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  • 14 May 2021 3:40 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    4 years ago, I walked into my local bike shop with a shotgun seat prototype under my arm.

    The store owner Kris checked it over, and then quickly took a punt on the product that my friend Tom had designed, by placing an order for 5 units. 

    We had our first official shotgun retailer, and we were pretty happy with ourselves. And ever since then, we’ve worked really hard to grow our retail foot-print. 

    We started in New Zealand. I did a road trip around the country with a boot full of shotgun seats. And we sold the lot. 

    Then Australia came on-board, and we picked up some key stores across the ditch. We were 12 months in, and we were finally starting to build momentum. 

    Fast forward to 2019 and Andrew joined the team, followed by Trev in the UK in 2020. And now all of a sudden, it’s 2021, and we have distributors supplying bike retailers in New Zealand, Australia, UK, USA, Canada, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Chile, South Africa, Portugal, Poland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Czech Republic, Slovenia and Slovakia... Phew! 

    And whilst Andrew and Trev have driven the international growth in terms of sales, they couldn't’ have done it without the support of our awesome team based out of our NZ office – not to mention our off-shore liaisons, who offer in-market support.

    But I digress, because we have some big news to share. And it’s our biggest ever addition to our retail foot-print in terms of stores. 

    Today we’re excited to announce that our products are now available at REI Co-op, one of the largest sporting retailers in the US of A.

    With 168 locations across 39 states, REI Co-op significantly increases our footprint in the US, and adds to the growing list of bicycle retailers brought on by our North American distribution partner, HLC.

    Being stocked in REI adds to our existing network of US dealers, and makes the shotgun seat (and our recently released tow rope) even more available to US MTB parents – Andrew Inman, Kids Ride Shotgun

    We’re proud to now have over 2000 retailers globally, and we’re excited about working with all of our awesome stockists, to ultimately help raise the next generation of mountain bikers.

    Dan - Co-Founder, Kids Ride Shotgun

  • 14 May 2021 12:04 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Vence, the leading supplier of virtual fencing and herd management solutions for sustainable animal protein production, has raised $NZ16 million /$US12 million.

    The funding will help Vence scale the delivery of its platform in its entry markets - the US and Australia. The company is building tools which enable precision livestock farming and are driving the adoption of regenerative practices while improving profitability for the farmers.

    Vence was founded in 2016 after Kiwi Jasper Holdsworth, whose family has run a livestock farm near Gisborne for over 100 years, identified an opportunity. Reviewing the cost structure on the farm he pondered a way to use technology to complement animal movement and management. Instead of trying to solve the problem himself he reached into his network to find people who could help build a solution…and a business was built.

    In 2017, Vence was selected as one of just 20 startups worldwide to pitch to investors as part of FoodBytes!, an international programme from Rabobank that drives connections and collaboration between startups, corporate leaders, investors and farmers to implement solutions to food system challenges. Since then, Vence has gone from strength to strength and, this month (May 2021) it has announced its successful capital raise led by Tyche Partners. California-based Tyche Partners is a venture capital firm focusing on investments in early and early growth stage companies with disruptive technologies.

    The funding includes participation from existing investors; Rabobank Food & Ag Innovation Fund, Grantham Environmental Trust’s Neglected Climate Opportunities fund and Eniac Ventures as well as new investors JMI Equity and Trailhead Partners.

    Tony Chao from Tyche Partners said, “At Tyche, we love rolling up our sleeves and solving hard problems alongside passionate founders with a transformational vision. Vence has built an incredibly compelling solution that touches our daily diets, make tremendous economic sense for its rancher customers, and has the potential to significantly reduce our carbon footprint. We are excited to play a role in advancing Vence’s vision and improve the financial and environmental well-being of an important pillar of the economy.”

    “Pastureland represents over a third of global land mass and there are more livestock globally than there are cars – yet less than 1% of the livestock industry is digitized. We see this as ripe opportunity to help transform one of the world’s largest ($2T+) and most mature industries by providing tools for farmers to enable data driven decisions and enable precision management.” said Frank Wooten, CEO and co-founder of Vence.

    Richard O’Gorman, Managing Director Rabo Food & Agri Innovation Fund said “We originally connected with Vence through the FoodBytes! platform, invested in 2018 and have since worked closely with the company to accelerate the remote herd management solution,” said “Together with a great investor syndicate we are thrilled to continue to support this highly relevant, sustainable technology and accelerate its offering to the livestock community.”

    Until Sunday 16 May 2021, Kiwi agtech, food tech and consumer food and beverage startups are invited to apply for selection to present at the FoodBytes! global virtual pitch competition in November.

    Nathalie Gibson, Rabobank Head of Innovation, Knowledge & Networks, who is leading the search for startups across Australasia, including New Zealand, said, “We’re scouting for startups with validated business models, demonstrated commercial traction, a robust, diverse team and a cross-industry collaborative mindset, and that have the potential to drive meaningful and sustainable change throughout the food value chain. We would like to discover and grow more startups like we have supported Vence.”

    Vence has received interest from nearly 5,000 livestock farms globally. The company will be ramping deployment of the first commercial version of its product this year on farms across the US and Australia. Over time, however, the company’s goals are much larger. The grasslands are the world’s second largest carbon sink behind the ocean, and rotational grazing has been shown to accelerate the pace at which those lands sequester carbon. Vence believes by building tools to help manage animals and improve productivity, they can enable the quicker adoption of these practices.

    Frank Wooten said, “For regenerative agriculture to work at scale, it needs to generate profits for farmers/ranchers as well as enhance their quality of life. We built a platform which does both.”

  • 14 May 2021 11:55 AM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Pultron Composites is delighted to announce the signing of a strategic alliance with US Fortune 500 company, Owens Corning as the sole distributor of MATEENBAR™ Fiberglas™ Rebar in North America.

    Pultron set up Mateenbar Limited as a separate company in 2020 and continues to be a majority owner and key R&D and technology partner to Mateenbar, supplying specialist equipment, technical expertise, and research and development.

    MATEENBAR™ Fiberglas™ Rebar is a more durable alternative to steel rebar.  Rebar refers to the bars that are used to provide additional support to reinforced concrete structures widely used in civil infrastructure projects.

    The demand for sustainable infrastructure is increasing, as civil engineers and government agencies are seeking new technologies to achieve longer lasting and carbon-friendly infrastructure. Mateenbar™ provides the answer – a highly durable rebar that eliminates the risk of corrosion, extends infrastructure life cycles and reduces maintenance costs, even when used in highly corrosive environments. It is better for the environment and the public purse.

    Owens Corning is the world’s largest manufacturer of fibreglass composites and a key figure in the building and infrastructure industry. The collaboration with Owens Corning will drive new sales and increase awareness of fibreglass rebar technology.

    Mateenbar USA Inc. will produce Mateenbar™ exclusively for Owens Corning for the United States, Canada and Mexico from Mateenbar’s all-new manufacturing facility in North Carolina (USA). The North Carolina factory is a 110,000sq ft site fitted out with state-of-the-art pultrusion manufacturing equipment designed and engineered by Pultron.

    Mateenbar™ has been used in major construction projects worldwide and certified in over 2,500 independent, 3rd party lab tests. As a result of Mateenbar’s global expansion, Pultron has increased staff numbers by 30% in the last year. Pultron continues to manufacture Mateenbar™ for the Oceania market and is experiencing growing interest from this region.

    The President of Owens Corning Composites, Marcio Sandri, said: “Mateenbar Limited has built a powerful product leadership position in the global concrete reinforcement market and we are proud to bring this world-class product to the United States and federal and state departments of transportation, to enable more durable and longer lasting concrete structures.”

    Pultron CEO, Jasper Holdsworth states, "Owens Corning’s deep application knowledge in this emerging market, together with the high-volume fibreglass rebar and post-processing technologies that we use to make Mateenbar™, will be a tremendous combination. We are excited to be working with such an iconic company with an outstanding international reputation."

    About Pultron Composites: Pultron Composites is a hi-tech composites company based in Gisborne. They are global specialists in the development and manufacture of customized fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) composites profiles using the pultrusion process. As industry pioneers, Pultron delivers value-driven solutions to customers through world-class R&D and superior product innovation in a range of sectors including infrastructure, marine, mining and recreation. Please visit www.pultron.com for further information.

    About Mateenbar: Mateenbar Limited is the world’s leading fibreglass rebar technology and manufacturing group. Mateenbar™ is a high-performance replacement for steel rebar for concrete reinforcement. It is corrosion-free, twice the strength and a quarter of the weight of steel. By eliminating the risk of corrosion, it delivers improved infrastructure lifespan and significantly reduces maintenance. This leading technology was developed by Pultron Composites in New Zealand and is now manufactured in North America, Saudi Arabia, and New Zealand. Pultron is the majority owner of the Mateenbar group. Please visit www.mateenbar.com for further information.

    Commercial enquiries: Pete Renshaw, Business Development Director, +64 6 867 8582

    Media enquiries: Angeline Beattie, Marketing Manager, +64 6 867 8582

     

  • 13 May 2021 9:08 AM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    DDB Group digital experience agency Tribal Aotearoa has announced a partnership with BigCommerce, a US-based global SaaS ecommerce giant.

    Tribal Aotearoa managing partner James Blair said: “Aligned in a shared vision about the future of ecommerce, Tribal is among the first creative agencies to partner with the internationally acclaimed platform.

    “In a move designed to reimagine the experience of ecommerce through the intersection of powerful brand storytelling and world-class ecommerce technology, the partnership unlocks the potential for Tribal and BigCommerce to deliver fully bespoke and integrated brand commerce experiences online.

    “It’s the unique combination of brand-led and functionally efficient ecommerce that makes it an inimitable proposition.

    “BigCommerce was interested in Tribal’s unique proposition incorporating integrated technology solutions with thumb stopping creative ideas that generate emotion and drive action.

    “Having global capabilities behind us, Tribal will be able to optimise our offering to our clients well beyond the New Zealand market.

    “Identical white, cookie-cutter ecommerce sites should be a thing of the past.”

    “Globally the industry is experiencing a period of unparalleled growth. New research from McKinsey has revealed that throughout the Covid-19 pandemic there has been 10 years’ worth of ecommerce advancement in the space of three months, when compared to the first quarter of 2020.

    “Importantly, the opportunity lies in disrupting the templated approach to ecommerce where every online shopping experience looks and feels the same.

    “Identical white, cookie-cutter ecommerce sites should be a thing of the past. Brands work so hard to differentiate themselves in their products, in-store experience and their communications – ecommerce sites should receive this same treatment.

    “BigCommerce enables Tribal to incorporate video, 3D and dynamic design elements into a high-performance ecommerce site that’s easy to manage.”

    New York-based BigCommerce global agency partnerships director Daniel Fertig said: “In an era where merchants are increasingly looking to sell direct to consumer, it’s become more important than ever to stand out from the crowd with artful storytelling and brand forward messaging.

    “That’s why we’re excited to have Tribal bring their industry leading blend of creativity and technical acumen to bear for our clients across the ANZ region.”

    About Tribal Worldwide Aotearoa
    A digital experience agency for the connected age. We drive growth by connecting traditional brand storytelling with the power of modern technology. We do this by creating digital experiences that drive an action or emotional response through content, platforms and products. Tribal Worldwide is part of the DDB Group.

    Source: https://www.mad-daily.com/
  • 11 May 2021 7:05 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)
    AWS opened its first office space in Aotearoa eight years ago with a bold commitment to support the nation’s digital transformation by helping Kiwi businesses harness the benefits of cloud technology. Using AWS Cloud services, local governments and business of all sizes, and across all industries are able to innovate quickly, increase operational efficiencies, and take their ideas to the world.


    However, we know that getting the most out of our technology requires us to unlock the possibilities for customers, explore ideas, and help them develop the skills to innovate. That’s why today we are announcing the opening of our new, larger AWS office in the iconic Commercial Bay building in downtown Auckland. Our new office will help us provide better support to the tens of thousands of customers that use AWS in New Zealand each month including Air NZ, BNZ, Ministry of Health, TVNZ, University of Auckland, Xero, Vodafone, Gentrack, Uneeq, Halter, Sharesies, Consegna, Deloitte, and Orion Health.

    Another reason for our office expansion is to support our growing workforce. AWS now employs more than 100 people across New Zealand, with 50 of our team members hired in the past year alone. We’ve created new jobs for data scientists, cloud engineers, solutions architects, and sales and account managers, so our teams can continue to drive innovation on behalf of our customers and partners.

    Our new office is just one of many investments we’re making in New Zealand. We have also built local infrastructure to support the different needs of our customers. Earlier this year, Vector launched their first AWS Outposts, to run AWS infrastructure and services on-premises. Additionally, Vector and AWS have a strategic alliance, and are building a cloud-based New Energy Platform (NEP) that will enable New Zealand’s energy industry to deliver consumers more affordable, reliable, and cleaner energy options. This alliance will contribute 30 new highly-skilled jobs in New Zealand to support the development of the NEP. And customers like TVNZ are using our new AWS Edge location in Auckland to access our cloud services faster and provide improved user experiences for their customers - so we’ll never miss a Black Caps wicket!

    Upskilling Aotearoa

    Creating a digitally skilled workforce is critical to accelerating innovation. Our new office space enables us to ramp up our training programs and help ensure that New Zealand gains the talented pool of professionals it needs to unlock the value of the cloud. Our goal is to train more than 29 million people globally by 2025.

    We are committed to improving the diversity of New Zealand’s IT workforce by creating opportunities for people from underrepresented communities to forge careers in the industry. Last week, we launched the AWS re/Start digital skills program in New Zealand. People who are unemployed or underemployed, particularly within the Maori and Pacific communities, will gain cloud skills by taking part in a free 12-week full-time skills training program. Delivered in collaboration with Te Pūkenga, a national network of vocational education and training brought together by the New Zealand government, we look forward to providing an update on this program when this first cohort graduates.

    Supporting our partners going global

    A thriving community of AWS partners in New Zealand are building small and medium-sized cloud businesses. Last April, we opened our AWS Marketplace to New Zealand and Australian Independent Software Vendors (ISV) and consulting partners. This new route to market provides instant access to more than 310,000 monthly active users around the world. Already there’s some great international collaborations forming on the AWS Marketplace. Our local partner, Consegna, found Australian software company Local Measure’s platform so interesting, they decided to bundle it with their own consulting services – and later listed the service offering on AWS Marketplace. This is a great example of how the AWS Marketplace encourages local innovation. We see the potential for these software providers to drive future economic growth in NZ and are proud to support them.

    Building the future

    New Zealand has a rich community of innovators and entrepreneurs, and we support their tenacity and ambition to build and grow world-leading businesses. That’s why we are continuing to deepen local investments, and work hard to ensure our customers can access the latest technology to expand into global markets, improve their customer experience, and lower operating costs.2020 accelerated our shift to a digital world and highlighted an even more urgent recognition of the problems we need to address together to drive our economy and society forward. We see great opportunity for New Zealand to be a leading nation in the digital economy and are excited to collaborate with our local customers and partners to be a part of that journey.

    By Nick Walton, Managing Director for AWS Commercial Sector, New Zealand

  • 03 May 2021 10:49 AM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Investment to support Company’s growth in New Zealand and worldwide

    CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Natural Pet Food Group (the “Company”), a New Zealand-based premium pet food company, and KKR, a leading global investment firm, today announced the completion of KKR’s acquisition of Natural Pet Food Group. The investment will be used to support the Company’s international growth and advance its mission to supply safe, sustainably sourced high-meat pet food from New Zealand to more customers and their pets worldwide.

    Neil Hinton, CEO of Natural Pet Food Group said, “My team is excited about the opportunities and connections that KKR can provide. Our business is about providing pet owners with the very best in natural, high-meat nutrition for the four-legged members of their families. KKR has an impeccable pedigree in our sector which will help us grow, develop new products and take our brands to new customers and new markets, all over the world.”

    “It’s a great result not only for our company but also our supply partners, farmers and seafood suppliers from all over New Zealand and our manufacturing partners in Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne. We also recognize our outgoing shareholders, in particular Pioneer Capital, for their contribution over the years, which laid the foundation for this next exciting phase. This is another fantastic ‘paddock to plate’ New Zealand story that builds on our quality nutrition, safety and ethical credentials and the strong partnerships that underpin our business. KKR’s investment marks the next phase of our evolution and their support is a strong endorsement of the outlook for our business,” added Mr Hinton.

    Pet owners around the world are increasingly seeking the highest-quality, low carbohydrate diets for their pets to improve their long-term health and wellness. Natural Pet Food Group brands provide pet owners with a variety of nutritious, 100% New Zealand made pet food produced from high-quality, locally sourced wholefood ingredients.

    Michael Robson, Managing Director of KKR Capstone and joining member of Natural Pet Food Group’s Board of Directors, said, “Natural Pet Food Group is a pioneer in New Zealand’s sustainable pet food industry, with a strongly defined mission and set of values. We could not be more excited to work with Neil and his talented team to support the Company’s operations by leveraging KKR’s experience, network, and expertise to strengthen Natural Pet Food Group’s leadership in key markets and create opportunities in new ones. This investment also reflects KKR’s commitment to supporting fast-growing companies in New Zealand that are seeking opportunities to expand into new sectors, verticals, and markets.”

    KKR will fund its investment from KKR Asian Fund IV. Additional details of the transaction are not disclosed.

    About Natural Pet Food Group

    Natural Pet Food is committed to providing premium, nutritious high-meat pet food through its market-leading dog and cat food brands: K9 Natural, Feline Natural, and Meat Mates. Developed by an in-house nutritional team, the Company’s pet food is produced from ethically sourced ingredients such as grass-fed and free-range meat, cage-free chicken, and sustainable seafood. Natural Pet Food Group was launched in 2006 and today serves customers globally in markets including New Zealand, Australia, China, Japan, US and Canada.

    About KKR

    KKR is a leading global investment firm that offers alternative asset management and capital markets and insurance solutions. KKR aims to generate attractive investment returns by following a patient and disciplined investment approach, employing world-class people, and supporting growth in its portfolio companies and communities. KKR sponsors investment funds that invest in private equity, credit and real assets and has strategic partners that manage hedge funds. KKR’s insurance subsidiaries offer retirement, life and reinsurance products under the management of The Global Atlantic Financial Group. References to KKR’s investments may include the activities of its sponsored funds and insurance subsidiaries. For additional information about KKR & Co. Inc. (NYSE: KKR), please visit KKR’s website at www.kkr.com and on Twitter @KKR_Co.

    Source: https://www.businesswire.com/


  • 30 Apr 2021 3:37 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    (Reuters) - KKR & Co Inc said on Wednesday it will buy a majority stake in animal health firm Argenta Limited, as the pet and animal care industry continues to draw private sector interest.

    Terms of the deal were not disclosed but a person familiar with the matter said KKR agreed to pay around $100 million for its Argenta stake.

    KKR will acquire its stake in New Zealand-based Argenta from Tomlinson Group, which will become a significant minority shareholder, a statement said.

    Founded in 2006, Argenta provides animal-focused contract research and manufacturing for pharmaceutical companies across the United States, Europe and New Zealand.

    Argenta plans to use KKR’s investment to expand its research and development as well as its clinical regulatory services in Europe and the United States, Ben Russell, the company’s chief executive officer, said in an interview.

    KKR’s investment was made out of its Health Care Strategic Growth Fund, which raised $1.45 billion from investors in 2017.

    Private equity interest in the pet and animal care sector has grown due to significant household spending on animal diet, health, and exercise.

    KKR currently owns PetVet Care Centers, a Westport, Connecticut-based network of pet clinics. In 2018, the buyout firm sold its remaining stake in Pets at Home Group, a UK-based pet retailer supplier it bought for 955 million pounds in 2010.

    Source: https://www.reuters.com/article/idUSKBN27Y1JE

  • 30 Apr 2021 3:14 PM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    Agreement with Hikma, the US’ third largest supplier of generic injectable medications by volume1, will see AFT benefit from upfront, regulatory and commercial milestone payments worth up to US$18.8 million and a profit share from in-market product sales.

    AFT Pharmaceuticals (NZX.AFT, ASX.AFP) today announces it has signed an exclusive License and Distribution Agreement with Hikma Pharmaceuticals USA (“Hikma”) for the commercialisation of its Maxigesic IV, an intravenous, opioid free post-operative pain relief medicine, in the United States.
    The agreement represents the first out license of the Maxigesic family of medicines into the US market. AFT, over the longer-term, is also targeting the US market for the tablet and liquid forms of the medication. Under the terms of the license agreement, Hikma will have exclusive rights for the sales, marketing, and distribution of Maxigesic IV in the US.
    In return AFT will be entitled to upfront, regulatory and commercial milestone payments of up to US$18.8 million as well as a profit share from in market product sales.
    The milestone payments comprise US$7.5 million of payments due upon certain agreed milestones leading up to and including registration and the first commercial sale of Maxigesic IV in the US. Of these, US$3.6 million will be earned following the signing of the agreement and filing of Maxigesic IV for approval with the FDA. The further milestone payments are payable upon certain sales targets for Maxigesic IV in the US being reached.

    AFT Managing Director Dr Hartley Atkinson said: “We are excited to be entering into the US market with Hikma, which has a strong and respected US hospital market presence and, in line with AFT’s core values, is focused on providing cost-effective therapies which improve patient care.

    “The US market for post-operative pain management medication, according to independent research, was worth US$745 million in 2019 and is set to grow to US$1.7 billion by 2028.2
    “It is satisfying to be offering a pain management medicine that gives clinicians a real alternative to opioids in the US, where addiction to these drugs has become an epidemic. We believe, with Hikma, we can capture a significant share of this revenue.”

    Hikma is a global pharmaceutical company focused on complex and differentiated branded generics and generic pharmaceuticals across a broad range of indications, including respiratory, oncology and pain management.

    It is the third largest US supplier of generic injectable medicines by volume, with a growing portfolio of over 100 products. Today one in every six injectable generic medicines used in US hospitals is a Hikma product.1

    Dr Atkinson said AFT had expected to announce the agreement with Hikma in March this year and held that view right up to the last day of the 2021 financial year. However, as signalled at the start of this month the company had been hindered in achieving this goal due to unexpected delays in the negotiations.

    “Had we achieved our plans to conclude the agreement with Hikma before 31 March 2021, we would have delivered FY21 earnings in the range of guidance affirmed in November 2020 for an operating profit of $14 million to $18 million. Sadly, the delays forced us to lower our guidance.

    “AFT understands the importance of delivering on market expectations. We are pleased we can now provide further colour to our last earnings update and its timing, given the good faith efforts that we made to close out the commercially sensitive negotiations with Hikma before the end of our financial year, and then as soon as possible thereafter.”

    Maxigesic IV offers clinicians and healthcare providers a strong proposition. It is an effective alternative for the treatment of post-operative pain. It also avoids the side effects of traditional opioid-based analgesics that have fuelled an unprecedented cycle of addiction and abuse around the world.

    The US agreement adds to existing Maxigesic IV agreements in Europe: Everpharm [Germany, Austria, France, and Italy]; Aguettant [Nordics, Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain]; Medochemie [Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia], Jed Pharma [Ireland] and Edge [United Kingdom], Vianex [Greece]. Outside Europe, AFT has also negotiated licensing agreements for Maxigesic IV in Ecuador [Acino], Hong Kong [DKSH] and Thailand [Alliance Pharma]. All of the agreements have been negotiated over the past year in spite of COVID-19 travel bans and are among the many steps AFT has taken to set itself up for continued growth, Meanwhile, AFT is working to complete US FDA approval for the tablet form of the medication. In November last year, the FDA said a Good Manufacturing Practice inspection of the tablet production facilities for Maxigesic was the “only deficiency” with AFT’s application for regulatory approval. The inspection is still pending due to COVID-19 related travel disruptions.

    “We look forward to providing more detail when we release our audited financial results in May.”

    Released for and on behalf of AFT Pharmaceuticals by Chief Financial Officer Malcolm Tubby.

    About AFT Pharmaceuticals

    AFT is a growing multinational pharmaceutical company that develops, markets, and distributes a broad portfolio of pharmaceutical products across a wide range of therapeutic categories which are distributed across all major pharmaceutical distribution channels: over the counter (OTC), prescription and hospital. Our product portfolio comprises both proprietary and in-licensed products, and includes patented, branded, and generic drugs. Our business model is to develop and in-license products for sale by our own dedicated sales teams in our home markets of Australia and New Zealand and in certain Southeast Asian markets, and to out-license our products to local licensees and distributors to over 125 countries around the world.

    About Hikma:
    Hikma helps put better health within reach every day for millions of people in more than 50 countries around the world. For more than 40 years, we’ve been creating high-quality medicines and making them accessible to the people who need them. Headquartered in the UK, we are a global company with a local presence across the United States (US), the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and Europe, and we use our unique insight and expertise to transform cutting-edge science into innovative solutions that transform people’s lives. We’re committed to our customers, and the people they care for, and by thinking creatively and acting practically, we provide them with a broad range of branded and non-branded generic medicines. Together, our 8,600 colleagues are helping to shape a healthier world that enriches all our communities. We are a leading licensing partner, and through our venture capital arm, are helping bring innovative health technologies to people around the world. For more information, please visit: www.hikma.com

    About Ferghana Partners (New York, London, Boston) initiated the Hikma transaction and provided strategic/financial advisory services to AFT Pharma.

    For more information:
    Investors 
    Dr Hartley Atkinson – Managing Director
    AFT Pharmaceuticals
    Tel: +64 9488 0232


  • 30 Apr 2021 9:37 AM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    SUZANNE CLARK
    President and CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

    There’s a rising sense of optimism in our country today. A growing belief that the long, dark stretch of the pandemic is nearly behind us, and brighter days lie ahead. Our country is finally getting back to health and back to strength.

    President Biden is sure to highlight how his administration has contributed to these positive developments as he marks his first 100 days in office later this week. It’s a good opportunity to celebrate how much our nation has achieved in the 400+ days since the WHO declared the global pandemic.

    At the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, we are proud of how the private and public sectors have worked together during the crisis to help communities and stabilize the economy. Led by businesses and aided by government, effective vaccines were developed and deployed in less than a year. The pharmaceutical companies who led these efforts held 1,224 clinical trials in all 50 states—making their approval and deployment a truly nationwide achievement. Today, 27.2% of our population is fully vaccinated. Shots are widely available to those who want them.

    This unprecedented achievement may have happened within a year, but it was built on many years of advocating for a policy framework that rewards investment and innovation. When our nation needed the ingenuity and industriousness of the private sector more than ever, American businesses were ready to answer the call.

    Moreover, thanks to the resilience, adaptability, and innovation of American businesses and their employees throughout the pandemic, our economy is poised to come roaring back—as high as 8.2% GDP!—in the second quarter. As more restrictions are lifted and in-person gatherings continue to become safer, more displaced workers from industries on the bottom of the K-Shape recovery will feel the effects of a stronger economy.

    Keeping up the Momentum

    We can expect President Biden to hit on many of these positive macro-trends when he addresses the nation on Wednesday night. What business will be most interested in hearing is how he will work with partners in government and business to usher in a new era of economic growth.

    The U.S. Chamber has worked closely with the administration to advance shared priorities on a bipartisan basis, while also forcefully opposing policies that would undermine a widespread recovery and future growth. As the president charts the next 100 days of his presidency, we urge his administration to focus on these three priorities to keep up the momentum:

    1. Lead bipartisan progress on infrastructure.

    The current debate over an infrastructure package gives President Biden the opportunity for a big achievement that will help our economy today and into future—if it’s done on a bipartisan basis.

    As someone who spent more than 35 years in the Senate, President Biden knows that bipartisanship and consensus is the only way to get big, important, difficult things done in a meaningful and durable way. If you don’t get the buy-in of the other party, any change in power puts the policy at risk of reversal or repeal.

    Perhaps that’s why not a single significant infrastructure package has been passed along party lines since 1991. In fact, six major pieces of legislation were enacted with the strong support of both parties.

    Republicans and Democrats alike are eager to engage in today’s infrastructure debate and have put forward proposals. The only way to turn talk into action is to begin serious-minded bipartisan negotiations. There is common ground to be found.

    The perennial stumbling block for progress on infrastructure is how to pay for it. Lawmakers must be realistic that investing in infrastructure requires revenue. But not all revenue is created equal. The Chamber believes in maintaining America’s traditional user-financed model of funding infrastructure and paying for new investment over time. We strongly oppose the general tax increases proposed by the administration, which make American employers uncompetitive and cost America jobs. 

    We must seize this opportunity for bipartisan progress and set a tone for progress with other priorities.

    2. Reject job-killing tax hikes that would undermine the recovery.

    A major reason our economy is poised for such a quick and vigorous recovery is that it was in a place of strength before the shock of the pandemic — thanks in no small part to the historic tax reform of 2017. Now, the administration is pursuing the biggest tax hike in 30 years to fund an ambitious agenda to massively expand the role and reach of government paid for by American job creators.

    Raising taxes on corporations would sap growth and stall job creation just as it’s picking up speed. And it’s important to note that many small businesses would find themselves in the crosshairs of a higher corporate tax rate. Under the federal tax code, 1.4 million small businesses that together employ 13 million Americans file their taxes as C-Corps. Raising their taxes would put them at a competitive disadvantage, suppress wage growth, and undo the progress of lowering the rate to 21%.

    On top of that, raising the tax code would harm America’s competitiveness in a global economy and make it a less attractive place to invest profits, locate corporate headquarters, and create American jobs. And, no, we should not expect other nations to hold back their economies because the U.S. has chosen to disadvantage its own.

    Lower taxes and smarter regulations remain key building blocks of a growing economy.

    3. Prioritize workforce in order to keep the economic momentum going.

    I hear every day, from leaders of businesses large and small, that they struggle to find qualified workers for open jobs. It was the number-one challenge they cited before the pandemic, and it remains a critical concern heading into this recovery. And the recovery will actually stall if we don’t have the workers to drive it.

    The most immediate way to address our current challenge is to reopen schools and daycares. This is not only an education issue, it’s a workforce issue. Parents are struggling to hold jobs without childcare or while working from home while directing remote learning. The end of the pandemic may be in sight, but uncertainty still looms over countless American families and employers.

    We also must begin to phase out the unprecedented financial assistance that was necessary to support displaced workers at the height of the pandemic. Particularly for the hardest hit industries, as mandates continue to be lifted and businesses are able to resume pre-pandemic operations and capacity, workers will be able to return to their steady paychecks so they can rebuild their lives.

    Finally, we need immigration policies that provide employers the skilled talent they need to fill open jobs. We appreciate the administration’s early steps to raise caps for H1-B visas, but more needs to be done to reform our system. Fortunately, there are lawmakers on both sides of the aisle eager to help get this done. Earlier this month, the Chamber’s Common Grounds series convened a bipartisan conversation with two members of Congress to discuss how we can move our nation forward after years of gridlock. Like us, they are determined to seize the opportunity and update our immigration policies to meet the needs of our modern economy. The answer should be legislation that addresses immigration reform and border security.

    Working Together for a Bright Future

    The Chamber is committed to creating a brighter future for our country through a widespread recovery and inclusive growth driven by American business. To achieve that, we will work with the administration—and when needed, we will stand up to the administration. We urge President Biden to work with both parties and the business community to take the right steps to advance our economy—and to exercise the prudence to reject proposals that will hold it back, such as excessive tax hikes, the PRO Act, anti-arbitration efforts, and more.

    Ahead of us lies a period of growth, opportunity, prosperity, and innovation that will improve everyone’s lives. Let’s seize it.

    www.uschamber.com

  • 21 Apr 2021 9:41 AM | Mike Hearn (Administrator)

    April 19, 2021

    Earlier today, Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen spoke with New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Grant Robertson. Secretary Yellen conveyed her intention to work with Deputy Prime Minister Robertson on tackling priority issues both the United States and New Zealand face including ending the pandemic, supporting the global economic recovery, fighting growing income inequality, and forcefully addressing the threat of climate change.  The Deputy Prime Minister and Secretary Yellen reviewed ongoing efforts to support a global minimum corporate tax.  Secretary Yellen thanked Deputy Prime Minister Robertson for ongoing efforts hosting the APEC forum this year, and noted her interest in working closely with New Zealand across multilateral forums to advance shared interests.

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