Fairpoint’s revenues, profits down for Q3

first_imgFairPoint Communications Reports Third Quarter 2008 Results CHARLOTTE, N.C., Nov. 6 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — FairPointCommunications, Inc. (NYSE: FRP) (“FairPoint” or the “Company”), a leadingprovider of communications services to communities across the country,today announced its financial results for the three and nine months endedSeptember 30, 2008. FairPoint completed its acquisition of VerizonCommunication’s wireline operations in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont(the Northern New England business) on March 31, 2008. As a result of thattransaction, which was treated as a “reverse acquisition” for accountingpurposes, the financial statements for all periods prior to March 31, 2008reflect the operating results and assets and liabilities of the NorthernNew England business only. For purposes of analysis, certain financialinformation for periods prior to March 31, 2008 is presented on a pro formabasis, assuming the acquisition and related transactions had occurred onJanuary 1, 2007. Highlights — Significant progress continued toward systems cutover currentlyscheduled for January 2009. — Decline in access line equivalents holds steady in the third quarterat 3% in the newly acquired Northern New England business despiteseasonality and a weakening economic environment. — High-speed data (HSD) penetration increased to 19.9% on aconsolidated basis as of September 30, 2008. The rate of decline in HSDsubscribers was reduced in Northern New England by more than half to 0.8%in the third quarter from 1.9% in the second quarter of 2008, reflecting anincrease in subscribers in Maine and Vermont during the quarter. — Revenue totaled $328.3 million for the third quarter of 2008compared with $344.7 million in the second quarter. Compared with thesecond quarter of 2008, revenue declined by 0.9% on a normalized basis(adjusting for the Maine AFOR rate reduction and prior period revenueadjustments). — Adjusted EBITDA (a non-GAAP measure as defined herein) totaled$149.9 million in the third quarter of 2008, or 45.0% of revenue, excludingprior period revenue adjustments. — Cash-on-hand totaling $168.1 million at September 30, 2008(excluding an additional $80.4 million of restricted cash), together withongoing operating cash flow, is expected to provide sufficient liquidity tocomplete the systems cutover and to continue to execute network expansionplans. Gene Johnson, Chairman and CEO of FairPoint, stated, “We are verypleased that our operations have stabilized and we are seeing increasingevidence that our customers are embracing the FairPoint brand. We expect tobegin to see the benefits of this as we move beyond cutover to our newsystems and continue to execute our business plan. Operationally, we remainfocused on reducing customer churn and evaluating our ongoing coststructure in relation to the current revenue base for our business and theuncertain economic environment. Finally, the September drawdown of $200million under our available credit facilities, together with cash flowsgenerated from operations, is expected to provide sufficient liquidity tocomplete cutover and to continue to execute our network expansion plans inthe Northern New England states.” Third Quarter Results Revenue for the third quarter of 2008 was $328.3 million, compared withpro forma revenue of $381.0 million for the third quarter of 2007 and$344.7 million for the second quarter of 2008. The quarter over quarterrevenue decline of 4.8% was driven by a decrease in access line equivalentsof 2.8% during the quarter, a mandated local rate reduction in Maine(previously disclosed as the Maine AFOR adjustment), which became effectivein August 2008 and reduced third quarter revenue by approximately $3.0million, and prior period revenue adjustments related to the second quarterof approximately $5.3 million. As previously disclosed, the Maine AFORsettlement is expected to reduce revenues by approximately $18.0 million onan annual basis. Normalizing for the impact of the Maine AFOR ratereduction and the prior period revenue adjustments, quarter over quarterrevenue would have declined by 0.9%. Adjusted EBITDA was $149.9 million for the three months ended September30, 2008, compared with pro forma Adjusted EBITDA of $149.2 million for thethree months ended September 30, 2007 and Adjusted EBITDA of $167.7 millionfor the second quarter of 2008. The decline in Adjusted EBITDA from thesecond quarter of 2008 reflects the impact of reduced access lines and thelocal rate reduction in Maine, which took effect in August 2008. Alsoimpacting Adjusted EBITDA is a net quarter over quarter increase inoperating and other expenses of $12.0 million, excluding one-time mergerrelated expenses, largely reflecting the continued buildup of the Company’swork force following the completion of the acquisition of the Northern NewEngland business at the end of the first quarter. The Adjusted EBITDA margin was 45.0% in the third quarter of 2008,compared with 39.2% in the same quarter a year ago and 49.4% in the secondquarter of 2008 (based upon normalized revenue in the second and thirdquarters of 2008 reflecting the non-recurring revenue adjustments of $5.3million). The increase in the Adjusted EBITDA margin compared with thesecond quarter a year ago reflects the elimination of the Verizon coststructure supporting the Northern New England business following theclosing of the acquisition on March 31, 2008. These cost savings haveoffset declining revenue, resulting in an overall margin improvement. Operating Metrics Total access line equivalents were 1,768,528 at September 30, 2008compared with 1,947,574 at September 30, 2007, a decline of 9.2%. Duringthe third quarter, total access line equivalents declined by 2.8% comparedwith a decline of 2.4% during the second quarter of this year. The NorthernNew England business experienced a 3.1% decline in access line equivalentsduring the third quarter of 2008 compared with a 3.0% decline in the secondquarter, while Legacy FairPoint access line equivalents declined by 1.5% inthe current quarter compared with an increase of 0.4% in the secondquarter. Third quarter results were negatively impacted by seasonaldisconnects which affected the Northern New England and Legacy FairPointbusinesses as well as the weakening economic environment. High-speed data (HSD) subscribers totaled 294,134 as of September 30,2008, an increase of 2.3% compared with 287,472 at September 30, 2007.Total HSD subscribers at September 30, 2008 remained essentially flatcompared to 294,412 subscribers at June 30, 2008. HSD penetration was 19.9%as of September 30, 2008, compared with 17.3% at September 30, 2007 and19.3% at June 30, 2008. During the third quarter of 2008, HSD subscribers increased by 2.0% inLegacy FairPoint, while the trend in the Northern New England businessimproved, reflecting a modest decline of 0.8% in the third quarter of 2008,compared with a decline of 1.9% during the second quarter of this year. TheNorthern New England business experienced modest increases in HSDsubscribers in Maine and Vermont during the third quarter of this year,compared with declines in both of those states during the second quarter. Long distance subscribers totaled 643,844 at the end of September 2008,down 1.9% from 656,599 as of June 30, 2008 and 9.4% below the prior year.Long distance penetration was 43.4% at September 30, 2008, compared with42.8% a year ago and 43.0% as of June 30, 2008. Access Line Equivalents % change % change 9/30/07 to 6/30/08 to 9/30/2008 6/30/2008 9/30/2007 9/30/08 9/30/08 Residential access lines Legacy FairPoint 171,598 176,891 186,304 (7.9%) (3.0%) Northern New England 786,726 819,640 912,179 (13.8%) (4.0%) 958,324 996,531 1,098,483 (12.8%) (3.8%) Business access lines Legacy FairPoint 53,780 54,619 56,575 (4.9%) (1.5%) Northern New England 350,159 358,014 375,841 (6.8%) (2.2%) 403,939 412,633 432,416 (6.6%) (2.1%) Wholesale access lines 112,131 116,731 129,203 (13.2%) (3.9%) Total voice access lines 1,474,394 1,525,895 1,660,102 (11.2%) (3.4%) HSD subscribers Legacy FairPoint 74,764 73,326 66,978 11.6% 2.0% Northern New England 219,370 221,086 220,494 (0.5%) (0.8%) Total HSD subscribers 294,134 294,412 287,472 2.3% (0.1%) Total access line equivalents 1,768,528 1,820,307 1,947,574 (9.2%) (2.8%) Long distance subscribers 643,844 656,599 710,780 (9.4%) (1.9%) Cutover Update On September 15, 2008, the Company announced a 60 day extension, to theend of January 2009, for the systems cutover related to the recentlyacquired Northern New England properties. This effort encompasses thedevelopment of approximately 60 new state-of-the-art, fully integratedsystems which will replace the more than 600 systems currently beingutilized by Verizon to support the acquired operations. During the third quarter and throughout October, the Company continuedto make strong progress toward meeting the pre-established cutovercriteria. Systems testing and enhancement continued, including live networktesting, end-to-end business simulations and CLEC testing. Hiring of allkey positions has now been completed. Key methods and procedures have beendocumented and are being validated with business simulations which supportfinalizing of training materials. The Company continues to provide Liberty with information necessary forLiberty’s evaluation of the cutover acceptance criteria and anticipatesthat Liberty will issue its next report during the week of November 10th. Cash Flow and Liquidity Cash flow from operations totaled $36.2 million for the nine monthsended September 30, 2008, while capital expenditures, including $105.4million associated with the continued development of the Company’s newplatform of fully integrated, state-of-the-art systems and the build-out ofits MPLS high speed data network in the Northern New England states,totaled $189.2 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2008. During the third quarter, in conjunction with the final working capitalsettlement with Verizon, the Company reimbursed Verizon $66.3 millionrelated to amounts owed for services rendered to the Northern New Englandbusiness prior to the closing of the merger. At the same time, Verizon paidthe Company $29.0 million for the final working capital true-up andone-half of the bank fees incurred in connection with the transactionfinancing. The $66.3 million payment to Verizon is reflected as a netreduction in cash provided by operating activities in the accompanyingstatement of cash flows, while the $29.0 million received from Verizon isreflected as a contribution from Verizon in net cash provided by financingactivities. Normalizing for the one-time reimbursement to Verizon, net cashprovided by operating activities for the three and nine months endedSeptember 30, 2008 would have been $52.2 million and $102.5 million,respectively. Operating cash flows for the three and nine months endedSeptember 30, 2008 are also negatively impacted by the monthly transitionservice agreement payments and other one-time merger and cutover relatedcosts. During September 2008, due to the extreme uncertainty in the financialmarkets and the risk associated with Lehman Brothers (which then accountedfor 30% of the undrawn loan commitments under its credit facilities) theCompany borrowed the remaining $100 million available under its $200million delayed draw term loan facility as well as $100 million under its$200 million revolving credit facility. Lehman Brothers subsequently filedfor bankruptcy, effectively reducing the remaining amount available underthe revolving credit facility to $70 million. With these borrowings,together with ongoing operating cash flow, the Company expects to havesufficient liquidity to complete its systems cutover and to continue toexecute on network expansion plans for the recently acquired operations inthe Northern New England states. Cash and cash equivalents at September 30, 2008 totaled $168.1 million(excluding restricted cash totaling $80.4 million), compared with $11.2million at the end of the second quarter. As of September 30, 2008, theCompany’s total indebtness (as calculated in accordance with its creditfacility) was 3.96 times Adjusted EBITDA. Conference Call and Webcast As previously announced, FairPoint will host a conference call andsimultaneous webcast to discuss its third quarter results at 8:00 a.m. ESTon November 7, 2008. Participants should call (888) 253-4456 (US/Canada) or(973) 935-8178 (international) at 7:50 a.m. (EST) and request the FairPointCommunications Third Quarter 2008 Earnings Call or Conference ID#718-763-78. A telephonic replay will be available for anyone unable toparticipate in the live call. To access the replay, call (800) 642-1687(US/Canada) or (706) 645-9291 (international) and enter confirmation code718-763-78. The recording will be available from Friday, November 7, 2008at 10:00 a.m. (EST) through Friday, November 14, 2008 at 11:59 p.m. (EST). A live broadcast of the earnings conference call will be available viathe Internet at http://www.fairpoint.com(link is external) under the Investor Relations section. Anonline replay will be available beginning later that morning on November 7,2008 and will remain available for one year. During the conference call, representatives of the Company may discussand answer one or more questions concerning the Company’s business andfinancial matters. The responses to these questions may contain informationthat has not been previously disclosed. The information in this press release should be read in conjunctionwith the financial statements and footnotes contained in FairPoint’sQuarterly Report on Form 10-Q to be filed with the Securities and ExchangeCommission. FairPoint’s results for the quarter ended September 30, 2008are subject to the completion and filing with the Securities and ExchangeCommission of its Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for such quarter. Non-GAAP Financial Measures Adjusted EBITDA is a non-GAAP financial measure (i.e., it is not ameasure of financial performance under generally accepted accountingprinciples) and should not be considered in isolation or as a substitutefor consolidated statements of operations and cash flow data prepared inaccordance with GAAP. In addition, the non-GAAP financial measures used byFairPoint may not be comparable to similarly titled measures of othercompanies. For a definition of and additional information regardingAdjusted EBITDA, and a reconciliation of such measure to the mostcomparable financial measure calculated in accordance with GAAP, please seethe attachments to this press release. FairPoint believes Adjusted EBITDA is useful to investors becauseAdjusted EBITDA is commonly used in the communications industry to analyzecompanies on the basis of operating performance, liquidity and leverage.FairPoint believes Adjusted EBITDA allows a standardized comparison betweencompanies in the industry, while minimizing the differences fromdepreciation policies, financial leverage and tax strategies. In addition,certain covenants in FairPoint’s credit facility and the indenturegoverning its senior notes as well as the regulatory orders issued inconnection with the acquisition of the Northern New England businesscontain ratios based on Adjusted EBITDA. The restricted payment covenantsin such agreements and orders regulating the payment of dividends onFairPoint’s common stock are also based on Adjusted EBITDA. If FairPoint’sAdjusted EBITDA were to decline below certain levels, covenants inFairPoint’s credit facility that are based on Adjusted EBITDA may beviolated and could cause, among other things, a default under such creditfacility. In addition, such a decline could result in FairPoint’s inabilityto pay dividends on its common stock. While FairPoint uses Adjusted EBITDA in managing and analyzing itsbusiness and financial condition and believes it is useful to itsmanagement and investors for the reasons described above, Adjusted EBITDAhas certain shortcomings. In particular, Adjusted EBITDA does not representthe residual cash flows available for discretionary expenditures, sinceitems such as debt repayment and interest payments are not deducted fromsuch measure. FairPoint’s management compensates for the shortcomings ofAdjusted EBITDA by utilizing it in conjunction with its comparable GAAPfinancial measures. About FairPoint FairPoint Communications, Inc. is an industry leading provider ofcommunications services to communities across the country. Today, FairPointowns and operates local exchange companies in 18 states offering advancedcommunications with a personal touch, including local and long distancevoice, data, Internet, television and broadband services. FairPoint istraded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol FRP. Learn more athttp://www.fairpoint.com(link is external) This press release may contain forward-looking statements by FairPointthat are not based on historical fact, including, without limitation,statements containing the words “expects,” “anticipates,” “intends,””plans,” “believes,” “seeks,” “estimates” and similar expressions andstatements. Because these forward-looking statements involve known andunknown risks and uncertainties, there are important factors that couldcause actual results, events or developments to differ materially fromthose expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. Suchfactors include those risks described from time to time in FairPoint’sfilings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), including,without limitation, the risks described in FairPoint’s most recentQuarterly Report on Form 10-Q on file with the SEC. These factors should beconsidered carefully and readers are cautioned not to place undue relianceon such forward-looking statements. All information is current as of thedate this press release is issued, and FairPoint undertakes no duty toupdate this information. FAIRPOINT COMMUNICATIONS, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES Condensed Consolidated Balance Sheets September 30, December 31, 2008 2007 (unaudited) (Dollars in thousands) Assets Current assets: Cash $168,071 $- Restricted cash 10,341 – Accounts receivable, net 168,431 160,130 Other receivables 15,468 18,579 Materials and supplies 42,155 4,229 Other 44,196 21,180 Deferred income tax, net 19,836 9,730 Short term investments – 37,090 Total current assets 468,498 250,938 Property, plant, and equipment, net 1,924,132 1,630,085 Intangibles assets, net 222,100 – Prepaid pension asset 69,874 36,692 Debt issue costs, net 27,016 – Restricted cash 70,108 – Other assets 16,492 20,457 Investments 6,959 – Goodwill 625,010 – Total assets $3,430,189 $1,938,172 Liabilities and Stockholders’ Equity Current liabilities: Current portion of long-term debt $22,500 $- Current portion of capital lease obligations 2,193 2,064 Accounts payable 99,647 175,866 Dividends payable 22,905 – Accrued interest payable 36,686 – Interest rate swaps 17,434 – Other accrued liabilities 65,873 47,115 Total current liabilities 267,238 225,045 Long-term liabilities: Capital lease obligations 7,869 9,936 Employee benefit obligations 186,775 408,863 Deferred income taxes 248,087 140,911 Unamortized investment tax credits 5,759 5,877 Other long-term liabilities 37,103 28,378 Long-term debt, net of current portion 2,447,608 – Interest rate swap agreements 19,123 – Total long-term liabilities 2,952,324 593,965 Minority interest 6 – Stockholders’ equity: Common stock 890 538 Additional paid-in capital 755,574 484,383 Retained earnings (deficit) (467,118) 634,241 Accumulated other comprehensive loss (78,725) – Total stockholders’ equity 210,621 1,119,162 Total liabilities and stockholders’ equity $3,430,189 $1,938,172 FAIRPOINT COMMUNICATIONS, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES Condensed Consolidated Statements of Operations (Unaudited) Three months ended Nine months ended September 30, September 30, 2008 2007 2008 2007 (Dollars in thousands) Revenues $328,255 $306,258 $955,359 $903,614 Operating expenses: Cost of services and sales, excluding depreciation and amortization 152,579 141,645 422,316 419,290 Selling, general and administrative expense, excluding depreciation and amortization 104,679 67,340 270,085 196,545 Depreciation and amortization 60,768 58,360 184,434 174,361 Total operating expenses 318,026 267,345 876,835 790,196 Income from operations 10,229 38,913 78,524 113,418 Other income (expense): Interest expense (49,665) (17,052) (109,310) (52,871) Gain on derivative instruments (5,014) – 38,109 – Other 2,165 852 3,415 2,651 Total other expense (52,514) (16,200) (67,786) (50,220) Income before income taxes (42,285) 22,713 10,738 63,198 Income tax (expense) benefit 17,176 (8,903) (3,190) (24,639) Net income $(25,109) $13,810 $7,548 $38,559 Weighted average shares outstanding: Basic 88,999 53,761 71,358 53,761 Diluted 88,999 53,761 72,773 53,761 Earnings per share: Basic $(0.28) $0.26 $0.11 $0.72 Diluted (0.28) 0.26 0.10 0.72 FAIRPOINT COMMUNICATIONS, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES Condensed Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows (Unaudited) Nine months ended September 30, 2008 2007 (Dollars in thousands) Cash flows from operating activities: Net income $7,548 $38,559 Adjustments to reconcile net income to net cash provided by operating activities of continuing operations excluding impact of acquisitions: Deferred income taxes 15,354 (21,834) Provision for uncollectible revenue 13,004 14,603 Depreciation and amortization 184,434 174,361 SFAS 106 post-retirement accruals 33,762 67,514 Gain on derivative instruments (38,109) – Other non cash items (26,382) (70,344) Changes in assets and liabilities arising from operations: Accounts receivable (37,670) (8,645) Prepaid and other assets 2,838 3,784 Accounts payable and other accrued liabilities (106,576) (16,194) Other assets and liabilities, net 4,244 (3,283) Other (16,221) – Total adjustments 28,678 139,962 Net cash provided by operating activities of continuing operations 36,226 178,521 Cash flows from investing activities of continuing operations: Acquired cash balance, net 11,401 – Net capital additions (189,234) (107,121) Net proceeds from sales of investments and other assets 2,154 34,146 Net cash used in investing activities of continuing operations (175,679) (72,975) Cash flows from financing activities of continuing operations: Loan origination costs (29,238) – Proceeds from issuance of long-term debt 1,930,000 – Repayments of long-term debt (687,491) – Contributions from Verizon 373,590 (104,848) Restricted cash (80,436) – Repayment of capital lease obligations (1,938) (698) Dividends paid to stockholders (1,196,963) – Net cash provided by (used in) financing activities of continuing operations 307,524 (105,546) Net increase in cash 168,071 – Cash, beginning of period – – Cash, end of period $168,071 $- Supplemental disclosure of cash flow information: Non-cash equity consideration $316,290 $- Non-cash issuance of senior notes 551,000 – FAIRPOINT COMMUNICATIONS, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES Unaudited Pro Forma Combined Statement of Operations (Non-GAAP) For the Three Months Ended September 30, 2007 (in thousands, except per share data) Northern New Merger England Legacy Related business (A) FairPoint(B) Costs (C) Revenues $306,258 75,707 – Operating expenses: Cost of services and sales, excluding depreciation and amortization 141,645 26,846 – Selling, general and administrative expense 67,341 20,000 8,000 Depreciation and amortization 58,360 12,624 – Gain on sale of operating assets – (2,164) – Total operating expenses 267,346 57,306 8,000 Income from operations 38,912 18,401 (8,000) Other income (expense): Net gain on sale of investments and other assets – 2,759 Interest expense (17,053) (9,924) – Interest and dividend income – 294 – Loss on derivative instruments – (5,669) – Equity in earnings of investees – 320 Other nonoperating, net 852 – – Total other expense (16,201) (12,220) – Income before income taxes 22,711 6,181 (8,000) Income tax (expense) benefit (8,903) (5,164) 1,792 (K) Minority interest – (1) – Net income $13,808 1,016 (6,208) Basic weighted average shares outstanding 53,761.0 34,770.0 Diluted weighted average shares outstanding 53,761.0 34,770.0 Basic earnings per common share: Continuing operations $0.26 Diluted earnings per common share: Continuing operations $0.26 Pro Forma Results for Pro Forma Combined Adjustments Businesses Revenues (1,000) (D) $380,965 Operating expenses: Cost of services and sales, excluding depreciation and amortization (9,000) (D)(E) 159,491 Selling, general and administrative expense (13,750) (E)(F) 81,591 Depreciation and amortizationlast_img read more

Wellness programs go high-tech

first_imgEfforts can improve a CU’s culture, productivity, and bottom line.One sign of our times is the pursuit of good health—wellness— with the goal of reducing healthcare costs and creating happier, more productive employees.“Credit unions’ consciousness about employee wellness is growing every day,” says Brian Berchtold, vice president of sales and marketing for Hubbub, a “technology-driven wellness program provider. Our brand and values—integrity, truth, and transparency—align with and mirror credit union values.”He says wellness programs traditionally have been something human resource departments addressed.“However, many C-level leaders are now recognizing their worth, Berchtold says. “A well-implemented program improves a credit union’s culture, productivity, and bottom line because of better cost control over health-care expenses.”Hubbub’s program is employee centric versus top-down-driven. “Most businesses still use the approach of setting goals and then driving them down,” Berchtold says. continue reading » 5SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

2020: Driving the primary financial relationship with payments

first_imgAs we begin a new decade, I want to share three words that I believe will define the future of the credit union movement: primary financial relationship (or “PFR”). Do our members see credit unions as the first place they go to for all their financial needs? They should. Americans have at least five accounts with different financial institutions, and of those that belong to credit unions, only 20% see it as their primary relationship.1 With big tech and fintech actively engaging in our market and growing market share, deepening relationships with our members is critical!The good news? Credit unions are very much defined by the human-centered relationships we have with our members. Yet the question many of you are asking is: how do we take it from here? Where should my credit union invest to stoke this growth? We believe that owning more member moments through payments is the path to building a stronger economic index for each credit union. Credit unions that understand the correlation between payments and loans and focus on growing both can raise overall volume, engagement, and revenue. Designing for members’ lifestyle, not just their life stage, is the way forward.Today, payments represent almost 80 percent of a consumer’s interactions with their primary financial institution, and banks are surpassing credit unions in the payments to lending performance ratios.2 Credit card loan portfolios make up 21.6% of total loan volume for the country’s top three banks, in comparison to credit unions’ 6.5%, and they are outperforming our industry by more than $300 billion in total loans.3 Additionally, there is $500 billion of incremental interchange revenue up for grabs in the next five years that will drive overall loan growth.4 Think about the dozen times per day, year-round, that a member dips, taps or clicks to pay, and how that everyday interaction can lead to more opportunities within your credit union – from lending to selling other products and services. By focusing on payments, we’re not only driving engagement, but we can use that data to understand our members better and offer them the right financial products and services when they need them. When we do that, we become more than an institution; we become their trusted primary financial relationship.We all have a tremendous opportunity ahead of us and CO-OP is boldly investing to design and deliver the solutions that will give your credit union the scale, technology, and resources to grow. From securing top of wallet with latest digital wallet solutions and rewards programs to supporting them with consistently reliable member service through our Contact Center. All of this, backed by industry-leading security and risk management systems and easily accessible through a library of APIs (Watch: Learn about the new CO-OP Developer Portal). 2SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Todd Clark Todd Clark is President/CEO of CO-OP Financial Services (www.co-opfs.org), a provider of payments and financial technology to credit unions. Web: www.co-opfs.org Details Sources:1 Federal Reserve: “2016 Survey of Consumer Finance”2 McKinsey: “Global Payments Report 2019: Amid Sustained Growth, Accelerating Challenges Demand Bold Actions”3 CU Data from Callahan database; Bank balances from 10-Qs (BofA, Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup)4 Accenture: “Payments Pulse Survey: Two Ways to Win in Payments”last_img read more

NTT governor encourages police to apply for positions within his administration

first_imgEast Nusa Tenggara (NTT) Governor Viktor Bungtilu Laiskodat has encouraged police officials to apply for strategic positions in the provincial administration, despite warnings from watchdogs that such appointments would be a setback for the country’s democracy.The governor announced the controversial plan during a ceremony to commemorate the National Police’s 74th anniversary at the NTT Police headquarters on Wednesday. In his speech, Viktor said several agency head positions were currently open.“The positions for the heads of the Tourism Agency and the Animal Husbandry Agency are vacant. […] I think it’s all right if someone from the police wants to fill these positions,” Viktor said, as quoted by kompas.com. He quickly added that any police officers interested in applying for the positions would be required to retire from the force, as stipulated by the 2002 National Police Law, which requires active police personnel to retire or resign from the force to serve in an official public position.Read also: Jokowi calls on National Police to uphold humanity, professionalism amid pandemicA number of police officials currently hold strategic positions in several ministries, tempo.co has reported.They include Comr. Gen. Andap Budhi Revianto, who serves as the Law and Human Rights Ministry inspector general, Insp. Gen. Reinhard Silitonga, the ministry’s correctional facilities director general, and Comr. Gen. Antam Novambar, the Maritime and Fisheries Ministry’s acting secretary-general.Indonesia Police Watch (IPW) has spoken out against the government allowing police officials to hold positions in the civil service.“This is alarming. It’s like we are repeating the New Order regime’s depravity,” IPW chairman Neta S. Pane said on June 23, as quoted by tempo.co, referring to the Indonesian Military’s dwi fungsi (dual role) under the leadership of president Suharto.Netta urged President Joko Widodo not to repeat this mistake and to ensure compliance with prevailing regulations. (vny)Topics :last_img read more

Governor Wolf Highlights PAsmart Workforce Proposal at Monroe Career and Technical Institute

first_imgGovernor Wolf Highlights PAsmart Workforce Proposal at Monroe Career and Technical Institute Governor Wolf has set a goal for 60 percent of Pennsylvanians to have some form of post-secondary education or training by 2025. Economy,  Education,  Jobs That Pay,  PAsmart,  Press Release,  Workforce Development Bartonsville, PA – Governor Tom Wolf joined state Rep. Maureen Madden and local officials today to announce a $510,000 grant for the Monroe Career and Technical Institute (MCTI) and discuss his first-of-its-kind PAsmart proposal to invest in a highly skilled workforce for the 21st century economy.“This is an investment in the workers and the economy of Monroe, Pike, and Northampton counties.” said Governor Wolf. “This targeted funding will give students the opportunity to learn on cutting edge equipment and expand training opportunities that will ultimately help thousands of people get the skills for good-paying careers in this community.“Businesses are expanding in Pennsylvania and they need skilled workers. MCTI is helping to meet that demand and is an example of why I’m proposing PAsmart to make a strategic investment in skills training.”The grant will provide funding for MCTI to expand job training and replace aging welding equipment with state-of-the-art technology to improve safety and enhance the skills of students as they earn industry recognized certifications. MCTI’s welding program operates 14 hours a day, five days a week. An average of 55 adults and 40 high school students complete the welding program each year.“This is incredible news for our students, faculty, and community,” said state Rep. Maureen Madden. “I applaud Gov. Wolf for recognizing the importance of investing in MCTI, an institution that has been offering career training to the residents of Monroe, Pike, and Northampton counties since 1972. This grant will ensure high school students and adults are educated and graduate from one of the most state-of-the-art facilities, right here, at a time when it’s vitally important to make investments in education and workforce development.”“MCTI is ecstatic to be the recipient of this $510,000.00 grant for our welding program,” said Dennis Virga, acting director of MCTI. “Students of both our high school and adult continuing-education classes will benefit greatly from the purchase of new equipment and upgrades to the welding lab. Additionally, the money will afford training to our adult community in automotive technology, construction trades, culinary arts, health occupations and welding.”Governor Wolf proposed PAsmart after hearing from workers and businesses about the need to close the skills gap and prepare students and workers for the jobs that employers need to fill.Part of the governor’s 2018-19 budget proposal, PAsmart would invest $50 million to help workers get the skills and education for jobs in growing industries.The $50 million would be targeted with competitive grants:$25 million to expand STEM and computer science education$10 million to help students and adults get work skills and credentials with In-demand job through career and technical education.$5 million to encourage employer involvement in job training.$7 million to expand apprenticeships$3 million for Industry Partnerships which help employers partner to provide job training April 27, 2018 SHARE Email Facebook Twitterlast_img read more

Lust for lifestyle drives home price growth in Noosa, Mackay

first_img MACKAY & SURROUNDS GROWTH SUBURBS FOR HOUSES Noosaville 9% Peter and Kim Lloyd with children, Summer, 8, and Cooper, 11, who are selling their home at a time when Noosa house prices are hitting record highs. Photo: Lachie Millard.SERIOUS home buyers in search of a sea change saw Queensland’s coastal regions outperform Brisbane’s housing market over the past year, new research reveal. Noosa has cemented its status as one of the nation’s most sought-after property markets, with its median house price hitting a new record of $800,000 — the highest of any house market in the state, according to the latest quarterly figures from the Real Estate Institute of Queensland.Its apartment market was also the strongest in Queensland in the 12 months to March 31, with the median unit price climbing 8.7 per cent to $625,000. Noosa Heads, overlooking Noosa Sound and the Noosa Spit to Noosa River.Further north, Mackay house prices recorded the strongest growth in the state, the value of vacant land in Townsville jumped a whopping 27 per cent and unit prices made double digit gains. These coastal regions are now bracing for an influx of interstate visitors post-July, with the reopening of the Queensland border set to welcome a rush of southerners in from the cold.Buyers’ agents are also reporting a steady surge in appetite for regional property from young families, relocating workers and retirees looking to optimise their superannuation savings.“For those who seek a sea change or tree change lifestyle, the appeal of some of our nation’s regions is enough to tempt many to opt out of city life and pursue a welcome change,” Real Estate Buyers Agents Association president Cate Bakos said. “For investors who have witnessed some particularly strong regional city capital growth rates, the added bonus of typically stronger rental yields has presented an attractive option for those who favour a more balanced portfolio.” REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella.REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella said the Sunshine Coast property market had proven its resilience — continuing to remain one of the prime spots in Australia for investment. “With a local economy that’s remained relatively buoyant, backed by strong population and job growth, along with ample investment in large infrastructure projects, the Sunshine Coast housing market has remained on a steady growth trajectory over the first quarter of 2020,” Ms Mercorella said. “But it’s Noosa’s house market that has clearly seen the biggest gains in the greater region when you consider ‘ushered in a record median price of $800,000 on the back of five-year growth of 44.1 per cent — making it the most expensive housing market in Queensland.” Earlier this month, a Sunshine Beach mansion formerly owned by tennis champ Pat Rafter sold for an eyewatering $17 million. The oceanfront home at 46 Seaview Terrace was most recently owned by Betty’s Burgers founder David Hales, who have relocated to another property in Noosa Sound. Suburb Annual price growth (Source: REIQ) GOLD COAST GROWTH SUBURBS FOR HOUSES In March, a home on the same street was snapped up by Karl and Jasmine Stefanovic for $3.6 million. This house at 46 Seaview Tce, Sunshine Beach, has sold for $17m.And while the exclusive seaside retreat has become a haven for wealthy owner-occupiers, it also remains attractive to investors, with rents continuing to rise.The median weekly rent for a two-bedroom unit in Noosa rose 4.8 per cent in the year to March 31 to $480 and increased 4.2 per cent to $500 for a three-bedroom house.While not quite as impressive, the Gold Coast’s annual median house price rose 1.8 per cent for the year to March 2020 to $636,000. But some suburbs recorded double digit price growth, such as Cooloongatta, which was a standout at 27.2 per cent house price growth. Noosa’s median house price has hit a record $800,000, according to new figures. Photo: Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images.REIQ Gold Coast zone chair Andrew Henderson said buyer activity was reasonably strong considering listings were low.“They’ve got little choice so they funnel into what’s available, and sellers are looking toward listing in those spring months to avoid the stigma of COVID-19,” Mr Henderson said. “Also in springtime, if the borders open up, it’ll help with interstate migration which has, over the last few years, been a huge part of our owner occupier market both in houses and units.”Mr Henderson sees the Gold Coast’s ‘lifestyle credentials’ attracting new residents who have discovered the joys of remote working since the pandemic. “If there is a silver lining, people can be effectively ‘out of the office’ and live somewhere better for their lifestyle. I think that’s where we might see some big gains toward the end of the year,” he said. An aerial view of the Surfers Paradise skyline on a clear day.The Mackay house market has made a huge comeback since being plagued by soft conditions after the mining boom in the mid-2010s. According to the latest REIQ figures, the median house price in the region — which stretches from secluded islands off the coast through golden sand beaches and into lush sub-tropical rainforests — rose 6.2 per cent in the year to March to $360,000.That’s just shy of its all time record of $387,000, which was achieved five years ago.Industry experts put the resurgence in the market down to a combination of the lowest interest rates on record and a case of ‘FOMO’ among buyers who are aware they missed the bottom of the price cycle and are now making their move. Mackay’s housing market was the strongest in the state in the year to March 31. Photo: Lee Constable.The region’s rental market is also healthy, with vacancies falling even further during the lockdown as FIFO mining workers opted to stay put. Demand for rental properties prior to the pandemic had already pushed up weekly rents and those low rental vacancy rates have, in turn, pushed up sales and kept prices firm. Homes are selling quickly, with the average time on market only 34 days.“If you’re looking for property investment opportunities in Queensland, it certainly pays to look outside of metropolitan areas, where you can still find great parcels of land for sale and high price growth areas with strong rental returns,” Ms Mercorella said.REIQ Mackay zone chair Allison Cunningham said the market had started to reignite again after a pause from the coronavirus pandemic, with more people through open homes and solid offers from buyers for listings. Ms Cunningham said the regional economy had weathered the pandemic well because it was self-sufficient and not reliant on the tourism sector.One of the positive impacts on the market from the pandemic was the removal of so-called “tyre kickers” with almost all inquiries now from genuine purchasers looking to enter the market. Townsville’s housing market continued its steady recovery at the start of the year and is yet to feel any major impact from the coronavirus restrictions. The Strand’s Rockpool opens back up after being closed for maintenance.Unit prices surged 23 per cent over the year to March 31, while the median value of vacant land rose 26.9 per cent to $250,000.“That’s an additional $53,000 in equity, which is usually unheard of,” Ms Mercorella said. “It’s certainly an opportune time to buy your next home or investment property in Townsville.”REIQ Townsville zone chair Ben Kingsberry said when coronavirus hit, most agents were prepared for a complete shutdown of the market and the local economy. “The thing is, that didn’t really happen,” he said. “Sales activity remained at average levels in March and then started to firm in April — far sooner than anyone had predicted.“In fact, sales inquiries had still been coming from interstate buyers during the lockdown because of the region’s affordable property prices, as well as attractive gross rental yields.” The Townsville median house price for the year ending March was $315,000 – one of the most affordable in the state. NOOSA GROWTH SUBURBS FOR HOUSESSuburb Annual price growth Sunshine Beach 22.8%Noosaville 13.6%Black Mountain 13.5%Doonan 9.9%Pomona 7.4%(Source: REIQ)NOOSA GROWTH SUBURBS FOR UNITS/TOWNHOUSESMore from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus9 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market9 hours agoSuburb Annual price growth (Source: REIQ) Peregian Beach 3.5%center_img TOWNSVILLE & SURROUNDS GROWTH SUBURBS FOR HOUSES Suburb Annual price growth Sunshine Beach 11.5% Suburb Annual price growth (Source: REIQ) Slade Point 22.1%Moranbah 21.5%Blacks Beach 18.4%South Mackay 18.2%Bucasia 11.4%(Source: REIQ) Noosa Heads 6.3%last_img read more

EEW Contracts Hutchinson Engineering for Hornsea Two

first_imgEEW Group has contracted Hutchinson Engineering Ltd for the fabrication and on-site assembly of Suspended Internal Platforms (SIPs) for the Hornsea Two offshore wind project.The Cheshire-based company is in charge of providing 30 SIPs, each weighing 10t and towering 12m high, that will be suspended inside the transition pieces.In June, Ørsted, the developer of the project, ordered 30 transition pieces from EEW Special Pipe Constructions, who will also manufacture 165 monopiles for the wind farm.The remaining 135 transition pieces will be produced by Denmark’s Bladt Industries.“By working collaboratively with our Tier 1 suppliers and local suppliers for the past 10 years, we have been able to provide opportunities for competitive UK suppliers,” said Peter Clusky, Senior Supply Chain Development Manager for Ørsted.“Hutchinson’s successful award on this contract by EEW SPC will see UK secondary steel used in the UK fabricated Transition Pieces being delivered by EEW OSB on Teesside for the Hornsea 2 project.”Hornsea Project Two will comprise 165 Siemens Gamesa 8MW turbines, first of which are scheduled to be installed in 2021 about 89km off the coast of Yorkshire. The 1.4GW offshore wind project is expected to be completed in 2022.last_img read more

Gay Marriage Proponents Won’t Tolerate Dissent

first_imgAleteia.org 29 October 2014Bakers and photographers and Knights of Columbus halls have been threatened with legal action for refusing to cater to weddings of same-sex couples.Now, two ordained Christian ministers in Idaho, where same-sex “marriage” is now legal, face jail and fines for declining to perform a same-sex wedding ceremony.Robert P. George can’t say he’s surprised. The longtime McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University and member of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, said recently that same-sex “marriage” proponents will not allow for religious freedom because their belief system does not allow for the fact that dissenters can be reasonable people of good will.George gave the Institute on Religion and Democracy’s 2014 Diane Knippers Memorial Lecture in Washington, DC on Oct. 16.“The whole [gay marriage] argument was and is that the idea of marriage as the union of husband and wife lacks a rational basis and amounts to nothing more than ‘bigotry,’ reflecting animus against a certain group of people,” he said, according to the Christian Post. “Therefore, no reasonable person of good will, we are told, can dissent from the liberal position on sex and marriage, any more than a reasonable person of good will could support racial segregation and subordination. You’ve heard the analogy drawn a thousand times. And this is because marriage, according to the re-definers, consists principally of companionship — the companionship of people committed to mutual affection and care. Any distinctions beyond this one they condemn as baseless.”http://www.aleteia.org/en/society/article/robert-george-gay-marriage-proponents-wont-tolerate-dissent-5805073074487296last_img read more

Grenada no-confidence motion defeated

first_img Tweet News Grenada no-confidence motion defeated by: – May 16, 2012 Share Opposition leader Dr Keith Mitchell (L) and Prime Minster Tillman ThomasST GEORGE’S, Grenada — On Tuesday, the no confidence motion tabled in Grenada’s House of Parliament by the opposition New National Party (NNP) was debated and ultimately defeated.In debating the motion, opposition leader Dr Keith Mitchell castigated the leadership of Prime Minster Tillman Thomas and the state of political and economic uncertainty in the country.In response, lead government spokesman, Minister of Youth Empowerment Patrick Simmonds, offered a compilation of statistics that outlined the achievements of the administration.Finance Minister Nazim Burke described the NNP motion as “political opportunism”.Former Minister of the Environment, Michael Church, who was an early casualty of the Thomas administration, pointed to the suffering and victimization of his constituents who should have benefitted from development initiatives that had been approved for his constituency of St John, which he won in 2008 on an NDC ticket, but had been put on hold since his resignation from the Thomas Cabinet.Church cited a fish plant built by the Japanese in 2009 but has remained shut. NDC promises of housing rehabilitation have been ignored since he demitted Cabinet, he said. He reiterated that his constituents deserved much better and the recalcitrance of Burke and Thomas led him to support the no-confidence motion.Government ministers Lett, Quarless, Burke and former tourism minister Peter David all spoke against the motion. Like Simmonds, the three government ministers read out a stack of statistical information that attempted to tell Grenadians that, although the infighting was evident, government was full speed ahead with work attending to the nation’s business. David’s contribution to the debate attracted great attention in that it clarified two critical speculations: David and Mitchell were not collaborative partners in the NNP-introduced motion and David remains a firm member of the NDC but gave clear warning to Thomas that he will be challenged at a future party congress.By Caribbean News Now contributor 6 Views   no discussionscenter_img Share Share Sharing is caring!last_img read more

‘Smuggled’ drugs seized in Australia

first_imgThe Canadian and Australian suspectswere arrested on Monday, while around A$300,000 ($204,000) in cash and 3.5 kgof cocaine were also seized.(Reuters) The Australian Border Force on Tuesdaysaid it had charged a 30-year-old man from Queensland and a 33-year-oldCanadian national over their involvement in the criminal enterprise. The haulof MDMA, commonly known as ecstasy, was the biggest shipment by weight seizedin Australia this year.        Still image from an Australian Border Force handout video released on Dec. 17 shows some of the 200 aluminum barbeques used to smuggle 645kg of drugs in Sydney, Australia on July. AUSTRALIAN BORDER FORCE/HANDOUT VIA REUTERScenter_img SYDNEY – Australian police arrestedtwo men for allegedly smuggling 645 kilograms (1,422 pounds) of ecstasy hiddeninside hundreds of aluminum barbecues, the culmination of a six-monthinvestigation spanning three countries.last_img read more