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Churchill Middle Market Senior Loan Fund Wins “Private Debt – Mid-Market Lending” Award at the 2020 AltCredit US Performance Awards

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Churchill Asset Management (Churchill or the Firm), an investment-specialist affiliate of Nuveen providing customized financing solutions to private equity firms and their portfolio companies, today announced that its flagship levered commingled fund, Churchill Middle Market Senior Loan Fund, received the Private Debt “ Mid-Market Lending Award at the 2020 AltCredit US Performance Awards. AltCredit Fund Intelligence, a London-based global publication and leading information source on the private debt and credit markets, hosted its annual US Performance Awards in a virtual ceremony on October 21, 2020.

The annual AltCredit US Performance Awards were created to honor exceptional credit hedge funds, CLO and private debt funds within North America that stand out from their peers. Shortlisted funds were selected for their performance during the last twelve-month period ended June 30, 2020, capturing some of the most volatile markets of recent history, after which they were analyzed by a judging panel of professional investors for a winner to be chosen.

We are truly honored that Churchill Middle Market Senior Loan Fund has been selected as winner in this years ‘Private debt “ mid-market lending’ award category, particularly in light of the impressive group of finalists and todays market environment, said Ken Kencel, President & Chief Executive Officer of Churchill, adding, Thanks to our best-in-class team, our Firm has been providing strong and relatively stable risk-adjusted returns to investors for nearly 15 years, across several economic cycles, and were very appreciative of this objective recognition by the industry.

About Churchill Asset Management LLC

Churchill, an investment-specialist affiliate of Nuveen (the asset manager of TIAA), provides customized financing solutions to middle market private equity firms and their portfolio companies across the capital structure. With $24 billion of committed capital, we provide first lien, unitranche, second lien and mezzanine debt, in addition to equity co-investments and private equity fund commitments. Churchill has a long history of disciplined investing across multiple economic cycles and our unique origination strategy, best in class execution and investment are driven by more than 80 professionals in New York, Charlotte and Chicago. More information can be found at www.churchillam.com.

This material is not intended to be a recommendation or investment advice, does not constitute a solicitation to buy, sell or hold a security or an investment strategy, and is not provided in a fiduciary capacity. The information provided does not take into account the specific objectives or circumstances of any particular investor, or suggest any specific course of action. Financial professionals should independently evaluate the risks associated with products or services and exercise independent judgment with respect to their clients.

Churchill Asset Management is a registered investment advisor and majority-owned, indirect subsidiary of Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America. Certain Nuveen products are advised by Nuveen Alternatives Advisors LLC, a registered investment advisor and wholly owned subsidiary of TIAA, and distributed by Nuveen Securities, LLC, Member FINRA and SIPC.

JESSICA GREANEY

[email protected]

212.207.2094

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HDBank wins award for outstanding international payment service for 3rd consecutive year

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HO CHI MINH CITY, VIETNAM – Media OutReach – 26 November 2020 – For its almost 100 per cent success rate in straight-through processing, the Ho Chi Minh City Development Joint Stock Commercial Bank (HDBank, HOSE: HDB) has received the MT202 and MT103 STP awards for international payment services from J.P. Morgan Chase Bank.

This is the third year in a row HDBank has won the MT202 award, and the second year the Bank has received the MT 103 award.

Both are given by J.P Morgan Chase Bank, the US’s largest lender in terms of assets and the world’s largest US dollar clearing agent.

HDBank’s STP rates exceed the benchmarks set by global credit institutions.

According to JP Morgan Chase and other large institutions and agents providing clearing services in the greenback and euro, the STP rate for international electronic payment is currently 89-90 per cent on average.

With an exceptional STP rate of 99.94 per cent for MT202 and 99.68 per cent for MT103, HDBank was one of the few Vietnamese banks to win the top prize.

This underlines the prestige and quality of HDBank’s international payment services with its modern technology platform and employees’ professional competence in meeting the financial transaction needs of customers around the world.

According to JP Morgan Chase, HDBank is its leading banking partner in Việt Nam in terms of both size and quality of international payment services.

HDBank’s business performance through the JP Morgan Chase system has continued to thrive even amid the challenges faced by the global and Vietnamese economies due to the impacts of Covid-19.

With its relationships with more than 400 agents who are banking institutions and strategic co-operation with many leading Vietnamese and international partners, HDBank has extensive international payment operations and the Bank’s international payment services quality is recognised also by other leading lenders.

HDBank is also a pioneer in bringing effective added value to customers around the globe through investing in and using modern technologies in the bank’s services and products, especially international payment services, digitising processes, meeting management requirements according to international standards, and constantly improving operational efficiency with a commitment to bringing the maximum benefits to customers.

HDBank became the first lender in Việt Nam to join the TradeAssets Trade Finance E-marketplace to connect with and process trade finance transactions on the blockchain application platform, and Contour, an open trade finance network.

HDBank also deploys the global payment query service via Swift GPI and is a pioneer in providing international money transfer query services via Swift GPI in various currencies like USD, GBP, EUR, CHF, AUD, CAD, JPY, THB, NZD, HKD, and SGD.

At the same time the Bank has successfully put into operation the Treasury – FIS Front Arena system to seamlessly meet the requirements involved in handling business transactions and managing currency trading risks.

In addition to retaining the leading position in digitisation in the banking sector, HDBank remains on a high growth path in the third quarter of the year.

Moody’s credit rating agency has maintained a credit rating of B1 for HDBank.


About HDBank

Ho Chi Minh City Development JSC Bank (HDBank, HOSE: HDB) was established in 1990, making it among the first commercial banks in Vietnam.

After 30 years of operations, HDBank is now one of the leading banks in Vietnam. It has strong finances and modern technology, and provides a wide range of financial services to individuals, corporates and investors.

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COMMANDO Hits the Thailand market with the launch of COMMANDO ORIGINAL

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After the fighting bears brand ‘COMMANDO’ has demonstrated a successful in-ternational market expansion in Africa, the Middle East, and more than 36 coun-tries around the world, the company is now ready to penetrate the Thai market and shoot their new energy drinks straight to the stars.

 

BANGKOK THAILAND – Media OutReach – 27 November 2020 – COMMANDO now entered Thailand’s energy drink market after hitting the African and Middle Eastern markets, and more in 36 countries worldwide. With the slogan ‘COMMANDO, START DOING’, the brand will soon launch a new television commercial, starring Bin Banluerit, a well-known volunteer, ex-rescue worker, and actor, who was chosen as a presenter in this ad only to reflect the brand’s intention to ‘support those who do good for society’. The brand also vows not to participate or involve in politics regarding the issue.

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Mr. Sittinan Assarasee, Managing Director of Krungsiam Beverage Company Limited revealed about the official launch of COMMANDO ORIGINAL that  “After the brand has grown considerably and gained popularity in over 36 countries worldwide, we decided it’s time for people in Thailand to enjoy our high-quality energy drinks certified by recognized international manufacturing standards.

 

Thai consumers don’t seem to have many options for their energy drinks as the flavors available in the market are quite limited. We saw a business opportunity here and went for it. Though competition is fierce, we have every confidence in our products, especially the COMMANDO ORIGINAL which is now sold in Thailand. This less-sugar formula was adapted to make it easier to drink. It tastes great, not so sweet, as well as pleasant smell too. Our COMMANDO ORIGINAL is not just a delicious thirst-quencher, but it also contains nutrients that have health benefits such as lysine, an amino acid that helps to convert body fat into energy that can fuel your body longer; taurine; vitamin B3, B5, B6, B8, B12; and choline. Our drinks are also created to fight drowsiness and provide an energy boost without causing heart palpitations or rapid heart rate. Basically, they are appropriate drinks for all genders.”

 

To respond to recent changes in consumer behaviors, our COMMANDO ORIGINAL was developed as a creative healthy drink that benefits consumer’s health. But the key concepts still focus on providing the body with long-lasting energy to make it active and refreshed. The COMMANDO ORIGINAL is now sold at 10 bahts in convenience stores and leading supermarkets nationwide and more new product lines are on the way.

 

“Our products are targeting ‘skilled workers’ between the ages of 30 and 50 across all fields of expertise, especially construction contractors, technicians, trained workers, and freelancers with specialized skills.

This is an exciting segment as finding a skilled workforce with knowledge and expertise in each field, especially those with decades of experience is not an easy task.

 

Our brand identity supports our purpose of  ‘doing something good for society’ as demonstrating in our new TV commercial does convey the brand personality through the idea of doing good by being heroic and humble with self-encouragement, authenticity, skilled expertise, and integrity.

 

For overseas markets, we used the slogan “Make You Solid” to represent the greatest strength of the body and mind which makes one becomes a solid man. The solid persons would start from doing their work with great care, even for the small thing. They would do it again and again until they develop the skills and become an expert, and that’s when true success happens from doing things.

 

In the new commercial, the presenter Bin Banluerit has a character that suits our brand personality entirely and this could help us reach the target audiences effectively. Bin is also known as a charity hero who has been volunteering to help those in need for over 34 years. He has a lot of energy and has devoted his time, physical energy, and brainpower to helping others in our society tirelessly. His great effort is visible to the public and that makes us appreciate him. As a result, we will continue to welcome him as a presenter of COMMANDO ORIGINAL. Bin, as well as everyone, has the right to freedom of expression, and the company considers this as a personal matter, which is not related to our business. For this issue, we again confirm that our brand COMMANDO has no intention to be involved in politics at all. “

 

“With regards to business, we expect our products to become part of the lifestyle of customers with highly-skilled occupations (both male and female) and young people who love challenges and are motivated by competition. We set our growth target at 3% within three years, before entering the Stock Exchange of Thailand,” Mr. Sittinan Assarasee concluded.

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HONMA Golf Announces FY2020/21 Interim Results

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Despite COVID-19, sales up by 52.3% and 16.9% in China and South Korea

E-commerce grew by 79%

Gross margin expanded by 1.5 percentage points and EBITDA increased by 142%

 

HONG KONG SAR – Media OutReach – 27 November 2020 – HONMA Golf Limited (“HONMA” or the “Company”; together with its subsidiaries, the “Group”; HKEx stock code: 6858), one of the most prestigious and iconic brands in the golf industry, has announced its consolidated results for the six months ended 30 September 2020 (the “period”).

 

Since the outbreak of the global health crisis, the golf industry and retail sector were affected severely by social distancing measures and shelter-in-place orders, especially during the 3 months ended 30 June 2020. The industry quickly rebounded since May 2020, as a good majority of golf courses in Asia, the US and Europe gradually re-opened for play under social distancing rules.

 

Benefiting from a speedier recovery from the pandemic and thanks to strong activation of products aimed at premium and super premium consumer segments, China and South Korea saw sales grew robustly by 52.3% and 16.9% respectively during the 6 months period ending September 30, 2020, on a constant currency basis. Sales from e-commerce advanced significantly due to change in consumer’s purchase behavior and continued investment by the Company in social media, content marketing and digital platforms.

 

During the same period, Japan, North America and Europe continued to battle with the global health crisis and as a result, the revenue of these markets decreased by 59.6%, 36.7% and 19.4% respectively. Revenue from the rest of the markets showed different developments corresponding to how government authorities respond to the health crisis, representing a 30.7% increase in revenue during the period.

 

In terms of revenue by product groups, golf clubs, golf balls and apparels accounted for 77.8%, 10.3% and 5.5% respectively of the total. Due to the negative impact of the global health crisis, revenue from the three product segments declined by 12.5%, 6.0% and 5.2% respectively. In China and South Korea, however, the club sales increased by 102.9% and 10.3% while ball sales grew by 28.7% and 41.5% respectively. Revenue from BERES family products rose by 18.6% owing to strong brand equity in the super premium segment.  

 

In terms of distribution channels, the Group had approximately 4,154 self-operated stores and third-party points of sales (“POS”) in total as of 30 September 2020. Revenue from self-operated stores remained resilient and slightly decreased by 0.2% compared to the same period last year. The negative impact from the pandemic was largely offset by the increased sales per store, as a result of the continued optimization of the Group’s retail operations in Mainland China, South Korea and Taiwan. Besides, the pandemic prompted a rapid development of the Group’s e-commerce business, and sales surged by 79% as compared to the same period last year. Sales from Tmall and JD flagship store was more than 4 times as compared to the same period last year. Meanwhile, the Group’s major retail partners suffered business closures during the outbreak, resulting in a decrease of 18.8% in revenue from third-party retailers and wholesalers.

 

Gross profit reported to be JPY4,634.4 million (equivalent to USD43.4 million), with the gross profit margin increased by 1.5 percentage points from 49.7% to 51.2% for the six months ended 30 September 2020, as a majority of the markets started to benefit from the retail and wholesale price rationalization that started two years ago.

 

EBITDA amounted to JPY442.4 million (equivalent to USD 4.1 million), a 142.1% increase from JPY182.7 million in the first half of FY2020.

 

Net loss was JPY803.5 million (equivalent to USD 7.5 million), as a result of income tax expenses versus income tax credit in the same period last year.

 

Net cash flows generated from operating activities amounted to JPY2,576.4 million (equivalent to USD24.1 million), representing a 540.2% increase from the six months ended 30 September 2019 thanks to improvement in working capital items.

 

The Board resolved to declare an interim dividend of JPY 1.5 per share for the six months ended 30 September 2020.

 

Improving the global brand positioning and communication of HONMA

The Group continued to re-define its brand as a dynamic, relevant and global brand among internet-savvy younger golfers, and created an end-to-end digital ecosystem around the brand for golfers in the super-premium and premium-performance segments. To achieve this goal, the Group revamped its global website and social media platform, which helped HONMA generate month-on-month growth in organic traffic, conversion and other digital engagement matrixes. Also, through the continuous upgrading of its customer relationship management (“CRM”) systems as well as adding various e-commerce capabilities and consumer-centric tools in key markets such as Japan, China and the US, the Group is able to provide consumers with the ultimate 360-degree brand experience and enhance its interaction with consumers, driving sales both online and offline.

 

Applying revolutionary proprietary technologies to HONMA’s products

The Group strives to apply cutting-edge technologies and artisan-style Japanese craftsmanship to the design, development and manufacturing of a comprehensive range of exquisitely crafted and performance-driven golf clubs. It applied several of its revolutionary proprietary technologies to the design and development of its new XP series, the first performance enhancement series under the TOUR WORLD club family. In December 2019, HONMA launched BERES 07 targeting super premium consumers, and revenue from BERES family products grew by 18.6% for the six months ended 30 September 2020, reconfirming HONMA’s strong brand equity and its ability to withstand macroeconomic headwinds.

 

The Group devotes significant resources to new product development to ensure that its product offerings remain up to date with the latest market trends. Research and development (R&D) expenses amounted to JPY139.6 million for the six months ended 30 September 2020. The Group has established a product development hub in North America, to complement its product development capabilities at the Sakata Campus in Japan.

 

Further developed balls and apparel businesses to create a comprehensive range of products

Following a continued and mid-double-digit growth in revenue from golf balls in the past 5 years, the Group further prioritized its product development resources and launching balls with its own patent. Alongside the strong sales growth of golf clubs in South Korea and China, the balls sales in the two markets expanded by 41.5% and 28.7% respectively. As for apparel, HONMA has already launched four apparel collections, targeting consumers in Japan, China and South Korea.

 

In January 2019, the Group re-launched its apparel collection following a strategic partnership with Itochu Corporation, comprising of three lines tailor-making for golfers in Japan, Mainland China and South Korea, both on-course and off-course. During the current reporting period, gross profit for apparels significantly increased by 108.5% from JPY167.3 million to JPY348.9 million year-on-year and gross profit margin for apparels rose from 31.2% to 69.6% year-on-year. The increments were attributable to increased brand and product recognition for HONMA’s apparels, enhanced operational management and upgrade in HONMA’s supplier base. Moving into the second half of FY21, Fall/Winter 2020 collection has received positive consumer feedback and the latest operational report has shown encouraging sales numbers.

 

Continued business expansion in North America and Europe

The Group continued to execute its direct-to-consumer distribution model. It boosted its store presence with HONMA-branded displays at 54 retail locations in North America. At the same time, the Group pivoted to a mobile fitting van program, bringing the HONMA fitting experience to customers’ home courses. From January to September 2020, the Group further increased its mobile van coverage to 14 vans from 9 vans at the beginning of the year.

 

Furthermore, the Group has been invested in its e-commerce website since 2019 and implemented various digital marketing efforts to drive website traffic and target potential shoppers through re-targeting efforts on social media and search engine marketing. For the six months ended 30 September 2020, the Group has seen site visits almost doubled and average order value of more than one thousand US dollar. The strong performance also highlights the success of brand building and consumer interest in HONMA in its second year of expansion in North America.

 

In Europe, the Group continued expanding its footprint and opened 23 new POS while closing none during the period, increasing its total POS to 563 as of 30 September 2020.

 

Looking ahead, Mr. LIU Jianguo, Chairman of the Board, President and Executive Director of Honma Golf Limited, said, “The first half of the current financial year began with an extremely challenging operating environment and a lot of uncertainties about the future. Fortunately, the golf industry recovered very quickly and as COVID-19 related regulatory restrictions started to ease from Asia to Europe and North America, we observed a surge in demand to play golf, an increase in new and returning golfers and an uptick in new orders from both end consumers and retailers.

 

“Our business has proven to be resilient even under the current volatile economic environment, thanks to our strong brand equity and incomparable advantages in the premium segment of the golf industry. We are even more convinced that we will benefit from the uprising consumer sentiment post-pandemic.”

 

Mr. LIU concluded, “The six months ending 31 March 2021 will be a crucial period for HONMA to execute its development strategies. We are confident in our ability to mitigate the adverse impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak and will seize every possible opportunity to preserve cash, to right-size our organization in order to foster a solid foundation for the mid- and long-term development with respect to our brand, products, distribution channel, employees and supply chain.”

About HONMA Golf Limited

HONMA is one of the most prestigious and iconic brands in the golf industry. Founded in 1959, the Company utilizes the latest innovative technologies and traditional Japanese craftsmanship to provide golfers across the globe with premium, high-tech and the best performing golf clubs, balls, apparels and accessories. HONMA’s products are sold in approximately 50 countries worldwide, primarily in Asia and across North America, Europe and other regions. The Company was successfully listed on the Main Board of The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited on 6 October 2016 (SEHK stock code: 6858).  As the only vertically integrated golf company with in-house design, development and manufacturing capabilities, a strong retail footprint in Asia and a diverse range of golf related products, HONMA is perfectly positioned to continually grow its business in Asia and beyond, benefitting from the return of golfers in mature golf markets such as the US and Japan and from increased participation in golf’s new and under-penetrated markets such as South Korea and China.

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