Connect with us

Top Stories

AudioCodes Declares Annual Dividend of 20 Cents per Share

Published

on

AudioCodes Declares Annual Dividend of 20 Cents per Share

AudioCodes (NASDAQ: AUDC) (TASE: AUDC), a leading vendor of advanced voice networking and media processing solutions for the digital workplace, today announced that its Board of Directors has decided on an annual dividend.

The Board of Directors declared a cash dividend in the amount of 20 Cents per share and in the aggregate amount of approximately US $5.7 million.

The Company expects to continue declaring annual dividends in the coming years.

The dividend is payable on August 20, 2018 to all of the Company’s shareholders of record at the close of trading on the NASDAQ Global Select Market on August 6, 2018.

In accordance with Israeli tax law, the dividend is subject to withholding tax at source at the rate of 30% (if the recipient of the dividend is at the time of distribution or was at any time during the preceding 12-month period the holder of 10% or more of the Company’s share capital) or 25% (for all other dividend recipients) of the dividend amount payable to each shareholder of record, subject to applicable exemptions.
The dividend will be paid in US dollars on the ordinary shares of AudioCodes Ltd. that are traded on the Nasdaq Global Select Market or the Tel-Aviv Stock Exchange.

Statements concerning AudioCodes’ business outlook or future economic performance; product introductions and plans and objectives related thereto; and statements concerning assumptions made or expectations as to any future events, conditions, performance or other matters, are “forward-looking statements” as that term is defined under U.S. Federal securities laws. Forward-looking statements are subject to various risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those stated in such statements. These risks, uncertainties and factors include, but are not limited to: the effect of global economic conditions in general and conditions in AudioCodes’ industry and target markets in particular; shifts in supply and demand; market acceptance of new products and the demand for existing products; the impact of competitive products and pricing on AudioCodes’ and its customers’ products and markets; timely product and technology development, upgrades and the ability to manage changes in market conditions as needed; possible need for additional financing; the ability to satisfy covenants in the Company’s loan agreements; possible disruptions from acquisitions; the ability of AudioCodes to successfully integrate the products and operations of acquired companies into AudioCodes’ business; and other factors detailed in AudioCodes’ filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. AudioCodes assumes no obligation to update the information in this release.

©2018 AudioCodes Ltd. All rights reserved. AudioCodes, AC, HD VoIP, HD VoIP Sounds Better, IPmedia, Mediant, MediaPack, What’s Inside Matters, OSN, SmartTAP, User Management Pack, VMAS, VoIPerfect, VoIPerfectHD, Your Gateway To VoIP, 3GX, VocaNom, AudioCodes One Voice and CloudBond are trademarks or registered trademarks of AudioCodes Limited. All other products or trademarks are property of their respective owners. Product specifications are subject to change without notice.

Top Stories

Teed off: As COVID fuels S. Africa’s housing crisis, golf courses feel the heat

Published

on

Teed off: As COVID fuels S. Africa's housing crisis, golf courses feel the heat 1

By Kim Harrisberg

JOHANNESBURG (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – It sounds like a developer’s dream: A greenfield site in the heart of Cape Town, close to the best schools, hospitals and transport links and big enough to build more than 1,400 affordable new homes. The only hitch – it’s a golf course.

The 46-hectare (114-acre) Rondebosch Golf Club is one of hundreds of golf courses in South Africa facing scrutiny by land rights campaigners as a surge in evictions during the COVID-19 pandemic exposes an acute shortage of low-cost housing.

Rondebosch had its lease renewed by the city government late last year despite the presentation of some 1,830 objections by local housing rights group Ndifuna Ukwazi, which says turning golf courses over for homes is a way to tackle deep inequality.

“Using this land for the benefit of a few wealthy individuals at the expense of those in dire need of affordable housing is inefficient, unequal and unjust,” said Michael Clark, head of research and advocacy at Ndifuna Ukwazi.

Warnings by city officials that eviction is on the cards for occupiers of abandoned buildings, just months after Rondebosch’s lease was extended, have roused activists and sparked calls for cities to prioritise land use according to need.

“Golf courses occupy expansive tracts of land in well-located areas across cities,” said Edward Molopi, a researcher with the Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa (SERI), which uses litigation and advocacy to support human rights.

“South African cities face an acute need for affordable housing and this land can be used to address the problem,” Molopi told the Thomson Reuters Foundation, adding that he knows of hundreds of housing evictions since lockdown began.

Nearly three decades after the end of white minority rule, South Africa remains one of the most unequal countries in the world, according to the World Bank, with urban areas still starkly divided along racial and class lines.

In other countries too, from South Korea to the United States, the swathes of green space needed for a round of golf have stirred debate around alternative uses for the land, whether apartment blocks, public parks or even vineyards.

‘NOT THE ONLY LAND’

But in South Africa, where tracts of land, including golf courses, were used as physical barriers to separate different racial groups during the apartheid regime, campaigners say repurposing such areas is key to achieving a fairer society.

Golf lovers have a choice of about 450 courses in South Africa, according to independent golf course ranking platform Top 100 Golf Courses.

They are easy to spot on a Google Maps view of the nation’s cities, many in close proximity to other golf courses, and also poorer neighbourhoods or townships.

But officials say finding space for affordable homes is more complex than repurposing golf courses.

Not all of the courses are publicly owned or suitable for residential use, said officials from the cities of Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban. The sport also draws tourists and creates jobs, they added.

“Densification, diversification and inclusionary housing requirements in well-located parts of our cities is a more realistic approach,” said Nthatisi Modingoane, a spokesman for the city of Johannesburg.

‘SPATIAL JUSTICE’

Johannesburg’s Observatory golf course lies less than five kilometres (three miles) from Hillbrow, an inner-city suburb notorious for derelict, overcrowded buildings and crime.

People unable to afford rent end up there in “dark buildings” – properties seized by rogue landlords that offer crowded but cheap rooms, often without electricity.

“Since COVID, people need cheap rent, but if you don’t pay the landlords you get kicked out or … they kill you,” said Ethel Musonza, a housing activist who used to live in a dark building.

“There is a big need for people to be resettled in a safe place they can afford,” she added.

But the Observatory course sits on the site of an old ash dump, making it a poor site for residential construction, said club captain Simon Leventhorp.

“There is need for affordable houses but golf courses aren’t the only land available,” he said, adding that the club had a lower membership fee that other courses, making it a more inclusive space.

Some courses – like Rondebosch in Cape Town – do fit the bill for affordable housing, said Clark.

Golfers at the course can still enjoy views of the city’s famous Table Mountain from the greens, but authorities did add a two-year cancellation clause to the club’s lease if an alternative use of the land is identified.

Land used for community and recreational use, including golf courses, is currently being reviewed for possible residential sites, the city added.

In the meantime, land campaigners will continue to put pressure on state and city governments to “proactively intervene in housing markets”, said Molopi from SERI.

“This will be central to dismantling the ‘apartheid city’ and moving towards urban spatial justice,” Molopi said.

(Reporting by Kim Harrisberg @KimHarrisberg; Editing by Helen Popper. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit http://news.trust.org)

Continue Reading

Top Stories

UK might need negative rates if recovery disappoints – BoE’s Vlieghe

Published

on

UK might need negative rates if recovery disappoints - BoE's Vlieghe 2

By David Milliken and William Schomberg

LONDON (Reuters) – The Bank of England might need to cut interest rates below zero later this year or in 2022 if a recovery in the economy disappoints, especially if there is persistent unemployment, policymaker Gertjan Vlieghe said on Friday.

Vlieghe said he thought the likeliest scenario was that the economy would recover strongly as forecast by the central bank earlier this month, meaning a further loosening of monetary policy would not be needed.

Data published on Friday suggested the economy had stabilised after a new COVID-19 lockdown hit retailers last month, while businesses and consumers are hopeful a fast vaccination campaign will spur a recovery.

Vlieghe said in a speech published by the BoE that there was a risk of lasting job market weakness hurting wages and prices.

“In such a scenario, I judge more monetary stimulus would be appropriate, and I would favour a negative Bank Rate as the tool to implement the stimulus,” he said.

“The time to implement it would be whenever the data, or the balance of risks around it, suggest that the recovery is falling short of fully eliminating economic slack, which might be later this year or into next year,” he added.

Vlieghe’s comments are similar to those of fellow policymaker Michael Saunders, who said on Thursday negative rates could be the BoE’s best tool in future.

Earlier this month the BoE gave British financial institutions six months to get ready for the possible introduction of negative interest rates, though it stressed that no decision had been taken on whether to implement them.

Investors saw the move as reducing the likelihood of the BoE following other central banks and adopting negative rates.

Some senior BoE policymakers, such as Deputy Governor Dave Ramsden, believe that adding to the central bank’s 875 billion pounds ($1.22 trillion) of government bond purchases remains the best way of boosting the economy if needed.

Vlieghe underscored the scale of the hit to Britain’s economy and said it was clear the country was not experiencing a V-shaped recovery, adding it was more like “something between a swoosh-shaped recovery and a W-shaped recovery.”

“I want to emphasise how far we still have to travel in this recovery,” he said, adding that it was “highly uncertain” how much of the pent-up savings amassed by households during the lockdowns would be spent.

By contrast, last week the BoE’s chief economist, Andy Haldane, likened the economy to a “coiled spring.”

Vlieghe also warned against raising interest rates if the economy appeared to be outperforming expectations.

“It is perfectly possible that we have a short period of pent up demand, after which demand eases back again,” he said.

Higher interest rates were unlikely to be appropriate until 2023 or 2024, he said.

($1 = 0.7146 pounds)

(Reporting by David Milliken; Editing by William Schomberg)

 

Continue Reading

Top Stories

UK economy shows signs of stabilisation after new lockdown hit

Published

on

UK economy shows signs of stabilisation after new lockdown hit 3

By William Schomberg and David Milliken

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s economy has stabilised after a new COVID-19 lockdown last month hit retailers, and business and consumers are hopeful the vaccination campaign will spur a recovery, data showed on Friday.

The IHS Markit/CIPS flash composite Purchasing Managers’ Index, a survey of businesses, suggested the economy was barely shrinking in the first half of February as companies adjusted to the latest restrictions.

A separate survey of households showed consumers at their most confident since the pandemic began.

Britain’s economy had its biggest slump in 300 years in 2020, when it contracted by 10%, and will shrink by 4% in the first three months of 2021, the Bank of England predicts.

The central bank expects a strong subsequent recovery because of the COVID-19 vaccination programme – though policymaker Gertjan Vlieghe said in a speech on Friday that the BoE could need to cut interest rates below zero later this year if unemployment stayed high.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is due on Monday to announce the next steps in England’s lockdown but has said any easing of restrictions will be gradual.

Official data for January underscored the impact of the latest lockdown on retailers.

Retail sales volumes slumped by 8.2% from December, a much bigger fall than the 2.5% decrease forecast in a Reuters poll of economists, and the second largest on record.

“The only good thing about the current lockdown is that it’s no way near as bad for the economy as the first one,” Paul Dales, an economist at Capital Economics, said.

The smaller fall in retail sales than last April’s 18% plunge reflected growth in online shopping.

BORROWING SURGE SLOWED IN JANUARY

There was some better news for finance minister Rishi Sunak as he prepares to announce Britain’s next annual budget on March 3.

Though public sector borrowing of 8.8 billion pounds ($12.3 billion) was the first January deficit in a decade, it was much less than the 24.5 billion pounds forecast in a Reuters poll.

That took borrowing since the start of the financial year in April to 270.6 billion pounds, reflecting a surge in spending and tax cuts ordered by Sunak.

The figure does not count losses on government-backed loans which could add 30 billion pounds to the shortfall this year, but the deficit is likely to be smaller than official forecasts, the Institute for Fiscal Studies think tank said.

Sunak is expected to extend a costly wage subsidy programme, at least for the hardest-hit sectors, but he said the time for a reckoning would come.

“It’s right that once our economy begins to recover, we should look to return the public finances to a more sustainable footing and I’ll always be honest with the British people about how we will do this,” he said.

Some economists expect higher taxes sooner rather than later.

“Big tax rises eventually will have to be announced, with 2022 likely to be the worst year, so that they will be far from voters’ minds by the time of the next general election in May 2024,” Samuel Tombs, at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said.

Public debt rose to 2.115 trillion pounds, or 97.9% of gross domestic product – a percentage not seen since the early 1960s.

The PMI survey and a separate measure of manufacturing from the Confederation of British Industry, showing factory orders suffering the smallest hit in a year, gave Sunak some cause for optimism.

IHS Markit’s chief business economist, Chris Williamson, said the improvement in business expectations suggested the economy was “poised for recovery.”

However the PMI survey showed factory output in February grew at its slowest rate in nine months. Many firms reported extra costs and disruption to supply chains from new post-Brexit barriers to trade with the European Union since Jan. 1.

Vlieghe warned against over-interpreting any early signs of growth. “It is perfectly possible that we have a short period of pent up demand, after which demand eases back again,” he said.

“We are experiencing something between a swoosh-shaped recovery and a W-shaped recovery. We are clearly not experiencing a V-shaped recovery.”

($1 = 0.7160 pounds)

(Editing by Angus MacSwan and Timothy Heritage)

 

Continue Reading
Editorial & Advertiser disclosureOur website provides you with information, news, press releases, Opinion and advertorials on various financial products and services. This is not to be considered as financial advice and should be considered only for information purposes. We cannot guarantee the accuracy or applicability of any information provided with respect to your individual or personal circumstances. Please seek Professional advice from a qualified professional before making any financial decisions. We link to various third party websites, affiliate sales networks, and may link to our advertising partners websites. Though we are tied up with various advertising and affiliate networks, this does not affect our analysis or opinion. When you view or click on certain links available on our articles, our partners may compensate us for displaying the content to you, or make a purchase or fill a form. This will not incur any additional charges to you. To make things simpler for you to identity or distinguish sponsored articles or links, you may consider all articles or links hosted on our site as a partner endorsed link.

Call For Entries

Global Banking and Finance Review Awards Nominations 2021
2021 Awards now open. Click Here to Nominate

Latest Articles

FTSE 100 ends higher on improving economic activity; gains for the third week 4 FTSE 100 ends higher on improving economic activity; gains for the third week 5
Trading3 hours ago

FTSE 100 ends higher on improving economic activity; gains for the third week

By Shivani Kumaresan, Amal S and Shashank Nayar (Reuters) – London’s FTSE 100 ended higher on Friday after the economy...

European shares end higher on strong earnings, positive data 6 European shares end higher on strong earnings, positive data 7
Banking3 hours ago

European shares end higher on strong earnings, positive data

By Sagarika Jaisinghani and Ambar Warrick (Reuters) – Euro zone shares rose on Friday, marking a third week of gains,...

UK bond yields head for biggest weekly rise since June 8 UK bond yields head for biggest weekly rise since June 9
Trading3 hours ago

UK bond yields head for biggest weekly rise since June

LONDON (Reuters) – British government bond prices fell again on Friday as a global debt sell-off continued on expectations of...

Siemens Healthineers gains EU nod for $16.4 billion Varian buy 10 Siemens Healthineers gains EU nod for $16.4 billion Varian buy 11
Business3 hours ago

Siemens Healthineers gains EU nod for $16.4 billion Varian buy

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – EU antitrust regulators on Friday cleared with conditions Siemens Healthineers’ $16.4 billion acquisition of U.S. peer Varian,...

Teed off: As COVID fuels S. Africa's housing crisis, golf courses feel the heat 12 Teed off: As COVID fuels S. Africa's housing crisis, golf courses feel the heat 13
Top Stories3 hours ago

Teed off: As COVID fuels S. Africa’s housing crisis, golf courses feel the heat

By Kim Harrisberg JOHANNESBURG (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – It sounds like a developer’s dream: A greenfield site in the heart...

UK might need negative rates if recovery disappoints - BoE's Vlieghe 14 UK might need negative rates if recovery disappoints - BoE's Vlieghe 15
Top Stories13 hours ago

UK might need negative rates if recovery disappoints – BoE’s Vlieghe

By David Milliken and William Schomberg LONDON (Reuters) – The Bank of England might need to cut interest rates below...

UK economy shows signs of stabilisation after new lockdown hit 16 UK economy shows signs of stabilisation after new lockdown hit 17
Top Stories13 hours ago

UK economy shows signs of stabilisation after new lockdown hit

By William Schomberg and David Milliken LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s economy has stabilised after a new COVID-19 lockdown last month...

Dollar extends decline as risk appetite favors equities 18 Dollar extends decline as risk appetite favors equities 19
Trading13 hours ago

Dollar extends decline as risk appetite favors equities

By Stephen Culp NEW YORK (Reuters) – The dollar lost ground on Friday, extending Thursday’s decline as improved risk appetite...

Bitcoin hits $1 trillion market cap, soars to another record high 20 Bitcoin hits $1 trillion market cap, soars to another record high 21
Trading13 hours ago

Bitcoin hits $1 trillion market cap, soars to another record high

By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss and Tom Wilson NEW YORK/LONDON (Reuters) – Bitcoin touched a market capitalization of $1 trillion as it...

Shares rise as cyclical stocks provide support; yields climb 22 Shares rise as cyclical stocks provide support; yields climb 23
Investing13 hours ago

Shares rise as cyclical stocks provide support; yields climb

By Saqib Iqbal Ahmed NEW YORK (Reuters) – A gauge of global equity markets snapped a 3-day losing streak to...

Newsletters with Secrets & Analysis. Subscribe Now