved again in the first quarter of this year but the outlook could darken after that. Chris Williamson, chief business economist at economic data firm IHS Markit, said: “There are clearly many risks to the outlook further ahead, notably including elections in the Netherlands, France, Germany and possibly Italy, as well as Brexit and Italy’s banking problems, all of which have the potential to create additional economic uncertainty and subdue growth. “It therefore seems likely that the eurozone will struggle to see 2017 GDP growth match the 1.7% expansion recorded in 2016.” Bert Colijn, senior eurozone economist at ING, struck a more positive note: “Strengthening domestic demand seems to be the overarching story for the eurozone recovery in recent months as employment growth has accelerated, confidence is well above long-term averages and the housing market is recovering in all eurozone economies. These factors are currently outweighing geopolitical uncertainties, but that does not mean that caution among consumers and businesses becomes stronger in the months ahead as elections come closer.” The Dutch general election next month is the first test for Europe’s populists. The French go to the polls in April and May to elect their new president, while Germany’s election is in September, pitting chancellor Angela Merkel against the new Social Democrat leader Martin Schulz.
News Article | February 28, 2017
After much speculation on what the mobile phone will look like, Nokia finally unveiled the modernized Nokia 3310 at the 2017 Mobile World Congress. The device, the original version of which was loved for its unique design and massive battery life, retains most of the charm of its predecessor, including the game that Nokia 3310 users spent most of their free time on. The 2017 version of the Nokia 3310 very faithfully stays with what made the original Nokia 3310 a popular mobile phone, while also making a few upgrades and introducing new features. For example, the new Nokia 3310 adds a flashlight, a media player, and a basic camera. One of the upgraded aspects of the new Nokia 3310 is classic mobile game Snake, which owners of the original mobile phone will likely remember. In the original Snake, the premise was simple. Players guided a digital snake through a playing field, sometimes with walls though often played without them, with the snake growing in length for every piece eaten. The ultimate goal for all players was to get the snake long enough to fill up the whole screen for the maximum score. The reimagined Snake in the new Nokia 3310 maintains the simple rules, but gives the classic game similar upgrades that the mobile phone received. The new Snake was made by Gameloft, and like the display of the new Nokia 3310, it is now fully colored. The graphics are blocky, but that is a deliberate design at it looks to evoke the retro feel of the original game. The snake itself is fatter and more colorful, and no longer the wire-thin digital snake seen in the classic mobile game. The snake also no longer turns at a sharp 90 degrees, as it now turns in big, long curves. Players will be able to access one mode where there are segmented and timed levels that increase in difficulty as you go through the game. The survival mode, however, is much closer to the original Snake game, though it now features obstacles such as moving walls and bombs in addition to the classic mechanic of the snake growing longer and moving faster as time passes. Players may also pick up a scissors item that will slow down the pace of the snake and shorten it, which is a good thing. HMD Global, the Finnish manufacturer that now owns the exclusive right to sell Nokia-branded devices, is likely looking to cash in on the retro trend currently going on in consumer technology, as evidenced by Nintendo's NES Classic Edition. According to IHS Markit mobile head Ian Fogg, the new Nokia faces the challenge of making the revived brand appeal to customers with fond memories of the old Nokia while positioning it as an innovative brand. At about $52, the new Nokia 3310 features a one-month standby time and 22 hours of talk time on a single charge, a 2 MP camera with an LED flash, and a media player for MP3 and FM radio. Will you be among the customers lining up to buy the device once it is released? © 2017 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.
News Article | February 22, 2017
Highly scalable, cloud native software enables operators to unify message threads and surpass the OTT user experience LOS ALTOS, CA--(Marketwired - February 22, 2017) - Cloud native communications software leader Metaswitch today announced the general availability of its Converged Network Message Store (CNMS), the first cloud native platform to provide unified, cloud-based storage of voicemail, text and video messages. CNMS is a highly scalable, elastic storage solution that provides unified access for multiple messaging services, through open application programming interfaces (API). In turn, operators can use CNMS to enable a new wave of advanced, device-independent messaging services that connect third party businesses, enterprises and consumers; the platform is currently in commercial use by a tier 1 US communications service provider. CNMS is available as a standalone platform, or as part of Metaswitch's broad suite of messaging solutions for mobile operators. "The mobile messaging experience is still fractured across multiple application silos," said Diane Myers, Senior Research Director, IHS Markit. "Operators struggle to compete against OTT applications and disjointed user experiences. With platforms like Metaswitch's CNMS, options exist for operators to develop messaging applications in-house, sign up for industry initiatives like GSMA's Messaging as a Platform and RCS Universal Profile or expose their converged storage capabilities to third party application developers." CNMS is a geographically redundant solution that offers an Open Mobile Alliance (OMA) Network Message Store (NMS) API to its cloud message store. This API is used for both configuring the store, and issuing notifications for changes in state. Meeting Metaswitch's commitment to deliver virtual network functions that are fully cloud native, CNMS is built on a microservice architecture that takes advantage of fine-grained container orchestration and leverages leading-edge open-source solutions, including OpenStack, Cassandra and Docker's container application engine. "Metaswitch CNMS is a critical element for service providers seeking to create value from user content and preparing for the onslaught of new messaging traffic from IoT devices on both 4G and 5G networks," said Ian Maclean, CMO of Metaswitch. "Without cloud storage, operators are challenged to manage the sea of disparate content that connects users and 'things.' CNMS meets this need, complementing and aided by our mobile product portfolio that includes Clearwater vIMS Core, Perimeta session border controller and the Rhino telephony application server." For more information, go here, or visit Metaswitch at Mobile World Congress, being held in Barcelona from February 27 to March 2, 2017. Metaswitch is a member of the GSMA MaaP taskforce and will be showcasing an innovative "Web Hooks" demo merging web services with native mobile messaging. Click here to arrange a meeting. Metaswitch is the world's leading cloud native communications software company. The company develops commercial and open-source software solutions that are constructively disrupting the way that service providers build, scale, innovate and account for communication services. By working with Metaswitch, visionary service providers are realizing the full economic, operational and technology benefits of becoming cloud-based and software-centric. Metaswitch's award-winning solutions are powering more than 1,000 service providers in today's global, ultra-competitive and rapidly changing communications marketplace. For more information, please visit www.metaswitch.com. Copyright © 2017 Metaswitch Networks. "Metaswitch" and "Metaswitch Networks" are registered trademarks. Brands and products referenced herein are the trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.
News Article | March 1, 2017
HOUSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--IHS Markit (Nasdaq: INFO), a world leader in critical information, analytics and solutions, today unveiled an online video platform for CERAWeek 2017 in Houston. The new platform, CERAWeek Live, will make many conference sessions available to all via live stream and on-demand video. It will debut on Monday, March 6 at noon central time on www.ceraweek.com. CERAWeek by IHS Markit is the premier annual international gathering of energy industry leaders, experts, government officials and policymakers, leaders from the environmental, technology, financial and industrial communities, and energy technology innovators. “CERAWeek is the world’s premier stage for discussion and insight on the energy future. We are very excited to expand the accessibility of the conference’s high-level content within participating organizations and to adjacent industries impacted by the global energy industry,” said Jerre Stead, IHS Markit chairman and CEO. Sessions to be featured on CERAWeek Live include: (Subject to change. More on-site interviews and sessions will also be available on-demand in addition to this live stream programming. Visit www.ceraweek.com starting Monday, March 6 at noon central time for the most up-to-date information.) 1:35 pm CST: Ministerial Address with H.E. Alexander Novak, minister of energy, Ministry of Energy of the Russian Federation 8:50 am CST:Ministerial Address with H.E. Khalid A. Al-Falih, minister of energy, industry and mineral resources; chairman of the board of directors, Saudi Aramco, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia 12:20 pm CST: Oil Industry in Transition: Where are We in the Cycle? with H.E. Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, secretary general, OPEC; Fatih Birol, executive director, IEA 10:20 am CST: What Happened to Globalization? with David Farr, chairman and CEO, Emerson; Hon. Jesse Norman MP, parliamentary under secretary of state, minister for energy and industry, United Kingdom; Ulrich Spiesshofer, CEO, ABB Group 10:20 am CST: The U.S. and the World: The New Geopolitics with Nicholas Eberstadt, Henry Wendt chair in political economy, American Enterprise; Evan Felgenbaum, vice chairman, Paulson Institute; Meghan O’Sullivan, Kirkpatrick professor of the practice of international affairs; director of the geopolitics of energy project, Harvard University Kennedy School; Angela Stent, director of the center for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies, professor of government and foreign service, Georgetown School of Foreign Service 12:40 pm CST: Where Next for Industrial America? with Andrew Liveris, chairman and CEO, The Dow Chemical Company CERAWeek 2017: Pace of Change: Building a New Energy Future will focus on the changing market at a time of turbulence and uncertainty. The program will examine new forces at work; explore the strategies to meet competitive dynamics and the impact of technology, government policies and the global economy. Nearly 3,000 delegates from more than 60 countries are expected to attend this year’s conference. CERAWeek 2017 will feature more than 350 speakers including: Visit www.ceraweek.com for a complete and up-to-date list of speakers and program information. Key themes to be explored at CERAWeek 2017 will include: CERAWeek 2017 will be held March 6-10 at the Hilton Americas Hotel in Houston, Texas. Further information and delegate registration is available at www.ceraweek.com. Media registration is now open. Members of the media interested in covering CERAWeek 2017 in person are required to apply for accreditation. Applications can be submitted via the following link: http://on.ihs.com/cwmediareg17 IHS Markit (Nasdaq: INFO) is a world leader in critical information, analytics and solutions for the major industries and markets that drive economies worldwide. The company delivers next-generation information, analytics and solutions to customers in business, finance and government, improving their operational efficiency and providing deep insights that lead to well-informed, confident decisions. IHS Markit has more than 50,000 key business and government customers, including 85 percent of the Fortune Global 500 and the world’s leading financial institutions. IHS Markit is a registered trademark of IHS Markit Ltd. All other company and product names may be trademarks of their respective owners © 2017 IHS Markit Ltd. All rights reserved.
News Article | February 16, 2017
HOUSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Growing competition from less costly natural gas liquid (NGL) feedstocks—much of them coming from North American shale gas -- have dealt a blow to global demand for naphtha, according to new research from IHS Markit (Nasdaq: INFO), a world leader in critical information, analytics and solutions. Naphtha, a refined petroleum product derived from crude oil and marketed in heavy and light varieties, is an important feedstock for production of petrochemicals and blendstock for gasoline. Together, light and heavy naphtha constitute about 40 percent of the global gasoline pool. “Naphtha is no longer the dominant petrochemical feedstock it once was thanks to competition from the surging production of NGLs, particularly ethane and propane,” said Nick Rados, Ph.D., senior director at IHS Markit, and lead author of the recent IHS Markit analysis, “Light and Heavy Naphtha International Market Analysis: Balancing the Naphtha Surplus.” Prior to the U.S. shale gas and tight oil renaissance, naphtha was the leading feedstock for petrochemical and gasoline production, Rados said, but the jump in production of ethane and propane feedstocks gave North American and Western European petrochemical producers a cheaper alternative to naphtha and a significant profit advantage. U.S. and Canadian NGL production has surged at an average annual growth rate of 6.2 percent, from 104 million metric tons (MMT) in 2011, to 141 MMT in 2016, due to supplies from both wet gas fields and tight oil production, and more growth is expected. “Olefins producers with the existing flexible, or new, ethane-feedstock plants in the U.S., are enjoying an advantage due to lower feedstock costs, and for European producers, the access to abundant supplies of U.S. ethane feedstocks have given their plants new life,” Rados said. “We are headed into an increasingly oversupplied market,” Rados said. “Demand growth for petrochemicals and gasoline has slowed due to a global economic slowdown, while many producers have been adding naphtha production capacity—resulting in excess of naphtha and depressed prices.” Entering 2017, global demand for naphtha (including natural gasoline) is 1,180 MMT according to the IHS Markit report, and the demand growth has been projected to increase to nearly 1,260 MMT, by 2020. That translates to an average annual growth rate of 1.7 percent, a strong growth rate for a refined product, but not enough to absorb increasing production of both naphtha and NGLs. While the global market for naphtha will be oversupplied until at least 2020, the IHS Markit analysis said, the propane market is even more oversupplied, with increasing production coming, not only from U.S. shale resources, but also from the Middle East and Russia. Propane prices were sliding before the onslaught of the U.S. shale renaissance, but since then, have plummeted, which in turn put downward pressure on prices for naphtha. “The current length in the propane shipping fleet, along with the opening of the Panama Canal expansion supports incremental trade, but anticipated increase in crude and naphtha prices will drive even greater volumes of low-cost propane to Asia,” Rados said. The abundance of petrochemical feedstocks is unlikely to end anytime soon, the IHS Markit report said, with Saudi Arabia, U.A.E., Kuwait, and Russia investing in more naphtha production capacity. For example, the recent addition of just one large condensate splitter (Novatek in Russia), has added 4 million tons of naphtha supply, or 3.5 percent of global naphtha trade. Ethane imports to Western Europe have already started from both the Enterprise Products Partners terminal on the U.S. Gulf Coast and the Sunoco Logistics terminal on the U.S. East Coast. Those shipments will supply the European facilities of INEOS, SABIC, Reliance, ExxonMobil and others. Rados said companies are essentially making two different bets on feedstocks in Europe. “While some have bet on excess of U.S. ethane (like those just mentioned above), others like Dow and BASF have bet on global oversupply of cheaper propane coming from Russia, the U.S. and Algeria.” In spite of strong penetration of NGLs, a lighter, paraffinic naphtha is still the predominant feedstock for production of olefins, such as ethylene and propylene, while heavy naphtha remains the most important feedstock for production of high-octane gasoline and aromatics chain products, such as polystyrene, PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic and polyester fiber. Gasoline blenders are also at an advantage in the current market, Rados said, because they can buy cheaper blendstock at lower prices. Naphtha is cheaper and octane is relatively cheap at present. The current market oversupply does not mean that producers will not have investment opportunities in the near to mid-term, Rados said. “After 2020, we foresee a period where some markets could become short of naphtha, particularly heavy naphtha, if investments fall off today. Unlike with light naphtha that can be substituted with NGL feedstocks to make olefins, heavy naphtha is indispensable for production of PET plastic and polyester fiber, the fastest growing demand segment for naphtha.” NOTE: The market outlook for naphtha and other petrochemical feedstocks will be key topics of discussion at the upcoming IHS Markit 32nd Annual World Petrochemical Conference (WPC), March 20 – 24, 2017, at the new Marriott Marquis Houston. WPC is the premier annual international gathering of chemical industry leaders, experts, government officials and policymakers, as well as leaders from key end-use markets and technology innovators. To view the current agenda for WPC 2017: 32nd Annual World Petrochemical Conference and register for the event or the training workshops, please visit: https://wpc.ihsmarkit.com/ MEDIA REGISTRATION: The WPC 2017 will include an on-site workroom for media, featuring internet access, ample workspace and a dedicated staff liaison to assist with facilitation of interviews. Credentialed members of the news media interested in covering the event can do so free of charge pursuant to their advanced registration approval, and their acceptance of the event media policy. Contact Melissa Manning at email@example.com or +1 832-458-3840. Please send your name, organization, phone, e-mail and organization website. To speak with Nick Rados, please contact Melissa Manning at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the IHS Markit analysis, Light and Heavy Naphtha International Market Analysis: Balancing the Naphtha Surplus, please contact email@example.com. IHS Markit (Nasdaq: INFO) is a world leader in critical information, analytics and solutions for the major industries and markets that drive economies worldwide. The company delivers next-generation information, analytics and solutions to customers in business, finance and government, improving their operational efficiency and providing deep insights that lead to well-informed, confident decisions. IHS Markit has more than 50,000 key business and government customers, including 85 percent of the Fortune Global 500 and the world’s leading financial institutions. Headquartered in London, IHS Markit is committed to sustainable, profitable growth. IHS Markit is a registered trademark of IHS Markit Ltd. All other company and product names may be trademarks of their respective owners © 2017 IHS Markit Ltd. All rights reserved.
News Article | February 28, 2017
A10 Networks expands carrier-class Gi/SGi firewall lineup with enhanced security and NFV-ready software appliances to help service providers scale for 5G and combat dramatic increase in IoT-borne threats BARCELONA, SPAIN--(Marketwired - February 28, 2017) - A10 Networks ( : ATEN), a secure application services™ company, today announced the expansion of its A10 Thunder CFW (convergent firewall) family with a new Gi/SGi firewall solution and a software-only vThunder CFW for NFV deployments. The new A10 Thunder CFW addresses rising security concerns of service providers who are focused on the industry's transition to 5G, broad-scale deployment of network functions virtualization (NFV), software-defined networking (SDN) technologies and the proliferation of Internet of Things (IoT) connected devices. The A10 Thunder CFW also helps service providers deliver a strong, secure networking environment for their own infrastructure as well as for their subscribers by combining the security of a carrier-grade firewall with built-in CGN and distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) features. A10 Networks' convergent firewall allows service providers and enterprises to streamline their networks by consolidating security and application networking into a single, high-performance solution. This gives A10 customers the security, high performance and efficiency to enhance their network's predictability, while confidently introducing revenue-generating applications to service growing subscriber needs. With the A10 Thunder CFW, service providers can achieve exceptionally high firewall connection rates -- 220 Gbps of throughput, all in a one rack-unit appliance, which includes enough capacity to support up to 256 million concurrent sessions -- the approximate equivalent of one connection for every citizen of Indonesia, or one connection for every desktop PC and laptop sold in the world in 2016. "The A10 Thunder CFW enables service providers to secure and scale their infrastructure to meet subscribers' mobility needs as 5G and Internet of Things trends become prominent," said Raj Jalan, CTO of A10 Networks. "With the A10 Thunder CFW Gi/SGi Firewall, our customers enjoy the security of a carrier-grade firewall coupled with integrated DDoS protection, and they also have a path to future-proof their networks for next generation technologies." "Increasing mobile data traffic and the advancement of settled standards will drive 5G emergence," said analyst Jeff Wilson, Senior Research Director, Cybersecurity Technology, IHS Markit. "As service providers look to gradually evolve their 4G networks, they will be looking to monetize new services and applications, which in turn will create new security scenarios and require new security solutions. A10 Thunder CFW has all the pieces in place to help service providers navigate not only emerging network architectures, but also the ever-evolving threat landscape." "There's still a lot of opportunity in the Gi Firewall market," said Patrick Donegan, Principal Analyst, HardenStance. "According to our market estimates it's a pretty safe bet that at least one in four mobile operators still don't have any firewall implemented on the Gi interface. Among the majority that do, new firewall capacity and feature requirements are also continuing to evolve." The new A10 Thunder CFW is available now. A10 Networks ( : ATEN) is a secure application services company, providing a range of high-performance application networking solutions that help organizations ensure that their data center applications and networks remain highly available, accelerated and secure. Founded in 2004, A10 Networks is based in San Jose, Calif., and serves customers globally with offices worldwide. For more information, visit: www.a10networks.com and @A10Networks. The A10 logo, A10 Networks, A10 Harmony, A10 Thunder, Thunder and ACOS are trademarks or registered trademarks of A10 Networks, Inc. in the United States and other countries. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners.
News Article | February 21, 2017
HOUSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Westlake Chemical Corporation (NYSE: WLK) today reported net income of $98.9 million, or $0.76 per diluted share, on net sales of $1,735.2 million for the quarter ended December 31, 2016. This represents a decrease in net income of $12.1 million, or $0.08 per diluted share, compared to the quarter ended December 31, 2015 net income of $111.0 million, or $0.84 per diluted share, on net sales of $986.8 million. Net income for the fourth quarter of 2016 was impacted by: The above items were partially offset by a lower effective tax rate as a result of $28.6 million, or $0.22 per diluted share, in various tax adjustments. Net sales for the fourth quarter of 2016 increased over the fourth quarter of 2015, mainly due to sales contributed by Axiall. Income from operations was $152.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2016 compared to $181.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2015. Income from operations in the fourth quarter of 2016 was lower than the prior year period mainly as a result of the transaction and integration related costs, the effect of selling higher-cost Axiall inventory recorded at fair value, and the impact from the planned turnarounds and unplanned outages. Fourth quarter 2016 net income of $98.9 million, or $0.76 per diluted share, increased $33.2 million from the $65.7 million, or $0.51 per diluted share, reported in the third quarter of 2016. Net sales for the fourth quarter of 2016 of $1,735.2 million were higher than the $1,279.0 million reported in the third quarter, mainly due to sales contributed by Axiall. Income from operations for the fourth quarter of 2016 of $152.7 million was higher than the $46.6 million reported in the third quarter of 2016. The improvement in income from operations was primarily due to lower transaction and integration costs as compared to the third quarter of 2016 and record ethylene production in the fourth quarter of 2016. For the year ended December 31, 2016, net income was $398.9 million, or $3.06 per diluted share, on net sales of $5,075.5 million. This represents a decrease in net income of $247.1 million, or $1.80 per diluted share, from 2015 net income of $646.0 million, or $4.86 per diluted share, on net sales of $4,463.3 million. Net income for the year ended December 31, 2016 was impacted by (1) pre-tax transaction and integration-related costs of approximately $103.7 million, or $0.52 per diluted share, associated with the acquisition of Axiall; (2) pre-tax unabsorbed fixed manufacturing costs and other costs associated with the turnaround and expansion of the Lake Charles Petro 1 ethylene unit and other planned turnarounds and unplanned outages totaling approximately $155.1 million, or $0.77 per diluted share; and (3) lost sales associated with such turnarounds and outages; partially offset by (4) a realized gain of approximately $49.1 million from the previously held outstanding shares of common stock of Axiall; and (5) a lower effective tax rate of 24.8%. The 2016 tax rate was impacted by discrete items totaling $46.9 million, which decreased the tax provision for 2016. Net sales for the year ended December 31, 2016 increased $612.2 million to $5,075.5 million compared to net sales for the year ended December 31, 2015 of $4,463.3 million, primarily due to sales contributed by Axiall and higher sales volume for PVC resin, partially offset by lower sales prices for all our major products and lower sales volumes for our major olefins products. Income from operations was $581.5 million for the year ended December 31, 2016 as compared to $959.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2015, a decrease of $378.3 million. The decrease was mainly attributable to lower sales prices for all our major products, transaction and integration-related costs associated with the Axiall acquisition and the lost sales, lower production rates, unabsorbed fixed manufacturing costs and other costs associated with the planned turnaround and expansion of the Lake Charles Petro 1 ethylene unit and other planned turnarounds and unplanned outages. The decrease in income from operations for the year ended December 31, 2016 was partially offset by lower average feedstock and energy costs and higher product margins at our European operations, as compared to the prior year. “We are pleased with our earnings for 2016 despite lower sales prices following the decline in global crude oil prices and the impact on earnings due to major planned turnarounds,” said Albert Chao, President and Chief Executive Officer. “We continue to benefit from solid demand for our products and, as we entered the new year, a rising price environment for our Olefins and Vinyls products. We believe the global demand trends are favorable for our products and that we are positioned to benefit from improving commodity prices which are supported by the continued recovery in crude oil prices. We are also making significant progress in integrating our recently acquired Axiall business and are working towards achieving the anticipated synergies.” Net cash provided by operating activities was $833.9 million for the full year 2016 and capital expenditures for the full year were $628.5 million. As of December 31, 2016, we had cash and cash equivalents of $620.0 million (including restricted cash of $160.5 million) and our total debt was $3,828.0 million. EBITDA (earnings before interest expense, income taxes, depreciation and amortization) of $307.5 million for the fourth quarter of 2016 increased $56.3 million compared to EBITDA of $251.2 million reported in the fourth quarter of 2015. EBITDA for the fourth quarter of 2016 increased $125.4 million compared to EBITDA of $182.1 million in the third quarter of 2016. EBITDA for the year ended December 31, 2016 of $1,015.5 million decreased $228.4 million compared to EBITDA of $1,243.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2015. A reconciliation of EBITDA to reported net income and to net cash provided by operating activities can be found in the financial schedules at the end of this press release. The Olefins segment reported income from operations of $149.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2016, an increase of $10.8 million compared to income from operations of $138.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2015. The fourth quarter of 2016 benefited from record ethylene production following the expansion of our Lake Charles Petro 1 ethylene unit. Trading activity in the fourth quarter of 2016 resulted in a gain of $11.9 million as compared to a loss of $6.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2015. The Olefins segment income from operations of $149.5 million for the fourth quarter of 2016 increased $31.0 million from the $118.5 million reported in the third quarter of 2016. The fourth quarter benefited from record ethylene production, partially offset by lower integrated olefins product margins. Trading activity in the fourth quarter of 2016 resulted in a gain of $11.9 million as compared to a loss of $7.8 million in the third quarter of 2016. The Olefins segment reported income from operations of $557.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2016 as compared to income from operations of $747.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2015, a decrease of $189.6 million. This decrease was predominantly attributable to lower olefins integrated product margins, primarily as a result of lower sales prices as compared to 2015, and the lost sales, lower production rates, unabsorbed fixed manufacturing costs and other costs related to the turnaround and expansion of the Lake Charles Petro 1 ethylene unit and other planned turnarounds and unplanned outages in 2016. Trading activity for 2016 resulted in a gain of $19.7 million as compared to a loss of $11.4 million in 2015. The Vinyls segment reported income from operations of $37.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2016, a decrease of $14.0 million compared to income from operations of $51.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2015. This decrease was mainly attributable to lost sales, lower production rates, unabsorbed fixed manufacturing costs and other costs associated with a major planned turnaround at our Lake Charles vinyls operations and the impact of selling higher cost Axiall inventory at fair value following the acquisition. This decrease was partially offset by higher sales prices for most of our major products. The Vinyls segment income from operations of $37.6 million for the fourth quarter of 2016 increased $15.4 million from the $22.2 million reported in the third quarter of 2016. This increase was primarily due to higher caustic sales prices, higher sales volumes for most of our major products and sales contributed by Axiall, partially offset by lost sales, lower production rates and unabsorbed fixed manufacturing costs associated with a major planned turnaround at our Lake Charles vinyls facility. The Vinyls segment reported income from operations of $174.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2016 as compared to income from operations of $254.5 million for the year ended December 31, 2015, a decrease of $80.4 million. This decrease was primarily driven by the lost sales, lower production rates, unabsorbed fixed manufacturing costs and other costs associated with the unplanned outage at our Calvert City facility and the planned turnaround at our Lake Charles vinyls operations. Income from operations for the year ended December 31, 2016 was also lower as a result of lower sales prices for our major products, partially offset by higher product margins at our European operations, as compared to 2015. In addition, income from operations for the year ended December 31, 2016 included the negative impact of selling higher-cost Axiall inventory recorded at fair value. The statements in this release and the related teleconference relating to matters that are not historical facts, such as statements regarding commodity prices and the integration of Axiall and related synergies are forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are subject to significant risks and uncertainties. Actual results could differ materially, based on factors including, but not limited to: general economic and business conditions; the cyclical nature of the chemical industry; availability, cost and volatility of raw materials and utilities, including natural gas from shale production; the price of crude oil; uncertainties associated with the United States and worldwide economies, including those due to global economic and financial conditions; governmental regulatory actions, including environmental regulation; political unrest; industry production capacity and operating rates; the supply/demand balance for Westlake's products; competitive products and pricing pressures; access to capital markets; technological developments; the effect and results of litigation and settlements of litigation; operating interruptions; Westlake’s ability to realize anticipated benefits of the Axiall acquisition and to integrate Axiall’s business; and other risk factors. For more detailed information about the factors that could cause actual results to differ materially, please refer to Westlake's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2015, which was filed with the SEC in February 2016, and the risk factors in our other filings with the SEC. Use of Non-GAAP Financial Measures This release makes reference to certain "non-GAAP" financial measures, such as EBITDA, as defined in Regulation G of the U.S. Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. We report our financial results in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles ("U.S. GAAP"), but believe that certain non-GAAP financial measures, such as EBITDA, provide useful supplemental information to investors regarding the underlying business trends and performance of the company's ongoing operations and are useful for period-over-period comparisons of such operations. These non-GAAP financial measures should be considered as a supplement to, and not as a substitute for, or superior to, the financial measures prepared in accordance with U.S. GAAP. A reconciliation of EBITDA to reported net income and to net cash provided by operating activities can be found in the financial schedules at the end of this press release. A conference call to discuss Westlake Chemical Corporation's fourth quarter and full year 2016 results will be held Tuesday, February 21, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time (10:00 a.m. Central Time). To access the conference call, dial (855) 760-8160, or (704) 288-0624 for international callers, approximately 10 minutes prior to the scheduled start time and reference passcode 55515510. A replay of the conference call will be available beginning two hours after its conclusion until 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Tuesday, February 28, 2017. To hear a replay, dial (855) 859-2056, or (404) 537-3406 for international callers. The replay passcode is 55515510. The conference call will also be available via webcast at: http://edge.media-server.com/m/p/cgaowosz and the earnings release can be obtained via the company's web page at: http://www.westlake.com/investor-relations. (1) Industry pricing data was obtained from IHS Chemical. We have not independently verified the data. (2) Represents average North American spot prices of ethylene over the period as reported by IHS Chemical. (3) Represents average North American net transaction prices of polyethylene low density GP-Film grade over the period as reported by IHS Chemical. (4) Represents average North American contract prices of styrene over the period as reported by IHS Chemical. (5) Represents average North American undiscounted contract prices of caustic soda over the period as reported by IHS Chemical. (6) Represents average North American contract prices of chlorine (into chemicals) over the period as reported by IHS Chemical. (7) Represents average North American contract prices of PVC over the period as reported by IHS Chemical.
News Article | February 28, 2017
Can't handle the 12.9-inch iPad Pro screen, but find the 9.7-inch model's dinky canvas too cramped for your creative vision? Then hold out just a little longer – rumor has it that Apple has a 10.5-inch version waiting in the wings. That's according to insider knowledge from Rhoda Alexander, Director Tablets and PCs, at IHS Markit, speaking to Forbes. Sitting between the two current models on the market, the attraction to the 10.5-inch version will be the fact that, despite the extra screen real estate, it'll actually be no bigger overall than the 9.7-inch edition. It'll achieve this by shrinking down the device's bezels even further than what Apple currently offers. However, this will change the device's screen ration, according to DisplayMate Technologies' Raymond Soneira. The iPad currently sits at a 1.33 ratio – the new design could shift that to as high 1.50. This may necessitate different app builds to fill out the new screen shape, fragmenting Apple's tablet app ecosystem. That's something that Apple would be keen to avoid, which may rule out this rumor. Still, it's claimed that the mid-sized iPad Pro would still retain the range's super-sharp pixel density by upping the resolution to 2,224 x 1,668. A value-orientated iPad is also rumored, expected to come in at a lower price than the iPad Air 2. Which internals would be powering it are not currently clear, but it's assumed they'd be an older generation in order to drive the price down. The latest rumors point to a March reveal for the new iPad range, so we may not have long to wait to find out whether these whispers ring true.
News Article | February 27, 2017
Space may be the final frontier, but it is also fast becoming another potential battlefield where America must be prepared to defend itself against any and all adversaries. Related: Game of Drones - The Air Force Ramps Up Video Game Warfare That was the message in a recent Defense News op-ed by two Air Force generals -- Dave Goldfein, the service’s chief of staff, and Jay Raymond, chief of the U.S. Air Force Space Command. They quoted another general, John Hyten, head of the U.S. Strategic Command (guardian of the nuclear arsenal), who has said that “there is no such thing as a war in space, there is just war, it’s with an adversary and if it extends into space we have to figure out how to fight it.” As if on cue, the global military information site IHS Jane’s 360 reported late last week that Russia plans to arm some of its MiG-31BM interceptor aircraft with anti-satellite weapons. “A new missile is being developed for this aircraft capable of destroying targets in near-space," a Russian Aerospace Forces squadron commander said on Zvezda TV, a channel run by the Russian Defense Ministry, according to Jane’s. One major reason that defending satellites and space-based systems has become so imperative is that the Air Force is relying more and more on attack drones, which are controlled from afar through satellite links. Drones also use satellite-based GPS to relay their positions to ground control. Related: More Killer Drones, Please: The Air Force Places a $371 Million Order As retired Air Force Major General James Poss wrote recently, “Beyond line of sight (BLOS) data links [have] revolutionized air power.” And the BLOS drones are getting more powerful. The Air Force plans to replace its fleet of MQ-1 Predator drones with MQ-9 Reapers by 2018, according to UPI. The Reaper has a 3,750-pound payload capacity vs. 450 pounds for the Predator, a 50,000-foot flight ceiling vs. 25,000, and can cruise at about 230 miles per hour vs. 84 miles an hour. Reapers cost almost $15 million apiece. Generals Goldfein and Raymond laid out a three-part strategy the Air Force is pursuing: enhancing its ability to spot threats and “control space assets;” “strengthening partnerships across the Department of Defense and intelligence community” to defend space systems; and building on the Interagency Combined Space Operations Center that was set up last year in Colorado. War in space, the generals wrote, is “no longer just the stuff of science fiction writers like Isaac Asimov and Ray Bradbury. In space, we must be able to detect threats early … and respond so decisively that no foe is tempted to raise a weapon in anger.”
News Article | February 27, 2017
SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 27, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Calypso Technology Inc., a leading provider of capital markets and investment management software, announced it has appointed Edmond Tehini as Managing Director of Sales in the Middle East, based in Dubai. Tehini has held senior sales management roles at IHS Markit in France, Switzerland, and Southern Europe. He was previously with Calypso until 2014. "There are winds of change at Calypso," said Tehini. "The firm has developed a comprehensive and innovative set of offerings through continuous investments in new technologies and a focus on client needs. I am thrilled to be leading the Middle East region, where our fast-growing client base is a clear manifestation of these new dynamics." Calypso was the #1 selling Treasury & Capital Markets Solution for the seventh consecutive year in the 2016 IBS Sales League Table and has recently announced the launch of a Cloud Services Division. "We are very pleased to welcome back Edmond, as well as several other former employees," said Chief Administrative Officer, Jonathan Walsh. "With our new focus on people development, enhanced team cohesion, and empowerment of regional leadership, we aim to make our firm the industry's best place to work." Calypso was recently named the Technology Provider of the Year by both Central Banking and Asia Risk magazines, and was named a Leader in the 2016 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Trading Platforms. Calypso Technology, Inc. is a leading provider of cross-asset front-to-back technology for financial markets. Calypso software and Cloud services support trading, processing, accounting, risk management, and compliance in a uniquely integrated platform, bringing simplicity and cost efficiency to today's business and regulatory imperatives. With 35,000 users in 68 countries, Calypso addresses the needs of capital markets and investment managers, provding solutions for collateral, clearing, treasury, and enterprise risk. The firm is consistently granted the most prestigious product and technology awards in the industry. "Calypso" is a registered trademark of Calypso Technology, Inc. in the U.S., EU and other jurisdictions. Other parties' trademarks or service marks are the property of their respective owners and should be treated as such.