Daily Archives: January 22, 2019

K2 Acquires Distributor K2NE, Strengthening Its Digital Process Automation Capabilities Across Europe

Acquisition expands the digital process automation company’s presence into new markets

Bellevue, Wash., Jan. 22, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — SourceCode Technology Holdings, Inc. (“K2”), the leader in low-code digital process automation, today announced the acquisition of one of its distributors, K2NE. With this acquisition, K2 establishes a direct presence in mainland Europe, increasing the direct customer footprint to 14 European countries, further investing and committing to growth across the continent.

K2 customers will now see increased opportunities and offerings centered around strengthening their digital transformation. K2NE has a demonstrated history of strong business growth and success gaining market shares in Spain, Switzerland and Germany.

 “We are thrilled to welcome the K2NE team to the K2 family,” said Evan Ellis, K2 CEO. “As two organizations built around customer-first approaches to digital process automation, we can together leverage our common vision, expand our geographic footprint and increase capabilities to further empower customers.”

This acquisition accelerates both companies’ rotation into a solely-focused SaaS business and will capitalize on increased capabilities, such as greater direct access for customers and partners.

“K2NE has a proven track record of incubating and accelerating into new markets. It is absolutely the right time to join together to help customers achieve even greater success,” said Ruan Scott, K2NE Vice President. “Combining our capabilities further accelerates the growth of digital process automation across Europe, and customers will now have access to even more services and coverage. This is an exciting time for both companies.”

The combination of K2’s existing portfolio and the strength of K2NE positions K2 to be the leader in digital process automation. Both organizations plan to continue innovating and expanding globally in the new year.

About K2

K2 is the leading low-code digital process automation (DPA) platform for enterprises seeking to rapidly and intelligently create modern process applications, automate workflows and transform their business. More than 4 million users in over 84 countries, including 30 percent of Fortune 100, are using K2 to take control of their business processes, increase visibility and improve operational efficiency. Discover what you can accomplish when you connect your people, processes and applications at K2.com.

About K2NE

K2NE is a distributor of K2 software and was founded in 2010. K2NE has a presence in more than 14 countries and has offices in Spain, South Africa, Germany and the United Kingdom.

Ketti Salemme
K2
9257686126
Ketti@k2.com

Altus Group Report Reveals Rapid Acceleration of PropTech Adoption and Rise of Disintermediation as Major Trends Impacting the Commercial Real Estate Industry in 2019

Automation, use of AI and disintermediating business models having major impact on CRE industry; growing number of CRE firms are directly investing in PropTech companies

TORONTO, Jan. 22, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Altus Group Limited (“Altus Group”) (TSX: AIF), a leading provider of software, data solutions and independent advisory services to the global commercial real estate (“CRE”) industry, today released the latest Altus Group CRE Innovation Report. The report provides an outlook on technology trends impacting the global CRE industry and highlights the significant acceleration in adoption of property technology (“PropTech”), the effect of disintermediating technologies, as well as a growing trend of CRE firms investing directly in PropTech companies and startups themselves.

According to the report, which is based on a global survey of 400 CRE executives at firms with assets under management (“AUM”) of at least US $250 million representing a total AUM of over US $2 trillion, driving efficiency through automation is a key priority for CRE executives, and the use of AI and machine learning is approaching a critical mass. CRE firms are automating processes or applying AI and machine learning in the following functions:

  • 41% of firms are using automation for benchmarking and performance analysis, 39% for scenario and sensitivity analysis and 36% for budgeting and forecasting
  • 19% of firms are using AI and machine learning for scenario and sensitivity analysis followed by 16% for accounting and property management

Disintermediation is also driving emerging technology adoption. New business models associated with the sharing economy, co-working and e-commerce are disrupting the CRE industry by cutting out middle steps and processes to create greater efficiencies. The layers and stages of the financing, funding and transacting process create inefficiencies in many core CRE functions. As a result, the rise of disintermediating technology platforms and solutions are having a major impact on the CRE industry.

The report findings suggest that transaction-based platforms such as online property exchanges, lending marketplaces and crowdfunding are now increasingly being used to streamline processes and create a more direct line between buyers and sellers, lenders and owners, and investors and funds, effectively altering the relationships between them at a fundamental level:

  • 61% of CRE executives indicated their firms are using or already trying out online lending marketplaces, with 23% using them in a significant way
  • 60% of CRE executives indicated their firms are using or already trying out online investment marketplaces and crowdfunding platforms, with 22% using them in a significant way

“The combination of new market entrants, new technologies and changing demographics have created disruptive models within CRE. This is having a profound impact on portfolio planning and decision-making,” said Bob Courteau, Chief Executive Officer, Altus Group. “At the same time, this presents new opportunities for organizations who rapidly embrace innovation and PropTech to reduce complexity, increase efficiency and drive performance.”

Additionally, the report also indicates that many CRE firms are becoming PropTech investors themselves, with 53% of CRE firms directly investing in at least one type of PropTech firm. PropTech companies focusing on smart buildings systems, online lending marketplaces, and online investment marketplaces and crowdfunding are the top investment choices for CRE firms.

Other key findings from this year’s Altus Group CRE Innovation Report include:

  • Nearly one in ten (10%) CRE executives “don’t really understand blockchain and what it does,” while 37% of executives expect blockchain to start having an impact on the CRE industry within the next two years
  • 31% of executives stated that smart city initiatives and projects are already having a major impact on their investment and portfolio decisions
  • A large majority of firms have already invested in integrated software solutions for critical CRE functions. However, 60% of executives said their firms are still utilizing spreadsheets as their primary tool for reporting, 51% for valuation and cash flow analysis and 45% for budgeting and forecasting, indicating that despite significant innovation, the industry continues to lag in certain areas

The 2019 Altus Group CRE Innovation Report is based on a global quantitative survey of 400 CRE C-level and senior executives in both front and back office positions at owner operator and investor firms in North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific and Latin America. All firms represented in the survey had a minimum of assets under management of at least US $250 million at the time of being surveyed, representing an approximate total AUM of over US $2 trillion. The survey research, used to form the basis of the report, was conducted by leading international research firm IDC in late fall 2018. A copy of the full report can be downloaded at www.altusgroup.com/cre-innovation-report-2019/.

About Altus Group Limited

Altus Group Limited is a leading provider of software, data solutions and independent advisory services to the global commercial real estate industry. Our businesses, Altus Analytics and Altus Expert Services, reflect decades of experience, a range of expertise, and technology-enabled capabilities. Our solutions empower clients to analyze, gain insight and recognize value on their real estate investments. Headquartered in Canada, we have approximately 2,500 employees around the world, with operations in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific. Our clients include some of the world’s largest real estate industry participants. Altus Group pays a quarterly dividend of $0.15 per share and our shares are traded on the TSX under the symbol AIF.

For more information on Altus Group, please visit: www.altusgroup.com.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:

Altus Group Limited
Jeff Hayward
Vice President, Global Marketing & Communications
416-234-4212
jeff.hayward@altusgroup.com

Media Contacts
Proof Inc.
Jillian Colucci
416-969-2785
jcolucci@getproof.com

FTI Consulting
Phil Kennedy
+44 (0)20 3727 1286
altus@fticonsulting.com

Sequa Petroleum N.V. Bonds and Business Development Update

As reported in press releases of Sequa Petroleum N.V.  (the “Company”) (14 November 2016, 17 March, 15 May and 14 November 2017, and 15 May and 14 November 2018), a number of potential defaults have occurred with respect to the Company’s USD 300,000,000 5.00 per cent Convertible Bonds due 2020 of which USD 204,400,000 in principal amount remain outstanding (ISIN: XS1220076779, SEQ01 PRO EC) issued by the Company in April 2015 (the “Bonds”).

The Company has received documentary evidence that its main shareholder Sapinda Holding B.V. together with affiliates (“Sapinda”) hold or otherwise control voting rights for a decisive majority (over 75%) of the Bonds.  Sapinda has re-confirmed to the Company its interest to achieve a comprehensive restructuring of the Bonds which could also involve a further strengthening of Sapinda’s major holding in the Bonds and shares in the Company. The Company is discussing a restructuring proposal of the Bonds with Sapinda for distribution to all bondholders in due course.

To enable the Company to progress current high quality acquisition targets of production and development assets before completion of its Bond restructuring, the Company is collaborating with a Sapinda subsidiary on an arms-length commercial basis. Once the Company’s Bond debt is restructured and if the targeted investment opportunities are secured, then the realisation of these opportunities is expected to be value-accretive to the Company’s Bondholders and Shareholders when compared with other alternative outcomes. Any concrete progress with business development and restructuring will be subject to further announcements.

Cautionary notice

This press release contains information that qualifies as inside information within the meaning of Article 7(1) of the EU Market Abuse Regulation. This communication includes forward-looking statements. All statements other than statements of historical facts may be forward-looking statements. Words such as possibly, expected and value accretive or other similar words or expressions are typically used to identify forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors that are difficult to predict and that may cause actual results of the Company to differ materially from future results expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such factors include, but are not limited to, risks relating to the Company’s ability to acquire new opportunities; generate positive cash flows; general economic conditions; turbulences in the global credit markets and the economy; geopolitical events; the possibility to restructure the Bonds and other factors discussed in the Company’s public filings and other disclosures. Forward-looking statements reflect the current views of the Company’s management and assumptions based on information currently available to the Company’s management. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made, and the Company does not assume any obligation to update such statements, except as required by law.

Contacts:
Jacob Broekhuijsen, Chief Executive Officer
+44 (0)20 3728 4450 or info@sequa-petroleum.com

CEO confidence in growth dips dramatically

  • Uncertainty in global economic growth in almost all countries, caution prevails
  • US remains key target market for growth with China narrowing the gap, both see a decline from 2018
  • Trade conflicts, policy uncertainty, geopolitical issues and skills gap impacting strength of global economy and growth

DAVOS, Switzerland, Jan. 21, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — What a difference a year makes. Nearly 30% of business leaders believe that global economic growth will decline in the next 12 months, approximately six times the level of 5% last year – a record jump in pessimism. This is one of the key findings of PwC’s 22nd annual survey of 1,300 plus CEOs around the world, launched today at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos. This is in vivid contrast to last year’s record jump, 29% to 57%, in optimism about global economic growth prospects.

Although, all is not doom and gloom: 42% still see an improved economic outlook, though this is down significantly from a high of 57% in 2018. Overall, CEOs’ views on global economic growth are more polarised this year but trending downward.  The most pronounced shift was among CEOs in North America, where optimism dropped from 63% in 2018 to 37% likely due to fading of fiscal stimulus and emerging trade tensions. The Middle East also saw a big drop from 52% to 28% due to increased regional economic uncertainty.

The drop in CEO optimism has also impacted growth plans beyond their own country borders. The US narrowly retains its position as the top market for growth at 27%, down significantly from 46% in 2018. The second most attractive market, China, also saw its popularity fall to 24%, down from 33% in 2018. Overall, India is the rising star on the list this year, recently surpassing China as the fastest growing large economy.

“CEOs’ views of the global economy mirror the major economic outlooks, which are adjusting their forecasts downward in 2019,” said Bob Moritz, Global Chairman, PwC. “With the rise of trade tension and protectionism it stands to reason that confidence is waning.”

Confidence in short-term revenue growth has fallen sharply

The unease about global economic growth is lowering CEOs’ confidence about their own companies’ outlook in the short term.  Thirty-five percent of CEOs said they are ‘very confident’ in their own organisation’s growth prospects over the next 12 months, down from 42% last year.

Taking a closer look at some country-specific results, CEOs’ confidence reflected the global drop:

  • In China, dropping from 40% in 2018 to 35% this year – due to trade tensions, US tariffs and weakened industrial production
  • In the US, dropping from 52% to 39% – due to trade tensions and slowing economy
  • In Germany, dropping from 33% to 20% – due to trade tensions, slowing economy and risk of disorderly Brexit
  • In Argentina, dropping from 57% to 19% – due to recession and currency collapse
  • In Russia, dropping from 25% to 15% – due to decline in export demand, currency volatility and higher unemployment

To drive revenue this year, CEOs plan to rely primarily on operational efficiencies at 77% and organic growth at 71%.

Top markets for growth: Confidence in US continues despite significant dip

The US retains its lead as the top market for growth over the next 12 months. However, many CEOs are also turning to other markets, reflected in the dramatic drop in the share of votes in favor of the US, from 46% in 2018 to just 27% in 2019. China narrowed the gap, but also saw its popularity fall from 33% in 2018 to 24% in 2019.

As a result of the ongoing trade conflict with the US, China’s CEOs have diversified their markets for growth, with only 17% selecting the US, down from 59% in 2018.

The other three countries rounding out the top five for growth include Germany at 13% down from 20%, India at 8% down from 9% and the UK at 8% down from 15%.

“The turn away from the US market and shift in Chinese investment to other countries are reactions to the uncertainty surrounding the ongoing trade dispute between the US and China,” stated Moritz.

Threats to growth: Driven by economy, not existential

As indicators predict an imminent global economic slowdown, CEOs have turned their focus to navigating the surge in populism in the markets where they operate. Trade1 conflicts, policy uncertainty, and protectionism have replaced terrorism, climate change, and increasing tax burden in the top ten list of threats to growth.

Of CEOs ‘extremely concerned’ about trade conflicts, 88% are specifically uneasy about the trade issues between China and the US. Ninety-eight percent of US CEOs and 90% of China’s CEOs have voiced these concerns.

Of China’s CEOs who are ‘extremely concerned’ about trade conflicts, a majority are taking a strong reactive approach, with 62% adjusting their supply chain and sourcing strategy. Fifty-eight percent are adjusting their growth strategy to different countries.

Data & Analytics and Artificial Intelligence

This year’s survey took a deep dive into Data & Analytics and Artificial Intelligence (AI), two key areas on leaders’ radar, to get CEOs’ insights on the challenges and opportunities.

Data & Analytics – Lingering information gap

This year’s survey revisited questions about data adequacy first asked in 2009. It was found that CEOs continue to face issues with their own data capabilities, resulting in a significant information gap that remains ten years on. Despite billions of dollars of investments made in IT infrastructure over this time period, CEOs report still not receiving comprehensive data needed to make key decisions about the long-term success and durability of their business.

Leaders’ expectations have certainly risen as technology advances, but CEOs are keenly aware that their analysis capabilities have not kept pace with the volume of data which has expanded exponentially over the past decade. When asked why they do not receive comprehensive data, CEOs point to the ‘lack of analytical talent’ (54%), followed by ‘data siloing’ (51%), and ‘poor data reliability’ (50%) as the primary reasons.

When it comes to closing the skills gap in their organisation, CEOs agree that there is no quick fix. Forty-six percent see significant retraining and upskilling as the answer, with 17% also citing establishing a strong pipeline directly from education as an option.

“As technological changes continue to disrupt the business world, people with strong data and digital skills are in even higher demand and increasingly harder to find,” shared Moritz. “That said, the need for people with soft skills is also critical, which is why business, government and educational institutions need to work together to address the demands of the evolving workforce.”

Artificial Intelligence

Eighty-five percent of CEOs agree that AI will dramatically change their business over the next five years. Nearly two-thirds view it as something that will have a larger impact than the internet.

Despite the bullish view on AI, 23% of CEOs currently have ‘no current plans’ to pursue AI, with a further 35% ‘planning to do so’ in the next three years. Thirty-three percent have taken ‘a very limited approach’.  Fewer than 1 in 10 CEOs have implemented AI on a wide scale.

When it comes to the impact AI will have on jobs, 88% of China’s CEOs believe AI will displace more jobs than it creates. Other Asia-Pacific CEOs are also pessimistic at 60%, compared to 49% globally. CEOs in Western Europe and North America are less doubtful, with 38% and 41% believing AI will displace more jobs than it creates.

“Although organisations in Asia-Pacific, North America, and Western Europe have reported comparable levels of AI adoption, we see a growing divide over their belief about the potential impacts of AI on society and the role government should play in its development,” stated Moritz.

Download the report at ceosurvey.pwc. Video footage from the launch of the Global CEO Survey in Davos and other media materials are available at: press.pwc.com

Notes

1. Trade: 2019 was the first year CEOs were asked about policy uncertainty and trade conflicts.

2. PwC conducted 1,378 interviews with CEOs in 91 countries between September and October 2018. Our sample is weighted by national GDP to ensure that CEOs’ views are fairly represented across all major regions. 10% of the interviews were conducted by telephone, 73% online, and 17% by post or face-to-face. All quantitative interviews were conducted on a confidential basis. 48% of companies had revenues of $1 billion or more: 36% of companies had revenues between $100 million and $1 billion; 15% of companies had revenues of up to $100 million; 59% of companies were privately owned.

About PwC

At PwC, our purpose is to build trust in society and solve important problems.  We’re a network of firms in 158 countries with over 250,000 people who are committed to delivering quality in assurance, advisory and tax services. Find out more and tell us what matters to you by visiting us at www.pwc.com.

PwC refers to the PwC network and/or one or more of its member firms, each of which is a separate legal entity. Please see www.pwc.com/structure for further details.

© 2019 PwC. All rights reserved

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1 2019 was the first year CEOs were asked about policy uncertainty and trade conflicts

Contacts

Susan Brown (on site at Davos)
Mobile: +18312334616
Email: susan.brown@pwc.com

Rowena Mearley
Phone: +44 7730 598643
Email: rowena.mearley@pwc.com