2017 Global Gluten Free Prepared Foods Industry 2022 Forecast Report

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Gluten free prepared foods form a comparatively small segment of the overall gluten free foods & beverages market, with a share of about 5%. North America leads the global market for gluten free prepared foods in terms of size, as well as growth, with the former being estimated at 54% in 2014 and the latter being forecast at a compounded annual rate of about 12% between 2014 and 2020.

Wheat, barley, rye and their derivatives are found to contain the protein called gluten and individuals sensitive to it exhibit mild symptoms of intolerance such as chronic diarrhea and vomiting. However, there exists a sizeable population that shows typical symptoms of intolerance that is classified as celiac disease. This is an inherited autoimmune disorder in which gluten damages the small intestine, with the only remedy for it being a strict gluten free diet for life. For instance, prevalence of this disease in North America has been put at between three and four million, though only 5%-10% of the cases have been currently diagnosed.

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The market for gluten free foods & beverages has undergone a radical change from being considered specialty niche products to becoming mainstream products. Millions of individuals around the world have started consuming gluten free products, not only because of being diagnosed with celiac disease but also because of a general perception of maintaining better health. A current trend towards free from products consumption has given further impetus to the gluten free foods & beverages segment.

The market for gluten free products is highly competitive, with innovation in products being a major strategic approach being adopted by leading players. This trend is likely to continue in the future, as the established set of players seeks to garner increased market share.

 

What the Report Offers

1) A key insight into the market size, share and forecast for gluten free prepared foods

2) Analysis of the major global regions, including North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, South America and Rest of World

3) North American market analysis by United States and Canada; European market analysis by France, Germany, Italy United Kingdom and Rest of Europe; Asia-Pacific market analysis by Australia, China, India, Japan and Rest of Asia-Pacific; and South American market analysis by Argentina, Brazil and Rest of South America

4) Factors instrumental in changing market scenarios and prospective opportunities

5) Extensively researched competitive landscape section

 

Reasons for Buying this Report

1) For gaining an exhaustive understanding of the worldwide gluten free prepared foods market

2) Would be of assistance in providing a comprehensive analysis of the major trends and associated prospects for market growth over the coming half a decade

3) An ideal opportunity for industry consultants, gluten free prepared foods manufacturers and other interested and allied parties to gain a critical insight into the factors driving and restraining the market, in addition to opportunities offered

4) Wide-ranging information provided about the leading market players and the major strategies adopted by them

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Major Points from Table of Content:

  1. Introduction
  2. Executive Summary
  3. Market Overview
  4. Regional Market Analysis
  5. Policies and Regulations
  6. Competitor Analysis
  7. Company Profiles
  8. Appendix

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NeuLion Powers 2017 Canadian Hockey League Playoffs

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/EINPresswire.com/ — PLAINVIEW, NY–(Marketwired – March 28, 2017) – NeuLion, Inc. (TSX: NLN), a leading technology product and service provider specializing in the broadcasting, distribution and monetization of live and on-demand digital video content to Internet-enabled devices, today announced that it is powering live and on-demand streaming of the Canadian Hockey League playoffs for fans throughout the world.

The NeuLion Digital Platform supports all 60 CHL clubs in the Western Hockey League (WHL), the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL). The playoffs are underway for all three hockey leagues and fans can watch live and on-demand streaming of all the games on web, iOS and Android devices. Coverage will also be available for selected games on Rogers TV, Sportsnet, and Sportsnet NOW, which is the Sportsnet OTT service powered by NeuLion. Fans can access the streaming services for all leagues by visiting www.chl.ca/watchlive.

„NeuLion makes it possible for us to offer CHL fans live streaming access to our playoffs wherever they are,” said Paul Krotz, Director of Communications for the Canadian Hockey League. „Not only are we delivering a great experience for all our fans, but we are keeping our fans connected anytime and anywhere with both live and archived games during this year’s playoff season.”

Following the CHL playoff season is the league’s pinnacle event, the 2017 Mastercard Memorial Cup, which takes place May 18-28 in Windsor, Ontario. The prestigious national championship includes each of the three league champions from the WHL, OHL, and QMJHL, along with the host Windsor Spitfires competing for CHL supremacy.

Under a multi-year partnership agreement, the NeuLion Digital Platform powers all the clubs in each of the three leagues plus their playoff competition that includes video content delivery, preparation and game management, consumer billing and secured delivery of the games to fans connected to the internet.

„We’re thrilled to power this year’s playoffs for all of the leagues,” said Charles Mellilo, NeuLion SVP of Client Services. „Our partnerships with the CHL member leagues, Rogers, and Sportsnet goes back many years. Great content from our partners and our great technology makes this year’s playoffs a must see for fans.”

Learn more about the playoffs by vising these websites:

CHL: http://chl.ca.

WHL: http://whl.ca.

OHL: http://ontariohockeyleague.com.

QMJHL: http://theqmjhl.ca.

MASTERCARD MEMORIAL CUP: http://mastercardmemorialcup.ca.

About NeuLion
NeuLion, Inc. (TSX: NLN) offers solutions that power the highest quality digital experiences for live and on-demand content in up to 4K on any device. Through its end-to-end technology platform, NeuLion enables digital video management, distribution and monetization for content owners worldwide including the NFL, NBA, World Surf League, Univision Deportes, Euroleague Basketball and others. NeuLion powers the entire video ecosystem for content owners and rights holders, consumer electronic companies, and third party video integrators through its MainConcept business. NeuLion’s robust consumer electronics licensing business enables its customers like Sony, LG, Samsung and others to stream secure, high-quality video seamlessly across their consumer devices. NeuLion is headquartered in Plainview, NY. For more information about NeuLion, visit www.NeuLion.com.

About the Canadian Hockey League
The Canadian Hockey League is the world’s largest development hockey league with 52 Canadian and eight American teams participating in the Ontario Hockey League, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and Western Hockey League. CHL players graduate from high school at a rate higher than the Canadian national average. More than nine million fans annually attend CHL games during the regular season, playoffs and at the Mastercard Memorial Cup. The CHL is the number one supplier of talent to the National Hockey League and U Sports.

Forward-Looking Statements
Certain statements herein are forward-looking statements and represent NeuLion’s current intentions in respect of future activities. Forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of the words „will,” „expect,” „seek,” „anticipate,” „believe,” „plan,” „estimate,” „expect,” and „intend,” statements that an event or result „may,” „will,” „can,” „should,” „could,” or „might” occur or be achieved, and other similar expressions. These statements, in addressing future events and conditions, involve inherent risks and uncertainties. Although the forward-looking statements contained in this release are based upon what management believes to be reasonable assumptions, NeuLion cannot assure readers that actual results will be consistent with these forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are made as of the date of this release and NeuLion assumes no obligation to update or revise them to reflect new events or circumstances, except as required by law. Many factors could cause NeuLion’s actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements that may be expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements, including: our ability to derive anticipated benefits from the acquisitions of DivX Corporation and Saffron Digital Media; our ability to realize some or all of the anticipated benefits of our partnerships; general economic and market segment conditions; our customers’ subscriber levels and financial health; our ability to pursue and consummate acquisitions in a timely manner; our continued relationships with our customers; our ability to negotiate favorable terms for contract renewals; competitor activity; product capability and acceptance rates; technology changes; regulatory changes; foreign exchange risk; interest rate risk; and credit risk. These factors should be considered carefully and readers should not place undue reliance on the forward-looking statements. A more detailed assessment of the risks that could cause actual results to materially differ from current expectations is contained in the „Risk Factors” section of NeuLion’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2016, which is available on www.sec.gov and filed on www.sedar.com.

Attachment Available: http://www.marketwire.com/library/MwGo/2017/3/28/11G134351/NeuLion_Digital_Platform_Brochure-4ac9960825ffa569b92a083c1751ad14.pdf

Te Aroha owners take role in governing their land

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Te Aroha owners take role in governing their land

Over 2000 owners of Te Aroha Aggregation farm in Waihi are celebrating a major milestone in its development, with an open day on Saturday. The day signifies the start of responsibility for the farm being passed back to the owners.

For the last three years, owners and trustees of the Māori-owned dairy farm have been supported by Te Tumu Paeroa to develop the skills and experience in governance so they can self-manage the successful enterprise.

Since 1989, Te Tumu Paeroa have been responsible trustee to Te Aroha Aggregation. Saturday’s ceremony signifies an important step for owners in the transition of management responsibility to them.

Brad Tatere, owner and Advisory Trustee for Te Aroha farm, says, “This is an exciting step for us to be taking. Te Tumu Paeroa have done a great job in supporting us to this point, giving guidance with our strategy which will ultimately lead to our owners’ aspirations becoming a reality. The farm’s in a strong financial position, and while there’s further development to be done on-farm, we’re now looking at opportunities in other sectors. We’ve been working alongside Te Tumu Paeroa in a decision making capacity for some time now. We believe the time’s right to formalise this and take over the governance of the farm and assets.”

“Together we’ve made a lot of improvements to the farm. Now we’re confident that, with that infrastructure and the level of expertise in the Trust, we’re well on our way to reaching our goals”.

“Te Tumu Paeroa will continue to play an important role in the future of Te Aroha, providing professional services to the trust. Our success will be a result of having strong capability around our table as we continue this journey”, says Brad.

Jamie Tuuta, Māori Trustee and CEO of Te Tumu Paeroa, says “We want owners to be actively involved in decision making for their whenua. Te Aroha is a perfect example of this in action. The owners and trustees that Te Tumu Paeroa has worked with over the last three years have shown a strong desire to create a legacy of success for their land and people. This is their next step in achieving that.”

Te Tumu Paeroa will continue to play a supporting role with Te Aroha as part of the Trust’s longer term strategic plan.

–ENDS—

Te Aroha Open Day

When: 10am – 3pm, Saturday 1 April 2017
Where: 381 Old Tauranga Road, Waihi
Events: Whakatau, Pou blessing, Farm visit & tree planting, owners update

Kai and refreshments will be available. Owners and guests will be briefed on health and safety requirements during the day.

About Te Tumu Paeroa

Since 1989, Te Tumu Paeroa, the organisation responsible for supporting the Māori Trustee, has been responsible trustee for Te Aroha Aggregation in Waihi.

Everything we do at Te Tumu Paeroa is focused on protecting and enhancing Māori land.

Our vision is to support land owners to use their land to its fullest potential – creating a legacy for this generation, and the generations that follow.

We look after 100,000 hectares of Māori land on behalf of almost 100,000 owners.

About Te Aroha Aggregation

Te Aroha Aggregation is a combination of Te Aroha Sec 1B Block III and Te Aroha Sec 2 & 3 Block III.

The farm has over 2,000 owners.

485 hectare Māori-owned dairy farm

Over the past three years a number of improvements have been made to the farm. The dairy shed and effluent pond received an upgrade, new lodgings were built on the whenua for farm staff, and fencing was added to protect the waterways.

© Scoop Media

ICTV Brands, Inc. Reports Fourth Quarter 2016 Financial Results

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/EINPresswire.com/ — WAYNE, PA–(Marketwired – Mar 28, 2017) – ICTV Brands, Inc. (OTCQX: ICTV), (CSE: ITV), a digitally focused direct response marketing and international branding company focused on the health, wellness and beauty sector, today reported financial results for the three months and year ended December 31, 2016.

Fourth Quarter 2016 Highlights:

  • Positive cash flows from operations of approximately $283K, increasing cash from year end to approximately $1.4M.
  • Positive Adjusted EBITDA of approximately $190,000, excluding non-cash stock-based compensation.
  • Expanded our digital marketing platform to include listings on www.target.com and www.cvs.com in Q4.
  • In January 2017, we completed the transformative acquisition of PhotoMedex, Inc. and Ermis Labs, Inc.
  • Brick and Mortar retail sales of approximately $180,000.

Management Commentary:
Richard Ransom, President, stated, „I speak on behalf of all ICTV employees when I say that I am incredibly proud of the hard work we have accomplished during the year, and during the fourth quarter in particular. The close of a fiscal year is a time to reflect upon the progress that has been made on the execution of the Company’s strategic plan, while at the same time resetting goals and targets for the year ahead. As I reflect back to the end of 2015, I see a very different ICTV than the Company that exists today. Major accomplishments during the year include: 1) Re-positioning ICTV as a multi-channel digital media and e-commerce platform. 2) Expansion of sales distribution channels across geography, online partnerships as well as traditional brick & mortar. Over the course of 2016, ICTV was able to establish vendor accounts with several major US and Canada retailers in addition to Bed Bath & Beyond including Walmart, Kohl’s, Target, and Costco Canada, just to name a few. 3) Taking 100% ownership of DermaWand, which will have a positive immediate and longer-term impact on gross margins, overall profitability, and control of the global brand. 4) The transformative acquisitions that closed in January 2017, which give ICTV a much larger revenue scale, expanded geographic footprint and strategic relationships, all of which will contribute to significant shareholder value over time.”

„As we look ahead to 2017, I have never been more excited about the opportunity that lies in front of our global team. We have already made substantial progress integrating the acquisitions, and will continue this progress during the current quarter. Taking into account the impact of our recent acquisitions, we expect our revenue in 2017 to more than double from the $16.8 million we reported in 2016. I would also like to thank our exceptional team for the effort they have put forth over the last several months to make these acquisitions and the integration process go as smoothly as it has thus far.”

Reported Financial Results:
Fourth Quarter 2016 Compared to Fourth Quarter 2015:
Revenues for the three months ended December 31, 2016 were approximately $4.3 million, compared to approximately $4.4 million for the three months ended December 31, 2015. Gross profit margin was 70% in the fourth quarter 2016 compared to 67% in the prior year quarter. The increase in gross margin percentage is mainly attributable ICTV’s 100% ownership of the DermaWand brand, which eliminates the payment of royalties going forward, and results in higher gross margin to the company. Total operating expenses decreased to approximately $3.1 million from approximately $3.5 million during the fourth quarter of 2016. When comparing the fourth quarter of 2016 to 2015, which is a reflection of a mix shift away from TV based media advertising, towards an omni-channel digital media and e-commerce platform. 

Net loss for the fourth quarter was approximately ($45,000), compared to a net loss of approximately ($582,000) in the prior year quarter. The resulting EPS is ($0.00), as compared to ($0.02) in the comparable quarter a year earlier. Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (Adjusted EBITDA) was approximately $190,000 as compared to loss of approximately ($454,000). 

Year Ended December 31, 2016 Compared to the Year Ended December 31, 2015:
Revenues for the year ended December 31, 2016 were approximately $16.8 million, compared to approximately $24.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2015. The primary driver of the decline in sales was generated by the aforementioned decrease in media related expenditures and a decline in international third party distributor revenue. During the year ended December 31, 2016, international third party distributor sales revenue for the DermaWand decreased from approximately $5.3 million to approximately $4.3 million. Our international third party distributor revenue is impacted by timing of shipments at period end, currency fluctuations as well as seasonality. Our international third party distributor revenue is impacted by timing of shipments at period end, currency fluctuations and the appreciation of the U.S. dollar, as well as scheduling considerations with our distributors’ end customers. The decrease is primarily due to a decline in sales from our third party distributor customer located in France, Novellia, which were approximately $876,000 for the year ended December 31, 2016 compared to approximately $1.5 million for the year ended December 31, 2015. In addition, sales from the Latino Media Services (LMS) group comprised of distributors from Chile, Argentina, Peru, Colombia, El Salvador, and Ecuador decreased to approximately $1.2 million in 2016 compared to approximately $1.3 million in the prior year. Offsetting the decrease in sales from Novellia and the LMS, was an increase of sales from Inova to approximately $1.2 million in 2016 from approximately $1.0 million in the prior year.

Total general and administrative expenses decreased to approximately $4.3 million from approximately $5.4 million in the prior year, as a result of various improvements in expense management. Examples include bad debt expense being lower by approximately $451,000, share based compensation being lower by approximately $195,000, consulting expenses being lower by approximately $87,000, and travel expenditure being lower by approximately $149,000. 

Total selling and marketing expenses decreased to approximately $8.5 million from approximately $12.4 million in the prior year. Significant decreases include media expenditure decrease of approximately $2.9 million, customer service decreases of approximately $511,000, answering service decreases of approximately $397,000, and merchant fee decreases of approximately $196,000. Partially offsetting the decrease was an increase in digital marketing expenses to approximately $1.3 million from approximately $906,000 in the prior year. 

Net loss for the year ended December 31, 2016 was approximately ($1.0 million), compared to a net loss of approximately ($1.4 million) in the year ended December 31, 2015. The resulting EPS loss is ($0.04), as compared to an EPS loss ($0.06) in the year ended December 31, 2015. Adjusted EBITDA loss was approximately ($268,000) as compared to approximately ($768,000) for year ended December 31, 2015. 

Balance Sheet as of December 31, 2016
As of December 31, 2016, the Company had approximately $1.4 million in cash and cash equivalents and approximately $1.3 million in working capital compared to approximately $1.3 million and approximately $2.3 million in the prior year. Additionally, the Company believes that our current cash will be sufficient to meet the anticipated cash needs for working capital for at least the next twelve months. Additional working capital was added to our balance sheet subsequent to December 31, 2016, as part of the recently closed acquisitions and related financing, the details of which have been previously disclosed and are available in our public SEC filings.

Conference Call
ICTV will hold a conference call to discuss the Company’s fourth quarter 2016 results and answer questions today, March 28, 2017, beginning at 4:30pm EDT. The call will be open to the public and will have a corporate update presented by ICTV’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Kelvin Claney, President, Richard Ransom and Chief Financial Officer, Ernest P. Kollias, Jr, followed by a question and answer period. The live conference call can be accessed by dialing (877) 876-9177 or (785) 424-1666. Participants are recommended to dial-in approximately 10 minutes prior to the start of the event. A replay of the call will be available approximately two hours after completion through April 11, 2017. To listen to the replay, dial (800) 695-0715 (domestic) or (402) 220-1423 (international). The conference call transcript will be posted to the Company’s corporate website (http://www.ictvbrands.com) for those who are unable to attend the live call.

ICTV Brands, Inc.
ICTV Brands, Inc. sells primarily health, beauty and wellness products as well as various consumer products through a multi-channel distribution strategy. ICTV utilizes a distinctive marketing strategy and multi-channel distribution model to develop, market and sell products through, including direct response television, or DRTV, digital marketing campaigns, live home shopping, traditional retail and e-commerce market places, and our international third party distributor network. Its products are sold in the North America and are available in over 65 countries. Its products include DermaWand, a skin care device that reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and helps improve skin tone and texture, DermaVital, a professional quality skin care line that effects superior hydration, the CoralActives brand of acne treatment and skin cleansing products, and Derma Brilliance, a sonic exfoliation skin care system which helps reduce visible signs of aging, Jidue, a facial massager device which helps alleviate stress, and Good Planet Super Solution, a multi-use cleaning agent. On January 23, 2017, we acquired several new brands, through the PhotoMedex and Ermis Labs acquisitions and have begun (or, will shortly begin) marketing and selling the following new products; no!no!® Hair, a home use hair removal device; no!no!® Skin, a home use device that uses light and heat to calm inflammation and kill bacteria in pores to treat acne; no!no!® Face Trainer, a home use mask that supports a series of facial exercises; no!no!® Glow, a home use device that uses light and heat energy to treat skin; Made Ya Look, a heated eyelash curler; no!no!® Smooth Skin Care, an array of skin care products developed to work with the devices to improve the treated skin; Kyrobak®, a home use device for the treatment of non-specific lower back pain; ClearTouch®, a home use device for the safe and efficient treatment of nail fungus; and Ermis Labs acne treatment cleansing bars. ICTV Brands, Inc. was founded in 1998 and is headquartered in Wayne, Pennsylvania. For more information on our current initiatives, please visit www.ictvbrands.com

Non-GAAP Financial Information
Adjusted EBITDA is defined as income from continuing operations before depreciation, amortization, interest expense, interest income, and stock-based compensation. Adjusted EBITDA is not intended to replace operating income, net income, cash flow or other measures of financial performance reported in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. Rather, Adjusted EBITDA is an important measure used by management to assess the operating performance of the Company. Adjusted EBITDA as defined here may not be comparable to similarly titled measures reported by other companies due to differences in accounting policies. 

The following tables present a reconciliation of the non-GAAP financial measure of Adjusted EBITDA to the GAAP financial measures of net income and net cash provided by operating activities, respectively.

Adjusted EBITDA Reconciliation

  (Unaudited)     (Unaudited)  
  For the three
months ended
    For the years
ended
 
  December 31,
2016
    December 31,
2015
    December 31,
2016
    December 31,
2015
 
                               
  Net loss, as reported $ (44,897 )   $ (582,070 )   $ (996,344 )   $ (1,387,571 )
    Interest expense (income), net   3,076       (327 )     13,587       (657 )
    Depreciation and amortization   74,708       2,076       298,558       8,306  
    Share based compensation expense   157,204       125,978       416,532       611,557  
  Adjusted EBITDA $ 190,091     $ (454,343 )   $ (267,667 )   $ (768,365 )
                               

Forward-Looking Statements

Forward-Looking Statements. This press release contains „forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the „Exchange Act”) (which Sections were adopted as part of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995). Statements preceded by, followed by or that otherwise include the words „believe,” „anticipate,” „estimate,” „expect,” „intend,” „plan,” „project,” „prospects,” „outlook,” and similar words or expressions, or future or conditional verbs such as „will,” „should,” „would,” „may,” and „could” are generally forward-looking in nature and not historical facts. These forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the Company’s actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any anticipated results, performance or achievements. The Company disclaims any intention to, and undertakes no obligation to, revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, a future event, or otherwise. For additional risks and uncertainties that could impact the Company’s forward-looking statements, please see the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2016, including but not limited to the discussion under „Risk Factors” therein, which the Company has filed with the SEC and which may be viewed at http://www.sec.gov.

— Financial Statement Schedules follow —

   
ICTV BRANDS INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES  
   
CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS  
AS OF DECEMBER 31, 2016 and 2015  
   
  2016     2015  
           
ASSETS              
CURRENT ASSETS:              
  Cash and cash equivalents $ 1,390,641     $ 1,334,302  
  Accounts receivable, net of $123,109 and $118,653, respectively   506,337       301,726  
  Inventories, net   1,499,270       2,205,726  
  Prepaid expenses and other current assets   254,303       417,057  
    Total current assets   3,650,551       4,258,811  
               
  Furniture and equipment   74,098       72,008  
  Less accumulated depreciation   (58,099 )     (50,492 )
    Furniture and equipment, net   15,999       21,516  
               
    Other Asset   872,864        
               
    Total assets $ 4,539,414     $ 4,280,327  
               
LIABILITIES AND SHAREHOLDERS’ EQUITY              
CURRENT LIABILITIES:              
  Accounts payable and accrued liabilities $ 1,644,899     $ 1,516,250  
  Severance payable – short-term         45,995  
  Deferred revenue – short-term   377,445       444,066  
  Other liabilities – current   288,525        
  Total current liabilities   2,310,869       2,006,311  
               
  Deferred revenue – long-term   274,374       405,746  
  Other liabilities – long-term   665,713        
  Total long-term liabilities   940,087       405,746  
               
COMMITMENTS AND CONTINGENCIES              
               
SHAREHOLDERS’ EQUITY:              
  Preferred stock 20,000,000 shares authorized, no shares issued and outstanding          
  Common stock, $0.001 par value, 100,000,000 shares authorized, 28,343,007 and 28,027,012 shares issued and outstanding as of December 31, 2016 and 2015, respectively   18,132       17,816  
  Additional paid-in-capital   11,546,804       11,130,588  
  Accumulated deficit   (10,276,487 )     (9,280,134 )
  Total shareholders’ equity   1,288,458       1,868,270  
               
Total liabilities and shareholders’ equity $ 4,539,414     $ 4,280,327  

See accompanying notes to the consolidated financial statements as filed on www.sec.gov.

   
   
ICTV BRANDS INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES  
   
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS  
   
  (Unaudited)        
  For the three
months ended
    For the years
ended
 
  December 31,
2016
    December 31,
2015
    December 31,
2016
    December 31,
2015
 
                               
NET SALES $ 4,317,470     $ 4,356,357     $ 16,788,736     $ 24,096,169  
                               
COST OF SALES   1,299,919       1,451,389       4,998,682       7,675,264  
                               
GROSS PROFIT   3,017,551       2,904,968       11,790,054       16,420,905  
                               
OPERATING EXPENSES:                              
General and administrative   1,181,688       1,132,220       4,258,177       5,380,819  
Selling and marketing   1,877,684       2,355,145       8,514,634       12,428,314  
Total operating expenses   3,059,372       3,487,365       12,772,811       17,809,133  
                               
OPERATING LOSS   (41,821 )     (582,397 )     (982,757 )     (1,388,228 )
                               
INTEREST (EXPENSE) INCOME, NET   (3,076 )     327       13,587       657  
                               
LOSS BEFORE PROVISION FOR INCOME TAX   (44,897 )     (582,070 )     (996,344 )     (1,387,521 )
                               
PROVISION (BENEFIT) FOR INCOME TAX                      
                               
NET LOSS $ (44,897 )   $ (582,070 )   $ (996,344 )   $ (1,387,571 )
                               
NET LOSS PER SHARE                              
BASIC $ (0.00 )   $ (0.02 )   $ (0.04 )   $ (0.06 )
DILUTED $ (0.00 )   $ (0.02 )   $ (0.04 )   $ (0.06 )
                               
WEIGHTED AVERAGE NUMBER OF COMMON SHARES                              
BASIC   28,301,389       26,964,741       28,213,675       24,979,067  
DILUTED   28,301,389       26,964,741       28,213,675       24,979,067  
                               

See accompanying notes to the consolidated financial statements as filed on www.sec.gov.

   
   
ICTV BRANDS INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES  
   
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS  
FOR THE YEARS ENDED DECEMBER 31, 2016 and 2015  
   
  2016     2015  
               
CASH FLOWS FROM OPERATING ACTIVITIES:              
  Net loss $ (996,344 )   $ (1,387,571 )
  Adjustments to reconcile net loss to net cash and cash equivalents provided by (used in) operating activities:              
    Depreciation   7,607       8,306  
    Bad debt expense   920,929       1,371,797  
    Share based compensation   416,532       611,557  
    Non cash interest expense   15,423        
    Amortization of other asset   290,951        
  Change in assets and liabilities:              
    Accounts receivable   (1,125,540 )     (725,509 )
    Inventories   706,456       (227,725 )
    Prepaid expenses and other current assets   162,754       193,460  
    Accounts payable and accrued liabilities   128,649       (1,066,686 )
    Severance payable   (45,995 )     (1,005 )
    Deferred revenue   (197,993 )     (291,445 )
      Net cash provided by (used in) operating activities   283,429       (1,514,821 )
               
CASH FLOWS FROM INVESTING ACTIVITIES:              
  Purchase of furniture and equipment   (2,090 )      
      Net cash used in investing activities   (2,090 )      
               
CASH FLOWS FROM FINANCING ACTIVITIES:              
  Payments on purchase agreement   (225,000 )      
  Proceeds from exercise of options         91,640  
  Proceeds from exercise of warrants         112,500  
  Proceeds from issuance of common stock         1,000,000  
  Release collateral on line of credit         500,000  
      Net cash (used in) provided by financing activities   (225,000 )     1,704,140  
               
NET INCREASE IN CASH AND CASH EQUIVALENTS   56,339       189,319  
CASH AND CASH EQUIVALENTS, beginning of the year   1,334,302       1,144,983  
               
CASH AND CASH EQUIVALENTS, end of the year $ 1,390,641     $ 1,334,302  
               
SUPPLEMENTAL DISCLOSURE OF CASH FLOW INFORMATION:              
  Taxes paid $     $ 50  
  Interest paid          
               
SUPPLEMENTAL DISCLOSURE OF NON-CASH ACTIVITIES:              
  Cashless Exercise $ 48,378     $ 20,910  
  DermaWand Asset Purchase Agreement $ 1,200,000     $  
               

See accompanying notes to the consolidated financial statements as filed on www.sec.gov.

Evolving Systems Reports Fourth Quarter and Year-End 2016 Financial Results

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/EINPresswire.com/ — ENGLEWOOD, CO–(Marketwired – Mar 28, 2017) –  Evolving Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: EVOL)

  • Company builds momentum in Managed Services with four Tier-1 carrier wins in Asia and Latin America
  • Q4 net income up 19% YOY — $0.11 EPS vs. $0.09; 35th consecutive profitable quarter
  • Q4 adjusted EBITDA up 12% YOY with 78% gross margins and 34% adjusted EBITDA margins
  • Full year net income up 4% YOY — $0.29 EPS vs. $0.28
  • Full year adjusted EBITDA up 38% YOY with 79% gross margins and 32% adjusted EBITDA margins
  • Full Year Cash flow from operations up 210% to $6.9 million from $2.2 million; Q4 Cash flow from operations increases 301% to $1.4 million from ($0.7 million) last year

Evolving Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: EVOL), a leader in consumer lifecycle engagement, analytics and monetization solutions for connected mobile devices worldwide, today reported financial results for its fourth quarter and full year ended December 31, 2016.

„Our profitability improved in each successive quarter of 2016 as we continue to benefit from our transition to a Managed Services model and LEAN methodologies, which together deliver tremendous economies of scale,” said Thomas Thekkethala, CEO. „Profitability metrics improved across the board in 2016, highlighted by sharp increases in gross margins, operating income, adjusted EBITDA, and cash flows from operations.

„We closed four Managed Service deals with major carrier customers in Asia and Latin America,” Thekkethala added. „We won this business in the face of tough competition by combining our best-in-class software solutions with our deep industry expertise and experience to deliver compelling Managed Service offerings that help carriers engage, activate, retain and monetize their subscribers. This is a sea change for our business as we have essentially pivoted from a license sales oriented company to a Managed Service partner that helps carriers accelerate customer acquisition and generate new revenue streams. As anticipated, revenue declined slightly year over year as we transitioned away from the one-time software license model to a recurring revenue model based on Managed Services, which is expected to grow more consistently year over year.”

Fourth Quarter Results

The Company reported net income of $1.3 million, or $0.11 per diluted share, in the fourth quarter — up 19% from net income of $1.1 million, or $0.09 per diluted share, in the fourth quarter a year ago. Gross margins grew to 78% from 73% year over year. Operating income increased 76% to $1.8 million from $1.0 million. Adjusted EBITDA was up 12% to $2.1 million compared to $1.9 million and adjusted EBITDA margins grew to 34% from 26% a year ago. Cash flow from operations in the fourth quarter increased 301% to $1.4 million from a negative $0.7 million a year ago. Revenue was $6.1 million compared to $7.1 million in 2015 as the Company continued its transition from a software license model to a managed services model.

Full Year Results

Net income in 2016 increased 4% to $3.4 million, or $0.29 per diluted share, from net income of $3.3 million, or $0.28 per diluted share, in 2015. Gross margins increased to 79% from 75% year over year. Operating income increased 30% to $5.6 million from $4.3 million. Adjusted EBITDA grew 38% to $7.9 million versus $5.8 million year over year and adjusted EBITDA margins grew to 32% from 22% over the same period. Cash flow from operations was up 210% to $6.9 million from $2.2 million. Revenue was $24.8 million compared to $25.6 million in 2015.

Cash and cash equivalents at December 31, 2016, were $7.6 million compared to $6.9 million in the third quarter and $8.4 million at 2015 year-end. Working capital for 2016 was $8.0 million, up from $7.7 million in the third quarter and $3.5 million at 2015 year-end.

Conference Call
The Company will conduct a conference call and webcast today at 2:30 p.m. Mountain Time. The call-in numbers for the conference call are 1-877-303-6316 for domestic toll free and 1-650-521-5176 for international callers. The conference ID is 90713725. A telephone replay will be available through April 11, 2017, and can be accessed by calling 1-855-859-2056 or 1-404-537-3406. Conference ID 90713725. To access a live webcast of the call, please visit Evolving Systems’ website at www.evolving.com, click the ‚Investors’ tab and then click the ‚Q4 earnings call’ icon at left. A replay of the Webcast will be accessible at that website through April 11, 2017. The webcast is also available by clicking the following link: http://edge.media-server.com/m/p/4wdfw39g

Non-GAAP Financial Measures
Evolving Systems reports its financial results in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the U.S. (GAAP). In addition, the Company is providing in this news release non-GAAP financial information in the form of net income, diluted net income per share and adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization, impairment, stock compensation and gain/loss on foreign exchange transactions). Management believes these non-GAAP financial measures are useful to investors and lenders in evaluating the overall financial health of the Company in that they allow for greater transparency of additional financial data routinely used by management to evaluate performance. Investors and financial analysts who follow the Company use non-GAAP net income and non-GAAP diluted income per share to compare the Company against other companies. Adjusted EBITDA can be useful for lenders as an indicator of earnings available to service debt. Non-GAAP financial measures should not be considered in isolation from or as an alternative to the financial information prepared in accordance with GAAP.

About Evolving Systems®
Evolving Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: EVOL) is a provider of software and services for connected mobile devices to over 75 network operators in over 50 countries worldwide. The Company’s portfolio includes market-leading solutions and services for consumer lifecycle engagement (acquisition, activation, upsell, retention) analytics and monetization. Founded in 1985, the Company has headquarters in Englewood, Colorado, with offices in the United States, United Kingdom, India, Malaysia and Romania. For more information please visit www.evolving.com or follow us on Twitter http://twitter.com/EvolvingSystems

CAUTIONARY STATEMENT
This news release contains „forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, based on current expectations, estimates and projections that are subject to risk. Specifically, statements about the market for, and performance of, the Company’s products; the ability to successfully transition to a managed services, recurring revenue model; the ability to sustain sales momentum; and the ability to post quarterly and full year results that are similar to those described in this press release are forward-looking statements. These statements are based on our expectations and are naturally subject to uncertainty and changes in circumstances. Readers should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, and the Company may not undertake to update these statements. Actual results could vary materially from these expectations. For a more extensive discussion of Evolving Systems’ business, and important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in the forward-looking statements, please refer to the Company’s Form 10-K filed with the SEC on March 28, 2017; Forms 10-Q, 10-Q/A, 8-K and 8-K/A; press releases and the Company’s website.

   
   
Consolidated Statements of Operations  
(In thousands except per share data)  
   
(Unaudited)   Three months ended     Twelve months ended  
    December 31,     December 31,  
    2016     2015     2016     2015  
                                 
Revenue:                                
    License fees   $ 553     $ 1,162     $ 2,873     $ 3,161  
    Services     5,564       5,910       21,905       22,415  
Total Revenue     6,117       7,072       24,778       25,576  
Costs of revenue and operating expenses:                                
  Costs of revenue, excluding depreciation and amortization     1,326       1,875       5,297       6,449  
  Sales and marketing     1,158       1,409       4,965       5,844  
  General and administrative     1,082       1,060       3,855       4,003  
  Product development     529       960       3,014       3,847  
  Depreciation     54       37       259       314  
  Amortization     195       195       783       266  
  Restructuring     3       533       1,010       533  
Total costs of revenue and operating expenses     4,347       6,069       19,183       21,256  
  Income from operations     1,770       1,003       5,595       4,320  
Other income (expense):                                
  Interest income     2       4       6       18  
  Interest expense     (75 )     (112 )     (340 )     (121 )
  Other income     183             183        
  Foreign currency exchange loss     (44 )     212       (552 )     (6 )
Other expense, net     66       104       (703 )     (109 )
Income from operations before income taxes     1,836       1,107       4,892       4,211  
    Income tax expense     549       21       1,457       915  
Net income   $ 1,287     $ 1,086     $ 3,435     $ 3,296  
Basic income per common share   $ 0.11     $ 0.09     $ 0.29     $ 0.28  
Diluted income per common share   $ 0.11     $ 0.09     $ 0.29     $ 0.28  
Weighted average basic shares outstanding     11,907       11,740       11,845       11,693  
Weighted average diluted shares outstanding     11,940       11,927       11,961       11,935  
                                 
                                 
                                 
Consolidated Balance Sheets  
(In thousands)  
(Unaudited)  
    December 31,     December 31,  
ASSETS   2016     2015  
Current Assets:                
  Cash and cash equivalents   $ 7,614     $ 8,400  
  Contract receivables, net     5,867       7,727  
  Unbilled work-in-progress     3,376       4,158  
  Prepaid and other current assets     1,553       1,459  
    Total current assets     18,410       21,744  
Property and equipment, net     546       560  
Amortizable intangible assets, net     4,200       4,983  
Goodwill     20,599       23,142  
    Total assets   $ 43,755     $ 50,429  
LIABILITIES AND STOCKHOLDERS’ EQUITY                
Current liabilities:                
  Current portion of capital lease obligations   $ 1     $ 5  
  Revolving line of credit           10,000  
  Term loan – current     1,997        
  Accounts payable and accrued liabilities     4,274       4,607  
  Income taxes payable     617       324  
  Unearned revenue     3,532       3,330  
    Total current liabilities     10,421       18,266  
Long-term liabilities:                
  Capital lease obligations, net           1  
  Term loan, net     4,000        
      Total liabilities     14,421       18,267  
Stockholders’ equity:                
  Common stock     12       12  
  Additional paid-in capital     97,744       97,418  
  Treasury stock     (1,253 )     (1,253 )
  Accumulated other comprehensive loss     (9,992 )     (5,999 )
  Accumulated deficit     (57,177 )     (58,016 )
    Total stockholders’ equity     29,334       32,162  
  Total liabilities and stockholders’ equity   $ 43,755     $ 50,429  
                   
                   
                   
Reconciliation of GAAP to Non-GAAP Financial Measures  
(In thousands except per share data)  
(Unaudited)  
  Three months ended     Twelve months ended  
  December 31,     December 31,  
  2016     2015     2016     2015  
Non-GAAP net income and income per share:                              
GAAP net income $ 1,287     $ 1,086     $ 3,435     $ 3,296  
Amortization of intangible assets   195       195       783       266  
Stock-based compensation expense   61       88       259       317  
Restructuring   3       533       1,010       533  
Income tax adjustment for non-GAAP*   (96 )     (224 )     (696 )     (324 )
Non-GAAP net income $ 1,450     $ 1,678     $ 4,791     $ 4,088  
                               
Diluted net income per share:                              
  GAAP $ 0.11     $ 0.09     $ 0.29     $ 0.28  
  Non-GAAP $ 0.12     $ 0.14     $ 0.40     $ 0.34  
  Shares used to compute diluted EPS   11,940       11,927       11,961       11,935  
                       
  Three months ended     Twelve months ended  
  December 31,     December 31,  
  2016     2015     2016     2015  
Adjusted EBITDA:                              
                               
Net income $ 1,287     $ 1,086     $ 3,435     $ 3,296  
  Depreciation   54       37       259       314  
  Amortization of intangible assets   195       195       783       266  
  Stock-based compensation expense   61       88       259       317  
  Restructuring   3       533       1,010       533  
  Interest expense and other (benefit), net   (66 )     (104 )     703       109  
  Income tax expense   549       21       1,457       915  
Adjusted EBITDA $ 2,083     $ 1,856     $ 7,906     $ 5,750  
                               

*The estimated income tax for non-GAAP net income is adjusted by the amount of additional expense that the Company would accrue if it used non-GAAP results instead of GAAP results in the calculation of its tax liability, taking into account in which tax jurisdiction each of the above adjustments would be made and the tax rate in that jurisdiction.

NZ companies lift spending on R&D

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Wednesday 29 March 2017 11:19 AM

NZ companies lift spending on R&D but still lag behind OECD average

By Rebecca Howard

March 29 (BusinessDesk) – Increased spending by businesses helped boost New Zealand’s total research and development expenditure 20 percent since 2014, but the country still lags behind the average for the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Total R&D expenditure hit $3.2 billion as businesses spent 29 percent more than they did in 2014, higher education invested 18 percent more and the government spent 5 percent more. The Statistics New Zealand survey is conducted every two years.

According to Stats NZ, total R&D as a proportion of gross domestic product increased to 1.3 percent in 2016, up from 1.2 percent in 2014. The OECD average is 2.4 percent. Business investment in R&D, however, was 0.6 percent of GDP, up from 0.5 percent in 2014.

Innovation is seen as one of the ways to lift New Zealand’s productivity levels, which has been more difficult to achieve given the nation’s relatively small economy and distance from other markets. Last year, then Innovation Minister Steven Joyce flagged an extra $410.5 million to fund science projects over the following four years as part of his drive to grow business investment in R&D to more than 1 percent of the economy.

In 2016, businesses spent a total of $1.6 billion on R&D, up $356 million from 2014. This change was driven by the services and the manufacturing sectors, up 32 percent and 29 percent, respectively. The computer services industry, which includes businesses involved in software production or web design, had the largest growth in R&D spend, up 40 percent from 2014

In contrast, the government and higher education sectors showed more modest growth in R&D spend – a $32 million increase for government spending and a $143 million increase for higher education spending.

Twenty percent of all R&D was to improve or develop manufacturing processes in 2016, Stats NZ said. Government spending on R&D was largely for primary industries and environment, and higher education expenditure was focused on health research.

Meanwhile, businesses remained upbeat about future spending. In 2016, 85 percent of businesses undertaking R&D activity expected their future R&D spending to stay the same or increase, up from 81 percent in 2014. Only 9 percent of businesses expected R&D spending to decrease in the future, down from 13 percent in 2014.

In 2016, 54,500 people were involved in R&D, up from 51,600 in 2014. The increase was mainly driven by more researchers in the business sector.

(BusinessDesk)

ends

© Scoop Media

Raglan Coconut Yoghurt teams up with TerraCycle

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Raglan Coconut Yoghurt teams up with TerraCycle to recycle its Little Yoghis

To coincide with the launch of its new ‘Little Yoghi’ range of coconut yoghurt pouches, Raglan Coconut Yoghurt has joined up with recycling pioneers TerraCycle to make the pouches nationally recyclable in New Zealand.

Through the Little Yoghi Recycling Programme, New Zealanders simply collect pouches at home, work, school, or at their playgroup, and freepost them to TerraCycle in any used box. The pouch materials are then pelletised and can be used to make plastic goods such as park benches, watering cans and waste bins.

Raglan Coconut Yoghurt has always endeavoured to use recyclable materials in the packaging for its full-size ‘Yoghi’ products. But when the Raglan-based coconut yoghurt brand launched the lunchbox-friendly Little Yoghis, the team realised they needed to find a sustainable solution for used pouches.

“We’re very conscious of health and the environment, and this is reflected through our healthy, fresh products, our community sponsorships, and, of course, our focus on recycling,” says Tesh Randall, co-founder, Raglan Coconut Yoghurt. “As soon as we decided to launch the Little Yoghis, we knew we had to offer our customers an environmentally-friendly disposal option!”

Although increasingly popular with food manufacturers and consumers alike, most pouch packaging is not yet recyclable through standard New Zealand council services.

Jean Bailliard, General Manager for TerraCycle Australia and New Zealand, says the new nationwide recycling programme benefits not only the environment, but the community as well.

“TerraCycle recycles the ‘unrecyclable’ – we look at waste solutions for items that are deemed difficult to recycle, such as yoghurt pouches,” he says. “Our recycling programmes are free to participate in and very user-friendly, and they also allow collectors to raise money for their local school or favourite charity.”

Collectors will be awarded with two cents for every pouch they collect, and once they’ve collected $10 across any of TerraCycle’s programmes, they can donate the funds to their favourite charity or school.

Visit www.terracycle.co.nz/little-yoghi to sign up and obtain further information on the programme.

TerraCycle has already kept more than four billion pieces of food and beverage packaging and other waste from going to the landfill, and with its partners, donated over $15 million to charity and schools through its various programmes. TerraCycle is currently creating solutions for other difficult to recycle, but widely discarded, waste streams such as cigarettes and used chewing gum.

About Raglan Coconut Yoghurt

Raglan Coconut Yoghurt is a Raglan, New Zealand-based brand that has become a familiar favourite in the coconut yoghurt market. Its yoghurts are full of probiotics, free from dairy, gluten, refined sugar, preservatives, nuts, gums and GMOs, and are paleo and beegan. Plus, they’re 100% locally produced in Raglan using honey from local beehives around Mt Karioi.

Both Raglan Coconut Yoghurt’s full-size Yoghi products and Little Yoghi pouches come in varieties such as Natural Greek-Style, Mango & Turmeric and Blackcurrant & Heilala Vanilla, as well as a new Banana flavoured Little Yoghi.

About TerraCycle

TerraCycle, Inc. is an international recycling organisation that engages the community to collect ‘unrecyclable’ and difficult-to-recycle packaging and products, and turns them into innovative eco products. Founded in 2001, TerraCycle is the world’s leader in the collection and reuse of non-recyclable post-consumer waste.

TerraCycle works with over 110 of the world’s largest consumer goods brands to collect 75 different waste streams, including coffee capsules, toothbrushes, chewing gum and even cigarette waste.

TerraCycle operates in 20 countries and has over 60 million people participating globally in its programmes to collect waste. Internationally TerraCycle has diverted almost 5 billion units of waste from landfill and paid over $15 million to charities and schools.

© Scoop Media

New Study Recommends Key Actions to Improve Early Childhood Education in Mongolia

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The study, launched today in Ulaanbaatar, revealed large gaps in school readiness among Mongolian children. But targeted interventions, such as special home-based learning for nomadic families’ children and better learning materials and activities in kindergartens, proved effective in reducing these gaps.

Investing in early childhood education has long-term benefits for the economy and society in general. Quality education in the earliest years results in better health, less need for social services, lower criminal rates, and increased productivity,” said James Anderson, World Bank Country Manager for Mongolia. “The report launched today has many important findings that will help improve people’s access to, and the quality of, education services that shape Mongolia’s future.” 

Mongolia has achieved tremendous gains in improving access to regular and alternative services for early childhood education, with the number of children enrolled more than doubling between 2005 and 2015.

Despite this success, Mongolian children in the greatest need of education – children from rural areas and those from poorer families – have significantly lower access. Among those enrolled in kindergartens, assessments of early development outcomes, including cognitive, language, and social emotional skills, show significant socioeconomic gaps. The largest share of the public subsidy to early childhood education thus accrues to the wealthy.

The gap in school readiness can be remedied. The report shows that increasing family engagement with children through home activities, such as reading, singing and playing together, leads to significantly higher cognitive skills, underlining the potential for a home-based model to improve school readiness among the hard-to-reach populations.

This approach proves far more effective in closing the school readiness gap than existing alternative education services, such as mobile ger-kindergartens for herders, because the short duration of the latter lowers the chances that enrolled children will catch up with peers in kindergarten.

The report also highlights the need to expand kindergarten access in urban areas to include those not enrolled in preschool, while also easing crowding in urban classrooms. But simply enrolling children in kindergarten longer or starting at younger ages will not be enough to shrink the school readiness gap in kindergarten. The report recommends targeted investments to improve kindergarten quality, such as through better financing and the provision of better learning materials and greater variety in classroom activities. 

New Study Recommends Key Actions to Improve Early Childhood Education in Mongolia

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The study, launched today in Ulaanbaatar, revealed large gaps in school readiness among Mongolian children. But targeted interventions, such as special home-based learning for nomadic families’ children and better learning materials and activities in kindergartens, proved effective in reducing these gaps.

Investing in early childhood education has long-term benefits for the economy and society in general. Quality education in the earliest years results in better health, less need for social services, lower criminal rates, and increased productivity,” said James Anderson, World Bank Country Manager for Mongolia. “The report launched today has many important findings that will help improve people’s access to, and the quality of, education services that shape Mongolia’s future.” 

Mongolia has achieved tremendous gains in improving access to regular and alternative services for early childhood education, with the number of children enrolled more than doubling between 2005 and 2015.

Despite this success, Mongolian children in the greatest need of education – children from rural areas and those from poorer families – have significantly lower access. Among those enrolled in kindergartens, assessments of early development outcomes, including cognitive, language, and social emotional skills, show significant socioeconomic gaps. The largest share of the public subsidy to early childhood education thus accrues to the wealthy.

The gap in school readiness can be remedied. The report shows that increasing family engagement with children through home activities, such as reading, singing and playing together, leads to significantly higher cognitive skills, underlining the potential for a home-based model to improve school readiness among the hard-to-reach populations.

This approach proves far more effective in closing the school readiness gap than existing alternative education services, such as mobile ger-kindergartens for herders, because the short duration of the latter lowers the chances that enrolled children will catch up with peers in kindergarten.

The report also highlights the need to expand kindergarten access in urban areas to include those not enrolled in preschool, while also easing crowding in urban classrooms. But simply enrolling children in kindergarten longer or starting at younger ages will not be enough to shrink the school readiness gap in kindergarten. The report recommends targeted investments to improve kindergarten quality, such as through better financing and the provision of better learning materials and greater variety in classroom activities. 

World Bank Backs Fiscal Reforms in Bosnia and Herzegovina to Spur Faster Growth

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WASHINGTON, March 23, 2017 — The World Bank Board of Directors today approved a EUR74.50 million (US$80 million equivalent) IBRD loan to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) for the Public Finances Development Policy Operation. The program will provide budget support to underpin policy efforts by BiH authorities to improve transparency of public finances and lower fiscal pressures over the medium-term.  

BiH has one of the world’s largest public sectors relative to the size of its economy, with general government expenditures nearly 44 percent of GDP in 2016, and public enterprises adding even more to the public footprint in the economy. Much scope exists to rightsize and enhance the effectiveness of the public sector. The Public Finances Development Policy Operation supports measures to reduce public spending by as much as 2.3 percent of GDP in the medium term and lays the groundwork for further structural reforms for a more effective public sector.

Reform measures under this program reduce rigidities in the labor market and in pharmaceutical procurement, and pave the way for clearance of public sector arrears and deeper structural reforms in public financial management, health sector financing and delivery, and state-owned enterprise restructuring.  The program is anchored in the Reform Agenda, a comprehensive structural transformation agenda that is supported by all BiH governments and by all development partners, including the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank Group.

“The approved program recognizes the efforts of BiH authorities to make public spending more sustainable in the medium-term,” said Ellen Goldstein, World Bank Director for the Western Balkans. “Tackling the legacy of an unwieldy and ineffective public sector is one of the most important aspects of the country’s Reform Agenda, which is designed to transform the economy in line with European Union criteria and to accelerate growth and job creation.”

The program is anchored in reforms envisioned under the public finance section of the Reform Agenda which aims to ensure fiscal sustainability amidst recovering economic growth. It is central to the World Bank Group’s Country Partnership Framework for Bosnia and Herzegovina approved in December 2015. The framework envisions around US$750 million in new lending from the World Bank for the period 2016-2020, depending on the scope and pace of reform implementation.

The World Bank portfolio of active projects in BiH includes 11 operations totaling US$ 497 million.  Areas of support include transportation, employment, energy efficiency, local infrastructure, environment, forestry, water management.