Category Archives: Companies

GoPro Taking Aggressive Measures to Become Profitable

GoPro, the action camera manufacturer, has promised to cut 270 jobs, along with other measures, to get the company back to profitability. The company also pre-announced that its first-quarter earnings for 2017 would be at the high-end of guidance, coming to about $210 million. Operating expenses are to go down by over $200 million, and the company will return to EBITDA (Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) profitability during 2017.

In response, the company’s stock rose by 11 percent after the news was announced.

Last quarter GoPro had previously guided revenue between $190 million and $120 million. Its operating expenses totaled between $168 million and $178 million (GAAP) for the same quarter. They reported a net loss of $116 million on $541 million in revenue for the year. The restructuring should give the company control of 10 million additional dollars.

“We’re determined that GoPro’s financial performance match the strength of our products and brand. Importantly, expense reductions preserve our product roadmap and we are tracking to full-year non-GAAP profitability in 2017,” said CEO Nick Woodman.

Seven Billion Dollar Deal Could Bring 50,000 Jobs to US

The top and side of an iPhone 5S, externally identical to the iPhone 5. Photo courtesy of Calerusnak

Two high tech giants, Foxconn and Apple, are considering a deal to build a panel factory in the United States at a cost of about $7 billion and could create between 30,000 and 50,000 jobs. Chairman Terry Gou of Foxconn said that an investment by Foxconn’s Sharp division will depend on the terms negotiated for the deal at the state and federal levels.

The announcement of the deal comes close on the heels of President Donald Trump’s inaugural address in which the new president promised to make “America First” as the backbone of his policies leading the nation. Trump stated in his speech: “We will follow two simple rules: buy American and hire American.”

One of Trump’s campaign promises was to try and persuade Apple to bring the manufacture of iPhones to US shores. Trump said that he was optimistic that Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, had his “eyes open” to the possibility. Foxconn is the biggest producer of iPhones.

Gou said that Trump-style protectionism was inevitable, but he is unsure how Americans will feel about spending hundreds of dollars more for a phone that does not work any better than a less expensive model that was made overseas.

Gou vowed to increase his investments in China. Apple is also dependent on China, not just for production, but also for sales. Last year China made up 22 percent of Apple’s total revenue, some $46.4 billion.

Uber Growing as Cab and Rental Business Transactions Shrink

Uber won the majority of total ground transportation transactions last quarter for the first time since the ride-hailing startup started up. According to Certify, the second-biggest travel and expense management software provider in North America, Uber Technologies Inc. had 52 percent of the total ground transportation transactions during the last quarter of 2016.

Last year Uber has already become more popular for business travelers than rental cars as measured by transactions, though rental car bookings still accounted for a bigger share of revenue.

As Uber continues to grow, taxis and rentals continue their decline. During 2016’s Q4 rentals had 33 percent of the market while cabs had only 11 percent. For taxis 2016 was a pretty tough year, down over 37 percent since Q1 of 2014, according to Certify.

Uber’s other competitor in the ride-hailing, high-tech niche, Lyft Inc., also grew, doubling its share from 2 percent to 4 percent in Q4 2016. The apartment rental website Airbnb Inc. also doubled their transactions every year since 2014, according to Certify.

Part of what is driving Uber’s fast growth is its low cost. On average, a ride with Uber, as reported on Certify expense reports, was $24.75 last quarter. For Lyft it was $24.99, and for a taxi, $34.62.

Rocco Basile & The Passive Home Model : Succeeding in Up-Scale New York Housing

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has presented New Yorkers with an ambitious challenge for the next few decades: to reduce the amount of greenhouse gasses the city emits by an enormous 80 percent before the year 2015 rolls around.

Rocco Basile
Rocco Basile

This daunting challenge has not deterred Big Apple denizens, but rather has inspired them to swing into action. In New York City about 71 percent of carbon emissions are produced by the city’s buildings, therefore a good place to look to reduce the city’s carbon footprint is in building construction. Through the retrofitting of older buildings, and the building of new structures with energy savings in mind, it has become possible to achieve de Blasio’s goal.

At the forefront of the energy savings revolution are what is known as passive housing. Brooklyn is at the forefront of passive home construction, with several projects already completed or under construction. One of the several builders engaged in retrofitting older homes and/or constructing passive homes is Rocco Basile of AVO Construction. Basile and AVO are currently involved in a project in Brooklyn’s exclusive Boerum Hill neighborhood in which sustainable design has enhanced the residence’s high quality-of-living standards. Located at 210 Pacific Street, some of the building’s many amenities include: enclosed parking with electric vehicle car charging capability, private terraces, rooftop cabanas, a fitness room and a common recreation space.

Basile, a Brooklyn native, is completely on board with New York’s long-term plans to reduce the city’s carbon footprint. “Having grown up in the city, it’s great to know that we are contributing to the future growth of residential properties and with as little environmental impact as possible,” says Basile.

The Boerum Hill project proves that a beautiful, high-end property can incorporate the passive home, sustainability model, and create a unique, desirable dwelling whose inhabitants can feel good about and comfortable in.

Passive homes maintain comfortable environments minimally influenced by outdoor temperatures without using active cooling and heating systems such as air conditioners or heaters, which need electricity to function. The passive model relies on many modalities to maintain comfortable temperatures, such as insulation, triple-glazed windows and more to create an airtight building envelope; plus an energy recovery ventilator, which extracts energy by exchanging interior and exterior air. In more temperate climates no active heating system is needed whatsoever, but in New York, where the weather is harsh, passive homes still rely on smaller heating and cooling units, which are only used when the weather turns extreme.

This new way of constructing dwellings can save homeowners in the vicinity of 75 to 80 percent on their energy bills, while at the same time drastically reducing the carbon footprint left behind by their home. One owner of a 3,140-square-foot passive house in Brooklyn Heights now pays $323 per year to heat his home with a gas boiler. The average cost of heating a similar-sized active house is about $2,500 per year.

Although it only adds between 1 and 6 percent to the cost of constructing a new home, many up-scale home builders are choosing to build passive homes for their well-to-do clients. The reason is not only that passive homes are good for the environment: passive homes also happen to be quieter, and generally more comfortable. The insulation not only keeps out heat and cold, it also keeps out street noise, which in New York can be a huge issue. Passive homes also eliminate or drastically reduce the use of noisy air-conditioners and boilers.

Apollo Global Management Buying Phillips for $1.5 Billion

While $1.5 billion might seem like a lot of money, it isn’t when compared to the original offer made by a Chinese consortium last year for the Dutch conglomerate Philips NV: $2.8 billion.

So what got between Philips and about $1.3 billion? A secretive US-government interagency group known as the CFIUS- Committee on Foreign Investment in the US. The group examines global deals and assesses their risk value in terms of national security.

Philips was ready to sell about an 80 percent stake in its LED lighting unit whose entire worth was estimated to be close to $3.3 billion. But after the CRIUS raised some questions about some unspecified issues, the deal was dropped.

Now there is a new deal. It will be selling the same 80 percent of the unit to a New York private equity firm, Apollo Global Management.  Apollo will pay $1.5 billion, almost half of what the Chinese deal was worth. After the CFIUS gave the Chinese deal a thumbs down, the pool of possible buyers shrunk drastically, helping to push the price way down. Philips Chief Executive Frans van Houten said it is highly unlikely the CFIUS will question this deal, since Apollo is based in the US.