Posts Tagged ‘#COVID19News’

Religious Discrimination Is Hindering The COVID-19 Response

CaribPR Wire, Mon. July 20, 2020: Unintended pandemic-like consequences from the COVID-19 have been striking the globe. With the unclear root cause of the disease, minority groups have become the target of the blame with the spread of the crisis.

“When people with prejudices are worried and feel that they have no control over a scary threat like pandemic, they will turn to the tried and true tactic of scapegoating the usual suspects: religious minorities and other persecuted communities,” says Michael Kugelman, deputy director of the Asia program at the Wilson Centre, a US based think tank.

The cases of religious suppression have been on the rise around the world as a coronavirus epidemic is deteriorating. BMJ, one of the top four medical journals in the world, released an interesting thesis titled “Religious discrimination is hindering the COVID-19 response“. The British Medical Journal, BMJ, was first published in 1840 and is regarded as one of the world’s leading medical journal.

About 150,000 medical professionals are involved in this journal, dealing with the recent medical issue and providing medical knowledge and information concerned. Just about 20 percent theses submitted to BMJ are published in this Journal, which are often quoted by other medical professionals around the world.

According to the research paper, India’s 201 million Muslim citizens now find themselves blamed for the country’s COVID-19 outbreak. In the southern Indian state of Karnataka, two Muslim men were reportedly beaten and made to kneel and apologize for “spreading the virus.”

Over 3000 members of the Tablighi Jamaat subsequently spent more than 40 days in quarantine with government authorities refusing to discharge them. The Indian government levelled charges of culpable homicide at Tablighi Jamaat chief Muhammad Saad Kandhalvi when at least six of the group died of the infection after attending an event in March, before the countrywide lockdown.

In Cambodia, Buddhists are blaming Muslims. In Israel, Jews are blaming Arabs. Fear and misunderstanding are stoking hatred worldwide—and it is harming the fight against the pandemic.

The paper introduces a case in South Korea, the members of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus—labelled “heretical” by fundamentalist Protestants—are facing a probe after a congregation became the center of the country’s biggest outbreak in February. But what’s striking is how discrimination played a part before the outbreak.

“Members of the church refrained from being tested to avoid discrimination,” says Willy Fautre, executive director of Human Rights Without Frontiers International. “This was detrimental to them and public health as well.”

They are extremely careful about their religion exposed to others for the fear that they can get discriminated, bullied, or unemployed because of their religion.

Actually, it is reported that about 6,000 Shincheonji church members whose religious identity was revealed to others experienced severe discrimination and unemployment, and two of them lost their lives.

Despite the tragic incidences, about 4,000 former COVID-19 patients of Shincheonji members who got cured have decided to donate their blood plasma for the development of treatments for COVID-19. The donation of the blood plasma of 500 former COVID-19 patients has started this week.

Swami Vedanand Saraswati, Spiritual Head of Arya Samaj in South Africa – “I firmly believe that the Chairman, a man of great integrity, has done and continues to do all in his power to aid in fighting against the COVID-19 virus, and assist the relevant authorities where possible. As a Hindu Spiritual Leader in South Africa, I fully support the Chairman and laud the selfless gesture from him and his congregation. I implore the South Korean Government and other relevant authorities to immediately drop all charges and lawsuits and rather support the efforts of the Shincheonji Church in encouraging other recoverees to donate their plasma. Let us all follow the noble example set by the Chairman and encourage support towards the fight against COVID-19.”

Furthermore, Dr. Manu Singh, Hindu Spiritual Leader, Chairman of Sarva Dharma Samvaad in India, expressed his thoughts on such a suppression of the religion. “With the suffer of a pandemic, we need to overcome the crisis by becoming the one rather than hating each other. Being the one with the solidarity will be much effective treated following the physical vaccine and the treatment. Furthermore, the freedom of the religion specified in the constitution should be kept. I raise the voice to stop unfair treat to HWPL and Shincheonji church, and the Chairman Lee who sacrificed part of his freedom.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: Image at https://www.newsamericasnow.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/religious_freedom.jpg

Click Here for More Information »

500 Recovered Congregation Members of Shincheonji Church Donate COVID-19 Blood Plasma

CaribPR Wire, VIRGINIA BEACH, Virginia, Weds. July 16, 2020: Among the members of the Shincheonji Church, 500 people from Shincheonji Church, who have recovered from COVID-19, are donating blood plasma this week.

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in cooperation with the Korean Red Cross, set up mobile plasma sites to extract blood plasma from 500 congregation members of Shincheonji who have recovered from COVID-19. This represents a 200% uptick in plasma donations in South Korea. Before the mass donation, South Korean officials reported that about 170 people’s blood plasma were collected nationwide.

In June, 4,000 members of Shincheonji pledged to donate blood plasma. Due to logistical issues, 55 members were able to donate blood plasma before this week. The 500 members’ blood plasma will be procured within the week by using blood donation cars that can extract blood in large quantities. This is thought to be the first round of donations.

Health officials from the Mayo Clinic and U.S. Food and Drug Administration believe that plasma donations may contribute greatly to the treatment of COVID-19 patients as well as contribute to the research and development of novel immunotherapies. Preliminary results of one trial cited by UpToDate, showed a statistically significant rate of improvement in patients treated with donated plasma compared to those who received standard therapies (91% compared to 68% respectively).

The plasma donated by Shincheonji will be used to make similar treatments after clinical trials.

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Images at:

https://www.newsamericasnow.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/1.jpeg

https://www.newsamericasnow.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/2.jpg

Click Here for More Information »

Man-Hee Lee Writes A Letter Regarding Shincheonji Members’ Plasma Donation: “Freeing The World Through Our Blood”

CaribPR Wire, VIRGINIA BEACH, VA, Tues. June 30, 2020: Man Hee Lee, Chairman and Founder of Shincheonji Church of Jesus, the Temple of the Tabernacle of the Testimony (Shincheonji), has  expressed his gratitude to his church members and the city of Daegu, after 4,000 congregants volunteered to donate plasma after fully recovering from COVID-19.

According to the Shincheonji church in the city of Daegu, Chairman Lee in a  letter stated: “I was overjoyed to hear that the church members in Daegu, South Korea were volunteering to donate plasma (blood) to help find a treatment for COVID-19.  I am thankful to the government for working to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to treat those who are infected.” He added, “it is clear that the church members of Daegu church have gathered their hearts to free people worldwide from the pains of COVID 19.”

Chairman Lee also stated through this message” “This is the work that needs to be done as citizens of this country [Korea] and as true believers. It is keeping the command of Jesus of loving your neighbor as yourself (Mt 22:39), and I am thankful that you have gathered your hearts for this good work”.. “let us all pray in the name of Jesus to exterminate COVID19 (Refer to Jn14:13-14).”

Shincheonji announced it’s donation on June 23rd. At the time, there were 6,901 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Daegu, South Korea, with Shincheonji members accounting for 61.8% of all confirmed cases of COVID-19.

While it has been difficult to find plasma donors, Shincheonji members’ mass plasma donation can speed up the COVID-19 vaccine development process. Since the early days of the outbreak Shincheonji members have faced mass criticism. Many outlets blame them for causing the virus’s spread across South Korea.

Shincheonji explained, “Chairman Lee wants to use this donation as a way to thank government health officials for caring for our members.”

Shincheonji Chairman Lee Man-hee’s Letter [Provided by Shincheonji Church in Daegu]

To the beloved members of Daegu Church

To the beloved members of Daegu Church, you all are working hard. Are you all well? I am Chairman Lee Man-hee.

To the members of Daegu church, I was delighted upon hearing the news of your intent to actively participate in donating plasma (blood) for the development of the vaccine for the cure of COVID-19. I believe that you are the ones who received the blood of Jesus.

I am very thankful to the government, which took charge of preventing the spread of COVID-19 and providing treatment for it. This is not something our church could resolve.

Our members have received the blood of life of Jesus, the Son of God, and have been freed from sin. Like Jesus, through our blood (plasma) donation, I know that you have gathered your hearts in our collective wish to free all the people of the world from the pains of this disease.

I was touched when I heard that many members of Daegu church expressed their intent to voluntarily donate plasma. Indeed, you are the disciples who received the blood of Jesus. This is the work that needs to be done as citizens of this country and as true believers. It is keeping the command of Jesus of loving your neighbor as yourself (Mt 22:39), and I am thankful that you have gathered your hearts for this good work and in making this decision that is like the light.

Let us all pray in the name of Jesus to exterminate COVID-19 (Refer to Jn14:13-14).

June 27, 2020

Lee Man-hee
Chairman of Shincheonji

Click Here for More Information »

Leclanché announces strategic company reorganization along with an Industrial Partnership Agreement with Eneris Group aiming at creating a leading European battery partnership

Eneris Group to make direct investments totaling up to CHF 95 million in two manufacturing JVs and a Technology License Agreement

  • Eneris to provide up to CHF 42 million in working capital loans and make investments in excess of CHF 53 million in a major capacity expansion programme in newly established Joint Ventures with majority ownership;
  • Leclanché grants a license to Eneris for further development and access to larger scale industrialization;
  • Material reduction for Leclanché in cash intensity of the business: reduced Operating and Capital expenses;
  • Worldwide business wins with combined order book exceeding CHF 90 million for delivery over years 2020 to 2021- excluding the St. Kitts project;
  • Establishing a Build-Own-Operate (BOO) projects business line for selected stationary projects with a long-term Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) and/or Offtake Agreement with local customers;
  • Leclanché shall retain all customer contracts unchanged;
  • New Leclanché pivots to a green tech software and systems integration company using the competitive products manufactured at giga-scale in partnership with Eneris group

YVERDON-LES-BAINS, Switzerland, June 2, 2020 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ – Leclanché SA (SIX: LECN), one of the world’s leading energy storage companies, today announced a strategic reorganization which will convert the company into a market oriented, research-driven, software and systems integration company with expanded production and R&D capabilities based on a partnership agreement with Eneris Group, a leading European cleantech player operating out of Poland, “the factory of Europe” and a key participant in the EU “Important Project for Common European Interest on batteries” programme.

Leclanche logo

Stefan Mueller , Chairman of the Board, said: “We are pleased with the comprehensive Strategic partnership agreements signed with Eneris Group. This can be a truly transformational partnership to create a market leader. We thank all our shareholders for their significant and patient investments since late 2006 in developing our Energy Storage Business based on in-house Lithium Cells and Systems. Our time has now come.

We are embarking on a strategic reorganization while recognizing the challenging current economic conditions due to COVID-19. The Board of Directors of the Company has decided to reorganize Leclanché’s operating model as the current Business Units have reached a critical size in terms of personnel, revenue and customer contracts. The Board is of the firm view that the Company has solid fundamentals to deliver profitable growth based on a strong global order book, advances in proprietary high capacity cells and the adoption of a highly profitable build-own-operate model for our Stationary Business Unit.

The Board believes that the partnership with Eneris Group enables the Company to secure the funding and resources that will help the Company achieve its goal of becoming one of the full value chain energy storage market leaders.

On behalf of the Board, I would like to sincerely thank Mr. Artur Dela, Founder and CEO of Eneris Group, for his trust in Leclanché. We are looking forward to his entrepreneurial leadership and drive to support the success of both Companies.

I would also like to thank and congratulate Anil Srivastava, CEO of Leclanché, for securing the industrial investment partnership with Eneris Group. We are confident that he and his management team will expeditiously implement the strategic reorganization.

Artur Dela, Chairman of Eneris Group, said: “The mission of Eneris is ‘clean air, soil and water, innovation protecting the environment.’ The challenge of this century is to protect the planet. To protect the environment, we need to change our energy paradigm. The European “Green Deal” confirms this clear direction to our industries, scientists and financiers. Energy transition is our focus and energy storage is key to it, as demonstrated by our participation in EUs ICPEI program and now partnership with Leclanché.

The market needs adequate batteries for stationary energy storage to be associated with renewable energy sources and, in association with fuel cells, for eTransportation: buses, trucks, vessels, locomotives, heavy-duty machines, etc.

Leclanché has them. A 111-year old start-up, Leclanché is a pioneer in new generation batteries and a visionary focus on cleaner and more performant systems with no harmful liquids, higher energy density and more charging cycles. It has an important growth potential. The market demand for its products far exceeds its current manufacturing capacity, while its current advanced know-how needs to be further financed.

I am persuaded that various cooperation models and integration are key to succeeding in any new industry, and in particular, in sectors like energy storage which is highly competitive and capital intensive for R&D, large scale industrialisation and commercialization. Eneris’s industrial base and its participation in the IPCEI consortium, together with Leclanché’s know-how, will accelerate and reinforce our common development.

I am pleased Leclanch é has accepted our proposal to join forces and I would like to personally thank the Board for its confidence and the management team led by Anil Srivastava for the hard work in completing a complex and far-reaching transaction in record time during this turbulent period.”

A Shareholder Letter, dated 2nd of June, 2020, provides additional information from the company and is available here.

Strategic Reorganization: New Capital-Light Operating Model for Production

Anil Srivastava, CEO of Leclanché, said: “The transformational partnership agreement with Eneris will lift a tremendous capital burden off Leclanché’s shoulders while guaranteeing production capacity. The JVs to be created will produce Leclanché technologies and Leclanché-branded products. They will be m ajority owned by Eneris with a minority stake held by Leclanché with key reserve matters and approval rights. The Joint Ventures with Eneris shall manufacture products based on Leclanché technologies with capacity reservation for Leclanché based on mutually agreed-upon business plans with Eneris.”

Industrial Partnership Agreement with Eneris Group

The Company’s Board has negotiated and accepted an investment offer from Eneris. Eneris is a company of the Eneris Group, a leading European Cleantech player. On this basis, the Company and Eneris have signed three interrelated agreements (”Agreements”): a Loan Agreement and a Technology License Agreement – both in force since 28th of May 2020, and an Industrial Cooperation Agreement to be effective as soon as the JVs will be formed. Through the agreements, the Company shall secure funding and resources to ensure long-term profitable growth.

Key features of this agreement include:

  1. Eneris will provide Leclanché with working capital financing of up to CHF 42 million to fully fund the business plan through June 2021;
  2. Licensing of Leclanché’s technology to Eneris against payment of a royalty fee of up to CHF 32 million, according to an agreed-upon payment schedule. This licensing is non-exclusive on a right to use basis, with the freedom to carry out future developments. The licensing is applicable worldwide excluding the Republic of India;
  3. Creation of two manufacturing Joint Ventures (”JV“) in which Eneris will hold the majority of the share capital thanks to an investment in excess of CHF 53 million for a major capacity expansion programme: one in Germany for the production of cells and the other in Switzerland and Poland for the assembly of modules. A third is being considered for France. We expect these JVs to be formed over a period of time, in consultation with the relevant workers council and in accordance with applicable laws. About 135 production employees will be transferred to the JVs;
  4. Leclanché will sign a production offtake agreement with Eneris in which Eneris will reserve the required production capacity for Leclanché in the coming years;
  5. Leclanché will retain full ownership of its technology and will continue to invest in Research & Development (R&D) activities for cells, modules and Battery Management Systems (BMS).

Anil Srivastava, CEO of Leclanché, said: This transaction provides a number of critical benefits for Leclanché including avoiding Capex investments of up to CHF 53 million in 2020, and a further CHF 60 million in 2022 for increased cell production. The Company will realize a reduction of approximately 20% in Operating Expenses. Additionally, the transfer of production activities to the JVs will result in substantial reduction of working capital needs related to production. The agreement enables the Company to maintain access to the large production capacity, nearly 1 GWh by Q1 2022 and up to 2.4 GWh by end 2024, needed to deliver contractual commitments for large eTransport customers with multi-year Master Supply Agreements such as Kongsberg Maritime and Bombardier. This shall super-charge our ability to win new customers who require access to large-volume deliveries.
Lastly, and most importantly, the strategic partnership with Eneris is materially non-dilutive to current shareholders.”

Phased implementation and funding plan by Eneris Group

Prior to the signing of the agreements with Eneris, the full Board made a determination to ensure that the agreement was in the best interest of the Company and all its shareholders. A Valuation Analysis of the new Leclanché resulting from the transaction with Eneris Group was conducted by an Independent Director of the Board. The full Board reviewed this analysis and arrived at a very clear and unanimous view that the agreement with Eneris is highly value accretive for the Company and is in the best interest of all its shareholders. On this basis, the Board of Directors approved all three agreements underpinning the overall transaction with Eneris Group.

The Board has sought and secured reasonable proof-of-funds from Eneris Group that underpins its confidence that the Group has the means to make the investments delineated under the agreements between the Companies. A phased implementation plan in line with Eneris’ funding schedule gives the Company the ability to manage the risk prudently.

Build-Own-Operate Model Impacts Company’s Revenue in 2019-2020 and EBITDA Positive Timeline

To launch the highly profitable and selective Build-Own-Operate (BOO) business line, the St. Kitts project has been moved from a traditional turnkey EPC contract to a BOO contract. While Leclanché will still build the project as an EPC contractor, IFRS accounting rules prevent any revenue recognition as an EPC contractor under the BOO model. This accounting requirement shall lead to a reduction of more than CHF 40 million revenue in 2019- although not lost revenue. This technical shift shall be more than offset with a revenue recognition of circa CHF 9 million average revenue per year and a positive EBITDA of more than CHF 5 million per year for a period of 20 years under the signed Power Purchase Agreement with SKELEC, the St. Kitts Electrical Utility. In addition, future projects will add their own recurring EBITDA.

The Company has already secured a Construction Loan of CHF 46 million for the St. Kitts project from a large Infrastructure Fund in New York and aims to start the Construction of this project at the earliest possible point after COVID-19 related travel restrictions are eased.

The Company plans to create a separate holding company, the “BOO HoldCo,” where Leclanché S.A. shall retain a controlling majority stake. The shift to the BOO model underpins long-term profitability for the Company, the shift of the revenue due to technical accounting rules mentioned above shall also move EBITDA positive results to the year 2022. It is important to reiterate that the addition of the BOO model will add profitable growth for 20 years and further strengthen the assets in the balance sheet of the Company and make it less dependent on annual fluctuations of project revenues.

Path to Becoming a Global Market Leader

Anil Srivastava, CEO of Leclanché, said:We are excited about the comprehensive Industrial Cooperation Agreement signed with Eneris Group. Though the agreements shall be implemented progressively, upon meeting certain conditions, the Company remains confident to successfully implement all the agreements. Nevertheless, the Company has put in place reasonable safeguards to mitigate the risks resulting from any unlikely event of major variations to the agreement. This can truly be a transformational partnership to create a global market leader. We reiterate that the strategic reorganization underway shall:

  • Set the Company on course to deliver sustainable and profitable growth for years to come;
  • The new Leclanché shall pivot increasingly towards more software and systems integration using the competitive products manufactured-at-scale in partnership with Eneris Group;
  • We have secured substantial fresh capital and access to large production capacity with minimal dilution for all shareholders of Leclanché S.A.;
  • With all of the above, we have increased our ability to serve all our customers better; and win new ones at an accelerated pace to become a market leader.”

About Eneris Group
Eneris Group is a private company dedicated to Innovation protecting the  environment: “clean air, soil and water” promoting circular economy, a holistic approach and a vertical integration in the field of waste, water, energy and energy storage.  It is primarily operating and developing utilities in Poland and participating in the energy transition, while its cleantech scope is pan-European. Together with its affiliates (Eneris Polbatt, Eneris Batteries & Recycling, etc.), Eneris is implementing a series of ventures and projects focusing on  batteries.  Its batteries portfolio is supported by European authorities and the Polish government in the framework of the European Battery Alliance and “Important Project for Common European Interest on Batteries” (IPCEI) programs, including strategic projects in terms of R&D and industrialization of the whole value chain inclusive of advanced materials, cells with improved performance and new types of cells, battery pack and module configuration, repurposing and recycling, etc. Eneris’ strategy includes R&D and manufacturing plants in Poland, Germany and France.

About Leclanché
Headquartered in Switzerland, Leclanché SA is a leading provider of high-quality energy storage solutions designed to accelerate our progress towards a clean energy future. Leclanché’s history and heritage is rooted in over 100 years of battery and energy storage innovation and the Company is a trusted provider of energy storage solutions globally. This coupled with the Company’s culture of German engineering and Swiss precision and quality, continues to make Leclanché the partner of choice for both disruptors, established companies and governments who are pioneering positive changes in how energy is produced, distributed and consumed around the world. The energy transition is being driven primarily by changes in the management of our electricity networks and the electrification of transport, and these two end markets form the backbone of our strategy and business model. Leclanché is at the heart of the convergence of the electrification of transport and the changes in the distribution network. Leclanché is the only listed pure play energy storage company in the world, organised along three business units: stationary storage solutions, e-Transport solutions and specialty batteries systems. Leclanché is listed on the Swiss Stock Exchange (SIX: LECN).

SIX Swiss Exchange: ticker symbol LECN | ISIN CH 011 030 311 9

Disclaimer

This press release contains certain forward-looking statements relating to Leclanché’s business, which can be identified by terminology such as “strategic”, “proposes”, “to introduce”, “will”, “planned”, “expected”, “commitment”, “expects”, “set”, “preparing”, “plans”, “estimates”, “aims”, “would”, “potential”, “awaiting”, “estimated”, “proposal”, or similar expressions, or by expressed or implied discussions regarding the ramp up of Leclanché’s production capacity, potential applications for existing products, or regarding potential future revenues from any such products, or potential future sales or earnings of Leclanché or any of its business units. You should not place undue reliance on these statements. Such forward-looking statements reflect the current views of Leclanché regarding future events, and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such statements. There can be no guarantee that Leclanché’s products will achieve any particular revenue levels. Nor can there be any guarantee that Leclanché, or any of the business units, will achieve any particular financial results.

Logo - https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/711940/Leclanche_Logo.jpg

Click Here for More Information »

Baptist Health Unveils New Safety Measures as Elective Surgeries and Procedures Resume

New Steps Geared Towards Protecting Patients and Employees

MIAMI, May 20, 2020 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — Baptist Health South Florida has announced new comprehensive safety guidelines as it welcomes back more patients and ramps up operations to fully restore in-person health services system wide. As Baptist Health resumes elective surgeries and procedures, enhanced safety precautions have been introduced to prevent the spread of infection and to ensure every facility including emergency rooms, urgent care centers and physician offices can safely care for patients who need healthcare.

In an effort to promote safety, cleanliness and social distancing, here are some of the changes patients, employees and visitors can now expect at Baptist Health facilities:

  • Enhanced Cleaning of High-touch Areas
  • Universal Mask Use
  • Contactless Registration
  • Point-Of-Entry Screening
  • Wait Where You Feel Comfortable, including in some cases, in your car
  • Hand-sanitizing Stations
  • Touch-free sliding doors
  • COVID-19 Patients Treated in Separate Area
  • Front Desk Plexiglass partitions
  • Social Distance Floor Markings
  • Chairs Spaced Out
  • Magazines Removed from Tables
  • Coffee and Snack Service Suspended

“As one of the leading healthcare providers in the region, our patients and employees have come to expect the highest standards in health and safety from us,” said Bo Boulenger, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Baptist Health South Florida. “Now more than ever, our patients rely on our care and we are ready to care for them, especially those who may have delayed treatment during the pandemic. Through these steps, we are confident we can protect our patients and employees as we safely care for our community.”

These safety measures are based on information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, the American Hospital Association, the Florida Governor’s Office and the White House’s Opening Up America Again guidelines.

For more information on Baptist Health’s safety plan, visit our Patient and Visitor Safety page at https://baptisthealth-coronavirus.com/patients-and-visitors.

About Baptist Health South Florida

Baptist Health South Florida is the largest healthcare organization in the region, with 11 hospitals, more than 23,000 employees, 4,000 physicians and 100 outpatient centers, urgent care facilities and physician practices spanning across Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward and Palm Beach counties. Baptist Health has internationally renowned centers of excellence in cancer, cardiovascular care, orthopedics and sports medicine, and neurosciences. In addition, it includes Baptist Health Medical Group; Baptist Health Quality Network; and Baptist Health Care On Demand, a virtual health platform. A not-for-profit organization supported by philanthropy and committed to its faith-based charitable mission of medical excellence, Baptist Health has been recognized by Fortune as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in America and by Ethisphere as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies. For more information, visit BaptistHealth.net/Newsroom and connect with us on FacebookInstagramTwitter and LinkedIn.

Photo - https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/1170894/Baptist_Health_Because_We_Care_Safety_First_INFOGRAPHIC.jpg

Click Here for More Information »

Parkland provides business update related to COVID-19

CaribPR Wire, CALGARY, Alberta, March 30, 2020: Parkland Fuel Corporation (”Parkland”, “we”, the “Company”, or “our”) (TSX:PKI) announced today in response to the uncertain economic impact of novel coronavirus (“COVID-19”): a reduction in its 2020 Capital Expenditure program, the withdrawal of its 2020 Adjusted EBITDA guidance, reiteration of the Company’s financial strength and other corporate updates.

“We are responding quickly and prudently to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” commented Bob Espey, President and Chief Executive Officer. “During this unprecedented period of uncertainty, our priority is to protect the health and safety of our employees as they continue to provide an essential service to the communities we serve. We are proud to remain operational through this period and I would like to thank our team for their ongoing commitment to safely meeting our customer’s energy and convenience needs.”

“The agility of our business model is evident by being able to quickly taper our 2020 capital expenditure program and reduce costs to reflect the current business environment. We will maintain the operational flexibility to resume our growth initiatives when conditions improve. Underpinned by our integrated and resilient business model, diverse geographic platform, and extensive product offering, we have a strong track record of growth and expect that to continue once conditions improve.”

2020 Capital Expenditure Program revision

On March 5, 2020, Parkland issued guidance for 2020 Total Capital expenditures of $575 million +/- 5%. Consistent with our priority to maintain financial flexibility and balance sheet strength, we are reducing our 2020 Capital Program by $300 million to $275 million +/- 5%. The capital expenditures included in the reduction can be deferred until an improvement in the current economic environment. Details of our updated 2020 plans are below:

Capital Expenditures ($ millions)
Growth 85
2020 Refinery Turnaround Maintenance 60
Other Maintenance 130
Total Capital Expenditures (1) 275 +/- 5%

(1) the “2020 Capital Program”

We expect to have invested approximately $130 million of total capital expenditures by the end of Q1 2020. Our revised 2020 growth capital still enables Parkland to maintain leadership in low-carbon fuel refining by increasing bio-feed capacity by 250 percent, enhance our supply capability through infrastructure investments and build additional digital capability such as the JOURNIE™ Rewards program.

2020 Adjusted EBITDA Guidance withdrawn

The current COVID-19 situation and associated impact on economic activity is expected to reduce demand for fuel globally. Parkland remains focused on providing essential fuel and convenience services to our customers, however, the extent and duration of the impact is uncertain. As a result, we are withdrawing our 2020 Adjusted EBITDA Guidance Range.

Snapshot of Parkland’s financial strength

Coupled with our actions outlined above, we have a strong financial position with significant liquidity to manage through challenging market environments. As of December 31, 2019, we had liquidity of nearly $1 billion, made up of approximately $750 million of committed credit facility capacity and $250 million of cash. Our existing credit facility has a maturity date of January 8, 2023. Furthermore, our Total Funded Debt to Credit Facility EBITDA ratio was 2.8 times as of December 31, 2019, which has a covenant limit of 5.0 times.

Other corporate updates

  • There is no change to our 2020 Refinery Turnaround Maintenance projections. We are on track to begin startup of the Burnaby refinery in early April and will provide notification when we achieve full operational capability. After startup, optimal utilization rates will be determined based on the demand outlook at the time.
  • Demonstrating the flexibility of our operational platform, we will reduce variable and fixed costs while retaining our core capabilities to ensure we can continue our growth programs when current market conditions change. These measures are designed to preserve cash flow during this period of reduced demand and are also consistent with our long-term goals of building a scalable platform for growth.
  • In support of our cost initiatives, effective April 1, 2020 and for the remainder of 2020, Parkland’s President and CEO will take a 35 percent salary reduction while other members of the leadership team will take a 25 percent reduction. Similarly, Parkland’s Board of Directors will take a 25 percent reduction in cash retainer fees.
  • Parkland’s balance sheet should also benefit from reduced working capital requirements as a result of lower global energy prices.

Forward-Looking Statements

Certain statements contained in this news release constitute forward-looking information and statements (collectively, “forward-looking statements”). When used in this news release the words “expect”, “will”, “could”, “would”, “believe”, “continue”, “pursue” and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. In particular, this news release contains forward-looking statements with respect to, among other things: the revised 2020 Capital Program, including expected maintenance and growth capital expenditure estimates and projects; expected Q1 2020 capital expenditures; the expected timing of startup of the Burnaby refinery and the expected utilization rates at the Burnaby refinery upon startup; expected working capital benefits to Parkland due to lower energy prices; and our ability to accelerate growth activity when current market conditions change.

These statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results or events to differ materially from those anticipated in such forward-looking statements. No assurance can be given that these expectations will prove to be correct and such forward-looking statements included in this news release should not be unduly relied upon. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this news release. Parkland does not undertake any obligations to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements except as required by securities law. Actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements as a result of numerous risks and uncertainties including, but not limited to, general economic, market and business conditions and the extent and duration COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on such economic, market and business conditions; the effect on demand for Parkland’s products as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic; the ability of suppliers and other counterparties to meet commitments; actions by governmental authorities and other regulators including but not limited to increases in taxes or restricted access to markets; changes and developments in environmental and other regulations; and other factors, many of which are beyond the control of Parkland. See also the risks and uncertainties described in “Forward-Looking Information” and “Risk Factors” included in Parkland’s Annual Information Form dated March 30, 2020 and in “Forward-Looking Information” and “Risk Factors” in the 2019 annual management’s discussion and analysis dated March 5, 2020 (the “Q4 2019 MD&A”), which are filed on SEDAR and available on the Parkland website at www.parkland.ca. The forward-looking statements contained in this news release are expressly qualified by this cautionary statement.

Non-GAAP Financial Measures

This news release refers to certain non-GAAP financial measures that are not determined in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (”IFRS”). Adjusted EBITDA is a measures of segment profit. See Section 13 of the Q4 2019 MD&A and Note 27 of the 2019 annual consolidated financial statements for a reconciliation of this measure of segment profit to the nearest IFRS measure. Management considers this to be an important supplemental measure of Parkland’s performance and believes this measure is used frequently used by securities analysts, investors and other interested parties in the evaluation of companies in our industry. However, Adjusted EBITDA may not be comparable to similar measures presented by other issuers, as other issuers may calculate these metrics differently. Investors are cautioned that these measures should not be construed as an alternative to net earnings determined in accordance with IFRS as an indication of Parkland’s performance. Investors are encouraged to evaluate the measure and the reasons Parkland considers it appropriate for supplemental analysis.

About Parkland

Parkland is an independent supplier and marketer of fuel and petroleum products and a leading convenience store operator. Parkland services customers across Canada, the United States, the Caribbean region and the Americas through three channels: Retail, Commercial and Wholesale. Parkland optimizes its fuel supply across these three channels by operating and leveraging a growing portfolio of supply relationships and storage infrastructure. Parkland provides trusted and locally relevant fuel brands and convenience store offerings in the communities it serves.

Parkland creates value for shareholders by focusing on its proven strategy of growing organically, realizing a supply advantage and acquiring prudently and integrating successfully. At the core of our strategy are our people, as well as our values of safety, integrity, community and respect, which are embraced across our organization.

Click Here for More Information »