Stuttgart, Germany
Stuttgart, Germany

Mercedes-Benz is a German automobile manufacturer, a multinational division of the German manufacturer Daimler AG. The brand is used for luxury automobiles, buses, coaches, and trucks. The headquarters of Mercedes-Benz is in Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg, Germany.The name first appeared in 1926 under Daimler-Benz but traces its origins to Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft's 1901 Mercedes and to Karl Benz's 1886 Benz Patent Motorwagen, which is widely regarded as the first gasoline powered automobile. Mercedes-Benz's slogan is "Das Beste oder nichts" . Mercedes-Benz is part of the "German Big 3" luxury automakers, along with Audi and BMW, which are the best selling luxury automakers in the world. Wikipedia.

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News Article | May 25, 2017
Site: www.accesswire.com

WASHINGTON, DC / ACCESSWIRE / May 25, 2017 / To marketing veterans, it is well known that customer engagement is the biggest priority in regards to business development strategies and brand promotion campaigns. Advertising campaigns, sales promotions, and reward programs may get customers through the door, but customer interaction is the catalyst that drives organic growth and, ultimately, long-term profits and brand loyalty. Many companies will put considerable time and capital into hosting an event, only to fail at executing a holistic strategy that fully realizes their return on that investment. Brad Nierenberg, the Founder and CEO of RedPeg Marketing - a national award-winning experiential marketing agency with a client list that includes such companies as Warner Bros., Twitter, Verizon, Geico, and Mercedes Benz, among others - has earned a reputation for being a guru of customer engagement through his use of a number of key tactics that substantially boost organic growth. "Executing a event without a strategy on how it will be amplified on Social Media is leaving money on the table. Unless you create and execute a strategy to extend the event beyond the actual activity itself," says Brad Nierenberg. "Physical attendance is not the only metric that matters when evaluating an event's success. Other key indicators include how many people shared the event and brand experience on social media; how many opted to take a sample; how many leads were generated; and how many perceptions were changed about the brand your marking, how many consumers now will consider the brand. Today, consumers are being bombarded with brand messages to the tune of 3,000 a day, getting your brand on the targeted consumers menu when it wasn't considered before is a success." Nierenberg advises that the best foundation for starting a strategy of long-term customer engagement is by digitally capturing information on-site. In the old days, this usually meant consumers, brand ambassadors, and event staff quickly scribbling with pen and paper filling out entry cards, but today, data is able to be gathered quickly and effectively with the use of an iPad and software programs that allow a simple slide/scan of a driver license. Further digital preparations include making certain that Google Analytics is ready to go on the event's microsite to help track online engagement, as well as encouraging visitors to fill out a form which will offer another opportunity to re-engage them. Lastly is tracking and re-engagement. RedPeg has long emphasized that the effective tail of experiential marketing is much longer than other marketing mediums and can be utilized for years. "We track years of sales history for our clients to show this," says Nierenberg. "An example would be our work with Chevrolet, where we executed events that engaged 60,000 people in 1 market. We tracked who of those 60K people bought cars over the next 2 years and found that the 60,000 people who went through our experiences that bought cars, bought twice the market share of Chevrolet; Effectively demonstrating that engaging people at events put Chevrolet on a higher consideration set than the average consumer digesting the same marketing messages via traditional tactics." After the event, have a plan to interact with customers that attended, whether it's an email follow up, calls to new leads, or requests for survey feedback, sending a photo experience. Also have a digital amplification plan to connect not only with the attendees, but their friends and associates who did not attend. With the goal of having them share the event with others, consider additional social media strategies which may be as simple as using Facebook Live to post the event and expand the potential for likes, shares and other online activities. Brad Nierenberg launched RedPeg Marketing in 1995, with the philosophy that, "People forget what you say. People forget what you do. They remember how you make them feel." The company is a leader in creating exciting, large-scale interactive marketing experiences, with more than 2,500 events produced in 2015 alone. Their collection of professionals assist companies in finding innovative ways to connect people and brands in a world with increasing marketing noise.


News Article | May 26, 2017
Site: www.engineeringnews.co.za

Nelson Mandela Bay Composites Cluster MD Andy Radford says the cluster has mapped the value chain for the production and application of basalt in composites. He says the cluster is at an advanced stage of securing local and global beneficiators and buyers for the mineral for use in composite materials. “The country, and particularly the rural areas of the Eastern Cape, have vast dolorite reserves, from which global-standard basalt can be viably extracted,” adds Radford.  “Basalt fibre mined from dolerite in the poorest regions of the Eastern Cape could be an economic game changer for the region. Processed at Mthatha, Butterworth, East London or Coega, basalt product such as re-inforced bar can be shipped to Europe through France.” The Nelson Mandela Bay Composites Cluster has the same ambitions for a crop grown largely in KwaZulu-Natal, called kenaf. Kenaf fibres are used in the production of composite components. These components are used at the Mercedes Benz plant, in East London, for example. “South Africa has a legacy based on iron, steel and other metals, yet our global competitiveness in steel is marginal. Metals have driven industrial and engineering thinking in South Africa up until now. However, composites can provide new industrial and economic competitive advantages. “We want to showcase these advantages by creating a composites corridor in Port Elizabeth, where composite applications will replace metal and cement, where appropriate. “From manhole covers, streetpoles and railings, to motorised drones, composites are the answer to several age-old problems, while also presenting new opportunities,” states Radford. “In Africa, composites can be manufactured anywhere. You don't even need electricity. In fact, rather than using energy, resin-based thermoset manufacturing is exothermic – it gives off heat.” The Nelson Mandela Bay Composites Cluster is seeking greater collaboration with French companies, as part of a government-driven France-South Africa business forum, adds Radford. France is acknowledged as a global leader in composites within aviation and boat-building. A delegation of ten French companies will visit South Africa on a trade mission from June 27 to 30, with a focus on boat building and composites.


News Article | May 15, 2017
Site: fashionunited.com

Australian designer Dion Lee has been chosen to design the new uniforms for the Sydney Opera House’s 600 employees, including front-of-house staff and tour guides. The process will take 12-months said the World Heritage-listed building, and will see the designer bringing his architectural and sculptural aesthetic to the Opera House uniforms. “I first visited the Opera House as a child to see theatre and contemporary dance and I have been a regular ever since,” said Dion Lee. “The Opera House is a place that I’ve consistently looked to for creative inspiration. I’m truly honoured to be working with the Opera House and its staff to design their new uniforms. Lee added: “Meeting the needs of the Opera House’s very diverse workforce and making sure the clothes combine elegance and utility, inspiration and practicality is critical. It is important that a cultural icon such as the Opera House projects an image that parallels the architecture of the building.” The announcement came ahead of Lee’s opening show for this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia over the weekend, which was staged on the Sydney Opera House’s granite Monumental Steps. Sydney Opera House chief executive officer Louise Herron, added: “Dion is one of Australia’s brightest fashion stars whose work draws so beautifully on the sculptural elegance of Utzon’s masterpiece. It will be wonderful to work with him to create a new uniform collection for the people who bring the place to life.” The redesign of the staff uniforms comes as the Sydney Opera House prepares to begin its first major renewal project in the Joan Sutherland Theatre, part of a larger 273 million Australian dollar programme of upgrades to prepare the Opera House for the next generation.


News Article | May 9, 2017
Site: www.prweb.com

On June 10th, renowned Mexican fashion designer Raquel Orozco will introduce her Resort 2017 collection at the AAA Five Diamond Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit. The designer, who showcased her FW17 collection at this year's Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in Mexico City, is the designer of choice for many celebrities and dignitaries. Orozco will be on hand to meet with resort guests and assist with styling throughout the evening. The runway show kicks off a four-week pop-up shop of her designs onsite at the resort which will include a selection of garments for sale from her new collection, sketches and an exhibit on her work in the industry. Resort rates start at $398 per person per night, based on double occupancy. The Grand Velas resort’s all-inclusive rates include luxury accommodations, a la carte gourmet meals at a variety of specialty restaurants, premium branded beverages, 24-hour in-suite service, taxes, gratuity and more. Spa treatments are an additional cost. For reservations or more information, call 1-888- 407-4869, email reservations(at)velasresorts.com or visit http://vallarta.grandvelas.com/. About Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit: Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit, a Leading Hotel of the World, enjoys a privileged natural setting with flowering, landscaped gardens beside a long stretch of pristine beach and a dramatic backdrop of the Sierra Madre Mountains. The centerpiece of the gardens is a three-tiered infinity pool, a preferred spot for catching the legendary sunsets. The AAA Five Diamond all-inclusive resort features 267 ocean-view suites, some with private plunge pools, and all with plasma TVs, wireless internet access, fully stocked mini bar, L’Occitane amenities and Nespresso machines. New Wellness Suites include a personal training session and massage in-suite in addition to other fitness amenities, such as a Lifecycle Exercise Bike, organic soaps, an Alchimia Apothecary Aromatherapy Kit, a Nikken Kenko pillow and comforter, and LED lamp with a clock and timer. Of the resort’s five restaurants, three, serving French, Italian and Mexican gourmet cuisine, have received AAA Four Diamond awards for distinguished cuisine and presentation. An oasis of wellbeing, the resort’s Leading Spa of the World offers 20 treatment suites, more than 30 spa treatments, many inspired by the native traditions of Mexico and a signature water journey. Other features include a fitness center, 24/7 in suite service, water sports, business center, tennis, baby concierge, Kids Club, and teen lounge during holidays. Puerto Vallarta is just a 15-minute drive away. Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit features more than 25,000 square feet of indoor meeting facilities, including the Grand Marissa Ballroom, which consists of more than 6,000 square feet and is easily subdivided into five separate rooms. The resort’s facilities also include four other rooms ranging from 681 to more than 1,954 square feet that offer several arrangement variations to maximize meeting productivity and efficiency. The resort has won numerous awards from Condé Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, TripAdvisor, U.S. News and World Report and Forbes, which named it one of the Top Ten Coolest All-Inclusive in 2012. Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit was built and is operated by Eduardo Vela Ruiz, owner, founder and president of Velas Resorts, with brother Juan Vela by his side, vice president of Velas Resorts.


News Article | May 9, 2017
Site: www.prnewswire.com

"Aqua Foundation is only able to do the work we do with the support of a larger community. This includes allies who are dedicated to standing with us. I cannot think of two more deserving people to be recognized for their 'allyship' than Lamell or Pastor Willie. Through donations of time, support, guidance, and financial assistance, both Lamell and Pastor Willie have demonstrated a deep commitment to social justice and the caring and support of others. I am honored that we were able to recognize them this year," stated AFW Executive Director Caitlin Wood. As AFW Founder Robin Schwartz presented McMorris with his award, she explained to those in attendance, "Lamell shows up. He cares deeply about injustice and puts his money and muscle where his mouth is. He has been incredibly successful in his professional life and uses that success to make an incredible difference in the lives of so many—not just in his own community but in communities facing oppression and experiencing injustice." McMorris, when accepting his award, reminded the audience of the words of Dr. King, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." The Aqua Ally Awards were made possible in part by generous contributions from Mercedes Benz of Coral Gables, Ann McGowan CPA, Jackson Health, SAVE, Care Resource, Absolut, Seasons 52 and the Pareto Arguello Family. In addition to the awards reception, AFW will kick-off its annual Aqua Girl event on May 18 which will draw women from all over the world and will raise money to support the Foundation's efforts. Lamell McMorris is the founder and CEO of the Washington, DC based companies, Perennial Strategy Group and Perennial Sports, and the founding principal of Greenlining Realty USA.  In his work, Mr. McMorris offers strategic insight and external affairs services to some of the nation's leading decision-makers in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors. As a lifelong advocate of civil, economic, and human rights, Mr. McMorris serves as a member of numerous nonprofit and college boards, and volunteers his time with several youth-focused and mentoring organizations. In Miami, Mr. McMorris is a supporter of both the Aqua Foundation for Women and Project Safe, a program of Pridelines that helps LGBTQ homeless youth. Mr. McMorris holds a Bachelor of Arts in Religion and Society from Morehouse College and a Master of Divinity in Social Ethics and Public Policy from Princeton Theological Seminary. ABOUT THE AQUA FOUNDATION FOR WOMEN The mission of the Aqua Foundation for Women is to serve and support the lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community in South Florida through grants, scholarships, and initiatives. Financial contributions are awarded in the form of grants to local organizations addressing LBT interests such as equality, wellness, families, LGBTQ youth homelessness, cultural enrichment, leadership growth, community service, civic interests, and youth empowerment. These contributions are also awarded in the form of scholarships to individuals as the Foundation is dedicated to supporting secondary education and mentoring programs. Located in Miami, Florida, you can visit AFW online at www.aquafoundation.org. To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/lamell-mcmorris-receives-the-aqua-foundation-for-women-2017-ally-award-300454579.html


News Article | May 11, 2017
Site: www.accesswire.com

WASHINGTON, DC / ACCESSWIRE / May 11, 2017 / Veterans of the marketing industry know that customer engagement is the number one essential component of any successful business development effort, brand promotion, or sales strategy. Advertising campaigns, sales promotions, and reward programs may get customers through the door, but customer interaction is the catalyst that drives organic growth and, ultimately, long-term profits and brand loyalty. Many companies will put considerable time and capital into hosting an event, only to fail at executing a holistic strategy that fully realizes their return on that investment. Brad Nierenberg, the Founder and CEO of RedPeg Marketing - a national award-winning experiential marketing agency with a client list that includes such companies as Warner Bros., Twitter, Verizon, Geico, and Mercedes Benz, among others - has earned a reputation for being a guru of customer engagement through his use of a number of key tactics that substantially boost organic growth. "Executing an event without a strategy on how it will be amplified on Social Media is leaving money on the table. Unless you create and execute a strategy to extend the event beyond the actual activity itself," says Brad Nierenberg. "Physical attendance is not the only metric that matters when evaluating an event's success. Other key indicators include how many people shared the event and brand experience on social media; how many opted to take a sample; how many leads were generated; and how many perceptions were changed about the brand your marking, how many consumers now will consider the brand. Today consumers are being bombarded with brand messages to the tune of 3,000 a day, getting your brand on the targeted consumers menu when it wasn't considered before is a success. Nierenberg advises that the best foundation for starting a strategy of long-term customer engagement is by digitally capturing information on-site. In the old days, this usually meant consumers, brand ambassadors, and event staff quickly scribbling with pen and paper filling out entry cards, but today, data is able to be gathered quickly and effectively with the use of an ipad and software programs that allow a simple slide/scan of a drivers license. Further digital preparations include making certain that Google Analytics is ready to go on the event's microsite to help track online engagement, as well as encouraging visitors to fill out a form which will offer another opportunity to re-engage them. Lastly is tracking and re-engagement. RedPeg has long emphasized that the effective tail of experiential marketing is much longer than other marketing mediums and can be utilized for years. "We track years of sales history for our clients to show this," says Nierenberg. "An example would be our work with Chevrolet, where we executed events that engaged 60,000 people in 1 market. We tracked who of those 60K people bought cars over the next 2 years and found that the 60,000 people who went through our experiences that bought cars, bought twice the market share of Chevrolet; Effectively demonstrating that engaging people at events put Chevrolet on a higher consideration set than the average consumer digesting the same marketing messages via traditional tactics." After the event, have a plan to interact with customers that attended, whether it's an email follow up, calls to new leads, or requests for survey feedback, sending a photo experience. Also have a digital amplification plan to connect not only with the attendees, but their friends and associates who did not attend. With the goal of having them share the event with others, consider additional social media strategies which may be as simple as using Facebook Live to post the event and expand the potential for likes, shares and other online activities. Brad Nierenberg launched RedPeg Marketing in 1995, with the philosophy that, "People forget what you say. People forget what you do. They remember how you make them feel." The company is a leader in creating exciting, large-scale interactive marketing experiences, with more than 2,500 events produced in 2015 alone. Their collection of professionals assist companies in finding innovative ways to connect people and brands in a world with increasing marketing noise.


News Article | May 11, 2017
Site: marketersmedia.com

WASHINGTON, DC / ACCESSWIRE / May 11, 2017 / Veterans of the marketing industry know that customer engagement is the number one essential component of any successful business development effort, brand promotion, or sales strategy. Advertising campaigns, sales promotions, and reward programs may get customers through the door, but customer interaction is the catalyst that drives organic growth and, ultimately, long-term profits and brand loyalty. Many companies will put considerable time and capital into hosting an event, only to fail at executing a holistic strategy that fully realizes their return on that investment. Brad Nierenberg, the Founder and CEO of RedPeg Marketing - a national award-winning experiential marketing agency with a client list that includes such companies as Warner Bros., Twitter, Verizon, Geico, and Mercedes Benz, among others - has earned a reputation for being a guru of customer engagement through his use of a number of key tactics that substantially boost organic growth. "Executing an event without a strategy on how it will be amplified on Social Media is leaving money on the table. Unless you create and execute a strategy to extend the event beyond the actual activity itself," says Brad Nierenberg. "Physical attendance is not the only metric that matters when evaluating an event's success. Other key indicators include how many people shared the event and brand experience on social media; how many opted to take a sample; how many leads were generated; and how many perceptions were changed about the brand your marking, how many consumers now will consider the brand. Today consumers are being bombarded with brand messages to the tune of 3,000 a day, getting your brand on the targeted consumers menu when it wasn't considered before is a success. Nierenberg advises that the best foundation for starting a strategy of long-term customer engagement is by digitally capturing information on-site. In the old days, this usually meant consumers, brand ambassadors, and event staff quickly scribbling with pen and paper filling out entry cards, but today, data is able to be gathered quickly and effectively with the use of an ipad and software programs that allow a simple slide/scan of a drivers license. Further digital preparations include making certain that Google Analytics is ready to go on the event's microsite to help track online engagement, as well as encouraging visitors to fill out a form which will offer another opportunity to re-engage them. Lastly is tracking and re-engagement. RedPeg has long emphasized that the effective tail of experiential marketing is much longer than other marketing mediums and can be utilized for years. "We track years of sales history for our clients to show this," says Nierenberg. "An example would be our work with Chevrolet, where we executed events that engaged 60,000 people in 1 market. We tracked who of those 60K people bought cars over the next 2 years and found that the 60,000 people who went through our experiences that bought cars, bought twice the market share of Chevrolet; Effectively demonstrating that engaging people at events put Chevrolet on a higher consideration set than the average consumer digesting the same marketing messages via traditional tactics." After the event, have a plan to interact with customers that attended, whether it's an email follow up, calls to new leads, or requests for survey feedback, sending a photo experience. Also have a digital amplification plan to connect not only with the attendees, but their friends and associates who did not attend. With the goal of having them share the event with others, consider additional social media strategies which may be as simple as using Facebook Live to post the event and expand the potential for likes, shares and other online activities. Brad Nierenberg launched RedPeg Marketing in 1995, with the philosophy that, "People forget what you say. People forget what you do. They remember how you make them feel." The company is a leader in creating exciting, large-scale interactive marketing experiences, with more than 2,500 events produced in 2015 alone. Their collection of professionals assist companies in finding innovative ways to connect people and brands in a world with increasing marketing noise. WASHINGTON, DC / ACCESSWIRE / May 11, 2017 / Veterans of the marketing industry know that customer engagement is the number one essential component of any successful business development effort, brand promotion, or sales strategy. Advertising campaigns, sales promotions, and reward programs may get customers through the door, but customer interaction is the catalyst that drives organic growth and, ultimately, long-term profits and brand loyalty. Many companies will put considerable time and capital into hosting an event, only to fail at executing a holistic strategy that fully realizes their return on that investment. Brad Nierenberg, the Founder and CEO of RedPeg Marketing - a national award-winning experiential marketing agency with a client list that includes such companies as Warner Bros., Twitter, Verizon, Geico, and Mercedes Benz, among others - has earned a reputation for being a guru of customer engagement through his use of a number of key tactics that substantially boost organic growth. "Executing an event without a strategy on how it will be amplified on Social Media is leaving money on the table. Unless you create and execute a strategy to extend the event beyond the actual activity itself," says Brad Nierenberg. "Physical attendance is not the only metric that matters when evaluating an event's success. Other key indicators include how many people shared the event and brand experience on social media; how many opted to take a sample; how many leads were generated; and how many perceptions were changed about the brand your marking, how many consumers now will consider the brand. Today consumers are being bombarded with brand messages to the tune of 3,000 a day, getting your brand on the targeted consumers menu when it wasn't considered before is a success. Nierenberg advises that the best foundation for starting a strategy of long-term customer engagement is by digitally capturing information on-site. In the old days, this usually meant consumers, brand ambassadors, and event staff quickly scribbling with pen and paper filling out entry cards, but today, data is able to be gathered quickly and effectively with the use of an ipad and software programs that allow a simple slide/scan of a drivers license. Further digital preparations include making certain that Google Analytics is ready to go on the event's microsite to help track online engagement, as well as encouraging visitors to fill out a form which will offer another opportunity to re-engage them. Lastly is tracking and re-engagement. RedPeg has long emphasized that the effective tail of experiential marketing is much longer than other marketing mediums and can be utilized for years. "We track years of sales history for our clients to show this," says Nierenberg. "An example would be our work with Chevrolet, where we executed events that engaged 60,000 people in 1 market. We tracked who of those 60K people bought cars over the next 2 years and found that the 60,000 people who went through our experiences that bought cars, bought twice the market share of Chevrolet; Effectively demonstrating that engaging people at events put Chevrolet on a higher consideration set than the average consumer digesting the same marketing messages via traditional tactics." After the event, have a plan to interact with customers that attended, whether it's an email follow up, calls to new leads, or requests for survey feedback, sending a photo experience. Also have a digital amplification plan to connect not only with the attendees, but their friends and associates who did not attend. With the goal of having them share the event with others, consider additional social media strategies which may be as simple as using Facebook Live to post the event and expand the potential for likes, shares and other online activities. Brad Nierenberg launched RedPeg Marketing in 1995, with the philosophy that, "People forget what you say. People forget what you do. They remember how you make them feel." The company is a leader in creating exciting, large-scale interactive marketing experiences, with more than 2,500 events produced in 2015 alone. Their collection of professionals assist companies in finding innovative ways to connect people and brands in a world with increasing marketing noise.


"We are pleased to report our first quarter 2017 results as they reflect our strong operating capabilities as well as the results of our strategic initiatives.  Our domestic sales showed favorable year-over-year comparisons as we continued to enter new geographic markets.  Our high value-added products enable better safety and performance features for our automobile manufacturing customers and have wide applications in numerous verticals as well.  However, a contraction in our gross margin occurred in the quarter due to a lower gross margin from higher-end products sold in the domestic market and an increase in cost of goods sold resulting from increased depreciation attributable to the expansion of our Sichuan campus. In terms of our international sales, we suspended overseas sales to an international customer due to an account receivable balance overdue situation which will be resumed once the agreed upon terms for payment are met and all overdue balances are collected," said Jie Han, Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer. "After a strong year in 2016, we are beginning to see moderating industry fundamentals in our sector. The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers reports that the growth of auto sales in China slowed in 2017 to date, affected by both the holidays and the Chinese government's restriction on the implementation of the favorable tax deductions for small engine cars. While we anticipate slower growth as compared to last year, we believe that our broad and deep product platform, new geographical positioning and expanding production capabilities will enable us to capture market share from our competitors and maintain solid profitability." Mr. Han continued, "We continued to see significant revenue contributions from new growth regions in the first quarter, augmented by the continued ramp of our Sichuan manufacturing facility. Sales in the South China and the Central China regions increased 104.2% and 50.2%, respectively, from the same period in 2016, and our presence in the region has enabled us to secure new customers and improved market penetration. Our Sichuan facility now has 50 production lines with 216,000 metric tons of annual production capacity. The Sichuan facility will ultimately add 300,000 metric tons of annual production to our domestic capacity for a total domestic capacity of 690,000 metric tons.  We expect that construction at the complex will be completed by the end of the second quarter of 2017.  Although we expect that automotive applications will continue to be our core business, high precision equipment in our new facilities will enable us to diversify our product platform to serve an array of high-growth verticals which will help to propel the Company's growth." "We are also pleased that our strategic plan to develop diversified products has gained significant traction with the signing of a definitive agreement with the People's Government of Shunqing District, Nanchong City of Sichuan Province for the production of 300,000 metric tons of bio-composite materials and additive manufacturing and 20,000 metric tons of functional masterbatch.  The project will add 320,000 metric tons of production capacity and we will also benefit from the favorable tax policies under China's 'Go West Campaign' by locating the project in Southwest China." "Our new facility in Dubai also extends our specialized high-tech products into an important overseas market. We plan to complete the installation of 45 production lines with 12,000 metric tons of annual production capacity by the first quarter of 2018, and to complete the installation of an additional 50 production lines with 13,000 metric tons of annual production capacity by the second quarter of 2018.  This will bring the total annual production capacity in our Dubai facility to 25,000 metric tons. The Dubai facility will target high-end products for overseas markets and will ultimately enable more active inroads into the markets of Europe, the Middle East, Russia and other overseas markets." "We believe that our increased production capabilities, new product offerings and a more diversified customer base form a solid platform which will enable sustainable corporate growth.  In addition, our strategic geographical expansion leverages our technical expertise and customer-centric philosophy.  Further, our product diversification is reflective of both our industry leadership in China's auto market and the growing demand of high technology sectors as driven by China's new economy.  We reiterate our financial guidance for fiscal 2017 and continue to appreciate the support of our shareholders and all of our stakeholders," Mr. Han concluded. Revenues were $237.8 million for the first quarter of 2017, compared to $215.0 million for the same period of 2016, representing an increase of $22.8 million, or 10.6%.  The year-over-year increase was primarily due to an 11.3% increase in sales volume and a 4.8% increase in the average RMB selling price of our products. The increase in revenues in the first quarter of 2017 was driven by growth in demand for our products in the domestic China market, our efforts to expand our customer base attributable to our new plant in Sichuan and our efforts to increase overseas sales.  We recorded sales increases of 104.2% in South China, 50.2% in Central China, 30.2% in Southwest China and 14.2% in North China as compared to the same period in 2016. In 2017, overseas sales were suspended due to an accounts receivable balance overdue situation with an existing overseas customer. On April 1, 2017, the Company and the overseas customer reached an agreement on the credit payment method and product refining costs. We expect to resume sales to this overseas customer after retrieving all previous overdue payments from this customer in the second quarter of 2017. The customer has made a payment of $41.0 million in the first quarter of 2017 and has an unpaid balance of $33.6 million to date. Premium products (PA66, PA6, Plastic Alloy, PLA, POM and PPO) in total accounted for 81.3% of revenues in the first quarter of 2017, compared to 77.3% for the same period of 2016. The Company continued to shift its production mix from traditional polymer materials to higher-end products due to (i) the greater growth potential of advanced modified plastics in luxury automobile models in China, (ii) the stronger demand for higher-end products as a result of the Chinese government's promotion for clean energy vehicles, and (iii) better end consumer recognition of higher-end cars made by automotive manufacturers from Chinese and Germany joint ventures, and U.S. and Japanese joint ventures, where manufacturers tend to use more and higher-end modified plastics in quantity per vehicle in China. Gross profit was $34.8 million for the first quarter of 2017, compared to $34.8 million for the same period of 2016, representing a stable period to period comparison.  Gross margin was 14.6% for the first quarter of 2017, compared to 16.2% for the same period of 2016, primarily due the lower gross margin of higher-end products sold in the domestic market in the current period as compared to the same period in 2016. General and administrative (G&A) expenses were $7.1 million for the first quarter of 2017, compared to $5.1 million for the same period of 2016, representing an increase of $2.0 million, or 39.2%.  This increase was primarily due to the increases in salary and welfare expenses, due to the increase in the number of management and general staff. Research and development (R&D) expenses were $5.9 million for the first quarter of 2017, compared to $4.9 million for the same period of 2016, representing an increase of $1.0 million, or 20.4%. This increase was primarily due to (i) elevated R&D activities to meet the higher quality requirements of potential customers from Europe, (ii) increased R&D efforts directed towards applications in new electrical equipment, electronics, alternative energy applications, power devices, aviation equipment and ocean engineering, in addition to other new products primarily for advanced industrialized applications in the automobile sector and in new verticals such as ships, airplanes, high-speed rail, 3D printing materials, biodegradable plastics and medical, and (iii) an increase in depreciation expenses after R&D equipment was put into use at Sichuan Enterprise Group Company Limited ("Sichuan Xinda"). As of March 31, 2017, the number of ongoing research and development projects was 255. Operating income was $21.3 million for the first quarter of 2017, compared to $24.5 million for the same period of 2016, representing a decrease of $3.2 million, or 13.1%. This decrease was primarily due to higher G&A expenses and higher R&D expenses. Net interest expense was $8.8 million for the first quarter of 2017, compared to net interest expense of $9.3 million for the same period of 2016, representing a decrease of $0.5 million, or 5.4%. This decrease was primarily due to (i) the increase of average deposit balance in amount of $485.3 million for the first quarter of 2017 compared to $360.8 million for the same period in 2016, (ii) a decrease of interest expense due to a decrease in the average interest rate to 4.8% for the first quarter of 2017 compared to 5.8% for the same period in 2016, partially offset by (iii) a decrease of interest income resulting from a decrease in the average interest rate to 1.2% for the first quarter compared to 1.7% of the same period in 2016, and (iv) an increase in the average short-term and long-term loan balance of $785.4 million for the first quarter of 2017 compared to $415.9 million for the same period in 2016. Income tax expense was $3.6 million for the first quarter of 2017, representing an effective income tax rate of 26.4%, compared to income tax expense of $4.5 million in the same period of 2016, representing an effective income tax rate of 28.5%. The effective income tax rate for the three-month period ended March 31, 2017 differs from the People's Republic of China (PRC) statutory income tax rate of 25% primarily due to (i) the consolidated income before income taxes for the current quarter decreased due to the operating losses of entities not subject to income tax, and (ii) non-deductible expenses in the PRC operating entities, which were partially offset by (iii) the additional deduction of R&D for the major PRC operating entities; and (iv) Sichuan Xinda's preferential income tax rate. Net income was $9.9 million for the first quarter of 2017, compared to $11.4 million for the same period of 2016, representing a decrease of $1.5 million, or 13.2%. Basic and diluted earnings per share in the current quarter were $0.15, compared to $0.17 per basic and diluted share for the same period of 2016.  The average number of shares used in the computation of basic and diluted earnings per share current quarter was 49.5 million, compared to 49.4 million shares for basic and diluted earnings per share in the prior year period. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) was $34.0 million for the first quarter of 2017, virtually unchanged from EBITDA of $33.9 million for the same period of 2016.  For a detailed reconciliation of EBITDA, a non-GAAP measure, to its nearest GAAP equivalent, please see the financial tables at the end of this release. As of March 31, 2017, the Company had $57.7 million in cash and cash equivalents, $77.8 million in time deposits with commercial banks, negative working capital of $179.8 million (current assets minus current liabilities) and a current ratio (current assets divided by current liabilities) of 0.8 as compared to 1.2 as of December 31, 2016. The decrease in the current ratio was primarily because the Company's cash and cash equivalents, restricted cash and time deposits decreased by 37.8%, and short-term loans increased by 43.4% for the increased prepayment obligations to equipment suppliers for the Company's new Nanchong Project (see Recent Events, below).  Stockholders' equity as of March 31, 2017 was $648.2 million compared to $634.3 million as of December 31, 2016. Inventories increased by 30.9% to $367.7 million as of the first quarter of 2017 as compared to fiscal year end 2016 as a result of more purchases of raw materials and the Company's strategy to stock up on finished goods for upcoming orders. Prepayment to equipment suppliers increased by 2,583.1% mainly because of advances to purchases for the new Nanchong Project.  The aggregate short-term and long-term bank loans increased by 18.9% due to the utilization of existing lines of credit to support the expansion of the Sichuan and Dubai facilities.  We define the manageable debt level as the sum of aggregate short-term and long-term loans, and notes payable over total assets.  We expect that we will be able to meet our needs to fund operations, capital expenditures and other commitments in the next 12 months primarily with our cash and cash equivalents, operating cash flows and bank borrowings. On March 18, 2017, the Company issued a press release announcing the official signing of an agreement with the People's Government of Shunqing District, Nanchong City, Sichuan Province, for the production of 300,000 metric tons of bio-composite materials and additive manufacturing and 20,000 metric tons of functional masterbatch (the "Nanchong Project").  After initial approval by the Board of Directors and the Company's major investor on December 8, 2016, Sichuan Xinda entered into a strategic investment agreement with Shunqing Government, Nanchong City, Sichuan Province, on December 12, 2016.  Due to the uncertainty of securing the necessary land use rights for the project, the Company waited until March 13, 2017 and entered into a "Land Use Right Transfer Agreement" with the government agency, formalizing its initial dialogue, and entered into a definitive agreement after approval by the Board of Directors and its major shareholder. The Nanchong Project will be located in a land area of 250 mu (equivalent to 41.2 acres), where 215 mu will be designated for bio-composite materials and additive manufacturing production and 35 mu will be designated for functional masterbatch production. The projected total capital expenditures for the project is approximately 2.5 billion RMB (estimated to be $357 million) and the anticipated completion will take place by the end of December 2018. The Nanchong Project will add 320,000 metric tons of production capacity and the Company will also benefit from favorable tax policies under China's 'Go West Campaign' by locating the project in Southwest China. On February 17, 2017, the Company issued a press release announcing that its Board of Directors (the "Board") has received a preliminary non-binding proposal letter, dated February 16, 2017, from its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Jie Han ("Mr. Han"), XD Engineering Plastics Company Limited ("XD Engineering"), a company incorporated in the British Virgin Islands and wholly owned by Mr. Han, and MSPEA Modified Plastics Holding Limited, an affiliate of Morgan Stanley Private Equity Asia III, Inc. (collectively, the "Buyer Consortium"), to acquire all of the outstanding shares of common stock of the Company not already beneficially owned by the Buyer Consortium in a "going-private" transaction (the "Transaction") for $5.21 per share of common stock in cash.  The proposal letter states that the Buyer Consortium expects that the Board will appoint a special committee of independent directors to consider the proposal and make a recommendation to the Board.  The proposal letter also states that the Buyer Consortium will not move forward with the proposed Transaction unless it is approved by such a special committee, and the proposed Transaction will be subject to a non-waivable condition requiring approval by majority shareholder vote of shareholders other than the Buyer Consortium members.  The Buyer Consortium currently beneficially owns approximately 74% of the issued and outstanding shares of common stock of the Company on a fully diluted and as-converted basis. The Board has established a special committee (the "Special Committee") of disinterested directors to consider the proposal.  The Special Committee is composed of the following independent directors of the Company: Mr. Lawrence W. Leighton, Mr. Feng Li, and Mr. Linyuan Zha, with Mr. Leighton serving as chairperson of the Special Committee.  The Special Committee will be responsible for evaluating, negotiating and recommending to the Board any proposals involving a strategic transaction by the Company with one or more third parties.  The Special Committee intends to retain advisors, including an independent financial advisor, to assist in the evaluation of the proposal and any additional proposals that may be made by the Buyer Consortium. The Special Committee cautions the Company's shareholders and others considering trading in its securities that the Special Committee has not made any decisions with respect to the Company's response to the proposal.  There can be no assurance that any definitive offer will be made by the Buyer Consortium or any other person, that any definitive agreement will be executed relating to the proposed Transaction, or that this or any other transaction will be approved or consummated. The Company reiterates its financial guidance for fiscal 2017 with revenue to range between $1.2 billion and $1.3 billion, and net income to range between $85.0 million to $100.0 million. This is based on the anticipation of a continued recovery throughout the Chinese automotive supply chain and a stabilization of crude oil pricing and its impact on polymer composite materials in 2017. This forecast also assumes additional contributions from the Sichuan facility and that overseas sales will be resumed in the second half of 2017.  It also assumes the average exchange rate of the US dollar to RMB at 6.8 and that the Company will incur interest expenses for loan term loans and short term loans. This financial guidance reflects the Company's preliminary view of its business outlook for the fiscal year of 2017 and is subject to revision based on changing market conditions at any time. China XD Plastics' senior management will host a conference call at 9:00 am Eastern Time on Wednesday, May 10, 2017, to discuss its first quarter 2017 financial results.  The conference call can be accessed by dialing +1 (855) 298-3404 (for callers in the U.S.), +86-4001-200-539 (for Mainland China callers) or +852 5808 3202 (for Hong Kong callers) and entering pass code 5959925. A recording of the conference call will be available through May 17, 2017, by calling +1 (866) 846-0868 (for callers in the U.S.) and entering pass code 5959925. A live webcast and replay of the conference call will be available on the investor relations page of the Company's website at http://www.chinaxd.net. China XD Plastics Company Limited, through its wholly-owned subsidiaries, develops, manufactures and sells polymer composites materials, primarily for automotive applications. The Company's products are used in the exterior and interior trim and in the functional components of 29 automobile brands manufactured in China, including without limitation, AUDI, Mercedes Benz, BMW, Toyota, Buick, Chevrolet, Mazda, Volvo, Ford, Citroen, Jinbei and VW Passat, Golf, Jetta, etc. The Company's wholly-owned research center is dedicated to the research and development of polymer composites materials and benefits from its cooperation with well-known scientists from prestigious universities in China. As of March 31, 2017, 410 of the Company's products have been certified for use by one or more of the automobile manufacturers in China. For more information, please visit the Company's English website at http://www.chinaxd.net, and the Chinese website at http://www.xdholding.com. This announcement contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All statements other than statements of historical fact in this announcement are forward-looking statements, including but not limited to, the Company's growth potential in international markets; the effectiveness and profitability of the Company's product diversification strategy; the impact of the Company's product mix shift to more advanced products and related pricing policies;  the effectiveness, profitability, and the marketability of its the ongoing mix shift to more advanced products; the prospects of the Company's Dubai facility, and the associated expansion into Middle East, Europe and other parts of Asia; the prospects of the Company's Sichuan facility, and its penetration into Southwest China; the Company's projections of its revenues for performance in fiscal 2017.   These forward-looking statements can be identified by terminology such as "will," "expect," "project," "anticipate," "forecast," "plan," "believe," "estimate" and similar statements. Forward-looking statements involve inherent risks and uncertainties and are based on current expectations, assumptions, estimates and projections about the Company and the industry. A number of important factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statement. Potential risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, the global economic uncertainty could further impair the automotive industry and limit demand for our products; fluctuations in automotive sales and production could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and liquidity; our financial performance may be affected by the prospect of our Dubai facility and the associated expansion into Middle East, Europe and other parts of Asia; the withdrawal of preferential government policies and the tightening control over the Chinese automotive industry and automobile purchase restrictions imposed in certain major cities may limit market demand for our products; the slowing of Chinese automotive industry's growth; the concentration of our distributors, customers and suppliers; and other risks detailed in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission and available on its website at http://www.sec.gov. The Company undertakes no obligation to update forward-looking statements to reflect subsequent occurring events or circumstances, or to changes in its expectations, except as may be required by law.  Although the Company believes that the expectations expressed in these forward looking statements are reasonable, it cannot assure you that its expectations will turn out to be correct, and investors are cautioned that actual results may differ materially from the anticipated results. To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/specialty-chemical-company-china-xd-plastics-announces-first-quarter-2017-financial-results-300454809.html


- Reiterating Fiscal 2017 Guidance of $1.2 - $1.3 Billion in Revenue, $85.0 - $100.0 Million in Net Income - HARBIN, China, May 10, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- China XD Plastics Company Limited (NASDAQ: CXDC) ("China XD Plastics" or the "Company"), one of China's leading specialty chemical companies engaged in the development, manufacture and sale of polymer composite materials primarily for automotive applications, today announced its financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2017. "We are pleased to report our first quarter 2017 results as they reflect our strong operating capabilities as well as the results of our strategic initiatives.  Our domestic sales showed favorable year-over-year comparisons as we continued to enter new geographic markets.  Our high value-added products enable better safety and performance features for our automobile manufacturing customers and have wide applications in numerous verticals as well.  However, a contraction in our gross margin occurred in the quarter due to a lower gross margin from higher-end products sold in the domestic market and an increase in cost of goods sold resulting from increased depreciation attributable to the expansion of our Sichuan campus. In terms of our international sales, we suspended overseas sales to an international customer due to an account receivable balance overdue situation which will be resumed once the agreed upon terms for payment are met and all overdue balances are collected," said Jie Han, Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer. "After a strong year in 2016, we are beginning to see moderating industry fundamentals in our sector. The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers reports that the growth of auto sales in China slowed in 2017 to date, affected by both the holidays and the Chinese government's restriction on the implementation of the favorable tax deductions for small engine cars. While we anticipate slower growth as compared to last year, we believe that our broad and deep product platform, new geographical positioning and expanding production capabilities will enable us to capture market share from our competitors and maintain solid profitability." Mr. Han continued, "We continued to see significant revenue contributions from new growth regions in the first quarter, augmented by the continued ramp of our Sichuan manufacturing facility. Sales in the South China and the Central China regions increased 104.2% and 50.2%, respectively, from the same period in 2016, and our presence in the region has enabled us to secure new customers and improved market penetration. Our Sichuan facility now has 50 production lines with 216,000 metric tons of annual production capacity. The Sichuan facility will ultimately add 300,000 metric tons of annual production to our domestic capacity for a total domestic capacity of 690,000 metric tons.  We expect that construction at the complex will be completed by the end of the second quarter of 2017.  Although we expect that automotive applications will continue to be our core business, high precision equipment in our new facilities will enable us to diversify our product platform to serve an array of high-growth verticals which will help to propel the Company's growth." "We are also pleased that our strategic plan to develop diversified products has gained significant traction with the signing of a definitive agreement with the People's Government of Shunqing District, Nanchong City of Sichuan Province for the production of 300,000 metric tons of bio-composite materials and additive manufacturing and 20,000 metric tons of functional masterbatch.  The project will add 320,000 metric tons of production capacity and we will also benefit from the favorable tax policies under China's 'Go West Campaign' by locating the project in Southwest China." "Our new facility in Dubai also extends our specialized high-tech products into an important overseas market. We plan to complete the installation of 45 production lines with 12,000 metric tons of annual production capacity by the first quarter of 2018, and to complete the installation of an additional 50 production lines with 13,000 metric tons of annual production capacity by the second quarter of 2018.  This will bring the total annual production capacity in our Dubai facility to 25,000 metric tons. The Dubai facility will target high-end products for overseas markets and will ultimately enable more active inroads into the markets of Europe, the Middle East, Russia and other overseas markets." "We believe that our increased production capabilities, new product offerings and a more diversified customer base form a solid platform which will enable sustainable corporate growth.  In addition, our strategic geographical expansion leverages our technical expertise and customer-centric philosophy.  Further, our product diversification is reflective of both our industry leadership in China's auto market and the growing demand of high technology sectors as driven by China's new economy.  We reiterate our financial guidance for fiscal 2017 and continue to appreciate the support of our shareholders and all of our stakeholders," Mr. Han concluded. Revenues were $237.8 million for the first quarter of 2017, compared to $215.0 million for the same period of 2016, representing an increase of $22.8 million, or 10.6%.  The year-over-year increase was primarily due to an 11.3% increase in sales volume and a 4.8% increase in the average RMB selling price of our products. The increase in revenues in the first quarter of 2017 was driven by growth in demand for our products in the domestic China market, our efforts to expand our customer base attributable to our new plant in Sichuan and our efforts to increase overseas sales.  We recorded sales increases of 104.2% in South China, 50.2% in Central China, 30.2% in Southwest China and 14.2% in North China as compared to the same period in 2016. In 2017, overseas sales were suspended due to an accounts receivable balance overdue situation with an existing overseas customer. On April 1, 2017, the Company and the overseas customer reached an agreement on the credit payment method and product refining costs. We expect to resume sales to this overseas customer after retrieving all previous overdue payments from this customer in the second quarter of 2017. The customer has made a payment of $41.0 million in the first quarter of 2017 and has an unpaid balance of $33.6 million to date. Premium products (PA66, PA6, Plastic Alloy, PLA, POM and PPO) in total accounted for 81.3% of revenues in the first quarter of 2017, compared to 77.3% for the same period of 2016. The Company continued to shift its production mix from traditional polymer materials to higher-end products due to (i) the greater growth potential of advanced modified plastics in luxury automobile models in China, (ii) the stronger demand for higher-end products as a result of the Chinese government's promotion for clean energy vehicles, and (iii) better end consumer recognition of higher-end cars made by automotive manufacturers from Chinese and Germany joint ventures, and U.S. and Japanese joint ventures, where manufacturers tend to use more and higher-end modified plastics in quantity per vehicle in China. Gross profit was $34.8 million for the first quarter of 2017, compared to $34.8 million for the same period of 2016, representing a stable period to period comparison.  Gross margin was 14.6% for the first quarter of 2017, compared to 16.2% for the same period of 2016, primarily due the lower gross margin of higher-end products sold in the domestic market in the current period as compared to the same period in 2016. General and administrative (G&A) expenses were $7.1 million for the first quarter of 2017, compared to $5.1 million for the same period of 2016, representing an increase of $2.0 million, or 39.2%.  This increase was primarily due to the increases in salary and welfare expenses, due to the increase in the number of management and general staff. Research and development (R&D) expenses were $5.9 million for the first quarter of 2017, compared to $4.9 million for the same period of 2016, representing an increase of $1.0 million, or 20.4%. This increase was primarily due to (i) elevated R&D activities to meet the higher quality requirements of potential customers from Europe, (ii) increased R&D efforts directed towards applications in new electrical equipment, electronics, alternative energy applications, power devices, aviation equipment and ocean engineering, in addition to other new products primarily for advanced industrialized applications in the automobile sector and in new verticals such as ships, airplanes, high-speed rail, 3D printing materials, biodegradable plastics and medical, and (iii) an increase in depreciation expenses after R&D equipment was put into use at Sichuan Enterprise Group Company Limited ("Sichuan Xinda"). As of March 31, 2017, the number of ongoing research and development projects was 255. Operating income was $21.3 million for the first quarter of 2017, compared to $24.5 million for the same period of 2016, representing a decrease of $3.2 million, or 13.1%. This decrease was primarily due to higher G&A expenses and higher R&D expenses. Net interest expense was $8.8 million for the first quarter of 2017, compared to net interest expense of $9.3 million for the same period of 2016, representing a decrease of $0.5 million, or 5.4%. This decrease was primarily due to (i) the increase of average deposit balance in amount of $485.3 million for the first quarter of 2017 compared to $360.8 million for the same period in 2016, (ii) a decrease of interest expense due to a decrease in the average interest rate to 4.8% for the first quarter of 2017 compared to 5.8% for the same period in 2016, partially offset by (iii) a decrease of interest income resulting from a decrease in the average interest rate to 1.2% for the first quarter compared to 1.7% of the same period in 2016, and (iv) an increase in the average short-term and long-term loan balance of $785.4 million for the first quarter of 2017 compared to $415.9 million for the same period in 2016. Income tax expense was $3.6 million for the first quarter of 2017, representing an effective income tax rate of 26.4%, compared to income tax expense of $4.5 million in the same period of 2016, representing an effective income tax rate of 28.5%. The effective income tax rate for the three-month period ended March 31, 2017 differs from the People's Republic of China (PRC) statutory income tax rate of 25% primarily due to (i) the consolidated income before income taxes for the current quarter decreased due to the operating losses of entities not subject to income tax, and (ii) non-deductible expenses in the PRC operating entities, which were partially offset by (iii) the additional deduction of R&D for the major PRC operating entities; and (iv) Sichuan Xinda's preferential income tax rate. Net income was $9.9 million for the first quarter of 2017, compared to $11.4 million for the same period of 2016, representing a decrease of $1.5 million, or 13.2%. Basic and diluted earnings per share in the current quarter were $0.15, compared to $0.17 per basic and diluted share for the same period of 2016.  The average number of shares used in the computation of basic and diluted earnings per share current quarter was 49.5 million, compared to 49.4 million shares for basic and diluted earnings per share in the prior year period. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) was $34.0 million for the first quarter of 2017, virtually unchanged from EBITDA of $33.9 million for the same period of 2016.  For a detailed reconciliation of EBITDA, a non-GAAP measure, to its nearest GAAP equivalent, please see the financial tables at the end of this release. As of March 31, 2017, the Company had $57.7 million in cash and cash equivalents, $77.8 million in time deposits with commercial banks, negative working capital of $179.8 million (current assets minus current liabilities) and a current ratio (current assets divided by current liabilities) of 0.8 as compared to 1.2 as of December 31, 2016. The decrease in the current ratio was primarily because the Company's cash and cash equivalents, restricted cash and time deposits decreased by 37.8%, and short-term loans increased by 43.4% for the increased prepayment obligations to equipment suppliers for the Company's new Nanchong Project (see Recent Events, below).  Stockholders' equity as of March 31, 2017 was $648.2 million compared to $634.3 million as of December 31, 2016. Inventories increased by 30.9% to $367.7 million as of the first quarter of 2017 as compared to fiscal year end 2016 as a result of more purchases of raw materials and the Company's strategy to stock up on finished goods for upcoming orders. Prepayment to equipment suppliers increased by 2,583.1% mainly because of advances to purchases for the new Nanchong Project.  The aggregate short-term and long-term bank loans increased by 18.9% due to the utilization of existing lines of credit to support the expansion of the Sichuan and Dubai facilities.  We define the manageable debt level as the sum of aggregate short-term and long-term loans, and notes payable over total assets.  We expect that we will be able to meet our needs to fund operations, capital expenditures and other commitments in the next 12 months primarily with our cash and cash equivalents, operating cash flows and bank borrowings. On March 18, 2017, the Company issued a press release announcing the official signing of an agreement with the People's Government of Shunqing District, Nanchong City, Sichuan Province, for the production of 300,000 metric tons of bio-composite materials and additive manufacturing and 20,000 metric tons of functional masterbatch (the "Nanchong Project").  After initial approval by the Board of Directors and the Company's major investor on December 8, 2016, Sichuan Xinda entered into a strategic investment agreement with Shunqing Government, Nanchong City, Sichuan Province, on December 12, 2016.  Due to the uncertainty of securing the necessary land use rights for the project, the Company waited until March 13, 2017 and entered into a "Land Use Right Transfer Agreement" with the government agency, formalizing its initial dialogue, and entered into a definitive agreement after approval by the Board of Directors and its major shareholder. The Nanchong Project will be located in a land area of 250 mu (equivalent to 41.2 acres), where 215 mu will be designated for bio-composite materials and additive manufacturing production and 35 mu will be designated for functional masterbatch production. The projected total capital expenditures for the project is approximately 2.5 billion RMB (estimated to be $357 million) and the anticipated completion will take place by the end of December 2018. The Nanchong Project will add 320,000 metric tons of production capacity and the Company will also benefit from favorable tax policies under China's 'Go West Campaign' by locating the project in Southwest China. On February 17, 2017, the Company issued a press release announcing that its Board of Directors (the "Board") has received a preliminary non-binding proposal letter, dated February 16, 2017, from its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Jie Han ("Mr. Han"), XD Engineering Plastics Company Limited ("XD Engineering"), a company incorporated in the British Virgin Islands and wholly owned by Mr. Han, and MSPEA Modified Plastics Holding Limited, an affiliate of Morgan Stanley Private Equity Asia III, Inc. (collectively, the "Buyer Consortium"), to acquire all of the outstanding shares of common stock of the Company not already beneficially owned by the Buyer Consortium in a "going-private" transaction (the "Transaction") for $5.21 per share of common stock in cash.  The proposal letter states that the Buyer Consortium expects that the Board will appoint a special committee of independent directors to consider the proposal and make a recommendation to the Board.  The proposal letter also states that the Buyer Consortium will not move forward with the proposed Transaction unless it is approved by such a special committee, and the proposed Transaction will be subject to a non-waivable condition requiring approval by majority shareholder vote of shareholders other than the Buyer Consortium members.  The Buyer Consortium currently beneficially owns approximately 74% of the issued and outstanding shares of common stock of the Company on a fully diluted and as-converted basis. The Board has established a special committee (the "Special Committee") of disinterested directors to consider the proposal.  The Special Committee is composed of the following independent directors of the Company: Mr. Lawrence W. Leighton, Mr. Feng Li, and Mr. Linyuan Zha, with Mr. Leighton serving as chairperson of the Special Committee.  The Special Committee will be responsible for evaluating, negotiating and recommending to the Board any proposals involving a strategic transaction by the Company with one or more third parties.  The Special Committee intends to retain advisors, including an independent financial advisor, to assist in the evaluation of the proposal and any additional proposals that may be made by the Buyer Consortium. The Special Committee cautions the Company's shareholders and others considering trading in its securities that the Special Committee has not made any decisions with respect to the Company's response to the proposal.  There can be no assurance that any definitive offer will be made by the Buyer Consortium or any other person, that any definitive agreement will be executed relating to the proposed Transaction, or that this or any other transaction will be approved or consummated. The Company reiterates its financial guidance for fiscal 2017 with revenue to range between $1.2 billion and $1.3 billion, and net income to range between $85.0 million to $100.0 million. This is based on the anticipation of a continued recovery throughout the Chinese automotive supply chain and a stabilization of crude oil pricing and its impact on polymer composite materials in 2017. This forecast also assumes additional contributions from the Sichuan facility and that overseas sales will be resumed in the second half of 2017.  It also assumes the average exchange rate of the US dollar to RMB at 6.8 and that the Company will incur interest expenses for loan term loans and short term loans. This financial guidance reflects the Company's preliminary view of its business outlook for the fiscal year of 2017 and is subject to revision based on changing market conditions at any time. China XD Plastics' senior management will host a conference call at 9:00 am Eastern Time on Wednesday, May 10, 2017, to discuss its first quarter 2017 financial results.  The conference call can be accessed by dialing +1 (855) 298-3404 (for callers in the U.S.), +86-4001-200-539 (for Mainland China callers) or +852 5808 3202 (for Hong Kong callers) and entering pass code 5959925. A recording of the conference call will be available through May 17, 2017, by calling +1 (866) 846-0868 (for callers in the U.S.) and entering pass code 5959925. A live webcast and replay of the conference call will be available on the investor relations page of the Company's website at http://www.chinaxd.net. China XD Plastics Company Limited, through its wholly-owned subsidiaries, develops, manufactures and sells polymer composites materials, primarily for automotive applications. The Company's products are used in the exterior and interior trim and in the functional components of 29 automobile brands manufactured in China, including without limitation, AUDI, Mercedes Benz, BMW, Toyota, Buick, Chevrolet, Mazda, Volvo, Ford, Citroen, Jinbei and VW Passat, Golf, Jetta, etc. The Company's wholly-owned research center is dedicated to the research and development of polymer composites materials and benefits from its cooperation with well-known scientists from prestigious universities in China. As of March 31, 2017, 410 of the Company's products have been certified for use by one or more of the automobile manufacturers in China. For more information, please visit the Company's English website at http://www.chinaxd.net, and the Chinese website at http://www.xdholding.com. This announcement contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All statements other than statements of historical fact in this announcement are forward-looking statements, including but not limited to, the Company's growth potential in international markets; the effectiveness and profitability of the Company's product diversification strategy; the impact of the Company's product mix shift to more advanced products and related pricing policies;  the effectiveness, profitability, and the marketability of its the ongoing mix shift to more advanced products; the prospects of the Company's Dubai facility, and the associated expansion into Middle East, Europe and other parts of Asia; the prospects of the Company's Sichuan facility, and its penetration into Southwest China; the Company's projections of its revenues for performance in fiscal 2017.   These forward-looking statements can be identified by terminology such as "will," "expect," "project," "anticipate," "forecast," "plan," "believe," "estimate" and similar statements. Forward-looking statements involve inherent risks and uncertainties and are based on current expectations, assumptions, estimates and projections about the Company and the industry. A number of important factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statement. Potential risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, the global economic uncertainty could further impair the automotive industry and limit demand for our products; fluctuations in automotive sales and production could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and liquidity; our financial performance may be affected by the prospect of our Dubai facility and the associated expansion into Middle East, Europe and other parts of Asia; the withdrawal of preferential government policies and the tightening control over the Chinese automotive industry and automobile purchase restrictions imposed in certain major cities may limit market demand for our products; the slowing of Chinese automotive industry's growth; the concentration of our distributors, customers and suppliers; and other risks detailed in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission and available on its website at http://www.sec.gov. The Company undertakes no obligation to update forward-looking statements to reflect subsequent occurring events or circumstances, or to changes in its expectations, except as may be required by law.  Although the Company believes that the expectations expressed in these forward looking statements are reasonable, it cannot assure you that its expectations will turn out to be correct, and investors are cautioned that actual results may differ materially from the anticipated results.


News Article | May 9, 2017
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REYKJAVIK, Iceland--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nyherji Group (NYHR.IC), Iceland’s leading IT services provider, announces its results for the first quarter 2017. "Nyherji’s operations have progressed well over the quarter and are on track,” commented Finnur Oddsson, Group CEO, “We are pleased with the earnings and continued revenue growth, which has improved 20% year-on-year. Our positive performance has contributed to lower debt and strengthening of our equity ratio, which is now at its strongest level for many years. Sales of computers and audiovisual solutions remain, as ever, a major part of our operations, however revenues from hosting and operating services are rising proportionately, with new projects such as the outsourcing of IT operations from Arion Bank contributing from the start of the year. The growth of software-related operations have been driving the Company's income growth over the recent quarters, and increased emphasis on product development is now starting to be visible in sales of our own solutions. We see substantial gains in subscription income from Kjarni, payroll and human resource application from our Applicon subsidiary, up almost a third year-on-year, and ongoing work on innovation and development projects holds promise for the future. Implementation of core banking systems for SBAB in Sweden is off to a good start and represents a substantial engagement for our professional consulting teams, both is Sweden and in Iceland. TM Software is continuing to deliver robust revenue growth, show strong performance and exciting product development projects. Tempo also continues to perform very well with revenue for the quarter at USD $4.4 million, a 46% increase. Customer numbers grew to 10,000, a major milestone reflecting the strength of Tempo offerings. There are now more than 100 Tempo partners and distributors worldwide, and approximately fifteen employees working at our offices in Canada and the United States, with further growth planned. Overall I am pleased to report a positive outlook and solid demand across most areas of the Group, in particular hosting, operating services and our various software solutions." A large share of Nyherji's employees exercised their call option to purchase Company stock in 2016 at the price of ISK 17.095; a total of 8,739,986 shares. The stock option plan is valid for another two years. In addition to those who took out stock option agreements last year, more than 90 employees of the Nyherji Group joined and subscribed to stock option agreements for the purchase of 3,663,396 shares at the price of ISK 29.89. The stock option plan applies to all permanent employees of the group, whereby each employee can buy shares for up to ISK 600,000 per year, with a minimum purchase of ISK 10,000 per year. Nyherji saw revenue growth across most divisions of the parent company in the first quarter, an increase of 12% compared with the same period last year, with the most significant growth (+20%) coming from hosting and operating services. Nyherji took over the outsourced operation of Arion Bank's IT Systems at the beginning of 2017, consisting of core systems, technology platform and services for employees. Over 20 employees, previously employed by Arion Bank's technical services, began work at Nyherji at the start of the year. Applicon's performance in Iceland, where it specializes in consulting, services and business software development, exceeded expectations this quarter. Total revenue from Applicon amounted to ISK 319 million, an increase of 23% over the same period last year, despite the fact that almost 40% of income is in foreign currency. Successful sales of the Kjarni human resource and payroll system increased recurring license revenue by 170% over the period. Applicon's professional experts in Iceland are making great efforts to implement core SAP systems in Sweden, which will deliver steady income over the coming months. Benefits from a new version of Applicon's online bank, which includes an automatic credit application system, have also started to flow through. The outlook is generally positive and the firm will continue to invest in developing future solutions for the Icelandic market. Applicon's revenues in Sweden increased by almost a third compared to the previous year, with major projects for the Swedish banks SBAB and Landshypotek Bank the principle drivers. The implementation of core banking solutions from SAP got off to a good start with SBAB and Applicon has also introduced a new mortgage solution for Landshypotek Bank during the period. Software company SAP chose Applicon in Sweden as partner for the year 2016 and Applicon also received recognition as SAP Innovation Partner of the Year for expertise in banking software solutions, for its understanding of the challenges faced in the development of digital solutions for finance and for attracting new customers into this area. The outlook for operations is good. TM Software, which specializes in the development of own software products and specialized software solutions, increased revenues by 14% compared with the same period last year. There was a solid demand for services and solutions in all three areas of health solutions, travel solutions and custom solutions. Significant emphasis has been placed on development efforts recently, both to strengthen existing products and create new ones. The project pipeline for the next months is robust and the outlook for operations is good. Tempo's revenue, which develops time tracking and management solutions, increased by 46% compared with the same quarter last year. The Company's income has increased continuously since its foundation, and last month, achieved its 10,000th customer, manufacturer Mercedes Benz, which purchase the entire Tempo suite for their operations in the United States. Mercedes Benz joins a growing group of automakers using Tempo solutions: BMW, Volkswagen, Mazda, Audi, Scania, Volvo and Skoda. Tempo has been expanding rapidly in recent months, looking to double the number of employees outside of Iceland by year-end. Tempo currently operates in Montreal and San Francisco, and is intending to open a new location in Europe in the coming months. The Company has more than 100 partners and distributors worldwide. Last year, Tempo undertook its largest development project, investing in infrastructure to make it possible to offer services via its own private cloud. Having completed this, more than 2000 customers have already signed up to Tempo’s cloud service and being able to offer cloud services increases the company's potential for increased revenue and a wider product range, including connection of Tempo products to other popular cloud solutions. Prospects are good, with expectations for continued similar revenue growth and ongoing development of Tempo's international operations. Operating prospects for Nyherji Group remain good, with anticipated continuing moderate growth of Nyherji revenues, both at a group and subsidiary level. The market value of the Company at the close of the first quarter 2017 was ISK 13.533 billion and closing share price at the end of the quarter was ISK 29.5 per share. There were 459 million issued shares on March 31, 2016 with 441 shareholders. A presentation for investors and analysts will be held on Friday, April 28th, 2017 at the Company's headquarters at Borgartun 37 in Reykjavik, commencing at 08:30 local time. Finnur Oddsson, Group CEO, will present the results, which will be streamed live via the company's website. The presentation of the meeting will be accessible at the company's website, www.nyherji.is, after the meeting. Scheduled publication dates for the financial year 2017: This interim statement was approved by Nyherji hf. on April 27th, 2017, in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). Nyherji hf. (NASDAQ OMX: NYHR.IC) is an established listed Nordic IT services provider with offices in Iceland and Sweden. For over two decades the company has been a world-class technology supplier, application developer, systems integrator, facilities manager and expert business process consultancy, with corporate roots that can be traced back to 1899 and the inception of “office machines”. Nyherji aims to be the technology partner of choice for businesses, from the smallest to the largest enterprises. With expertise in understanding and linking the needs of enterprise customers to competitive technology solutions, Nyherji uses its deep knowledge of mission-critical processes, hardware and application requirements, to focus on government and industries sectors with high support needs such as healthcare, financial services, logistics and aviation. The board comprises of Ivar Kristjansson, Chairman, Hildur Dungal, Emilia Thordardottir and Loftur Gislason, with Gudmundur Jonsson and Hjalti Thorarinsson as an alternate members; Finnur Oddsson is the Group CEO of Nyherji. For more information, please visit www.nyherji.is/english/investor-relations/. Statements in this press release that are not based on historical facts are forward-looking statements. Although such statements are based on management’s current estimates and expectations, forward-looking statements are inherently uncertain. We therefore caution the reader that there are a variety of factors that could cause business conditions and results to differ materially from what is contained in our forward-looking statements, and that we do not undertake to update any forward-looking statements. All forward-looking statements are qualified in their entirety by this cautionary statement.

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