TAIPEI, TAIWAN – Media_OutReach – 11 June 2019 – A total of 64 projects and business leaders across 16 countries in Asia were selected as recipients of Asia Responsible Enterprise Awards (AREA) 2019, an increase of 19% from last year. Regarded as the top corporate social responsibility awards in Asia, this year’s ceremony was organized in Taipei, after being held in Macau, Singapore, Bangkok, and Manila previously.
Organized by Enterprise Asia, the leading non-governmental organization for responsible entrepreneurship in Asia, the AREA aims to recognize and honor Asian businesses and leaders for championing sustainable and socially responsible business practices. The award categories are social empowerment, investment in people, health promotion, green leadership, corporate governance, and responsible business leadership. Some of the dignitaries who graced the event include Mr. Chang San-cheng, former premier of the Republic of China (Taiwan) and Mr. Hou Yu-Ih, mayor of New Taipei City.
Leading the list of winners under the green leadership category was Nice Garden Industrial Co., Ltd. with their project “Sustainable Agri-Food Practitioner – – NEXTLAND”.
Since 1984, Nice Garden Industrial has been persistently focusing on nutrition and health products for the livestock and aquaculture industries. The Company pursues sustainable development, and their mission is to become the integrator from farm to table. Nice Garden dedicates themselves to establish a transparent, safe and trustworthy supply of food. The Company started with international trade of animal nutrition and health products, and expanded into the professional service to operating two pig farms, opening the restaurant WONMI, establishing the meat processing factory and agriculture and creative gallery NEXTLAND, and branding pork CHOICE PIG.
Nice Garden’s vision is to become a safe, healthy and trustworthy benchmark of the agri-food industry chain. Each of its business unit shares and practices the same core concept to build a complete pork agri-food chain. NEXTLAND is the essential element to complete the innovative pork agri-food chain in Taiwan. Through cognitive education, the philosophy of food is conveyed to the consumers. The mission of the project is to bridge the gap between consumers and producers, and reposition the conventional industries to upgrade the agri- food culture in Taiwan.
NEXTLAND, the first fully transparent and open pork cutting factory in Taiwan, is an important component of the complete pork industrial chain, as well as a platform for education of agriculture and food safety. It is also the first popular science promotion site with agricultural theme. It provides good dietary information in a simple way to educate the public on what is good- quality pork and how good pork is produced. When more consumers agree with the concept which Nice Garden wants to share, the power of consumers’ choice initiates the change of old farming habits to reduce the impact of the environment. Consumers have safe and healthy option for pork, and the positive cycle of production and consumption can be sustainable.
Achievement and Impact NEXTLAND has obtained the gold-level certification of the green building factory. In order to reduce the impact on the environment, NEXTLAND was renovated from an old canning factory, and retained almost all the trees in the original factory by following the concept of cherishing nature and pursuing sustainability. The project has created nearly 100 job opportunities in the local area, and the proportion of employees in the local area has amounted over 70%. In addition to agricultural and food information, NEXLAND also focuses on promotion for Yunlin Culture. The market in the museum sells Yunlin special agriculture products, and selects high-quality food ingredients for consumers.
In 2018, NEXTLAND won the honour of International Spotlight Tourism Factory of Taiwan Ministry of Economic Affairs, and Nice Garden won the Best Practice Award for Local Business Operations at the 25th National Quality Awards. It was also recognized because of NEXTLAND in Yunlin.
NEXTLAND follows the Japanese JAS standard, and passes ISO22000, HACCP, CAS, TAP certifications to provide high- quality pork. The number of visitors has exceeded over 230,000 since 2016, and has increased steadily. The quantity of meat processing increased from 1,135 in 2016 to 23,000 in 2018. This leap in growth is a recognition of consumers, and a manifestation of the changes in Taiwan food culture.
Future Direction The future plan of Nice Garden is to replicate the NEXTLAND and CHOICE PIG shared-branding model and involve more partners from the farming community to the meat processing industry to create a bigger eco-system where transparency and traceability are celebrated and promoted in the greater Taiwanese F&B and consumer market.
This co-branding production system allows farmers to have a benchmark on better adaptation into greener production process, and also more direct impact on how the processing plant manage their sourcing and traceable meat production. Nice Garden aims to upgrade the current business model into a standard of living for Taiwan and transfer this business model to South East Asia. To Nice Garden, to create these service and brand is not simply for the sake of CSR, it is the Company’s belief that the sustainable development goals is a vital paradigm shift for future business operation. The Company will continue to focus on lowering the environmental impact of animal protein production, lowering the carbon footprint of the production chain, creating higher awareness on animal welfare, as well as providing a safer and more sustainable food source for everyone. *** About Enterprise Asia *** Enterprise Asia is a non-governmental organization in pursuit of creating an Asia that is rich in entrepreneurship as an engine towards sustainable and progressive economic and social development within a world of economic equality. Its two pillars of existence are investment in people and responsible entrepreneurship. Enterprise Asia works with governments, NGOs and other organizations to promote competitiveness and entrepreneurial development, in uplifting the economic status of people across Asia and in ensuring a legacy of hope, innovation and courage for the future generation. For more information, visit: https://www.enterpriseasia.org/. *** About Asia Responsible Enterprise Awards *** The Asia Responsible Enterprise Awards recognizes and honors Asian businesses for championing sustainable and responsible entrepreneurship in the categories of Green Leadership, Investment in People, Health Promotion, Social Empowerment, Corporate Governance and Responsible Business Leadership. For more information, visit: https://enterpriseasia.org/area/.
Vodafone’s towers arm plans biggest European IPO of 2021 so far
By Paul Sandle and Arno Schuetze
LONDON/FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Vantage Towers, the mobile masts company spun out of Vodafone Group, plans to float in Frankfurt by the end of March in a deal that could value it at up to 18 billion euros ($22 billion), making it Europe’s largest listing so far this year.
Duesseldorf, Germany-headquartered Vantage operates 82,000 towers across 10 countries, where it is usually the leading or second largest supplier. Germany is its largest market.
Vodafone said on Wednesday it would sell a “meaningful minority” stake to create a liquid market in Vantage Towers’ shares. It will use proceeds to cut debt, which totals around 69 billion euros, according to Refinitiv data.
No new shares will be sold, meaning Vantage will not make money from the deal.
People familiar with the matter said stock worth about 3 billion euros would be sold, possibly giving the company a valuation of 15-18 billion euros.
That would make Vantage the largest European listing of the year in a busy season that has seen $12 billion Polish firm InPost, $10 billion German used-car trading platform AUTO1 and $5 billion British boot brand Dr. Martens join stock markets.
The deal would also be the largest European telecoms IPO since that of Belgacom in 2014, and Germany’s largest listing since that of Knorr Bremse in 2018, both of which raised $4.4 billion, according to Refinitiv data.
Vantage’s CEO Vivek Badrinath said growth in data traffic, the roll-out of 5G and tougher coverage requirements, for example in Germany and Britain, underpinned its prospects.
“These three factors will drive demand for new tenancies and new tower sites,” he said, adding he aimed to increase the average number of mobile operators using each mast from 1.39 to more than 1.5.
The value of mobile infrastructure – masts, energy supply and backhaul connections – has surged as investors look for secure long-term income.
Vodafone rival Orange launched its own towers unit this month, while Spain’s Cellnex, Europe’s biggest towers company, is raising 7 billion euros for expansion.
Despite recent deals, room for more consolidation remains, as about 170,000 towers in Europe are still owned by telecoms companies and not by specialized tower firms, Badrinath said.
Vantage will also have 1 billion euros of leverage for deals, he added, and the ability to issue more equity.
Its focus on listing meant it was not in talks at the moment, he said, “but the market is moving, so we expect that there’ll be action in the latter part of the year for sure”.
Vantage said late last year it expected to report pro forma adjusted core earnings of up to 540 million euros in the financial year to the end of March.
Rivals such as Cellnex, American Tower, Crown Castle and SBA Communications trade at 25-30 times their core earnings.
Vantage said it would pay 60% of recurring cash flow in dividends, and intended to pay out 280 million euros this financial year.
It is on track for a leverage ratio of four times core earnings at the end of March, allowing it to balance investment, acquisitions and returns, it added.
Bank of America, Morgan Stanley and UBS are organising the IPO with the help of Barclays, Berenberg, BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs and Jefferies.
($1 = 0.8224 euros)
(Reporting by Paul Sandle and Arno Schuetze; Editing by Louise Heavens, Mark Potter and Jan Harvey)
UK’s Sunak to build bridge to recovery with more spending
By William Schomberg
LONDON (Reuters) – British finance minister Rishi Sunak will next week promise yet more spending to prop up the economy during what he hopes will be the last phase of lockdown, but he will also probably signal tax rises ahead to plug the huge hole in the public finances.
Sunak, who is due to announce a new budget plan on March 3, has already racked up more than 280 billion pounds ($397 billion) in coronavirus spending and tax cuts, pushing Britain’s borrowing to a peacetime record.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson plans to lift England’s current lockdown entirely only in late June so Sunak is expected to rely heavily on the debt markets again.
His job retention scheme, paying 80% of employees’ wages, will probably be extended beyond a scheduled April 30 expiry date, further inflating its estimated cost of 70 billion pounds. Support for the self-employed looks set to stay too.
Businesses are demanding Sunak keep other lifelines, such as exempting the firms hardest hit by the lockdown from property taxes and giving them a value-added tax cut.
And calls are growing for an extension of a 20 pounds-a-week emergency welfare increase due to expire in April.
The Times newspaper said Sunak would prolong his stamp duty property tax break for three months until the end of June.
Sunak hopes that by then Britain will be emerging from its deep freeze thanks to Europe’s fastest vaccination programme.
Bank of England Chief Economist Andy Haldane likens the economy to a “coiled spring” primed with the savings that households have built up after being stuck at home.
A strong recovery would mean a jump in tax revenues, doing some of the Treasury’s job of fixing the public finances.
Rupert Harrison, an aide to former finance minister George Osborne, said Sunak should not try to slash Britain’s 2.1 trillion-pound debt mountain, equivalent to 98% of GDP – a ratio unthinkable for decades.
Instead he should write new budget rules tied to the cost of debt servicing, which is close to record lows.
“We can safely carry higher levels of debt than before,” Harrison told a webinar organised by Onward, a think-tank.
But the scale of Britain’s borrowing is raising questions about how long Sunak and Johnson can stick to their promises not to raise key taxes, made to voters before the 2019 election.
The huge costs of tackling the worst of the coronavirus pandemic are likely to ease in the months ahead, meaning this year’s 400 billion pound budget deficit should narrow.
But Britain is probably on course to be stuck with a gap of 60 billion pounds between revenues and day-to-day spending by the mid-2020s, the Institute for Fiscal Studies think-tank says.
In a nod to that, Sunak is expected to start raising Britain’s low corporation tax rate.
The Sunday Times said the rate would rise steadily to bring in an extra 12 billion pounds a year by the time of the next election, due in 2024.
Other options include ending a freeze on fuel duty increases which has been in place since 2012 and looks at odds with Britain’s plans to be carbon net zero by 2050.
But higher fuel prices now would hurt the haulage industry, already struggling with Brexit-related disruption, and could alienate working-class voters who backed Johnson in 2019.
Higher capital gains tax or lower pension incentives would anger lawmakers in Johnson’s Conservative Party.
David Gauke, a former deputy finance minister, said the only big revenue-raising options were the ones that Johnson has promised not to touch – income tax, VAT and national insurance contributions.
“In the end, they are going to have to say, sorry we just can’t responsibly maintain that manifesto commitment,” Gauke told the Onward webinar.
($1 = 0.7046 pounds)
(Writing by William Schomberg; Editing by Catherine Evans)
Oil rises despite surprise U.S. stock build weighs
By Ahmad Ghaddar
LONDON (Reuters) – Oil prices firmed on Wednesday amid continued outages in the United States and a weaker dollar, even though U.S. inventories last week rose unexpectedly.
Brent crude futures gained $1.19, or 1.8%, to $66.56 a barrel at 1511 GMT, after hitting a session low of $64.80.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up $1.09, or 1.8%, at $62.76 a barrel, after trading as low as $60.97 earlier on Wednesday.
Crude stockpiles rose by 1 million barrels in the week to Feb. 19, the American Petroleum Institute (API) reported on Tuesday, against estimates for a draw of 5.2 million barrels in a Reuters poll.
The data, however, showed a larger-than-expected 4.5 million barrel fall in distillate fuels.
Official data is due later on Wednesday.
“This morning, we have seen the oil complex oscillate in between gains and losses, but it has recently firmed on the back of a weaker U.S. dollar,” StoneX analyst Kevin Solomon said.
The dollar index against a basket of six other major currencies was trading near a six-week low on Wednesday.
As crude is priced in dollars, a weaker greenback makes buying the commodity cheaper for holders of other currencies.
Brent may trade in a range of $66.45-$66.97 per barrel again, as suggested by its wave pattern and a projection analysis, said Reuters technical analyst Wang Tao.
Traffic at the Houston ship channel was slowly coming back to normal but terminals were still facing several issues due to last week’s freezing weather in Texas.
Oil prices have rallied about 30% since the start of the year to 13-month highs in both Brent and WTI.
Prices have jumped due to the U.S. supply disruption and supply discipline by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies, together called OPEC+, led by an extra 1 million bpd cut by Saudi Arabia.
(Additional reporting by Roslan Khasawneh and Koustav Samanta in Singapore and Sonali Paul in Melbourne; editing by Jason Neely and Steve Orlofsky)
Vodafone’s towers arm plans biggest European IPO of 2021 so far
By Paul Sandle and Arno Schuetze LONDON/FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Vantage Towers, the mobile masts company spun out of Vodafone Group,...
UK’s Sunak to build bridge to recovery with more spending
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