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Sears to sell down Canada stake, turns to CEO again for cash

By Sruthi Ramakrishnan and Nathan Layne

(Reuters) – Sears Holdings Corp is turning to its chief executive for cash for the second time in three weeks in a sign that its efforts to sell off assets are coming up short.

The retailer announced Thursday that it would raise up to $380 million by lowering its stake in Sears Canada to 12 percent from 51 percent through a rights offering. It said Chief Executive Eddie Lampert and his hedge fund, which together own 48.5 percent of Sears Holdings, would buy about half of the offering.

The move comes after a year-long attempt to find an outside buyer for the company’s holdings of Sears Canada. The $380 million target is about half of what the company had previously indicated its stake was worth.

The rights offering indicates that Sears may be overestimating the value of its assets, including its vast property holdings, said Brian Sozzi, head of Belus Capital Advisors and a bear on Sears stock. “There just isn’t significant demand for what they are trying to unload on the market,” he said.

The offering also highlights just how dependent Sears has become on Lampert for liquidity. Thursday’s announcement comes on the heels of a $400 million loan last month from Lampert’s hedge fund, ESL Investments. Sears said those funds would be used to get it through the cash-intensive build-up to the year-end shopping season.

The company on Thursday again cited the holiday season in how it would use cash from the rights offering. Chief Financial Officer Rob Schriesheim, in a statement, also said the offering would bring to $1.445 billion the total amount of liquidity raised this year.

Sears has been closing stores, slashing inventory and selling off assets to generate cash after a decade of falling sales and dwindling margins. It has booked losses for nine straight quarters.

Sears said it was aiming to sell 40 million shares of Sears Canada in the offering. It expects to get $168 million after Lampert and his fund exercise their rights in mid-to-late October. Fairholme Capital Management, the No. 2 Sears shareholder, has indicated that some of its clients also plan to subscribe, the company said.

Fairholme, which had decided not to participate in the loan extended last month by Lampert’s hedge fund, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The $380 million funding target assumes that other shareholders will subscribe to the offering. Sears Canada, which has been losing market share and has posted losses in nine of the last 14 quarters, said last week that its CEO would resign after just a year at the helm.

Shareholders of Sears Holdings will have the right to buy one share of Sears Canada for each share held, at a price of C$10.60 per share. Sears Canada’s shares were down 1 percent at C$11 in trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Thursday.

Sears Holdings rose 6.7 percent to $26.86 on the Nasdaq, reflecting an easing of investor worries over the company’s cash cushion going into holiday shopping season. The stock had lost nearly a quarter of its value after the announcement of the $400 million loan on Sept. 15.

(Additional reporting by Ashutosh Pandey in Bangalore; Editing by Kirti Pandey, Jilian Mincer, Leslie Adler and Cynthia Osterman)

FinanceInvestment & Company InformationSears CanadaEddie LampertSears [...]

The 5 Keys to Getting a Small Business Loan

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Image source:

Images Money

.

When your business needs money, going to your local bank and
applying for a loan can be pretty stressful. Unlike mortgage
loans, where banks have clear-cut standards for loan approval, a
business loan is just as much art as it is science.

Whether your business needs cash to buy a new facility, new
equipment, or simply to fund growth, these five concepts are the
key to getting your loan approved.

1. Character

This may seem really obvious, but it’s more often than not the
most critical factor in your loan approval. If the bank doesn’t
think you have the character to pay back your loan, then they
will not approve it. Plain and simple.

Banks assess character through a variety of methods. They’ll
look at your personal credit history, and many times, they’ll
review your business’ credit history. In some cases, banks will
want to talk with your suppliers and other business partners, as
well.

The point of all this background work is to learn how you’ve
handled your obligations in the past. History tends to repeat
itself. If you pay your bills on time and conduct business
ethically, then you have nothing to worry about. That said, it’s
still worth it to check your credit report at

AnnualCreditReport.com

to ensure it’s accurate.

2. Cash flow

Loans are repaid with cash. Not profits. Not growth. Not
inventory. It takes cold, hard currency to pay your principal and
interest. As such, banks care a whole lot about cash flow.

To banks, cash flow boils down to cash in versus cash out.
That means it’s not only about your business’ sales, expenses,
and profits, but also its inventory management, its account
payables, and receivables.

If your business sells a lot of products at Christmas time,
that means you’ll be spending lots of cash in the fall to build
up your inventory to prepare for those seasonal sales. Do you
have the cash flow to make your payments in addition to all that
investment in your inventory?

For both you, the business owner, and the bank, cash is king.
If you want the loan approval, prove to the bank that you
understand cash flow and that you’re business has the cash flow
to repay the loan.

Image source:

Images Money

.

3. Capital — the back up plan

Banks are in the business of risk and, therefore, they will
always want a back-up plan. That means that your business should
have enough cash held on the balance sheet in case of a
short-term hiccup in your cash flow.

Further, the bank will want your business to have a low to
reasonable level of debt relative to the company’s capital. The
higher the ratio of your debt to your net worth, the bigger the
risk, and the less likely your loan gets approved.

Think of this like you would if you were applying for a
mortgage loan. The bank wants to ensure you have sufficient cash
and net worth to ensure you can make a down payment, and also
have enough in reserves in case of a financial hardship.

If your business distributes its extra capital every year for
tax purposes, the bank may require you to personally guarantee
the loan. The key to understand is that having strong cash flow
is, by itself, not enough. There needs to be a back-up plan.

4. Collateral

The bank will typically require collateral for the small business
loan. Most often, the collateral will correspond to the purpose
of the loan. If you are buying a new facility, expect the bank to
require that property as collateral. The bank can require
equipment, inventory, accounts receivable, or sometimes, even all
the business’ assets as collateral.

Again, this requirement is very similar to the home mortgage
process. The collateral is the back-up plan to the back-up plan.
If your cash flow, cash, and net worth all are unable to repay
the debt, you can always sell the collateral.

5. The terms of the loan

This may be the most overlooked consideration in determining if
your loan is approved or denied. Of course, if you request a loan
with a 0% interest rate and a 100-year term, that will be denied.
However, there are other more subtle concepts that could prevent
approval.

Let’s go back to our Christmas sales example from above. Let’s
say you request a five-year loan with fixed monthly payments for
the purpose of buying inventory solely for this year’s Christmas
season. As proposed, that loan will be denied.

Image source;

Images Money

Why? Because you should have the cash to pay the loan back as
soon as Christmas is over this year. You’ve sold all that extra
inventory. The loan terms need to match the loan’s purpose and,
in this case, that purpose is very short term.

Let’s quickly run through another example. Let’s say you need
to purchase a new delivery truck that you expect will work for
five years. If you request a 15-year loan to pay back that debt,
that loan would be denied. Why? Because after just five years,
that loan would no longer have value to you, and you’d still have
10 more years before you paid off the debt.

Before you apply for your loan, ask a few local bankers for
advice on the best way to structure your debt based on your
needs. That will go a long way to making the bank happy, and also
making your business stronger.

Banks want to make the loan — make it easy for
them

Richard Fischer, President of the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank,
spoke with the
Wall Street Journal

in 2009

on the origins of the credit bubble. He concluded by saying, “In
the end there can be no substitute for good judgement.”

Small business lending is, without question, just as much art
as it is science. Your chances of seeing your loan approved are
far better when you understand that art and can position your
company as credit worthy. ;It’s your job as the small
business owner to make that judgement as easy as possible.

Take advantage of this little-known
tax ;”loophole”

Recent tax increases ;have affected nearly every American
taxpayer. But with the right planning, you can take steps to
take control of your taxes and potentially even lower your tax
bill. In our brand-new special report, ”
The IRS Is Daring You to Make This Investment
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The article
The 5 Keys to Getting a Small Business Loan

originally appeared on Fool.com.

Try any of our Foolish newsletter services
free for 30 days

. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe
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considering a diverse range of insights

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.

[...]

SDLP – Seadrill Partners LLC Announces Second Quarter 2014 Results

Highlights

Seadrill Partners reports net income attributable to Seadrill Partners LLC Members for the second quarter 2014 of US$31.2 million and net operating income of US$168.6 million.Generated distributable cash flow of US$51.9 million for the second quarter 2014 representing a coverage ratio of 1.09x.Declared an increased distribution for the second quarter of US$0.5425 per unit, an increase of 7% over the first quarter distribution.Completed US$1.1 billion add-on term loan B.  Proceeds of the term loan refinanced existing indebtedness and increased liquidity.Issued a total of  6.1 million common units to the public and 3.2 million common units to Seadrill Limited for general corporate purposesEconomic utilization for the second quarter of 94%

Subsequent Events

Completed the acquisition of an additional 28% interest in Seadrill Operating LP for US$373 million

Financial Results Overview

Seadrill Partners LLC1 reports:

Total contract revenues of US$339.6 million for the second quarter 2014 (the “second quarter”) compared to US$260.6 million in the first quarter of 2014 (the “first quarter”). The increase is primarily driven by a full quarter of operations for the West Auriga and improved uptime on the West Aquarius, West Capricorn, and West Leo.

Operating income for the quarter of US$168.6 million compared to US$123.6 million in the preceding quarter. The increase is largely as a result of the West Auriga and uptime improvements described above.

Net Income for the quarter of US$94.3 million compared to US$43.8 million in the previous quarter. This is after the recognition of the gain/loss on derivative instruments, which reflected a loss of US$27.8 million in the second quarter as compared to a loss of US$49.2 million for the first quarter as a result of a decrease in long term interest rates in the second quarter as well as a higher level of interest rate swaps as at the end of the second quarter. The unrealized non-cash element of these amounts is US$23.5 million loss in the second quarter 2014 and a US$49.8 million loss for the first quarter 2014.

____________________

1) All references to “Seadrill Partners” and “the Company” refer to Seadrill Partners LLC and its subsidiaries, including the operating companies that indirectly own interests in the drilling rigs Seadrill Partners LLC owns: (i) a 30% limited partner interest in Seadrill Operating LP, as well as the non-economic general partner interest in Seadrill Operating LP through its 100% ownership of its general partner, Seadrill Operating GP LLC, (ii) a 51% limited liability company interest in Seadrill Capricorn Holdings LLC and (iii) a 100% limited liability company interest in Seadrill Partners Operating LLC. Seadrill Operating LP owns: (i) a 100% interest in the entities that own the West Aquarius, West Leo and the West Vencedor and (ii) an approximate 56% interest in the entity that owns and operates the West Capella. Seadrill Capricorn Holdings LLC owns 100% of the entities that own and operate the West Capricorn,West Sirius and West Auriga. Seadrill Partners Operating LLC owns 100% of the entities that own and operate the T-15 and T-16 tender barges.

Net income attributable to Seadrill Partners LLC Members was US$31.2 million for the second quarter compared to US$19.8 million for the previous quarter.

Distributable cash flow was US$51.9 million for Seadrill Partners` second quarter as compared to US$30.0 million for the previous quarter2 giving a coverage ratio of 1.09x for the second quarter.  The increase is mainly as a result of a full quarter of operations for the West Auriga and improved uptime on the West Aquarius, West Capricorn, and West Leo. 

The coverage ratio has been negatively impacted by the increase in units outstanding following the June equity issuance as the second quarter distribution is payable on all outstanding units at the record date.  Excluding the distribution in relation to the new units issues in the June equity offering, the coverage ratio would have been 1.22x.

Distribution for the period of US$0.5425 per unit, equivalent to an annual distribution of US$2.17, represents a 40% increase from the Company`s minimum quarterly distribution set at its IPO.  Subsequent to the acquisition of an additional 28% ownership interest in Seadrill Operating LP the Company will own a 58% interest in the operating company.  The transaction is expected to be cash flow and net asset value accretive and therefore to lead to increased distributions.

 __________________

2)  Please see Appendix A for a reconciliation of DCF to net income, the most directly comparable GAAP financial measure.

Operations

Seadrill Partners has an interest in nine rigs in operation.  The fleet is comprised of four semi-submersible rigs, two drillships and three tender rigs operating in Canada, the US Gulf of Mexico, Ghana, Nigeria, Angola and Thailand respectively.

Overall economic utilization for the fleet was 94% for the second quarter.  Following the operational issues related to third party equipment on the West Aquarius, operations have returned to normal as spare parts were located on similar units, demonstrating the synergies of being associated with a strong parent such as Seadrill Limited.

Total operating expenses for the second quarter were US$177.7 million, compared to US$151.7 million in the previous quarter the increase is largely as a result of the West Auriga operating for a full quarter.  The Company has good cost controls in place and sees little risk of changes to the operating cost structure.

Acquisitions

On July 21, 2014 Seadrill Partners completed the acquisition of an additional 28% interest in Seadrill Operating LP for a total consideration of US$373 million.  Seadrill Operating LP has an ownership interest in three ultra-deepwater drilling rigs, West Aquarius, West Leo and West Cappella, and one semi tender rig, the West Vencedor.  The Company now owns a 58% interest in Seadrill Operating LP which in line with the ownership level of the Company`s other ultra-deepwater operating company which is 51% owned.  The transaction increases exposure to assets that are well known to the Company and that have stable cash flows. The transaction is expected to be cash flow and net asset value accretive and therefore to lead to increased distributions.

The gross value of the 28% share acquired, after deducting the 44% non-controlling interest in the West Capella, was $804 million. The 28% share of the debt associated with the four rigs owned by Seadrill Operating L.P., net of the West Capella non-controlling interest, was $431 million. The equity portion was therefore $373 million.

The acquisition was funded with a combination of cash and proceeds from the US$300 million equity offering completed on June 19, 2014 and surplus funds from the Company`s recent term loan B financing.  The Company sold a total of 6.1 million common units to the public and 3.2 million common units to Seadrill Limited in June 2014.

Financing and Liquidity

As of June 30, 2014, the Company had cash and cash equivalents, on a consolidated basis, of US$523.3 million and two revolving credit facilities totaling US$200 million. One US$100mm facility is provided by Seadrill as the lender and the second US$100mm facility is provided by a syndicate of banks and is secured in connection with the $2.9 billion term loan B.  As of June 30, 2014, these facilities were undrawn.  Total debt was US$3,248.8 million as of June 30, 2014; US$251 million of this debt was originally incurred by Seadrill, as borrower, in connection with its acquisition of the drilling rigs. 

As of June 30, 2014 the Company had two secured credit facilities, in addition to the term loan B. These facilities expire in 2015 and 2017. A refinancing strategy should be expected at maturity debt levels or higher.  Additionally the Company has a US$109.5 million vendor loan from Seadrill maturing in 2016 relating to the acquisition of the T-15.

In June 2014, Seadrill Partners executed a US$1.1 billion add-on term loan B.  The term loan was upsized from US$1 billion, priced at the existing rate of Libor plus 3%, subsequently swapped to a fixed rate of approximately 5.5% and will be borrowed on substantially the same terms as the Company`s existing US$1.8 billion senior secured term loan B incurred in February 2014.  The 1% amortization profile of the new facility further enables the Company to more efficiently manage its replacement capital expenditure reserves by investing in new assets.  Following the completion of the add-on term loan the Company`s BB-/Ba3 rating has been reaffirmed by both S&P and Moody`s.

The Board is confident that a similar refinancing can be executed on the remaining back to back loans and related party debt in order to complete the separation of Seadrill Partners` capital structure from Seadrill Limited and further facilitate Seadrill Partners` growth.

As of June 30, 2014, Seadrill Partners had interest rate swaps outstanding on principal debt of US$3,164.2 million. All of the interest rate swap agreements were entered into subsequent to the IPO Closing Date and represent approximately 97% of debt obligations as of June 30, 2014. The average swapped rate, excluding bank margins, is approximately 2.40%. The Company has a policy of hedging the significant majority of its long-term interest rate exposure in order to reduce the risk of a rising interest rate environment.

Market

The oil market fundamentals continue to be strong with high and stable oil prices.  Except for very brief periods the oil price has remained above US$100 for the last 3.5 years and the global economy continues along its growth path following the financial crisis.  Even with these strong macro fundamentals oil companies seem to be unable to generate free cash flow to grow their businesses and have entered into a period of selectivity on projects as costs escalated across their entire portfolio of projects.  The current situation has some similarities to the situation in 2002-2003 when oil companies had limited free cash flow to develop new reserves.  This led to an increase in oil price between 2003-2008 when Brent moved from approximately US$40 to US$100 and resulted in increased investment by the oil companies.  Today, the the majority of low cost inventory has been produced and oil companies are entering a new phase in which recently discovered oil must be developed in order to grow production.  These reserves are in the deep and ultra-deepwater and are far more complex than reserves discovered in prior periods.  We can thereby assume that the amount of rig capacity which is needed to produce a barrel of offshore oil in the future will increase.

Over the long term, return on invested capital will be the ultimate driver of capital allocation decisions and the attractive economics of the deep and ultra-deepwater will lead to increased exploration and development spending in these regions.  This view is supported by most of the major oil companies.

Ultra-Deepwater Floaters

The near term market for ultra-deepwater drilling units continues to be challenging partly driven by a reduction in exploration drilling which has led to a slower growth rate in overall upstream spending.  However, there is evidence of positive developments in the number of tenders that have materialized for 2015 and 2016 projects.  In the meantime, independent E&P`s could potentially fill some of the exploration gap that has been created by the cuts in exploration spending from the major oil companies.

The reported overall contracting activity has increased however we see some industry participants, especially those with older units and significant portions of their fleet requiring renewal in the short term, driving prices down.  The uncertain cash flow profile of these older units is forcing contractors to make difficult decisions and lock up their best assets in order to gain some clarity on the near term outlook for their business.  Older 4th and 5th generations assets are quickly losing pricing power and rates are falling faster than high-specification units.  Many of these units are facing high capital expenditure requirements in order to remain part of the active fleet and owners of these assets face decisions to upgrade, swap out with a new unit, or retire the asset.  We have seen two examples of this recently in Norway that may prove to be a leading indicator for trends in the global market.  Worldwide, out of a total active floater fleet of approximately 300 units there are 128 units more than 25 years old.  It is estimated that 70 of these units will be required to have 5 year classing surveys between now and 2017.  The total cost for such a classifications can easily be in excess of US$100 million.

Seadrill Partners remains in the best possible competitive position with long term contracts, robust backlog and little exposure to the near term dayrate environment.

The longer term outlook for floaters remains solid.  The number of newbuild announcements has rapidly declined and existing newbuild projects are extending delivery dates.  Major oil companies continue to focus their activity on 6th generation units with high variable deckload capacity, dual BOP`s, and dual activity capabilities in a bid to advance the safety and efficiency of the rigs they employ.  Several oil companies are also now introducing requirements for managed pressure drilling equipment.  This is not simply a matter of preference that can dissipate if customer preferences change.  This migration to a higher specification fleet is in part dictated by the increasingly challenging project requirements of recent discoveries.  Oil companies must now develop the challenging reserves discovered in recent years in order to replace reserves and grow production.

The main driver on the demand side will be the anticipated need to drill development wells to bring ultra-deepwater production from the present level of  approximately 1.3 million barrels per day to 5 million barrels per day forecast in 2020.  The delivery of 73 ultra-deepwater newbuildings from today until 2018 will increase capacity.  However, it can be anticipated that a significant part of the 128 rigs that are more than 25 years old will be retired from service as they come up for classing surveys due to uneconomic classification budgets.  At the same time, ordering of new rigs has more or less stopped which sets the framework for a sharp upturn when demand and supply again are balanced.

Activity in Brazil has shown the most notable improvement as Petrobras tendered their first new rig in three years and is progressing through the acceptance process for the 2015 extensions.  Following a year when the market saw a number of rigs leaving the country this is certainly a step forward.  Although a seemingly bearish sign to see rigs leaving the biggest operator, it was in fact a very natural market development and a perfect example of the bifurcation and fleet renewal that is occurring on a global scale today.  In addition to Petrobras` initial tender and expected extension of six rigs that have contracts expiring in 2015, it is expected that an additional three to four assets will be needed in the sort term to meet drilling requirements on the Libra field, with up to ten units expected to be required in total.

The West African market continues to be an active region for tendering activity as oil companies` move into their next budgeting cycle.  In particular we see opportunities in Nigeria, Angola, and Ghana as companies work through regulatory approval processes.  As demonstrated by Seadrill`s contract announcements for the West Jupiter and West Saturn, tenders will get completed; however patience and working constructively with stakeholders are key for success.  Additionally, there is a clear trend that going forward companies will need to develop a strong local presence to be competitive in these markets.  Not only is there political pressure to increase local content, but also a clear economic benefit in replacing international workers with local crew.

The US Gulf of Mexico is the primary market that may see a pickup in short term exploration activity given the number of indigenous independent E&P companies in the region.  We have already seen opportunistic independent oil and gas companies use the present market weakness to tender for projects where profitability has improved due to lower rig rates. We see some potential to fill in a portion of the exploration spending that has been cut by the major oil companies.  Longer term opportunities will materialize, however we expect this to be pushed into 2015 and 2016 similar to other regions.

In Mexico, the energy reform process is progressing at an impressive pace.  Following the acceptance of major oil companies into the region and the beginning of formal licensing rounds, demand for floaters should follow.  Seadrill continues to be well positioned with PEMEX having operated the West Pegasus for the last 2.5 years with a high degree of success and more recently mobilizing 5 jack-ups to the region.  In the intermediate term, prior to the awarding of licenses to major oil companies there may an opportunity for a number of additional floaters based on the current budgeted spending from PEMEX.

Outlook

The second quarter of 2014 was a success for Seadrill Partners having executed an add-on US$1.1 billion term loan B and successful equity offering.  Additionally, operations have improved materially since the challenges encountered during first quarter and we have achieved an overall economic uptime of 94%.

Distributions have grown 7% during the second quarter, and 40% since the Company`s IPO in 2012. This growth exceeds the Board`s anticipated annual growth rate of 15% at the time of the Company`s initial public offering in October 2012.  Seadrill Partners achieved a coverage ratio of 1.09x during the second quarter even after taking into consideration the increased share count following the equity offering in June.  The Company continues to target a coverage ratio of 1.1x after accounting for maintenance and replacement reserves.

This track record demonstrates Seadrill Partners` commitment to growth.  The Board and management team remain committed to growing distributions by acquiring operating company units or additional assets.  The Board is pleased the Company has managed to diversify its fleet and reached the point where it is prudent to acquire operating company units.  By moving swiftly to acquire an additional 5 rigs since IPO Seadrill Partners has opened up a new avenue for distribution growth.

The add-on term loan B completed in June is another important step towards rationalizing Seadrill Parnters` debt structure which makes the Company well positioned for future growth.  The transaction, originally marketed as a US$1 billion facility and upsized to US$1.1 billion, is an add-on to the existing US$1.8 billion facility executed in February of this year and priced at the existing loan`s rate of Libor plus 3%.  This represents a continuation of the strategy to refinance existing debt of acquired rigs at the partnership level with a more appropriate amortization profile.  The addition of another two units to the Borrower Group increases contract duration and further diversifies the cash flows supporting the Company`s credit.  By upsizing the loan, the market has acknowledged Seadrill Partners` long term contracted cash flow, visible growth profile and high quality fleet.

During the remainder of the year the Company will continue to explore financing alternatives to refinance the remaining related party debt on the West Vencedor, T-15 and T-16 at the Seadrill Partners level and continue to manage the capital structure to maximize distributable cash flow.

Operationally, the Board and management team are pleased with the improvements shown during the second quarter.  The 94% utilization rate reflects the return to normal operations of the West Aquarius and West Capricorn.  The ability of an MLP to maintain distributions during periods of operational challenges is linked to fleet size.  The West Aquarius would have had a much more pronounced impact had Seadrill Partners owned fewer assets in its portfolio.  Seadrill Partner`s ability to quickly grow its fleet has put the Company in the position to manage through periodic downtime while growing distributions.  Thus far in the third quarter The West Capricorn has experienced 21 days of downtime due to BOP issues but has now returned to service. Utilization for the rest of the fleet to date in the third quarter is approximately 95% and the Company currently expects to achieve its targeted coverage ratio for the third quarter.

Distributable cash flow for the third quarter of 2014 will be positively impacted by the cash contribution from the additional 28% interest in Seadrill Operating LP.  The acquisition increases exposure to assets that are well known to the Company and that have stable cash flows. The transaction is expected to be cash flow and net asset value accretive and therefore to lead to increased distributions.

The Board remains committed to its high growth acquisition strategy in order to strengthen the fleet composition, diversify the customer base, and increase backlog.  The Company`s modern best in class fleet and long term contracts protect the Company from the current short-term negative market sentiment.  It is a realistic scenario that demand growth for development drilling will have outpaced supply growth when the Company`s existing contracts roll off. Significant old capacity is expected to leave the market, while limited newbuild projects are likely to be initiated.  This may put the Company in a strong negotiating position when it comes time to re-contract units.  With an orderbacklog of US$5.1 billion, a new fleet and solid prospects for future growth the Board looks optimistically toward the future.

 

 

August 27, 2014

The Board of Directors

Seadrill Partners LLC

London, UK.

 

Questions should be directed to:

Graham Robjohns: Chief Executive Officer

Rune Magnus Lundetrae: Chief Financial Officer

Seadrill Partners Fleet Status
Seadrill Partners 2Q 2014 Results


This announcement is distributed by NASDAQ OMX Corporate Solutions on behalf of NASDAQ OMX Corporate Solutions clients.

The issuer of this announcement warrants that they are solely responsible for the content, accuracy and originality of the information contained therein.
Source: Seadrill Partners LLC via GlobeNewswire
HUG#1851480

FinanceInvestment & Company [...]

Why You Should Avoid Payday Loans

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Payday loans have become a life-line for many American
families strapped for cash. Payday loans are basically
high-interest, high-risk, short-term loans largely made to
sub-prime borrowers who don’t have any other means of obtaining
much needed funds.

According to
research figures

released by the Pew Charitable Trust in 2012, 12 million American
adults depended on payday loans in 2010 to make ends meet while
figures will most certainly have further risen until 2014.

In 2010, the average borrower took out eight loans per year
with a loan size of $375 each and paid a whopping $520 on
interest.

Payday loan companies providers clearly take advantage of
cash-hungry, vulnerable consumers who need quick cash and are
desperate enough to turn to these financing companies.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

While it is widely accepted in American society to take on
consumer debt, payday loans should clearly be the absolutely last
solution for people who need a short-term cash influx.

Payday loans are usually available on the spot, but they pose
the very real danger of creating a dependency that could lead to
a devastating debt spiral. So when you think about taking out a
payday loan, you better understand very well what you are getting
into.

The dangers of easy cash

The popularity of payday loans can largely be explained by how
easy it is to obtain them. All you have to do is fill out on
application, possibly on the Internet, agree to the lending terms
and you get your cash fairly quickly.

Unfortunately, the availability of easy cash can seduce
consumers and encourage them to adopt unhealthy spending
habits.

Of course, there might be situations in which a short-term
cash infusion will help you with an emergency such as paying for
a car repair or a medical bill.

However, be aware that payday loans can push you in a debt
spiral in which you are required to roll over one payday loan
into the next one, with little hope of breaking the cycle.

Excessive interest rates

Make sure you understand, that payday loans are very short-term
loans that need to be paid back in full plus sizable interest and
fee components.

Annualized interest rates (also called annual percentage
rates, or APRs) can be as much as a
couple of hundred percent

according to information from the Consumer Financial Protection
Bureau and it is not unusual for borrowers to pay back a total of
interest and fees that exceeds the amount borrowed.

If you take out a payday loan, be prepared to pay 100% or more
of your requested loan size in interests and fees. There is a
reason why payday loan companies can be compared to loan sharking
operations.

Payday loans as a last resort

Given the excessive interest rates and fees being charged, payday
loans clearly should be avoided at all costs. If you have any
other chance of making up for your cash shortfall, by all means
use it.

Do not use payday loans to finance purchases of consumption
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roll over their expensive payday loans into new loans on a
consistent basis.

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China Commercial Credit Issues Update on Recovery of Loan Guarantee Payments

WUJIANG, CHINA–(Marketwired – Jul 25, 2014) – China Commercial Credit, Inc. (NASDAQ: CCCR), a microfinance company providing financial services to small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs), farmers and individuals in Jiangsu Province, today said it has made progress toward recovering a significant portion of the $5.4 million it paid in the first quarter of 2014 to lenders on behalf of 11 loan guarantee service customers who had borrowed funds from these lenders but defaulted on their loan repayments.

After determining that the majority of these defaulting borrowers had subsequently acquired the capability of repaying these funds, CCCR recovered approximately $0.7 million in cash from these borrowers and converted an additional $2.1 million of their debt into one-year loan notes payable by the borrowers directly to the company. All funds reclaimed via the above measures will be applied to CCCR’s total capital available for use on its microfinance lending and loan guarantee businesses.

The company expects to announce that its second quarter payments to lenders on behalf of loan guarantee customers, although less than in the first quarter, will still amount to about $3.7 million. Of this total, CCCR has thus far recovered $1.1 million and converted an additional $1.6 million of their debt into one-year loan notes payable by the borrowers directly to the company. The financial adjustments related to these events will be included in the company’s upcoming Q2 report.

About China Commercial Credit

China Commercial Credit (http://www.chinacommercialcredit.com), founded in 2008, provides business loans and loan guarantee services to more than 260 small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs), farmers and individuals in China’s Jiangsu Province. Due to recent legislation and banking reform in China, these SMEs, farmers and individuals — which historically had been excluded from borrowing funds from State-owned and commercial banks — are now able to borrow money at competitive rates from microfinance lenders. According to 2012 data, SMEs account for eight of ten jobs in China and comprise nearly 60 percent of the nation’s GDP.Utilizing proceeds of the recently completed secondary public offering, the company intends to commence its financial leasing business. It also recently launched a peer-to-peer online lending platform designed to pair SME borrowers with willing lenders.

Investors seeking additional information on CCCR or wishing to register for company Email Alerts may go to http://www.ir-site.com/china-commercial-credit/default.asp or the Asia IR/PR client page at http://asia-irpr.com/clients/cccr/ .

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of United States securities laws. You should not rely upon forward-looking statements as predictions of future events. These forward-looking statements involve a number of risks, uncertainties (some of which are beyond our control) or other assumptions that may cause actual results or performance to be materially different from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. Although we believe that the expectations reflected in the forward-looking statements are reasonable, we cannot guarantee future results, levels of activity, performance or achievements. Except as required by law, we undertake no obligation to update publicly any forward-looking statements for any reason after the date of this release to conform these statements to actual results or to changes in our expectations. You should review the factors described in the section entitled “Risk Factors” in our registration statement on Form S-1 filed with the SEC on May 7, 2014 and other documents we file from time to time with the SEC. We qualify all of our forward-looking statements by these cautionary statements.

FinanceChina
Contact:

Investors
Jimmy Caplan
512-329-9505
jimmy@asia-irpr.com

Media
Rick Eisenberg
212-496-6828
rick@asia-irpr.com

Horizon Technology Finance Announces Prepayment and Termination of Term Loan Facility

FARMINGTON, CT–(Marketwired – Jun 17, 2014) – Horizon Technology Finance Corporation (NASDAQ: HRZN) (the “Company” or “Horizon”), a leading specialty finance company that provides secured loans to venture capital and private equity backed development-stage companies in the technology, life science, healthcare information and services, and cleantech industries, announced today the termination of its term loan credit facility (“Term Loan Facility”) with Fortress Credit Co LLC, an affiliate of Fortress Investment Group LLC (“Fortress Credit”) and the Company’s prepayment of all outstanding amounts due thereunder. Horizon maintains borrowing capacity pursuant to its existing $50 million revolving credit facility (the “Key Facility”) with Key Equipment Finance Inc. (“Key”) which contains an accordion feature allowing for an increase in the total loan commitment up to an aggregate commitment of $150 million.

“Horizon made the strategic decision to prepay the Term Loan Facility in order to significantly reduce its future interest expense and better align Horizon’s total borrowing commitments with its current equity base,” stated Christopher M. Mathieu, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. “The termination of the Term Loan Facility is expected to result in an effective interest rate on Horizon’s borrowings for the second half of 2014 of approximately 6.2%, as compared to an effective interest rate of approximately 6.9% for the first half of 2014.”

In connection with the prepayment and termination of the Term Loan Facility, Horizon expects to record a one-time interest expense charge of $1.9 million for the quarter ended June 30, 2014. These nonrecurring expenses consist of a non-cash expense of $1.1 million from the acceleration of unamortized debt issuance costs, and a cash expense of $0.8 million incurred by the payment of a prepayment fee. The non-recurring expenses are expected to be partially offset by a reduction of approximately $0.7 million in incentive fees that would otherwise have been due to the Company’s advisor in the second quarter if the Term Loan Facility had not been terminated. As a result, the net impact from the prepayment and termination of the Term Loan Facility on Horizon’s net investment income is expected to be approximately $1.2 million, or $0.12 per share, for the quarter ended June 30, 2014. There will be no ongoing obligations or expenses associated with the termination and prepayment of the Term Loan Facility.

As a result of the termination and prepayment of the Term Loan Facility, commencing with the third quarter of 2014, Horizon expects to reduce its quarterly interest expense by approximately $0.3 million, or $0.03 per share. These anticipated expense savings reflect the elimination of debt issuance costs and non-usage fees with respect to the Term Loan Facility, as well as lower future borrowing costs under the Key Facility. The Key Facility has a current interest rate of 4.00%, as compared to an interest rate of 7.00% under the Term Loan Facility. Horizon currently has no outstanding borrowings under the Key Facility, but expects to borrow under the Key Facility by the end of the second quarter.

About Horizon Technology Finance
Horizon Technology Finance Corporation is a business development company that provides secured loans to development-stage companies backed by established venture capital and private equity firms within the technology, life science, healthcare information and services, and cleantech industries. The investment objective of Horizon is to maximize total returns by generating current income from a portfolio of directly originated secured loans as well as capital appreciation from warrants that it receives when making such loans. Headquartered in Farmington, Connecticut, with regional offices in Walnut Creek, California and Reston, Virginia, Horizon is externally managed by its investment advisor, Horizon Technology Finance Management LLC. Horizon’s common stock trades on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the ticker symbol “HRZN.” In addition, Horizon’s 7.375% Senior Notes due 2019 trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “HTF.” To learn more, please visit www.horizontechnologyfinancecorp.com.

Forward-Looking Statements
Statements included herein may constitute “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Statements other than statements of historical facts included in this press release may constitute forward-looking statements and are not guarantees of future performance, condition or results and involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements as a result of a number of factors, including those described from time to time in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Horizon undertakes no duty to update any forward-looking statement made herein. All forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this press release.

FinanceInvestment & Company Information
Contact:

Horizon Technology Finance Corporation

Christopher M. Mathieu

Chief Financial Officer

(860) 676-8653

chris@horizontechfinance.com

Investor Relations and Media
The IGB Group
Michael Cimini
(212) 477-8261
mcimini@igbir.com

Leon Berman
(212) 477-8438
lberman@igbir.com

Allegiant Travel Company Announces Pre-payment of Existing Term Loan

Allegiant Travel Company Announces Pre-payment of Existing Term Loan

LAS VEGAS. April 14, 2014 – Allegiant Travel Company (ALGT) has pre-paid the company`s $125 million senior secured term loan facility, which was scheduled to mature in March 2017.  In addition, the company has borrowed $45.3 million from Wells Fargo Bank.  Both of these transactions occurred on April 11, 2014.

“This decision allows us to refinance more expensive debt and also provides flexibility to maintain future fleet growth as well as return cash to shareholders,” stated Maurice J. Gallagher, Jr., Chairman and CEO of Allegiant Travel Company.  “We are pre-paying our term loan with a payout of the balance of $121.3 million.  After giving effect to these two deals, our total debt balance will be $149 million, which improves the company`s already strong balance sheet.”

The company has paid off the $121.3 million balance of the term loan through a combination of the $45.3 million loan received from Wells Fargo Bank and $76 million of internally generated cash.  The elimination of the term loan unencumbers 53 MD-80 aircraft, as well as four 757 aircraft.  The company has pledged the 53 MD-80 aircraft as collateral under the Wells Fargo Bank loan. 

As of today, the company has 53 encumbered MD-80 aircraft, seven encumbered A320 aircraft, one encumbered A319 aircraft (Airbus aircraft were pledged in previous financings), one encumbered 757 aircraft, and five unencumbered 757 aircraft.

Allegiant, Travel is our deal.®
Las Vegas-based Allegiant Travel Company (ALGT) is focused on linking travelers in small cities to world-class leisure destinations. The company operates a low-cost, high-efficiency, all-jet passenger airline through its subsidiary, Allegiant Air, while also offering other travel-related products such as hotel rooms, rental cars, and attraction tickets. All can be purchased through the company website, allegiant.com. The company has been named one of America`s 100 Best Small Companies by Forbes Magazine for four consecutive years. For downloadable press kit, including photos, visit: http://gofly.us/qSnWj. ALGT/G

Note: This news release was accurate at the date of issuance. However, information contained in the release may have changed. If you plan to use the information contained herein for any purpose, verification of its continued accuracy is your responsibility.

For further information please visit the company`s investor website: http://ir.allegiantair.com/

Reference to the Company`s website above does not constitute incorporation of any of the information thereon into this news release.

Media Inquiries: mediarelations@allegiantair.com
Investor Inquiries: Christopher Allen: ir@allegiantair.com


This announcement is distributed by NASDAQ OMX Corporate Solutions on behalf of NASDAQ OMX Corporate Solutions clients.

The issuer of this announcement warrants that they are solely responsible for the content, accuracy and originality of the information contained therein.
Source: Allegiant Travel Company via GlobeNewswire
HUG#1776993

Airline IndustryFinanceAllegiant Travel CompanyWells Fargo [...]

IF Bancorp, Inc. Announces Cash Dividend

WATSEKA, Ill.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–

IF Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ Capital: IROQ) (the “Company”), the holding company for Iroquois Federal Savings and Loan Association, today announced that its Board of Directors declared a cash dividend of $0.05 per common share. The dividend will be paid on or about April 15, 2014, to stockholders of record as of the close of business on March 24, 2014. This is the second cash dividend for the Company since the completion of its initial public offering on July 7, 2011.

“We are pleased to pay a cash dividend to our shareholders,” said Alan D. Martin, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company. “The payment of dividends represents our long-term commitment to enhancing shareholder value and based upon our financial results and capital planning strategies, we will strive to continue to pay dividends on a semi-annual basis.”

Iroquois Federal Savings and Loan Association is a community-oriented financial institution that conducts its operations from its four full-service banking offices located in the municipalities of Watseka, Danville, Clifton and Hoopeston, Illinois and its loan production and wealth management office in Osage Beach, Missouri. Iroquois Federal Savings and Loan Association offers a broad array of retail and commercial lending and deposit services.

Banking & BudgetingFinanceSavings and Loan Associationcash dividend
Contact:

IF Bancorp, Inc.

Walter H. Hasselbring, III

(815) 432-2476 [...]

Avago to Buy LSI in Deal Valued at About $6.6 Billion

Avago Technologies Ltd. (AVGO), a chip
manufacturer that began as a unit of Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ), agreed
to buy LSI Corp. (LSI) for $6.6 billion, gaining semiconductors for
disk drives and other electronics.

Avago will pay $1 billion in cash and use a $4.6 billion
bank loan, the companies said in a statement today. Silver Lake
Partners, a private-equity firm that helped acquire Avago before
its initial public offering in 2009, will provide a $1 billion
investment toward the all-cash purchase.

LSI and Avago may be combining to gain more resources as
the cost of designing and building semiconductors rises,
potentially heralding a wave of deals in the industry, said Suji De Silva, an analyst at Topeka Capital Markets Inc. Packaged
together, some of the companies’ storage products may be more
attractive to large Internet data-center operators, such as
Google Inc., he said.

“The question is whether this is the beginning of a
consolidation trend in semiconductors — scale does make
sense,” said De Silva, who recommends buying LSI shares. “This
clearly extended that data-center footprint.”

LSI jumped 39 percent to $10.96 at the close in New York.
The shares of the Milpitas, California-based company had gained
12 percent this year before the acquisition was announced.
Avago, whose stock was up 44 percent for the year before today,
rose 9.7 percent to $50.10.

Semiconductor Deals

The transaction marks the year’s second-biggest deal for
the semiconductor industry, following the $9.4 billion
acquisition of Tokyo Electron Ltd. (8035) by Applied Materials Inc. (AMAT) in
September. Avago’s purchase of LSI would create a business with
about $5 billion in annual revenue and provide Avago with a
range of storage chips that it can sell to data-center
customers. Avago, which operates dual headquarters in Singapore
and San Jose, California, also expects to get $200 million in
yearly cost savings.

“They will be a strong enterprise storage player,” said
Hans Mosesmann, an analyst at Raymond James & Associates Inc.
“In this day and age, as things consolidate, the bigger guys
are going to have more power.”

LSI’s stockholders will receive $11.15 in cash for each
share of LSI common stock at the completion of the deal, which
is expected in the first half of 2014, according to the
statement. The transaction will boost Avago’s free cash flow and
earnings per share immediately after it closes, the company
said.

“This combination will increase the company’s scale and
diversify our revenue and customer base,” Hock Tan, Avago’s
chief executive officer, said in the statement. “As we
integrate LSI onto the Avago platform, we expect to drive LSI’s
operating margins toward Avago’s current levels.”

Hewlett-Packard Unit

The purchase would be the largest deal for Avago, which was
founded in 1961 as an electronics division of Hewlett-Packard.
It pioneered the market for light-emitting-diode displays before
expanding into fiber-optic transmitters, optical mouse sensors
and other equipment. It then became part of the Agilent
Technologies Inc. spinoff from Hewlett-Packard in 2000.

In 2005, a group of private-equity firms, including Silver
Lake and KKR & Co. (KKR), acquired the business for $2.66 billion.
They orchestrated an IPO for the company, which debuted on the
Nasdaq Stock Market in 2009.

Deutsche Bank AG advised Avago on the transaction, while
Qatalyst Partners LLC assisted LSI.

To contact the reporters on this story:
James Callan in New York at
jcallan2@bloomberg.net;
Nick Turner in San Francisco at
nturner7@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Nick Turner at
nturner7@bloomberg.net;
Pui-Wing Tam at
ptam13@bloomberg.net


Google+

Advent Boosts Investor Confidence – Analyst Blog

Information technology software solutions and services provider,
Advent Software Inc. ( ADVS ) recently
announced a special cash dividend of $9 per share to be paid on Jul
9 to shareholders of record as of Jul 1.

The special cash dividend was approved by Advent’s board of
directors on Jun 12 and the company clarified that the amount
carried a dividend factor (roughly $2-$4 per share) and a
return-of-capital factor. The decision to return value as well as a
portion of capital is based on Advent’s strong liquidity position
and positive free cash flow generation capabilities.

Advent mentioned that the special dividend worth $470.0 million
will be paid using cash-in-hand and a senior credit facility. The
credit facility, which amounts to $425.0 million, consists of a
$225.0 million term-loan facility and a $200.0 million revolving
credit facility. Both the term loan and revolving credit facility
will carry an interest of LIBOR plus 225 basis points. Notably, the
company repaid the outstanding loans before taking the new loan of
$425.0 million.

The decision to pay a special dividend is actually a windfall for
shareholders as Advent had never declared any dividends earlier.
The company also plans to retain future earnings for funding
development and business growth, instead of declaring any dividend.
Nevertheless, Advent will remain proactive on the share buyback
front.

Now let’s have a look at how Advent performed in the first quarter
of 2013. Advent recorded earnings per share of 23 cents, in line
with the Zacks Consensus Estimate. Revenues grew 6.4% year over
year to $92.5 million. Efficient cost optimization led to an
operating margin of 17.5%, which was up from 13.6% in the year-ago
quarter.

Cash and marketable securities were $184.7 million versus $169.4
million in the prior quarter. Long-term debt balance declined $2.5
million to $82.5 million. Cash flow from operating activities was
$17.2 million and capital expenditure was $959,000.

Given the strong balance sheet and ability to pay off debt, we
think the move makes sense. We are also positive on Advent’s
recurring revenue model, higher renewal rates, strong product
portfolio and new product launches.

Currently, Advent has a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). Similar stocks
that warrant a look include Aspen Technology Inc.
( AZPN ),
Pegasystems Inc. ( PEGA ) and SAP
AG
( SAP ).
All three stocks have a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

ADVENT SOFTWARE (ADVS): Free Stock Analysis
Report

ASPEN TECH INC (AZPN): Free Stock Analysis
Report

PEGASYSTEMS INC (PEGA): Free Stock Analysis
Report

SAP AG ADR (SAP): Free Stock Analysis Report

To read this article on Zacks.com click here.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.

[...]