Archive | December, 2014

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American Apparel CEO to be paid $600,000 a year

New American Apparel Inc. Chief Executive Paula Schneider will receive an annual salary of $600,000 when she steps into the role next month.

Ms. Schneider may be faced with deciding whether to work to stem the retailer’s sliding sales or explore a potential sale of the company, following the departure of founder Dov Charney. The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this week that American Apparel was approached by Irving Place Capital about a possible takeover, pushing shares up sharply.

Ms. Schneider, 56 years old, previously worked at a number of retail and apparel companies, including Warnaco Group, Gores Group and BCBG Max Azria.

In addition to her base salary, she is eligible for annual incentive compensations, with a target payment providing for a range of 50% to 75% of her salary. She is eligible to receive a $100,000 bonus if she presents a satisfactory assessment of American Apparel’s 2015 operations by April 5, and can attend board meetings in a nonvoting observer capacity.

Ms. Schneider was appointed to the position on Dec. 15 after American Apparel’s board vote to officially terminate the employment of founder Mr. Charney. He was suspended as president and CEO in June over allegations of misconduct.

Mr. Charney founded American Apparel as a wholesale T-shirt business in 1998 but has found himself at the center of sexual-harassment lawsuits brought by former employees. His lawyers have called the allegations baseless.

American Apparel has struggled with falling sales in recent years. In the three months through Sept. 30, the company lost $19.2 million, compared with a loss of $1.5 million a year earlier. Sales fell 5% to $156 million from a year earlier.

Overall, shares are off about 15% this year.

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Deere honors CEO’s request to cut his bonus by 25%

Deere & Co. Chief Executive Sam Allen asked the company’s board to cut his cash bonus for 2014 by 25% in the wake of tough conditions in the farm equipment market and the company’s flagging stock price, Deere said in regulatory filing Friday.

The Moline, Ill., company said the board honored Mr. Allen’s request, “resulting in total payments …. of $1.8 million less than the amounts he would have otherwise earned” for meeting the company’s performance goals.

Mr. Allen’s total compensation for the company’s fiscal year ended Oct. 31 rose 5.9% from last year to $20.3 million. Much of the increase stemmed from a change in the value of his pension and deferred compensation, which rose to $3.14 million from $1.19 million in 2013. Excluding the pension, Mr. Allen’s compensation, which also includes awards of stock and options, fell 4.6% to $17.1 million.

His base salary rose 4.1% to $1.49 million, but his incentive-based bonus slipped 19.5% from 2013 to $5.39 million. Without the voluntary reduction, his Mr. Allen’s bonus would have climbed 7.3% to $7.19 million.

Falling crop prices and the curtailment of generous U.S. tax deductions for farmers investing in new machinery have damped demand for farm machinery, particularly for large, high-horsepower models in the U.S. and Canada where Deere dominates the market.

Deere, the world’s sales leader in farm tractors and harvesting combines, reported a 9% decrease in farm machinery sales in fiscal 2014 to $26.4 billion, while operating profit from farm equipment dropped 22% to $3.65 million. Overall net income for the year slipped 10.6% to $3.16 billion, or $8.63 a share, from $3.54 billion, or $9.09 a share in 2013.

For fiscal 2015, Deere forecast profit at $1.9 billion, implying earnings per share of $5.35 to $5.50.

Since the start of the year, Deere stock has slipped 1.1%, while the broader market S&P 500 index is up 11.5%. Deere shares Friday closed 0.58% higher at $90.06.

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Paychex profit rise, top expectations

Paychex Inc. said higher revenue thanks to a new health-insurance product in its human-resources segment helped drive results in the second quarter, a sign the company’s strategy to diversify its service offerings is paying off.

The results beat Wall Street expectations.

The Rochester, N.Y., company, which provides payroll services to small companies, has sought to broaden its offerings. This includes a suite of payment-processing solutions, which it launched in January, and a cloud accounting system rolled out last year. Earlier this year, Paychex acquired cloud-based time-and-attendance-data provider Nettime Solutions LLC.

“We have experienced strong demand for our comprehensive suite of human resource outsourcing services, while payroll-services revenue continues to advance,” said Chief Executive Martin Mucci. In the most recent quarter, the company also introduced Paychex Flex, which streamlines workforce management.

For the period ended Nov. 30, Paychex reported a profit of $173 million, or 47 cents a share, up from $159 million, or 43 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue grew 10% to $676 million.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected per-share profit of 46 cents and revenue of $674 million.

Payroll-service sales increased 3.9% to $411 million on growth in revenue per check and in client base.

Human-resources revenue grew 21% to $255 million. Results were helped by the new product offering, a minimum-premium health insurance, introduced in the second half of the previous year. This new product accounted for about 7% of human-resource revenue in the second quarter.

Human-resources revenue increases were also helped by more plans being sold in the retirement-services area, and higher average asset value of participant funds.

Paychex affirmed its fiscal year outlook.

Shares, which inched up slightly in premarket trading, are up about 5% this year through Thursday’s close.

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Carnival beats profit estimate, but sales miss

Carnival Corp. swung to a loss in its November quarter as improvements to ticket prices and onboard spending were wiped out by a heavy fuel derivative charge.

Still, Carnival gave an outlook for its newly started fiscal year that met Wall Street’s expectations, forecasting that benefits from falling fuel costs would be offset in part by unfavorable foreign exchange rates.

Carnival said it expects to post per-share earnings of $2.30 to $2.60 a share for the year. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had forecast $2.34 a share in earnings. For the current quarter, Carnival forecast per-share earnings of 7 cents to 11 cents. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had expected 10 cents a share.

The cruise ship company, which operates Carnival Cruise Lines as well as the Princess, Cunard and Holland America lines, among others, has benefited in recent quarters on broad-based booking strength and firmer pricing. Carnival said Friday that advance bookings for the first three quarters of 2015 are ahead of the prior year at slightly higher prices.

For the period ended Nov. 30, Carnival posted a loss of $102 million, or 13 cents a share, compared with a profit of $66 million, or 8 cents a share, a year earlier. Excluding a $277 million fuel derivative cost and other items, per-share earnings were 27 cents.

Carnival had expected to post per-share earnings of 15 cents to 19 cents.

Revenue climbed 1.6% to $3.72 billion, led by a 1.8% increase in passenger ticket revenue to $2.75 billion.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had expected $3.81 billion in revenue.

Net revenue yields–a measure of revenue relative to capacity–improved 2.8%, excluding currency fluctuations, topping Carnival’s expectations for a 1.5% to 2.5% increase. Net cruise costs, excluding fuel, fell 1.7%, compared with forecasts for a decline of 1% to 2%.

Fuel prices fell 13% in the quarter, as consumption fell 4.8% from the prior-year period.

On Wednesday, the company named travel industry veteran Christine Duffy president of Carnival Cruise Lines, its largest cruise brand.

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Whirlpool cuts profit view for 2014

Whirlpool Corp. cut its financial forecast for the year and offered a weak forecast for 2015, citing integration costs related to recent acquisitions.

The world’s largest home-appliance manufacturer by sales said it now expects to close the year with a profit of $8 to $8.20 a share, down from $9.40 to $9.90 a share, largely due to the impact of new laundry products and costs associated to the integration of Italy’s Indesit Co. and Chinese home-appliances maker Hefei Rongshida Sanyo.

In 2015, Whirlpool said it expects to make $10.75 to $11.75 a share, including integration costs and a pension-settlement charge.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters projected a profit of $11.65 a share for 2014 and $14.50 for 2015.

The release comes ahead of Whirlpool’s Investor Day on Wednesday.

The Benton Harbor, Mich., company’s majority stakes in both companies mark its bold expansion in Europe and Asia. Whirlpool is expected to double sales in both markets.

On Monday, however, Whirlpool didn’t release a sales forecast.

Shares rose 1% to $185.88 in recent after-hours trading.

Through Monday’s closing, the company’s stock was up 17% for the year.

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Callaway Golf ups 2014 view, warns of weak 2015

Callaway Golf Co. raised its 2014 outlook amid operating improvements, but warned of softness in 2015 tied to unfavorable currency effects.

The company now expects 2014 full-year earnings of 17 to 19 cents a share, up from 15 cents to 18 cents. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had called for 18 cents. It reaffirmed its 2014 sales guidance.

But as half of Callaway’s business takes place outside the U.S., “if the recent strengthening of the U.S. dollar persists or strengthens further, it will have a significant unfavorable impact on our reported results for 2015,” said Chief Executive Chip Brewer. Persistent unfavorable rates will mean a decline in reported sales and break-even profitability.

Because of timing, the foreign exchange rates have only had a limited effect on 2014 results.

For 2015, Callaway estimates sales growth of 2% to 3% on a constant currency basis. It had previously estimated sales growth, on a GAAP basis, of 1% to 2%, but is discontinuing this metric because of the volatility of the foreign currency market.

Analysts had called for 2% sales growth.

The Carlsbad, Calif.-based golf-equipment maker, like others in its area, has been struggling from inventory backlogs and increased promotions, and falling participation rates. Among those aged 18 to 34, participation fell roughly 13% in 2013 from 2009, as that demographic turns to active sports such as running.

Shares of Callaway are down about 14% this year.

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ALR Technologies, Inc – ALRT

Founded and incorporated under the laws of the State of Nevada in 1998, ALR Technologies Inc. (OTCBB: ALRT) was established to address a growing need in the healthcare industry for better patient compliance and monitoring.
In 2003, ALR Technologies began marketing the ALRT Medication Reminder line of devices. This line of manually programmable reminder devices was soon followed in the market by a PC programmable device, the ALRT PC100. At this time, ALR Technologies also developed and introduced a line of medication and treatment reminder devices for the pet market. Named the ALRT Pet Reminder, this line of medication reminders was designed for use with veterinary pharmaceuticals for the prevention of heartworm disease in cats and dogs. By 2005, ALR Technologies’ next generation of PC programmable medication reminders was introduced into the market. Called the ALRT PC200, this device was developed to address the requirements of companies providing mail order medications and disease management services.
ALRT’s latest product offering is the Health-e-Connect Diabetes Management Program, a platform that allows for the monitoring of a patient’s blood glucose levels by trained Diabetes Care Facilitators who can coordinate care with clinicians, nurses, or other caregivers when necessary. Health-e-Connect evolved from ALRT’s earlier product offerings that also were designed to assist a patient in meeting the goals in their Care Plan.

Their mission is to assist patients and clinicians in improving diabetes outcomes and to assist health plans and employers in improving the quality of their healthcare offerings

  • ALRT provides remote monitoring and care facilitation for diabetes patients utilizing a unique, FDA-cleared software platform. Their system enhances standard treatment methodologies and extends the capabilities of clinicians.
  • Health-e-Connect is a remote care management platform that allows patients to upload the data from their glucose meters onto a shared and secure website, allowing health plans, clinicians, and caregivers to provide enhanced care between physician visits and to communicate with patients about their blood glucose readings and testing regime.

Their Vision is to become the leading chronic care management company

  • ALRT is dedicated to creating more effective chronic care management, sustainably providing measurable health information and enabling frequent patient/provider interactions, thus enhancing adherence-to-care-plans, improving outcomes and containing healthcare costs.

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Norbord to buy Ainsworth Lumber in all-stock deal

Norbord Inc. said Monday it will acquire Ainsworth Lumber Co. in a friendly all-stock deal that will create a global wood-panel giant with annual sales exceeding $1.6 billion.

The two Canadian companies said the deal will bring together their geographically complementary, low-cost operations and provide them with more financial flexibility to capitalize on the U.S. housing recovery as well as growing demand for their products in Europe and Asia. The merged company will focus on the production of oriented strand board, an engineered wood panel commonly used in home building.

Norbord will offer 0.1321 of a share for each Ainsworth share in the transaction, which the companies said represents a premium of 15% to Ainsworth’s 20-day volume weighted average price. The transaction will create a company with a market capitalization of about 2 billion Canadian dollars ($1.75 billion). Norbord’s shares closed Friday at C$23.96 on the Toronto Stock Exchange, while Ainsworth’s shares closed at C$2.98.

Norbord operates seven mills in North America, mainly in the U.S. southeast, and four mills in Europe. Ainsworth operates four mills in Canada. The combined entity would have total oriented strand board capacity of about 7.7 billion square feet, making it the largest in the global oriented strand board industry, they said.

The companies said they expect to achieve operating synergies of about $45 million a year mainly through best practices and technology transfers in their mills, sales and logistics improvements and cost-cutting steps.

Norbord Chief Executive Peter Wijnbergen will lead the combined entity, which will continue under the Norbord name. Ainsworth CEO Jim Lake will stay on with the combined company in an advisory capacity for a period of six months.

Brookfield Asset Management Inc. and its affiliated entities, which control approximately 55% and 52% of the outstanding common shares of Ainsworth and Norbord respectively, have agreed to vote in favor of the transaction. Upon closing, the Brookfield entities will control about 53% of the outstanding common shares of the combined company.

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McDonald’s Nov. sales fall below estimates

McDonald’s Corp. posted sharper-than-expected sales declines across all of its divisions in November, as the fast-food giant continues to struggle with competition and a host of issues across its business.

Global sales fell 2.2% in November, excluding newly opened stores, while analysts had expected a 1.7% decline, according to Consensus Metrix. November’s dropoff followed a 0.5% sales slide in October that beat expectations.

In the U.S., sales fell 4.6% last month, far worse than the 1.9% drop in sales analysts had projected.

An increasingly complicated menu has slowed service in the U.S. as McDonald’s once-reliable base of younger customers have also defected to fast-casual chains boasting customized ordering and fresh ingredients, including Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc., and specialty-burger chains such as Five Guys.

McDonald’s has said it is planning “fundamental changes to its business” to combat its recent weak performance, seeking to eliminate layers of management and creating a new organizational structure in the U.S. as it works to better respond to consumer tastes.

In the company’s Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa region, sales at existing locations fell 4%, missing the 3.8% drop analysts were expecting. McDonald’s performance in the region appears to be improving somewhat after one of its meat suppliers was accused of intentionally selling expired meat to restaurants in July. The scandal shook consumer confidence and has driven down sales in recent months.

November’s decline was a slight improvement over October’s 4.2% sales decline in the region.

In Europe, broader economic softness has been compounded by political complications in Russia, where authorities have been inspecting and shutting McDonald’s restaurants–moves widely seen as retaliation for U.S. sanctions in response to Russia’s military incursion in Ukraine.

Sales edged fell 2% in the division in November as “very weak results” in Russia offset strength in the U.K.. Analysts had projected a 1.9% decline in the region.

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MedCareers Group Inc – MCGI

The Company

MedCAREERS Group, Inc (“MCGI”) (OTCQB: MCGI) is dedicated to building its wholly-owned subsidiary, Nurses Lounge, Inc., into the premiere online professional network for the nursing community.

Nurses Lounge, A Professional Network for Nurses

Nurses Lounge (, is a professional network for nurses (think “Linkedin” for Nurses) built from the ground up for the nursing profession and designed, as membership grows, to attract a sizable portion of the billions of dollars spent each year by companies looking to reach nursing professionals including employers, agencies, continuing education providers as well as medical and drug manufacturers to name a few.

Additionally, Nurses Lounge is configured to solve many of the communication challenges faced by the nursing professions three major stakeholder organization types; nursing schools, professional associations and employers. Nurses Lounge does
this through their ‘interactive lounge’ pages which provides.

  • Nursing schools the ability to manage and build alumni programs and distribute news and info to the broader nursing profession,
  • Nurse associations an alternative to outdated static websites or social pages including a safe professional online environment for members to network and interact in and,
  • Employers a cost saving platform for their employee referral program, timely distribution of news and below market recruiting costs.

Nursing Profession

Nursing is the largest profession in the healthcare industry with about 3 million nurses in the U.S. The demand for nurses is expected to grow to about 3.5 million by the end of the decade. Also, about one million nurses are expected to retire over this same period. This means more money will be spent chasing fewer nurses. As such, MCGI’s management believes that, whoever can aggregate the profession together on to one network, will likely be the go-to-site for any organization needing to reach nursing professionals. Also, management believes, that this is a winner-takes-all opportunity as the chance of having two professional networks for nurses is slim to none. Click here for additional info.

Early Growth through BSN Nursing Schools

Much like how Facebook reached out to schools in their early stage of growing membership, Nurses Lounge is directing their early efforts primarily to working with Nursing Schools and Student Nurse Associations (see recent press releases). As such you can find numerous examples of the Nurses Lounge “NL” icon on major schools and organizations websites placing Nurses Lounge shoulder-to-shoulder (for the nursing schools purpose) with social networks Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter.

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