Sunday, April 30, 2017

Aflac Incorporated Announces First Quarter Results, Affirms 2017 Outlook, Declares Second Quarter Cash Dividend

Source:  Aflac Incorporated

Aflac Incorporated today reported its first quarter results.

Total revenues decreased 2.6% to $5.3 billion during the first quarter of 2017, compared with $5.5 billion in the first quarter of 2016. Net earnings were $592 million, or $1.47 per diluted share, compared with $731 million, or $1.74 per share, a year ago. The decrease in revenue and net earnings reflects realized gains and losses in the comparable quarters and lower premium and investment income in the Japan segment attributable to the low-interest-rate environment.   

Net earnings in the first quarter of 2017 included pretax net losses of $129 million, or $.31 per diluted share on a pretax basis, compared with pretax net gains of $40 million, or $.09 per diluted share on a pretax basis, a year ago. Beginning in the first quarter of 2017, the company began reporting amortized hedge costs associated with certain U.S. dollar investments in the Japan portfolio as part of operating earnings. Pretax net realized losses from securities transactions and impairments for the first quarter amounted to $17 million and were composed of pretax net realized investment losses from securities transactions of $7 million, and pretax realized investment losses from impairments of $10 million. Pretax net realized investment losses from certain derivative and foreign currency activities in the quarter were $92 million. Net earnings also included a pretax loss of $20 million, reflecting guaranty fund assessments of $14 million and Japan branch conversion costs of $6 million. The income tax benefit on non-operating items in the quarter was $45 million. See the "Reconciliation of Net Earnings to Operating Earnings" schedule.

The following discussion includes references to Aflac's non-U.S. GAAP performance measures, operating earnings, operating earnings per diluted share and operating return on equity. These measures are not calculated in accordance with U.S. GAAP. The measures exclude items that the company believes may obscure the underlying fundamentals and trends in insurance operations because they tend to be driven by general economic conditions and events or related to infrequent activities not directly associated with insurance operations. Management uses operating earnings and operating earnings per diluted share to evaluate the financial performance of Aflac's insurance operations on a consolidated basis and believes that a presentation of these measures is vitally important to an understanding of the underlying profitability drivers and trends of Aflac's insurance business.

Aflac defines operating earnings (a non-U.S. GAAP financial measure) as the profits derived from operations. Operating earnings includes interest cash flows associated with notes payable and hedge costs related to foreign currency denominated investments, but excludes certain items that cannot be predicted or that are outside of management's control, such as realized investment gains and losses from securities transactions, impairments, and certain derivative and foreign currency activities; nonrecurring items; and other non-operating income (loss) from net earnings. Nonrecurring and other non-operating items consist of infrequent events and activity not associated with the normal course of the Company's insurance operations and do not reflect Aflac's underlying business performance. Operating earnings per share (basic or dilutive) are the operating earnings for the period divided by the average outstanding shares (basic or dilutive) for the period presented. Operating return on equity excluding foreign currency effect is calculated using operating earnings excluding yen, as reconciled with total U.S. GAAP net earnings, divided by average shareholders' equity, excluding accumulated other comprehensive income (AOCI). The comparable U.S. GAAP measure is return on average equity (ROE) as determined using net earnings and average total shareholders' equity. Reconciliations of the foregoing non-GAAP measures to the most comparable U.S. GAAP measures are provided in the schedules accompanying this release.

Due to the size of Aflac Japan, where the functional currency is the Japanese yen, fluctuations in the yen/dollar exchange rate can have a significant effect on reported results. In periods when the yen weakens, translating yen into dollars results in fewer dollars being reported. When the yen strengthens, translating yen into dollars results in more dollars being reported. Consequently, yen weakening has the effect of suppressing current period results in relation to the comparable prior period, while yen strengthening has the effect of magnifying current period results in relation to the comparable prior period. As a result, the company views foreign currency translation as a financial reporting issue for Aflac rather than an economic event to the company or shareholders. Because a significant portion of the company's business is conducted in Japan and foreign exchange rates are outside of management's control, Aflac believes it is important to understand the impact of translating Japanese yen into U.S. dollars. Operating earnings, operating earnings per diluted share "excluding current period foreign currency impact" and operating return on average shareholders' equity excluding foreign exchange are computed using the average yen/dollar exchange rate for the comparable prior year period, which eliminates dollar based fluctuations driven solely from currency rate changes.

The average yen/dollar exchange rate in the first quarter of 2017 was 113.56, or 1.6% stronger than the average rate of 115.35 in the first quarter of 2016. Operating earnings in the first quarter were $676 million, compared with $705 million in the first quarter of 2016. Operating earnings per diluted share decreased .6% to $1.67 in the quarter, compared with $1.68 a year ago. The stronger yen/dollar exchange rate increased operating earnings per diluted share by $.01 for the first quarter. Excluding the impact of the stronger yen, operating earnings per diluted share decreased 1.2%.
Total investments and cash at the end of March 2017 were $120.5 billion, compared with $116.4 billion at December 31, 2016.

In the first quarter, Aflac repurchased $600 million, or 8.5 million of its common shares. At the end of March, the company had 18.3 million shares available for purchase under its share repurchase authorizations.

Shareholders' equity was $20.3 billion, or $51.11 per share, at March 31, 2017, compared with $20.0 billion, or $48.22 per share, at March 31, 2016. Shareholders' equity at the end of the first quarter included a net unrealized gain on investment securities and derivatives of $4.5 billion, compared with a net unrealized gain of $4.7 billion at the end of March 2016. The annualized return on average shareholders' equity in the first quarter was 11.6%.

Shareholders' equity was $17.7 billion, or $44.49 per share (excluding AOCI) at March 31, 2017, compared with $17.1 billion, or $41.15 per share, at March 31, 2016. On an operating basis (excluding AOCI), the annualized return on average shareholders' equity for the first quarter was 15.1%, excluding the impact of foreign currency.

AFLAC JAPAN
In yen terms, Aflac Japan's premium income, net of reinsurance agreements, decreased 1.1% in the first quarter to ¥362.9 billion, with growth in third sector premium offset by reduced first sector premium. Net investment income declined 6.3%, reflecting the stronger yen/dollar exchange rate on dollar-denominated investment income, increased amortized hedge costs on the U.S. dollar investment portfolio and the persistent low-interest-rate environment. Amortized hedge costs on the U.S. dollar investment portfolio totaled $52 million in the quarter, as compared to $32 million in the previous year. Total revenues were down 1.9% to ¥427.7 billion in the first quarter. Pretax operating earnings in yen decreased 5.6% on a reported basis and 5.1% on a currency-neutral basis. The pretax operating profit margin for the Japan segment was 20.5%, compared with 21.3% in the prior year.
Aflac Japan's growth rates in dollar terms for the first quarter were magnified as a result of the stronger yen/dollar exchange rate. Premium income, net of reinsurance agreements, increased .5% to $3.2 billion in the first quarter. Net investment income, which includes amortized hedge costs on foreign investments, decreased 5.4% to $557 million.

Total revenues declined slightly by .4% to $3.8 billion. Pretax operating earnings declined 4.7% to $769 million.

In the first quarter, total new annualized premium sales decreased 29.2% to ¥22.1 billion, or $194 million. Third sector sales, which include cancer, medical and income support products increased 7.6% to ¥19.6 billion in the quarter. Total first sector sales, which include products such as WAYS and child endowment, were down 81.3% in the quarter, reflecting the company's actions to reduce the sale of first sector savings products that are more interest-sensitive.

AFLAC U.S.
Aflac U.S. premium income increased 1.7% to $1.4 billion in the first quarter. Net investment income was up 2.0% to $178 million. Total revenues increased 1.7% to $1.6 billion. The pretax operating profit margin for the U.S. segment was 19.7%, compared with 21.5% a year ago. Pretax operating earnings were $310 million, a decrease of 6.7% for the quarter. Results reflect first quarter 2017 investments in the U.S. platform as well as favorable benefit ratios in the first quarter 2016.
Aflac U.S. total new annualized premium sales increased 1.7% in the quarter to $333 million. Additionally, persistency in the quarter was 77.5%, compared with 76.6% a year ago.

DIVIDEND
The board of directors declared the second quarter cash dividend. The second quarter dividend of $.43 per share is payable on June 1, 2017, to shareholders of record at the close of business on May 24, 2017.

OUTLOOK
Commenting on the company's results, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Daniel P. Amos stated: "We are pleased with the company's overall performance for the quarter. Our results for the first quarter are consistent with what we communicated on our December outlook call. Despite the persistent low-interest-rate environment, Aflac Japan, our largest earnings contributor, generated solid financial results. In yen terms, results on an operating basis were in line with our expectations for the quarter. Additionally, our operation in Japan produced better-than-expected third sector sales results. As we've communicated, we continue to believe the long-term compound annual growth rate for third sector product sales will be in the range of 4% to 6%.

"Turning to our U.S. operations, we are pleased with the financial performance and continued strength in profitability. Our results on an operating basis reflect ongoing investment in our platform and are in line with our expectations. As we've communicated, we anticipate a long-term compound annual growth rate of 3% to 5% in new annualized premium sales. I want to reiterate that as we look ahead, we believe the strategy for growth we implemented in both our career and broker channels is the right one, and we will continue to make tactical adjustments to meet our long-term growth objectives.

"We remain committed to maintaining strong capital ratios on behalf of our policyholders. We believe our financial strength in Japan positions us to repatriate in the range of ¥120 to ¥140 billion to the U.S. for the calendar year 2017, assuming capital conditions remain stable. We continue to anticipate that we'll repurchase in the range of $1.3 to $1.5 billion of our shares in 2017, front-end loaded in the first half of the year. As is always the case, this assumes stable capital conditions and the absence of compelling alternatives. Our objective is to grow the dividend at a rate generally in line with the increase in operating earnings per diluted share before the impact of foreign currency translation.
"I want to reiterate our 2017 earnings guidance. Our first quarter results put us squarely on track to produce stable operating earnings per diluted share of $6.40 to $6.65, assuming the average exchange rate in 2016 of 108.70 yen to the dollar. If the yen averages 105 to 115 to the dollar for the second quarter, we would expect operating earnings, a non-U.S. GAAP measure, to be approximately $1.55 to $1.70 per diluted share in the second quarter. As always, we are working very hard to achieve our earnings-per-share objective while also ensuring we deliver on our promise to policyholders."

ABOUT AFLAC
When a policyholder gets sick or hurt, Aflac pays cash benefits fast. For six decades, Aflac insurance policies have given policyholders the opportunity to focus on recovery, not financial stress. In the United States, Aflac is the leading provider of voluntary insurance at the worksite. Through its trailblazing One Day PaySM initiative, Aflac U.S. can receive, process, approve and disburse payment for eligible claims in one business day. In Japan, Aflac is the leading provider of medical and cancer insurance and insures one in four households. Aflac individual and group insurance products help provide protection to more than 50 million people worldwide. For 10 consecutive years, Aflac has been recognized by Ethisphere as one of the World's Most Ethical Companies. In 2016, Fortune magazine recognized Aflac as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in America for the 18th consecutive year and in 2017 included Aflac on its list of Most Admired Companies for the 16th time. In 2015, Aflac's contact centers were recognized by J.D. Power by providing "An Outstanding Customer Service Experience" for the Live Phone Channel. Aflac Incorporated is a Fortune 500 company listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol AFL. To find out more about Aflac and One Day PaySM, visit aflac.com or espanol.aflac.com.
A copy of Aflac's Financial Analysts Briefing (FAB) supplement for the quarter can be found on the "Investors" page at aflac.com.


Masatoshi Koide Promoted to President and Chief Operating Officer of Aflac Japan; Hiroshi Yamauchi to Assume Role as Vice Chairman

Source:  Aflac Incorporated

 Aflac Incorporated (NYSE: AFL) announced today that Masatoshi Koide, who currently serves as deputy president of Aflac Japan, will be promoted to president and chief operating officer of Aflac Japan. Hiroshi Yamauchi, who currently serves as president and chief operating officer of Aflac Japan, will assume the role of vice chairman of Aflac Japan. These changes will become effective July 1, 2017.

Koide originally joined Aflac in 1998 and remained with the company until March 2006, after which time he worked for Nikko Asset Management. He rejoined Aflac again in 2008 as vice president, was promoted to senior vice president in 2012 and to first senior vice president in 2013. In 2015, he was promoted to executive vice president, Planning, Government Affairs & Research, Corporate Communications, Legal, Risk Management, Investment, Compliance, Customer Services, and General Affairs, and in 2016 he was promoted to deputy president of Aflac Japan. He earned his bachelor's degree from Tokyo University and his LL.M. degree from Cornell Law School, and he is a member of the New York State Bar.

Yamauchi joined Aflac Japan in 1976 in the Actuarial Department, where he served in positions of increasing responsibility and subsequently advanced through the ranks of various other operational areas. He was promoted to vice president in 1999, to first senior vice president in 2002 and to the additional role of chief administrative officer from 2005 to 2009. He assumed the role of executive vice president in 2012, with oversight responsibilities for Planning, Government Affairs & Research, Legal, Corporate Communications, Human Resources and IT, and was promoted to president and chief operating officer of Aflac Japan in 2015.

Commenting on the announcement, Aflac Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Daniel P. Amos said: "In his 41 years with Aflac, Yamauchi-san has contributed greatly to our company in so many ways, including his leadership and dedication to enhancing our framework for creating products and the customer-driven service we provide. He has enhanced vital aspects of our company with his results-oriented approach, enabling us to deliver on our promises to our policyholders. We will appreciate his support of Aflac Japan from a broader perspective. At the same time, I know Koide-san will continue to do an exceptional job in his new role. He has demonstrated dedicated and effective leadership. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work even more closely with him as we advance Aflac's ability to reach more and more Japanese citizens throughout Japan."

About AflacWhen a policyholder gets sick or hurt, Aflac pays cash benefits fast. For six decades, Aflac insurance policies have given policyholders the opportunity to focus on recovery, not financial stress. In the United States, Aflac is the leading provider of voluntary insurance at the worksite. Through its trailblazing One Day PaySM initiative, Aflac U.S. can receive, process, approve and disburse payment for eligible claims in one business day. In Japan, Aflac is the leading provider of medical and cancer insurance and insures 1 in 4 households. Aflac individual and group insurance products help provide protection to more than 50 million people worldwide. For 11 consecutive years, Aflac has been recognized by Ethisphere as one of the World's Most Ethical Companies. In 2017, Fortune magazine recognized Aflac as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in America for the 19th consecutive year and included Aflac on its list of Most Admired Companies for the 16th time. In 2015, Aflac's contact centers were recognized by J.D. Power by providing "An Outstanding Customer Service Experience" for the Live Phone Channel. Aflac Incorporated is a Fortune 500 company listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol AFL. To find out more about Aflac and One Day Pay℠, visit aflac.com or espanol.aflac.com.

Aflac and Tough Mudder Inc. Announce North American Partnership for 2017

Source:  Aflac Incorporated

Aflac named Official Supplemental Insurance Provider, Launches Small Business Challenge to promote its commitment to helping employees of small businesses thrive 

Aflac, the leader in voluntary insurance sales at the worksite in the United States, announced today it will partner with Tough Mudder Inc., the leading active lifestyle brand and media company, as the "Official Supplemental Insurance Provider" for Tough Mudder's 2017 events season. The partnership includes the introduction of the Aflac Small Business Challenge designed for teams participating in Tough Mudder events on behalf of small businesses.

Tough Mudder hosts a series of endurance events and obstacle course challenges all over the world. Tough Mudder events promote teamwork, physical activity, and fun, and the partnership with Aflac underscores the brand's commitment to promoting corporate team building.

"Aflac recognizes that young adults are seeking creative ways to live active, healthy lifestyles, and the Tough Mudder experience creates that opportunity for its competitors almost every weekend of the year," said Gail Galuppo, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Aflac. "For young employees working at a small business, camaraderie among the team is crucial. Participating in an event like Tough Mudder together can help improve communication and collaboration while creating a workplace culture that supports healthy and fit lifestyles – all attributes that help small businesses succeed."

"Tough Mudder is thrilled to welcome Aflac to our family of sponsors in 2017 to reach the Tough Mudder community as well as the tens of thousands of small-business employees and corporate teams who take part in our events each year," said Donna Goldsmith, Tough Mudder Inc. senior vice president of Partnership  Marketing, International Event Licensing, Corporate Sales and Merchandising. "We are excited to launch the Aflac Small Business Challenge to promote our dual commitment to camaraderie and team building and to support Aflac's dedication to helping employees of small businesses thrive."

Aflac Small Business Challenge Aflac is encouraging businesses to take team building to the next level by having employees participate in Tough Mudder events. To enter a team into the challenge, employees can enter on behalf of their company by simply sharing how teamwork has helped their small business succeed. A "Team of the Month" will be selected from the entries each month (April to October 2017), winning four complimentary entries into a Tough Mudder event to put their teamwork skills to the test. In the fall, one grand-prize winner will receive four complimentary entries and an all-expenses-paid trip for those four entry ticketholders to World's Toughest Mudder, the most extreme, 24-hour endurance race hosted by Tough Mudder, taking place at Lake Las Vegas Nov. 11-12.
Small businesses and their employees can find the official rules and enter for a chance to win the Aflac Small Business Challenge at www.toughmudder.com/aflac.

About Tough Mudder Inc. Founded in 2010 with the launch of the Tough Mudder Full event series of 10- to 12-mile obstacle courses, Tough Mudder Inc. has since grown to become a leading active lifestyle company and leader in sports video content creation and distribution. The brand includes: Mini Mudder, a 1-mile obstacle course designed for kids ages 7-12; Tough Mudder 5K, an accessible yet rewarding challenge packing signature Tough Mudder obstacles into a 3.1-mile course; Tough Mudder Half, an obstacle course challenge bringing the thrills of Tough Mudder to a 5-mile course; Tough Mudder, a competitive start wave that takes place during all Tough Mudder Weekends; Toughest Mudder, an eight-hour, overnight competition series; and World's Toughest Mudder, a grueling 24-hour endurance competition. The brand also encompasses an extremely vibrant engaging social and digital community and serves as a destination for fitness, nutrition and wellness content delivered across multiple platforms. The Tough Mudder family of brands and online community is united by a commitment to promoting courage, personal accomplishment and teamwork through unconventional, life-changing experiences. With more than 2.5 million participants globally to date, Tough Mudder Inc. will host more than 130 events worldwide in 2017 in nearly a dozen countries, including Asia, Australia, and more through its partnerships with IMG, Seroja, and Sports Media and Entertainment 360 (SME360). More than 20 of the world's leading brands are sponsorship and content distribution partners, including Merrell, Jeep, the U.S. Army, Vega, Olympus, For Goodness Shakes, Aflac, Bosch, Snapchat, Live Stream, Sky Sports, ESPN Media Distribution, The CW and CBS Sports. To join the conversation, follow Tough Mudder on Twitter at @ToughMudder, on Instagram @Tough_Mudder, on Facebook at facebook.com/toughmudder, on Snapchat at Tough.Mudder and on YouTube at YouTube.com/ToughMudder.

About Aflac When a policyholder gets sick or hurt, Aflac pays cash benefits fast. For six decades, Aflac insurance policies have given policyholders the opportunity to focus on recovery, not financial stress. In the United States, Aflac is the leader in voluntary insurance sales at the worksite. Through its trailblazing One Day PaySM initiative, Aflac U.S. can receive, process, approve and disburse payment for eligible claims in one business day. In Japan, Aflac is the leading provider of medical and cancer insurance and insures 1 in 4 households. Aflac insurance products help provide protection to more than 50 million people worldwide. For 11 consecutive years, Aflac has been recognized by Ethisphere as one of the World's Most Ethical Companies. In 2017, Fortune magazine recognized Aflac as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in America for the 19th consecutive year and in 2017 included Aflac on its list of Most Admired Companies for the 16th time. In 2015, Aflac's contact centers were recognized by J.D. Power by providing "An Outstanding Customer Service Experience" for the Live Phone Channel. Aflac Incorporated is a Fortune 500 company listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol AFL. To find out more about Aflac and One Day PaySM, visit aflac.com or espanol.aflac.com.

About the Aflac Small Business Challenge NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A PURCHASE WILL NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. Open to legal residents of the 50 U.S. states/D.C. 18 or older. Void where prohibited. Starts 4/18/17 at 12:00:01 p.m. ET and ends 10/1/17 at 11:59:59 p.m. ET. Multiple entry deadlines apply. See full rules for deadlines, prize details and full entry requirements at toughmudder.com/aflac. Sponsor: Tough Mudder Incorporated.



Aflac Named Company of the Year for Corporate Social Responsibility

Source:  Aflac Incorporated

PR News Honors Aflac at Awards Ceremony in Washington, D.C.  

Aflac, the leader in voluntary insurance sales at the worksite in the United States, was honored by PR News Magazine as the 2017 Company of the Year at the PR News CSR Awards held in Washington, D.C., on March 22. The company received the award in the "Corporation, less than 25,000 employees" category. Through this award, Aflac was acknowledged for its leadership in areas such as ethics, governance, workforce diversity, philanthropy and environmental sustainability.

"We are pleased that our commitment to being a great corporate citizen has been recognized by PR News with this award for corporate social responsibility," Aflac Chairman and CEO Dan Amos said. "Whether it is our commitment to diversity, our unwavering support for children and families facing cancer, our steadfast approach to ethics and governance, or our concern for the environment in which we live, Aflac and our entire workforce embrace the notion that doing the right thing is not only good, but it is good for business."

In 2017, Aflac was named to Ethisphere's list of World's Most Ethical Companies for the 11th consecutive year, the only insurance company in the world to hold that distinction since the inception of the award in 2007. The company was also named in 2017 to Fortune's 100 Best Companies to Work For list for the 19th consecutive year and their World's Most Admired Companies list for the 16th year. Through the Aflac Duckprints philanthropic program, the company contributes $2 – up to $1.5 million – for every Facebook or Instagram post, share or like, and every tweet using the hashtag #Duckprints. In 2016, Aflac exceeded its goal of #duckprints usage and contributed $1.5 million to childhood cancer treatment and research, with more than 900,000 people taking qualifying social media actions. Aflac has appeared on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for six consecutive years and is ranked No. 80 in the world and No. 42 in the United States according to Newsweek's Green Rankings. For more information about Aflac's CSR program please go to www.Aflac.com/ACSR.

About Aflac
When a policyholder gets sick or hurt, Aflac pays cash benefits fast. For six decades, Aflac insurance policies have given policyholders the opportunity to focus on recovery, not financial stress. In the United States, Aflac is the leader in voluntary insurance sales at the worksite. Through its trailblazing One Day PaySM initiative, Aflac U.S. can receive, process, approve and disburse payment for eligible claims in one business day. In Japan, Aflac is the leading provider of medical and cancer insurance and insures one in four households. Aflac insurance products help provide protection to more than 50 million people worldwide. For 11 consecutive years, Aflac has been recognized by Ethisphere as one of the World's Most Ethical Companies. In 2017, Fortune magazine recognized Aflac as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work for in America for the 19th consecutive year and in 2017 included Aflac on its list of Most Admired Companies for the 16th time. In 2015, Aflac's contact centers were recognized by J.D. Power by providing "An Outstanding Customer Service Experience" for the Live Phone Channel. Aflac Incorporated is a Fortune 500 company listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol AFL. To find out more about Aflac and One Day PaySM, visit aflac.com or espanol.aflac.com.

Aflac herein means American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus and American Family Life Assurance Company of New York.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Alan B. Levan, Chairman and CEO of BBX Capital Corporation, Comments on the Completed Merger of BFC Financial Corporation and BBX Capital, The Name Change and Listing on the OTCQX

SOURCE: BBX Capital Corporation

BFC Financial Corporation ("BFC") and BBX Capital Corporation ("BBX Capital") announced on December 15, 2016 that the companies' previously announced merger had been completed. On February 2, 2017, BFC announced that it had changed its name to BBX Capital Corporation and, beginning February 3, 2017, our stock commenced trading on the OTCQX® Best Market under the new ticker symbol "BBXT".

Alan B. Levan, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of BBX Capital Corporation, commented, "In summary, the anticipated benefits of the merger were to consolidate and streamline the combined companies and simplify our corporate structure as one company rather than two with overlapping assets, unlocking the visibility and potential valuation of Bluegreen Vacations® to a single owner, increase liquidity for shareholders of the combined company by providing the clarity of one name and one ticker, and to concentrate Investor Relations to a single company.

From December 15, 2016 through February 21, 2017, the trading price of our Class A Common Stock increased 62%, from $3.95 to $6.40, hit new 52 week highs 21 days out of the 43 trading days, and the average 30 Day trading volume rose approximately 100%, from 109,752 to 217,584 shares.
"We are pleased that the early response to our activities has been so positive and we will be providing more information about BBX Capital's activities and performance during 2016 in the upcoming Report on Form 10-K, investor road tours and conferences," Levan concluded.

About BBX Capital Corporation:
BBX Capital Corporation (OTCQX: BBXT) (OTCQX: BBXTB), formerly BFC Financial Corporation, is a holding company whose principal activities are its ownership of Bluegreen Corporation and, through its Real Estate and Middle Markets Divisions, the acquisition, ownership and management of joint ventures and investments in real estate and real estate development projects and middle market operating businesses.

Bluegreen, founded in 1966 and headquartered in Boca Raton, Florida, is a sales, marketing and resort management company, focused on the vacation ownership industry. Bluegreen manages, markets and sells the Bluegreen Vacation Club, a flexible, points-based, deeded vacation ownership plan with more than 200,000 owners, 66 owned or managed resorts, and access to more than 4,500 resorts worldwide. Bluegreen also offers a portfolio of comprehensive, turnkey, fee-based services, including resort management services, financial services, and sales and marketing services, to or on behalf of third parties.


BBX Capital's Board of Directors Appoints Alan B. Levan as Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of the Company

SOURCE: BBX Capital Corporation

Jarett S. Levan to serve as President of the Company

he Board of Directors of BBX Capital Corporation ("BBX" or the "Company") (OTCQX: BBXT) (OTCQX: BBXTB) is pleased to announce the appointment of Alan B. Levan as Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of the Company. Jarett S. Levan, who had served as Acting Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, will continue to serve as President of the Company.

STATEMENT PROVIDED BY ALAN B. LEVAN:
I am pleased to return as Chairman of the Board and CEO of BBX Capital Corporation. I am delighted that the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals order is now final, having reversed the two unusual rulings by the District Court and remanded the case back for a new trial. I would note that these two unusual rulings were granted by a District Court Judge who is no longer involved with the case.

I remain enormously proud of the decisions I made in 2007, the period that was the subject of the SEC's lawsuit. I am also proud of what we have accomplished since 2007, as we prospered during some of the most difficult economic circumstances in recent memory. Our success is particularly remarkable because it was achieved despite the unfair and unwarranted burden imposed upon us by misguided regulators with a willingness to pursue frivolous claims just because they can.

On that point, it is truly unbelievable that the enforcement division of the SEC sued us for securities violations it claimed arose during 2007. We did not participate in the reckless lending and investment decisions that ballooned the housing market and led to the market collapse when the bubble burst. BankAtlantic did not make subprime loans, did not need or take federal bailout funds, and always met its capital obligations.

Every step along the way, BankAtlantic apprised investors of the conditions we saw, the loans we had made that were being placed at risk by market conditions and our concern about the future. I truly believe that no banking company did a better job of early public disclosure than BankAtlantic.
When the housing market crashed in August of 2007, we immediately responded, publicly recognizing what these events had done to our borrowers. The losses we recognized were precisely those we had long forewarned in the company's extensive public filings.

The lawsuit against us was clearly a case of choosing to "kill the messenger" rather than recognizing us for being early in our full and fair disclosure of the economic issues about to engulf our country. I believed in 2007, and still believe now, that early, full and fair disclosure is the bedrock of United States securities laws.

What made us stand out in 2007 was not late disclosure but timely disclosure in the face of overwhelming non-disclosure by almost everyone else in the banking industry. At BankAtlantic, we recognized and disclosed the potential consequences of a market crash early and did what was required. BankAtlantic survived the market crash because we timely disclosed what we knew and prudently managed our loan portfolios without putting our head in the sand.

While we expected a slow response from other banks based on their public disclosures, we did not anticipate that most would wait nearly a year to publicly recognize the consequences of the housing market debacle. Even worse, when they finally acknowledged the problem, they did so with their hands out for government assistance. We certainly did not anticipate that our diligence would be punished or that the poor behavior of other banks would be rewarded, but that is precisely what happened.

It remains curious to me why the SEC brought this frivolous case in the first place or why they would want to retry it.

Fortunately for us, this regrettable nine year saga is about to be over. In 2015, a federal court jury rejected the claims brought by the SEC against us that the jury was allowed to decide. Two claims remained because of the highly unusual pretrial rulings that essentially took key factual issues away from the jury. Those orders have now been reversed, found by the Appellate Court to have been judicial error. On March 20, 2017 these last remaining claims will go to a new trial.

One of the two claims consists entirely of three sentences I spoke during a lengthy earnings conference call in July of 2007. The SEC ignores the words I actually spoke and ignores as well the huge volume of disclosure that defeats the spin the SEC puts on my words. The SEC continues to claim that the three sentences were false and misleading despite losing the jury trial on the identical factual claim. Not a single witness in the first trial testified that the words were false. Even the SEC's own expert witness, when asked by SEC counsel if the words were false, testified that "I don't know that I'd go that far." In my view, the continued pursuit of this claim is not rationally explainable.

Equally frivolous is the SEC's accounting claim relating to our year-end financial reports for 2007. Asked if any other member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants would reach the conclusion he had reached, using the data he relied upon, the SEC's accounting expert admitted that no other accountant would reach a similar conclusion. In fact, the conclusion of our internal accounting staff and testimony of our outside independent auditors (from one of the largest preeminent accounting firms in the world) said that there was no error. Our independent accounting firm issued an opinion that BBX's financial statements (formerly BankAtlantic Bancorp) were fairly stated, the financial statements were never required to be restated and their opinion was never withdrawn. The Appellate Court reversed the unusual pretrial order that prevented the Company's public accountants from testifying at the first trial. Based upon that reversal, the next jury will hear the accountants' testimony and be able to contrast that with an expert who said no one else in his profession would share his conclusion.

The SEC's pursuit of claims against a regional bank that did not take Federal bailout dollars was part of a strange strategy at the highest offices of the SEC, designed to send a message to the larger banks. This was a fundamentally dishonest enforcement strategy which is particularly inexcusable when the agency pursued principled companies like ours that set the highest standards for public disclosure in difficult times.

I have little doubt about the ultimate outcome of this matter. The SEC's claims were baseless when initially made and the passage of time has not made them any better or more honorable. Abusive federal regulation and enforcement has become a major political issue in this country. We have been a poster child of that abuse and I look forward to clearing my name.

The SEC has lost its way and one can only hope that under new leadership it will do better. It could hardly do worse.

Alan B. Levan

About BBX Capital Corporation:
BBX Capital Corporation (OTCQX: BBXT) (OTCQX: BBXTB), formerly BFC Financial Corporation, is a holding company whose principal activities are its ownership of Bluegreen Corporation and, through its Real Estate and Middle Markets Divisions, the acquisition, ownership and management of joint ventures and investments in real estate and real estate development projects and middle market operating businesses.

Bluegreen, founded in 1966 and headquartered in Boca Raton, Florida, is a sales, marketing and resort management company, focused on the vacation ownership industry. Bluegreen manages, markets and sells the Bluegreen Vacation Club, a flexible, points-based, deeded vacation ownership plan with more than 200,000 owners, 66 owned or managed resorts, and access to more than 4,500 resorts worldwide. Bluegreen also offers a portfolio of comprehensive, turnkey, fee-based services, including resort management services, financial services, and sales and marketing services, to or on behalf of third parties.

As of September 30, 2016, BBX had total consolidated assets of $1.4 billion, shareholders' equity attributable to BBX of $400.6 million, and total consolidated equity of $508.7 million.
 

BFC Financial Corporation Announces Name Change to BBX Capital Corporation and New Ticker Symbols

SOURCE: BBX Capital Corporation

Trading to Commence on the OTCQX® Best Market  

BFC Financial Corporation (OTCQB: BFCF) (OTCQB: BFCFB) (the "Company") announced today that the Company has changed its name to BBX Capital Corporation and that upon the opening of trading on Friday, February 3, 2017, the Company's Class A Common Stock and Class B Common Stock will commence trading on the OTCQX® Best Market. In connection with the name change, the Company has obtained new ticker symbols for its Class A Common Stock and Class B Common Stock and upon the opening of trading on the OTCQX, the Company's Class A Common Stock will trade under its new ticker symbol, "BBXT," and the Company's Class B Common Stock will trade under its new ticker symbol, "BBXTB." The Company's Class A Common Stock and Class B Common Stock were previously traded on the OTCQB. 

Beginning February 3, 2017, all information, including stock trading, SEC filings, and market data related to the Company will be reported under the Company's new name and ticker symbols. The new CUSIP number for the Company's Class A Common Stock is 05491N104. The new CUSIP number for the Company's Class B Common Stock is 05491N203. Outstanding stock certificates are not affected by the name, ticker symbol or CUSIP number changes, and will not need to be exchanged for new certificates.

About BBX Capital Corporation:BBX Capital Corporation, formerly BFC Financial Corporation, is a holding company whose principal holding is Bluegreen Corporation. In addition, through its Real Estate and Middle Markets Divisions, the Company is involved in the acquisition, ownership and management of joint ventures and investments in real estate and real estate development projects, as well as acquisitions, investments and management of middle market operating businesses.

Bluegreen, founded in 1966 and headquartered in Boca Raton, Florida, is a sales, marketing and resort management company, focused on the vacation ownership industry and pursuing a capital-light business strategy. Bluegreen manages, markets and sells the Bluegreen Vacation Club, a flexible, points-based, deeded vacation ownership plan with more than 200,000 owners, 66 owned or managed resorts, and access to more than 4,500 resorts worldwide. Bluegreen also offers a portfolio of comprehensive, turnkey, fee-based services, including resort management services, financial services, and sales and marketing services, to or on behalf of third parties.

As of September 30, 2016, BBX Capital Corporation had total consolidated assets of $1.4 billion, shareholders' equity attributable to BBX Capital Corporation of $400.6 million, and total consolidated equity of $508.7 million. BBX Capital Corporation's book value per share at September 30, 2016 was $4.70.
 



BFC Financial Corporation and BBX Capital Corporation Announce Shareholder Approval and Closing of Merger

SOURCE: BFC Financial Corporation and BBX Capital


BFC Financial Corporation ("BFC") (OTCQB: BFCF) (OTCQB: BFCFB) and BBX Capital Corporation ("BBX Capital") (NYSE: BBX) announced today that the companies' previously announced merger has been completed. Consummation of the merger occurred following the special meeting of BBX Capital's shareholders. At the special meeting, the merger agreement was approved by holders of shares of BBX Capital's Class A Common Stock and Class B Common Stock representing approximately 97% of the total number of votes entitled to be cast on the merger agreement. It was also approved by the holders of approximately 98% of the unaffiliated shares of BBX Capital's Class A Common Stock which voted on the merger and by approximately 70% of the outstanding unaffiliated shares of BBX Capital's Class A Common Stock.

Under the terms of the merger agreement, BBX Capital's shareholders were entitled to elect to receive, for each share of BBX Capital's Class A Common Stock that they owned at the effective time of the merger, $20.00 in cash, without interest, or 5.4 shares of BFC's Class A Common Stock. Based on information received to date from the exchange agent for the merger, and subject to compliance with the procedures for elections made with a notice of guaranteed delivery, stock elections were made by holders with respect to approximately 2,241,000 shares of BBX Capital's Class A Common Stock and these holders will receive an aggregate of approximately 12.1 million shares of BFC's Class A Common Stock. The balance of the shares of BBX Capital's Class A Common Stock entitling the holders to merger consideration will receive cash consideration totaling approximately $16.7 million.

Jarett S. Levan, President and Acting Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President of BFC, stated, "BFC has held a meaningful stake in BBX Capital since 1987, and we are extremely pleased that we have completed the merger and combined the companies. We believe the merger will benefit our shareholders, simplify the current ownership structure of the companies and create potential efficiencies and savings, including reducing the legal and accounting fees and other costs associated with operating and maintaining multiple public companies."

As a result of the closing of the merger, BBX Capital has ceased to be a publicly traded company and its Class A Common Stock will no longer be traded on the NYSE.

About BFC Financial Corporation:BFC (OTCQB: BFCF) (OTCQB: BFCFB) is a holding company whose principal holdings include BBX Capital and Bluegreen Corporation. As of September 30, 2016, BFC had total consolidated assets of $1.4 billion, shareholders' equity attributable to BFC of $400.6 million, and total consolidated equity of $508.7 million. BFC's book value per share at September 30, 2016 was $4.70.

About BBX Capital:BBX Capital is involved in the acquisition, ownership and management of joint ventures and investments in real estate and real estate development projects, as well as acquisitions, investments and management of middle market operating businesses.

About Bluegreen Corporation:Founded in 1966 and headquartered in Boca Raton, FL, Bluegreen is a sales, marketing and resort management company, focused on the vacation ownership industry and pursuing a capital-light business strategy. Bluegreen manages, markets and sells the Bluegreen Vacation Club, a flexible, points-based, deeded vacation ownership plan with more than 200,000 owners, 66 owned or managed resorts, and access to more than 4,500 resorts worldwide. Bluegreen also offers a portfolio of comprehensive, turnkey, fee-based services, including resort management services, financial services, and sales and marketing services, to or on behalf of third parties.

BFC Financial Corporation: www.BFCFinancial.comBBX Capital: www.BBXCapital.comBluegreen Corporation: www.BluegreenVacations.com

Dicerna Announces Closing of $70 Million Convertible Preferred Stock Financing

Source:  Dicerna Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Dicerna Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:DRNA) (the “Company”), a leading developer of investigational ribonucleic acid interference (“RNAi”) therapeutics, today announced that it has closed its previously announced stock purchase transaction for the sale of redeemable convertible preferred stock (“Preferred Stock”) to a syndicate of current and new investors led by Bain Capital Life Sciences, under which the Company received gross proceeds of $70.0 million.

Under terms of the Preferred Stock purchase agreement, Adam M. Koppel, M.D., Ph.D., a managing director of Bain Capital Life Sciences, has joined Dicerna’s Board of Directors, which has been expanded to nine seats.

At the closing, Dicerna issued 700,000 shares of Preferred Stock, which are convertible into common shares at an initial conversion price of $3.19 per share. Please refer to the Company’s Form 8-K, which was filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on March 30, 2017, for the complete terms of the Preferred Stock transaction.

Dicerna intends to use the proceeds from the Preferred Stock transaction to further develop its GalXC™ pipeline programs, including both pre-clinical and clinical work, as well as for general corporate purposes.

About Dicerna Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Dicerna Pharmaceuticals, Inc., is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of innovative RNAi-based therapeutics for diseases involving the liver, including rare diseases, chronic liver diseases, cardiovascular diseases, and viral infectious diseases. The Company is leveraging its proprietary GalXC™ RNAi technology platform to build a broad pipeline in these core therapeutic areas, focusing on target genes where connections between target gene and diseases are well understood and documented. The Company intends to discover, develop and commercialize novel therapeutics either on its own or in collaboration with pharmaceutical partners. For more information, please visit www.dicerna.com.

Dicerna Secures $70 Million in Convertible Preferred Stock Financing

Source:  Dicerna Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Provides Sufficient Cash into 2019

Dicerna Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:DRNA) (the “Company”), a leading developer of investigational ribonucleic acid interference (RNAi) therapeutics, today announced that it has signed a stock purchase agreement with a syndicate of current and new investors, led by Bain Capital Life Sciences, for the sale of redeemable convertible preferred stock (“Preferred Stock”) for gross proceeds of $70.0 million. Other participants in the financing include EcoR1 Capital, Cormorant Asset Management, RA Capital, Domain Associates and Skyline Ventures, among others.

Under the terms of the stock purchase agreement, upon closing of the Preferred Stock transaction, Adam M. Koppel, M.D., Ph.D., a managing director of Bain Capital Life Sciences, will be named to the Company’s Board of Directors, increasing the membership to nine.

The Company intends to use the proceeds from the offering to further develop its GalXC™ pipeline programs, including both pre-clinical and clinical work, as well as for general corporate purposes. The transaction is expected to close on or before April 11, 2017, subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions.

“We are pleased to announce this convertible preferred stock offering, led by new investor Bain Capital Life Sciences, who, together with a number of other new investors, are contributing more than half of this raise. We are also pleased with the continued support of our existing investors who chose to participate in this round,” said Douglas M. Fambrough, Ph.D., president and chief executive officer of Dicerna. “This financing will significantly strengthen our balance sheet and will provide the capital we need to continue to execute our business strategy and advance development of our RNAi therapeutic candidates through value-creating inflection points in 2018 and 2019.”

“With a committed and focused management team and a next generation platform for RNAi therapeutics, Dicerna is well-positioned to advance several projects in the coming years,” said Dr. Koppel. “We are pleased to join and partner with existing stockholders, the board and management to help the Company achieve its goals on behalf of patients and stockholders.”

The Preferred Stock will be convertible into common shares at a conversion price of $3.19 per share and the Company can require conversion if the price of its common stock exceeds $6.38 per share for 45 of 60 days after the achievement of specified business and clinical development milestones. Holders of the Preferred Stock will be entitled to a 12% cumulative annual dividend, which can be reduced to 4% upon the achievement of the same milestones. Dividends are compounded quarterly and payable in stock.

The Company has agreed to grant the investors certain registration rights with respect to the common stock underlying the Preferred Stock.

Please refer to the Company’s Form 8-K to be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission for the complete terms of the convertible preferred stock offering.

About Dicerna Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Dicerna Pharmaceuticals, Inc., is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of innovative RNAi-based therapeutics for diseases involving the liver, including rare diseases, chronic liver diseases, cardiovascular diseases, and viral infectious diseases. The Company is leveraging its proprietary GalXC™ RNAi technology platform to build a broad pipeline in these core therapeutic areas, focusing on target genes where connections between target gene and diseases are well understood and documented. The Company intends to discover, develop and commercialize novel therapeutics either on its own or in collaboration with pharmaceutical partners. For more information, please visit www.dicerna.com.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Cellular Biomedicine Group (CBMG) and GE Healthcare Life Sciences China Announce Strategic Partnership to Establish Joint Technology Laboratory to Develop Control Processes for the Manufacture of CAR-T and Stem Cell Therapies




Source:  Cellular Biomedicine Group

Cellular Biomedicine Group Inc. (NASDAQ:CBMG) (CBMG or the Company), a leading clinical-stage biopharmaceutical firm engaged in the development of immunotherapies for cancer and stem cell therapies for degenerative diseases and GE Healthcare Life Sciences China, today announced that they have established a strategic research collaboration to co-develop certain high-quality industrial control processes in Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-cell (CAR-T) and stem cell manufacturing.  In connection with the collaboration, a joint laboratory within CBMG’s new Shanghai Zhangjiang GMP-facility will be established and dedicated to the joint research and development of a functionally integrated and automated immunotherapy cell preparation system.
Cellular Biomedicine Group (CBMG) and GE Healthcare Life Sciences China
CBMG GE sign agreement
Tony Liu, CEO of CBMG (seated, left) and Angela Chen of GE Healthcare Life Sciences China (seated, right) sign agreement to establish strategic research collaboration.
Cellular Biomedicine Group Inc.
A photo accompanying this announcement is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/ab5bc905-b526-4e86-98bd-c96e306b5796

CBMG and GE Healthcare Life Sciences China plan to develop state-of-the-art automated CAR-T and stem cell manufacturing capabilities that build upon the accreditation of CBMG’s GMP facilities in Shanghai, Wuxi and Beijing.  The co-development activity will aim to standardize the delivery of cell manufacturing to potentially improve throughput, alleviate cost burdens and to minimize variability in cell production, which may increase the availability of engineered cells upon commercialization.

This partnership combines CBMG’s scientific expertise in the manufacturing of CAR-T and stem cell production in China and GE Healthcare’s renowned expertise in the design and development of innovative manufacturing technologies for the biopharmaceutical industry.
Recently, CBMG announced that its new Zhangjiang facility, together with an expanded Wuxi, and Beijing GMP-facilities, will have a combined 70,000 square feet for development and production. This will enable CBMG to conduct simultaneous clinical trials for multiple CAR-T and stem cell product candidates. At full production volumes, these facilities could support the treatment of up to 10,000 cancer patients and 10,000 knee osteoarthritis patients per year.

“GE Healthcare‘s selection of our facility to serve as their showcase site in China, credits our GMP stature and capabilities. Our team of scientists has spent years refining our manufacturing process to become one of the very few cell therapy companies with fully in-house integrated chemistry, manufacturing, and controls (CMC) processes for clinical grade CAR-T cells, plasmid and viral vectors bank production. We understand that one of the impending barriers to adoption of immuno-oncology and stem cell therapies is the logistics in manufacturing and we look to take an expanded role both domestically and potentially globally.  We are pleased to be in a strategic partnership with GE Healthcare and look forward to showcasing our facilities and the mutual benefit this joint laboratory will bring,” commented Tony Liu, Chief Executive Officer, CBMG.

“Cell therapy as an industry continues to refine and evolve in China with vast potential to change the ways various diseases are treated.  GE continues investing in technologies and services aimed at the thriving cell therapy industry with a firm commitment of making these promising therapies accessible through successful industrialization. We are pleased to partner with CBMG, a leader in CAR-T and stem cell development in China and to take advantage of their excellent CMC cell production capabilities. Collaboration with ambitious partners like CBMG who share our vision is necessary for advancing innovation and delivering comprehensive manufacturing solutions for cell and regenerative medicines,” said Li Qing, General Manager, GE Healthcare Life Sciences, Greater China.

About Cellular Biomedicine Group
Cellular Biomedicine Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:CBMG) develops proprietary cell therapies for the treatment of cancer and degenerative diseases. We conduct immuno-oncology and stem cell clinical trials in China using products from our integrated GMP laboratory. Our GMP facilities in China, consisting of twelve independent cell production lines, are designed and managed according to both China and U.S. GMP standards.  CBMG recently commenced two Phase I human clinical trials in China using CAR-T to treat relapsed/refractory CD19+ B-cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) and Refractory Diffuse Large B-cell Lymphoma (DLBCL) as well as an ongoing Phase I trial in China for AlloJoinTM (CBMG’s “Off-the-Shelf” Allogeneic Human Adipose-derived Mesenchymal Stem Cell) for the treatment of Knee Osteoarthritis (KOA). CBMG was also recently awarded $2.29 million from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) to support pre-clinical studies of AlloJoinTM for Knee Osteoarthritis in the United States. To learn more about CBMG, please visit www.cellbiomedgroup.com.

About GE Healthcare
GE Healthcare provides transformational medical technologies and services to meet the demand for increased access, enhanced quality and more affordable healthcare around the world.  GE (NYSE:GE) works on things that matter - great people and technologies taking on tough challenges. From medical imaging, software & IT, patient monitoring and diagnostics to drug discovery, biopharmaceutical manufacturing technologies and performance improvement solutions, GE Healthcare helps medical professionals deliver great healthcare to their patients. For more information about GE Healthcare, visit our website at www.gehealthcare.com.