A significant gap exists between what companies say and do about sustainability with 65 percent developing policies at the CEO level and only 35 percent taking action, such as training managers to integrate such commitments into operations, according to a survey by United Nations Global Compact.
The Global Corporate Sustainability Report 2013, which includes survey responses from 1,712 companies from 113 countries, reviews the actions taken by companies to embed responsible practices outlined in the Global Compact Management Model into their strategies, operations and culture. The survey provides a snapshot of how companies are addressing sustainability issues including human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption.
When companies do take action it is typically on environment and labour-rights issues.. For example, half of the companies surveyed perform risk assessments on the environment, compared to 21 percent on human rights, 36 percent on labor and 25 percent on anti-corruption.
Moving from making a commitment to taking action often requires a greater investment of company resources and time, the UN report says. The longer a company is committed to the Global Compact, the more action they take.
Larger companies are twice as likely to evaluate their environmental performance or have a human rights complaint system, while smaller firms lag behind. Small and medium-sized enterprises cite a lack of financial resources and knowledge as their primary barriers to taking action on sustainability issues. However, the survey found smaller companies are increasingly taking steps to catch up.
The survey found supply chains are among the biggest challenges companies face when attempting to improve their sustainability performance. Some 83 percent of companies consider adherence to the Global Compact principles by suppliers, but only 18 percent help them set and review goals. Just 9 percent of companies try to verify remediation by their suppliers.
Stein Mart, Inc. (Nasdaq:SMRT) today reported that total sales for the four-week period ended August 31, 2013 increased 3.7 percent and comparable store sales increased 3.8 percent.
Sappi Fine Paper North America announced today the 11 grant recipients for its 14th annual Ideas that Matter program, the industry's highly respected grant program aimed at helping designers create and implement print projects for charitable causes. Since 1999, Sappi's Ideas that Matter program has awarded over $12 million worldwide in grants to designers around the globe to support their work for nonprofit programs and organizations. This year's winning projects reflect the on-going commitment in the design community to utilize design in combination with innovative thinking to solve social problems. Grantees submitted outstanding proposals outlining their ideas, creative execution and their unique ability to instill positive social, cultural or environmental change.
The selected proposals were determined by an independent judging panel of leaders from the design profession. This year's judges, all widely recognized for their forward-thinking commitment to design for social good, included Bill Drenttel, President of Winterhouse Institute based in Connecticut; Erin Huizenga, Founder of EPIC and Director of Remedy in Chicago; Jennifer Kinon, Founding Partner at Original Champions of Design/OCD based in New York City; Michael Lejeune, Creative Director at Metro in Los Angeles; Alissa Walker, freelance design writer in Los Angeles.
Rite Aid Corporation (NYSE: RAD) today announced sales results for August.
Monthly Sales: For the five weeks ended Aug. 31, 2013, same store sales increased 1.1 percent over the prior-year period. August front-end same store sales decreased 1.7 percent. Pharmacy same store sales, which included an approximate 161 basis points negative impact from new generic introductions, increased 2.5 percent. Prescription count at comparable stores decreased 0.2 percent over the prior-year period.
Quarterly Sales: Same store sales for the 13-week period ended Aug. 31, 2013 increased 1.0 percent over the prior-year period. Front-end same store sales decreased 0.3 percent while pharmacy same store sales increased 1.7 percent. Prescription count at comparable stores was flat compared to the prior-year period.
Year-to-Date: Same store sales for the 26-week period ended Aug. 31, 2013 decreased 0.8 percent over the prior-year period. Front-end same store sales were flat compared to the prior-year period while pharmacy same store sales decreased 1.1 percent. Prescription count at comparable stores decreased 0.1 percent over the prior-year period.
Gap Inc. (NYSE: GPS) today reported that August 2013 net sales increased 3 percent compared with last year. Net sales for the four-week period ended August 31, 2013 were $1.23 billion compared with net sales of $1.20 billion for the four-week period ended August 25, 2012.
“We continue to meet our goal of driving consistent positive comp sales growth, on top of last year’s strong performance,” said Glenn Murphy, chairman and chief executive officer of Gap Inc.
Due to the 53rd week in fiscal year 2012, August 2013 comparable sales are compared to the four-week period ended September 1, 2012. On this basis, Gap Inc.’s comparable sales for August 2013 were up 2 percent versus a 9 percent increase for August 2012.
Comparable sales by global brand for August 2013 were as follows:
•Gap Global: positive 2 percent versus positive 6 percent last year
•Banana Republic Global: positive 2 percent versus positive 8 percent last year
•Old Navy Global: positive 1 percent versus positive 12 percent last year
Seventy-seven percent of consumers say shipping costs factor into their willingness to shop online. Results of the CFI Group Retail Satisfaction Barometer for second quarter 2013 also show that the most common consumer activity on retail websites is browsing and researching before in-store purchase (59%).
In addition, 36% of consumers use retail websites to browse multiple stores and sites, while 24% browse and research in a store to purchase on a site and 15% browse and research in a store to purchase on a competitor’s site (showrooming).
Looking at mobile retail, the study finds only 21% of consumers use mobile applications during their shopping experience, although they spend an average of $19.97 per transaction compared to $14.99 for consumers not using mobile applications. Smartphones (78%) are clearly the most popular mobile shopping device, with tablets (10%) and a combination of smartphones and tablets (12%) following.
Other findings from the study include:
•60% of 18-to-24-year-olds shop online monthly and 33% shop online weekly.
•The most popular uses for mobile shopping apps are checking prices (68%), comparison shopping (53%), and checking reviews and recommendations (49%).
•Top three consumer complaints about mobile shopping apps are they are not helpful, too slow, and security concerns.
AAA Fuel Gage 9/06/13
National Unleaded Regular:
Current Average - $3.584/gallon
Month Ago Average - $3.600/gallon
Year Ago Average - $3.823/gallon
Highest Recorded Average - $4.114/gallon on 7/17/08
Current Average - $3.945/gallon
Month Ago Average - $3.885/gallon
Year Ago Average - $4.110/gallon
Highest Recorded Average - $4.845/gallon on 7/17/08
Current Exchange Rates as of 9/06/13
American Dollar to Canadian Dollar = 0.956251
American Dollar to Chinese Yuan = 0.163412
American Dollar to Euro = 1.311079
American Dollar to Japanese Yen = 0.010033
American Dollar to Mexican Peso = 0.074917
Brent crude headed for a fourth weekly gain, the longest rising streak since February, as U.S. President Barack Obama sought diplomatic backing at the G-20 summit in Russia for a military strike on Syria.
Futures were little changed in London and have climbed 1.2 percent this week. Obama began meetings in St. Petersburg as he tried to persuade other leaders of the Group of 20 nations to support armed intervention in response to Syria’s alleged use of chemical weapons. West Texas Intermediate may rise next week as plans for an attack gather pace amid improving economic data and reduced stockpiles, a Bloomberg survey showed.
“A military strike is not fully priced in,” said Gerrit Zambo, an oil trader at Bayerische Landesbank in Munich, who estimates Brent may rally to $127 a barrel should an attack be launched. “It’s only a question of time until the U.S. is active as Obama is really committed to lead a military strike and can’t afford to lose face.”
Brent for October settlement rose 11 cents to $115.37 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange at 11:09 a.m. London time. The volume of all futures traded was about 41 percent below the 100-day average. The European benchmark crude was at a premium of $6.77 to WTI, compared with $6.89 yesterday.
WTI for October delivery was at $108.61 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, up 24 cents. The contract yesterday climbed 1.1 percent to $108.37, the biggest gain since Aug. 27. Prices are up 0.9 percent this week for a second weekly advance.
Newcastle Investment Corp. has acquired Dow Jones Local Media Group from News Corp. in a deal valued at $87 million.
Local Media Group operates 33 publications, including eight daily and 15 weekly newspapers in seven states. The group's newspapers include the Times Herald-Record (Middletown, N.Y.), Cape Cod Times (Hyannis, Mass.), The Record (Stockton, Calif.), The Pocono Record (Stroudsburg, Pa.) and The Mail Tribune (Medford, Ore.).
“These newspapers share a strong tradition of service in their communities and a highly talented staff,” said Robert Thomson, CEO of News Corp., in a statement. “We are confident that the papers will prosper under the new owners, but they were not strategically consistent with the emerging portfolio of the new News [Corp.].”
Publisher GateHouse Media, an affiliate of Fortress Investment Group, Newcastle's manager, will manage operations of the Local Media Group.
Sappi Fine Paper North America is now offering PEFC chain of custody certification as an option for Somerset, Flo and Opus web.
Sappi products available with PEFC certification*:
Flo web — all basis weights and finishes
Somerset web — all basis weights and finishes
Opus web — all basis weights and finishes
PEFC is the world’s largest forest certification program, with 603 million certified acres compared to 445 million acres of FSC land. Over 60% of the world’s PEFC fiber originates in North America.
PEFC and its participants continue to work with landowners and collaborative efforts to drive growth of certified fiber. Within North America, PEFC also recognizes the American Tree Farm Standard (ATFS) and the Canadian Standards association (CSA) programs.
PEFC must be specified when placing orders. PEFC claims will be made utilizing a credit system and as such meet the threshold for on product labeling. Please call your Sappi sales representative with any questions.
Ahlstrom, a global high performance fiber-based materials company, announces price increases in the fourth quarter of 2013 for its filtration materials globally. The price increases will be made to compensate for the continued rise in raw material costs such as specialty pulps, chemicals and energy as well as adverse currency fluctuations.
Prices of specialty fibers including mercerized pulp, cotton and glass, as well as energy and chemicals have continued to rise steadily over recent months.
The price increase will affect filtration materials produced by Ahlstrom globally. The level and timing of the increase will depend on the markets served, the raw material content of the product and the agreements in place. The increase will be up to 10%. Specific details will be discussed with each customer individually by the appropriate sales teams in the coming days.
The thermo-formable UPM Grada wood material is brilliantly presented at Habitare at furniture manufacturer Pedro’s stand 6e111 where all the form pressed furniture are made of UPM’s new formable and ecological material. Habitare, the largest furniture, interior decoration and design fair in Finland, is held in Helsinki on September 18–22, 2013.
The ON product family is the outcome of co-operation between Pedro and designer Tapio Anttila. In the ON series Tapio has studied the furniture functionality during its whole life cycle. “The functionality in furniture includes also raw materials, manufacturing process and recycling – the whole life cycle. When a piece of furniture is both usable and beautiful but also ecologically and ethically sound, it is truly functional”, describes Tapio his design principles.
UPM Grada enables new possibilities which create new light and fresh forms into designs. UPM Grada is a safe and recyclable material which is easy to work with. The new wood material together with the furniture manufacturing process makes it possible to include unique and practical niceties into products.
“Tapio is already familiar with UPM Grada through earlier projects. He has great insight to the possibilities of the material, of which the one-piece manufactured ON chairs are outstanding examples. As a furniture manufacturer, Pedro is a frontrunner in sustainable thinking and operations. UPM Grada supports these sustainable targets very well”, explains Mikko Tilli, responsible of UPM Grada business.
Two Sides responds to Mr. Chris Yiu, Head of Digital Government for independent charity 'Policy Exchange', with copies to Ministers and Civil Servants, following the report, 'Smarter, Better, Faster, Stronger' published on Monday 2nd September 2013.
The report claims that the Government is wasting billions of pounds by relying on paper based documentation in public services. In order to 'remake the Government for the Digital Age', the report argues that the Government should eliminate paper and digitise its activities.
In the opinion of Two Sides, the report appears to ignore the clear choice that consumers express for paper based media for many types of documentation and the needs of millions of citizens without digital access.
Quad/Graphics, Inc. (NYSE: QUAD) today announced that its Commercial & Specialty and Direct Marketing groups have earned multiple awards in Printing Impressions magazine's annual Gold Ink Awards, one of the industry's most prestigious annual print competitions.
Quad's winning entries, which included two Gold, one Silver, three Bronze and seven Pewter awards, will be recognized at the Gold Ink Awards & Hall of Fame banquet September 9 in Chicago.
The Gold awards represent the highest distinction in an awards program that draws more than 1,000 entries every year and were bestowed for Quad/Graphics' printing of the Jacobs 2012 Annual Report and a Lancôme pop-up magazine insert. The Silver award was given for Loupe Magazine, the publication of the Photographic Resource Center, a non-profit organization based at Boston University. The Bronze awards were conferred for the Next Level Apparel 2013 Business Catalog, a TLC Honey Boo Boo magazine insert and a Garage Team Mazda direct mail piece. Pewter awards recognized Quad/Graphics' work on Exxon Mobil's 2013 Energy Outlook report, catalogs for Bed, Bath & Beyond, Neiman Marcus, J.Hilburn and Costa, and direct mail pieces for Nissan and Garage Team Mazda.
"The awards attest to the high quality work that we produce to help our clients stand out, promote their brands and achieve greater results in their respective marketplace," said Craig Faust, President of Quad/Graphics' Commercial & Specialty. "Since Quad/Graphics established our Commercial & Specialty division in 2010, we have more than doubled the size and scope of our operations to meet our clients' demands. Award-winning product and service quality -- performed in a quick-turn environment -- is the standard we have set for all of our Commercial & Specialty facilities."
Quad/Graphics' Direct Marketing division showcased its digital printing and variable data and personalization in winning its three awards: "Our winning entries demonstrate how marketers are increasingly using data and personalization to create even more relevant and engaging direct mail," said Steve Jaeger, President of Quad/Graphics' Direct Marketing.
The significance of responsible timber sourcing practices to promote sustainable forest management and combat climate change will be the focus of the keynote speech by Ben Gunneberg, PEFC International Secretary General at the forthcoming World Engineers Summit (WES) in Singapore next week.
Sustainable forest management is key to maintaining the forest carbon stock and has been identified as an important activity to combat climate change. PEFC, the world’s largest forest certification system, provides assurances that timber is sourced from sustainably managed sources. Increasingly, business is recognizing the role of forest certification within their CSR activities, and more and more leading companies are implementing responsible timber procurement policies that specify PEFC to promote sustainability in forest management.
The inaugural edition of the World Engineers Summit will bring together engineers from multiple disciplines and climate change specialists from all over the world to share ideas and insights on climate change. The week-long event, which will take place from 9-15 September at the Marina Bay Sands Expo & Convention Centre in Singapore, will include the World Federation of Engineering Organisations (WFEO) General Assembly 2013 and committee meetings, as well as Build Eco Xpo (BEX Asia) 2013 which addresses sustainable and green solutions for the building sector.
Ben Gunneberg is the keynote speaker for the session on “Corporate Social Responsibility on Climate Change” on the afternoon of Thursday 12 September and will take participants on a journey explaining what responsible forestry delivers, what benefits forest certification offers to business, and what opportunities PEFC provides to forward-looking companies aiming to responsibly use the world’s forest resources.
Hexacomb, a Boise company, said that it has opened a new manufacturing facility in central Mexico.
The facility, located in the state of Querétaro, will be manufacturing Hexacomb’s full line of paper-based honeycomb protective packaging products, including sheets, runners, edge and corner protectors.
“Due to the sizeable demand in Mexico for HEXACOMB® products, we have added a second manufacturing facility there," said Scott Daniel, President of Hexacomb.
Hexacomb said that it had been supplying its many customers in central Mexico from its Monterrey facility, which is located in the northeastern part of the country.
The additional Hexacomb honeycomb production output will address growing demand from multiple market segments including automotive, glass, spinning mills, appliances and food/beverage, the company added.
“It’s important to locate a manufacturing facility in close proximity to our customers. This has a positive impact on both speed-of-delivery and freight costs and is in keeping with the environmentally-responsible nature of our product line,” Daniel said.
Hexacomb noted, "For companies looking to improve sustainability, Hexacomb honeycomb is an environmentally-responsible alternative to foam, expanded polystyrene and other petroleum-based products, because it is made primarily from renewable wood fibers and is typically recyclable. The product also offers excellent strength, superior cushioning and blocking/bracing for a wide range of protective packaging and other applications."
Greif, Inc. (NYSE: GEF, GEF.B), a global leader in industrial packaging products and services, today announced results for its third quarter, which ended July 31, 2013. For the third quarter of 2013 compared with the third quarter of 2012:
• Net sales increased 2.4 percent due to higher volumes combined with higher containerboard selling prices;
• Operating profit increased 14 percent to $96.7 million and EBITDA improved 7 percent to $132.2 million
Net sales were $1,129.7 million for the third quarter of 2013 compared with $1,102.9 million for the third quarter of 2012. The 2.4 percent increase in net sales was primarily due to the impact of a 1.2 percent increase in selling prices coupled with a 1.0 percent increase in volumes. Selling prices for paper packaging products were higher due to the realization of two containerboard price increases since the third quarter of 2012. Selling prices for rigid industrial packaging products decreased principally due to the pass-through of lower steel costs to customers. Lower selling prices for flexible packaging products were attributable to changes in product mix and the pass-through of lower raw material costs to customers.
Gross profit increased 7.5 percent to $217.3 million for the third quarter of 2013 compared with $202.2 million for the third quarter of 2012. Improvements in the Paper Packaging, Land Management and Rigid Industrial Packaging & Services segments were partially offset by a decline in the Flexible Products & Services segment. Gross profit was 19.2 percent of net sales for the third quarter of 2013 versus 18.3 percent of net sales for the third quarter of 2012.
Direct mailers are up in arms and banding together as the United States Postal Service (USPS) circles a potential exigent rate increase for 2014. With the USPS Postal Board of Governors set to convene on Sept. 5 and expected to discuss a possible path toward solvency, periodical publishers are preparing to argue against what they believe is an additional financial burden.
“This is not a bluff on behalf of the postal service,” says James Cregan, executive vice president, government affairs, for the MPA—The Association of Magazine Media, in a phone interview. “Among knowledgeable people working within the mailing industry, it’s commonly known that this exigent rate increase is very much on the table.”
According to Cregan, Washington, D.C. insiders are expecting the USPS to pursue an exigent rate increase of up to 10 percent across the board for magazines, effective Jan. 2014. The estimated figure is based on precedent set by the 2010 filing in which the USPS requested a 5.5 percent across the board rate increase for all mailers plus 3 percent for magazines and catalogues, which they claimed were not covering their full costs, and an added adjustment for inflation. The unexpected cost is a huge budgetary consideration for subscription-based periodicals that rely on mail on the ground for circulation distribution.
With financial burdens already heavy, contentious debates underway and possible legal battles on the horizon, fears over an exigent filing are greatly affecting how hundreds of periodicals are examining their bottom lines.
An exigent rate increase is a game changer by design for direct mailers as they are forced to bear a higher financial burden, above and beyond the expected annual rate adjustment for inflation, which is capped by the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
Since the passing of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act in 2006, mailers, to some degree, have been able to account for adjustments in inflation. For subscription-based periodicals, especially those that have struggled in a post 2008-recession era, this has allowed for some preparation to deal with increasing costs. Exigent rates were originally created to offer the USPS flexibility when facing “exceptional or extraordinary” circumstances like terrorist attacks or natural disasters. It is therefore at the discretion of the USPS to file and the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) to accept.
Flint Group has today announced publication of its first externally available sustainability report providing comprehensive economic, social and environmental data, detailing the Group’s strong performance over the last several years within the sustainability arena.
Since its formation in 2005, Flint Group has strived to deliver market-leading sustainable solutions and has adopted a unique approach to sustainability—based on the organisations own Mission and Guiding and Principles. This approach not only ensures alignment to business strategy but also to its organisational goal of operating in a manner that maximises product performance while minimising any negative impact of its operations on the environment.
As one of the leading suppliers to the Printing and Packaging industries, Flint Group remains committed to implementing initiatives that support continual improvement in all areas – including sustainability. Publishing this report will enable the Group to better capture and share results of key programmes that help drive the sustainability agenda within the organisation.
Costco Wholesale Corporation ("Costco" or the "Company") (NASDAQ: COST) today reported net sales of $7.95 billion for the month of August, the four weeks ended September 1, 2013, an increase of seven percent from $7.44 billion during the similar period last year.
For the 16-week fourth quarter, the Company reported net sales of $31.8 billion, an increase of one percent compared to net sales of $31.5 billion in the 17-week fourth quarter of fiscal year 2012, ended September 2, 2012.
For the 52-week fiscal year ended September 1, 2013, the Company reported net sales of $102.9 billion, an increase of six percent from the $97.1 billion reported in the 53-week fiscal year 2012, ended September 2, 2012.
West Texas Intermediate crude climbed from the lowest price in more than a week as a U.S. Senate committee approved military strikes on Syria, heightening the threat of a wider conflict in the Middle East.
Futures advanced as much as 0.8 percent in New York after falling by the most in two weeks yesterday. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted to authorize President Barack Obama to conduct a restricted operation following the alleged use of chemical weapons by President Bashar al-Assad, clearing the way for consideration by the full Senate. U.S. crude stockpiles shrank by 2 million barrels last week, according to a Bloomberg News survey of analysts before government data today.
“Crude is finding a little support from U.S. saber-rattling and across-the-board falls in U.S. inventories,” said Christopher Bellew, a senior broker at Jefferies Bache Ltd. in London. “While intervention in Syria may discourage the use of chemical weapons, by weakening Assad’s forces just as they were regaining a degree of superiority over the rebels, it may just serve to prolong the civil war.”
WTI for October delivery increased as much as 81 cents to $108.04 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, and was at $107.83 at 11:10 a.m. London time. The contract dropped 1.2 percent to $107.23 yesterday, the biggest decline since Aug. 20 and the lowest settlement since Aug. 26. The volume of all futures traded was about 43 percent below the 100-day average.
Brent for October settlement was 45 cents higher at $115.36 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The European benchmark crude was at a premium of $7.54 to WTI, compared with $7.68 yesterday.
JoS. A. Bank Clothiers, Inc.(Nasdaq:JOSB) announces that net income for the second quarter of fiscal year 2013 was $14.2 million as compared with net income of $23.2 million for the second quarter of fiscal year 2012. Diluted earnings for the second quarter of fiscal year 2013 were $0.51 per share as compared with diluted earnings of $0.83 per share for the second quarter of fiscal year 2012, which is within the expected EPS range of $0.49 to $0.53 per diluted share previously announced by the Company.
Commenting on the earnings for the second quarter, R. Neal Black, President and CEO of JoS. A. Bank Clothiers, Inc. stated: "While our total Sales declined in the second quarter of fiscal 2013, we achieved stability in our gross profit margin rate. Specifically, our gross profit margin rate increased in both the fiscal months of June and July and the overall rate for the second quarter increased approximately 40 basis points from last year. Customers did not respond as well to some of our highly promotional marketing campaigns as they did in the prior year, causing the disappointing sales decline in the quarter. At the same time, day to day sales on the non-promotional portion of our business in stores increased during the quarter and have the potential to represent a larger portion of our business going forward. As we implemented new marketing strategies, we were conservative with our marketing expenditures which enabled us to continue to improve our marketing efficiency during the quarter."
"For the start of the third quarter, our total sales, comparable store sales and Direct sales have all increased during the fiscal month of August 2013 as compared to the same period of 2012, so the third quarter is off to a good start, but it is still early in the quarter. The August 2013 sales increase comes on top of a double-digit sales increase in August 2012. With the gross margin trend turning up in the second quarter and the sales trend turning up in August, our declines may have bottomed out. We are highly focused on improving our sales trend, and further improving both our gross profit margin rate and our marketing efficiency over the remainder of fiscal year 2013, with the overall goal of returning to previous years' levels. We will continue to modify and implement new marketing events and the related media placement to maintain efficiency and to drive sales. We will begin to annualize our declining sales and gross margin trends during the third quarter and for all of the fourth quarter, which means our opportunity for improvement is significant during those periods," continued Mr. Black.
Total sales for the second quarter of fiscal year 2013 decreased 10.7% to $232.5 million from $260.3 million in the second quarter of fiscal year 2012. Comparable store sales decreased 15.9% and Direct Marketing sales decreased 1.9% in the second quarter of 2013 as compared with the second quarter of 2012. Combined comparable store and Internet sales for the second quarter of fiscal year 2013 decreased 15.5% when compared to the second quarter of fiscal year 2012.
Comparing the first six months of fiscal year 2013 with the first six months of fiscal year 2012, net income was $22.3 million as compared with $38.0 million and diluted earnings per share was $0.80 per share as compared to $1.36 per share. Total sales for the first six months of fiscal year 2013 decreased 7.2% to $428.6 million from $461.7 million for the first six months of fiscal year 2012, while comparable store sales decreased 12.7% and direct marketing sales increased 3.9%. Combined comparable store and Internet sales for the first six months of fiscal year 2013 decreased 11.9% when compared to the first six months of fiscal year 2012.
Limited Brands, Inc. (now known as L Brands, Inc.) (NYSE: LTD) reported net sales of $704.7 million for the four weeks ended Aug. 31, 2013, compared to net sales of $665.6 million for the four weeks ended Aug. 25, 2012. The company reported a comparable store sales increase of 2 percent for the four weeks ended Aug. 31, 2013 compared to the four weeks ended Sept. 1, 2012.
The company reported net sales of $5.489 billion for the 30 weeks ended Aug. 31, 2013, an increase of 5 percent compared to sales of $5.218 billion for the 30 weeks ended Aug. 25, 2012. The company reported a comparable store sales increase of 2 percent for the 30 weeks ended Aug. 31, 2013, compared to the 30 weeks ended Sept. 1, 2012.
Louisiana-Pacific Corporation (“LP” or the “Company”) (NYSE: LPX) and Ainsworth Lumber Co. Ltd. (TSX: ANS) (“Ainsworth”) today announced that they have signed a definitive agreement under which LP will acquire all of the outstanding common shares of Ainsworth for a total consideration which equates to C$3.76 per Ainsworth common share, based on the closing price of LP common shares on September 3, 2013.
The proposed transaction, which has a total value of approximately USD$1.1 billion, including the assumption of debt less Ainsworth’s estimated cash balance, represents a premium for Ainsworth shareholders of 30% relative to the closing price of Ainsworth shares of C$2.89 and 24% to the volume weighted average trading price of Ainsworth shares on the TSX over the past 20 trading days as of September 3, 2013. The proposed transaction has the unanimous support of the Ainsworth Board of Directors. Additionally, private equity funds managed by Brookfield Asset Management Inc., (the “Brookfield Funds”) which own 54% of Ainsworth, have entered into an agreement to vote in favor of the transaction.
Ainsworth is a leading manufacturer and marketer of oriented strand board (“OSB”) with a focus on value-added specialty products for markets in North America and Asia. Ainsworth’s four OSB manufacturing facilities, located in Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario, have a combined annual capacity of 2.5 billion square feet (3/8-inch basis), with the potential to increase capacity to 3.1 billion square feet (3/8-inch basis) with the expansion at Ainsworth’s mill in Grande Prairie, Alberta.
“This is an excellent transaction that makes LP more valuable for our customers and our shareholders,” said Curt Stevens, LP’s CEO. “Ainsworth has very high quality assets and provides us with an expanded suite of strand-based products and technologies, additional access to key international growth markets, particularly in Asia, and enhanced scale and efficiencies in North America. We have great respect for Ainsworth and its people, and we intend to take the best of both companies to create a leading provider of strand-based products that is well positioned to meet the evolving needs of customers in North America and abroad.”
The UK's recycling industry has received a major boost with the opening of the first facility capable of turning beverage cartons into usable materials.
The new facility in Stainland near Halifax boasts enough capacity to recycle up to 40 per cent of the cartons used in the UK each year, meaning it could recycle up to 1.25 million cartons a year.
The plant has been developed as a joint venture between paper and packaging firm Sonoco Alcore and the Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment (ACE) UK, an industry group representing leading packaging manufacturers Tetra Pak, Elopak and SIG Combibloc.
To date beverage cartons collected by councils for recycling have been shipped overseas for processing, leading to higher recycling costs and greenhouse gas emissions.
The development of domestic recycling capacity aims to reduce costs and greenhouse gas emissions - the companies estimate it will be able to cut carbon emissions by 122 tons a year compared to the current practice of shipping cartons for recycling in Sweden.
It will also allow Sonoco Alcore to turn the card in the cartons into industrial-strength coreboard that is used in a wide range of industrial applications. Meanwhile, the fine polymer and aluminium layers found in beverage cartons will be separated as the companies assess a number of different recycling approaches with a view to having a solution in place next year. "The polythene and aluminium will be stored until then - it will not be landfilled or exported," they added in a statement.
The companies said that it hoped the new facility would encourage more councils to collect beverage cartons by providing them with a stable and predictable price for recycling services, while also allowing them to reduce landfill taxes and gate fees by a total of £3.6m a year were the plant to run at full capacity.
A. Schulman, Inc. (Nasdaq-GS: SHLM) announced today that it has purchased the Perrite Group, a thermoplastics manufacturing business with operations in Malaysia, the United Kingdom and France, for approximately $52 million. Perrite was part of the Vita Group portfolio of companies.
The acquisition is expected to increase revenues in A. Schulman's Asia Pacific (APAC) segment by 35% and will double the size of the Company's existing Engineered Plastics business in the region. It is expected to deliver approximately $2 million to $3 million in annual synergies, including initial savings in procurement followed by more significant savings in the area of operational efficiencies.
"Expansion of our Custom Performance Colors and Engineered Plastics businesses in APAC is a key component of our growth strategy, and the addition of Perrite's manufacturing facility in Malaysia will enhance our ability to serve key customers in the region as well as globally," said Joseph M. Gingo, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, A. Schulman. "It also provides an attractive opportunity to leverage our broader portfolio of products through our successful color and niche engineered plastics businesses in EMEA and the Americas."
Gingo continued, "Perrite holds leading positions in attractive target markets such as electronics, appliance and niche automotive; offers well-established and respected brands; brings a highly experienced technical team; and has a strong track record of profitable growth. The acquisition will allow us to strengthen our European niche Engineered Plastics business with the addition of new customers, as well as move into adjacent markets with Perrite's highly profitable insulation materials for the sub-sea flexible oil pipe market, which are manufactured in the United Kingdom."
Perrite has manufactured and distributed thermoplastic compounds for the electrical, automotive and industrial markets for more than 35 years, offering a broad portfolio of standard and custom compounded polymer products. Perrite's product lines include the high-performance Ronfalin ABS brand and prime-quality polyamide Vitamide range. Other key brands include Percom polypropylene, Perlex polycarbonate, Styralin polystyrene and Pertal POM. Perrite employs approximately 220 people and recorded revenues of $140 million in fiscal 2012.
At the newest power plant in Wisconsin, fuel will come from close to home.
Unlike coal, which is brought in by train from Wyoming and Appalachia, biomass will be culled from the sawmills and forests of northern Wisconsin.
Most of the waste wood that will supply the $268 million We Energies and Domtar power plant will come from within 75 miles of Rothschild, said Jim Freiberg of Domtar.
The plant, which will provide electricity for We Energies and steam for Domtar's paper mill, will burn wood waste from sawmills and pulp mills as well as leftover wood removed from the forest floor after logging operations.
We Energies and Domtar Corp. executives joined then-Gov. Jim Doyle in announcing the project four years ago. At the time, Doyle touted the project as another step toward his goal of the state generating 25% of its power from renewable sources by 2025.
Wood costs account for between 50-55 percent of the production costs for pulp mills in the US. Historically these costs have often been substantially lower in the Southern states than in the Northwest — the two major pulp-producing regions of the country. However, this has been changing with the most dramatic regional price movements in North America happening in the US Northwest, where prices for softwood chips, the major fiber source for the region’s pulp mills, have fallen for five consecutive quarters, says Hakan Ekstrom of Wood Resources International (WRI).
Chip prices in the second quarter of 2013 were down by a third from early 2012, according to figures in North American Wood Fiber Review a quarterly report published by WRI. In contrast, softwood residual chip prices in the US South have remained practically unchanged for over three years, even though the supply of wood chips has increased as the result of higher lumber production in the region.
Wood chip prices in the US South are still lower than in the Western states, but pulp mills in the Southern states are consuming a higher percentage of higher-cost wood fiber in the form of roundwood, making the total average fiber costs in the South only slightly lower than in the West. Just a few years ago, the average softwood fiber costs for pulp mills in the West were more than 50 percent higher than those in the South, WRI noted.
Southern prices for both softwood and hardwood pulplogs in the second quarter of 2013 were unchanged from the previous quarter, after isolated price spikes during the always volatile winter season. However, pulp mills typically take spring maintenance outages, which reduces demand for wood fiber, resulting in downward prices pressure on logs. The fact that both softwood and hardwood roundwood prices remained unchanged this spring indicates additional demand is being felt from other sources, ie. pellet and OSB mills in some regions, and that harvest levels have picked up after the housing recession, WRI said.
Prices for pulplogs, which are the major fiber source for pulp mills in the South, have slowly trended upward the past two years and are expected to continue this trend during the rest of 2013. Since June, heavy amounts of rainfall have begun to cause challenges for wood supply deliveries, and there are early indications that wood prices in the South are climbing in the third quarter of this year, according to WRI's quarterly report.
News Corp (NASDAQ: NWS, NWSA; Temp. ASX tickers: NNC, NNCLV) announced today that it has sold the Dow Jones Local Media Group, which operates 33 publications, including 8 daily and 15 weekly newspapers, to an affiliate of Fortress Investment Group LLC.
The Dow Jones Local Media Group daily newspaper franchises include the Times Herald-Record (Middletown, N.Y.); Cape Cod Times (Hyannis, Mass.); The Record (Stockton, Calif.); The Standard-Times (New Bedford, Mass.); The Pocono Record (Stroudsburg, Penn.); The Herald (Portsmouth, N.H.); The Mail Tribune (Medford, Ore.), and The Daily Tidings (Ashland, Ore.). In addition to daily and weekly newspapers, the Dow Jones Local Media Group operates other print and online community media, including web sites, magazines as well as news and advertising niche publications.
“These newspapers share a strong tradition of service in their communities and a highly talented staff,” said Robert Thomson, Chief Executive of News Corp. “We are confident that the papers will prosper under the new owners, but they were not strategically consistent with the emerging portfolio of the new News.”
The Dow Jones Local Media Group operations will be managed by GateHouse Media, one of the largest publishers of locally based print and online media in the United States with a portfolio of products that includes over 400 community publications and approximately 350 related websites.
On Sept. 3, Boulder, Colo.-based Active Interest Media president/COO Andy Clurman announced the purchase of Clean Eating, Oxygen and MuscleMag International magazines from Mississauga, Ont.-based Robert Kennedy Publishing. Terms were not disclosed.
The seller had been financially distressed since the April 2012 death of 74-year-old founder Robert Kennedy. His widow, writer Tosca Reno, tried to keep the business going before Kennedy Publishing parent Canusa Products declared bankruptcy on June 7, 2013.
AIM bought the three titles and smaller subsidiaries from bankruptcy trustee Deloitte and Touche. Clurman will put them into AIM's Vegetarian Times/Yoga Journal-flagshipped Healthy Living Group.
The acquisition is AIM's second in 2013, following the purchases of Ski and Skiing from Bonnier Corp. on April 30.
Consumer brands manufacturer Jarden Corp. today announced it will buy scented candles manufacturer and online retailer The Yankee Candle Co. Inc. for $1.75 billion. The deal will close in the fourth quarter, Jarden says.
“As a successful, well-managed and well-invested business, Yankee Candle is a solid platform for us to leverage our proven, time-tested and portable brand-building approach and to drive additional value through investments in brand equity, product development and innovation,” says Jarden founder and executive chairman Martin E. Franklin.
Jarden owns more than 120 consumer brands including Coleman, FoodSaver and Oster.
Yankee Candle is No. 373 in the 2013 Top 500 Guide. It had 2012 web sales of $33.0 million, up 6.28% from 2011, according to Internet Retailer estimates.
“This acquisition provides us with the resources and scale necessary to drive our future success and will further strengthen our existing product development and distribution capabilities,” says Yankee Candle president and CEO Harlan M. Kent. “Jarden’s similar niche consumer strategy and complementary consumer portfolio will help to accelerate our expansion.”
Neither company could immediately be reached for further details.
West Texas Intermediate fell as the U.S. debated a military strike on Syria and Russia raised objections to intervention, clouding the prospects for an attack that could heighten tensions in the Middle East.
Futures lost as much as 0.8 percent. The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee is scheduled to vote today on a use-of-force resolution that sets a 90-day limit on military action and explicitly doesn’t authorize use of ground troops. Russian President Vladimir Putin said he will only support a United Nations resolution for military strikes if there’s conclusive proof the Syrian government used chemical weapons.
“The market sentiment on Syria is muted as it seems not all governments are gung-ho about action,” said Robert Montefusco, a senior broker at Sucden Financial Ltd. in London. “But everyone’s watching for the latest developments.”
WTI for October delivery dropped as much as 89 cents to $107.65 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was at $107.72 as of 11:16 a.m. London time. The contract climbed 89 cents from the Aug. 30 close to settle at $108.54 yesterday. Floor trading was closed Sept. 2 for the Labor Day holiday. The volume of all futures traded was about 23 percent below the 100-day average.
Brent for October settlement was down 48 cents at $115.20 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The European benchmark crude was at a premium of $7.46 to WTI, compared with $7.14 yesterday.
Citing a strong second quarter and generally improving economic conditions, Pivotal Research Group revised its U.S. ad spending forecast to 1.8% growth this year, up from an April forecast of 1.4% growth.
In the second quarter, U.S. advertising expenditures were up an estimated 1.7% over the same period last year, compared with Pivotal's earlier projection of 1.0% growth for the quarter.
National TV advertising is now expected to increase 3.1% this year, up from an earlier forecast of 2.7% growth. National digital media spending is expected to surge 19.2% this year, compared with an earlier forecast of 14.5% growth, according to Pivotal.
The forecast also points to a deceleration in paid-search spending, which is now expected to increase by 10.2% this year, down from Pivotal's April projection of more than 12.0% growth.
Grand View Media Group, a division of EBSCO Industries, has acquired green and agricultural publishing company, Moose River Media.
At first glance the two companies have very different portfolios. But Grand View's general manager, Barry Lovette, sees some common ground—service.
"The individual titles are very much service driven, they are not manufacturing industries. If you think about Turf, it's about lawn care and landscaping and you combine that over with what we have with Professional Carwashing & Detailing, Cleanfax and Cleaning & Maintenance Management they're all service-driven industries. And the reader is very much similar in many ways," he says.
Grand View declined to share specific details of the transaction, however Lovette says it was the digital strategy and social communities that attracted the company to Moose River.
"Their electronic efforts are very different, specifically for their market segment. They offer something to advertisers that none of their competitors can actually provide," he says.
Lovette states that his company has been investing heavily into e-publishing platforms and will continue to do the same with Moose River.
"We're going to look at making strategic investments in places that will help the long-term profitability of Moose River. We want to put resources in the right places to allow for that long-term growth. In the last 18 months we have made a very large technological investment into our business by installing an e-publishing platform and we will be doing the same with Moose River," he says.
Grand View indicates that it has no intentions of shuttering or consolidating titles. The company is retaining Moose River's entire Vermont-based and remote staff. And Lovette says that, for now, things will remain status quo.
Gap Inc. (NYSE: GPS) announced today it will open its first franchise-operated Old Navy stores in the Philippines in 2014. Earlier this year, the company announced its plans to begin franchising Old Navy stores internationally.
Franchising Old Navy stores is a key step in the company’s international expansion as it works to grow its share of the global retail apparel market.
Gap Inc. will partner with Stores Specialists, Inc., which operates Gap brand and Banana Republic stores in-market, to open two Old Navy locations in the beginning of 2014 with plans to open additional stores by the end of the same fiscal year.
“With a steadily growing retail market, the Philippines represents a great opportunity for Old Navy and an important step in the brand’s international expansion,” said Sonia Syngal, Senior Vice President of Old Navy International. “Consumers have a great interest in the iconic American brand Old Navy, and we look forward to making current American fashion essentials accessible for every family.”
Old Navy stores will feature the same energizing store environment that the brand has become known for in the United States and will offer men’s, women’s, kid’s and baby apparel and accessories.
Tetra Pak® has acquired Denmark-based DSS Silkeborg A/S, a European market leader in dairy membrane filtration technology.
Established in 2000, DSS is a privately held company with 46 employees that develops, designs, sells, builds and commissions membrane filtration systems for dairy applications, using reverse osmosis, nano-filtration, ultra-filtration and micro-filtration technologies. The core competence of DSS lies in maximizing the full use of milk and whey, based on its in-depth understanding of fractionation processes, water treatment and dairy production. “Becoming an integral part of Tetra Pak, a large multinational company focused on the dairy sector, offers DSS an opportunity for a new phase of growth in the global dairy industry,” says Niels Osterland, co-founder and managing director of DSS.
“The acquisition of DSS adds to Tetra Pak’s expertise in membrane filtration technology, enabling us to provide our customers with an even wider range of processing solutions for dairy, cheese and whey as well as other beverages and prepared foods,” says Tim High, Executive Vice President Processing Systems, Tetra Pak.
In addition, says High, “The integration of DSS’s expertise with Tetra Pak’s energy, waste and water reduction technologies will provide our customers with processing solutions designed to reduce their carbon and water footprint as well as their operational costs.”
Sonoco ThermoSafe, a unit of Sonoco (NYSE: SON) and the leading global provider of temperature assurance packaging, has launched the new Aeris Series of pre-qualified shippers to maintain pharmaceuticals, biologics, vaccines and other high-value products between 2- 8 degrees C during transport. Developed specifically to address upcoming European GDP (good distribution practice) regulations, the Aeris Series of shippers will be manufactured at Sonoco ThermoSafe's facilities in Germany and Ireland.
"We are excited to launch the first in a series of pre-qualified shippers specifically for the European market," said Niall Lehane, general manager, Sonoco ThermoSafe Europe. "The Aeris Series addresses our customers' need for pre-qualified shippers to meet strict European GDP regulations. Our customers choose Sonoco ThermoSafe for our high quality and the reassurance that their pharmaceuticals will maintain their efficacy through the entire supply chain. Now, they can locally source pre-qualified solutions with the same quality Sonoco ThermoSafe is known for."
The Aeris Series consists of four sizes ranging from 2.5 litres to 24 litres. The systems are optimized to have the lowest possible weight with the fewest components. This translates to simple and fast assembly as well as the lowest total cost of ownership for our customers. The Aeris Series is prequalified to our real world ISCsilver® ambient profile and will maintain the payload's temperature between 2- 8 degrees C for a minimum of 54 hours.
Newsweek's print edition in the United States may have met its end last year, but staff at the magazine's ongoing print editions abroad hope that the brand's new, global-minded owner will mean better times ahead for them.
IBT Media, the digital publisher that agreed earlier this month to buy Newsweek, publishes websites in seven languages in pursuit of readers around the world. It now calls Newsweek's international presence key to growing the new acquisition. "We plan on deepening the current relationships and potentially adding more global partners," IBT Media founder and CEO Etienne Uzak said in an email.
"I'm delighted that it is responsive to working closely with licensees," said Fasih Ahmed, editor of Newsweek Pakistan, in an email interview. "That is very reassuring, and hopefully we can forge a path that works for all of us."
The North American version of Newsweek published its final print issue last December, reverting to an online-only publication whose website was revamped in May and put up for sale with a greatly reduced staff. But Mr. Ahmed's office in Lahore still produces English-language editions not only for Pakistan but, since a deal with another publisher early this year, one for Latin America and another for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. When Newsweek U.S. went all-digital, Mr. Ahmed told the press in Pakistan that he planned to actually add headcount to the local edition. Some countries also have local-language editions of Newsweek still publishing in print.
Foreign licensing agreements are common among magazines, whose various international editions are often published by a local publisher paying a fee. The scenario can create a steady -- if usually marginal -- revenue stream for a magazine. Sometimes the added cash flow brings added headaches, as when a foreign edition scandalizes the media with a racy cover (see this Playboy Mexico cover for just one example) and prompts calls from advertisers erroneously blaming the mothership.
In a blow to the Direct Marketing Association, a federal appeals court has revived Colorado's so-called Amazon Tax.
The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals' decision -- which lifts a ban on the tax imposed by a trial judge -- rests on purely procedural grounds: The three-judge appellate panel that heard the case said the DMA should have challenged the tax law in state court, not federal court. Jerry Cerasale, senior vice president of government affairs for the DMA, says the organization disagrees with that interpretation and intends to ask the entire 10th Circuit to reconsider the ruling.
The 2010 Colorado law applies to out-of-state companies, including e-commerce companies, that don't collect sales tax from consumers. The measure requires them to send detailed lists of consumers' purchases to the tax authorities and to send consumers annual reports notifying them about their obligations to pay state sales tax.
Colorado state residents are required to pay tax on merchandise even when retailers don't collect it. But state officials say that many residents don't do so; Colorado officials estimated that state and local governments stood to lose around $173 million in tax revenue in 2012 due to non-payment of tax on online purchases.
The DMA argued that the law imposed an unconstitutional burden on interstate commerce. The marketing group drew on a 1992 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that state governments can't require retailers to collect sales tax unless they have a physical presence in the state, like a brick-and-mortar store. The DMA argued that state governments also shouldn't be able to require out-of-state retailers to notify consumers about state sales tax laws.
U.S. District Court Judge Robert Blackburn agreed with the Direct Marketing Association and entered an injunction prohibiting Colorado from enforcing the law. But a 10th Circuit panel ruled that Blackburn lacked jurisdiction to consider the matter, due to the federal Tax Injunction Act, which prohibits federal courts from suspending state tax laws.
Today Ilim Group announces changes in its organizational structure. The company is finalizing its large investment projects worth $1.5 billion and entering a new phase of its development targeted to increase company efficiency by ramping up the new production lines, improving its business processes and implementing a transparent and efficient organizational structure.
The main changes in organizational structure are connected with moving to operational model of holding structure and changing from geography-based to end-to-end functional management. As a result, business units Ilim West and Ilim East will be dissolved and new positions in top management of the company — sales and manufacturing — will be introduced.
Brett Mosley becomes vice-president in charge of manufacturing. Viktor Atamanov, former Managing Director Strategic Planning and Marketing, becomes vice-president in charge of sales.
All first level team members leading the functions such as Finance, Human Resources, Procurement & Supply Chain Management, Legal and Security, Government and Public Relations will become vice-presidents.
Bloomsbury Publishing Plc ("Bloomsbury") announces that it has today completed the acquisition of the issued share capital of Hart Publishing Ltd ("Hart"), the Oxford-based legal publisher, from the management shareholders. The initial consideration of £6.5 million (which is subject to working capital adjustments) was paid in cash on completion from Bloomsbury's own cash reserves.
A further cash consideration of up to a maximum of £0.5 million will be payable on the achievement of certain revenue and title number targets for the period ending 31 March 2014. The acquisition is expected to generate cost savings and be immediately earnings enhancing contributing approximately £1.4 million of revenue to Bloomsbury in the year ending 28 February 2014.
The acquisition is consistent with Bloomsbury's strategy to increase its proportion of academic and professional revenues to 50% of total sales in five years' time. Academic and professional revenues are more predictable and have lower related costs of sale with higher margins and are much less reliant on retail bookshop sales. Around 50% of Hart's revenue is generated outside the UK, thereby increasing Bloomsbury's benefit from the global book market. The acquisition will also enable the Company to further develop its e-book publishing and expand the Bloomsbury Professional digital suite of services.
Hart was founded in 1996 and has developed a world class academic list with leading authors including Michael Fordham QC, Andrew Burrows, Grainne de Burca, JW Carter, Peter Cane, Simon Deakin, Vernon Bogdanor, Robert O'Donoghue, Philip Coppel QC and Michael Beloff QC amongst others. Hart generated £2.6 million of revenue and £0.5 million of profit before tax in the year ended 31 March 2013. Gross assets at that date were £1.4 million.
Brent swung between gains and losses as two U.S. lawmakers sought backing for an attack on Syria, fanning concern that possible military strikes may intensify the conflict there and disrupt Middle Eastern oil exports.
Futures advanced as much as 1.2 percent after RIA Novosti reported that Russia detected the firing of two missiles from the central Mediterranean Sea toward the east of the region. Republican Senators John McCain of Arizona and South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham urged fellow lawmakers to recognize the risk of letting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s alleged use of chemical weapons go unanswered.
“I don’t expect anything to happen for the next couple of days in regards to military action,” said Michael Poulsen, an analyst at Global Risk Management in Middlefart, Denmark. “But given the rhetoric used, something will happen in the not-so-distant future.”
Brent for October settlement was at $114.78 a barrel on the ICE Futures Europe exchange, up 45 cents, at 10:28 a.m. London time. The contract gained 32 cents to $114.33 yesterday. The European benchmark crude was at a premium of $7.69 to New York-traded West Texas Intermediate futures.
WTI for October delivery fell 58 cents from the Aug. 30 settlement to $107.07 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Floor trading was closed yesterday for the U.S. Labor Day holiday, and yesterday’s transactions will be booked today for settlement purposes.
Arctic Paper S.A., the second-largest European producer of bulky-book paper by volume and one of Europe’s leading producers of high-quality graphic paper, generated revenue in the 1st half of 2013 of nearly PLN 1.6bn and EBITDA of PLN 35.7m. The group recorded a loss at the operating level of PLN 28.2m and a net loss of PLN 43.9m (results not reflecting the impairment of non-financial assets of AP Grycksbo).
Results weaker than those achieved during the same period of 2012 were primarily due to the difficult situation in the industry and weakening of demand for high-quality graphic paper in Europe, leading to a decline in prices, as well as unfavourable exchange rate differences, particularly the strength of Swedish krona against the euro and the U.S. dollar.
Reflecting the write-down for impairment of non-financial assets of AP Grycksbo made on 30 June 2013 in the amount of PLN 66.6m, the operating result for the 1st half was –PLN 94.8m, and the net result –PLN 97.9m. The write-downs made are of an accounting nature and do not affect the current operations of the group.
During the 1st half of 2013, demand for high-quality graphic paper in Europe was down 7.7%. During the same period, Arctic Paper lost only 1.6% of its sales volume, thus increasing its market share in Europe as a whole.
Utilization of production capacity of the Arctic Paper Group declined in 2Q 2013 to 90%, from 98% in the 1st quarter, and for all of 1H 2013 was 94%. The average utilization of production capacity for the prior 12 months was about 95%.
The management board is continuing to develop its current strategy in order to meet longterm market trends. The group intends to intensify its sales initiatives as well as development of non-graphic paper products, as well as increase efforts aimed at rationalization of costs and optimization of the product line. Investments currently underway should bring about improved profitability, quality and flexibility of operations.
Government funding for the Port Hawkesbury Paper mill violated free trade laws, a U.S. congressman says.
NewPage shut the plant down in 2011, citing economic conditions. It left 1,000 people out of work. The province eventually stepped in to help it re-open under a different owner. Nova Scotia spent $124 million to do so.
Maine Congressman Michael Michaud complained that violated free-trade law. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative has begun an investigation.
Maine has a number of paper mills, including one owned by New Page, the company that shut down the mill outside Port Hawkesbury. Michaud argues the government money gave Cape Breton an unfair advantage.
Tina Thibeau of the Nova Scotia Department of Economic Development said the U.S. Trade Representative then raised the issue with the Canadian government:
“Nova Scotia explained how its support is fully consistent with Canada's international trade obligations and the success of the Port Hawkesbury mill is not grounds for a trade dispute,” she said.
Thibeau said the province expects that will be the end of the matter.
But a spokesperson for the Office of the U.S Trade Representative said it appears the province's funding maintained a capacity that otherwise would not exist.
It feels the money resulted in significant commercial harm to U.S. industry and the paper market. It may ask for trade-remedy action.
Dear Catalog Executive:
ACMA has credible inside information from Washington that the USPS Board of Governors may order an 8%-10% exigency postage increase following its September 5th Board meeting. There’s time for the catalog mailing community to beat this back, but not much time. Whether you’re an ACMA member or not, if you don’t step up and get involved fast, this increase could be disastrous.
Sadly, with less than 2% of the catalog industry participating in any industry trade association focused on national postal policy, we simply do not have the resources necessary to execute the most effective opposition to the exigency threat that we can think of.
If 8%-10% of your annual postal spend seems to be an enormous number, for a fraction of this amount, you can greatly reduce the likelihood that an exigent increase will be approved by the Postal Regulatory Commission by investing in an ACMA membership or by making a contribution to our postal action fund (more on that below). Even if the PRC grants an exigency request, mailers can still fight this in court. What’s more, Washington is obviously a very political environment. A well-orchestrated public relations campaign can also preempt an unfavorable exigency decision if executed now.
ACMA is collaborating with several other mailing industry trade associations to effectively respond to this extraordinary threat. We’ve been a longstanding supporter of the Coalition for a 21st Century Postal Service and the Affordable Mail Alliance (AMA). AMA recently sent a strongly-worded letter to the postal Board of Governors on exigency that is worth a read.
Whatever happened to the CPI-capped annual rate increases mandated by the 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA), you may wonder? There is an exigency provision in that law wherein the USPS can request an extraordinary increase well beyond the CPI. The USPS is carrying billions of red ink and only a few days of available liquidity; the USPS also reached its statutory borrowing limit of $15B some time ago. So the circumstances certainly have exigency written all over it. But that does not mean we cannot beat it back as we did successfully last time, although all involved agree this will be a tougher fight.
Given all that’s at stake, ACMA implores all mailing interests to get involved. Obviously, we would welcome your help with us, but whether with ACMA, DMA, PostCom, Parcel Shippers Association, or some other group active in national postal policy in Washington, please get involved now. Not a joiner? That’s fine – make a contribution to ACMA’s Postal Action Fund and provide the much-needed resources to thwart this threat today.
You should also reach out to your Members of Congress in every state and district in which your company maintains a business presence, urging them to move on postal reform thereby making an exigent increase unnecessary. Indicate your strong opposition (and resulting job losses) that will occur from an exigent increase and the failure of Congress to act on reform. Please copy email@example.com so we can follow up in Washington.
Your involvement is essential here. We simply cannot do it without a broad base of support. We are happy to talk with you about this or any other policy matter we are following in Washington. What you don’t know, and don’t take action to manage, will affect you. Collectively we can impact policy setting in Washington that affects your bottom line. The return on investment is obvious and well above most other investment alternatives you may have. Please take action today.
Total sales at Lagardere Publishing rose 1.4% in the first half of 2013, to 917 million euros, while EBIT increased 24.6% to 71 million euros. The company attributed the gains to strong trade sales in France (where it publishes the Fifty Shades series plus Inferno) the U.K. and U.S. Sales in Lagardere’s U.S. subsidiary, Hachette Book Group, rose 7% driven by higher sales of Nicholas Sparks’ titles plus higher e-book sales. E-books accounted for 34% of adult trade sales in the U.S. in the first six months of 2013 compared to 27% in the first half of 2012. E-book sales also rose sharply in the U.K. and accounted for 31% of adult trade sales in the six-month period. Overall, e-books represented 11.3% of Lagardere Publishing’s total revenue.
Lagardere is expecting a more modest second half of the year as education sales in France are expected to be soft and HBG faces a tougher comparisons to the second half of 2012 when the publisher released The Casual Vacancy.
Rottneros said that recent product and process developments at its Rottneros pulp mill in Sweden have gained success in the market, which has in turn boosted demand for its pulp. As a result, Rottneros will continue to produce groundwood pulp at the mill, reversing a plan announced in May of 2012 to close the groundwood pulp line at the mill.
According to Rottneros, “Customers are realizing the added value of the new pulp products developed at Rottneros Mill. One particularly successful area has been the development of pulp used for paperboard types based on both recycled and fresh (virgin) fibres.”
The decision to continue producing groundwood pulp also saves the jobs of about 30 employees.
The pulp line will also continue to produce pulp for printing paper and special applications.
With the groundwood line and the CTMP line in full production, Rottneros Mill is one of the most comprehensive suppliers of high-yield pulp throughout the world, with customers in Europe, Asia and North America.
Rottneros Mill produces two grades of mechanical pulp, groundwood and CTMP pulp. The mill has a production capacity of approximately 170,000 tonnes. The mill produced 121,600 tonnes in 2012.
British “lad mags” have been given until Sept. 9 by a prominent retailer to begin covering up their titillating covers with “modesty bags”of the kind more commonly seen on pornographic titles, or risk being removed from retail displays altogether, according to the BBC News.
The decision affects magazines with evocative titles like Front, Loaded, Nuts and Zoo, and comes from The Co-Operative Group, a powerful consumer-owned group that runs some 4,000 retail outlets across the U.K., following pressure from an odd-couple alliance of feminists and social conservatives.
The Co-operative Group’s retail chief executive, Steve Murrells, explained: “As a community-based retailer, we have listened to the concerns of our customers and members, many of whom say they object to their children being able to see overt sexual images in our stores.”
Jo Swinson, a British government minister for women and equality, stated: “Adults should be left to make their own decisions about what legal sexual images they look at, but the place for these is not next to the sweets at children's eye-level.”
It’s worth noting some British feminists wanted the Co-op Group to go a step further and stop carrying the titles altogether. Activists opposed to lad mags have warned that retailers who require employees to handle magazines with provocative imagery could be sued for sexual harassment or discrimination under the UK’s Equality Act of 2010.
AAA Fuel Gage 8/30/13
National Unleaded Regular:
Current Average - $3.585/gallon
Month Ago Average - $3.627/gallon
Year Ago Average - $3.826/gallon
Highest Recorded Average - $4.114/gallon on 7/17/08
Current Average - $3.916/gallon
Month Ago Average - $3.881/gallon
Year Ago Average - $4.081/gallon
Highest Recorded Average - $4.845/gallon on 7/17/08
Current Exchange Rates as of 8/30/13
American Dollar to Canadian Dollar = 0.950006
American Dollar to Chinese Yuan = 0.163410
American Dollar to Euro = 1.321314
American Dollar to Japanese Yen = 0.010179
American Dollar to Mexican Peso = 0.075077
West Texas Intermediate fell a second day as U.K. lawmakers rejected a motion for military action against Syria, reducing the prospect of an imminent strike and easing concern of disruption to Middle East exports.
Futures slid as much as 1.9 percent in New York, trimming this week’s advance to 1.4 percent. The U.K. House of Commons rejected a proposal put forward by Prime Minister David Cameron seeking a military response to what he says is evidence of the use of chemical weapons by Syria. The global oil market is adequately supplied and doesn’t require the release of emergency stockpiles, according to the International Energy Agency.
“U.K. participation in a Syria strike looks pretty unlikely in the near future,” said Christopher Bellew, a senior broker at Jefferies Bache Ltd. in London. “There will probably be a U.S. airstrike, but then the civil war will continue, and Brent will go back below $110.”
WTI for October delivery dropped as much as $2.05 to $106.75 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was at $107.83 at 9:55 a.m. London time. The contract lost 1.2 percent yesterday, declining from the highest close since May 2011. Prices are up 2.8 percent in August, poised for a third monthly gain.
Brent for October settlement pared losses after earlier falling as much as $1.53, or 1.3 percent on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange. The European contract last stood at $114.82, elevating its premium over WTI to $6.99, from $6.36 yesterday.