Companies news of 2017-11-09 (page 1)

 
Rising Digital Expectations of Customers and Citizens Drive Investments in Technology, Finds 2017 CGI Client Global Insights

MONTRÉAL, November 9, 2017 /PRNewswire/ --

40% of executives have an enterprise-wide digital strategy in place, up from 12% in 2016

CGI (TSX: GIB.A) (NYSE: GIB) released its 2017 CGI Client Global Insights, which demonstrate an increased urgency among business and IT leaders to transform to meet the digital expectations of their customers and citizens. The insights also reveal that organizations are at a pivot point in their digital transformation, with executives moving from planning to execution of their digital strategies.

The 2017 CGI Client Global Insights includes findings from in-person discussions with 1,300 business and IT leaders across 10 industries and 17 countries to identify the trends affecting their organizations and the implications for their business. The top three trends include:

  • An increased urgency to become digital organizations to meet rising customer expectations at 85%, up from 71% in 2016 - A majority of executives are digitizing customer touchpoints and applying analytics to better know their customers and optimize the business.
  • The need to secure the enterprise from increasing cyber risks at 74%, up from 62% in 2016 - As the requirement to become digital intensifies, the importance of cybersecurity also accelerates, with cyber viewed as a point of differentiation.  
  • Continued focus on increasing regulatory demands at 62%, up from 51% in 2016 - In particular, executives report that data privacy regulations have a high or very high impact on their organizations.

"This year's insights demonstrate a clear and accelerating need for executives across the industries we serve to transform to meet the digital needs and expectations of their customers and citizens," said George D. Schindler, President and Chief Executive Officer. "As the trends became more pronounced, executives moved from exploring to mobilizing strategies across the enterprise - with 40% having an enterprise-wide digital strategy in place, up from 12% in 2016."

To fuel executives' digital acceleration, the role of data has taken center stage, with 80% of clients investing in advanced analytics to optimize and grow their business. In addition, clients are rapidly investigating and experimenting with digital technologies, including automation and artificial intelligence. Yet 81% of executives cite that culture and talent - and enabling the digital employee - is the top challenge to becoming digital.

"Across the board, the pace and scope of change are increasing. Business and IT leaders are making investments now to become data-driven organizations to better optimize their existing business and drive new digital business models, products and services. They also are experimenting with a range of organizational models to become more agile across the enterprise," said Mike Keating, Senior Vice-President of CGI's Global Marketing and IP Strategy, and the executive responsible for the CGI Client Global Insights. "What's important to note is that the insights are not just data points. They represent deep conversations with our clients that result in actionable insight to drive forward their future strategies and likewise continue to shape the investments we are making."

Note: While this media announcement shares the global findings of the CGI Client Global Insights, it is important to note that executives experience transformation in the context of their industry. To schedule a conversation with a CGI executive and to learn more about the CGI Client Global Insights industry reports, please contact us.

About CGI
Founded in 1976, CGI is the fifth largest independent IT and business consulting services firm in the world. With approximately 71,000 professionals worldwide, CGI delivers an end-to-end portfolio of high-end IT and business consulting services, systems integration and IT and business process outsourcing services. CGI's client proximity model, best-fit global delivery network, and intellectual property solutions help clients accelerate results and digitally transform their organizations. With annual revenue of C$10.8 billion, CGI shares are listed on the TSX (GIB.A) and the NYSE (GIB). Website: http://www.cgi.com.

Stock Market Symbols
GIB.A (TSX)
GIB (NYSE)
www.cgi.com/newsroom

 
For more information:

Investors
Lorne Gorber
Executive Vice-President, Global Communications and Investor Relations
lorne.gorber@cgi.com
+1-514-841-3355

Media
Sébastien Barangé
Vice-President, Communications & Public Affairs
sebastien.barange@cgi.com
+1-514-841-3354


Flagging of Arild E. Hustad, CEO of LINK Mobility Group ASA

OSLO, Norway, November 9, 2017 /PRNewswire/ --

Arild E.Hustad, CEO LINK Mobility ASA has through Arisona Holding AS today bought 3 500 shares in LINK Mobility Group ASA at an average price of NOK 116,1366 per share.

Following this transaction Arisona Holding AS owns 125 833 shares in LINK Mobility Group ASA. 

Arild E.Hustad also holds 200 000 options in LINK Mobility Group ASA. 

CONTACT:

For further information, please contact:

IR Contact Thomas Berge, CFO

LINK Mobility Group ASA

thomas.berge@linkmobility.com

Mob: +47-41-31-90-28

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Sterlite Tech Recognised as VISIONARY in Gartner's Magic Quadrant for Second Consecutive Year

MUMBAI, November 9, 2017 /PRNewswire/ --

Sterlite Tech (BSE: 532374) (NSE: STRTECH), a global leader in smarter digital network solutions, announced that it has been recognised as a 'Visionary' in Gartner's prestigious Magic Quadrant (MQ) for Integrated Revenue and Customer Management (IRCM) for Communication Service Providers (CSPs)* for the second consecutive year.

     (Logo: http://mma.prnewswire.com/media/568301/Sterlite_Logo.jpg )

Sterlite Tech has been investing in building a telecom software solution since 2015, and its out-of-the-box service-management platform has been deployed in multiple projects across varied enterprises. This platform enables operators with new revenue models, successful roll out of next-generation services, faster customer acquisition and supports future services. The platform offers high flexibility to a variety of enterprises - Communication Service Providers (CSPs), Mobile Virtual Network Operators/Enablers (MVNOs/MVNEs), Multiple System Operators (MSOs) and Small and Mid-size Businesses (SMBs) - to achieve interoperability that supports 3G/4G/ADSL/FTTH/WI-Max/Wi-Fi and other next-gen network requirements.

Highlighting the recognition, Dr Anand Agarwal, CEO, Sterlite Tech, said, "Sterlite Tech is committed to delivering smarter networks with solutions ranging from optical communications products and system integration services to world-class software. Gartner's recognition of our software specialisation is a validation of our thought-leadership position with great execution capabilities." He added, "Our strong software product roadmap is aligned with the evolving needs of our customers to swiftly deliver and monetise next-generation services by leveraging our product's scalability, virtualisation, digital commerce features and open APIs. We continue to aggressively invest to upgrade our offerings, and provide a competitive edge to our clients to win in the era of digitisation."

Every year, Gartner evaluates 21 shortlisted Operations Support Systems (OSS)/Business Support Systems (BSS) vendors for its Magic Quadrant on completeness of vision and ability to execute. Sterlite Tech was a contender in this evaluation, as an integrated provider with a full-suite of IRCM solutions, including billing and account management, customer self-care, real-time rating/charging, policy management, customer/partner lifecycle management, multi-channel support, product catalogue, mediation, interconnect/wholesale billing, analytics and reporting among other functionalities.

About Sterlite Technologies: 

Sterlite Technologies Ltd. (BSE: 532374) (NSE: STRTECH), is a global technology leader that designs, builds and manages smarter digital networks. Sterlite Tech engages with customers in more than 100 countries, with a digital web-scale offering across products, services and software. The Company has high-efficiency global scale manufacturing facilities in India, China & Brazil and two Software Delivery Centres in India. With a strong portfolio of 162 patents, Sterlite Tech is home to India's only Centre of Excellence for broadband research and Centre for Smarter Networks for next generation network applications. Projects undertaken by the company include intrusion-proof smarter data network for the Armed Forces, rural broadband for BharatNet, Smart Cities' development, and establishing high-speed Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH) networks.

For more details, visit http://www.sterlitetech.com

(*) (Source) Gartner Magic Quadrant for Integrated Revenue and Customer Management for CSPs, 23 October 2017, Norbert J. Scholz, Jouni Forsman, Amresh Nandan 

(Disclaimer) Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner's research organisation and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. 

Ericsson Broadcast and Media Services Becomes Red Bee Media

WASHINGTON, Nov 09, 2017 /PRNewswire/ --

  • Red Bee Media established as an independent services business dedicated to TV and media
  • Red Bee Media name and brand identity will roll out from November 9, 2017
  • New separate business fully owned by Ericsson

Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) is renaming its Broadcast and Media Services business to Red Bee Media, effective from November 9, 2017. The Red Bee Media name and brand identity will apply to all of Ericsson's Broadcast and Media Services businesses worldwide. As part of this change Red Bee Media is now an independent business fully owned by Ericsson with operations in Australia, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, the UK, United Arab Emirates, and the U.S.

Steve Nylund, CEO of Red Bee Media, says: "We looked at not only our vision and strategy for the future but also what we, as a business, now stand for. The Red Bee Media brand has a long and rich heritage in TV and media and is well recognized across the industry. Adopting this brand will enable us to strengthen our position as an independent and agile media services organization. It will provide the basis for our business, our people and our clients to unify around a shared identity that represents our purpose, brand positioning and values."

Red Bee Media is a world leading provider of broadcast and media services. It is headquartered in the UK and employs around 2,500 broadcast and media specialists globally. Its comprehensive services portfolio spans media management, playout, OTT, access services, content discovery and award-winning creative services and sports graphics and analysis solutions.

Facts about Red Bee Media

Every day, people on all continents watch television programs prepared, managed and broadcast by Red Bee Media staff. Every year, the business delivers more than 2.7 million hours of programming in more than 60 languages for nearly 600 TV channels. Its content discovery portfolio spans more than 10 million movies and program titles, covering over 25 languages, and includes an image database covering over 90 percent of all programming available across traditional TV, video on demand (VOD) and subscription video on demand (SVOD). It provides over 230,000 hours of captioning each year ? more than 100,000 hours of which is live.

Ericsson first entered into the media services business in 2007 and subsequently grew the business both organically and through acquisitions, including Red Bee Media in 2014.

Earlier this year Ericsson presented a focused business strategy to revitalize technology and market leadership, improve group profitability and enable customer success. This includes exploring strategic opportunities for the company's media businesses while continuing to develop solutions to enable the businesses to scale and succeed in the evolving media landscape.

More information about Red Bee Media, its portfolio and services can be found here.

NOTES TO EDITORS

For media kits, backgrounders and high-resolution photos, please visit www.ericsson.com/press

www.ericsson.com/consumerlab

FOLLOW US:

www.twitter.com/ericsson
www.facebook.com/ericsson
www.linkedin.com/company/ericsson
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MORE INFORMATION AT:

News Center

media.relations@ericsson.com
(+46 10 719 69 92)

investor.relations@ericsson.com
(+46 10 719 00 00)

Ericsson is a world leader in communications technology and services with headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden. Our organization consists of more than 111,000 experts who provide customers in 180 countries with innovative solutions and services. Together we are building a more connected future where anyone and any industry is empowered to reach their full potential. Net sales in 2016 were SEK 222.6 billion (USD 24.5 billion). The Ericsson stock is listed on Nasdaq Stockholm and on NASDAQ in New York. Read more on www.ericsson.com.

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Ericsson Broadcast and Media Services becomes Red Bee Media

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Red Bee Media

 

Clavister and the European Investment Bank in Negotiations for up to EUR 20m in Financing

ÖRNSKÖLDSVIK, Sweden, Nov. 9, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Clavister (NASDAQ: CLAV), a leader in high-performance network security, today announced it's in negotiations with the European Investment Bank (EIB) over a potential financing agreement of up to EUR 20m over multiple tranches. The agreement?which is subject to approvals being obtained by both parties and successful financial negotiations?gives Clavister the funding to pursue its strategy of increased market share and high customer satisfaction through further development of innovative cyber-security products and platforms.

Upon completion, Clavister would realise its comprehensive financing package that includes the recent financing by Tagehus Holding AB. Together, these two financing organisations create a complementary and synergistic investment of up to SEK 250m that is expected to fuel the company's growth.

"We're exceptionally pleased to see our financing strategy potentially come to fruition with these two strong partners creating a sum of value propositions greater than their parts. EIB is a globally respected leader in providing funding for European businesses that are highly innovative in their fields and have a large potential for growth and economic contribution to the EU. That EIB and Tagehus see Clavister as such a compelling business opportunity demonstrates the strength of our business plan and innovative technologies," says Clavister's President and CEO John Vestberg.

As a part of the loan agreement it is foreseen that Clavister will issue warrants, in addition to interest payments, to the EIB. The Company is aiming to finalise the negotiations prior to the Extraordinary General Meeting on December 11, 2017, summoned as per previous press release.

For more information, please contact:
John Vestberg
President and CEO
john.vestberg@clavister.com

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Magna Announces Third Quarter Results

AURORA, Ontario, November 9, 2017 /PRNewswire/ --

  • Third quarter record sales, up 7% to $9.50 billion
  • Third quarter diluted earnings per share of $1.36, increased 5%
  • Returned $521 million to shareholders through share repurchases and dividends

Magna International Inc. (TSX: MG) (NYSE: MGA) today reported financial results for the third quarter ended September 30, 2017.

Please click HERE for full third quarter Financial Statements and MD&A.

THREE MONTHS ENDED     NINE MONTHS ENDED
SEPTEMBER 30,          SEPTEMBER 30,
2017       2016        2017       2016
Sales                               $9,499     $8,849     $28,555     $27,192
Income from operations before
income taxes              $  670     $  692     $ 2,238     $ 2,134
Net income attributable to
Magna International Inc.            $  503     $  503     $ 1,650     $ 1,553
Adjusted EBIT[(1)]                  $  692     $  715     $ 2,299     $ 2,202
Diluted earnings per share          $ 1.36     $ 1.29     $  4.37     $  3.92
All results are reported in millions of U.S. dollars, except per share figures, which are in U.S.
dollars.
[(1)] Adjusted EBIT is a Non-GAAP financial measure that has no standardized meaning under
U.S. GAAP and as a result may not be comparable to the calculation of similar measures
by other companies. Adjusted EBIT represents net income before income taxes; interest
expense, net; and other expense, net. For a reconciliation of this Non-GAAP financial
measure, see our Management's Discussion and Analysis of Results of Operations and
Financial Position for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2017 available in
the Investor Relations section of our website at http://www.magna.com/investors.

"I'm pleased with our overall performance as we posted record third quarter results. Magna remains well-positioned to benefit from the shift toward electrification, autonomy, and vehicle light-weighting. In China, our recently announced joint-venture with HASCO was awarded a highly integrated e-drive system for a German OEM. At the Frankfurt Auto Show, we unveiled our MAX4 autonomous driving platform, which enables up to Level 4 autonomous driving capabilities. Our product breadth combined with complete vehicle design and engineering capabilities uniquely positions Magna to be a supplier of solutions." 
- Don Walker, Magna's Chief Executive Officer 

THREE MONTHS ENDED SEPTEMBER 30, 2017 

We posted third quarter record sales of $9.50 billion for the quarter ended September 30, 2017, an increase of 7% over the third quarter of 2016. The sales increase was achieved in a period in which European light vehicle production increased 8% and North American light vehicle production decreased 7%, each relative to the third quarter of 2016. Our complete vehicle assembly sales increased 55% in the third quarter of 2017 largely reflecting the launch of the BMW 5-Series at our assembly facility in Graz, Austria, following the end of production of the MINI Countryman and Paceman in 2016.

During the third quarter of 2017, income from operations before income taxes was $670 million, compared to $692 million in the third quarter of 2016. Net income attributable to Magna International Inc. was $503 million for the third quarters of both 2017 and 2016. Diluted earnings per share were $1.36 in the third quarter of 2017 compared to $1.29 in the third quarter of 2016, reflecting the favourable impact of a reduced share count.

During the third quarter of 2017, Adjusted EBIT decreased 3% to $692 million, compared to $715 million for the third quarter of 2016. Our Asia and Rest of World segments posted higher Adjusted EBIT and Adjusted EBIT percentage of sales, compared to the third quarter of 2016.

During the third quarter ended September 30, 2017, we generated cash from operations of $859 million before changes in operating assets and liabilities, and $22 million in operating assets and liabilities. Investment activities for the third quarter of 2017 were $537 million, including $379 million in fixed asset additions and $158 million in investments, other assets and intangible assets.

NINE MONTHS ENDED SEPTEMBER 30, 2017 

We posted sales of $28.56 billion for the nine months ended September 30, 2017, an increase of 5% from the nine months ended September 30, 2016. North American light vehicle production decreased 3% and European light vehicle production increased 3% in the first nine months of 2017 compared to the first nine months of 2016.

During the nine months ended September 30, 2017, income from operations before income taxes was $2.24 billion, net income attributable to Magna International Inc. was $1.65 billion and diluted earnings per share were $4.37, increases of $104 million, $97 million and $0.45, respectively, each compared to the first nine months of 2016.

During the nine months ended September 30, 2017, Adjusted EBIT increased 4% to $2.30 billion, compared to $2.20 billion for the nine months ended September 30, 2016. Our Asia and Rest of World segments each posted higher Adjusted EBIT and Adjusted EBIT percentage of sales, compared to the first nine months of 2016.

During the nine months ended September 30, 2017, we generated cash from operations before changes in operating assets and liabilities of $2.68 billion, and invested $796 million in operating assets and liabilities. Investment activities for the first nine months of 2017 were $1.49 billion, including $1.11 billion in fixed asset additions and $384 million in investments, other assets and intangible assets. 

RETURN OF CAPITAL TO SHAREHOLDERS 

During the three months ended September 30, 2017, Magna repurchased 8.7 million shares for $422 million. In addition, we paid dividends of $99 million in the third quarter of 2017.

Our Board of Directors declared a quarterly dividend of $0.275 with respect to our outstanding Common Shares for the quarter ended September 30, 2017. This dividend is payable on December 8, 2017 to shareholders of record on November 24, 2017.

"We continue to return capital to our shareholders while maintaining a strong balance sheet. With the expiration of our current Normal Course Issuer Bid ("NCIB"), we have returned over $900 million through share repurchases and more than $300 million in dividends as of the end of the third quarter. Since 2012, we have returned approximately $6.7 billion to our shareholders, $5.1 billion through the repurchase of more than 20% of our outstanding shares and $1.6 billion in dividends. Our new NCIB provides flexibility to continue repurchasing up to 10% of our shares over the next year." 
- Vince Galifi, Magna's Chief Financial Officer 

OTHER MATTERS 

Subject to the approval by the Toronto Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange, our Board of Directors approved a new Normal Course Issuer Bid ("NCIB") to purchase up to 35.8 million of our Common Shares, representing approximately 10% of our public float of Common Shares. This NCIB is expected to commence on or about November 15, 2017 and will terminate one year later.

UPDATED 2017 OUTLOOK 

Light Vehicle Production (Units)
North America                          17.2 million
Europe                                 22.2 million
Production Sales
North America                 $19.2 - $19.6 billion
Europe                         $9.9 - $10.2 billion
Asia                            $2.3 - $2.4 billion
Rest of World                   $0.5 - $0.6 billion
Total Production Sales        $31.9 - $32.8 billion
Complete Vehicle Assembly Sales      $ 3.0 - $3.2 billion
Total Sales                         $38.3 - $39.5 billion
Adjusted EBIT Margin[(2)]                     8.0% - 8.1%
Interest Expense, net           Approximately $70 million
Income Tax Rate[(3)]                    Approximately 25%
Capital Spending               Approximately $1.9 billion
[(2)] Adjusted EBIT Margin is the ratio of Adjusted EBIT to Total Sales.
[(3)] The Income Tax Rate has been calculated using adjusted EBIT and is based on
current tax legislation.

In this 2017 outlook, we have assumed:

  • 2017 light vehicle production volumes (as set out above);
  • no material unannounced acquisitions or divestitures; and
  • foreign exchange rates for the most common currencies in which we conduct business relative to our U.S. dollar reporting currency will approximate current rates.

Certain of the forward-looking financial measures above are provided on a Non-GAAP basis. We do not provide a reconciliation of such forward-looking measures to the most directly comparable financial measures calculated and presented in accordance with U.S. GAAP. To do so would be potentially misleading and not-practical given the difficulty of projecting items that are not reflective of on-going operations in any future period. The magnitude of these items, however, may be significant.

This press release together with our Management's Discussion and Analysis of Results of Operations and Financial Position and our Interim Financial Statements are available in the Investor Relations section of our website at http://www.magna.com/investors and filed electronically through the System for Electronic Document Analysis and Retrieval (SEDAR) which can be accessed at http://www.sedar.com as well as on the United States Securities and Exchange Commission's Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis and Retrieval System (EDGAR), which can be accessed at http://www.sec.gov.

We will hold a conference call for interested analysts and shareholders to discuss our third quarter ended September 30, 2017 results on Thursday, November 9, 2017 at 8:00 a.m. EST. The conference call will be chaired by Don Walker, Chief Executive Officer. The number to use for this call from North America is 1-877-256-5083. International callers should use 1-303-223-4388. Please call in at least 10 minutes prior to the call start time. We will also webcast the conference call at http://www.magna.com . The slide presentation accompanying the conference call as well as our financial review summary will be available on our website on the morning of the call.

TAGS

Quarterly earnings, record quarter, financial results, sales growth

OUR BUSINESS [(4)]

We are a leading global automotive supplier with 328 manufacturing operations and 99 product development, engineering and sales centres in 29 countries. We have over 163,000 employees focused on delivering superior value to our customers through innovative products and processes, and world-class manufacturing. We have complete vehicle engineering and contract manufacturing expertise, as well as product capabilities which include body, chassis, exterior, seating, powertrain, active driver assistance, vision, closure and roof systems and have electronic and software capabilities across many of these areas. Our common shares trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange (MG) and the New York Stock Exchange (MGA).

For further information about Magna, visit our website at http://www.magna.com.

   [(4)] Manufacturing operations, product development, engineering and sales centres and employee figures include certain equity-accounted operations.

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
This press release contains statements that constitute "forward-looking statements" or "forward-looking information" within the meaning of applicable securities legislation, including, but not limited to, statements relating to: Magna's forecasts of light vehicle production in North America and Europe; expected consolidated sales, based on such light vehicle production volumes; production sales, including expected split by segment, in its North America, Europe, Asia and Rest of World segments for 2017; complete vehicle assembly sales; consolidated EBIT margin; net interest expense; effective income tax rate; fixed asset expenditures; Magna's ability to capitalize on the growth in vehicle electrification, autonomous driving and vehicle light-weighting; and future returns of capital to our shareholders, including through dividends or share repurchases. The forward-looking statements or forward-looking information in this press release is presented for the purpose of providing information about management's current expectations and plans and such information may not be appropriate for other purposes. Forward-looking statements or forward-looking information may include financial and other projections, as well as statements regarding our future plans, objectives or economic performance, or the assumptions underlying any of the foregoing, and other statements that are not recitations of historical fact. We use words such as "may", "would", "could", "should", "will", "likely", "expect", "anticipate", "believe", "intend", "plan", "forecast", "outlook", "project", "estimate" and similar expressions suggesting future outcomes or events to identify forward-looking statements or forward-looking information. Any such forward-looking statements or forward-looking information are based on information currently available to us, and are based on assumptions and analyses made by us in light of our experience and our perception of historical trends, current conditions and expected future developments, as well as other factors we believe are appropriate in the circumstances. However, whether actual results and developments will conform with our expectations and predictions is subject to a number of risks, assumptions and uncertainties, many of which are beyond our control, and the effects of which can be difficult to predict, including, without limitation: the potential for a deterioration of economic conditions or an extended period of economic uncertainty; a decline in consumer confidence, which would typically result in lower production volume levels; the growth of protectionism and the implementation of measures that impede the free movement of goods, services, people and capital; planning risks created by rapidly changing economic or political conditions; fluctuations in relative currency values; legal claims and/or regulatory actions against us; our ability to successfully launch material new or takeover business; underperformance of one or more of our operating divisions; ongoing pricing pressures, including our ability to offset price concessions demanded by our customers; warranty and recall costs; our ability to successfully identify, complete and integrate acquisitions or achieve anticipated synergies; our ability to conduct appropriate due diligence on acquisition targets; an increase in our risk profile as a result of completed acquisitions; shifts in market share away from our top customers; shifts in market shares among vehicles or vehicle segments, or shifts away from vehicles on which we have significant content; inability to sustain or grow our business; risks of conducting business in foreign markets, including China, India, Eastern Europe, Brazil and other non-traditional markets for us; our ability to successfully compete with other automotive suppliers, including disruptive technology innovators which are entering or expanding in the automotive industry; our ability to consistently develop innovative products or processes; our changing risk profile due to the increasing importance to us of product areas such as powertrain and electronics; restructuring, downsizing and/or other significant non-recurring costs; a reduction in outsourcing by our customers or the loss of a material production or assembly program; a prolonged disruption in the supply of components to us from our suppliers; shutdown of our or our customers' or sub-suppliers' production facilities due to a labour disruption; scheduled shutdowns of our customers' production facilities (typically in the third and fourth quarters of each calendar year); the termination or non-renewal by our customers of any material production purchase order; exposure to, and ability to offset, commodities price increases; restructuring actions by OEMs, including plant closures; work stoppages and labour relations disputes; risk of production disruptions due to natural disasters or catastrophic event; the security and reliability of our information technology systems; pension liabilities; changes in our mix of earnings between jurisdictions with lower tax rates and those with higher tax rates, as well as our ability to fully benefit tax losses; impairment charges related to goodwill, long-lived assets and deferred tax assets; other potential tax exposures; changes in credit ratings assigned to us; changes in laws and governmental regulations, including tax and transfer pricing laws; costs associated with compliance with environmental laws and regulations; liquidity risks; inability to achieve future investment returns that equal or exceed past returns; the unpredictability of, and fluctuation in, the trading price of our Common Shares; and other factors set out in our Annual Information Form filed with securities commissions in Canada and our annual report on Form 40-F filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, and subsequent filings. In evaluating forward-looking statements or forward-looking information, we caution readers not to place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements or forward-looking information, and readers should specifically consider the various factors which could cause actual events or results to differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements or forward-looking information.

INVESTOR CONTACT:
Louis Tonelli
Vice-President
Investor Relations
louis.tonelli@magna.com  
905-726-7035

MEDIA CONTACT:
Tracy Fuerst
Director of Corporate Communications & PR
tracy.fuerst@magna.com  
248-631-5396

LINK Mobility Group ASA: Financial Report Third Quarter 2017

OSLO, Norway, Nov. 9, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- LINK Mobility Group ASA (LINK) confirms its strategy, and reports solid revenue growth in the third quarter of 2017 which is traditionally a slow quarter. The strong figures are the result of high organic growth and successful acquisitions. LINK has closed multiple transactions which will further strengthen the market position in Norway and Spain through the acquisitions of Vianett and GMS, and entering the Polish, Bulgarian and French market through the acquisitions of Comvision, Voicecom and Netmessage. LINK has also signed a term sheet regarding the acquisition of the Italian entity Totalconnect. LINK is one of Europe's leading and fastest growing companies within the industry.

The strong organic revenue growth in the quarter, confirms the positive underlying trend of solid growth in the market for mobile messaging and mobile solutions delivered by LINK. LINK achieved operating revenues of NOK 298 million in the third quarter, up 129 percent compared with corresponding period last year. The overall market conditions have been favorable, resulting in a messaging volume of 934 million, and an organic growth in the Mobile Messaging segment of 36 percent

The adjusted EBITDA for the third quarter is reported at NOK 32 million, an increase of NOK 22 million from same quarter last year. The EBITDA margin is reported at 10.8 percent, an increase of 2.8 percentage points versus same quarter last year.

The financial position is good, with a cash position of NOK 289 million. LINK has mandated ABG Sundal Collier ASA and Danske Bank to arrange for a tap issue of EUR 30 million on the existing bond agreement subject to inter alia market conditions. If successful, net proceeds from such transaction will be used to provide funding for future acquisitions in line with the acquisition strategy towards 2018.

"Q3 was a strong quarter for LINK in a typically low season with holiday´s across our markets.  We had strong recruitment of new customers and additional sales of mobile messaging and solutions to our existing customers.  A strong quarter where we closed acquisitions in Spain, Poland, Bulgaria and France.  Our customer base has now grown to a healthy 16 000 enterprises, with a good balance of large enterprises and SME enterprises.  This gives us an excellent platform to continue penetrating our markets going forward with state of the art mobile messaging and solutions.  There is a vast number of Enterprises in our markets that will benefit strongly from using LINK´s mobile messaging and solutions services going forward." Says Arild Hustad, CEO of LINK.

A presentation will be held by CEO Arild Hustad and CFO Thomas Berge regarding the third quarter reporting at 12:00 on Thursday 9th of November in the office of Arctic Securities, Haakon VIIs gate 5, Oslo. Please register attendance at events@arctic.com.

For further information, please contact:

Arild Hustad
CEO
arild.hustad@linkmobility.com
+47-95-24-19-30

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VTech Announces 2017/2018 Interim Results

Higher revenue and profit as LeapFrog and Snom consolidated

HONG KONG, Nov. 9, 2017 /PRNewswire/ --

  • Group revenue increased 5.8% to US$1,039.7 million
  • Profit attributable to shareholders of the Company rose 45.1% to US$103.6 million
  • Gross margin improved from 31.9% to 32.3%
  • Interim dividend of US17.0 cents per ordinary share, the same as the dividend paid in the corresponding period last year
  • Well-positioned to achieve further growth

VTech Holdings Limited (HKSE: 303) today announced its results for the six months ended 30 September 2017, reporting higher revenue and profit.

VTech logo

"The first six months of the financial year 2018 saw further progress at VTech. Revenue and profit increased as the Group reaped the benefit of its successful consolidation of the operations of LeapFrog and Snom. The growth of electronic learning products, however, was impacted by Toys"R"Us, which filed for bankruptcy protection in the US and Canada on 18 September this year," said Mr. Allan Wong, Chairman and Group CEO of VTech Holdings Limited.

Results and Dividend

Group revenue for the six months ended 30 September 2017 increased by 5.8% to US$1,039.7 million, supported by higher sales in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific.

Profit attributable to shareholders of the Company increased by 45.1% to US$103.6 million. The rise in profit was due to higher revenue, product mix improvement, the absence of the one-off costs associated with the integration of LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc. (LeapFrog) and the contribution from the Snom Technology GmbH (Snom) business.

Basic earnings per share rose by 45.1% to US41.2 cents, compared to US28.4 cents in the first six months of the previous financial year.

The Board of Directors has declared an interim dividend of US17.0 cents per ordinary share, unchanged from the interim dividend declared in the corresponding period last year.

Costs and Operations

The Group's gross profit margin in the first six months of the financial year 2018 rose from 31.9% to 32.3%. The improvement was mainly due to a more favourable product mix, a positive currency impact and productivity gains, despite an increase in materials prices. During the period, the Group has successfully brought most of the LeapFrog and Snom products in-house for manufacture.

Segment Results

North America

Group revenue in North America increased by 5.3% to US$499.7 million in the first six months of the financial year 2018. Sales of electronic learning products (ELPs) and contract manufacturing services (CMS) were higher, offsetting lower sales from telecommunication (TEL) products. North America was VTech's largest market, accounting for 48.0% of Group revenue.

ELPs revenue in North America rose by 2.6% to US$192.4 million, driven by higher sales of both standalone and platform products. For the first nine months of the calendar year 2017, the Group maintained its position as the number one manufacturer of electronic learning toys from infancy through toddler and preschool in the US1 .

Revenue growth was negatively impacted by the filing for bankruptcy protection by Toys"R"Us. VTech's sales to the retailer up to the date of the filing were covered by credit insurance. After the filing, shipments were no longer covered, and hence were temporarily suspended, pending negotiation of new terms. The Group makes every effort to support its long-term business partners and has worked closely with Toys"R"Us to ensure the right products are delivered to consumers in the run-up to the holiday season.

One of the Group's strategies in the financial year 2018 has been to grow the LeapFrog standalone toy business. By launching more learning toys under the LeapFrog brand, this strategy has seen initial success in the first half, with rising sales of the brand's standalone products. A number of the infant and preschool products performed particularly well, including both new and classic items, namely 2-in-1 LeapTop Touch?, Mr Pencil's Scribble & Write?, Scoop & Learn Ice Cream Cart?, as well as My Pal Scout and Violet. Scoop & Learn Ice Cream Cart was featured in The Toy Insider's "Hot 20" list of the hottest toys of the season.

In VTech standalone products, there were higher sales of preschool products and the Kidizoom® Camera range, which offset declines in the infant category and the Go! Go! Smart family of products. Among the successes, Pop-a-Balls? Drop & Pop Ball Pit? was included in Walmart's "Chosen by Kids" Top Toys List. The all-weather Kidizoom Action Cam 180 was named in The Toy Insider's 12th annual Holiday Gift Guide, alongside the new GearZooz? Roll & Roar Animal Train?. Despite a decline in overall Go! Go! Smart sales, several new products were well received by the market, with Go! Go! Smart Wheels® Race & Play Adventure Park? making the elite "Hot 20" list at The Toy Insider. During the period, the Group also brought its product innovation to the outdoor tricycle category, with the "grow-with-me" 4-in-1 Stroll & Grow Tek Trike?.

Among platform products, the Kidizoom Smartwatch range remains a growth driver. The older models continued to sell well, while the launch of the third generation Kidizoom Smartwatch DX2 featuring dual cameras, and a new Star Wars? themed version, added to the momentum. Touch and Learn Activity Desk? Deluxe and the LeapStart? Interactive Learning System, which were both launched in August last year, continued to perform well. In August 2017, the Group introduced an updated LeapStart system, with an enhanced stylus and additional titles, including licensed books. This product was included in The Toy Insider's 12th annual Holiday Gift Guide. A new children's communication device called KidiBuzz? also hit the US shelves. During the period, the Group launched LeapPad? Ultimate to replace LeapPad Platinum, while LeapFrog Epic? was updated with the new Academy Edition. Despite these new launches, sales of children's educational tablets decreased in line with the overall market decline.

Adding a new dimension to the Group's offerings, the LeapFrog Academy? was launched in major English-speaking countries in August 2017. This is a subscription-based guided learning system for children aged 3 to 6 years. Designed by educational experts, it currently offers over 1,000 curriculum based activities.

TEL products revenue in North America decreased by 8.5% to US$166.6 million, as continued growth in commercial phones and other telecommunication products was unable to offset a further sales decline in residential phones, which reflected the ongoing contraction of the fixed-line telephone market. Nonetheless, VTech maintained its leadership position in the US residential phones market2.

Commercial phones and other telecommunication products posted growth, driven by higher sales of headsets, small to medium sized business (SMB) phones, VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) phones and conference phones. Sales of headsets rose on the popularity of the Bluetooth models specially designed for the professional trucker market. The growth of VoIP phones was attributable to the contribution of Snom, the German company acquired in November last year. The VTech branded ErisStation®, a conference phone with wireless microphones, achieved a sales increase as new channels were developed. Hotel phones sales were stable, while baby monitors saw a slight sales decline as customers delayed project launches to the second half of the financial year. Despite this, the market continued to respond well to the Group's two new baby monitor products, one featuring a video camera with interchangeable standard and wide-angle lenses, the other a Wi-Fi remote access high definition camera with local viewer.

CMS revenue in North America increased sharply by 34.4% to US$140.7 million, as higher sales of professional audio equipment, solid-state lighting and industrial products offset a decline in communication products. Sales of professional audio equipment recorded significant growth. The growth was mainly driven by higher demand of new active speakers launched by an existing customer. A recovery of orders from another existing customer as it worked through an excess inventory issue that had impacted orders in the previous financial year also contributed to the growth. Sales of solid-state lighting grew as an existing customer transferred production of a product line to VTech. Industrial products also posted solid growth, as we gained orders for printed circuit board assembly for industrial printers and note counting devices. Sales of communication products, however, registered a decline as a client's product line reached the end of its life cycle. Sales of home appliances were stable during the period.

Europe

Group revenue in Europe increased by 0.3% to US$413.7 million in the first six months of the financial year 2018, as higher sales of ELPs and TEL products offset a decline at CMS. Europe remained VTech's second largest market, accounting for 39.8% of Group revenue.

ELPs revenue in Europe rose by 7.8% to US$155.7 million, with growth in both standalone and platform products. Geographically, all the Group's key Western European markets, namely France, UK, Germany, the Benelux and Spain recorded sales increases. In the first nine months of the calendar year 2017, VTech strengthened its position as the number one infant and toddler toy manufacturer in France, UK, Germany, Spain and Belgium3.

Growth in standalone products was driven by higher sales of both VTech and LeapFrog infant and preschool products, the Kidizoom Camera range, as well as the Kidi and Little Love® lines. These offset lower sales of the Toot-Toot family of products. During the first six months of the financial year 2018, VTech ELPs garnered many awards in Europe. Kidizoom Flix was included in the "Top 10 Toys for Christmas 2017" at Amazon in the UK. In France, VTech won four "2017 Grand Prix du Jouet" awards presented by La Revue du Jouet magazine. Little Love Puppy Pal was named "Toy of the Year 2017" and "Best Special Feature Doll", while GearZooz Roll & Roar Animal Train was named "Best Educational Toddler Toy".

Platform products sales in Europe increased during the first half of the financial year 2018, driven by Kidizoom Smartwatch, DigiGo® and LeapStart. The second generation Kidizoom Smartwatch DX, which was launched in all key Western European markets in the second half of the previous financial year, continued to perform well. Growth was supported by the new Star Wars themed Kidizoom Smartwatches and KidiCom? MAX, the new version of DigiGo. Sales of children's educational tablets recorded a decline.

Revenue from TEL products in Europe increased by 10.3% to US$69.5 million. Higher sales of commercial phones and other telecommunication products offset lower sales of residential phones.

Growth in VoIP phones was the main reason for the sales increase as the Group consolidated the first full six months sales of the Snom business. Baby monitors were another factor behind the growth, due to good sell-through and increased orders from existing and new customers. Sales of CAT-iq (Cordless Advanced Technology ? internet and quality) handsets also rose as the Group secured more orders from an existing customer and began to sell VTech branded CAT-iq handsets into the Swiss market. Integrated access devices (IADs) saw sales increase to existing and new customers, while hotel phones achieved good growth. Sales of residential phones continued to decline as the fixed-line telephone market contracted further.

CMS revenue in Europe decreased by 8.1% to US$188.5 million. The decrease was mainly due to a fall in sales of switching mode power supplies, as a change in ownership led a customer to begin moving production back in-house. Sales of professional audio equipment and hearables retreated slightly. The decline in sales of professional audio equipment was due to a product being phased out by an existing customer. Keen competition in the wireless headset market explained lower sales of hearables. Despite this, sales of industrial products and medical and health products saw increases. Growth of industrial products was led by smart meters for the UK market. Utility suppliers are encouraging households to install the devices to track their energy consumption, supported by Government policy. Meanwhile, the Group ramped up orders of hearing aids to a European customer, driving growth in medical and health products.

Asia Pacific

Group revenue in Asia Pacific rose by 43.9% to US$100.6 million in the first six months of the financial year 2018, with higher sales in all three product lines. Asia Pacific represented 9.7% of Group revenue.

Revenue from ELPs in Asia Pacific rose by 43.4% to US$35.0 million, led by growth in mainland China, Australia, Hong Kong and South Korea. In mainland China, the Group benefited from new product launches, channel expansion and increased marketing efforts. In Australia and South Korea, the Group's products achieved broader listings, while more promotions drove sales higher in Hong Kong. Increased sales of LeapFrog branded products in other Asia Pacific markets also contributed to overall growth.

TEL products revenue in Asia Pacific rose by 30.7% to US$21.7 million, driven by higher sales in Japan and Hong Kong. In Japan, the Group secured more projects and orders from an existing customer. In Hong Kong, VTech supplied telecommunication devices to a leading local broadband service provider, driving sales of IADs and CAT-iq handsets. Sales in Australia saw a decline despite increased sales of baby monitors, which were insufficient to offset lower sales of residential phones.

CMS revenue in Asia Pacific increased by 51.9% to US$43.9 million. Higher sales of medical and health products, professional audio equipment, hearables and communication products offset lower sales of solid-state lighting and home appliances. The sales contribution from the newly acquired high precision metal parts business added to growth.

Medical and health products gained momentum as the Group ramped up shipments of diagnostic ultrasound systems to its Japanese customer. Professional audio equipment posted higher sales as the Group's existing customers sold more products to mainland China. Sales growth in hearables was driven by orders from a new customer. Communication products performed well as VTech started producing the digital version of a marine radio for an existing customer. Sales of solid-state lighting and home appliances, however, recorded declines as customers faced keen competition.

Other Regions

Group revenue in Other Regions, comprising Latin America, the Middle East and Africa, decreased by 1.2% to US$25.7 million in the first six months of the financial year 2018. Lower sales of TEL products in Other Regions offset higher sales of ELPs and CMS. Other Regions accounted for 2.5% of Group revenue.

ELPs revenue in Other Regions rose by 12.8% to US$10.6 million for the period, as higher sales in the Middle East compensated for lower sales in Latin America and Africa.

TEL products revenue in Other Regions decreased by 10.5% to US$14.5 million. The decline was attributable to lower sales in Latin America, offsetting growth in the Middle East and Africa.

CMS revenue in Other Regions was US$0.6 million in the first six months of the financial year 2018, as compared to US$0.4 million in the corresponding period of the last financial year.

Outlook

Group revenue for the financial year 2018 is expected to increase. Sales of TEL products are anticipated to pick up in the second half, while the good momentum behind CMS is forecast to continue. For ELPs, sales for the full financial year are difficult to gauge, as there is uncertainty regarding the level of shipments in the second half to Toys"R"Us, one of the Group's top five customers. Consequently, the trend in gross margin is also difficult to predict.

Despite the near-term uncertainty, the Group is experiencing good demand for its ELPs. In standalone products, the LeapFrog portfolio is being strengthened by the introduction of more new learning toys, while VTech infant and toddler products, as well as the Kidizoom Camera range, are gaining market share. Platform products will benefit from the strong sell-through of Kidizoom Smartwatch, LeapStart and the newly introduced children's communication devices KidiBuzz and KidiCom MAX. Subscriptions to the LeapFrog Academy are expected to grow in the second half as more marketing efforts come on stream and more LeapFrog Epic Academy Editions are sold through during the holiday seasons. Geographically, Asia Pacific will continue to outperform. The relaxation of the one child policy in mainland China is increasing the size of the Group's target market for baby and infant products. In Australia and South Korea, broader listings will continue to drive sales growth in these two key regional markets.

Sales of TEL products are expected to recover in the second half resulting in full-year growth, as sales of commercial phones and other telecommunication products continue to improve, offsetting a further decline in sales of residential phones. Two key new VoIP phones have been introduced by Snom, one features a large, full-colour LCD screen and the other has a high resolution second screen for programmable function keys. Conference phones will also benefit from new Snom models and the development of additional sales channels. Hotel phones will grow as previously delayed projects come on-stream and a new Boutique range catering to the demand for smaller handsets is launched. The strong momentum in headsets for the professional trucker market is expected to continue. Additionally, VTech will launch two new headset models for the business market later in the financial year. The popular VTech baby monitors will see growth due to increased retail shelf placement. Sales of CAT-iq handsets and IADs will grow as a result of increasing orders from both existing and new customers.

VTech CMS is forecast to achieve solid growth for the full year, despite a slow EMS market in the first six months of the calendar year 20174. Sales are expected to rise on the back of increasing orders from existing customers in professional audio, hearables, industrial products, solid-state lighting as well as medical and health products, offsetting a further decline in switching mode power supplies. There will also be a full-year sales contribution from the high precision metal parts business. To position CMS for further growth, the Group plans to migrate towards "Industry 4.0", in which machines are augmented with web connectivity and connected to a system that can visualise the entire production chain and make autonomous decisions. VTech believes that by embracing this concept it will continue to achieve excellence in manufacturing, thereby lowering costs, increasing productivity and improving time to market for its customers.

"VTech has had a solid first half despite near-term uncertainties. With strength in product innovation, market leadership and operational excellence, we are confident in the Group's long-term outlook. VTech is well-positioned to achieve further growth and deliver sustainable returns to shareholders," said Mr Wong.

Notes:

1 Source: NPD Group, Retail Tracking Service. Ranking based on total retail sales of VTech and LeapFrog products in the combined toy categories of early electronic learning, other infant toys, bath toys, electronic entertainment (excluding tablets) and preschool electronic learning for the calendar year ending September 2017
2 Source: MarketWise Consumer Insights, LLC
3 Source: NPD Group, Retail Tracking Service
4 Source: Manufacturing Market Insider, August 2017

About VTech

VTech is the global leader in electronic learning products from infancy through toddler and preschool and the world's largest manufacturer of cordless phones. It also provides highly sought-after contract manufacturing services. Since its establishment in 1976, VTech has been a pioneer in the electronic learning toy category. With advanced educational expertise and cutting-edge innovation, VTech products provide fun and learning to children around the world. Leveraging decades of success in cordless telephony, VTech's diverse collection of telecommunication products elevates both home and business users' experience through the latest in technology and design. As one of the world's leading electronic manufacturing service providers, VTech offers world-class, full turnkey services to customers in a number of product categories. The Group's mission is to design, manufacture and supply innovative and high quality products in a manner that minimises any impact on the environment, while creating sustainable value for its stakeholders and the community.

Note: Starting from 22:30, 9 November 2017 (HKT), the video archive of the 2017/2018 interim results announcement can be accessed through VTech website via this link https://www.vtech.com/en/investors/financial-briefings/.

For further information, please contact:

Grace Pang

VTech representative in Hong Kong

VTech Holdings Limited

Sue So, Golin

(852) 2680-1000 (office)

(852) 2501-7984 (office)

grace_pang@vtech.com (email)

sso@golin.com (email)

 

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