Boeing (NYSE: BA) and Embraer (B3: EMBR3, NYSE: ERJ) announced they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to establish a strategic partnership that positions both companies to accelerate growth in global aerospace markets.
The non-binding agreement proposes the formation of a joint venture comprising the commercial aircraft and services business of Embraer that would strategically align with Boeing’s commercial development, production, marketing and lifecycle services operations.
Under the terms of the agreement, Boeing will hold an 80 percent ownership stake in the joint venture and Embraer will own the remaining 20 percent stake.
“By forging this strategic partnership, we will be ideally positioned to generate significant value for both companies’ customers, employees and shareholders – and for Brazil and the United States,” said Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing’s Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. “This important partnership clearly aligns with Boeing’s long-term strategy of investing in organic growth and returning value to shareholders, complemented by strategic arrangements that enhance and accelerate our growth plans,” Muilenburg said.
“The agreement with Boeing will create the most important strategic partnership in the aerospace industry, strengthening both companies’ leadership in the global market,” said Paulo Cesar de Souza e Silva, Embraer Chief Executive Officer and President. “The business combination with Boeing is expected to create a virtuous cycle for the Brazilian aerospace industry, increasing its sales potential, production, creating jobs and income, investments and exports, and in doing so, adding more value to customers, shareholders and employees.”
The transaction values 100 percent of Embraer’s commercial aircraft operations at $4.75 billion, and contemplates a value of $3.8 billion for Boeing’s 80 percent ownership stake in the joint venture. The proposed partnership is expected to be accretive to Boeing’s earnings per share beginning in 2020 and to generate estimated annual pre-tax cost synergies of approximately $150 million by year three.
The strategic partnership will bring together more than 150 years of combined leadership in aerospace and leverage the two companies’ highly complementary commercial product lines. The partnership is a natural evolution of a long-standing history of collaboration between Boeing and Embraer over more than 20 years.
On finalization, the commercial aviation joint venture will be led by Brazil-based management, including a President and Chief Executive Officer. Boeing will have operational and management control of the new company, which will report directly to Muilenburg.
The joint venture will become one of Boeing’s centers of excellence for end-to-end design, manufacturing, and support of commercial passenger aircraft, and will be fully integrated into Boeing’s broader production and supply chain.
Boeing and the joint venture would be positioned to offer a comprehensive, highly complementary commercial airplane portfolio that ranges from 70 seats to more than 450 seats and freighters, offering best-in-class products and services to better serve the global customer base.
In addition, both companies will create another joint venture to promote and develop new markets and applications for defense products and services, especially the KC-390 multi-mission aircraft, based on jointly-identified opportunities.
“Joint investments in the global marketing of the KC-390, as well as a series of specific agreements in the fields of engineering, research and development and the supply chain, will enhance mutual benefits and further enhance the competitiveness of Boeing and Embraer,” said Nelson Salgado, Embraer’s Executive Vice President, Financial and Investor Relations.
Finalization of the financial and operational details of the strategic partnership and negotiation of definitive transaction agreements are expected to continue in the coming months. Upon execution of these agreements, the transaction would then be subject to shareholder and regulatory approvals, including approval from the Government of Brazil, as well as other customary closing conditions. Assuming the approvals are received in a timely manner, the transaction is expected to close by the end of 2019, 12-18 months after execution of the definitive agreements.
“This strategic partnership is a natural evolution of the long-standing history of collaboration between Boeing and Embraer on a range of aerospace initiatives over almost three decades,” said Greg Smith, Boeing Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President of Enterprise Strategy & Performance. “It is aligned with Boeing’s enterprise strategy of pursuing strategic investment opportunities where they demonstrate real value and accelerate our organic growth plans. This partnership will strengthen the vertical capabilities of Boeing and enhance value for our customers through the full lifecycle of industry-leading products and services.”
Boeing and Embraer will benefit from a broader scale, resources and footprint, including global supply chain, sales and marketing, and services network, which will enable them to capture benefits from best-in-class efficiencies across the organizations. Additionally, the strategic partnership will provide opportunities to share best practices in manufacturing and across development programs.
The transaction will have no impact on Boeing and Embraer financial guidance for 2018 or Boeing’s cash deployment strategy and commitment to returning approximately 100 percent of free cash flow to shareholders.
Forward-Looking Information Is Subject to Risk and Uncertainty
Certain statements in this release may be “forward-looking” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including statements regarding benefits and synergies of the joint venture and future business prospects, as well as any other statement that does not directly relate to any historical or current fact. Forward-looking statements are based on current assumptions about future events that may not prove to be accurate.
These statements are not guarantees and are subject to risks, uncertainties and changes in circumstances that are difficult to predict. Many factors could cause actual results to differ materially from these forward-looking statements. As a result, these statements speak only as of the date they are made and neither party undertakes an obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement, except as required by law. Specific factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from these forward-looking statements include the effect of global economic conditions, the ability of the parties to reach final agreement on a transaction, consummate such a transaction and realize anticipated synergies, and other important factors disclosed previously and from time to time in the filings of The Boeing Company and/or Embraer with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
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 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.
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)
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 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)
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 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)
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