News Article | February 15, 2017
Apple has taken its legal attack on Qualcomm’s patent licensing business global, filing two complaints in Chinese courts challenging the way Qualcomm gets paid for its cellular intellectual property. The move comes after Apple sued Qualcomm last week in San Diego federal court over its patent licensing, among other things. It comes on the heels of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission taking legal action on similar issues three days earlier. Qualcomm hasn’t seen the Chinese complaints but learned about them from a Beijing Intellectual Property Court press release, which says Apple is seeking $145 million in damages. Apple has yet to respond to an email seeking comment. In an earnings conference call with analysts on Wednesday, Qualcomm served up its most thorough defense to date against Apple’s claims. “Apple’s complaint contains a lot of assertions, but in the end this is a commercial dispute over the price of intellectual property,” said Qualcomm Chief Executive Steve Mollenkopf. “They want to pay less than the fair value that Qualcomm has established in the marketplace for our technology — even though Apple has generated billions in profits from using that technology.” Qualcomm has negotiated more than 250 licensing agreements over the years — including more than 100 in the past two years — that reaffirmed the value of its patents, said Mollenkopf. He added that Qualcomm’s intellectual property portfolio has expanded by thousands of patents over the past two decades, yet the company has never raised royalty rates. According to Qualcomm, Apple has been agitating for regulators to derail the San Diego company’s patent licensing business model. Starting last week, Apple joined the legal fray itself In the China lawsuits, Apple alleges a violation of China’s anti-monopoly law and the other requests a determination of the terms of a patent license between Qualcomm and Apple over cellular standard essential patents. In early 2015, Qualcomm paid a $975 million fine and lower patent royalty rates for certain smartphones sold only in China as part of a settlement with the National Development and Reform Commission – China’s anti-monopoly regulator. But the deal kept Qualcomm’s licensing business model intact. Qualcomm offered a patent license to Apple for Chinese sales based on terms of the NDRC settlement — which 120 Chinese devices makers have agreed to. Apple refused, claiming the San Diego company was still charging too much for key cellular patents. Qualcomm President Derek Aberle said Qualcomm cellular inventions enabled mobile services ranging from Uber to Snapchat, Instagram to WhatsApp, Spotify to Instagram, Siri to Google’s Assistant. “Apple has been among the largest beneficiaries of our efforts and investments by being able to easily enter the smartphone space with little or no investment in core technology,” said Aberle. Steven Re, president of Fairbanks Capital Management and a shareholder of both companies, said smartphone makers that have fought Qualcomm in the past over patents — such as Nokia — have seen competitors pass them by. He hopes Qualcomm continues to “take a strident stance against Apple.” “Qualcomm had a habit of working through these things and as long as their business model doesn’t change, they’ll pay some money or maybe a slightly lower royalty rate to whomever brought the most recent action,” said Re. “This time I detect more firmness on Qualcomm’s part. I think they are finally getting sufficiently disgusted with this.” Re added that Qualcomm could sue Apple for patent infringement. In the conference call with analysts, Qualcomm mentioned “patents that they obviously feel Apple is using” that are not included in licensing deals. In its lawsuits, Apple claims Qualcomm’s practice of charging royalties based on a percentage of the wholesale price of the entire smartphone — not the chips inside it — results in Qualcomm getting paid for technologies it has nothing to do with. Aberle said Qualcomm licensing agreements have per-smartphone royalty caps — perhaps as low as a couple hundred dollars — above which royalties aren’t applied. Apple’s average selling price for iPhones tops $600. Charging royalties based on the price of the device has been the practice in mobile and other industries for more than two decades. According to Qualcomm, it’s fair in part because low price smartphones use less of the Qualcomm’s extensive patent portfolio than more expensive devices like iPhones. Apple contends Qualcomm is withholding nearly $1 billion in royalty cap “rebates” to Apple in retaliation for Apple cooperating with South Korea’s anti-trust probe. Qualcomm says it did no such thing and doesn’t owe Apple money. Under Trump administration, FTC lawsuit against Qualcomm could disappear
News Article | February 13, 2017
All future foreign nuclear reactors to be 1200 MW or more (Press Trust India) The government has decided that all future foreign atomic reactors in India will have a capacity to generate 1200 MW and above, in a bid to augment nuclear power generation. “We already have foreign power plants with a capacity of 1000 MWs (Kudankulam). The technology too has advanced that we have reactors with such a capacity. If we are installing them, then might as well have reactors that can generate more power and make optimum use of it,” a senior government official said. The comment stirred immediate interest in the fate and future of plans for Westinghouse to build six AP1000 reactors for NPCIL. The Indian government recently agreed to increase the capacity of six AP-1000 reactors, to be built by USA’s Westinghouse Co in Kovvada in Andhra Pradesh, to 1208 MW each. The six proposed nuclear power reactors to be built by Areva in Jaitapur in Maharashtra will have capacity of 1650 MW each. According to sources, the second site to be allocated to the Russians at Kavali in Andhra Pradesh for its proposed nuclear power park will also have atomic reactors with an enhanced capacity of 1200 MW. The existing VVER reactors built by Russians at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu have a capacity of 1000 MW each. The first two units have been commissioned and Russia will build four more units at the site. Rostom is supply its 1200 MW models to Turkey where there are plans to build four of them at a coastal site. India’s plans for 1200 MW units will be little less than twice the capacity of indigenously developed Pressurized Heavy Water Reactors (PHWRs) in the country. The current PHWRs in operation have capacity to generate between 220 MW to 540 MW. The Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) is already constructing its indigenous PHRWs with a capacity of 700 MW. There could be political resistance to this decision. Some interests want India to only build indigenous designs and to keep foreign vendors out of the market. India’s coal mining interests have successfully blocked U.S. vendors from entering the market by supporting the supplier liability law. India faces a shortage of nuclear engineers and does not have a plant to make the large forgings needed to build reactor pressure vessels. Financing is going to be a problem. NPCIL does not have the funding and there are limits to financing from vendors like Westinghouse and Areva. The former is hobbled by the financial troubles of Toshiba, its parent firm. Areva has just been recapitalized by the French government, but is not in a position to finance six new reactors for India. India has explored getting financial support for the Westinghouse reactors from the U.S. Export-Import bank, but Congress is unlikely to raise the bank’s lending authority to cover the the estimated 20 billion, or more, in costs while faced with demands for investments for infrastructure in the nation’s roads and bridges at home. For Westinghouse to proceed with the project it will have to emerge from under the shadow of Toshiba’s financial troubles and settle its disputes with Chicago Bridge & Iron. The firm could thrive if it returns to a role of being a vendor of reactor technology rather than an integrated supplier and EPC firm. That process could take a year or two. (Economic Times) The Department of Atomic Energy will construct two Prototype Fast Breeder Reactors (PFBR) of 600 MW each at Kalpakkam in Tamil Nadu, besides the present one of 500 MW capacity which is expected to go fully functional by October. “All the construction activities of PFBR have been completed and the integrated commissioning activities have started. PFBR is expected to go fully functional by October 2017. The 500 MW PFBR, which is to be functional by October, will be the first PFBR in the world for commercial use. China’s First Haixang AP1000 To Begin Operation In 2020 (NucNet) The state-run China Daily reports that first nuclear reactor unit at the Haixang nuclear station in Hebei province, northeastern China, is expected to come online by 2020 and will use Westinghouse AP1000 reactor technology. The wire service said construction work began at Haixang last year, although the station is not yet listed in the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Power Reactor Information System (Pris) database. In 2014 the project company, China Nuclear Huadian Hebei Nuclear Power Company, said the proposed site has the capacity for six reactor units. The company said it is planning to build Westinghouse AP1000 units, but Westinghouse has not confirmed this or released any information about the project. Westinghouse is supplying eight of its AP1000 reactor units for new-build projects, four in the US and four in China – two at Sanmen and two at Haiyang – and says “dozens more” AP1000 plants are planned around the world. These plans may be disrupted by the financial collapses of Toshiba, its parent corporation. (Pittsburgh Post Gazette) Toshiba Corp., told shareholders to expect a multibillion-dollar impairment in Westinghouse’s value. The write-down is expected to be close to $6 billion and it stems from Westinghouse’s acquisition of a nuclear construction company in 2015. Late last month, Toshiba’s president and CEO, Satoshi Tsunakawa, told reporters that Toshiba is likely to exit the nuclear construction business outside of Japan, which would return Westinghouse to its role as a technology designer and service provider. The firm is expected to make a formal announcement in Tokyo on Feb 14. (NucNet) More than 30 GW of nuclear energy facilities will be under construction in China through the next five years with installed capacity of 58 GW by 2020, up 16.5% year on year, according to the country’s 13th Five-Year Plan for energy development, which the National Development and Reform Commission and the National Energy Administration have officially issued. For the targets to be reached China will have to build 7-10 reactors a year. China has 37 reactors in commercial operation, 20 under construction and four that have been approved. Its nuclear share of energy generation was 3.03% in 2015, with a target of 6% by 2020 and 9% by 2030. The country is racing to get rid of its coal fired power plants which are responsible, along with industrial pollution, for significant air quality problems in its major cities. China is also planning to build 30 reactors overseas by 2030. According to statistics quoted by Forbes magazine, Chinese construction costs per MW are about one-third of the Flamanville-3 EPR under construction in northern France. The Yangjiang-1 to Yangjiang-6 reactors in China’s southern province of Guangdong are costing about $1.9bn (€1.7bn) each. (WNN) US policymakers understand the potential impact of losing nuclear plants and states are increasingly recognizing the benefits of nuclear power to consumers, the economy and the environment, Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) CEO Maria Korsnick said at its annual briefing to Wall Street analysts Nuclear power is the “backbone” of the USA’s electricity system, providing sustained economic benefits, assuring grid reliability and supplying the country’s largest source of low-carbon energy, Korsnick said. The US nuclear fleet provides about 475,000 jobs and produces more than $12 billion annually in federal and state tax revenues, she added. Korsnick identified two challenges of immediate concern to the US nuclear industry: preserving its existing nuclear fleet, and creating policy conditions under which companies will build and develop new nuclear capacity. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) staff has completed their safety evaluation for a combined license for a proposed nuclear reactor at the North Anna site near Mineral, Virginia. The Final Safety Evaluation Report found no safety aspects that would preclude the issuance of the requested license. The NRC staff will provide the report and the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement to the Commission for the mandatory hearing phase of the licensing process, which will take place later this year. In the hearing, the Commission will determine if the staff’s review supports the findings required to issue a license. The Commission will then vote on whether to approve the license. Dominion Virginia Power submitted the license application on Nov. 26, 2007 to build an Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor (ESBWR) at the North Anna site. The NRC certified the design in 2014. The NRC’s Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards independently evaluated the safety aspects of the North Anna application. On Nov. 15, 2016, the committee provided the results of its review to the Commission. The NRC issued an Early Site Permit for North Anna in November 2007, and the agency supplemented the permit’s environmental review for the proposed North Anna reactor in March 2010. However, the utility has not announced plans to actually build the reactors. It joins DTE which also got an NRC license for an ESBWR for its FERMI III reactor near Detroit. The licenses are good for 20 years. (NucNet) UK-based Ultra Electronics has successfully completed acceptance testing of the NuScale power module protection system it is developing for US small modular reactor (SMR) developer NuScale Power. The UK-developed system is a critical safety component and will be fundamental to the operation of NuScale’s SMR technology. Factory acceptance tests were carried out at Ultra’s facility in Dorset, southern England, earlier this month. The tests – witnessed by representatives from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) – successfully demonstrated the systems’ ability to handle safety-critical scenarios associated with the operation of NuScale’s SMR technology. The results of the tests will now form part of the NRC’s review of NuScale’s design certification application. In December 2016, NuScale asked the NRC to review and approve its commercial SMR plant design – the first SMR technology developer to do so. NuScale said the unit will be ready for manufacture and deployment in the US and the UK by the mid-2020s. The first plant has been earmarked for a site at the US Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory. (WNN) Australian and Chinese researchers have made progress in understanding the mechanical properties of a new class of materials for use in molten salt reactors (MSRs). The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organization (Ansto) said that NiMo-SiC alloys – prepared from nickel molybdenum metal powders with added silicon carbide particles – have superior corrosion resistance and radiation damage resistance. Although there are no commercial MSRs in operation, there is an MSR and thorium energy research and development program at the Shanghai Institute of Applied Physics (Sinap), with which Antso has a partnership agreement. A number of Ni-MoSiC alloy specimens containing varying amounts of silicon carbide were prepared in Sinap laboratories before being characterized at Antso. “Structural materials for MSRs must demonstrate strength at high temperatures, be radiation resistant and also withstand corrosion,” Antso said. In a paper published in Materials and Design, researchers from the two organizations reported that NiMo-SiC alloys “possess superior mechanical properties owing to the precipitation, dispersion and solid-solution strengthening of the NiMo matrix.” (IEEE Spectrum) An ongoing operation to learn more about the melted nuclear fuel at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan may have helped the decommissioning project—estimated to take up to 40 years—reach an important milestone. Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the plant operator, said that a complicated maneuver employing a 10.5-meter-long telescopic rod with a pan-tilt camera attached has yielded images of a dark mass of rubble inside the containment vessel and under the reactor vessel that houses the nuclear fuel. The images are now being analyzed in an effort to ascertain what the material might be. “If the mass captured on camera is melted nuclear fuel, it would be a big step in helping the decommissioning work,” Yoshiyuki Ishizaki, executive vice president of TEPCO, said on 30 January, following the discovery. Should the presence of nuclear fuel be confirmed, nuclear engineers could then work up a strategy for removing the highly radioactive rubble. However, if the material proves to be part of the damaged pressure vessel, or remains of cables or pipes, then more robot-aided searches of the surrounding area—including the concrete base supporting the containment vessel—will be required.
News Article | October 4, 2016
India ratified the Paris climate agreement this week, officially underscoring its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Yet just two years after embarking on an ambitious campaign to scale up renewable energy, India is facing a curious problem: too much solar and wind power in some parts of the country. In July, for the first time, the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu was unable to use all the solar power it generated. Later in the month, Jayaram Jayalalitha, the chief minister of Tamil Nadu, wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to speed up the construction of an inter-state green energy corridor that would allow renewable power to be transmitted and used in other states instead of being wasted. And in August, Tarun Kapoor, India’s joint secretary of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, wrote a letter asking electricity regulators to fully utilize solar power following complaints that grid operators were letting renewable energy go to waste. As developing countries lead the world in renewable energy investment, India’s experience highlights a larger question: Will the grid be a major roadblock for renewable energy development across the developing world? From India to China to Chile, a significant portion of future renewable energy could go to waste without careful planning. Solar and wind only accounted for 3.5 percent of the power generated in India in 2015. But if the government achieves its ambitious targets for renewable energy deployment, the amount of solar and wind power on the grid could quadruple by 2022. Yet there are already signs that the grid’s ability to absorb these new power sources could be a major bottleneck for renewable energy growth in India, jeopardizing the country’s energy and climate goals. Although there is not clear national data, regulatory filings from Tamil Nadu, where the problem is thought to be the most extreme, put the curtailment rate for wind power between 33 percent and 50 percent -- an astonishingly high figure. The problem is, in part, a technical one. Solar and wind power are not as easy to control as traditional fossil fuel plants, so power grids need to become flexible enough to handle last-minute changes in power generation. Distance is also an issue. In India, six states in the western and southern regions account for 80 percent of all of the country’s currently installed solar capacity, but only 38 percent of power demand. For grid operators used to being able to turn fossil fuel plants on and off at will, these changes can take some getting used to. If new measures are not put into place to accommodate variable renewable energy sources, a situation can arise where the physical grid -- or the grid operator -- is unable to use solar and wind power when it becomes available. Other countries have already dealt with this problem with varying degrees of success. Germany and the U.S. have relatively high levels of solar and wind penetration and low curtailment rates, while China has had major issues with curtailment as the share of wind and solar in the energy mix increases. Indeed, China currently has more wind and solar power capacity than any other country in the world after scaling up very quickly. In the five years between 2010 and 2015, the share of solar and wind power generated in China quadrupled. Yet in 2015, the U.S. still produced more electricity from wind than China, despite having only 58 percent of China’s installed wind capacity. A large reason for this discrepancy is that much of China’s solar and wind power is wasted: 21 percent of wind power was curtailed in the first half of 2016 (with Gansu province reaching a 47 percent curtailment rate), and solar curtailment reached 11 percent in the first three quarters of 2015. Although China has been able to build out renewable energy capacity quickly over the past decade, it has taken much longer to develop the transmission infrastructure and make the institutional changes required to utilize all of this new power. How can India learn from China’s mistakes and rapidly scale up renewables without waste? Luckily, the challenge has not caught Indian policymakers by surprise. There are already a number of initiatives underway to help integrate renewables into the grid. Perhaps most important is that, unlike China, India already has a wholesale power market, which can provide much-needed flexibility for utilities to buy and sell power at short notice. There is also the aforementioned green energy corridor, a series of transmission lines that will connect states with excess renewable energy to areas where there is demand. And similar to China, solar and wind already have “must run” status, meaning that any power they generate should always be accepted by the grid. Yet even these steps may not be enough. A recent survey found that 31 percent of senior corporate leaders in Indian solar companies think that grid integration will be the biggest challenge for expanding solar in India going forward. The first priority for India when addressing this issue is to finish the green energy corridor and other new transmission lines so that renewable power can be transmitted where it is needed. There are significant power surpluses in some states and power deficits in others. For instance, Uttar Pradesh has a peak power deficit of 9.7 percent (meaning 9.7 percent of demand at peak times cannot be met with the power available in the state), whereas the bordering state of Madhya Pradesh has a peak power surplus of 8.3 percent. Yet the power connection between the two states was at full capacity 73 percent of the time in May 2016, meaning some surplus power in Madhya Pradesh may not have made it to Uttar Pradesh. Nationally, 10 percent of the power supply available on the short-term markets last year could not be used because of transmission constraints. New investment in inter-state power lines will help balance out such disparities. It is particularly important for India to attract private investment in these projects. The green energy corridor will cost an astounding USD $3.4 billion, and is funded in part by government funds and partially by a $1 billion loan from the Asian Development Bank and €1 billion loan from GiZ. But the public sector can only fund so many multibillion-dollar projects, and many state utilities are already in poor financial conditions. Private capital is projected to be required for 47 percent of infrastructure investment in India between 2012 and 2017. India’s planning commission has created a framework for public-private partnerships for transmission investment, but land acquisition and permitting are still major roadblocks for private developers hoping to complete a project on schedule. Reducing the time and cost of land acquisition will be essential to making infrastructure projects attractive to developers and unlocking the private capital needed to finance transmission lines. Second, focusing on deploying distributed energy technologies like rooftop solar can help increase the amount of renewable energy in use where new transmission lines are infeasible or too expensive. India hopes to get 40 percent of its solar capacity from rooftop solar by 2022, but the market has been slow to take off despite a 30 percent capital subsidy from the government. The barriers to rooftop solar deployment are often more institutional than technical. In China, slow subsidy disbursement and a lack of financing have caused rooftop solar deployment to fall short of government targets. In India, a recent survey found that 93 percent of senior corporate leaders in the Indian solar sector did not think the country would even reach half of its rooftop solar target by 2022, citing ineffective net metering policy, unavailable and expensive financing, and consumer awareness as top issues. There are a number of potential solutions: Training for distribution utilities unaccustomed to having customers generate their own electricity; streamlining the application and approval process; creating certifications to ensure installer quality; and even allowing rooftop solar systems to serve as backup power when the grid goes down. Quickly implementing such solutions can allow renewables to grow without worsening curtailment. Energy storage can also play an important role in reducing curtailment. The cost of storage is still a major barrier to mass adoption, but prices are dropping quickly. Moreover, Germany and Texas have achieved low curtailment rates with minimal energy storage and high renewable energy penetrations through improved grid planning and changes to the power market structure. Still, India is planning on installing 10 gigawatts of pumped hydro energy storage across the country to accommodate increased renewable energy penetration (China is taking similar measures to reduce curtailment). As the price of energy storage drops, it will become an increasingly compelling complement to variable renewable energy. Finally, India can look to other countries to find grid planning and operational solutions to help manage curtailment as renewable power scales up. One such change, highlighted in a recent Paulson Institute report on curtailment, is to create financial incentives against curtailing renewables. Currently, Indian solar and wind generators are not compensated for curtailment, and compensation should not be necessary because renewables have “must run” status. However, financial incentives can help reinforce such regulations when mandates alone are insufficient. China has had a similar experience with “must run” mandates: multiple policies have stated that solar and wind should always receive priority on the grid, but curtailment continues to be an issue because there are few penalties for ignoring this regulation. A recent regulation released by China’s National Development and Reform Commission requires that coal plant owners pay wind or solar plant owners whose energy is curtailed, creating a stronger incentive for grid operators to fully utilize renewables. An even simpler solution would be to compensate solar and wind projects for any curtailed energy at a fixed rate. This not only penalizes grid operators that choose to curtail renewables, but also provides more certainty for power producers when trying to forecast revenue. Even smaller changes to how the grid is operated can make a difference. In Texas, grid operator ERCOT shifted from 15-minute dispatch intervals on the intra-day market to 5-minute intervals, allowing for more granular planning around variable wind and solar power plants. (India currently uses 15-minute dispatch intervals.) ERCOT also shifted from targeting 0 percent curtailment to a maximum acceptable curtailment rate of 3 percent of annual renewable energy production -- a more cost-effective solution than trying to utilize every unit of electricity generated at peak times. Such institutional changes can provide flexibility to the grid without the high risk and cost of major new transmission and storage projects. India has already set a moonshot goal for renewable energy deployment that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago. Indeed, in the five years between Copenhagen and Paris, India went from being a hindrance to an enthusiastic participant to in the United Nation’s global climate negotiations. Yet a successful energy transition will require a broader change in the infrastructure and institutions that support renewables -- not just targets themselves. Jamie Manley is a program associate at the Paulson Institute.
News Article | February 21, 2017
BEIJING, CHINA--(Marketwired - Feb. 21, 2017) - Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) launched the Chinese edition of "Fixing the Future: How Canada's Usually Fractious Governments Worked Together to Rescue the Canada Pension Plan." Written by Bruce Little, Fixing the Future describes how Canada addressed the looming demographic crunch and its impact on the Canadian pension system in the mid-1990s. Today, the CPP Fund totals $300 billion and is projected to be sustainable for the next 75 years. CPPIB, the manager of the Fund, is a leading global institutional investor and invests in more than 45 countries through eight offices around the world. In the mid-1990s, the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) was underfunded and faced an uncertain future. Experts predicted that the CPP Fund would be exhausted by today, and a major overhaul was urgently needed to ensure the sustainability of the CPP for future generations of Canadian retirees. Canada's federal and provincial finance ministers made some difficult decisions and introduced a set of reforms to the CPP, including the creation of CPPIB, which effectively ended the funding crisis. "We are honoured to share Fixing the Future, the story of Canada's pension reform, with China," said Mark Machin, President & Chief Executive Officer, CPPIB. "Many of the issues that Canada faced in reforming their pension system are shared between our two countries. With China's pension reform now well under way, we hope that some of the lessons learned in Canada are of value to policymakers in China as they work to secure the pension system for many generations to come." On September 22, 2016, during the visit of Premier Li Keqiang to Canada, CPPIB's CEO, Mark Machin, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Xu Shaoshi, Chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission. Through this memorandum, CPPIB has agreed to assist Chinese policymakers in addressing the challenges of China's ageing population. The translation of Fixing the Future into Chinese is just one way CPPIB is delivering on this agreement. "Fixing the Future is inspiring to policymakers and academia in thinking about establishing a coordinated policy-making mechanism for the pension reform currently taking place in China. Demographics and pension management is an important subject for China's future, and we believe CPPIB's successful model will set a precedent for the academia and policymakers in China as they are striving to build a sustainable social security system," said Professor Zheng Bingwen, the translator of the book and Director of Center for International Social Security Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS). The new edition of Fixing the Future includes a foreword by the Right Honourable Paul Martin, former Prime Minister of Canada and federal Finance Minister, who was intimately involved in the reforms, and an afterword by renowned pension expert Keith Ambachtsheer. The Chinese edition also includes a foreword from Mr. Lou Jiwei, former Finance Minister of China and now Chairman of National Council for Social Security Fund, highlighting the relevance of the book to Chinese readers. The translated version of the book was launched at an event in Beijing, co-hosted by CPPIB, the Embassy of Canada to China, CASS Center for International Social Security Studies, China Human Resources and Social Security Publishing Group and China Council for the Promotion of International Trade. Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) is a professional investment management organization that invests the funds not needed by the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) to pay current benefits on behalf of 19 million contributors and beneficiaries. In order to build a diversified portfolio of CPP assets, CPPIB invests in public equities, private equities, real estate, infrastructure and fixed income instruments. Headquartered in Toronto, with offices in Hong Kong, London, Luxembourg, Mumbai, New York City, São Paulo and Sydney, CPPIB is governed and managed independently of the Canada Pension Plan and at arm's length from governments. At December 31, 2016, the CPP Fund totalled $298.1 billion. For more information about CPPIB, please visit www.cppib.com or follow us on LinkedIn or Twitter.
News Article | February 20, 2017
Den 27 april 2016 offentliggjorde HNA Tourism Group Co, Ltd. ("HNA Tourism Group") och Carlson Hospitality Group, Inc. ("Carlson Hospitality Group") att de ingått ett avtal gällande HNA Tourism Groups förvärv ("Förvärvet") av Carlson Hotels, Inc. ("Carlson Hotels"). I Förvärvet ingick 87 522 187 aktier i Rezidor som ägdes av Carlson Hotels, motsvarande 51,3% av utestående aktier och röster i Rezidor. Förvärvet fullbordades den 7 december 2016, vilket därmed medförde en skyldighet för HNA Tourism Group att lämna ett budpliktsbud avseende resterande utestående aktier i Rezidor. "För att finansiera budpliktsbudet, vilket för HNA utgör en utlandstransaktion, samt för att föra ut pengarna från Kina, krävs myndighetstillstånd från National Development and Reform Commission of the People's Republic of China ("NDRC") och Ministry of Commerce of the People's Republic of China ("MOFCOM"). Vidare måste HNA hos State Administration of Foreign Exchange ("SAFE") registrera det belopp som ska föras ut.
News Article | February 20, 2017
This press release has been published in English and Swedish. In the event of any discrepancy in content between the two language versions, the English version shall prevail. The Board of Rezidor recommends the shareholders to accept HNA Tourism Group's mandatory offer of SEK 34.86 per share This statement is made by the Board of Directors (the "Board") of Rezidor Hotel Group AB (publ) ("Rezidor") pursuant to section II.19 of Nasdaq Stockholm's Takeover Rules (the "Takeover Rules"). On April 27, 2016, HNA Tourism Group Co., Ltd. ("HNA Tourism Group") and Carlson Hospitality Group, Inc. ("Carlson Hospitality Group") announced that they had entered into an agreement regarding HNA Tourism Group's acquisition (the "Acquisition") of Carlson Hotels, Inc. ("Carlson Hotels"). The Acquisition included 87,552,187 shares in Rezidor owned by Carlson Hotels, corresponding to 51.3% of the outstanding shares and votes in Rezidor. The Acquisition was completed on December 7, 2016, and triggered an obligation for HNA Tourism Group to make a mandatory tender offer for the outstanding shares in Rezidor. On December 22, 2016, HNA Tourism Group, through its wholly-owned subsidiary HNA Sweden Hospitality Management AB ("HNA Sweden"), announced a mandatory cash tender offer to the shareholders of Rezidor to acquire all outstanding shares in Rezidor (the "Offer"). HNA Sweden offers SEK 34.86 in cash per share in Rezidor, subject to adjustment should Rezidor pay any dividend or make any other value transfer to shareholders prior to settlement of the Offer. The offer price is 6.3% below the closing price of the Rezidor share on Nasdaq Stockholm of SEK 37.20 on December 22, 2016, being the last trading day prior to the announcement of the Offer. The offered price corresponds to the volume-weighted average price for the Rezidor share during 20 trading days preceding the date of announcement of entering into the agreement regarding the Acquisition. According to HNA Tourism Group's announcement of the Offer, the offer price is the minimum price to be paid in the Offer in accordance with rulings received from the Swedish Securities Council (see rulings AMN 2016:10 and AMN 2016:27). Completion of the Offer is conditional upon the Offer, the settlement of the Offer and the acquisition of Rezidor receiving all necessary regulatory, governmental or similar clearances, approvals and decisions in each case, on terms that are acceptable to HNA Sweden. For more information about the Offer, see http://www.hnagroup.com/en/discl/HNA_Website2017/legal.html. In accordance with the provisions of the Takeover Rules, the Board has evaluated the Offer. The Board has engaged SEB Corporate Finance as financial advisor and Gernandt & Danielsson Advokatbyrå as legal advisor in relation to the Offer. The Board has further appointed DNB Markets to provide a fairness opinion in relation to the Offer. The Board unanimously recommends the shareholders to accept the Offer. The Offer does not reflect the value of Rezidor from a financial perspective. The recommendation is based on various assumptions and conclusions made by the Board, including: The position of the Board is supported by the fairness opinion provided by DNB Markets. The opinion, which is set forth in the appendix to this press release, concludes that the Offer is not fair from a financial point of view. Additional considerations and risks for the shareholders to consider before taking a decision whether or not to accept Despite unanimously recommending the shareholders not to accept the Offer, the Board is of the opinion that the uncertainties have increased following HNA Tourism Group's acquisition of the majority of the shares in Rezidor, including: The Board would also like to draw the shareholders' attention to the following features of the Offer: As regards the regulatory approval process, including the approvals that constitute a condition for the Offer, the Board notes the following statements made by HNA Tourism Group and the Swedish Securities Council in connection with the Swedish Securities Council ruling AMN 2016:27: "In order to finance the mandatory tender offer, which constitutes a foreign transaction for HNA Tourism Group, and to transfer the funds out from China to be used for the settlement of the Offer, approvals from the National Development and Reform Commission of the People's Republic of China ("NDRC") and the Ministry of Commerce of the People's Republic of China ("MOFCOM") are required. In addition, the State Administration of Foreign Exchange ("SAFE") must register the amount to be transferred. HNA Tourism Group intends to apply for approvals both from NDRC and MOFCOM before the completion of the Acquisition, that is, before the announcement of the Offer. Final approvals from NDRC and MOFCOM as well as a preliminary approval from SAFE are expected to be obtained before the completion of the Acquisition, that is, before the announcement of the Offer and no later than before the expiry of the acceptance period in the Offer. Final approval from SAFE to transfer the funds out from China cannot be obtained until the final settlement amount has been determined." It is not clear from HNA Tourism Group's announcement of the Offer whether the relevant approvals from NDRC and MOFCOM have been obtained, but since the Offer is subject to regulatory approvals it is the Board's understanding that the required approvals have not yet been obtained. Under the Takeover Rules, the Board is required, based on the statements made by HNA Tourism Group in connection with the Offer, to express its opinion on the effects the implementation the Offer may have on Rezidor, specifically employment, and its views on HNA Tourism Group's strategic plans for Rezidor and the effect these may be expected to have on employment and the places where Rezidor conducts its business. To that end, HNA Tourism Group has made the following statement in connection with the announcement of the Offer: "HNA Tourism Group views significant value on the competence of Rezidor's management and its employees. There are currently no decisions on any material changes to Rezidor's management or employees, including the terms of employment and locations of business." The Board cannot evaluate this but must assume that it is correct. ____________ This statement shall in all respects be governed by and construed in accordance with Swedish substantive law. Disputes arising from this statement shall be settled exclusively by Swedish courts. For further information, please contact: Staffan Bohman, acting chairman in relation to the Offer, through Jenny Winkler, Secretary of the Board, at tel: +32 2 702 9308. This information is information that Rezidor Hotel Group AB (publ) is obliged to make public pursuant to the Takeover Rules. The information was submitted for publication, through the agency of the contact person set out above, on February 20, 2017 at 7:30am CET.  Trudy Rautio, Wendy Nelson and David Berg have not, due to conflict of interest following the sale of Carlson Hotels to HNA Tourism Group, participated in the Board's processing of, or any other resolutions concerning, the Offer. According to a press release dated January 27, 2017, David Berg has with immediate effect resigned from his position as member of the Board. The remaining members of the Board, being Staffan Bohman, Anders Moberg, Charlotte Strömberg and Göran Larsson, have for the purposes of the offer appointed Staffan Bohman as chairman.  The Board has proposed a dividend of EUR 0.05 per share to be paid for the year ending December 31, 2016.  The Board notes the following statements made by HNA Tourism Group in connection with the announcement of the Offer: "If final regulatory approvals for the transfer of funds out from China to be used for settlement are not obtained before April 7, 2017, the settlement may be postponed until such final regulatory approvals have been obtained, in total up to nine months from the initiation of the acceptance period. Once the condition for the Offer is fulfilled or waived, HNA Sweden will be obligated to complete the Offer irrespective of whether the settlement is postponed."  These statements constitute English translations made by Rezidor and have, where relevant, been adjusted to match the defined terms used herein.
News Article | December 27, 2016
China is reducing the amount of money it pays to newly completed solar and wind power generators for their electricity, in order to reflect declines in construction costs, the country’s price regulator and economic planner said Monday. The nation will cut tariffs paid to solar farms by as much as 19 percent in 2017 from this year’s levels, and by as much as 15 percent for wind mills in 2018 from current prices, according to a statement posted on the National Development and Reform Commission’s website. The changes will help reduce subsidies paid to new photovoltaic and wind power projects by about 6 billion yuan ($863 million) annually, the NDRC said. The move comes as average solar panel prices have tumbled about 30 percent this year, according to data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, resulting in a lowering of the bids that solar developers offer to build projects. Prices of wind turbines also fell in 2016, according to London-based BNEF. U.S.-based wafer producer 1366 Technologies and "Silicon Module Super League" member Hanwha Q Cells have jointly hit a new record of 19.6% efficiency for cells using 1366's 'Direct Wafer' process. The record, independently confirmed by the Fraunhofer ISE CalLab, was achieved using 1366’s kerfless, drop-in 156-mm multicrystalline wafers using its ‘Direct Wafer’ method and Hanwha’s Q.ANTUM passivated emitter rear contact cell process. According to a 1366 Technologies statement, the Direct Wafer process creates multicrystalline wafers directly from molten silicon instead of taking several steps that require more energy and expense. The firm also claimed that its technology can be adopted by 60% of the PV market, without manufacturers having to add any new equipment. "Silicon Module Super League" member Trina Solar has set a new world record of 22.61% efficiency for a p-type mono-crystalline cell, with passivated emitter and rear cell technology at its State Key Laboratory of PV Science and Technology of China. The large-area 243.23 cm2 solar cell was fabricated on a large-sized boron-doped Cz-Si substrate. Last week, Trina Solar’s shareholders voted by a huge majority to back the company’s plan to pursue privatization and delisting from the New York Stock Exchange. Las Vegas Review-Journal: Rick Perry Mum on Nevada’s Yucca Mountain, But Has Backed Interim Solution President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for energy secretary, Rick Perry, is not saying whether he intends to push for a revival of plans to entomb the nation’s highly radioactive waste at Nevada’s Yucca Mountain. But Perry’s 14+ years as Texas governor might hold clues to his views, as he then supported creation of a temporary site in his state to store highly radioactive spent fuel piling up at nuclear power reactors there for decades. Applying that approach nationally could postpone a day of reckoning on Yucca Mountain or another permanent repository by 40 years or more, giving Nevada officials and other opponents additional time to muster political and scientific arguments against burying it in tunnels at the Nye County site. President Barack Obama defunded the Yucca Mountain project in 2011, and it has repeatedly been declared “dead” in recent days by outgoing Senate minority leader Harry Reid of Nevada. At a minimum, experts say it would take more than a decade and could cost $30 billion before the shuttered Yucca underground dump site could be licensed and start accepting the first waste shipment. Reuters: Toshiba May Book Big Loss on U.S. Nuclear Acquisition, Shares Plunge Toshiba Corp said on Tuesday it may book a goodwill impairment loss of several hundreds of billion yen on a U.S. nuclear power acquisition made by its Westinghouse division, sending its stock tumbling 12 percent. Toshiba did not specify a figure in its statement. Potential losses reported by domestic media have ranged from 100 billion yen to 500 billion yen ($850 million to $4.3 billion). Such a loss would deal another heavy blow to a sprawling conglomerate hoping to recover from a $1.3 billion accounting scandal as well as a writedown of more than $2 billion for its nuclear business in the last financial year. The potential loss relates to Chicago Bridge & Iron's nuclear construction business that Westinghouse acquired in December last year for $229 million.
News Article | February 28, 2017
PORTLAND, Ore.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Lattice Semiconductor Corporation (NASDAQ:LSCC) ("Lattice" or the "Company"), the leading provider of customizable smart connectivity solutions, today announced that its shareholders have approved the adoption of the agreement and plan of merger (the "Merger Agreement"), dated November 3, 2016, by and between Lattice, Canyon Bridge Acquisition Company, Inc. ("Canyon Bridge") and Canyon Bridge Merger Sub, Inc. ("Merger Sub"), and the merger of Merger sub with and into Lattice (the "Merger") upon the satisfaction or waiver of the remaining conditions to the closing of the Merger. It was announced at today's special meeting of Lattice shareholders that 77.83% of Lattice's outstanding shares were voted in favor of adoption of the Merger Agreement (0.18% of Lattice's outstanding shares were voted against the Merger Agreement, 0.09% abstained, and 21.90% did not vote). The Merger Agreement and the Merger were previously unanimously adopted and approved by the Company’s board of directors. On January 4, 2017, the Federal Trade Commission granted early termination of the waiting period for the Merger under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended. The Merger has also received approval from Austria’s Federal Competition Authority and China’s National Development and Reform Commission. In addition, Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. and Glass Lewis, two leading independent proxy voting and corporate governance advisory firms, had recommended Lattice Semiconductor’s shareholders vote “For” the adoption of the Merger Agreement. Darin G. Billerbeck, President and Chief Executive Officer, said, “Today’s shareholder vote is another resounding endorsement of the tremendous shareholder value the merger will unlock and the compelling strategic benefits to our Company, customers and employees. The process of obtaining approval from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) is well underway, and we look forward to continuing constructive discussions with the Committee in order to conclude the merger as soon as possible.” The foregoing paragraphs contain forward-looking statements that involve estimates, assumptions, risks and uncertainties. Any statements about our expectations, beliefs, plans, objectives, assumptions or future events or performance are not historical facts and may be forward-looking. Such forward-looking statements include statements relating to the anticipated benefits of the Merger, the process of obtaining approval from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), and the satisfaction or waiver of the other remaining conditions to the closing of the Merger. Other forward-looking statements may be indicated by words such as “will,” “could,” “should,” “would,” “may,” “expect,” “plan,” “project,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “forecast,” “future,” “believe,” “estimate,” “predict,” “propose,” “potential,” “continue” or the negative of these terms or other comparable terminology. Lattice believes the factors identified below could cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements. In addition to the foregoing, other factors that may cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements in this press release include disruptions of our business arising from the announcement and pendency of the Merger, global economic uncertainty, overall semiconductor market conditions, market acceptance and demand for our new products, the Company's dependencies on its silicon wafer suppliers, the impact of competitive products and pricing, technological and product development risks, the failure to achieve the anticipated benefits of the transaction and the changing leadership of the agencies comprising CFIUS and whether that will result in a change in the analytical rubric through which the transaction is evaluated. In addition, actual results are subject to other risks and uncertainties that relate more broadly to our overall business, including those risks more fully described in Lattice’s filings with the SEC including its annual report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended January 2, 2016, and Lattice’s quarterly reports filed on Form 10-Q. You should not unduly rely on forward-looking statements because actual results could differ materially from those expressed in any forward-looking statements. In addition, any forward-looking statement applies only as of the date on which it is made. The Company does not intend to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of events or circumstances after the date hereof or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events. Lattice Semiconductor (NASDAQ:LSCC) provides smart connectivity solutions powered by our low power FPGA, video ASSP, 60 GHz millimeter wave, and IP products to the consumer, communications, industrial, computing, and automotive markets worldwide. Our unwavering commitment to our customers enables them to accelerate their innovation, creating an ever better and more connected world. For more information about Lattice please visit www.latticesemi.com. You can also follow us via LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube or RSS. Lattice Semiconductor Corporation, Lattice Semiconductor (& design), and specific product designations are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Lattice Semiconductor Corporation or its subsidiaries in the United States and/or other countries. GENERAL NOTICE: Other product names used in this publication are for identification purposes only and may be trademarks of their respective holders.
News Article | October 3, 2016
China has seen its solar power bids fall to a record low in a recent auction held in the province of Inner Mongolia, which is rich in solar energy resources. According to media reports, the Chinese government conducted an auction for 1 gigawatt (GW) solar power capacity in the Inner Mongolia province. A total of 50 solar power project developers and module manufacturers successfully participated in the auction, which saw the record-low tariff of 7.8¢/kWh. This tariff bid is comparable to some of the costliest thermal power projects in China, indicating that higher competition in the country would expedite grid parity for solar power projects – as has been the case in other developing markets. Inner Mongolia is not only rich in solar resources but has ample land resources for the development of large-scale solar power projects, which could explain the low tariff bids. Inner Mongolia has seen curtailment of wind energy generation over the last few years due to lack of adequate transmission capacity. However, earlier this year, the National Development and Reform Commission mandated grid companies to purchase electricity from wind and solar power projects so as to let them function a set minimum hours in a year. China’s lowest-ever solar price bids are still higher than the lowest tariffs seen in other parts of the world. For example, Abu Dhabi recently saw a world-record-low solar bid of 2.42¢/kWh while Chile allocated solar power contracts at 2.91¢/kWh a bit earlier. Buy a cool T-shirt or mug in the CleanTechnica store! Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech daily newsletter or weekly newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.
News Article | December 26, 2016
China is reducing the amount of money it pays to newly completed solar and wind power generators for their electricity, in order to reflect declines in construction costs, the country's price regulator and economic planner said Monday. The nation will cut tariffs paid to solar farms by as much as 19 percent in 2017 from this year's levels, and by as much as 15 percent for wind mills in 2018 from current prices, according to a statement posted on the National Development and Reform Commission's website.