Category Archives: ENTERPRISE

Allseeds: An example of safety and quality

Operating a highly modern and technologically advanced Оil extraction plant and Vegetable oil terminal, Allseeds Group has got the capacity to produce and supply sunflower oil of the highest quality to the world market.

On February 26, 2017, Allseeds sent a vessel Wine Trader carrying 5900 Mt of sunflower oil from Yuzhny port to Italy. It was unloaded at the destination port on March 7-9. The supply operation, until the very unloading in the port of Ravenna, was, as usual, under control of the surveyors NofaLab and Dr.Buschmeyer.

The cargo quality was examined to ensure adherence to the EU and Codex Alimentarius 210 standards, including in the content of mineral oils, pesticides, heavy metals, sterols, fatty acids and benzopyrene.

Quality certificates issued by European inspection services confirm the highest quality of the sunflower oil and its adherence to all EU standards, including in cholesterol content (at less than 0.1%, while the norm is 0.5%).

It is impressive how this sunflower oil shipment to the European Union, one of the many by Allseeds Group, was carried out right at the moment when the hysterical campaign on sunflower oil allegedly adulterated by ‘chicken fat’ was unleashed in the Ukrainian media.

ALLseeds develops Black sea port Yuzhny

The Group Allseeds started to implement the second stage of its global development in Yuzhny port, the construction of a multifunctional soybean crushing plant, with a daily production capacity of 5,000 tons. This plant will be unique in capacity among the European oil extraction plants.

According to the estimates of the company, the plant’s construction and the upgrade of the infrastructure necessary for the plant’s operation will take about three years.

Launching such a plant will require the company to increase its reception and shipping by about 1,7 million tons of raw materials and processed goods – soybean meal and oil.  The development the plant will include additional funds for the infrastructure capacity increase in Yuzhny port – a complex that includes elevators, tanks and railway facilities.

Scaling up the production will allow Allseeds to realize consequent synergies and to raise the company’s efficiency through significant savings on the fixed costs.

As a result, this development will allow the company to remain competitive.

Allseeds will become the No.2 company in the oilseeds market of Ukraine with a total crash capacity of  2.5 million tons per year. The amount of investments of Allseeds in Ukraine will reach $ 500 million.

“Major engineering companies of the world’s oil extraction industry –  such as Andreotti Impianti, Europa Crown, Desmet Ballestra, Jiangsu Muyang and others – are taking part in the tender for the supply of the equipment and technology for this new plant,” indicates Viacheslav Petryshche, head of Allseeds Board.

La bière du mois est la Princess Jasmine #BrusselsBeerProject #Brasserie

 

Le Brussels Beer Project a présenté sa bière du mois : la Princess Jasmine. Cette bière est la gagnante d’un concours collaboratif, elle a été choisie parmi environ 400 créations. Cette witbier vient tout droit du pays d’Aladin.

Située au cœur de Bruxelles, cette brasserie collaborative est basée sur l’idée de la co-création. Financée par le crowdfunding et partenaire de Bier Anders, elle offre régulièrement de nouvelles idées gustatives. La communauté prend également part à la sélection des créations de la brasserie.

Fujitsu to invest over 50 Million Euros to support Digital Transformation in France

Fujitsu President Tanaka and French Prime Minister Cazeneuve

Fujitsu announced that it is making a five-year investment of over 50 million euros (about 6 billion yen) to support digital innovation in France. The goal of the initiative, which is based on collaboration with the French government, is the development of new services and the acquisition of novel technologies.

Bernard Cazeneuve, Prime Minister in France, says: “I welcome the engagement of Fujitsu, a world-class actor, which is further proof of France’s economic attractiveness, the excellence of French research and the dynamism of French Tech.”

Tatsuya Tanaka, President of Fujitsu Limited, says: “Fujitsu’s vision is to create a Human Centric Intelligent Society by co-creating solutions with customers and partners. To achieve this, Fujitsu aims to grow the number of its partnerships with leading technology companies, research institutions and startups in France, to strengthen its digital business, to significantly increase the scale of its business and to expand its presence in the country.”

François Fleutiaux, Senior Vice President and Head of Sales at Fujitsu in EMEIA, says: “France is a strategically important market for Fujitsu. This is not just because of the high percentage of businesses that see digitalization as a priority, but also for its extensive pool of highly talented mathematicians, digital engineers and its vibrant community of startup companies. We look forward to continuing to advance Artificial Intelligence, by co-creating technologies that will help enterprises embrace the benefits of digital transformation.”

France is Europe’s second largest economy and home to its greatest number of Fortune Global 500 companies, many of which have placed a priority on digital transformation. For this reason Fujitsu views France as a strategically important market as it expands its “connected services” globally. The company will apply its extensive knowledge in solutions, systems integration, and infrastructure services, to a wide variety of software that includes cloud and middleware. Fujitsu will then provide its customers with an integrated, end-to-end service. France also has a robust AI ecosystem including skills such as with machine learning and deep learning. Therefore Fujitsu plans for the country to be a key location to develop and expand its digital business.

Objective

Fujitsu and the French government, including Business France, the national agency supporting the international development of the French economy, have since July 2016 been in talks aimed at combining Japanese know-how and local French expertise, and to contribute to accelerating innovation in France.

Toward Continual Development of Japanese-French Innovation

Fujitsu is keen to further strengthen the links between France and Japanese businesses and innovation, and is planning to join some of those events for innovation in France and Japan initiatively.

Fujitsu plans to maintain its ongoing collaboration with the French government. The company will invite the French government to the Fujitsu World Tour 2017, planned for the summer of 2017, where it will explain the progress of the plans.

 

Milano Unica presents the 24th edition

The 24th edition of Milano Unica opened to the world, targeting high-end production, focused on fashion, interested in young talents, looking to the future. This year the exhibition is more technological and modern, after the New Beginning of last September 2016.

“I believe that the world will increasingly focus on the need for dialogue options that enable the use of multifunctional channels. For this reason, Milano Unica, anticipating time on the textiles market, presents MU365, an interactive platform dedicated to selected clients. This platform can create one-to-one contacts with exhibitors on a daily basis, at any time, from any time zone.  This represents a great opportunity for businesses to learn how to promote themselves efficiently and in a multifunctional way, by using this platform in collaboration with Sundar. This is an asset that Milano Unica offers to the industry to enable a multichannel opening, while increasing the efficiency of traditional commercial channels,” said Ercole Botto Poala, President of Milano Unica.

The Italian Textiles and Accessories Trade Show is – more than ever – an example of trade show innovation in the sector.  The system of relationships between producers and clients fostered by the Trends, both in the roadshow phase and at the show itself, also empathetically involves the audience of reference and accompanies it through creative explorations that are never banal.

Trade show innovation extending also to the most prestigious international brands with stores in the famous Milan fashion district. In accordance with the Associazione MonteNapoleone.

Therefore, Milano Unica is the hub for inspiration and updating. The hub for young ideas and styles.  The hub where fashion is born. This is the new international fashion observatory, where the key asset – in an environment that is by definition collective – is individuality and the peculiarity of the individual. The result of the work accomplished by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs with an in-depth knowledge of their customers, Milano Unica is alien to interests regarding space and numbers, but it is democratically oriented to promoting deluxe collections produced by small, medium and large textile and accessory companies, “because we don’t  want to minimize, but to emphasize differences. All this in a quality context of international standing. All this – also – in a glamorous context!” confirms Ercole Botto Poala.

Gala Antonio

Investing in Japan – Thematic investments in light of the Pokémon Go craze

 

 

 

Unless you’ve been living under a rock during the past few weeks, you must have heard about the Pokémon Go phenomenon that has taken the world’s attention by storm. The release of the smash-hit app by Niantic Inc. has not only resulted in global hype, but has also had significant repercussions on the stock market. Shares of Nintendo, which has a small stake in Niantic and a 32% stake in The Pokémon Company (the company that owns the rights to the Pokémon franchise), have been on a rollercoaster ride and their average daily turnover on the Tokyo stock exchange has multiplied by a factor of 30 after the release of Pokémon Go. The share price more than doubled during the first few days, then plummeted after the company had to play down the financial impact of the game’s success.


Source: 123RF

Other stocks have also been impacted by Pokémon fever: McDonald’s Japan, which distributes Pokémon characters with its Happy Meals, jumped by 25% after the game’s release. First Baking, the baker of “Pokémon Bread”, saw its share price increase by 23% and Fuji Media Holdings, which owns a small stake in Niantic, was also up by more than 20%. Sanoyas Holdings, an engineering company whose leisure arm runs Pokémon themed facilities, saw its share price temporarily skyrocket by more than 300%, while shares of Imagica Robot, a producer of Pokémon cartoons, briefly gained almost 200%.

Share prices of Nintendo, Sanoyas and Imagica Robot (ytd)


Source: Bloomberg

While the jury is still out on the potential impact of the game’s success and the Pokémon craze on the financial results of these companies, it is clear that riding these kinds of waves on the stock market means taking big risks. Getting the right timing for such investments (“bets” would probably be a more appropriate term) can turn out to be very frustrating, as short-term news flows result in big market swings. Often investments made during these volatile times are merely speculation on short-term trading gains and are rarely made for the purpose of establishing long-term holdings. As such, company valuations tend to be ignored and prices paid for the investments often prove to be too high over the long run.

Short-term investment themes on the Japanese stock market

Riding such thematic waves is a more common phenomenon on the Japanese stock market than other markets. After decades of disappointments, the mood of many investors has veered away from fundamental investing. Even after the nice rally we’ve enjoyed in the past three years, most global investors are underweight on Japan and shy away from long-term commitments. To gain exposure to the Japanese market, they tend to play certain themes for a while, without paying too much attention to company fundamentals or valuations. The recent Pokémon frenzy, although extreme, is just an example of many others in the past.

In 2003 for example, the SARS outbreak hit Asia and Japanese investors rushed to buy makers of masks and dumped travel-related stocks. In 2008, the spike in crude oil prices prompted investors to buy companies that were somehow connected to the theme of alternative energy. In 2012, the spread of smartphones and the proliferation of social games led to a strong rise in the share prices of game-related companies. In recent years, the rise in foreign tourists visiting Japan has increased demand for transportation and consumer stocks. Although some themes have influenced investor behaviour more than others, they have often resulted in big market swings and unfulfilled expectations.

At BLI – Banque de Luxembourg Investments, we are not trying to capture and ride these waves. Our investment approach leads us to buy companies which benefit from a competitive edge that allows them to create shareholder value over the long term

We also put a big emphasis on company valuation in order to avoid falling into the trap of overpaying for our investments. We do not base our investment decisions on short-term themes and tend to avoid over-hyped stocks that are buoyed by growth expectations that are not sustainable.

Thematic investments at BLI

However, while we don’t actively follow the trend on short-term themes, our individual investments often profit from certain interesting long-term trends:

For export-orientated companies, our Japanese equity fund BL-Equities Japan holds several companies that respond to the themes of industrial automation and the growth in mobile data communication. Industrial and chemical companies like Fanuc, Keyence or Nitto Denko, which have been described in detail in a previous blog entitled “Automation for the people”, are well positioned to benefit from these structural growth themes. Another long-term theme is the rapidly growing middle class in emerging countries, where companies like Pigeon, a leading producer of baby bottles and dummies , and Unicharm, Japan’s leading producer of baby nappies, are well positioned to benefit.

Among companies exposed to the domestic market, the fund’s portfolio includes several companies that are boosted by consolidation in Japan’s retail sector. Ain Holdings, ABC-Mart or Don Quijote are some of the retailers mentioned in an earlier blog entitled “New adventurers in retail”, which gain market share at the expense of smaller competitors. Demographic change is also an important theme in Japan. Secom for example, a virtual monopolist in security systems, benefits from the ageing population as it has expanded its product range to offer services for the elderly.

A key recurring theme on the Japanese stock market is the rotation between sectors more exposed to exports and those more exposed to the domestic economy. Investment switches between these segments are generally based on the outlook for the global economy and the Japanese yen. They can occur suddenly, continue over longer periods of time and heavily influence stock performance. As predicting parameters like currencies, economic data or investor sentiment influencing this sector rotation is very difficult, we have decided that our Japanese fund must always keep a sound balance between domestic and export-orientated companies. This decision is essentially a risk-control measure, as it prevents the fund from being too heavily exposed in either direction. It is the only top-down decision made for the portfolio, the choice of companies included in the two categories being purely based on bottom-up stock picking.

 

Themes and their impact on fund performance

Apart from this structural choice to balance export and domestic companies, fund performance over the short term can still be heavily impacted by many other themes that influence investor behaviour on the Japanese market. For example, in 2013, the main investment theme playing out in Japan was the monetary policy aspect of Abenomics, resulting in a depreciation of the yen and a decrease in investors’ risk aversion, as I noted in an earlier blog entitled “The impact of Abenomics“. Investors have consequently been on the hunt for high-beta and highly leveraged stocks, small caps, and stocks in sectors like brokerage or real estate. None of this played into our hand as our exposure to these categories is structurally low. As a result, BL-Equities Japan trailed the market during this period.

BL-Equities Japan vs. MSCI Japan NR since launch


Source: Bloomberg

Over the short term, it is always possible for performance to be negatively impacted by theme-driven markets but over the long term, we are convinced that stock markets reflect economic realities and that our approach consisting of buying quality companies at reasonable valuations pays. Since the beginning of 2014, BL-Equities Japan has been able to make up the ground lost in 2013, and since its inception in 2011 it has significantly outperformed the market.

Theme-driven markets can also play in your favour: for instance, during the last two years, the focus of Japanese investors has been on the theme of “improvements in corporate governance and shareholder returns”. I described the reasons for this trend in past year’s blog entitled “an Emerging Interest in Corporate Governance”. Profitable companies that generate large amounts of free cash flow have become the focus of investors’ interests and demand for quality growth stocks has increased. As these are the kind of companies that are the preferred investment candidates for BL-Equities Japan, this theme has certainly helped to contribute to the fund’s excellent performance during this period.

Theme-driven markets as opportunities for investors

As we have seen, in the short term, markets do not always reflect economic realities. On the one hand, stocks can fall out of favour for simply not being in tune with a certain theme, while on the other hand, markets can drive up stock prices purely based on short-term news flow and sentiment. At BLI, as fund managers with a long-term view, we try to use these market movements to our advantage. We can seize opportunities that arise when unloved companies with attractive and sustainable long-term growth prospects become cheap for the wrong reasons. And we can take profits on those popular companies in our portfolio whose valuations have been driven up too far, just because they were responding to a favourable theme. With this contrarian approach, investors might miss out on some short-term investment opportunities and sometimes be on the wrong side of the equation when certain themes play out. But over the long term, this approach should turn out to be reasonably rewarding for investors and help them register better and more sustainable returns than those achieved by following the herd in theme-driven markets.

Steve GlodEquity Fund Manager

 

Source : Banque of Luxembourg

Patrick GRIGNARD

Universal Press

 

 

Bpost: reprise des activités de distribution de presse en Belgique de Lagardère #business #bpost

 

 

Lagardère Travel Retail a cédé sa distribution de presse belge à Bpost. « Cette opération constitue une nouvelle étape de la stratégie annoncée visant à se concentrer sur les activités en croissance du Travel Retail. », a commenté le groupe.

Bien que le montant du rachat n’ait pas été dévoilé, on sait qu’en 2014, le chiffre d’affaire des activités concernées par ce projet de cession s’élevait à 440 millions d’euros.

Rien ne devrait changer pour le personnel. Bpost et les entités acquises resteront, d’ailleurs, séparées. “Dans un objectif de développement du business même si par ailleurs des synergies pourraient être réalisées là où elles créent de la valeur pour le groupe”.

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