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Start the day an hour later and get your team off to a Flying Start



Start the day an hour later and get your team off to a Flying Start

AXA PPP healthcare is reigniting Flying Start – workplace wing of ukactive’s National Fitness Day campaign.

Last year’s inaugural campaign saw over 80 companies start National Fitness Day with a Flying Start. Now in its second year, the healthcare company is calling on even more employers of all shapes and sizes to bring some movement to their employees’ mornings by pushing back the start of the working day by an hour on Wednesday 26th September 2018 – National Fitness Day – to allow them to get physically active, in turn driving productivity.

According to independent research from AXA,[i] business leaders agree that exercise has a positive effect on employees’ productivity by improving their motivation (78 per cent) and on their ability to handle stress (82 per cent).

And employees who exercise before going to work concur.[ii]

  • Nearly 7 out of 10 (69%) say it makes them feel more productive.
  • Nearly three quarters (74%) say it improves their concentration and focus
  • 45% say they feel the benefits in the morning
  • And for 39% the benefits last all day

National Fitness Day is an annual campaign that celebrates the fun of fitness and physical activity, while highlighting the benefits leading an active lifestyle can have on our overall health. A huge range of free activities will take place across the UK, from yoga and Pilates classes, to treadmill challenges, high-street HIIT classes, dance-offs and walks. The day aims to engage people from all backgrounds, from the inactive to the already active, from the home to the high street, the office to the gym.

To help employers take part, AXA PPP healthcare has created a Flying Start microsite where they can sign up to free-to-download resources, including

  • Flying Start Factsheet – Why get the day off to a Flying Start?
  • Flying Start Guidebook – Getting National Fitness Day off to a flyer
  • poster templates
  • wording and images for email promotions and
  • images for social media posts to promote their involvement

There’s also a two-page guide for managers to help them promote physical activity in their organisations.

To build momentum in the run up to National Fitness Day, employers will get regular emails with additional inspiration and resources, including

  • links to free digital workouts with fitness champions Shona Vertueand Les Mills
  • free 3-day PureGym passes to use in the week of National Fitness Day
  • links to 20,000 free events happening throughout the UK that they can join on National Fitness Day, courtesy of ukactive’s members and partners

“Flying Start is a simple campaign with a simple message – being physically active is good for us. It’s good for our physical and mental health. And it’s good for business.[iii] So, for this one day let’s give it some focus. Whether it’s using the first hour of the working day to walk the dog, join a dance class or roller-blade to work, taking time to do something a little bit different may be just the spur we need to commit ourselves to making changes for the better. Flying Start is a great way for employers to highlight and encourage employees to live healthier, more active, lives. In fact, it’s such a good idea, we’ve extended our support for National Fitness Day for another three years.” [Chris Horlick, Distribution Director for AXA PPP healthcare]

“I’ve worked in an office so I’m completely aware of the desk vortex and how difficult it is sometimes to get away from the screen. But I also know that one of the best ways to boost brain power is to move your body! Flying Start is a simple way for businesses to help their employees kick start some healthy habits and get fitter. However you choose to get your day off to a Flying Start – yoga, power walking, HIIT session … – being more physically active can only be a plus for everyone.” [Shona Vertue]

“We’re really excited to work with Flying Start on this important initiative. By partnering with ukactive and AXA to provide Les Mills On Demand to offices during the day, we hope to inspire companies throughout the UK and Ireland to take the opportunity to get active and try something new. By prioritising the wellbeing of their teams and allowing employees to start an hour later, we hope this Flying Start initiative will help to change culture in the workplace and inspire people to be more active not just on National Fitness Day, but every day.” [Wendy Coulson, CEO of Les Mills UK and Ireland]

“Physical activity has a huge role to play in our nation’s productivity by helping to improve our daily happiness, health and wellbeing. Flying Start is a crucial part of National Fitness Day and provides the perfect opportunity for organisations of all sizes to invest in the wellbeing of their people and reap the benefits of a healthier, more active workforce. We are delighted that AXA PPP healthcare has extended its support of National Fitness Day for another three years – demonstrating its commitment to getting our nation moving.” [Steven Ward, CEO of ukactive]

For more information visit Flying Start.

[i]Survey of 500 decision-makers undertaken August 2017 by 3Gem for AXA PPP healthcare.

[ii]Survey of 1000 full-time employees undertaken August 2017 by 3Gem for AXA PPP healthcare.

[iii]Public Health England and Business in the Community (2018). Physical activity, healthy eating and healthier weight – a toolkit for employers.


Robinhood plans confidential IPO filing as soon as March – Bloomberg News



Robinhood plans confidential IPO filing as soon as March - Bloomberg News 1

(Reuters) – Online brokerage Robinhood, at the centre of this year’s retail trading frenzy, is planning to file confidentially for an initial public offering as soon as March, Bloomberg News reported late on Friday, citing sources.

The California-based brokerage has held talks in the past week with underwriters about moving forward with a filing within weeks, Bloomberg said.

Robinhood did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Reuters reported last year that Robinhood has picked Goldman Sachs Group Inc to lead preparations for an initial public offering which could value it at more than $20 billion.

Robinhood was at the heart of a mania that gripped retail investors in late January following calls on Reddit thread WallStreetBets to trade certain stocks that were being heavily shorted by hedge funds.

The online brokerage tapped around $3.4 billion in funding after its finances were strained due to the massive trading in shares of companies such as GameStop Corp.

(Reporting by Ann Maria Shibu in Bengaluru; editing by Richard Pullin)

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Analysis: How idled car factories super-charged a push for U.S. chip subsidies



Analysis: How idled car factories super-charged a push for U.S. chip subsidies 2

By Stephen Nellis

(Reuters) – When President Joe Biden on Wednesday stood at a lectern holding a microchip and pledged to support $37 billion in federal subsidies for American semiconductor manufacturing, it marked a political breakthrough that happened much more quickly than industry insiders had expected.

For years, chip industry executives and U.S. government officials have been concerned about the slow drift of costly chip factories to Taiwan and Korea. While major American companies such as Qualcomm Inc and Nvidia Corp dominate their fields, they depend on factories abroad to build the chips they design.

As tensions with China heated up last year, U.S. lawmakers authorized manufacturing subsidies as part of an annual military spending bill due to concerns that depending on foreign factories for advanced chips posed national security risks. Yet funding for the subsidies was not guaranteed.

Then came the auto-chip crunch. Ford Motor Co said a lack of chips could slash a fifth of its first-quarter production and General Motors Co cut output across North America.

“It brings home very clearly the message that the semiconductor is really a critical component in a lot of the end products we take for granted,” said Mike Rosa, head of strategic and technical marketing for a group within semiconductor manufacturing toolmaker Applied Materials Inc that sells tools to automotive chip factories.

Within weeks, automakers joined chip companies calling for chip factory subsidies, and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and President Biden both pledged to fight for funding.

Industry backers now aim to be part of a package of legislation to counter China that Schumer hopes to bring to the Senate floor this spring. Still, all agree it will do little to solve the immediate auto-chip problem.

Headlines about idled car plants resonated with the public that had shrugged off abstract warnings in the past, said Jim Lewis, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Lawmakers, already worried that a promised infrastructure bill will not materialize this year, decided to push for quick solution.

“Nobody wants to be seen as soft on China. No one wants to tell the Ford workers in their district, ‘Sorry, can’t help,'” Lewis said. “It was one of those moments where everything aligned.”

The package includes matching funds for state and local chip-plant subsidies, a provision likely to heat up competition among states including Texas and Arizona to host big new chip plants that can cost as much as $20 billion.

The subsidies could benefit a factory in Arizona proposed by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co and one in Texas eyed by Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, even though those factories would be geared toward high-end chips for smartphones and laptops, rather than simpler auto chips. And those factories would not come on line until 2023 or 2024, according to plans disclosed by the companies, the world’s two largest chip manufacturers.

In the longer term, a raft of U.S. companies are also poised to benefit. Any chipmakers that build factories will source many tools from American companies such as Applied, Lam Research Corp and KLA Corp.

Intel Corp, Micron Technology Inc and GlobalFoundries – which already have U.S. factory networks – will also likely benefit.

Smaller, specialty chip factories also could benefit.

“The recent chip shortage in the automotive industry has highlighted the need to strengthen the microelectronics supply chain in the U.S.,” said Thomas Sonderman, chief executive of SkyWater Technology, a Minnesota-based chipmaker that makes automotive and defense chips. “We believe that SkyWater is uniquely positioned due to our differentiated business model and status as a U.S.- owned and U.S.- operated pure play semiconductor contract manufacturer.”

Even with subsidies, the U.S. companies still must compete with low-cost Asian vendors over the long run, and the immediate auto chip troubles will probably persist.

Surya Iyer, a vice president at Minnesota-based Polar Semiconductor, which makes chips for automakers, said his factory is booked beyond capacity and has started to speed some orders up while slowing others down, to meet automakers’ needs as best it can.

“We are expecting this level of demand to continue at least for the next 12 months, maybe even longer,” he said.

(This story has been refiled to add attribution to quote in paragraph 9, add dropped words in paragraphs 10 and 17)

(Reporting by Stephen Nellis and Hyunjoo Jin in San Francisco and Alexandra Alper in Washington. Editing by Jonathan Weber and David Gregorio)

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Atlantia disappointed with CDP bid for unit, continues talks



Atlantia disappointed with CDP bid for unit, continues talks 3

By Francesca Landini and Stephen Jewkes

MILAN (Reuters) – Italy’s Atlantia said on Friday an offer by a consortium of investors led by state lender CDP for its 88% stake in Autostrade per l’Italia fell short of the mark and asked its top managers to see if the bid could be sweetened.

“The offer falls below expectations,” the Italian infrastructure group said in a statement, adding it had mandated the chief executive and the chairman to assess “the potential for the necessary substantial improvements” to the bid.

Italian state lender CDP, together with co-investors Macquarie and Blackstone, has presented a proposal valuing all of Autostrade per l’Italia at 9.1 billion euros ($11 billion).

The consortium also requested Atlantia guarantee up to 700 million euros in potential damage claims and another roughly 800 million euros for a pending legal case, making the bid less attractive than previously expected.

One source said the consortium estimated overall pending legal claims against Autostrade at 3 billion to 4 billion euros, adding the 700 million euro cap did not mean the amount would be detracted from the offer price from the start.

Earlier on Friday Atlantia’s minority investors TCI and Spinecap had called on Atlantia’s board to reject the offer, saying it undervalued the asset.

“No deal is better than a bad deal, especially a bad deal and a wrong price,” TCI Advisory Services partner Jonathan Amouyal said in a emailed comment to Reuters.

TCI, which holds an indirect stake of around 10% in Atlantia, repeated that the value for 100% of Autostrade should be no less than 12.5 billion euros.

The board will hold a further meeting in order to take a final decision on the offer in due time, Atlantia said.

The negotiations between Atlantia and the CDP-led consortium are part of an effort to end a political dispute over Autostrade’s motorway concession triggered by the collapse of a motorway bridge run by the unit.

(GRAPHIC – Atlantia share performance:

The bid expires on March 16, but the deadline could be extended in case Atlantia calls an extraordinary shareholders meeting (EGM) on the issue, according to one source with knowledge of the matter.

Shares in the group ended down 0,7%, after recovering some losses, as investors waited for the decision of the board.

Atlantia, which is controlled by the Benetton family, owns 88% of Autostrade, with Germany’s Allianz and funds DIF, EDF Invest and China’s Silk Road Fund holding the rest.

The group also kept open an alternative plan to demerge and sell its stake in Autostrade per l’Italia unit and called an EGM on March 29 to extend to end-July a deadline for offers for the demerged stake.

(Additional reporting by Stefano Bernabei, editing by Louise Heavens and Steve Orlofsky)

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