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METLIFE HONG KONG SURGES AHEAD WITH STRONG FIRST-HALF PERFORMANCE

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METLIFE HONG KONG SURGES AHEAD WITH STRONG FIRST-HALF PERFORMANCE

Triple-digit growth makes MetLife one of the fastest growing life insurers in Hong Kong

MetLife Hong Kong^, a wholly-owned subsidiary of MetLife, Inc., the #1 U.S. life insurer*, recorded rapid growth and broad strength in its business results. The first half of the year witnessed many milestones for MetLife Hong Kong. Notable achievements include 116% year-over-year business growth in the first quarter# – marking MetLife Hong Kong as one of the fastest growing life insurers in the market#, 150% year-over-year agency force growth**, brokerage business growth of over 48 times year-on-year #, and an expanding telemarketing network with a new long-term partnership.

Underpinning MetLife Hong Kong’s success is a business strategy focused on product innovation, customer service excellence, and the expansion of its brokerage and agency businesses. DrNirmalaMenon, Executive Vice President & Head of Designated Markets and Health at MetLife Asia Limited, remarked, “Hong Kong is a very important market to MetLife in Asia, and we see tremendous opportunity for further expansion thanks to our successful business strategy. Our agency force and brokerage business are cornerstones for our growth here, and we will continue our commitment to focus on delivering innovative, customer-centric products and services in Hong Kong. I look forward to MetLife Hong Kong’s continued success in the market.”

In addition to its business growth, MetLife Hong Kong’s agency force continues to expand amid an ambitious recruitment strategy; with over 700 agents, it remains on course to exceed its 2016 recruitment target of 1,000 agents. MetLife Hong Kong is one of the fastest growing agencies in the industry with 150% year-over-year manpower growth**. This achievement underscores the success of its recruitment strategy.

Ms. Eva Wong, Chief Agency Officer of MetLife Hong Kong, said, “We are steadily progressing to achieve our 2016 agency recruitment target, and have already set aggressive plans to double the growth of our agency force to 2,000 in the near future. The remarkable growth of our agency force is a testament to our talent acquisition and agency career development strategy. Newly launched digital platforms such as WeTag and PopCoin provide communication, sales, and recruitment tools which truly engage our agents. We will continue to attract top talent and inspire a new generation of agents who thrive in our supportive and entrepreneurial culture.”

MetLife Hong Kong’s high-growth brokerage business has already exceeded its goal to become one of the top ten life insurers in Hong Kong — it is currently ranked eight#. Its brokerage business volume has registered a year-over-year growth of over 48 times#. MetLife Hong Kong is growing its high-net-worth customer base through the award-winning MetLife Legacy Basic Universal Life. Differentiated products, such as MetLife Sunshine Savings Plan and the award-winning MetLife Silver Lining Critical Illness Protector, have also helped MetLife Hong Kong stand out from the competition and fuel its accelerated momentum.

Mr. Bobby Ying, Head of Strategic Partnership Distribution of MetLife Hong Kong, has been working to synergize partnership distribution of brokerage and telemarketing channels. Mr. Ying said, “Our brokerage business has grown tremendously this year as we tailored solutions to meet the needs of the mid-affluent and high-net-worth consumers. Our focus in the future is to continue our successful push into the local and regional high-net-worth customer segments, while consolidating our overall position in Hong Kong. We will continue to expand in Hong Kong’s brokerage market and deliver innovative solutions and world-class customer service.” Recently, the company’s telemarketing network has expanded with the addition of a new long-term partnership.

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Duo glide around world’s largest fountain in Dubai

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Duo glide around world's largest fountain in Dubai 1

Paragliders Llorens and Goberna take magical flight above the Palm Fountain.

Horacio Llorens and Rafael Goberna defied gravity to perform The Breaking Pointe flight around the world’s biggest fountain at The Pointe, Palm Jumeirah in Dubai. Here is all you need to know:

– Spaniard Llorens is a five-time world champion and Infinity Tumbling Guinness World Record holder, who has performed a series of spectacular projects during the last five years including paragliding with a flock of starlings and with the beautiful Aurora Borealis as a backdrop.

– Brazilian Goberna was a Guinness Book of World Records winner at only 12-years-old and, in December 2016, he took to the skies above one of the seven wonders of the natural world when paragliding at Iguazu Falls.

– This time around, the duo teamed up in Dubai to showcase The Palm Fountain at the Pointe, Palm Jumeirah. They overcame a tricky preparation period to expertly glide between the fountain’s powerful jets of water.

– Spanning across the boulevard, the Palm Fountain features two giant floating platforms covering 14,000 square metres of sea water. Reaching an impressive 105 metres high and lighting up the Dubai sky with 3,000 LED lights, the fountain “dances” to hit songs from sunset until midnight.

– They undertook training first at Paramotor Desert Adventure on January 12 to test out their brakes and motors with technician Ramon Lopez finally arriving after being held up by the heavy snow in Madrid.

– Training was crucial for the challenge of flying during the night with low visibility as safety director Alan Gayton ensured they had a reserve parachute in case of a technical issue with the main parachute. Llorens and Goberna also had to study the movement of the water with great precision in order not to get caught up in the jets of water

– Flying over water, it was also mandatory to have a lifejacket with rescue boats, jet skis and divers on hand which came handy when Goberna suffered a technical malfunction on the first January 14 practice run.

– After repairs long into the night, they returned to Paramotor Desert Adventure to test out the motors again before completing the stunning flight on January 15 with Llorens and Goberna performing in harmony.

– Llorens, 38, revealed: “As soon as we got the opportunity, we wanted to fly there. We needed to know the area really well beforehand and we needed to know how to ‘play’ with the fountain – this was new for us. Such strong streams of water shooting 100 metres up is a lot, so we had to be really prepared.”

– Goberna, 26, explained: “The motor wasn’t flying so good because, prior to arriving in Dubai, it was last used in Europe at high altitude. I needed to adjust the carburettor in the air inside the motor. In the first practice flight over the water, I broke one propeller. I really couldn’t understand what was happening and then another one broke. Eventually, a backup motor was required. After a long journey, the final result was beautiful! The team worked incredibly hard to make it.”

– Llorens added: “The highlight for me was playing between the super shooters with Rafael, because it’s something we’ve never done before; it felt really new and really powerful.”

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EU sets itself jobs, training and equality targets for 2030

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EU sets itself jobs, training and equality targets for 2030 2

By Jan Strupczewski

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Commission on Thursday announced goals for the 27-nation bloc to reduce poverty, inequality and boost training and jobs by 2030 as part of a post-pandemic economic overhaul financed by jointly borrowed funds.

The EU executive arm said the European Union should boost employment to 78% in 2030 from 73% in 2019, halve the gap between the number of employed women and men and cut the number of young people neither working nor studying to 9% from 12.6%

“With unemployment and inequalities expected to increase as a fallout of the pandemic, focusing our policy efforts on quality job creation, up- and reskilling and reducing poverty and exclusion is therefore essential to channel our resources where they are most needed,” the commission said.

The goals, which will have to be endorsed by EU leaders, also include an increase in the number of adults getting training every year to adapt to the EU’s transition to a greener and more digitalised economy to 60% from 40% now.

Finally, over the next 10 years, the EU should reduce the number of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion by 15 million from 91 million in 2019.

“These three 2030 headline targets are deemed ambitious and realistic at the same time,” the commission said.

The goals are part of the EU’s set of 20 social rights, agreed on in 2017, to make the EU more appealing to voters and counter eurosceptic sentiment across the bloc.

They say everybody has the right to quality education throughout their lives and that men and women must have equal opportunities in all areas and be paid the same for work of equal value.

The unemployed have the right to “personalised, continuous and consistent support”, while workers have the right “to fair wages that provide for a decent standard of living”.

(Reporting by Jan Strupczewski; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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UK aero-engineer Meggitt eyes return to growth after pandemic slump

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UK aero-engineer Meggitt eyes return to growth after pandemic slump 3

LONDON (Reuters) – British engineer Meggitt said that it could return to profit growth in 2021 provided there are no further lockdowns, despite a weakening in the struggling aviation market at the end of 2020 and early this year.

Pandemic restrictions halted much flying globally last year and forced plane makers Boeing and Airbus to cut production rates, dragging down suppliers like Meggitt, which makes and services parts for such aircraft.

Meggitt’s underlying operating profit plunged by 53% to 191 million pounds ($267 million) in 2020, it said on Thursday, despite continued growth in its defence business which makes parts for military jets and accounts for about 45% of the business.

Meggitt, however, said it expected air traffic to recover in the second half of the year which would help it return to profit growth over the year, although its guidance for flat revenue disappointed analysts who had expected growth of 6%.

Meggitt’s Chief Executive Tony Wood said in November that he had expected flying to start to recover by Easter, but new variants have led to more restrictions and delayed the recovery.

“It has gone back a couple of months… it’s now very much in the summer,” Wood said of the recovery in an interview on Thursday.

Further in the future, Meggitt is positioning itself for the move to lower emissions flying, and its sensors and electric motors will be used on electric urban air mobility platforms, such as flying taxis, and in hybrid aeroplanes being developed.

But Meggitt said new tax breaks announced in Britain’s annual budget on Wednesday aimed at encouraging investment would not change its plans.

“Yes, it will be a benefit. Are we looking at any acceleration as a result specifically of that? Not really,” Woods said.

Shares in Meggitt were down 1% to 427 pence at 0943 GMT. The stock has risen by 50% since news of a COVID-19 vaccine last November, but is still down 23% on where it was pre-pandemic.

($1 = 0.7165 pounds)

(Reporting by Sarah Young; Editing by Alistair Smout and Susan Fenton)

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