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July 24, 2006 – Finance Digest

July 24, 2006
Filed under Features

Piaggio shares exceed IPO price in their debut
Shares of Piaggio & C. SpA surged above the predetermined IPO price in their July 12 debut on the Milan Stock Exchange.
The shares opened at Euro 2.50 ($3.19), 8.9 percent above the IPO price of Euro 2.30 ($2.90), before settling at Euro 2.43 ($3.09), up 5.8 percent on volume of 7.1 million shares. The initial IPO price gave Piaggio a worth of Euro 887 million ($1.12 billion). The opening gave the company a value of Euro 967 million ($1.24 billion).
Piaggio & C. is majority owned by IMMSI SpA, a company controlled by Piaggio CEO Roberto Colaninno. IMMSI increased its stake to 49 percent before the offering and intended to raise its share to between 56 percent and 58 percent to allow Piaggio’s former owners and creditors to pull out.


BRP pays over $200 Million in buy-back
Bombardier Recreational Products, Inc. completed a tender offer to purchase all of its outstanding 8 3/8 percent senior subordinated notes from holders. The notes, due in 2013, were worth an outstanding principal amount of $200 million.
A tender offer is a broad solicitation by a company or a third party to purchase a substantial percentage of a company’s shares for a limited period of time. The offer is at a fixed price, usually at a premium over the current market price, and is contingent on shareholders tendering a fixed number of their shares.
The holders of the BRP notes will receive $1,104.38 per $1,000 principal amount, based on a yield of 5.4 percent. Holders also will receive accrued and unpaid interest up to, but not including, the settlement date of June 28.
The tender offer, originally scheduled to expire June 16, was extended to June 23. The offer was subject to a number of terms and conditions, chief among them that BRP could execute a new senior secured credit facility.


BMW cycle sales down 2.1%
BMW Motorrad’s motorcycle sales started slow this year but increased as summer approached.
BMW sold 56,103 motorcycles worldwide during the first six months of the year, down 2.1 percent from the 57,287 units sold during the same half-year period in 2005.
The drop in sales came from a slow first four months prior to the introduction of new machines. In May, sales increased 12.8 percent to 12,421 units, and in June sales increased 7.8 percent to 12,466 vehicles.
The Munich-based company also sold 698,470 BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce brand automobiles worldwide during the first six months of 2006, up 8 percent from the 646,543 units retailed during the same six months in 2005.
In other BMW news, Bill McAndrews will become head of corporate communications at the BMW Group effective Sept. 18. Together with the corporate
communications team, McAndrews will be responsible for the German and international business and financial press, financial publications and investor relations. He will report to the director of corporate affairs of BMW Group.


ARKONA sales up 52%
ARKONA, Inc., a Salt Lake City-based supplier of integrated on-demand business management solutions to powersports and auto dealerships, said a 57 percent increase in dealer management installations during the past year helped the company rebound from a financial loss last year.
ARKONA reported sales of $11.1 million for its year ended March 31, up 52.3 percent from $7.3 million in fiscal 2005. Net income was $2.1 million or 5.3 cents per fully diluted share compared to a loss of $92,000 or $0.3 cents per fully diluted share in fiscal 2005.
Gross profit rose to $5.3 million from $3.1 million in fiscal 2005. Gross margin rose to 47.4 percent from 41.9 percent last year. Income from operations rose to $830,000 from a loss of $292,000 in fiscal 2005. Income before tax charges and benefits was $821,000 compared to a loss of $245,000 in fiscal 2005.


Kawasaki updates environmental business
Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd. (KHI) plans to merge its environmental business with Kawasaki Environmental Plant Engineering Co., Ltd. to form a new wholly owned subsidiary, Kawasaki Environmental Engineering, Ltd. (KEE).
KHI has expanded its environmental business during the past few years by developing technologies in the municipal refuse, industrial waste treatment and recycling facility markets. Kawasaki officials say the new entity will pursue more agile business operations and boost management efficiency and cost competitiveness.
Based in Kobe, Japan, KEE will design, construct, sell, install and maintain incinerators, industrial waste treatment facilities, recycling facilities and water treatment facilities. The company expects sales of approximately ¥30 billion ($262 million) by March 31, 2008.
“As environmental conservation becomes increasingly important, the new company will contribute to the prevention of global warming and the pursuit of sustainability by providing cutting-edge recycling technologies and enabling the efficient reuse of waste heat from refuse treatment processes,” the company said in a prepared statement.
KEE is expected to employ 310 workers when it opens Oct. 1.


LDI Taps New York Life for 401(k) Plans
The Retirement Plan Services division of New York Life Investment Management LLC (NYLIM) has been appointed to administer A retirement and savings plan for the employees of LDI, Ltd. LLC, an Indianapolis-based holding company that owns Tucker Rocky and is the majority shareholder of FinishMaster.
The retirement and savings plan for the three firms provides retirement benefits for 2,000 participants. The plan had $67.5 million in total assets on May 31.
SageView Advisory Group, an Irvine, Calif.-based provider of retirement plan consulting, research and advice, assisted LDI in evaluating and selecting NYLIM Retirement Plan Services.


Yamaha Canada Chooses Textron
Textron Financial Canada Ltd. is now the floorplan funding source for Yamaha dealers in Canada.
“Yamaha dealers will continue to enjoy the benefits of working with dedicated Yamaha financial staff, but with Textron providing the capital and back-office operations,” said Lyndsay Oglesby, marketing analyst, Textron Financial Corp.
“Our dealers expect dealing with YMCF to be an easy, positive experience. Teaming with Textron Financial will help us fulfill our mission,” said Chris Brown, general manager, Yamaha Motor Canada Ltd. financial services.
Yamaha Motor Canada Ltd. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Yamaha Motor Company, Ltd. Headquartered in Toronto, Yamaha Motor Canada distributes products through more than 400 independent Canadian dealers.
Textron Financial Canada is a division of Textron Financial, a diversified commercial finance company with more than $10 billion Canadian in managed receivables. Both are part of Textron Inc., a $10 billion multi-industry company that also owns brands such as Bell Helicopter, Cessna Aircraft, Jacobsen, Kautex, Lycoming, E-Z-GO and Greenlee, among others.


ISDE champ opens NYMEX
Six-time ISDE gold medalist and Christini All-Wheel-Drive bike pilot Chris Smith recently learned that one unique opportunity occasionally leads to another, and a simple ride on a new bike could land you at the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) ringing the opening bell.
Christini Technologies Inc., Philadelphia, Penn., produces an AWD system for motorcycles. Christini is currently campaigning the first series of AWD bikes in selected events on the East Coast. Smith first rode a Christini AWD bike in the ECEA’s High Mountain enduro on June 25. A week later, riding a modified Honda CRF 250X equipped with Christini AWD technology, he finished first in the A-250 bracket at the Shotgun Enduro race in Grier, Penn.
The opportunity to ring the NYMEX opening bell came by way of Matt Trattner of Tradewise, director of Christini’s latest funding effort. Trattner arranged the day with NYMEX’s Madeline Boyd, senior vice president of external affairs.
Flanked by a group of Christini investors and employees, Smith shared the honor with Robert Adley, state senator of Louisiana.
— Compiled by Guido Ebert

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