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  • 22 Jan 2021 11:48 AM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Translation technology acquisition will provide Straker with key connector technology, offer new enterprise translation relationships with major corporates, materially grow Straker’s revenue and is forecast to be EBITDA break-even in

    FY22. ACQUISITION HIGHLIGHTS:

    • Binding agreement to acquire Lingotek business and assets for US$6.47 million (NZ$9.1 million1 ), comprising US$5.27 million in cash and US$1.2 million in shares at transaction completion plus deferred consideration.
    • Extends and consolidates Straker’s presence in the multi-billion-dollar US translation market;
    • Establishes new relationships with 20 enterprise customers and partners, including Oracle, Nike, and Acquia;
    • Adds strategic translation connector technology onto Straker’s RAY Ai-powered technology platform;
    • Lingotek generated US$7.9m (NZ$11.2m) revenue in CY202 ;
    • The acquisition is expected to be EBITDA break-even in FY22;
    • Lingotek’s management team, including its founder/CEO to be aligned with acquisition success via a performance-linked earn-out structure and will continue to drive the business.
    • Competitively priced acquisition with a material component of SaaS revenue; and
    • Acquisition funded through a combination of new debt facility, equity and Straker’s cash reserves.

    Auckland, New Zealand – Straker Translations (ASX: STG), a leading global technology-driven translation services platform, today announces it has entered into a binding agreement with Lingotek, Inc to acquire (through a Straker US subsidiary) 100% of the ‘Lingotek’ business and all business assets from Lingotek, Inc for a combination of cash and share consideration.

    Lingotek, which is based in Lehi, Utah and was founded in 2006, provides translation technology, website and software localisation, consultancy and document management. Lingotek has 51 employees.

    Lingotek has developed a suite of advanced translation connectors, the software interfaces that allow customers to connect their systems with its translation management system. In the year ending December 31, 2020 Lingotek generated NZ$11.2 million (US$7.9m), of which around 40% is subscription-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) revenue.

    The asset purchase agreement was signed on 21 January 2021 and is expected to be completed on 1 February 2021. Completion of the transaction is not subject to any conditions precedent. Strategic benefits The acquisition consolidates and extends Straker’s presence in the multi-billion-dollar US translation market, establishing new relationships with 20 global enterprises, including Oracle Nike, and Acquia. It also offers Straker acquisition synergies, including the gains that will come from the integration of the RAY Ai-powered translation platform into Lingotek. The transaction will materially boost Straker’s revenue and is expected to be EBITDA break-even in FY22.

    Founder and Chief Executive Grant Straker said regarding the proposed acquisition: “We are delighted to have reached this agreement to acquire Lingotek. A key element of our strategy is to accelerate growth through the acquisition of companies that have relationships with global enterprises and/or key technology complimentary to our RAY Ai powered translation platform. We then realise the latent value in these relationships by upselling these companies on the gains that come with our global reach and our advanced RAY platform. This transaction is consistent with that long standing growth strategy.

    “Our approach was most recently validated by the transformative agreement we struck with IBM in November, when that Fortune 500 company agreed to make Straker its strategic translation provider. That agreement emerged out of a relationship between IBM and Spain’s MSS, which we acquired in 2018.

    “Lingotek offers similar potential. It represents a fantastic opportunity to acquire enterprise customers, SaaS revenue, a US-based team of enterprise salespeople and an in-market tech team.

    “Meanwhile the Lingotek’s technology offers strong synergies with Straker’s RAY platform with minimal overlap. Notably, over several years Lingotek has invested and innovated in advanced translation connector technology.

    “These connectors will position us with the most advanced technology in the industry and represent a strategic capability for Straker. They will dramatically increase the number of companies around the world to which we can seamlessly connect our RAY translation platform.

    “We are also delighted Lingotek’s founder and CEO Jeff Labrum has agreed to join Straker Translations and realise the considerable potential we see in combining our businesses, our technologies and leveraging Straker’s global reach,” Mr Straker said.

    Founder and Chief Executive of Lingotek, Jeff Labrum, stated: “It is with great anticipation that Lingotek joins Straker Translations. Lingotek’s suite of advanced translation technology will dovetail into Straker’s world-leading RAY Ai-powered translation platform, ensuring RAY remains the most advanced technology platform in the industry. Combining our technology and strategic customer relationships with RAY, as well as Straker’s global service offering, will help underpin Straker’s ongoing growth, particularly in the US.

    Combining with Straker will give us a truely global channel for our SaaS platform and innovative technology, which is a really exciting prospect.

    Lingotek customers will also benefit from having a global supplier with productivity enhancing technology, great people and a world leading service offering.

    Personally, I am very pleased to be joining the Straker team, as are my key senior colleagues, as Straker becomes a major player in the global translation sector providing the industry’s best Ai driven solutions and processes for the benefit of our customers.”

    Transaction detail Straker has agreed to an upfront payment on completion of US$6.47 million (NZ$9.1m3 ) for Lingotek, comprising US$5.27 million in cash and US$1.2 million in Straker ordinary shares at an issue price of AU$1.59 per share 4 The new shares will be issued under the Company’s 15% placement capacity under Listing Rule 7.1. Following completion it will also provide an additional US$0.71 million of working capital to drive growth from the Lingotek platform connectors across the Straker Group. In addition, Straker has agreed to pay earn-out consideration to the Lingotek vendors of up to an additional US$3.13m in cash over two years contingent on hitting revenue growth targets. The Company believes this structure strongly aligns the vendors with the ongoing success of the transaction. The acquisition is to be funded via a mix of equity, debt and cash reserves: § NZ$1.7m (US$1.2m) in new Straker shares issued to Lingotek vendors at AU$1.59 per share as initial upfront consideration; 5 § NZ$7.4m (US$5.27m) via a new debt facility, as initial upfront consideration; and § remaining NZ$4.4m (US$3.13) cash earn out consideration to be paid over the two year earnout period if the full earn-out is achieved, presently expected to be funded by Straker’s existing cash reserves at the relevant time. Lingotek’s management team, including its founder/CEO, will continue with the Lingotek business after acquisition and will continue to manage Lingotek operations from Lingotek’s US-based head office. New debt facility terms Straker has entered into two new debt facilities for a total committed amount of NZ$8.0m as follows: • a secured simple term debt facility of NZ$6.5 million, provided by a syndicate of high-net-worth investors, some of whom were early Straker investors, with an interest rate of 10.50% p.a.; and • a second unsecured simple term debt facility of NZ$1.5 million, provided by an entity associated with Steve Donovan, a Straker non-executive director, with an interest rate of 11.50 p.a.; • both facilities have a 12-month maturity and are otherwise on the same terms, with the exception of the security arrangements and interest rate; • both facilities will be fully drawn at transaction completion to fund the initial cash consideration and initial Lingotek working capital. Following completion of the acquisition, Straker’s balance sheet will remain strong with expected pro-forma gearing of approximately 1% on a net debt to net debt plus equity basis.

  • 18 Jan 2021 12:08 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Introduction

    Thank you, Traci—and welcome to all of you joining us from across this great nation, and all around the world.

    Let me start by wishing each of you a happy, healthy, and hopeful New Year.

    We come together today, optimistic—that’s right, optimistic—for the year and the future, because the State of American Business is resilient.

    In the face of significant challenges, including a global pandemic and an economic crisis, businesses have adapted to survive ... they have served their communities, and this country ... and they have put forward life-saving, world-changing solutions.

    Our nation has seen it in the determination of small businesses who have kept their doors open and kept their employees on payrolls against all odds ... we’ve seen it in the tireless dedication of the essential workers who have kept daily life running for all of us ... and we’ve seen it in the precedent-shattering global innovation leading to the development of safe and effective vaccines, faster than anyone dreamed.

    But there is no question, business could not have persevered through the challenges of the past year without the leadership and partnership of our government.

    As the Chamber marshaled all its resources and worked closely with state and local chamber partners to help businesses make it through an unprecedented economic shutdown, members of Congress worked together to pass four significant legislative packages, including the most sweeping federal aid in U.S. history.

    Amidst all of this, we also worked with our leaders to advance other critical priorities such as a new trade deal with Canada and Mexico ... badly needed new rules to rebalance corporate governance and help reverse the decline in public companies ... and the largest energy package in more than a decade.

    That package includes 40 new pieces of legislation that together will leverage private-sector innovation and help protect the environment. The Chamber was proud to support it.

    As we turn the page to 2021, we are focused on reigniting our economy and reasserting our leadership and competitiveness.

    That too, will hinge on the resilience of business and the partnership of government.

    It will take the collective strength of the thousands of members of the business community gathered for this event—and the millions of others who help power our economy. Together, we can help lead our country out of crisis and into a brighter future.

    It will take thoughtful action by our leaders, prioritizing the right policies at the right time. It will take prudence to avoid sweeping or unworkable proposals that would hold back our economic recovery. And it will take the courage and collaboration needed to govern with the country’s interests—and our collective future—at heart.

    Some may look back at the events of the last week and ask whether that’s possible.

    Let me say unequivocally—violence has no place in our democracy...no matter where it comes from, who perpetrates it, or what motivates it.

    But our democracy is strong. Our commitment to the rule of law is unwavering. And our government is resilient. After the Capitol was breached and our brave law enforcement officers protected lawmakers and staff and restored order, our Senators and Representatives promptly went back to work. Working into the early hours, they finished the job—confirming the clear and lawful election of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.

    Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve got work to do, too—and we’re going to keep at it without distraction or deterrence.

    Leading the Recovery

    It begins with the recovery.

    Depending on where you sit, the recovery may be going fine—even well. Some industries, businesses, and segments of the workforce have thrived. We see the evidence in a surging stock market, record profits, robust consumer spending on goods, a housing boom, and rising personal savings rates. Smart and aggressive action by the Federal Reserve has played a significant role in the more positive aspects of the recovery.

    But it’s a very different story for those who have been negatively affected by the pandemic. Entire industries have been decimated because people aren’t traveling, gathering, shopping, or going out like they used to. Small businesses—particularly minority-owned, women-owned, and family-owned businesses—have been disproportionately impacted, many of them forced to shutter. 10 million people who had jobs last January don’t have jobs today.

    We won’t restore the jobs, growth, and prosperity that were lost in 2020 until we eradicate the pandemic and get our economy firing on all cylinders. And for that to happen, our elected officials must pull all the right policy levers—and push back against misguided proposals—in 2021.

    Most critically, we must continue to work with the new Congress and the Biden administration to help industries, businesses, and workers make it through to the end of this crisis. The pandemic is far from over, but if Congress sufficiently supports the economy with the relief it needs, we could see growth rebound by the third-quarter of this year. This must include all the support necessary to get the vaccines widely distributed and administered—only then can we truly move past the pandemic and begin to shrink the extraordinary expenditures that have been necessary to keep the system afloat.

    We can also stimulate the economy in a major way if we finally do the long overdue and broadly supported work of rebuilding our infrastructure. It’s the number one way to raise productivity, create jobs, and drive up incomes in a hurry.

    Our lawmakers should enact a fiscally and environmentally responsible infrastructure package that focuses on urgent needs like roads and bridges, modernizes our critical networks, and upgrades and expands technology like broadband.

    Even in a 50-50 Senate and a House divided by 5 votes, this can be done—and it might build some goodwill for bipartisan progress on other priorities. We’ve been working on this for more than 20 years. Let’s find a way to pay for it, and let’s get moving. This year, there can be no excuses for failure.

    To make infrastructure investment successful we not only need money, we need people—and that goes for our entire economy. For the many Americans who are out of work, we must prioritize finding them jobs through inclusive growth, and when needed, retraining.

    Our lawmakers should fund rapid training programs to connect the unemployed with jobs in new sectors. Employer-led initiatives should be prioritized to ensure training is aligned with industry needs and in-demand skills. Some of the best-paying sectors—such as health care or financial and professional services—have more job openings than available workers.

    If we do this right and do it quickly, we will improve the living standard for millions of Americans and get our economy growing even faster.

    At the same time, we need to tackle, head-on, systemic inequalities in education, employment, entrepreneurship, and the criminal justice system. Through our Equality of Opportunity Initiative, we are advocating for reform in Washington and working with chamber partners to address these issues in communities across the country.

    We also have to confront the reality that we have people without jobs and massive amounts of jobs without people.

    Even if we successfully employed every American willing and able to work, we would still face significant labor shortages—in construction, agriculture, health care, retail, manufacturing, and tech.

    We fought vigorously and successfully against actions by the Trump administration to severely limit legal immigration, and we will work cooperatively with the Biden administration to reform our immigration system to meet the needs of our modern economy.

    Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise... Allowing the world’s most talented and industrious people to contribute to our economy drives growth, which in turn creates more jobs for Americans. This urgent priority should draw bipartisan support.

    Building consensus on immigration reform, workforce development, and infrastructure investment this year will help accelerate the widespread recovery and deliver economic relief to the businesses and workers whose resilience has been put to the test.

     

    Rebuilding Our Economy for the Future

    At the same time, we must champion longer-term priorities to rebuild and expand our economy and protect our national security for the future.

    As a new government prepares to take the reins, we must prevent a return to excessive regulation or anti-competitive taxes. Remember: before the economic shock of the pandemic, the U.S. economy was healthy and strong—thanks in no small part to pro-business policies and regulatory relief that unlocked growth. Now is exactly the wrong time to further test the resiliency of businesses by hiking taxes or heaping on new regulations that do more harm than good.

    Business creation during the pandemic has been booming, with new business starts up 50% over the past year. We must not hamper this surge in activity with overregulation.

    Moreover, the recent and dramatic acceleration in technology and how we use it will usher in a post-pandemic digital age with limitless economic opportunity. As regulators rush to keep up with these advancements, they must take a light touch and a smart approach to preserve the innovation and growth being driven by the tech sector.

    The Chamber will use every tool at our disposal—including in the courts—to protect our recovery, our competitiveness, and our economic future from the regulatory overreach at home and abroad that could undermine it all.

    Our economic future is also tied to our global engagement.

    In recent years, our resilience has been tested through trade wars and tariffs. However, for America to remain competitive and expand our potential for sustainable growth and prosperity, we must reengage with the world through a bold trade agenda.

    Yes, let’s make more products in America, but let’s also sell them to the rest of the world. We must extend our reach to the 95% of the world’s customers who live beyond our borders. We must catch up to the countries that are inking new trade deals left and right. And we must lift the tariffs that have hurt American manufacturers and farmers and have been paid by American companies and their customers.

    We need to revitalize our alliances, reaffirm American leadership in multilateral organizations like the WTO and WHO, and restore our credibility on the global stage.

    At the same time, we all know that China is the biggest global challenge our nation faces—we must work to stabilize the relationship through strength and cooperation.

    On the one hand, China is by far the largest fast-growing market for U.S. companies. For the good of our own economy, and the world’s, we have to seize those opportunities.

    At the same time, we have to confront the unfair trade and industrial policies that China uses against U.S. companies. We must work with our allies to stand up to China, while also pursuing new negotiations with Beijing to protect our intellectual property.

    It’s right that our government wants to address unfair trade practices. We will be partners in working to level the playing field—not only in China—but other key markets such as India and Brazil.

    Finally, we cannot rebuild a strong and competitive economy without robust national security and sustainable supply chains. In our interconnected world, protecting our physical and digital assets is essential to keeping commerce and information flowing freely, efficiently, and securely.

    That must include cybersecurity. The recent widespread breach of the networks of U.S. agencies and companies by foreign actors was pervasive and sophisticated—and it has the potential to pose a far more sinister threat to our economy and critical infrastructure. The Chamber will continue to push for intelligence sharing between the public and private sectors to identify and mitigate threats from at home and abroad.

    I’ve only scratched the surface on the major issues we will be focusing on this year.

    Government partnership at every level will be key to achieving any of these objectives I’ve touched upon today.

    The decisions of our leaders and lawmakers will determine the strength and the trajectory of our economy.

    And that is why we advocate for the right policies, fight vigorously against the wrong ones, and work constructively to achieve the best results for the businesses that are driving the recovery and will lead us into the future.

    That is the U.S. Chamber’s stock-in-trade.

     

    Conclusion

    It’s true that, at home and abroad, we are operating at a time when people don’t always have a lot of faith in institutions. There’s mistrust in government, questions about the credibility of our democratic systems, contempt for capitalism. For different reasons, these factors have helped drive rising support for nationalism or socialism and other divisions.

    Some even ask if these are signals of national decline.

    Well, to that I say: no one has ever bet against America and won. We have it within us to make this a pivot point in our history.

    We will work with unlikely allies and build new coalitions. We will be willing to find common ground. We will push our leaders to do the right things, and have their backs when they do the hard things. We will we have the courage to take responsible stands on tough issues and the fortitude to see them through. We will have the vision to evolve when it’s necessary and the wisdom to stand our ground when we must.

    If the American business community has the guts and the perseverance to do those things—and we will—then our partners in government and our allies around the world will have to work with us. And working together, we can recover and rebuild, we can reform what’s broken, we can reaffirm our leadership, and we can renew the American promise of equal opportunity for all.

    I fundamentally believe that our nation will pull together, pull through, and emerge stronger.

    How am I so sure? Because all of you—the entrepreneurs, employers, and workers ...the business builders, leaders, and associations of this great country—are going to do it. And the Chamber of Commerce of the United States is here to help.

    A resilient business community drives opportunity, prosperity, security, and advancement. Your work fuels the most dynamic economy in history. You adapt, invest, invent, and innovate for a better future. You find solutions and make deals. And together, we sustain the system built for all of us, by all of us, for the benefit of all of us—free enterprise.

    So I’m asking all of you to join us today. Let’s unite around a mission of helping our nation forward. Let’s make common cause of growth and opportunity. Let’s rally for our recovery—and our future.

    Thank you very much. Now let’s go do it. 

  • 17 Jan 2021 2:27 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Connoisseur Travel signs reseller agreement for Zeno by Serko, plans accelerated rollout of travel booking and expense solution

    Serko Limited (NZX & ASX:SKO), a leader in online travel booking and expense management for business, today announced the signing of Washington, D.C.-based Connoisseur Travel as a Zeno reseller partner for North America. The agreement comes on the heels of a series of 2020 signings expanding Serko’s presence in North America, and brings Zeno’s highly customizable, consumer-grade travel booking and expense platform to Connoisseur customers.

    Connoisseur plans to quickly launch Zeno among its customer base, with 11 implementations in the next 30 days, and another 40 within 90 days. Connoisseur serves many law firms and humanitarian organizations eager to access Zeno’s user-friendly booking platform and enhanced COVID-19 features as employees receive vaccinations and staff travel resumes.

    “Zeno offers the perfect fit for our customers’ wants and needs from an online booking tool and expense management solution,” said Casey Soto, Director of Technology Innovation & Customer Experience for Connoisseur. “We’ve been somewhat hesitant to introduce an OBT to our customers because we didn’t feel any provider in the market could deliver the level of personalization and high standards of service they expect from Connoisseur. With Zeno, that all changed. We feel confident rolling out Zeno to our client base and providing them with access to a solution that will enhance our strong reputation.”

    Some of the features Connoisseur anticipates its customers taking advantage of immediately include:

    • COVID-19 features

    Several features ensure that health and well-being standards are being met, including dynamic trip authorization, custom policy configurations to restrict high-risk travel, consolidated traveler tracking, airline health-related measures (Reassurance Universal Product Attributes), and hotel health and hygiene data.

    • Multi-passenger and guest traveler bookings

    Bookers can seamlessly add multiple travelers – including guests – plus allocate cars and hotels for all travelers in one place, while creating individual PNR bookings for each person.

    • Personalized travel booking

    Zeno learns traveler preferences and recommends tailored end-to-end itineraries, with a user-friendly, intuitive interface and conversational booking flow.

    • Multi-source engine 

    Zeno’s approach to sourcing and displaying content goes well beyond other OBTs by pulling in content from suppliers directly, as well as from NDC, GDS and multiple hotel content aggregators. Travelers and bookers can review flights, including ancillary content, accommodation and transport details the same way they appear on supplier websites, to help make more informed travel decisions on the spot.

    “We can’t wait to hit the ground running, bringing Zeno to Connoisseur’s client base,” said Serko SVP of North America Tony D’Astolfo. “Given the government and humanitarian focus of many of Connoisseur’s customers, we are not only thrilled to bring our best-in-class solution to their organizations in the long term, but to assist in their immediate needs, enabling them to safely and swiftly return to travel and execute their organizations’ missions as easily as possible.”

    Zeno will be available to all Connoisseur Travel clients immediately. For more information on Zeno and its features, visit www.zeno.com.

  • 07 Jan 2021 9:16 AM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    On January 3, 2021, the government of New Zealand announced that it will be requiring all travelers entering New Zealand from the United States or the United Kingdom to present a negative PCR test result for COVID-19 in order to be allowed into the country. The result must be presented to the airline on a written form and must be certified by a laboratory in the 72 hours prior to departure. This rule takes effect for all flights arriving in New Zealand after 11:59pm on January 15, 2021. The official announcement can be found here: https://covid19.govt.nz/updates-and-resources/latest-updates/pre-departure-covid-19-test-for-travellers-from-the-uk-from-15-january/  

    Note that New Zealand is specifically requiring submission of a  negative “PCR” test. Other types of tests, such as the rapid test, will likely not be accepted. The announcement above provides information about exemptions to this policy, which are handled by Immigration New Zealand. 

    More questions about tests are answered here: https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus/covid-19-information-specific-audiences/covid-19-advice-travellers#ukusa 

    Further information will be made available directly to the airlines and on various government of New Zealand websites, including: https://covid19.govt.nz/travel-and-the-border/travel-to-new-zealand/ 

    As a reminder, most travelers are still prevented from entering New Zealand. The exceptions to this rule are limited and can be found on the NZ Immigration page here: https://www.immigration.govt.nz/about-us/covid-19/border-closures-and-exceptions 

    Those that can enter must first stay in a 14-day managed isolation or quarantine facility upon arrival. These facilities must be booked in advance of arrival and spaces are very limited for the coming months. We do not recommend that U.S. citizens make travel plans until they can confirm space in one of these facilities. Visit https://allocation.miq.govt.nz/portal/ for more information. All U.S. travelers will be tested on the first day of arrival and must remain in their rooms in the managed isolation facility until the result of that test is complete. 

    Travel requirements to the United States are currently under review due to the evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic. We will continue to provide updates through this platform. You can also visit http://travel.state.gov for the latest travel guidance to the United States. 

    Actions to Take 

    Visit the Department of State Covid-19 crisis page for the latest information

    Visit 
    the New Zealand Covid-19 website for the most up to date information in New Zealand

    Consult 
    the CDC website for accurate, up to date information 

    For the most recent information on what you can do to reduce your risk of contracting or transmitting Covid-19, please read the CDC’s latest recommendations 

    Consult your airline, cruise line, or other travel operator regarding any updated information about your travel plans and/or restrictions 

    Visit the United States Embassy in New Zealand website for updated information 

    Visit the Department of Homeland Security website for the latest travel restrictions to the United States 

    Visit the U.S. Department of State COVID-19 Answers Portal. 

    Assistance
    U.S. Consulate General Auckland, Level 3, Citigroup Building, 23 Customs Street East, Auckland 1010
     

    Contact information: +64 09 303 2724, AucklandACS@state.gov  

    State Department Consular Affairs: +1 888-407-4747 or +1 202-501-4444 

    Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive alerts 

    Follow us on Facebook and Twitter
  • 05 Jan 2021 11:28 AM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    As part of ongoing efforts to reduce the COVID-19 risk to aircrew, Air New Zealand will re-route its North America flights to allow aircrew to overnight in Honolulu rather than Los Angeles or San Francisco.

    From Monday 11 January, aircrew on all cargo flights between New Zealand and the United States will overnight in Honolulu. North America passenger services will be routed via Honolulu from 2 February.

    The changes mean flights from New Zealand will make a brief stop in Honolulu to change crew before continuing onto Los Angeles or San Francisco. Aircrew operating into those ports will then remain airside and operate the return flight to Honolulu where there will be a further crew change to operate back to New Zealand.

    Re-routing North American flights through Honolulu means aircrew can overnight in a lower risk destination while still maintaining vital connections into North America.


    Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Greg Foran says operating in a pandemic means the airline is constantly assessing the risks to its people and operation.

    “While it’s important to keep trade routes open and passenger services operating for our customers, looking after our people is our first priority.

    “I’d like to thank everyone who has helped us to move so quickly in re-routing our flights, from officials in New Zealand and the United States, to our ground partners and our teams who have worked through the holiday break to make this happen.”

    Air New Zealand has worked closely with the unions representing aircrew to progress these operational changes rapidly for the safety and wellbeing of those aircrew operating into high risk destinations.

    The airline also continues to work closely with the Government and Ministry of Health officials on safe travel protocols to protect employees, customers and the community.

    Air New Zealand currently operates eight cargo and two passenger and cargo services per week between New Zealand and Los Angeles in addition to four cargo services between New Zealand and San Francisco and one cargo service from Australia to North America. Customers will not be able to end their journey in Honolulu. The airline will be contacting cargo customers and passengers affected by the changes in flights directly.

    Ends

    Issued by Air New Zealand Communications.

  • 18 Dec 2020 11:06 AM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Advance purchase agreement signed for NVX-CoV2373, Novavax’ adjuvanted protein vaccine candidate

    GAITHERSBURG, Md., Dec. 16, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Novavax, Inc. (Nasdaq: NVAX), a late-stage biotechnology company developing next-generation vaccines for serious infectious diseases, today announced an Advance Purchase Agreement with the government of New Zealand for the purchase of 10.7 million doses of NVX-CoV2373, Novavax’ candidate vaccine against COVID-19. Currently in Phase 3 clinical testing in the United Kingdom for the prevention of COVID-19, NVX-CoV2373 is a recombinant protein vaccine adjuvanted with Novavax’ proprietary Matrix-M™ to enhance the immune response. “The global reach of the pandemic requires that all regions of the world have an adequate supply of vaccine available to protect their entire citizenry,” said Stanley C. Erck, President and Chief Executive Officer of Novavax. “We appreciate the confidence of the government of New Zealand and are pleased to contribute to ensuring that New Zealanders will have access to a protein-based vaccine through standard distribution channels, should it receive regulatory approval.” Under the terms of the agreement, Novavax will manufacture NVX-CoV2373 with a target of delivering initial doses by mid-2021. The company will work with Medsafe, New Zealand’s regulatory agency, to obtain product approvals as needed. Given the urgency of timely approval and delivery of vaccine during the pandemic, the regulatory review process may leverage review by prioritized regulatory bodies such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, European Medicines Agency and/or Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Authority in the United Kingdom. Additional terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

    https://www.novavax.com/

  • 16 Dec 2020 5:15 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    A defence analyst says a new surveillance and anti-submarine aircraft training deal with Boeing should boost New Zealand's military credibility in years ahead.

    Boeing has been awarded a $153 million contract to train Royal New Zealand Air Force crew and maintenance staff in the use of the new P-8A Poseidons.

    The Government has invested $2.3 billion in four of the Boeing maritime patrol aircraft.

    Other P-8A Poseidon operators included the US Navy, the Royal Australian Air Force and the Royal Air Force.

    Political scientist and aeronautical engineering graduate, Associate Professor Stephen Hoadley, said the aircraft would pay for themselves in the long run.

    But much of that pay-off came in intangible terms like international credibility which was hard for Treasury accountants to measure, Hoadley said.

    "It makes New Zealand interoperable with the Five Eyes partners, from whom New Zealand gets a lot more intelligence data than it provides."

    Hoadley, from the University of Auckland, said the P-8A could enhance New Zealand's surveillance skills in the South Pacific and potentially relieve some pressure on Australia.

    "It's a fortuitous and logical division of labour," Hoadley told the Herald.

    He said the training could also help RNZAF staff work better with allies in years ahead.

    "It makes the individuals who learn to fly the aircraft also interoperable."

    He said when allies knew how to operate each others' aircraft, pilots and other staff could be seconded to other countries if needed.

    Hoadley said Chinese expansionism in the South Pacific presented another challenge.

    He said Beijing used a "highly-subsidised and semi-official" fishing fleet to gather information and increase its influence in the ocean.

    "It's expanding its operations in the South Pacific all the time. These aircraft will be able to keep tabs on them."

    The Orions would be useful in anti-poaching operations, Hoadley said.

    Mike Yardley, Ministry of Defence Deputy Secretary for capability delivery, said a simulator and classroom training suite Boeing provided in the deal was important.

    "The simulated environment allows for crews to be trained to fly in more diverse and challenging scenarios," Yardley said.

    "The suite is also a safe, economical and environmentally friendly way to train personnel."

    He said funding for the US$109 million training suite came from within the NZ$2.3 billion budget for P-8A Poseidon fleet, already announced back in 2018.

    "The Royal New Zealand Air Force already use a range of simulator suites for training, including the NH90 helicopter and T-6 Texan Aircraft," Yardley added.

    Boeing on Wednesday said the US Navy awarded it the Foreign Military Sales contract to provide training for the Poseidons.

    The contract included a weapons systems training programme.

    The company said it would prepare the RNZAF to operate and maintain "the world's premier maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft for decades to come".

    Boeing said all training for the new aircraft would eventually happen at RNZAF Base Ohakea, near Palmerston North.

    Aerospace analysis website Shephard Media said initial crews were training in Jacksonville, Florida.

    Training systems were expected to be installed and ready for training at Ohakea in January 2024, Shephard added.

    The new aircraft were bought to replace Orions which entered service in the 1960s and were upgraded in the early 1980s and given the P-3K2 designation.

    The P-3K2 this year conducted patrols supporting New Zealand Customs and surveillance flights to report on damage Cyclone Harold caused in Vanuatu and Fiji in April.

    As the national coronavirus lockdown neared its end, one P-3K2 conducted surveillance for police of recreational boats in Auckland over Anzac Day weekend.

    The ageing aircraft's replacement was discussed for years before the $2.3 billion deal was signed.

    At one point, Parliament's Foreign Affairs Defence and Trade Committee considered replacing the Orions with drones.

    Last month, Forbes reported that the new P-8A Poseidons might be able to locate submarines from the air thanks to a "radical" new Raytheon radar system.

    By: John Weekes
    Reporter, NZ Herald


  • 03 Dec 2020 11:32 AM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Heads will turn out on the water this summer with the arrival of high-end American boat brand, Crownline to our shores.

    Award winning Hawkes Bay company Euro City Ltd has secured the distribution rights to Crownline boats and that means one thing for people out on the water. Boat envy just got real.

    Entrepreneur and managing director of Euro City, Terry Elmsly says he had a choice of boat manufacturers to distribute, but in the end, it came down to two important factors.

    "I ran with the boat that in my view is most suitable for the New Zealand market. I also have a passion for beautiful things. My mother will tell you I have been like this since I was little. Because I deal in high end cars, I struggle with something that represents mediocrity and so I chose Crownline because of the quality it represents."

    Crownline made a brief appearance in the country in the early 1990's. Since then, the Illinois company has changed ownership, undergone a large restructure and evolved into one of America's most respected brands.

    "The construction methods the company uses are exceptional. It doesn't cut corners and the quality is all there. When the first shipment arrived in July, I was totally blown away by how good the boats actually are. The level of fitment inside them is sensational. Then when you put them in the water - the ride is something else," says Elmsly.

    Recently he took a group of boating journalists and staff out to test a Bow Rider. "The waters were choppy at Gulf Harbour and people were warning us not to take it out. But we got back, and nobody was wet. Everybody was blown away with how good the boat was in the rough."

    There are some very good-looking boats in the range, he says, and clients are spoilt for choice with 35 model derivatives. The vessels range from 19 to 35 feet and can be speced to suit individual requirements.

    The 220CC Finseeker Centre Consul is perfect for a fish and standard features include engine options with 26 variants ranging from 175 to 300 horsepower. Twin Garmin 7 touchscreens, six built-in rod holders, six wet sound splash-proof speakers, aerated bait well and many, many more features will keep the family in comfort and safety without compromising fishability, says Elmsly.

    "I recently sold a Finseeker to a Hawkes Bay local and rang him up to see how the fishing was going. He told me he was pinching himself - the boat is that good."

    The smooth ride on rough waters is almost a metaphor for Elmsly's business attitude.

    While many businesses are hunkering down in response to Covid, Elmsly has taken the gloves off and by expanding his luxury car dealership into the marine business.

    Choppy waters are not something to fear with adaptation, planning and a vision.

    "I never look at the negativity that life throws at you. Over the centuries there's been world wars and pandemics, but the sun always comes up at some point."

    While Covid is this year's disaster, he believes the car industry faces more challenges with the electrification of the motor industry. Expansion into the marine industry by choosing a reputable boat manufacturer to partner with is his way of future proofing his staff and business with the challenges to come.
    He believes automotive servicing will change with electrification and as a result up to 40% of his car servicing might be lost in the next decade.

    "Being a realist, we are probably facing a downturn in our work, so we need to look at something else. If you take 30 to 40 percent of revenue away, you are facing a lot of unemployment. I'm attempting to future proof for my staff. I'm okay as I'm at the end of my career anyway, but my staff have to be able to work and keep going.

    "I know from experience putting an Audi flag up doesn't necessarily mean you will get people flocking in the door straight away - you have to earn your position in the market."

    The payoffs have already started with the expansion resulting in the company employing more staff and looking for more marine specialists to come on board. Orders for boats are coming in and as a result, Elmsly plans to focus on after sales care for Auckland clients.

    He has successfully negotiated the acquisition of a marine business that has a 50 year history in the city. "The intention is to grow this business, retain staff and adopt the same principles of customer care of our award-winning Hawkes Bay base."

    This attention to customer care will also include the addition of a marine shop to its inventory, "This is so we can offer customers everything they need from life jackets to anchors to keep them safe and having fun out on the water," says Elmsly.

    https://www.eurocity.co.nz/

  • 02 Dec 2020 4:19 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Discovery, Inc. (“Discovery”), the global leader in real-life entertainment, has completed its acquisition of New Zealand’s leading independent free-to-air commercial broadcaster, MediaWorks TV Ltd, now operating as Discovery NZ Limited.

    The acquisition makes Discovery a major player in New Zealand’s free-to-air television market and includes the entertainment channels Three and Bravo, streaming service ThreeNow, multi-platform news and current affairs service Newshub, as well as channels Three+1, Bravo+1, The Edge TV and The Breeze TV. Discovery will continue the existing partnership with NBCUniversal for the Bravo channel joint venture.

    Discovery will now look to combine its businesses across New Zealand and Australia into one organisation spanning both countries, a move designed to increase scale across the region as a whole. The business will be jointly led by Glen Kyne and Rebecca Kent, General Managers for New Zealand and Australia, who report to Simon Robinson, Discovery President APAC.

    Simon Robinson, Discovery President APAC, said: “Today is an exciting moment for Discovery as we significantly expand our operations in New Zealand, and look to create a trans-Tasman powerhouse organisation led by Glen Kyne and Rebecca Kent. The acquisition of MediaWorks TV, with its popular brands and prominent position in New Zealand, will be pivotal in achieving long-term growth and success in both markets.”

    Glen Kyne, General Manager, New Zealand & Australia, said: “I am incredibly excited to officially join the Discovery family today and welcome this new beginning for our people, audiences and customers, as well as the production companies that we support both locally and abroad.

    “We have worked hard to get Three to a clear number two position in the free-to-air market*, and now have the opportunity to apply that same focus across the wider portfolio to further strengthen our position. Our increased share in New Zealand, alongside our established offering in Australia, will enable us to realise the full value of Discovery brands, delivering premium news and entertainment to our audiences and enhanced solutions for our advertisers.”

    Rebecca Kent, General Manager, Australia & New Zealand, said: “This is the next phase of growth for our region, giving us an opportunity to build audiences further with locally produced and internationally acquired content across multiple screens. We are focused on bringing audiences the local stories that Discovery and Three are renowned for through our successful local productions, and using Discovery’s international network to bring local audiences the best of our stories from around the world.”

    Discovery has had a presence in Australia and New Zealand for more than 25 years, when it first launched Discovery Channel on Foxtel and Sky. In addition to the Discovery NZ Limited brands, the New Zealand portfolio includes free-to-air channels, Choice and HGTV, and six pay-TV channels - Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Food Network, Living and Discovery Turbo.

    Discovery Australia’s portfolio includes eight pay-TV channels across Foxtel and Fetch - Discovery Channel, TLC, Investigation Discovery, Animal Planet, Discovery Turbo, HGTV, Food Network and Travel Channel, free-to-air channel 9Rush, a partnership with Nine Entertainment Co, and golf streaming service GOLFTV.

  • 19 Nov 2020 5:36 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    New Zealand cancer diagnostics company Pacific Edge Limited (NZX: PEB) today announces a new leadership structure to strengthen the executive team of its US based subsidiary, Pacific Edge Diagnostics USA Limited (PEDUSA).

    Coupled with this Pacific Edge is boosting its in-market US sales force to accelerate sales of its bladder cancer Cxbladder products in the Company’s largest market.

    US-based Non-Executive Director David Levison has been appointed Executive Chairman of PEDUSA and will report directly to Pacific Edge Group CEO David Darling. PEDUSA Chief Executive Jackie Walker and the US based team will report to Mr Levison, who will take up the new role and step down from the Pacific Edge Board, effective today.

    Pacific Edge Group Chief Executive David Darling said: “The commercially momentous July outcome provides coverage by the US Federal Government’s Centres for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for Cxbladder fully enabling national reimbursement for the 62 million patients covered by CMS.

    “This achievement, coupled with our growing commercial relationships with leading healthcare providers such as Kaiser Permanente, further validates Cxbladder’s recognition as an approved clinical test for urologists, encouraging other healthcare organisations and insurers to bring our Cxbladder products into their battery of cancer diagnostic tools.

    “Combined, these developments are now driving a step change in the growth of our US business. To meet this growth we are stepping up our US team with the appointment of David Levison, the expansion of our US sales force in key territories and the addition of a new role in medical affairs to support our medical director. David’s appointment will also help the Company overcome some of the Covid-19 related international travel restrictions.

    “David will add his expertise and networks to the US executive team, helping carry the load and to make the most of the significant opportunities Pacific Edge now has opening up in the US. Meanwhile, the scale-up in our sales force in some new US territories will extend our reach into the market and grow Cxbladder’s adoption.

    “David has spent 25 years in the healthcare industry, working across a range of sectors from pharmaceuticals to services and diagnostics. And, after more than four years on the Pacific Edge Board, David is very familiar with our products, systems, people and culture. Additionally, having founded and led several high growth medical and medical technology businesses in the US, he is acutely aware of the challenges and opportunities we face in growing our business in the US market. The Pacific Edge team is looking forward to working with him as they take advantage this growth opportunity.”

    Pacific Edge Chairman Chris Gallaher said obtaining David Levison’s agreement to move into the senior executive team and growing out the on-ground sales executive team are very positive steps for the Company and its growth in the US market.

    “David is very well credentialed for this new role and through his membership on the Pacific Edge Board, he has an excellent knowledge of the Company, its products and culture. I would like to thank David for his contribution as a Director. He has been an invaluable source of knowledge and advice on all aspects of our US business.”

    A replacement Non-Executive Director will be appointed in due course.

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