Ctrip.com (CTRP) Acquires Cruise Ship from Royal Caribbean (RCL) Sep 2, 2014 06:03PM

Ctrip.com International, Ltd. (NASDAQ: CTRP), through its Exquisite Marine Ltd. subsidiary, agreed to acquire Celebrity Century, a 1,814-passenger cruise ship, from Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE: RCL).

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. will continue to operate Celebrity Century until April 2015.

"China is becoming one of the largest cruise markets in the world," said Min Fan, Vice Chairman of the Board and President of Ctrip. "As the largest cruise agency in China, Ctrip has sent over 120,000 guests to cruise trips so far and acquired more than 10% of market share in China. We are excited about the strong growth of the cruise industry and strive to strengthen our leadership in this market.

"We are thrilled about our acquisition of Celebrity Century, which is one of the top-tier vessels in the world," Min Fan continued," Century will be renovated to provide an outstanding cruise experience to China's leisure travelers, including premium hotel services, diversified dining options, exciting on-board facilities, varieties of entertainments, and inspiring excursions and tours. Ctrip will capitalize on our strong brand, large customer base, and superior service quality, as well as our partner's extensive cruise operating experience to generate great value to our customers and shareholders."

GOLDCORP, Inc. (GG) Announces Pit Wall instability at El Sauzal Sep 2, 2014 05:48PM

GOLDCORP INC. (NYSE: GG) today announced that its El Sauzal mine in Chihuahua, Mexico is experiencing movement in the highwall slope of the Trini pit. As a safety precaution, mining operations have been suspended until a geotechnical survey team can assess the potential impact of the instability on the mine's operation. The current year represents the final year of El Sauzal's active mine life, with 100,000 to 105,000 ounces of gold production expected in 2014. As of August 28, 2014 approximately 37,000 ounces of gold have been produced.

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.

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