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News Article | April 20, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

In one of the first studies to assess the relationship between a country's Press Freedom Index and its stock market characteristics, researchers at the University of Luxembourg have highlighted how press freedom is linked to stock market volatility, and why this is beneficial for the overall economy. In their paper "Press Freedom and Jumps in Stock Prices" published in Economic Systems, Prof. Thorsten Lehnert and PhD candidate Sara Abed Masror Khah from the Luxembourg School of Finance conclude that the free circulation of information in a country can lead to more volatile stock prices due to more frequent price jumps. At the same time however, countries with greater press freedom are known to experience more economic growth. The authors analysed the relationship between press freedom, measured by the Press Freedom Index (PFI) published annually by Reporters without Borders, and stock market characteristics, using data from a balanced panel of 50 countries. In "free" environments, news and information are broadly available and are picked up immediately by markets. This leads economic agents, such as households, companies, investors or politicians, to become better processors of information. On the other hand, in "unfree" environments, in which governments usually have tight control on the media, economic news can be withheld or their dissemination delayed leading to fewer sudden impacts on the stock market. However, press restriction is not in fact positive for the overall economy. As Prof. Lehnert explains: "Press freedom in a country contributes positively to what economists would call the 'good' volatility of stock markets. This refers for instance to conditions that make it advantageous for firms to take risks that is necessary to greater economic growth. This is why it should certainly not be understood as an argument to reduce the freedom of press. On the contrary, freedom of press creates more welfare and economic growth." Prof. Lehnert and Sara Abed Masror Khah also refer to an interesting relationship between press freedom and economic crises. Several member states of the European Union have seen their PFI ranking drop significantly since the 2008 financial crisis. Greece, for example, dropped 64 places between 2009 and 2013, when it fell on the 99th position of 180 countries assessed. Hungary, too, saw its PFI drop by 41 places, from 25 in 2009 to 64 in 2013. Luxembourg, on the other hand, a politically stable country, which was less affected by the crisis, initially ranked 20th in 2009, but steadily improved its ranking to 4th place in 2013. "Despite creating some volatility on stock markets, a free press is not only good for the overall economy but is an essential part of democratic societies and policymakers should encourage an independent and fair press", concludes Prof. Lehnert.


JAKARTA, Indonesia--(BUSINESS WIRE)--CT Corp and U.S.-headquartered Prudential Financial, Inc. (PFI) (NYSE: PRU), have created a joint venture to provide life insurance solutions to a broad spectrum of people in Indonesia through a multi-channel distribution strategy, the companies announced today. Under the recently closed agreement, which has been approved by the OJK in Indonesia, PFI subsidiary Pruco Life Insurance Company has acquired a 49 percent interest in CT Corp’s wholly-owned life insurance subsidiary, PT Asuransi Jiwa Mega Indonesia. “ We’re pleased to partner with CT Corp, which controls one of Indonesia’s largest and most prominent business groups, as we enter this market for the first time to introduce our offerings and capabilities to serve the needs of the Indonesian market,” said Charles Lowrey, executive vice president and chief operating officer of PFI’s International businesses. “ The partnership advances our business growth strategy by expanding PFI’s international footprint into an attractive market with long-term growth potential, low insurance penetration and a well-developed regulatory environment.” Lowrey added, “ We believe CT Corp’s customer reach and strong brand presence, together with PFI’s longstanding insurance and asset management expertise—supported by our operational and technological processes, product innovation, risk management and talent—will expand options for Indonesia’s growing middle class to gain financial protection for their families.” As a global leader in financial protection, retirement and asset management, PFI’s businesses work toward making long-term financial security a reality for millions of people around the world. The company serves retail and institutional customers in more than 40 countries worldwide, including Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, China, Malaysia and India. As of Dec. 31, 2016, the company had approximately $3.7 trillion of gross life insurance in force worldwide, including Closed Block policies. Chairul Tanjung, chairman and founder of CT Corp, highlighted that “ the need for life insurance is increasing as disposable income, life expectancy and financial literacy improves in Indonesia. PFI’s strong products and operational capabilities combined with CT Corp’s extensive presence and deep understanding of the local market will help provide better protection to our people and in turn strengthen the social and economic potential of Indonesia.” Founded in 1987, CT Corp is the largest Indonesian consumer-focused company, managing more than $10 billion in assets and more than 100,000 employees. The group is a leading player in the financial services, media, retail, property, lifestyle and entertainment sectors in Indonesia. Indonesia has the third largest population in Asia and the fourth largest population globally with average annual GDP growth of 5.3 percent over the last 15 years. While life insurance premiums in the country are projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 13 percent between 2015-2020, penetration remains relatively low at 1.3 percent of GDP, which is one-third the penetration in Malaysia and half the penetration in India. PFI is a financial services leader with more than $1 trillion of assets under management as of March 31, 2017, has operations in the United States, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. The company’s diverse and talented employees are committed to helping individual and institutional customers grow and protect their wealth through a variety of products and services, including life insurance, annuities, retirement-related services, mutual funds and investment management. In the U.S., the company’s iconic Rock symbol has stood for strength, stability, expertise and innovation for more than a century. For more information about PFI, please visit news.prudential.com Prudential Financial, Inc. (PFI), of the United States, and its subsidiaries are not affiliated in any manner with Prudential plc, a company incorporated in the United Kingdom. CT Corp is Indonesia’s leading integrated consumer-focused business group. Primary areas of focus include financial services, media, retail, property, lifestyle, and entertainment. The group operates some of the country’s leading television stations, banks, insurance companies, online portals, hotels, theme parks, malls, travel agencies, fashion and F&B retail businesses. Its prominent businesses include Bank Mega, the largest Visa credit card issuer; Carrefour and TRANSMart, the largest hypermarket player; Trans TV and Trans 7, two leading free-to-air channels; TransVision, the #2 DTH pay TV provider; and Detik.com, the #1 online portal in Indonesia. The group is also the largest private shareholder of Garuda Indonesia, the country’s flagship carrier. For more information about CT Corp, please visit: http://www.ctcorpora.com.


News Article | May 12, 2017
Site: www.greencarcongress.com

« Study finds fleet switch from PFI to GDI engines will result in net reduction in global warming | Main | Team develops electroplating method for Li-ion cathode production; high performance and new form factors, functionalities » Researchers at Brunel University London are developing a new generation of ultra-light car parts that will reduce fuel costs and carbon emissions. The three-year, £7.5-million (US$9.6-million) project is a partnership driven by Brunel Centre for Advanced Solidification Technology (BCAST), Jaguar Land Rover and others. Liquid metal engineering experts will work on it from Brunel’s Advanced Metals Casting Centre (AMCC) and Advanced Metals Processing Centre (AMPC) at its Uxbridge campus in West London. The aim is to perfect incredibly light, thin-walled aluminium die-cast parts for future Jaguar Land Rover vehicles, which could be used for shock absorption, chassis parts or door closures. With BCAST bridging the gap between fundamental research and industry application, they hope to help create lighter vehicles and reduce fuel costs and emissions. The research venture is partly funded by the government and by project partners, with £3.7 million (US$4.8 million) from the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC). The project is one of seven sharing a massive £62-million (US$80-million) APC cash injection to make the UK a global leader in low-emissions technology


LOMBARD, Ill.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--RaddonSM, a Fiserv® company and provider of innovative research, insightful analysis and strategic guidance to financial institutions, has published research that shows the majority of small businesses are planning for growth, which they anticipate funding through lines of credit and business loans. According to the Raddon Research Insights: Winning Small Business Customers study, 79 percent of small businesses plan to grow over the long term, which could create lending opportunities for financial institutions. ”When looking for a loan small businesses tend to look to their primary financial institution, so attracting small business deposit accounts can serve as the entry point for future loan business,” said Bill Handel, vice president of research, Raddon. “Financial institutions can win small business customers by demonstrating that they understand business owners’ challenges, have the expertise these customers need, and can deliver the technology and service to help small businesses grow.” Of the 79 percent of small businesses planning for growth, about a third (38 percent) said they plan to use a business line of credit for funding, whereas 22 percent said they plan to use a business loan. These percentages rise to 50 percent for a business line of credit and 26 percent for a business loan among larger small businesses with $2 million to $10 million in annual sales. When it comes to deciding whether to use a financial institution’s services, small business customers of major banks were the most likely to cite technology as a factor in the decision. Among small business customers that use a major bank as their primary financial institution (PFI), 66 percent indicate the technology resources available at the institution influenced their decision to use the bank, with 29 percent saying it strongly influenced their decision. Small businesses with a credit union as their PFI also showed a significant interest in technology, with 42 percent saying technology influenced their decision and 16 percent saying it was a strong influence. Although 91 percent of small business customers still make branch visits in a typical month, technology is starting to reduce branch traffic. Forty-two percent of small businesses indicated they now use branch lobbies and drive-ups less frequently due to the availability of online banking, mobile banking, and remote deposit. Looking forward, one in three small businesses (36 percent) think technologies such as mobile and online banking could potentially replace their need for a branch office of their PFI near their place of business. While major banks currently control the small business market with 68 percent of primary financial institution relationships, there are opportunities for community-based financial institutions to serve more small businesses, with small business owners indicating a likelihood to work with such institutions in the future. Over 50 percent of small businesses that currently do not use a community bank for their primary or secondary institution said they were extremely or very likely to consider using a community bank in the future, and 38 percent said the same for a credit union. The research in the Raddon Research Insights: Winning Small Business Customers study was gathered from semiannual surveys conducted in 2014, 2015 and 2016. Each survey of approximately 1,200 small business owners was conducted via an online questionnaire administered through a national online panel of small businesses, with respondents qualified by having decision-making responsibility for financial services for their company. An Executive Summary of the research is available at https://fisv.co/raddonsmallbizinsights and the full 49-page report can be purchased at raddon.com. Raddon will host a webinar on the study on June 8, 2017 for purchasers of the report. Raddon, a Fiserv company, has been providing financial institutions with research-based solutions since 1983. Raddon works exclusively with financial institutions and has a unique understanding of the industry, resulting in the ability to apply practical know-how to the challenges and opportunities financial institutions face. Raddon combines best practices in research and analysis with consulting and technology solutions to help institutions achieve sustainable growth and improve financial performance. Fiserv, Inc. (NASDAQ:FISV) enables clients worldwide to create and deliver financial services experiences that are in step with the way people live and work today. For more than 30 years, Fiserv has been a trusted leader in financial services technology, helping clients achieve best-in-class results by driving quality and innovation in payments, processing services, risk and compliance, customer and channel management, and insights and optimization. Fiserv is a member of the FORTUNE® 500 and has been named among the FORTUNE Magazine World's Most Admired Companies® for four consecutive years, ranking first in its category for innovation in 2016 and 2017. For more information, visit fiserv.com.


« Visedo and TECO partner on heavy vehicle electric motors | Main | Study finds fleet switch from PFI to GDI engines will result in net reduction in global warming » Groupe PSA, Direct Energie, Enel, Nuvve, Proxiserve and the Technical University of Denmark have launched the GridMotion project with the aim of evaluating possible savings achieved by real-life electric vehicle (EV) users through the implementation of smart charging and discharging strategies for EVs. An electric vehicle driver’s electricity bill could be reduced, with no impact on transportation use, by shifting charging times from periods when electricity prices are higher to periods when electricity prices are lower. Even further savings could be achieved by providing grid balancing services through a Vehicle to Grid (V2G) system. The 2-year GridMotion demo project will evaluate the savings EV users could achieve under real-life conditions with the implementation of smart charging and discharging. The project will be carried out with two complementary types of users: 50 Peugeot iOn, Partner Electric, Citroën C-ZERO or Berlingo owners will test “smart” unidirectional charging, in line with their mobility needs, when electricity prices are generally lower, such as night-time in France; and a fleet of 15 B2B EV Peugeot iOn or Citroën C-ZERO vehicles with Enel bidirectional charging stations testing “smart” charging and discharging (V2G services). This fleet will provide grid balancing services through short charging and discharging1 cycles, again carried out in line with mobility needs. Charging is expected to be carried out when there is surplus electricity supply on the grid, while discharging is expected to be carried out when there is surplus electricity demand on the grid. The project partners are looking for volunteers to start the experiment. Participants should be based in France and own a Peugeot or Citroën electric vehicle produced from January 2015 onwards. Plug-in vehicle (PEV) sales grew by 42% between 2015 and 2016 worldwide. This growth, fostered by technological improvements, falling prices and increasing pressure on air pollution, is expected to accelerate in the coming years. The GridMotion project is seeking to demonstrate how PEVs harness demand response and ancillary services to have a beneficial impact on grid stability and user income.


Looking forward, under an optimistic forecast with rising interest rates (reaching 4.28% by the end of 2017 and 4.88% by the end of 2018) and asset gains (11.0% annual returns), the funded ratio would climb to 93% by the end of 2017 and 107% by the end of 2018.  Under a pessimistic forecast (3.48% discount rate at the end of 2017 and 2.88% by the end of 2018 and 3.0% annual returns), the funded ratio would decline to 80% by the end of 2017 and 73% by the end of 2018. To view the complete Pension Funding Index, go to http://us.milliman.com/PFI. To see the 2017 Milliman Pension Funding Study, go to http://us.milliman.com/PFS/. To receive regular updates of Milliman's pension funding analysis, contact us at pensionfunding@milliman.com. About Milliman Milliman is among the world's largest providers of actuarial and related products and services. The firm has consulting practices in healthcare, property & casualty insurance, life insurance and financial services, and employee benefits. Founded in 1947, Milliman is an independent firm with offices in major cities around the globe.  For further information, visit milliman.com. About the Milliman Pension Funding Study For the past 17 years, Milliman has conducted an annual study of the 100 largest defined benefit pension plans sponsored by U.S. public companies. The results of the Milliman 2017 Pension Funding Study are based on the pension plan accounting information disclosed in the footnotes to the companies' annual reports for the 2016 fiscal year and for previous fiscal years. These figures represent the GAAP accounting information that public companies are required to report under Financial Accounting Standards Board Accounting Standards Codification Subtopics 715-20, 715-30, and 715-60. In addition to providing the financial information on the funded status of their U.S. qualified pension plans, the footnotes may also include figures for the companies' nonqualified and foreign plans, both of which are often unfunded or subject to different funding standards from those for U.S. qualified pension plans. The information, data, and footnotes do not represent the funded status of the companies' U.S. qualified pension plans under ERISA. To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/milliman-analysis-declining-discount-rates-drive-corporate-funded-status-down-by-10-billion-in-april-300455440.html


« Groupe PSA and partners launch GridMotion; reducing electric vehicle usage cost with smart charging | Main | Brunel team working to develop next-generation light, thin-walled aluminum die-cast parts » A new study quantifying emissions from a fleet of gasoline direct injection (GDI) engines and port fuel injection (PFI) engines finds that the measured decrease in CO emissions from GDIs is much greater than the potential climate forcing associated with higher black carbon emissions from GDI engines. Thus, the researchers concluded, switching from PFI to GDI vehicles will likely lead to a reduction in net global warming. The study, by a team of researchers from Carnegie Mellon University, University of Georgia, Aerodyne Research, California Air Resources Board (ARB), Ohio State University, UC Berkeley, and UC San Diego is published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology. Gasoline direct-injection (GDI) engines have higher fuel economy compared to the more widely used port fuel injection (PFI) engines. Although real-world fuel economy improvements from GDI technology alone are close to 1.5%, they can reach 8% by downsizing and turbocharging the engine, which can be achieved on GDI engines without loss of power compared to PFI engines. As a result, the market share of GDI-equipped vehicles has increased dramatically over the past decade and is expected to reach 50% of new gasoline vehicles sold in 2016. Widespread adoption of new engine technologies raises concerns about changes in emissions and their effects on air quality and the climate. Recent studies have compared emissions of PFI and GDI vehicles, including particle number and mass, gaseous pollutants, and nonmethane organic gas (NMOG) composition for a limited number of compounds. However, many of these studies only tested very small fleets (including single vehicles), making it difficult to draw conclusions about the effects of widespread adoption of GDI vehicles on the aggregate emissions from the entire vehicle fleet because of the vehicle-to-vehicle variability in tailpipe emissions. There is substantial variability in vehicle-to-vehicle emissions due to differences in engine design (PFI, spray-guided GDI, wall-guided GDI, etc.), engine calibration (spark timing, valve timing, etc.), emission control technologies, and vehicle age and maintenance history. … The EPA GHG program is aimed at reducing tailpipe CO emissions. The increased fuel economy of GDI engines means lower CO emissions per mile; however, higher BC [black carbon] emissions (the most-potent absorptive agent of anthropogenic PM) could potentially offset any climate benefits of reduced CO emissions.… In this study, we present a comprehensive database of emissions from a fleet of GDI- and PFI-equipped light-duty gasoline vehicles tested on a chassis dynamometer over the cold-start unified cycle (UC). Measurements include gas- and particle-phase emissions, particle number, particle size distributions, and speciated NMOG emissions. We use the data to quantify the effects of engine technology, emission standards, and cold-start on emissions. We estimate ozone and SOA formation potential. Finally, we analyze the potential climate effects of switching a PFI to a GDI fleet. For the study, the team collected data from 82 light-duty gasoline vehicles spanning a wide range of model years (1988−2014); vehicle types (passenger cars and light-duty trucks); engine technologies (GDI and PFI); emission certification standards (Tier1 to SULEV), and manufacturers. All the vehicles were tested using commercial gasoline that met the summertime California fuel standards. Among the findings from the study: For vehicles certified to the same emissions standard, there is no statistical difference of regulated gas-phase pollutant emissions between PFIs and GDIs. However, GDIs had, on average, a factor of 2 higher particulate matter (PM) mass emissions than PFIs due to higher elemental carbon (EC) emissions. SULEV-certified GDIs have a factor of 2 lower PM mass emissions than GDIs certified as ultralow-emission vehicles (3.0 ± 1.1 versus 6.3 ± 1.1 mg/mi), suggesting improvements in engine design and calibration. Comprehensive organic speciation revealed no statistically significant differences in the composition of the volatile organic compounds emissions between PFI and GDIs, including benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes (BTEX). Therefore, the secondary organic aerosol and ozone formation potential of the exhaust does not depend on engine technology. Cold-start contributes a larger fraction of the total unified cycle emissions for vehicles meeting more-stringent emission standards. Organic gas emissions were the most sensitive to cold-start compared to the other pollutants tested. There were no statistically significant differences in the effects of cold-start on GDIs and PFIs. For our fleet, increases in the fuel economy of 1.6% (0.5−2.4%; 95% confidence interval) are sufficient to offset warming due to increased BC emissions from GDIs. This is much lower than the measured 14.5% increase in fuel economy between PFIs and GDIs. Therefore, our data suggest that there will be a net climate benefit associated with switching from PFIs to GDIs, similar to previous results. However, the increased BC emissions from GDIs reduces their potential climate benefits by 10−20%. This reduction is likely larger in the real world because our increase in fuel economy (14.5%) between GDIs and PFIs is larger than that reported for on-road measurements.


News Article | February 27, 2017
Site: www.businesswire.com

Antoine Frérot, Veolia Environnement’s Chairman & CEO commented: “2016 represents another year of strong results growth for Veolia. Our margins have continued to improve and we achieved net free cash flow of nearly €1 billion. Revenue also improved significantly in the fourth quarter, with 1.9% growth at constant exchange rates. These good results were achieved due to the efforts of each and every one of our Group’s employees, and I would like to thank them. At the end of 2015, we presented our 3-year development plan. It is based on controlled and profitable growth and accompanied by continued cost reduction efforts. Our ambition remains intact. The last quarter of 2016 showed that Veolia has demonstrated the capacity to generate growth and I wish to further accelerate growth by committing additional resources. In addition, our business situation has toughened during recent months. In order to finance reinforced commercial efforts and address this new reality, we are intensifying our cost savings program to drive €800 million in savings over the 2016-2018 period compared with the previous expectation of €600 million. These additional efforts will enable Veolia to continue on the path of profitable growth.” By business, and at constant exchange rates, Water revenue declined by 1.5% to €11,138 million due to lower construction revenue, while Waste revenue increased 0.5% to €8,401 million given a 0.6% increase in revenue due to higher volumes and service price increases of 0.8%. Energy revenue increased 0.4% to €4,851 million, including the impact of lower energy prices, as well as a slightly favorable weather effect (+€35 million) and good volumes in China. Excluding the impact of lower energy prices and construction revenue, each business increased revenue at constant exchange rates by +1.8%, +1.6% and +3.2%, respectively.The reinforcement of the percent of revenue generated by industrial clients continues, representing 45% of 2016 revenue compared with 44% in 2015. * At constant exchange rates ** Equivalent to €3.4bn to €3.6bn (excluding IFRIC 12) and before taking into account the unfavorable exchange rate impacts recorded in 2016 Definitions of all financial indicators used in this press release can be found at the end of this document. Veolia group is the global leader in optimized resource management. With over 174,000 employees worldwide, the Group designs and provides water, waste and energy management solutions that contribute to the sustainable development of communities and industries. Through its three complementary business activities, Veolia helps to develop access to resources, preserve available resources, and to replenish them. In 2015, the group Veolia supplied 100 million people with drinking water and 63 million people with wastewater service, produced 63 million megawatt hours of energy and converted 42.9 million metric tons of waste into new materials and energy. Veolia Environnement (listed on Paris Euronext: VIE) recorded consolidated revenue of €25.0 billion in 2015. www.veolia.com Veolia Environnement is a corporation listed on the Euronext Paris. This press release contains “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance. Actual results may differ materially from the forward-looking statements as a result of a number of risks and uncertainties, many of which are outside our control, including but not limited to: the risk of suffering reduced profits or losses as a result of intense competition, the risk that changes in energy prices and taxes may reduce Veolia Environnement’s profits, the risk that governmental authorities could terminate or modify some of Veolia Environnement’s contracts, the risk that acquisitions may not provide the benefits that Veolia Environnement hopes to achieve, the risks related to customary provisions of divesture transactions, the risk that Veolia Environnement’s compliance with environmental laws may become more costly in the future, the risk that currency exchange rate fluctuations may negatively affect Veolia Environnement’s financial results and the price of its shares, the risk that Veolia Environnement may incur environmental liability in connection with its past, present and future operations, as well as the other risks described in the documents Veolia Environnement has filed with the Autorités des Marchés Financiers (French securities regulator). Veolia Environnement does not undertake, nor does it have, any obligation to provide updates or to revise any forward looking statements. Investors and security holders may obtain from Veolia Environnement a free copy of documents it filed (www.veolia.com) with the Autorités des Marchés Financiers. This document contains "non‐GAAP financial measures". These "non‐GAAP financial measures" might be defined differently from similar financial measures made public by other groups and should not replace GAAP financial measures prepared pursuant to IFRS standards.. FINANCIAL INFORMATION FOR THE YEAR ENDING DECEMBER 31, 2016 Under concession contracts with local authorities, infrastructure is accounted, as appropriate, as an intangible asset, a financial receivable, or a combination of the two. Veolia may have a payment obligation vis-a-vis the grantor to utilize the associated assets. In July 2016, IFRIC published a verdict regarding these payments and concluded that in the case of fixed payments required by the operator, an asset and a liability should be recorded (intangible model) Veolia identified the contracts concerned and will apply the new IFRIC 12 measures retroactive to 1/1/2015. The most significant contracts concerned are our water concessions in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. RECONCILIATION OF 2015 AND 2016 FIGURES EXCLUDING AND INCLUDING IMPACTS OF THE ADOPTION OF THE IFRIC 12 INTERPRETATION Revenue, net free cash flow and net financial debt are not impacted by the adoption of the IFRIC 12 interpretation. The data for the year ended December 31, 2016, presented in this press release do not include the impact of the re-presentations relating to the adoption of the IFRIC 12 interpretation. (1) Including the share of current net income of joint ventures and associates viewed as core Company activitie (2) See definition in Appendix (3) Subject to the approval of General Shareholders’ Meeting of April 20, 2017 The main foreign exchange impacts were as follows: C] INCOME STATEMENT EXCLUDING THE IMPACT OF IFRIC 12 Group consolidated revenue stood at €24,390.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2016, compared to €24,964.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2015, a decrease of -0.4% at constant exchange rates. Excluding Construction revenue 5 and the impact of lower energy prices, revenue increased +2.0% at constant exchange rates. Revenue posted an upturn of +1.9% at constant exchange rates in the 4th quarter (after -2.1% in the 1st quarter, +0.1% in the 2nd quarter, and -1.7% in the 3rd quarter at constant exchange rates), reflecting the Group’s return to growth. Excluding Construction and the impact of energy prices, 4th quarter revenue rose by +3.4% at constant exchange rates (compared to +1.2% in the 1st quarter, +1.9% in the 2nd quarter, and +1.6% in the 3rd quarter). The municipal sector generated 55% of 2016 revenue (i.e. around €13 billion), and the industrial sector generated 45% (i.e. around €11 billion). The change in revenue between 2015 and 2016 breaks down by main impact as follows: The foreign exchange impact on revenue amounted to -€473.2 million (-1.9% of revenue) and mainly reflects fluctuations in the value of the euro against the U.K. pound sterling (-€275.8 million), the Argentine peso (-€90.6 million), the Japanese yen (+€43.9 million), the Polish zloty (-€38.9 million), the Mexican peso (-€27.3 million), and the Chinese renminbi (-€29.2 million). The decrease in Construction revenue (-€484 million, representing -1.9% of Group revenue) essentially concerns Veolia Water Technologies and SADE for -€345 million, as well as the completion of construction work on the Leeds and Shropshire PFI incinerators in the United Kingdom (-€80 million). Group revenue was affected by the decline in energy prices (-0.5%), primarily in the United States and in Central Europe. The positive business momentum (Commerce/Volumes and scope impact) of +€423 million was due to: Favorable price effects were the result of tariff indexations that remain positive, although moderate, and the favorable price impact from recycled materials (+€15 million, particularly paper). The revenue trend in the 4th quarter of 2016 was marked by a turnaround, driven by the growth of Europe excluding France and the Rest of the world: Revenue in France for the year ended December 31, 2016 was €5,417.7 million, down by -1.0% compared with the prior year. Excluding the impact of Construction activities and energy prices, revenue decreased -0.9%. Revenue in the Europe excluding France segment for the year ended December 31, 2016 amounted to €8,286.3 million, up +0.1% at constant exchange rates compared to the year ended December 31, 2015. Revenue posted an upturn of +1.5% at constant exchange rates in the 4th quarter, after virtual stability throughout the year: -0.9% in the 1st quarter, +0.3% in the 2nd quarter, and -0.6% in the 3rd quarter. Excluding the impact of Construction activities and energy prices, revenue increased +2.3% at constant exchange rates for the year. This increase breaks down as follows: Revenue in the Rest of the World segment for the year ended December 31, 2016 was €6,028.4 million, up +3.7% at constant exchange rates compared to the year ended December 31, 2015. After a decrease of -2.4% at constant exchange rates in the 1st quarter, revenue continuously improved throughout the year: +1.9% in the 2nd quarter, +6.3% in the 3rd quarter, and +9.1% in the 4th quarter. Excluding the impact of Construction activities and energy prices, Rest of the World revenue increased +5.0% at constant exchange rates. Rest of the World revenue reflects solid growth across the region, with the exception of Australia: The good growth in the Rest of the World segment was offset by lower revenue in Australia (-3.1% at constant exchange rates). In the Waste business, the increase in collection and treatment activities only partially offset the fall in industrial services. The Global Businesses segment reported revenue of €4,626.2 million for year the ended December 31, 2016, down -4.1% at constant exchange rates compared to the year ended December 31, 2015. After a decrease of -5.2% at constant exchange rates for the nine months period ended September 30, 2016, the decline in 4th quarter revenue was less significant at -1.1% at constant exchange rates. Excluding the impact of Construction activities and energy prices, revenue increased +3.0% at constant exchange rates. The change in revenue was mainly due to: Water revenue declined -1.5% at constant exchange rates year-on-year, and increased +1.8% at constant exchange rates excluding the impact of the Construction activity and energy prices. This decline can be explained as follows: Waste revenue rose +0.5% at constant exchange rates year-on-year, and +1.6% at constant exchange rates excluding the impact of the decrease in Construction activity, in relation, overall, to a positive volume impact of +0.6%, and a service price impact of +0.8%, and more specifically: Energy revenue rose 0.4% at constant exchange rates year-on-year, and increased +3.2% at constant exchange rates excluding the decrease in energy prices (impact of -€115 million). This increase can be explained as follows: Changes in EBITDA by segment were as follows: In 2016, the Group’s consolidated EBITDA amounted to €3,056.0 million, an increase of 4.3% at constant exchange rates compared to 2015, generating an improvement in the EBITDA margin (12.5% in 2016, compared to 12.0% in 2015). This improvement in EBITDA was primarily due to operational efficiency, with cost savings in the amount of €245 million. Changes in EBITDA by segment between 2015 and 2016 were as follows: The change in EBITDA between 2015 and 2016 breaks down by main impact as follows: The foreign exchange impact on EBITDA was negative, amounting to -€71.4 million. It mainly reflects fluctuations of UK the pound sterling (-€38.2 million), South American currencies (-€14.7 million, essentially the Argentine peso), the Chinese renminbi (-€8.7 million) and the Polish zloty (-€8.3 million). Prices effects, net of cost inflation, had a negative impact, notably in France, in line with the very low indexation of contracts. The impact of French Water contract renegotiations amounted to -€31 million. The volumes, commerce and scope impacts are favorable, in the amount of +€38 million: Cost-savings plans contributed €245 million. They mainly cover operational efficiency (for 42%) and purchasing (35%). They were achieved across all geographical zones: France (31%), Europe excluding France (26%), Rest of the World (26%), Global Businesses (12%) and Corporate (5%). Other changes mainly concern one-off items in the amount of -€46 million, particularly in France. Changes in current EBIT by segment were as follows: The Group’s consolidated current EBIT for the year ended December 31, 2016 amounted to €1,383.9 million, up significantly by +8.5% at constant exchange rates compared to 2015. This positive increase in Current EBIT was mainly due to: The foreign exchange impact on Current EBIT was negative at -€43.8 million and mainly reflects fluctuations of the UK pound sterling (-€24.1 million), South American currencies (-€7.5 million, including the Argentine peso), and the Chinese renminbi (-€7.7 million). The reconciling items between EBITDA and Current EBIT as of December 31, 2016 and 2015 are as follows: Depreciation and amortization charges (-€1,394.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2016) are up +3.1% at constant exchange rates, or -€42.7 million compared to depreciation and amortization charges for the year ended December 31, 2015 (-€1,380.6 million) mainly due to acquisitions and the commissioning of new assets. Capital gains and losses on disposals of industrial assets for the year ended December 31, 2016 concern capital gains on the disposal of industrial assets in relation to the continuous review of industrial asset portfolios. The share of current net income of joint ventures and associates comprises the UK entities (Water and Waste) for €9 million (versus €15.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2015, due to movements in scope), and Chinese Water and Waste entities for €44.3 million (compared to €44.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2015). The Chinese Water concessions nevertheless rose at constant exchange rates (€35.8 million in 2015, versus €36.2 million in 2016). Net charges to operating provisions for the year ended December 31, 2016 include net provision reversals, particularly usual provision reversals related to landfill site remediation (mainly in France and the United Kingdom), and provision reversals in relation to the removal of certain risks in France and Italy. For the year ended December 31, 2015, this heading included a provision reversal for the “Olivet” contracts in the Water activities in France and the removal of certain risks in France and Australia. 2.3 Analysis of EBITDA and Current EBIT by segment EBITDA in France fell -8.1% during the year. In the Water business, cost savings only partially offset contractual erosion of -€31 million (margin degradation), lower volumes, and the negative impact of price effects net of inflation. EBITDA also fell in the Waste business despite cost savings. The decline is due to a decrease in revenue, unfavorable price impacts net of inflation, and the absence of non-recurring items that benefited 2015. Current EBIT fell in France due to the fall in EBITDA. The EBITDA of the Europe excluding France segment increased significantly in most countries and particularly: The rise in EBITDA in Europe excluding France also reflected cost savings efforts undertaken in all geographic areas. Current EBIT in Europe excluding France increased due to the improvement in EBITDA and the positive change in operating provisions and in particular related to landfills in the UK. Rest of the World EBITDA grew significantly in Asia, as well as in Latin America and North America. Asia EBITDA posted solid growth throughout the year, driven by cost reductions and the increase in revenue, particularly in China and Japan. In China, EBITDA benefited from the substantial increase in Industrial water (integration of the Sinopec contract), Hazardous Waste (commissioning of the Changsha incinerator) and heating networks, particularly Harbin. EBITDA in Latin America was up sharply in the 2nd half, particularly in Argentina, in line with the change in revenue. Following a decline in the first half, particularly regarding Energy, North America EBITDA rebounded in the 2nd half thanks to cost-cutting efforts and the integration of the Chemours Sulfur Products division’s assets, which offset the decline in revenue in industrial services and the lower gas price in Energy. Rest of the World Current EBIT was up at constant exchange rates, but to a lesser extent than EBITDA growth, penalized by higher depreciation and amortization charges relating to the integration of the Chemours Sulfur Products division’s assets, the negative change in operating provisions in the US and Australia, and the early repayment of a receivable in Korea. Results of the Chinese Water concessions, recorded within the share of net income (loss) of joint ventures and associates rose at constant exchange rates. EBITDA of the Global Businesses segment is up significantly: Current EBIT of Global Businesses also rose thanks to the increase in EBITDA and the favorable comparison effect in relation to asset impairments in Hazardous waste in 2015. The cost of net financial debt totaled -€423.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2016, versus -€445.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2015, representing a decrease of €22.3 million. This decline in the cost of net financial debt mainly reflects the repayment of the inflation-indexed bond using available cash in June 2015, bond refinancing under better conditions, the Group’s active debt management, and a positive exchange rate impact of €6 million, offsetting the increase in the cost of foreign exchange derivatives. The financing rate fell from 5.0% for the year ended December 31, 2015 to 4.95% for the year ended December 31, 2016. OTHER FINANCIAL INCOME AND EXPENSES Other current financial income and expenses totaled -€30.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2016, versus €27.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2015. Other current financial income and expenses included the impacts of financial divestitures for €12.8 million, and notably impacts related to fair-value remeasurement of previously-held equity interests in France and China. For the year ended December 31, 2015, capital gains or losses on financial divestitures amounted to €59.5 million, including the capital gain on the disposal of the Group’s Israel activities. Net gains/losses on loans and receivables for the year ended December 31, 2015 included the interest on the loan to Transdev, repaid in full in March 2016. Other non-current financial income and expenses for the year ended December 31, 2016 primarily concern the Group’s sale of 20% of Transdev. The income tax expense for the year ended December 31, 2016 amounted to -€192.3 million, compared to -€199.5 million for the year ended December 31, 2015. The tax rate for the year ended December 31, 2016 declined to 25.7% (versus 28.0% for the year ended December 31, 2015), after adjustment for the impact of financial divestitures, non-current items within net income of fully controlled entities, and the share of net income of equity-accounted companies. 2.6 Current net income (loss) / Net income (loss) attributable to owners of the Company The share of net income attributable to non-controlling interests totaled €102.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2016, compared to €101.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2015. Net income attributable to owners of the Company was €382.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2016, compared to €450.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2015. Current net income attributable to owners of the Company was €609.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2016, compared to €580.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2015. Based on a weighted average number of outstanding shares of 549.0 million (basic) and 568.5 million (diluted), compared with 548.5 million as of December 31, 2015 (basic and diluted), earnings per share attributable to owners of the Company for the year ended December 31, 2016 was €0.57 (basic) and €0.55 (diluted), compared to 0.69 (basic and diluted) for the year ended December 31, 2015. Current net income per share attributable to owners of the Company was €1.11 (basic) and €1.07 (diluted) for the year ended December 31, 2016, compared to €1.06 (basic and diluted) for the year ended December 31, 2015. The dilutive effect taken into account in the above earnings per share calculation concerns the OCEANE bonds convertible into and/or exchangeable for new and/or existing shares issued in March 2016, as well as the shares attributed under the long-term incentive plan set up in 2015. Net income (loss) attributable to owners of the Company for the year ended December 31, 2016 breaks down as follows: The reconciliation of Current EBIT with operating income, as shown in the income statement, is as follows: Net income (loss) attributable to owners of the Company for the year ended December 31, 2015, breaks down as follows: The following table summarizes the change in Net Financial Debt and net Free Cash Flow: Net free cash flow amounted to €970 million for the year ended December 31, 2016, versus €856 million for the year ended December 31, 2015. The increase in net free cash flow compared to December 31, 2015 primarily reflects the improvement in EBITDA, the favorable change in operating working capital requirements, lower restructuring charges, partially offset by the increase in net industrial investments in line with fewer industrial divestitures in 2016. Total Group gross industrial investments, including new operating financial assets, amounted to €1,485 million in 2016, compared with €1,484 million in 2015. Industrial investments, excluding discontinued operations, break down by segment as follows: Gross industrial investments for maintenance and contractual requirements totaled €1,280 million in 2016 (vs. €1,217 million in 2015), representing 5.2% of revenue (stable compared to 2015). Financial investments amounted to -€881 million for the year ended December 31, 2016 (including the net financial debt of new entities and acquisition costs) and include the acquisition of Kurion in the US (-€296 million), the Chemours’ Sulfur Products division (-€290 million) the Pedreira landfill in Brazil (-€71 million), and the Prague Left Bank district heating network (-€70 million). For the year ended December 31, 2015, financial investments for -€270 million were mainly related to the purchase of minority stakes in the Water business in Central Europe. Financial divestitures totaled €380 million for the year ended December 31, 2016 and include the sale of 20% of Transdev for €216 million (including disposal costs). For the year ended December 31, 2015, financial divestitures included the divestiture of Group activities in Israel. Financial divestitures, including the reimbursement by Transdev Group of the shareholder loan in March 2016 for €345 million (recorded under “Change in receivables and other financial assets”), amounted to €725 million for the year ended December 31, 2016. This transaction therefore had a total impact of €565 million on Group net financial debt (excluding disposal costs). Loans to joint ventures, recorded under “Change in receivables and other financial assets” totaled €165.6 million as of December 31, 2016 (versus €509.9 million as of December 31, 2015) and included loans to the Chinese concessions of €124.1 million (€116 million as of December 31, 2015). As of December 31, 2015, loans to equity-accounted entities also included loans to Transdev Group of €345.4 million repaid in full as of December 31, 2016. The change in operating working capital requirements (excluding discontinued operations) totaled +€270 million as of December 31, 2016, compared to +€203 million as of December 31, 2015. This increase was attributable to the change in inventories (+€35 million), operating receivables (+€84 million) and operating payables (+€151 million). As of December 31, 2016, net financial debt after hedging6 was borrowed at 92% at fixed rates and 8% at variable rates. The average maturity of net financial debt was 9.3 years as of December 31, 2016 vs. 8.8 years as of December 31, 2015. The leverage ratio for the year ended December 31, 2016, i.e. the ratio of closing Net Financial Debt (NFD) to EBITDA, decreased compared to December 31, 2015: Liquid assets of the Group as of December 31, 2016 break down as follows: The increase in net liquid assets mainly reflects the offering of bonds convertible into and/or exchangeable for new and/or existing shares (OCEANEs) for a nominal amount of €700 million, the issue of a renminbi-denominated bond on the Chinese domestic market in September 2016 for a nominal amount of €136 million equivalent and the issue of euro-denominated bonds for a nominal amount of €1.1 billion in October 2016, partially offset by upcoming bond maturities in 2017, including the euro-denominated bond maturing in January 2017 for a nominal amount of €606 million, the euro-denominated bond maturing in June 2017 for a nominal amount of €250 million, the renminbi-denominated bond maturing in June 2017 for a nominal amount of €68 million equivalent, and the floating-rate euro-denominated bond maturing in May 2017 for a nominal amount of €350 million. Veolia Environnement may draw on the multi-currency syndicated credit facility and all credit lines at any time. On November 6, 2015, Veolia Environnement signed a new multi-currency syndicated loan facility in the amount of €3 billion initially maturing in 2020, extended to 2021 in October 2016 and extendable to 2022 with the possibility for drawdowns in Eastern European currencies and Chinese Renminbi. This syndicated loan facility replaces the two syndicated loan facilities set up in 2011: a 5-year multi-currency loan facility of €2.5 billion, and a 3-year loan of €500 million for drawdowns in Polish zlotys, Czech crowns and Hungarian forints. This syndicated loan facility was not drawn down as of December 31, 2016. In 2015, Veolia Environnement renegotiated all its bilateral credit lines for a total undrawn amount of €925 million as of December 31, 2016. As of December 31, 2016, the letter of credit facility was drawn by USD 176.3 million. The portion that may be drawn in cash amounted to USD 8.7 million (€8.2 million euro equivalent). It is undrawn and recorded in the liquidity table above. The decrease in net liquid assets mainly reflects upcoming bond maturities before June 30, 2017, including the euro-denominated bond maturing in January 2017 for a nominal amount of €606 million, the euro-denominated bond maturing in June 2017 for a nominal amount of €250 million, and the renminbi denominated bond maturing in June 2017 for a nominal amount of €68 million equivalent, partially offset by an offering of bonds convertible into and/or exchangeable for new and/or existing shares (OCEANEs) for a nominal amount of €700 million .E] RETURN ON CAPITAL EMPLOYED EXCLUDING THE IMPACT OF IFRIC 12 Veolia Environnement uses the ROCE indicator (return on capital employed) to track the Group's profitability. This indicator measures Veolia Environnement's ability to provide a return on the funds provided by shareholders and lenders. The Group distinguishes between: The return on capital employed indicators are defined in the appendix. In both cases, the impacts of the Group’s investment in the Transdev Group joint venture, which is not viewed as a core Company activity and whose contribution is recognized as a share of net income of other equity-accounted entities, are excluded from the calculations. Current EBIT after tax is calculated as follows: (*) Including the share of net income (loss) of joint ventures and associates. Average capital employed for the year was calculated as follows: The Group's post-tax return on capital employed (ROCE) is as follows: The Group's post-tax return on capital employed (ROCE) was 7.2% for the year ended December 31, 2016 versus 6.8% for the year ended December 31, 2015. The increase in the return on capital employed between 2016 and 2015 was primarily due to improved operating performance. Unlike post-tax ROCE, the capital employed used for the pre-tax ROCE does not include investments in joint ventures and associates. The Group’s pre-tax return on capital employed (ROCE) by segment is as follows: Cost of net financial debt is equal to the cost of gross debt, including related gains and losses on interest rate and currency hedges, less income on cash and cash equivalents. Operating cash flow before changes in working capital, as presented in the consolidated cash flow statement, is comprised of three components: operating cash flow from operating activities (referred to as “adjusted operating cash flow” and known in French as “capacité d'autofinancement opérationnelle”) consisting of operating income and expenses received and paid (“cash”), operating cash flow from financing activities including cash financial items relating to other financial income and expenses and operating cash flow from discontinued operations composed of cash operating and financial income and expense items classified in net income from discontinued operations pursuant to IFRS 5. Adjusted operating cash flow does not include the share of net income attributable to equity-accounted entities. Net income (loss) from discontinued operations is the total of income and expenses, net of tax, related to businesses divested or in the course of divestiture, in accordance with IFRS 5. The term “change at constant exchange rates” represents the change resulting from the application of exchange rates of the prior period to the current period, all other things being equal. The municipal sector encompasses services in the Water, Waste and Energy business lines aimed at users, performed under contracts with municipal governments, groups of municipal governments, or regional or national governments. The industrial sector covers Water, Waste and Energy management services, offered to industrial or service sector customers. EBITDA comprises the sum of all operating income and expenses received and paid (excluding restructuring charges, non-current WCR impairments, renewal expenses and share acquisition and disposal costs) and principal payments on operating financial assets. The EBITDA margin is defined as the ratio of EBITDA to revenue. To calculate Current EBIT, the following items will be deducted from operating income: (*) Correction of an erratum in the figures of the consolidated statement of financial position- equity and liabilities: page 35 Current net income is defined as the sum of the following items: Current net income earnings per share is defined as the ratio of current net income (not restated for the cost of the coupon attributable to hybrid debt holders) by the weighted average number of outstanding shares during the year. Net industrial investments, as presented in the statement of changes in net financial debt, include industrial investments (purchases of intangible assets and property, plant and equipment, and operating financial assets), net of industrial asset divestitures. The Group considers discretionary growth investments, which generate additional cash flows, separately from maintenance-related investments, which reflect the replacement of equipment and installations used by the Group as well as investments relating to contractual obligations. Net financial investments, as presented in the statement of changes in net financial debt, include financial investments, net of financial divestitures. Financial investments include purchases of financial assets, including the net financial debt of companies entering the scope of consolidation, and partial purchases resulting from transactions with shareholders where there is no change in control. Financial divestitures include net financial debt of companies leaving the scope of consolidation, and partial divestitures resulting from transactions with shareholders where there is no change in control, as well as issues of share capital by non-controlling interests. Net free cash flow corresponds to free cash flow from continuing operations, and is calculated by: the sum of EBITDA, dividends received, changes in operating working capital and operating cash flow from financing activities, less net interest expense, net industrial investments, taxes paid, renewal expenses, restructuring charges and other non-current expenses. Net financial debt (NFD) represents gross financial debt (non-current borrowings, current borrowings, bank overdrafts and other cash position items), net of cash and cash equivalents, liquid assets and financing-related assets, including fair value adjustments to derivatives hedging debt. Liquid assets are financial assets composed of funds or securities with an initial maturity of more than three months, easily convertible into cash, and managed with respect to a liquidity objective while maintaining a low capital risk. The leverage ratio is the ratio of closing Net Financial Debt to EBITDA. The financing rate is defined as the ratio of the cost of net financial debt (excluding fair value adjustments to instruments not qualifying for hedge accounting) to average monthly net financial debt for the period, including the cost of net financial debt of discontinued operations. The pre-tax return on capital employed (ROCE) is defined as the ratio of: Capital employed used in the ROCE calculation is therefore equal to the sum of net intangible assets and property, plant and equipment, goodwill net of impairment, operating financial assets, net operating and non-operating working capital requirements and net derivative instruments less provisions. It also includes the capital employed of activities classified within assets and liabilities held for sale, excluding discontinued operations. The post-tax return on capital employed (ROCE) is defined as the ratio of: Capital employed used in the post-tax ROCE calculation is therefore equal to the sum of net intangible assets and property, plant and equipment, goodwill net of impairment, investments in joint ventures and associates, operating financial assets, net operating and non-operating working capital requirements and net derivative instruments less provisions. It also includes the capital employed of activities classified within assets and liabilities held for sale, excluding discontinued operations. For both pre-tax and post-tax ROCE, the impacts of the Group’s investment in the Transdev Group joint venture, which is not viewed as a core Company activity and whose contribution is recognized as a share of net income of other equity-accounted entities, are excluded from the calculations. 1 Excluding representation related to IFRIC 12 fixed payments 2 At constant exchange rates At current consolidation scope and exchange rates: Revenue declined 2.3% and was stable (+0.1%) in the 4th quarter. EBITDA increased 2.0%, current EBIT increased 5.2% and current net income-Group share increased 5.1%. Excluding net financial capital gains current net income increased 13.2%. 3 At constant exchange rates 4 Equivalent to €3.4bn to €3.6bn (excluding IFRIC 12) and before taking into account the unfavorable exchange rate impacts recorded in 2016 5 Construction activities concern the Group’s engineering and construction businesses (mainly Veolia Water Technologies and SADE), as well as construction completed as part of operating contracts. 6 Including the restatement of €1,067 million of the carry-over of cash related to the pre-financing of future bond maturities in 2017.


News Article | February 27, 2017
Site: www.businesswire.com

LONDON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Assured Guaranty (Europe) Ltd. (AGE)* announced that it has guaranteed principal and interest payments on approximately £98 million par of bonds, issued by Uliving to refinance student halls of residence at the University of Essex Colchester campus. As a result of the guarantee, the bonds are rated AA by S&P. The publicly listed, 42-year bond priced on 22 February 2017 taking advantage of the current low long term real rates by issuing at a negative real yield (prior to factoring in inflation). The sponsor, Uliving, was established in 2009 to develop student accommodation projects in partnership with universities. The bonds will refinance a project that has been operational since 2013 and consists of two buildings on the University’s Colchester campus, providing a total of 1,429 student rooms. "We are now seeing a stronger flow of refinancing opportunities like this one, across various sectors and PFI projects, because of the current low interest rate environment, coupled with the increased number of investors choosing to invest in longer maturities in order to match their liabilities. These are excellent conditions to refinance with a wrapped bond and reduce the cost of debt.” Assured Guaranty closed a similar transaction for the University of London at the end of December. “There is strong demand from investors for highly rated infrastructure bonds as a direct result of Solvency II. In this transaction, as with others we have closed, a wrap proved to be the most cost-effective solution to deliver this refinancing." As the financial guarantor, AGE guarantees timely payment of scheduled principal and interest to bondholders throughout the life of the bond, in accordance with the terms of its financial guarantee. * AGE (company number 2510099) is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. AGE provides its financial guarantee together with a co-guarantee from its affiliate Assured Guaranty Municipal Corp. (AGM). Through its subsidiaries, Assured Guaranty Ltd. (AGL and, together with its subsidiaries, Assured Guaranty) is the leading provider of financial guarantees for principal and interest payments due on municipal, public infrastructure and structured financings. Its subsidiary AGM guarantees international infrastructure and U.S. municipal bonds - and was previously named Financial Security Assurance Inc. (FSA) before becoming an Assured Guaranty company in July 2009. AGE, a subsidiary of AGM, is Assured Guaranty’s European operating platform. AGL is a publicly traded (NYSE: AGO), Bermuda-based holding company. More information on AGL and its subsidiaries can be found at AssuredGuaranty.com. Any forward-looking statements made in this press release reflect Assured Guaranty’s current views with respect to future events and are made pursuant to the safe harbour provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements involve risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from those set forth in these statements. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, those resulting from Assured Guaranty’s inability to execute its strategies; the demand for Assured Guaranty’s financial guarantees; further actions that the rating agencies may take with respect to Assured Guaranty’s financial strength ratings; adverse developments in Assured Guaranty’s guaranteed portfolio; and other risks and uncertainties that have not been identified at this time, management’s response to these factors, and other risk factors identified in AGL’s filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which are made as of 27 February 2017. Assured Guaranty undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.


NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc. (MUFG) today announced it was named 2016’s Global Bank of the Year by Project Finance International, the second consecutive year the bank has captured the magazine’s top annual honor. Among MUFG’s 2016 accomplishments, the honor reflects MUFG’s role as the most active Lead Arranger for project financings in the Americas for the eighth year in a row.1 One of the world’s leading financial groups, MUFG also was a significant participant in client transactions which were recognized by PFI with the following awards for the Americas: “This award is an indication of how well a team can perform when it has the full faith and cooperation of its clients,” said Jon Lindenberg, MUFG’s Deputy Head of Investment Banking and Head of Project Finance for the Americas. “My MUFG colleagues and I are proud to support our clients as they create some of the world’s most innovative and advanced projects. Further, we would like to thank PFI, one of the most respected publications in our industry, for recognizing MUFG’s commitment and efforts in this critical sector.” Headquartered in New York, MUFG Americas Holdings Corporation is a financial holding company and bank holding company with total assets of $148.1 billion at December 31, 2016. Its main subsidiaries are MUFG Union Bank, N.A. and MUFG Securities Americas Inc. MUFG Union Bank, N.A. provides an array of financial services to individuals, small businesses, middle-market companies, and major corporations. As of December 31, 2016, MUFG Union Bank, N.A. operated 365 branches, comprised primarily of retail banking branches in the West Coast states, along with commercial branches in Texas, Illinois, New York and Georgia, as well as two international offices. MUFG Securities Americas Inc. is a registered securities broker-dealer which engages in capital markets origination transactions, private placements, collateralized financings, securities borrowing and lending transactions, and domestic and foreign debt and equities securities transactions. MUFG Americas Holdings Corporation is owned by The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd. and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc., one of the world’s leading financial groups. The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc. Visit www.unionbank.com or www.mufgamericas.com for more information. About MUFG (Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc.) MUFG (Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc.) is one of the world's leading financial groups, with total assets of approximately $2.6 trillion (USD) as of December 31, 2016. Headquartered in Tokyo and with approximately 350 years of history, MUFG is a global network with more than 2,200 offices in nearly 50 countries. The Group has more than 140,000 employees and about 300 entities, offering services including commercial banking, trust banking, securities, credit cards, consumer finance, asset management, and leasing. The Group's operating companies include Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Banking Corporation (Japan's leading trust bank), and Mitsubishi UFJ Securities Holdings Co., Ltd., one of Japan's largest securities firms. Through close partnerships among our operating companies, the Group aims to "be the world's most trusted financial group," flexibly responding to all of the financial needs of our customers, serving society, and fostering shared and sustainable growth for a better world. MUFG's shares trade on the Tokyo, Nagoya, and New York (MTU) stock exchanges. Visit www.mufg.jp/english/index.html.

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