UPDATE: Paragon Shipping Inc. (PRGN) Posts Q2 Loss of 23c/Share; Updates on Financing Sep 2, 2014 05:22PM

(Updated - September 2, 2014 5:22 PM EDT)

Paragon Shipping Inc. (NASDAQ: PRGN) reported Q2 loss of $0.23 per share, versus the analyst estimate of ($0.20). Revenue for the quarter came in at $11.9 million versus the consensus estimate of $11.69 million.

Financing Update

On August 1, 2014, the Company agreed with HSBC Bank Plc ("HSBC"), to extend the existing waivers for the financial covenants relating to the minimum interest and debt service coverage ratios, from June 30, 2014 to December 31, 2015.

On July 30, 2014, the Company received a commitment letter from Unicredit Bank AG ("Unicredit"), according to which, subject to certain closing conditions, including a $7.0 million prepayment, the financial covenants relating to the minimum debt service coverage ratio, the minimum market value adjusted net worth and the maximum leverage ratio, will be eliminated until the maturity of the loan. In addition, under the terms of the commitment letter, the required ratio of the fair market value of mortgaged vessels to outstanding loan will be increased from 110% to 130% at all times.

On July 25, 2014, the Company agreed with Bank of Ireland to eliminate the financial covenant relating to the minimum debt service coverage ratio until the maturity of the loan.

Pursuant to the $47.0 million secured loan facility with HSH, on July 7, 2014, the Company completed the refinancing of the M/V Friendly Seas. The Company drew a total amount of $12.6 million and repaid in full the then outstanding indebtedness under its existing loan agreement with HSH (dated July 31, 2008). The remaining undrawn portion of the facility, in the amount of up to $34.4 million, will be used for the partial financing of the two Ultramax newbuilding drybulk carriers with Hull numbers DY152 and DY153.

Pursuant to the $160.0 million syndicated secured loan facility led by Nordea, on June 10, 2014, the Company completed the refinancing of the six vessels of its operating fleet (the four Handysize vessels M/V Prosperous Seas, M/V Precious Seas, M/V Priceless Seas and the M/V Proud Seas, and the Panamax vessels M/V Coral Seas and M/V Golden Seas). The Company drew a total amount of $81.8 million and repaid in full the then outstanding indebtedness under the loan agreements with Bank of Scotland (dated December 4, 2007) and Nordea (dated May 5, 2011). The remaining undrawn portion of the facility, in the amount of up to $78.0 million, will be used for the partial financing of the two Ultramax newbuilding drybulk carriers with Hull numbers DY4050 and DY4052, and the two Kamsarmax newbuilding drybulk carriers with Hull numbers YZJ1144 and YZJ1145.

For earnings history and earnings-related data on Paragon Shipping Inc. (PRGN) click here.


Pepsi (PEP) Affirms EPS Outlook into Upcoming Barclays Back-to-School Consumer Conference Sep 2, 2014 05:04PM

In advance of the Barclays Back-to-School Consumer Conference in Boston, Massachusetts, Pepsi (NYSE: PEP) stated that, consistent with its previous guidance for fiscal 2014, PepsiCo expects 8 percent core constant currency EPS growth in fiscal 2014 versus its fiscal 2013 core EPS of $4.37. Based on the current foreign exchange market consensus, PepsiCo currently expects that foreign exchange translation will have an unfavorable impact of approximately 4 percentage points on its full-year core EPS growth in 2014.1

Excluding the impact of structural changes and foreign exchange translation, organic revenue in 2014 is expected to grow mid-single digits versus 2013, consistent with PepsiCo’s long-term target. Based on the current foreign exchange market consensus, PepsiCo currently expects foreign exchange translation to have an unfavorable impact of approximately 3 percentage points on its full-year net revenue growth in 2014.

As previously announced, Al Carey, Chief Executive Officer of PepsiCo Americas Beverages, and Tom Greco, President of Frito-Lay North America, will present at the Barclays Back-to-School Consumer Conference on Wednesday, September 3, 2014 at approximately 9:00 a.m. EDT. A live audio webcast and replay of the presentation, including accompanying slides, will be accessible through PepsiCo’s website at www.pepsico.com, in the “Investors” section under “Events and Presentations.”


AOL, Inc. (AOL) Appoints Brand Group CEO Lyne to Head The BBG Fund Sep 2, 2014 04:56PM

AOL, Inc. (NYSE: AOL) appointed Susan Lyne to lead The BBG Fund, a new venture fund focused on early stage investments in women-led consumer internet start-ups. The fund will make seed and Series A investments, with a focus on multiplatform media, services and commerce. AOL has a long and successful history of investing in women’s content: MAKERS, Thrive, Global Motherhood and the Cambio/Girls Who Code program all launched within AOL, which is consistently the leader in Comscore’s Lifestyle category. With this new initiative, AOL is investing in women as builders, part of a broader initiative to bring more women and girls into tech. Lyne, who was previously Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of AOL’s Brand Group, will continue to be based at the company’s headquarters in New York City and will report to AOL Chairman & CEO, Tim Armstrong.

"As head of AOL Brands, I had the opportunity to contribute to the growth and profitability of our portfolio of premium brands,” said Lyne, President of The BBG Fund. “In my new role, I am looking forward to contributing in a different way. We have a huge megaphone at AOL so we can have an outsized impact on the way girls and women perceive their options, and on the breadth of entrepreneurial ideas that have a chance to compete. But this is also good business: women are the majority of users on the fastest-growing sites and services on the internet. We believe we can get strong returns by focusing on entrepreneurs who know the customer best.”

The challenges facing women in technology are real. Only 7% of venture funding goes to women entrepreneurs1, in part because only 4% of the partners at venture firms are women.2. 75% of consumer internet startups have zero women on the founding team; at enterprise software and hardware startups that number climbs to over 80%.3 And while the fraction of female CS graduates increased in 2013 to 14%, it is still significantly below 1984 levels.4 Organizations like Girls Who Code and Made With Code are leading a growing movement to change the gender equation, and AOL is committed to doing its part. The BBG Fund is part of a broader initiative that Lyne will introduce at Ad Week next month. Stay tuned for #BUILTBYGIRLS.

"Susan has done an excellent job in her time at AOL at a board and operating level, and we are excited to be putting her vast skills and expertise to work to replicate this success at The BBG Fund," said Tim Armstrong, Chairman & CEO of AOL. "AOL has a strong track record of investing in women, women's leadership, and we are adding to our investments in the most important space for women entrepreneurs. "

Since February 2013, Lyne has successfully overseen all aspects of AOL’s Brand Group growth strategy, including increasing traffic across properties, maximizing partnerships with advertisers and publishers, attracting top talent and returning the segment to profitability. Going forward Maureen Sullivan, President of Media Brands will continue to lead AOL.com as well as AOL’s lifestyle brands and money portfolio; Luke Beatty, President of Media Brands, will lead AOL’s technology, autos and entertainment properties as well as the Experimental Products team; and Arianna Huffington and Jimmy Maymann will continue to run The Huffington Post.

Before joining AOL, Lyne served as Chairman of Gilt Groupe, Inc. an online fashion and luxury brand retailer, since September 2010 and as Gilt’s Chief Executive Officer from September 2008 to September 2010. Prior to that, Susan served as President, Chief Executive Officer and director of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. from 2004 to 2008.

Before joining MSLO, Susan served in various positions at The Walt Disney Company, including President, ABC Entertainment from 2002 to 2004, Executive Vice President, Movies & Miniseries, ABC Entertainment from 1998 to 2002, and Executive Vice President, Acquisition, Development & New Business, Walt Disney Motion Picture Group, from 1996 to 1998. Prior to joining Walt Disney, she worked for News Corporation Ltd. and K-111 Communications as Founder, Editor-in-Chief & Publication Director, Premiere magazine.

Susan previously served on the AOL Board of Directors from December 2009 through 2013 and on the Board of Directors of CIT Group Inc. from 2006 until 2009. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of Gilt Groupe, Inc. and Starz, LLC.


Voya Financial (VOYA) Announces Stock Sale by ING Group; Will Repurchase $300M Common Sep 2, 2014 04:32PM

Voya Financial (NYSE: VOYA) announced that ING Group has entered into an agreement with a syndicate of underwriters to sell Voya Financial common stock in an underwritten public offering. Voya Financial will not be issuing or selling common stock, and will not receive any proceeds from the offering.

In connection with the public offering, Voya Financial has entered into a share repurchase agreement with ING Group pursuant to which Voya Financial will repurchase directly from ING Group shares of Voya Financial common stock for an aggregate purchase price of $300 million (the "direct share repurchase"). The per-share purchase price to be paid by Voya Financial in the direct share repurchase will be equal to the per-share purchase price paid by the underwriters in the public offering. The direct share repurchase is subject to a number of conditions, including the successful completion of the public offering. Voya Financial expects to fund the direct share repurchase using cash on hand.

The total number of shares of Voya Financial common stock to be sold by ING Group, including both the underwritten public offering and shares repurchased by Voya Financial, is expected to equal 30,000,000 shares.

Completion of the public offering and the direct share repurchase is estimated to reduce ING Group's stake in Voya Financial from approximately 43% to approximately 32%.

The underwriters for the offering may offer the shares for sale from time to time in one or more transactions on the NYSE, in the over-the-counter market, through negotiated transactions or otherwise at market prices prevailing at the time of sale, at prices related to prevailing market prices or at negotiated prices.


DiamondRock Hospitality (DRH) Acquires Fee Simple Interest in Hilton Garden Inn/Times Square Central for $127.2M Sep 2, 2014 04:27PM

DiamondRock Hospitality (NYSE: DRH) announced that on August 29, 2014, it acquired the fee-simple condominium interest in the 282-room Hilton Garden Inn/Times Square Central ("Hotel") in New York for a contractual purchase price of $127.2 million (or $451,000 per guestroom). The hotel opened and welcomed its first hotel guest on September 1, 2014. The Company still expects the Hotel to generate approximately $5.0 million of adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization ("EBITDA") in 2014.

"The acquisition of this new, state-of-the-art hotel located in the heart of Times Square is a great addition to our portfolio," said Mark W. Brugger, President and Chief Executive Officer of DiamondRock Hospitality Company. "The hotel enjoys a prime location within Times Square that will benefit from tremendous demand from both business and leisure travelers. Business demand will come from companies nationwide as well as those located in the over 5 million square feet of office space just within one block of the hotel. Two of the prime office towers in the city are located on the same block, including the Bank of America Tower at One Bryant Park and the MetLife global headquarters tower at 1095 Avenue of the Americas. Leisure demand is robust for this location with Times Square remaining the most visited tourist attraction area in the world with more than 39 million visitors per year. We expect this hotel to be very successful and one of the highest RevPAR and highest profit margin hotels within our portfolio."

The hotel is located on 42nd Street between Avenue of the Americas and Broadway. It is steps from Broadway theaters and famed Bryant Park as well as within walking distance to iconic New York City attractions including Madison Square Garden, Rockefeller Center, Radio City Music Hall, Jacob Javits Convention Center, many museums, nightlife and shopping.

The Hotel is newly constructed and features floor to ceiling glass windows offering unparalleled views of Times Square and the New Year's Eve Ball Drop. The hotel is designed to have a boutique hotel feel with a contemporary lobby that conveys a modern experience for today's traveler. Within the hotel lobby is the hotel's onsite restaurant, The Garden Grille. The Hotel also features a 24-hour Pavilion Pantry® convenience mart located in the hotel lobby, which offers snacks, drinks, and sundries.

Hilton Garden Inn New York/Times Square Central offers stylish guestrooms in a variety of configurations to accommodate all guests, including king bed, queen bed, and dual double beds configurations. Each guestroom features extra-large 50-inch LCD HDTV, refrigerator, microwave, laptop size safe, MP3 compatible alarm clocks and large work desk with ergonomic chair.

The Hotel's additional amenities include a 24-hour self-service business center and a 24-hour state-of-the-art fitness facility. Meeting space includes a pre-set Boardroom with the latest presentation technology to capitalize on small group business.

The Hotel will be operated by Highgate Hotels, the single largest operator of hotels in New York City.


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