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Turkish strongman’s western charm offensive was born out of desperation

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world, Turkey’s economy was in a crisis marked by high inflation, rising unemployment and a relentless decline in the value of the lira.

Since the failed coup in mid-2016, the national currency has lost more than 220% of its value against the euro. According to official figures, annual inflation hovers around 17% and the unemployment rate was recorded at almost 14% in May, which is 1% more than the previous month.

However, experts believe the real data on Turkey’s economy is much worse and the government is manipulating the numbers to create a better picture.

The severe effects of the pandemic and the loss of significant tourism revenues for the second year in a row have exacerbated a poor economic situation.

Karol Wasilewski, senior Turkey analyst at the Polish Institute of International Affairs, PISM, in Warsaw, says the economy is behind Ordogan’s “charm offensive” against the West.

“I see this offensive as a tool to help the heavily damaged Turkish economy by calming the waters of Turkish foreign policy and showing investors that Turkey has decided to be a predictable international player again, which can be trusted. “Wasilewski told BIRN.

As part of this charm offensive, Turkey began to support NATO interests with new military deals directed against Russia, despite the controversial purchase of Russia’s high-tech S-400 missiles.

In recent months, Turkey has sold armed drones to Ukraine and Poland to counter Russia’s military presence in Eastern Europe, and Erdogan recently offered to protect Kabul airport and all Western diplomatic missions after the total withdrawal of NATO allies from Afghanistan.

Following an initial meeting with its US counterpart Joe Biden, the White House announced that the two sides had agreed to work together to ensure that the Turkish mission is established before the 9/11 deadline for the withdrawal of states- States of Afghanistan.

Turkey is also now trying to ease tensions with NATO ally Greece after years of military escalation in the eastern Mediterranean over maritime areas and sharing of energy wealth.

“These are tools to support Turkey’s narrative … about the country’s contribution to the Alliance’s deterrence policy towards Russia, and that it is the only ally that effectively balances Russia in the neighborhood of the Europe.

“This narrative is an instrument designed to convince the United States that Turkey, despite many misunderstandings, is still a reliable ally and that it is in the best interest of the United States to mend the relationship,” observed Wasilewski.

A marriage of necessity


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Apollo Impact will acquire approx. 67% stake in the RDM Group,

Transaction followed by a public delisting offer for the RDM group

RDM, leader in the circular economy, represents Apollo’s first investment from its Impact platform

NEW YORK, July 05, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) – Apollo Global Management, Inc. (NYSE: APO) (together with its consolidated subsidiaries, “Apollo” or the “Company”) announced today that certain funds managed by its affiliated companies (the “Apollo Funds”) have entered into definitive agreements to acquire a majority stake in Reno De Medici SpA (“RDM”, or the “Company” or “the Issuer” (BIT: RM / BME: RDM), a leading producer of recycled cardboard in Europe.

Apollo Funds will acquire approx. 67% stake in RDM of the two main shareholders of the Company, Cascades inc. (TSX: CAS) and the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec at a price of 1.45 EUR per share (without adjustment, except as detailed below), i.e. a participation of 24% premium to the 90-day volume-weighted average. The transaction, which is subject to the customary closing conditions detailed below, is expected to close by the third quarter of 2021. Upon closing, Apollo will launch a mandatory takeover bid for the remaining shares, in the aim to withdraw the Company.

RDM is the leading producer of coated recycled cardboard in Italy, France and the Iberian Peninsula, and the second largest producer in Europe. With 100% of products made from recycled materials, RDM plays a central role in increasing sustainability and contributing to a circular economy by minimizing waste, emissions and consumption of raw materials and water. This year, the RDM group acquired factories in Spain, which just closed last week, and agreed to acquire factories in the Netherlands which, at closing, will expand its operations to nine factories and five specialized centers of cutting and laminating across Europe and the United States. Apollo expects the RDM Group to continue to benefit from increasing changes in consumer preferences and EU-wide regulations supporting the use of sustainable recycled fibers.

“Already one of the main European leaders in recycled cardboard, RDM is well positioned for continued growth as more companies replace plastics with sustainable packaging. We see RDM as a proven platform for inorganic growth and look forward to working with Michele and the leadership team as they evolve the business for greater positive environmental impact, ”said Marc Becker, Partner principal and co-leader of Apollo Impact. “As an inaugural investment led by the Apollo Impact platform, RDM reflects our strategy of finding good companies where we believe we can generate financial and impact performance to increase their beneficial effects on society and the planet. “

“We are delighted to be working with Apollo throughout this next phase of growth for RDM. Over the past five years, our exceptional team has made significant progress in scaling our platform and optimizing our operations across Europe ”said Michele Bianchi, CEO of RDM Group . “Looking ahead, we are also excited about Apollo’s shared commitment to the circular economy, of which we are both contributors and beneficiaries. We look forward to building on our ambitious Sustainable Development Goals to shape a better future for all of our stakeholders. “

Andrea Moneta, Apollo Senior Advisor for Italy, added: “RDM highlights the important role Italy plays in building a more sustainable global economy and Apollo’s commitment to working with the best companies , Italian entrepreneurs and management teams to support their long-term growth.

About the operation

Rimini BidCo Srl (“Rimini”), a newly formed company owned by the Apollo Funds, and the two principal shareholders of RDM, Cascades Inc. and the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, have entered into sale and purchase agreements which provide for the purchase by Rimini of a total of 251,974,385 RDM ordinary shares, corresponding to approximately 67% of its share capital, at a price of EUR 1.45 per share, this price will not be subject to ” adjustments, except in the event of potential impairment losses (such as possible dividends, returns of capital or other similar distributions of profits or assets to sellers or, to the extent applicable, other potential leaks, better identified in share purchase agreements), provided that RDM’s 2020 dividend that was paid to shareholders in May 2021 will not be considered a leak (the “Price Per Share”).

The completion of the transaction (the “Closing”) is subject to the fulfillment of certain conditions precedent, as better described in the share purchase agreements, concerning, among other things: (i) obtaining the necessary antitrust authorizations , and (ii) the absence of orders in force by any competent government authority prohibiting the transaction. The closing is expected to take place in the third quarter of 2021.

As indicated above, at the Closing, Rimini will hold 251,974,385 Shares, i.e. approximately 67% of the Issuer’s share capital and, therefore, in accordance with Articles 106, paragraph 1 and 109 of the TUF, will be required to launch a compulsory takeover bid. (the “Mandatory Offer”) on all remaining RDM shares at the highest Price Per Share paid to one of the sellers.

The subject of the Binding Offer is the delisting of the Issuer. In the event that the delisting should not be carried out following and as a result of the Mandatory Offer, the delisting may also be carried out by a merger of the Issuer with Rimini or another company controlled by the Apollo Funds.

Rimini will finance the transaction, including any potential refinancing of the Issuer’s existing debt, through a combination of its own cash resources and fully committed debt financing from leading international banks.

Finally, it is specified that there are 241,114 convertible savings shares of the Issuer not listed on a regulated market which, in accordance with the provisions of the Articles of Association of the Issuer, are convertible into ordinary shares at the request of the holders concerned in February. and September of each year. In the event of the launch of the Mandatory Offer, the Mandatory Offer will also include all ordinary shares resulting from the conversion of the aforementioned convertible savings shares (insofar as these shares are converted before the expiration of the Mandatory Offer) .

Allen & Overy and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison acted as legal advisers for Apollo. Jones Day acted as legal advisor and Rothschild & Co. acted as financial advisor to Cascades Inc. Latham & Watkins acted as legal advisor for the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec.

About Apollo Impact

Launched in 2020, the Apollo Impact platform draws on the expertise of the firm’s main private equity franchise. Apollo Impact seeks to differentiate itself in the market by seeking large-scale impact through opportunities in late-stage companies in five key areas: economic opportunity; education; health, safety and well-being; industry 4.0; and climate and sustainability. Apollo has a long history of ESG screening and engagement spanning over a decade. The platform is led by co-directors Marc Becker and Joanna Reiss and Impact president Lisa Hall. Earlier this year, the firm announced the creation of the Apollo Impact Advisory Board, made up of 12 diverse professionals with expertise and experience in impact investing and / or the platform’s strategic focus areas.

About Apollo
Apollo is a high growth global alternative asset manager. We seek to provide our clients with excess return at every step of the risk-return spectrum, from investment grade to private equity, by focusing on three business strategies: return, hybrid and opportunistic. Through our investing activity on our fully integrated platform, we meet the retirement income and financial performance needs of our clients, and we deliver innovative capital solutions to businesses. Our patient, creative and knowledgeable approach to investing aligns our clients, the companies we invest in, our employees and the communities we impact on, to expand opportunities and drive positive results. As of March 31, 2021, Apollo had approximately $ 461 billion in assets under management. For more information, please visit www.apollo.com.

About the RDM Group
The RDM group is the second European producer of recycled coated board, the largest in Italy, France and the Iberian Peninsula. The group is currently listed on the Star segment of Borsa Italiana SpA and the Madrid Stock Exchange. The RDM group’s headquarters are in Milan but it has a strategic international presence thanks to its manufacturing plants, sheet metal centers and a sales network active in 70 countries. The RDM group’s product portfolio mainly consists of recycled cardboard, used primarily for packaging and folding boxes in all major product sectors.

Apollo contact details

For investors
Peter Mintzberg, Head of Investor Relations
Global management of Apollo, Inc.
+1 (212) 822-0528
[email protected]

For the media
Joanna Rose, Global Head of Corporate Communications
Global management of Apollo, Inc.
+1 (212) 822-0491
[email protected]


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G Kishan Reddy visits BSF headquarters in Jammu; commends the officers for eliminating threats at the international border

Minister of State (Interior) G Kishan Reddy visited the Border Security Force (BSF) headquarters in Jammu on Friday and was briefed on the current security situation at the Jammu border. He also interacted with BSF officers and staff and praised their abilities to tackle challenges at the international border.

NS Jamwal, BSF Inspector General, Jammu Frontier, made a detailed presentation to the Union Minister, explaining the threats and challenges at the Jammu border and BSF’s strong border domination plan to counter these challenges.

G Kishan Reddy was also informed of the different systems and innovations adopted by BSF to neutralize cross-border threats from the counterparty side.

G KISHAN REDDY ADDRESS ‘PRAHARI SAMMELAN’

The Union Minister also addressed a “Prahari Sammelan” which was attended by about 250 officers and staff of the BSF.

READ ALSO : General CDS Bipin Rawat: The Indian Air Force remains a supporting weapon like artillery and engineers | Exclusive

He paid tribute to the BSF martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the unity and integrity of the country.

The Union Minister stressed that BSF, being the first line of defense, has done excellent homework at the international border, especially at the Jammu border.

G Kishan Reddy praised the abilities of BSF staff who work in difficult and difficult conditions, whether in snowy areas, hot desert terrain, or a difficult area of ​​Rann of Kutch or areas prone to malaria or areas prone to Naxal.

Congratulating officers for consistently meeting challenges successfully, G Kishan Reddy said BSF has been successful in eliminating threats from its counterparts, be it undercover, tunneling, smuggling or drones.

Additionally, G Kishan Reddy said it was a matter of pride for him to see the Mahila Praharies sitting among the Jawans and rendering their services at the border with the same zeal and enthusiasm.

READ ALSO : Army obtains 12 indigenous bridges for operations along western borders with Pakistan

Appreciating the recent success of Jammu FTR, where BSF troops successfully cleared intruders across the border and confiscated large quantities of narcotics and detected underground tunnels at the Jammu border, the minister said commended the BSF for shooting down a Hexacopter that was coming across the border, carrying weapons and ammunition to the Samba border.

G Kishan Reddy presented a fruit basket to the troops. (Photo: Sunil Ji Bhat)

NS Jamwal presented a souvenir to G Kishan Reddy on behalf of Jammu Frontier. (Photo: Sunil Ji Bhat)

G Kishan Reddy congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Interior Minister Amit Shah for their efforts through which BSF received modern weapons and advanced technology to effectively protect the country’s international borders against new threats.

In addition, he also underlined that the Prime Minister and the Minister of Interior have been working continuously to provide all possible assistance to the staff of BSF. Various social protection programs like Ayushman Bharat, Skilled Development have been launched under the leadership of PM Modi in this regard.

G Kishan Reddy wished BSF great success in all its future endeavors and trusted in its capabilities.

LOOK: BSF opens fire on “Pakistani drone” spotted near Jammu border


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Saudi transport and logistics plan intensifies competition with Gulf states – Analysis – Eurasia Review

Recent announcements by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman regarding his intention to transform the kingdom into a transport and logistics hub connecting the continents take Saudi efforts to replace the United Arab Emirates and Qatar as the United Arab Emirates to a new level. must-see addresses in the Middle East.

Prince Mohammed’s plans, which include the creation of a new national airline alongside Saudia, currently the kingdom’s aviation flagship, and the construction of a new airport for the capital, Riyadh, aim to position the Saudi Arabia as the hub of the Middle East at the crossroads of Asia and Africa. and European.

The UAE, supported by Emirates and DP World, currently serves as the region’s transportation and logistics hub. DP World handles ten percent of the world’s container traffic and operates some 80 ports as well as marine and inland terminals in more than 40 countries.

Emirates is the world’s fifth largest airline in terms of number of countries served and fourth in terms of brand value and passenger and scheduled freight tonne-kilometers.

Qatar Airways has made the Gulf State a serious competitor as an aviation hub. The airline is giving Emirates a run for its money when it comes to the number of countries served and scheduled freight tonne-kilometers.

Challenging the first mover advantage of the UAE and Qatar is likely to prove to be a big order, but not impossible. This is also true for Turkish Airlines, the other major airline in the Middle East with ambitions similar to those of Emirates and Qatar Airways.

Prince Mohammed said his transportation and logistics plan aims to make Saudi Arabia the country with the fifth highest number of transit passengers served by Saudi airlines that would serve more than 250 international destinations.

Saudia currently serves destinations in 39 countries. According to Prince Mohammed’s plan, it would welcome pilgrims to Mecca and Medina while the new airline would focus on tourists and business travelers.

By comparison, Qatar Airways flies to at least 160 passenger and cargo destinations, Emirates 139 destinations and https://www.flightconnections.com/route-map-turkish-airlines-tk Turkish Airlines, topping the list with 200 international destinations .

Prince Mohammed further aims to double the capacity of the Saudi air cargo sector to 4.5 million tonnes of cargo per year, through the development of port infrastructure and improved integration with shipping lines and networks. railways and roads in the country.

The rail lines would be extended from 5,330 to 8,080 kilometers and would ensure that Saudi Arabian Sea ports are connected to those in the Red Sea.

Prince Mohammed said his plan was to get Saudi Arabia to the top ten on the Logistics Performance Index. The kingdom is currently connecting to number 55.

Prince Mohammed said he expects transport and logistics to eventually account for 10% of Saudi GDP, up four points from the current 6%.

Prince Mohammed’s efforts to shift geopolitical, infrastructural, economic and trade gravity from the Middle East to the kingdom are part of his Vision 2030 strategy which aims to create jobs, diversify the Saudi economy and reposition the country regionally and global.

“Transport and logistics are a major focus of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 programs and a vital factor for economic sectors towards sustainable development,” said Prince Mohammed at the launch of the transport and logistics plan.

Vision 2030 appears to be working on a metric amid question marks over the approach of the Crown Prince’s expensive projects such as Neom, a futuristic $ 500 billion city on the Red Sea.

Unemployment among Saudi nationals fell to 11.7% in the first quarter of this year from 12.6% in the fourth quarter of last year, its lowest level in nearly five years.

The problem is that the unemployment rate only tells part of the story. The decline in unemployment was not entirely attributable to job creation in a country that must create at least 150,000 new jobs per year to keep unemployment stable. This was in part the result of the Saudis withdrawing from the labor market.

The kingdom’s General Statistics Authority reported that Saudi labor force participation fell from 51.2% in the fourth quarter of last year to 49.5% in the first three months of this year. , the largest drop since the economic slowdown in 2017.

Prince Mohammed’s expanding competition with the UAE, Qatar and Turkey for transport and logistics follows earlier moves that include challenging the UAE’s position as a regional headquarters international trade, an announcement of plans to operate regional ports and container terminals, and a focus on sport as a tool of soft power, among other things by potentially bidding for the hosting rights of the 2030 World Cup .

Prince Mohammed’s ambitions are beyond doubt. The intensification of competition for regional positioning raises the stakes to ensure that the ambitions of the crown prince ultimately translate into tangible achievements.


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Florian Hess, Jens Pflüger and Christian Ulrich start on July 1st

Florian Hess, Jens Pflüger and Christian Ulrich already know their missions. In addition to working as a team to direct the fortunes of the cooperative, its subsidiaries and its interests, they also have clearly defined individual responsibilities. As a member of the Fair Management Board, Florian Hess supervises the organization and marketing of exhibitions. He is also responsible for the representative network, the World of Toys international show program and legal matters. Florian Hess joined Spielwarenmesse eG in 2016 as Director of Trade Show Management, where he was in charge of exhibitor activities in all trade show projects and their development. After graduating in Business Administration, he gained extensive experience in overseeing various strategy and change management projects abroad. He has also organized a leading international exhibition for capital goods and was managing director of Hess Consulting GmbH – a service provider for trade fairs such as the Spielwarenmesse.

The responsibilities of finance, human resources and IT fall to the member of the management board Jens Pflüger. He also takes care of the members of the cooperative, digitization and contract management. The graduate in IT and Business Administration started his career as IT and Organization Manager at Göhler Tank- und Industrieanlangen. In 2000 he joined the Spielwarenmesse, making him the longest-serving member of the team at the headquarters of Nuremberg. In his role as IT & Finance Director, he was already in charge of the management and development of the areas of finance, accounting, management control and IT. Jens Pflüger is also CEO of SeG Beteiligungs GmbH.

Christian Ulrich is a member of the Marketing and Public Relations Board of Directors as well as a Board spokesperson. He is responsible for marketing, corporate communication as well as press and public relations. He also oversees the development of new business opportunities. A graduate in business administration, he launched his career as a consultant for the Serviceplan group of agencies. This was followed by a period at Fischer Group, first as Head of Advertising and finally as Head of International Marketing. He joined Spielwarenmesse eG in 2007 as Marketing Director and was in charge of brand leadership, global marketing for all shows and events and creation of special shows. More, Christian Ulrich is managing director of the agency “Die roten Reiter”, a subsidiary of Spielwarenmesse eG.

Even though the pandemic has raised a whole host of new challenges, the three board members see the company’s potential as an important trading hub connecting global industrial networks. “We have made excellent progress in developing innovative concepts that encompass the accelerated introduction of digitization while focusing on the unique and much-needed experience of a physical salon. We will continue to build on more than 70 years of Spielwarenmesse eG success and to live up to the future demands and expectations of all trade fair attendees ”, states Christian Ulrich.

Spielwarenmesse eG

Spielwarenmesse eG is the trade fair organizer and marketing service provider for the toy industry and other consumer goods markets. the Nuremberg company organizes the world leader Spielwarenmesse® in Nuremberg, Kids India in Bombay and Insights-X in Nuremberg. The range of services provided by the cooperative also includes industry campaigns and the international fair program, World of toys by Spielwarenmesse eG, which allows manufacturers to exhibit in pavilions presented in trade fairs Asia, Russia and the United States. Spielwarenmesse eG operates a global network of representatives in over 90 countries. It also has several subsidiaries, including Spielwarenmesse Shanghai Co., Ltd., responsible for the People’s Republic of China and Spielwarenmesse India Pvt. Ltd., covering the Indian market. The cooperative owns a majority stake in the Russian exhibition company Grand Expo, which organizes Kids Russia in Moscow. Die roten Reiter GmbH subsidiary with its registered office at Nuremberg works as a communication agency for the consumer and capital goods industry. The full company profile of Spielwarenmesse eG can be viewed on the Internet at www.spielwarenmesse-eg.com.

SOURCE Spielwarenmesse eG ([email protected])


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Guess & Co. Corporation Appoints Retired Senior FBI Agent

OSAGE BEACH, Mississippi, June 30, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) – Guess & Co. Corporation is pleased to announce that Kevin J. Kline has been appointed Special Advisor for Compliance and Risk Management. Kevin J. Kline is a shareholder and special advisor to Guess & Co. Corporation. Mr. Kline retired from the Federal Bureau of Investigation as a deputy special agent in charge of the New Haven, Connecticut division. He managed more than 175 employees in this field office and oversaw the division’s national security, intelligence and administration programs. Prior to overseeing the FBI office in New Haven, Mr. Kline was an inspector at FBI Headquarters in Washington, DC, where he was responsible for conducting compliance audits of FBI field offices and working closely with the Director of the FBI. FBI. While at FBI Headquarters, he created and implemented a new method for evaluating the performance of FBI executives. Prior to working at Headquarters, Mr. Kline was the on-scene commander in Afghanistan for the Counter-Terrorism Division of the FBI. Prior to his international assignment, Mr. Kline was Deputy Special Agent in charge of the Boston, Massachusetts Division. While overseeing the Boston division, Mr. Kline managed over 225 employees and established joint task forces for terrorism investigations. He also led the team to locate, apprehend and secure the conviction of an organized crime fugitive in Boston. As a special supervisory agent for the Newark Division in New Jersey, Mr. Kline led the investigation into the 9/11 attacks in New Jersey and United Airlines Flight 93. Mr. Kline graduated from Magna with a Bachelor of Arts in History and Education. Cum Laude from Canisius College. He holds a Juris Doctor from the Albany Law School of Union University. Mr. Kline works closely with members of the management team and our Board of Directors to ensure effective compliance and risk management for Guess & Co. Corporation. In addition to Guess & Co. Corporation, Mr. Kline is COO of The Aggeris Group, LLC, an investigation and security company. “We are delighted to have Mr. Kline as a trusted advisor to the management and board of directors of our company. His many years of experience as a Senior Federal Law Enforcement Officer are essential to our compliance and risk management programs, ”said Jerry D. Guess, President and CEO of Guess & Co. Corporation.

About Guess & Co. Corporation

Guess & Co. Corporation is a diversified energy, healthcare, technology and real estate company focused on revitalizing and serving rural America. Our company is positioned to become the undisputed market leader in rural energy, rural health care, rural technology and rural real estate. As a company based in the Midwest, we are at the heart of rural America. Guess & Co. Corporation is also a registered contractor with the US government to provide solutions to federal government agencies and members of our company have active top-secret / SCI authorizations. We are based in Osage Beach, Missouri. Our company operates in Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska and North Carolina. Guess & Co. Corporation was founded in August 2017. The management team of Guess & Co. Corporation has over 50 years of combined experience.

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/328b1625-43d1-4881-bf20-e35f77bacb2f


        


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Hydroponics giant Hydrofarm plans new headquarters in Northern California

Becoming a publicly traded company, temporarily moving its headquarters from Petaluma to the east coast, spending $ 343 million to acquire three more companies, preparing to move back to a larger North Bay hub. It’s been a busy seven months for indoor grow equipment manufacturer and distributor Hydrofarm.

On December 14, nearly 10 million shares of Hydrofarm Holding Group began trading on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol “HYFM”, raising proceeds of $ 182.3 million, according to the annual report of the March, 31st. The company made a follow-up offer of 5.5 million shares that ended on May 3, bringing in an additional $ 309.8 million.

After peaking at $ 92 in mid-February, the stock price was $ 56.96 at the close of trading on Friday.

Then, earlier this year, Hydrofarm moved its corporate headquarters to its distribution center in the Philadelphia area. It is one of nine totaling 900,000 square feet that the 4-year-old company operates in the United States, Canada and Spain. Hydrofarm also has offices in China.

This happened because Hydrofarm was preparing a larger location elsewhere in North Bay, which it had been looking for for a few years.

Hydrofarm had planned to move its corporate headquarters from Petaluma to the 250,000 square foot Victory Station warehouse in South Sonoma, but that deal failed to materialize amid the rapidly cooling demand for real estate from the new industry. legal cannabis, according to real estate sources.

Hydrofarm could not be reached for comment on its plans for North Bay.

As cannabis became a key driver of demand for environmentally controlled agricultural products, Hydrofarm made its debut in Marin County during the catastrophic drought of 1977-1978, the Business Journal reported in 2010. Founder Stuart Dvorin has developed a water-efficient hydroponics crop that has gained traction among gardeners.

The product line has expanded to include energy efficient grow lights and germination kits. Then, Hydrofarm embarked on the manufacture and distribution of indoor gardening equipment for professional growers and hobbyists.

Today, the key markets are producers of cannabis, flowers, fruits, plants, vegetables, grains and herbs. The portfolio now includes 26 exclusive brands developed in-house with around 900 product variants under 24 patents and 60 registered trademarks. The company also owns more than 40 exclusive and preferred brands totaling 900 other storage units.

The company’s brands represent around 60% of sales. The total catalog, which contains products from more than 400 suppliers, includes more than 6,000 references.

“Our revenue mix continues to shift towards exclusive brands as we continue to innovate, improving overall margins,” says the annual report. “In addition, our revenue stream is very consistent as, according to our estimate, we believe that approximately two-thirds of our net sales are generated from the sale of recurring consumables, including growing media, nutrients and supplies. . “

Last year’s net sales were $ 342.2 million, up 45.6% from 2019. The company speculated in its annual report that public health home shelter orders in the event of a coronavirus pandemic have contributed to this increase in sales. The net income of the previous year only increased by 11.0% compared to 2018.

First quarter net sales were $ 111.4 million, up 66.5% from the previous year. The company attributed this to a 59.6% increase in the volume of products sold plus a 6.9% increase in the price and mix of these products.

As a sign of its commitment to stay in North Bay, Hydrofarm was awarded a lease earlier this year for a new 175,000 square foot distribution warehouse at 2225 Huntington Drive in Fairfield. Meanwhile, Hydrofarm founder Stuart Dvorin was preparing to sell the 110,000 square foot Petaluma main facility at 2249 S. McDowell Blvd. Extension, a $ 17.5 million deal struck on June 7.

“We also intend to move our existing distribution operations in Northern California from the existing Petaluma building to a larger distribution center nearby,” the company wrote in its annual report.

Started in Marin County in 1977 under the name Applied Hydroponics, Hydrofarm moved its headquarters to Petaluma in 1994, employing 65 people at the time. It gradually expanded to 150,000 square feet with a workforce of over 150 employees in 2010 and then to 195,000 square feet in the city in 2017. The company employed 327 full-time at all sites at the end of February. , he reported.

In 2017, Hydrofarm made a big expansion in Canada with the acquisition of the wholesale of Eddi and Greenstar Plant Products. The deal helped Hydrofarm become one of the leading suppliers of hydroponic equipment in Canada, the company said.

This year, Hydrofarm acquired three other companies. Los Angeles-area high-end nutrient maker Heavy 16 was bought for $ 78.1 million, and Humboldt County’s House & Garden brand portfolio for $ 125 million. A $ 161 million deal was announced this month for Aurora International Inc. and Gotham Properties LLC, manufacturers and suppliers of organic hydroponic products based in Oregon.

“We see mergers and acquisitions as an important driver of potential growth, as the hydroponics industry is fragmented and ready to be consolidated,” Hydrofarm wrote in its annual report.

Hydrofarm has also fertilized its C suite with insight over the past two years. In early 2019, Bill Toler arrived as CEO, bringing with him over 3 decades of senior executive experience at large consumer packaged goods companies, most recently including seven years as CEO and Chairman of Hostess. Brands. B. John Lindeman arrived as CFO in March 2020 with 25 years of experience in agriculture and finance.

Jeff Quackenbush covers wine, construction and real estate. Prior to Business Journal, he wrote for Bay City News Service in San Francisco. He graduated from Walla Walla University. Contact him at [email protected] or 707-521-4256.


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With the closure of the Hong Kong Apple Daily, the media question the scope of the security law | Voice of America

BANGKOK – With the demise of Hong Kong’s last pro-democracy newspaper, questions remain about the future of press freedom in the city.

Apple DailyThe editor of said that with founder Jimmy Lai in prison, five executives arrested under the National Security Act and his financial assets frozen, it was impossible to continue.

The shutdown was greeted with international condemnation, especially from US President Joe Biden, who said Thursday: “Beijing must stop targeting the independent press.”

But as the final million-copy edition sold out, media analysts said the loss of Hong Kong’s last pro-democracy newspaper could impact the press scene and how journalists approach the report on certain issues.

Latest Edit: Hong Kong’s Apple Daily Ends With Million Copy Mintage

Pro-democracy newspaper prints final midnight edition after national security law case forced it into bankruptcy

On Sunday, the impact appeared to be spreading, with news website Stand News announcing that it would temporarily remove some comments and opinion pieces from its website.

Meanwhile, the South China Morning Post and online media New citizens reported that Apple Daily Columnist Fung Wai-kong, 57, was arrested Sunday evening at the airport on suspicion of foreign collusion aimed at endangering national security.

Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam said it was a journalist’s responsibility not to break national security law and denied that the Apple Daily affair was an attack on the media.

“What we are dealing with is neither a media problem nor a reporting problem. It is a suspicious act endangering national security,” Lam said in a briefing last week.

Hong Kong Managing Director Carrie Lam, right, speaks alongside Chief Secretary John Lee, center, and Police Commissioner Raymond Siu at a press conference in Hong Kong, June 25, 2021 .

EEric Wishart, co-organizer of the press freedom committee at the Hong Kong Foreign Correspondents’ Club and professor of journalism at the University of Hong Kong, said: “The big question is when do you cross that line? ?

“Can an opinion piece break the law?” [Can] is quoting someone outside of Hong Kong breaking the law? It’s a big demand for journalists, ”he told VOA.

Andrew Powner, managing partner of Haldanes, a Hong Kong law firm that represents international media, said the foreign press continued to report freely, including criticism of the Hong Kong and Chinese governments.

“It would appear that international media that only quote Western critics or lawyers calling for sanctions should not be breaking (National Security Law); provided that the content of the article does not attempt to induce others to commit offenses under (law), but falls within internationally accepted standards of balanced reporting, ”Powner said via email.

Until the first judicial interpretation of the security law is reached, the “red lines” will not be known in detail, Powner said. He added that the allegations and evidence that led to the Apple Daily the arrests of executives are not yet public.

The lawyer said press freedom is guaranteed by law and that the authorities said the arrests were an “exceptional case”.

An advisor to Apple DailyThe Hong Kong founder said the Hong Kong Security Bureau alleged the newspaper violated the law in 30 articles, but failed to notify editors what they were.

A spokesperson for the Hong Kong Security Bureau told VOA earlier this week that he would not comment on the ongoing legal proceedings, but that “endangering national security is a very serious crime.”

Two Hong Kong lawmakers told VOA the law is important. It was adopted in July last year in reaction to mass anti-government protests in 2019 that often turned violent.

Eunice Yung said there were no exemptions under the legislation, adding that the executives were rightly arrested. “They have to bear the legal consequences if they break the national security law,” she said.

A woman takes a photo from the latest edition of Apple Daily as people line up to buy the newspaper in Hong Kong.
A woman takes a photo from the latest edition of Apple Daily as people line up to buy the newspaper in Hong Kong on June 24, 2021.

Yung said the Apple Daily not about freedom of the press, but acknowledged that it was difficult to draw the line.

“If you are just criticizing the law or commenting on its strength, or what the law should include, or what should be exempted, I think that’s allowed and very reasonable,” she said. But “if you ask a foreign country to sanction Hong Kong officials, that’s another story.”

Lawmaker Holden Chow expressed a similar view, saying Hong Kong would continue to have freedoms “as long as they do not go beyond the law.”

Keith Richburg, professor of journalism at the University of Hong Kong, told VOA in May that it was “disturbing” that media critical of the government were targeted in the city, with “Apple Daily and News from the stand probably on the front line.

News from the stand was founded in 2014 and describes itself as a pro-democracy news site.

During the 2019 protests, several of its reporters were injured, including journalist-turned activist Gwyneth Ho. She was one of 47 people charged with subversion under the law in February.

Ronson Chan, the deputy editor of the website, told VOA last week: “After the close of Apple Daily, half of Hong Kong people say News from the stand will be the next target.

“I haven’t heard a very clear message that we may be searched or our staff will be arrested. From my understanding of the law and the police operation, I don’t think we have a problem with our reporting, “Chan said. He added that News from the stand ” editorial policy sticks to its “state of mind” and “principles”.

The news site made a similar comment on Sunday, when it announced via its website the temporary removal of comments, editorials, blogs and reader contributions. The website said news articles and videos would not be affected.

Staff members design their layout for the latest edition of the newspaper at Apple Daily headquarters in Hong Kong on June 23, 2021.
Staff members design the layout for the latest edition of Apple Daily at the newspaper’s headquarters in Hong Kong on June 23, 2021.

News from the stand said six of its board members have resigned and the website “continues to operate and its policy and editorial work remain unchanged.”

Chan told VOA on Sunday that the website was not under pressure from the government, saying, “All measures are taken by ourselves.”

Hong Kong’s only public broadcaster, Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK), has also come under scrutiny in recent months, with its new broadcast manager cutting popular shows for alleged bias. Journalists were fired and Lam received his own television segment, a move criticized as propaganda by critics.

Wider impact

Mark Simon, Lai’s assistant at Next Digital – the parent company of Apple Daily – declared that the repression of the media would have a “lasting impact”.

“You can’t have political prisoners, you can’t shut down the media, you can’t grab private property and be an international financial center; that doesn’t happen, ”Simon told VOA last week.

Self-proclaimed “Global City of Asia”, Hong Kong has long had a reputation as a global financial hub.

But with scenes of protesters, tear gas and riot police during protests in 2019, that reputation has taken a hit. Add the National Security Law last year, and international companies are considering their options.

Political analyst Joseph Chen, formerly from Hong Kong and now in Australia, cited a recent investigation into how changes in the region were affecting the city’s international status.

When the Hong Kong American Chamber of Commerce, a leading trade organization, surveyed its members, 42% said they were considering leaving. Of the 300 members who responded, the most widely shared concern was about the National Security Act.

“Apparently, many multinational companies in Hong Kong are planning to scale down their operations and expand their operations to other cities in Asia, such as Singapore and Tokyo,” Chen said. “I think these trends will hurt Hong Kong’s economy for the foreseeable future.”

The security law has certainly affected Apple Daily. The newspaper sold out after 26 years, and two of the five executives were denied bail. A hearing is scheduled for August 13.

Some information for this report is from The Associated Press.


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Hydroponics giant Hydrofarm plans new headquarters in Northern California after IPO, 3 acquisitions

Becoming a publicly traded company, temporarily moving its headquarters from Petaluma to the east coast, spending $ 343 million to acquire three more companies, preparing to move back to a larger North Bay hub. It’s been a busy seven months for indoor grow equipment manufacturer and distributor Hydrofarm.

On December 14, nearly 10 million shares of Hydrofarm Holding Group began trading on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol “HYFM”, raising proceeds of $ 182.3 million, according to the annual report of the March, 31st. The company made a follow-up offer of 5.5 million shares that ended on May 3, bringing in an additional $ 309.8 million.

After peaking at $ 92 in mid-February, the stock price was $ 56.96 at the market close on Friday.

Earlier this year, Hydrofarm moved its corporate headquarters to its distribution center in the Philadelphia area. It is one of nine totaling 900,000 square feet that the 4-year-old company operates in the United States, Canada and Spain. Hydrofarm also has offices in China.

This happened because Hydrofarm was preparing a larger location elsewhere in North Bay, which it had been pursuing for a few years.

Hydrofarm had planned to move its headquarters from Petaluma to the 250,000-square-foot warehouse at Victory Station in South Sonoma, but that deal did not materialize amid the rapid cooling of demand for real estate in the New Zealand. legal cannabis industry, according to real estate sources.

Hydrofarm could not be reached for comment on its plans for North Bay.

As cannabis has emerged as a key driver of demand for environmentally controlled agricultural products, Hydrofarm made its debut in Marin County during the catastrophic drought of 1977-1978, the Business Journal reported in 2010. gardeners.

The product line has expanded to include energy efficient grow lights and germination kits. Then Hydrofarm began manufacturing and distributing indoor gardening equipment for professional growers and hobbyists.

Today, the key markets are producers of cannabis, flowers, fruits, plants, vegetables, grains and herbs. The portfolio now includes 26 exclusive brands developed in-house with around 900 product variants under 24 patents and 60 registered trademarks. The company also owns more than 40 exclusive and preferred brands totaling 900 other storage units.

The company’s brands represent around 60% of sales. The total catalog, which contains products from more than 400 suppliers, includes more than 6,000 references.

“Our revenue mix continues to shift towards exclusive brands as we continue to innovate, improving overall margins,” says the annual report. “In addition, our revenue stream is very consistent as, according to our estimate, we believe that approximately two-thirds of our net sales are generated from the sale of recurring consumables, including growing media, nutrients and supplies. . “

Last year’s net sales were $ 342.2 million, up 45.6% from 2019. The company speculated in its annual report that public health home shelter orders in the event of a coronavirus pandemic have contributed to this increase in sales. The net turnover for the previous year only increased by 11.0% compared to 2018.

First quarter net sales were $ 111.4 million, up 66.5% from the previous year. The company attributed this to a 59.6% increase in the volume of products sold and a 6.9% increase in the price and mix of these products.

As a sign of its commitment to stay in North Bay, Hydrofarm was awarded a lease earlier this year for a new 175,000 square foot distribution warehouse at 2225 Huntington Drive in Fairfield. Meanwhile, Hydrofarm founder Stuart Dvorin was preparing to sell the 110,000 square foot Petaluma main facility at 2249 S. McDowell Blvd. Extension, a $ 17.5 million deal struck on June 7.

“We also intend to move our existing distribution operations in Northern California from the existing Petaluma building to a larger distribution center nearby,” the company wrote in its annual report.

Started in Marin County in 1977 as Applied Hydroponics, Hydrofarm moved its headquarters to Petaluma in 1994, employing 65 people at the time. It gradually expanded to 150,000 square feet there with a workforce of over 150 employees in 2010, and then to 195,000 square feet in the city in 2017. The company employed 327 full-time across all sites in at the end of February, he reported.

In 2017, Hydrofarm made a big expansion in Canada with the acquisition of the wholesale of Eddi and Greenstar Plant Products. The deal helped Hydrofarm become one of the leading suppliers of hydroponics equipment in Canada, the company said.

This year, Hydrofarm acquired three other companies. Los Angeles-area high-end nutrient maker Heavy 16 was bought for $ 78.1 million, and Humboldt County’s House & Garden brand portfolio for $ 125 million. A $ 161 million deal was announced this month for Aurora International Inc. and Gotham Properties LLC, manufacturers and suppliers of organic hydroponic products based in Oregon.

“We see mergers and acquisitions as an important driver of potential growth, as the hydroponics industry is fragmented and ready to be consolidated,” Hydrofarm wrote in its annual report.

Hydrofarm has also fertilized its C suite with insight over the past two years. In early 2019, Bill Toler arrived as CEO, bringing with him over 3 decades of senior executive experience at large consumer packaged goods companies, most recently including seven years as CEO and Chairman of Hostess. Brands. B. John Lindeman arrived as CFO in March 2020 with 25 years of experience in agriculture and finance.

Jeff Quackenbush covers wine, construction and real estate. Prior to Business Journal, he wrote for Bay City News Service in San Francisco. He graduated from Walla Walla University. Contact him at [email protected] or 707-521-4256.


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USA Luge presents new starting facility on Olympic Day | News, Sports, Jobs

USA Luge’s head office is located on Church Street in Lake Placid. (Corporate photos – Andy Flynn)

LAKE PLACID – Officials from America’s Luge and the International Luge Federation (FIL) made two important announcements Thursday as part of the state’s Olympic Regional Development Authority’s one-day tour of the facilities locations where athletes train for the Olympics.

In order to celebrate Olympic Day, which was Wednesday, stops were also made at the American Olympic and Paralympic Center and the Mount Van Hoevenberg Olympic Sports Complex, where VIPs and media met with athletes, coaches and managers in the sports of luge, bobsleigh, skeleton, biathlon and Nordic skiing.

Showcasing the newly renovated USA Luge headquarters on Church Street, Claire DelNegro, FIL vice president of artificial sports track, announced that Lake Placid will host a World Cup on December 4-5. It will be the first time in two years that the combined track of Mount Van Hoevenberg has hosted a World Cup; Luge and bobsleigh / skeleton competitions were canceled last winter due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are happy to see all the improvements happening here” said DelNegro, who competed in luge for Great Britain at the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia. “I would like to invite you all to come and see the toboggan in person on the track. It’s a very exciting sport, and I think you will all become big, big fans.

It was also announced that luge athletes will use Plattsburgh International Airport this winter for the first time. After competing in the World Cup in Whistler, Canada, the entire circuit will travel to Plattsburgh ahead of the Lake Placid World Cup and depart from the same airport as they will head to Europe for the next leg of the tour.

USA Luge Director of Marketing and Sponsorship Gordy Sheer speaks with a host of personalities and media during their Olympic Day visit to USA Luge’s headquarters in Lake Placid on Thursday. (Corporate photos – Andy Flynn)

Thursday’s visit to USA Luge headquarters comes more than a year after an open house was canceled to unveil improvements due to the pandemic. Although it was not an open house, personalities and the media were invited to visit officials such as Jim Leahy, CEO of USA Luge, Gordy Sheer, Director of Marketing and Sponsorship and Mark Grimmette, director of sports programs.

The state’s $ 5 million upgrade reshaped the corporate headquarters. The original 8,400 square foot building was constructed in 1991 and the renovated 15,000 square foot building was completed in 2020. It now includes more office space, a fabrication shop to build sleds inside (instead of under a tent outside the old building), equipment rooms and a state-of-the-art refrigerated start-up facility.

“There is nothing like this installation in the world, and we are extremely proud” said Léahy. “It’s not just for our current athletes, but it’s for athletes for generations to come. Here we have a world class facility with world class work rooms, world class training at the Olympic Training Center. We have added a weight room. So we have all the resources here to ensure the success of our athletes.

The new starting track features two 230-foot ice ramps with four different angles, two down and two up. It is longer than the previous single start ramp, which only allowed athletes to remove the handles and paddle on the ice; that left no room for them to settle into the sled, which is an important part of training. The new ramps are long enough for athletes to get into their sleds. When they finish at the first ramp, they simply head to the second for another descent onto the ice.

Two-time Olympian Summer Britcher said she didn’t realize what she was missing until the new facility opened.

The new departure facility at USA Luge headquarters in Lake Placid has two ramps. (Corporate photos – Andy Flynn)

“This new facility is phenomenal. We are very grateful ”, Britcher said. “The longer ramps we have allow us to get the most out of our paddle training, and the ability to get into the sled is huge. For me personally, I have a very powerful pulling part at the start, but I was a bit weaker on the paddle aspect.

When state funding for USA Luge upgrades was announced in 2016, Empire State Development officials also said they would include $ 1 million for marketing, especially for television. World Cup events in Lake Placid.

“One of the things we need to do is provide a TV signal to host the World Cup races here in the United States”, Sheer said. “And New York State was kind enough to help us fund this … by putting out this signal for the rest of the world to see.”

USA Luge athletes began training for their next Olympic season on their new starting ramps in early May. The team are expected to train in Whistler and Europe in September, return to Lake Placid to train in October, and spend three weeks training on the Olympic track at the Yanqing Sliding Center outside of Beijing in November before the start of the World Cup season in November. 20-21.

The World Cup tour then heads to North America for two stops, Whistler and Lake Placid, before heading to Altenberg, Germany, and Igls, Austria, in December. After the Christmas holidays, the tour continues at four European stops: Königssee, Germany; Sigulda, Latvia; Oberhof, Germany; and St. Moritz, Switzerland.

USA Luge CEO Jim Leahy, right, chats with former Olympic sports complex manager Tony Carlino on Thursday during a tour of the newly renovated USA Luge headquarters in Lake Placid. (Corporate photos – Andy Flynn)

The 2022 Winter Olympics will be held February 4-20 in Beijing, China.

USA Luge CEO Jim Leahy, far right, greets a crowd of VIPs and media on Thursday at the newly renovated USA Luge headquarters in Lake Placid. (Corporate photos – Andy Flynn)

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