FERC Staff Issues Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Mountaineer XPress and Gulf XPress Projects (CP16-357-000 and CP16-361-000)

Final Environmental Impact Statement

FERC Staff Issues the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Mountaineer XPress and Gulf XPress Projects (CP16-357-000 and CP16-361-000)
Issued: July 28, 2017

The staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission or FERC) has prepared a final environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Mountaineer XPress Project and Gulf XPress Project.

The Mountaineer XPress Project, proposed by Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC (Columbia Gas), would include in the following facilities in West Virginia:

  • about 164.5 miles of new 36-inch-diameter natural gas pipeline from Marshall County to Cabell County (MXP-100);
  • about 6.0 miles of new 24-inch-diameter natural gas pipeline in Doddridge County (MXP-200);
  • three new compressor stations in Doddridge, Calhoun, and Jackson Counties (one that also includes a regulator station);
  • two new regulating stations in Jackson and Cabell Counties;
  • about 296 feet of new, 10-inch-diameter natural gas pipeline at the Ripley Regulator Station to tie Columbia Gas’ existing X59M1 pipeline into the MXP-100 pipeline in Jackson County;
  • an approximately 0.4-mile-long replacement segment of 30-inch-diameter natural gas pipeline in Cabell County;
  • upgrades to one existing compressor station (Wayne County) and two compressor stations (Marshall and Kanawha Counties) that are approved or pending, respectively, under separate FERC proceedings; and
  • related facilities in various West Virginia counties.

The Gulf XPress Project proposed by Columbia Gulf Transmission, LLC (Columbia Gulf) would include the following natural gas facilities:

  • seven new compressor stations in Kentucky (Rowan, Garrard, and Metcalfe Counties), Tennessee (Davidson and Wayne Counties), and Mississippi (Union and Granada Counties);
  • upgrades to one approved compressor station in Carter County, Kentucky; and
  • upgrades at one existing meter station in Boyd County, Kentucky.

The EIS has been prepared in compliance with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Council on Environmental Quality regulations for implementing NEPA (title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations, sections 1500–1508 [40 CFR 1500-1508]), and the FERC regulations implementing NEPA (18 CFR 380).

The conclusions and recommendations presented in the EIS are those of the FERC environmental staff. Input from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, and West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection as cooperating agencies was considered during the development of our conclusions and recommendations. However, these agencies would develop their own conclusions and recommendations and adopt the EIS per 40 CFR 1506.3 (where applicable) if, after an independent review of the document, they conclude that their permitting requirements have been satisfied.

The FERC staff concludes that construction and operation of the projects would result in some adverse and significant environmental impacts. However, if the projects are constructed and operated in accordance with applicable laws and regulations, the mitigation measures discussed in the EIS, and staff’s recommendations, these impacts would be reduced to acceptable levels. This determination is based on a review of the information provided by Columbia Gas and Columbia Gulf and further developed from data requests; field investigations; public and agency scoping; literature research; alternatives analyses; and contacts with federal, state, and local agencies, Native American tribes, and other stakeholders. Although many factors were considered in this determination, the principal reasons are:

  • Columbia Gas and Columbia Gulf would minimize impacts on natural and cultural resources during construction and operation of their projects by implementing their project-specific Environmental Construction Standards (which incorporates FERC’s Upland Erosion Control, Revegetation, and Maintenance Plan and Wetland and Waterbody Construction and Mitigation Procedures); Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure Plan; Horizontal Directional Drill Inadvertent Return Contingency Plan; Unexpected Contamination Discovery Plan; Unanticipated Discovery Plan (for the treatment of cultural resources and human remains); Blasting Plan; and Karst Mitigation Plan (for Columbia Gas only).
  • The FERC staff would complete Endangered Species Act consultations with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service prior to allowing any construction to begin.
  • The FERC staff would complete the process of complying with section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act and implementing the regulations at 36 CFR 800 prior to allowing any construction to begin.
  • Columbia Gas and Columbia Gulf would be required to obtain applicable permits and provide mitigation for unavoidable impacts on waterbodies and wetlands through coordination with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and applicable state agencies.
  • Staff’s recommendation that Columbia Gas develop a Landslide Mitigation Plan.
  • Staff’s recommendation that Columbia Gas consult with the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources to identify any specific construction, restoration, replacement, and/or operation mitigation measures that would be implemented to promote compatibility with the restoration and management of upland forested areas.
  • Staff’s recommendation that Columbia Gas develop a Noxious and Invasive Weed Management Plan.
  • Staff’s recommendation that Columbia Gas develop a Migratory Bird Plan and identify special measures, if any, that Columbia Gas would implement to reduce impacts on cerulean warbler habitat.
  • Implementation of an environmental inspection and mitigation monitoring program that would ensure compliance with all mitigation measures that become conditions of the FERC authorizations and other approvals.

In addition, staff developed and recommended other site-specific mitigation measures that Columbia Gas and Columbia Gulf should implement to further reduce the environmental impacts that would otherwise result from construction and operation of the projects.

The FERC Commissioners will take into consideration staff’s recommendations when they make a decision on the projects.

Training Advisory for July 28, 2017, through August 7, 2017

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, VA.

Marine Corps Base Quantico (MCBQ) has provided military, federal, state and local organizations robust training services since 1917.

Today, 54 ranges support live-fire training for more than 40 Federal organizations, the Department of Defense, and multiple regional and local law enforcement agencies.

Residents in the vicinity of Marine Corps Base Quantico may be inconvenienced by sounds, vibrations, and/or illuminations from the following:

  • Demolition Training:

August 1 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

August 6 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

  • Live Fire Training:

July 27-August 2 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

August 3-August 7 8:00 a.m. to 11:59 p.m.

The impact of noise, vibrations, and/or illuminations experienced across the area will depend on atmospheric conditions and changes to the local sound barriers.

All questions regarding training should be directed to the Quantico Public Affairs Office at (703) 784-2741.

 

 

 

Officials Release Latest Details of Strikes Against ISIS in Syria, Iraq

SOUTHWEST ASIA, July 28, 2017 — U.S. and coalition military forces continued to attack the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria yesterday, conducting 21 strikes consisting of 25 engagements, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.

Officials reported details of yesterday’s strikes, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.

Strikes in Syria

In Syria, coalition military forces conducted 17 strikes consisting of 20 engagements against ISIS targets:

— Near Abu Kamal, three strikes destroyed two ISIS oil storage tanks, two oil trailers, an oil refinement still and a wellhead.

— Near Dayr Az Zawr, five strikes destroyed 18 ISIS oil refinement stills and three wellheads and suppressed a supply route.

— Near Raqqa, eight strikes engaged four ISIS tactical units and destroyed six fighting positions, a supply cache, an ISIS communication headquarters and an anti-air artillery system.

— Near Shadaddi, a strike destroyed an ISIS tunnel.

Strikes in Iraq

In Iraq, coalition military forces conducted four strikes consisting of five engagements against ISIS targets:

— Near Baghdad, a strike engaged an ISIS tactical unit.

— Near Rawah, a strike destroyed an ISIS chemical storage site.

– Near Tal Afar, two strikes engaged two ISIS tactical units and destroyed four fighting positions and a supply cache.

July 26 Strikes

Additionally, 14 strikes were conducted in Syria and Iraq on July 26 that closed within the last 24 hours.

— Near Qaim, Iraq, two strikes destroyed two ISIS vehicle-borne-bomb factories and a front-end loader and damaged a crane and a front-end loader.

— Near Raqqa, Syria, 18 strikes engaged 12 ISIS tactical units; destroyed eight fighting positions, two command-and-control nodes, an improvised explosive device facility, a supply cache and a logistics node; and suppressed an ISIS tactical unit.

— Near Tal Afar, Iraq, four strikes engaged two ISIS tactical units; destroyed an ISIS-held building, a vehicle, a front-end loader and a supply cache; and suppressed a mortar team.

Part of Operation Inherent Resolve

These strikes were conducted as part of Operation Inherent Resolve, the operation to destroy ISIS in Iraq and Syria. The destruction of ISIS targets in Iraq and Syria also further limits the group’s ability to project terror and conduct external operations throughout the region and the rest of the world, task force officials said. 

The list above contains all strikes conducted by fighter, attack, bomber, rotary-wing or remotely piloted aircraft; rocket-propelled artillery; and some ground-based tactical artillery when fired on planned targets, officials noted.

Ground-based artillery fired in counterfire or in fire support to maneuver roles is not classified as a strike, they added. A strike, as defined by the coalition, refers to one or more kinetic engagements that occur in roughly the same geographic location to produce a single or cumulative effect.

For example, task force officials explained, a single aircraft delivering a single weapon against a lone ISIS vehicle is one strike, but so is multiple aircraft delivering dozens of weapons against a group of ISIS-held buildings and weapon systems in a compound, having the cumulative effect of making that facility harder or impossible to use. Strike assessments are based on initial reports and may be refined, officials said.

The task force does not report the number or type of aircraft employed in a strike, the number of munitions dropped in each strike, or the number of individual munition impact points against a target.

Pacom Commander Lists Threats, Discusses Strategy in Indo-Asia-Pacific

WASHINGTON, July 28, 2017 — North Korean nuclear capabilities, Chinese aggression in the South China Sea and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria making inroads in the Philippines are the three major challenges facing the Pacific community, the commander of U.S. Pacific Command said at the 4th Japan-U.S. Military Statesman Forum here yesterday.

These are the threats that Pacom must face and adapt to as the pace of change in the region — indeed the world — increases, Navy Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr. said.

Japan’s ambassador to the United States Kenichiro Sasae, who hosted the event at his residence, and retired Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and one of the leaders of the forum, both emphasized the need for stability in an uncertain world.

Changing World

Harris didn’t disagree and ticked off one-by-one the changes that prove this to be a volatile time in the region.

He noted that in September, North Korea tested yet another nuclear device. On July 4, Kim Jong-Un successfully launched his first-ever intercontinental ballistic missile.

Second, “China increased aggressive maneuvers in the East China Sea, and continued its unabated militarization of the South China Sea,” he said.

Finally, he noted that earlier this year, ISIS proved it is a true global threat as violent extremist organizations banded together to occupy Marawi City in Mindanao in the Philippines.

“That’s a lot of change in the last 12 months,” Harris said. “But I’ll point out three truths that have not changed.”

First, the Indo-Asia-Pacific region remains a top priority for the United States. “The U.S. remains laser-focused on the region because our interests there are enduring,” the admiral said. “U.S. key leader engagements with the region — to include Japan – prove our actions back up those words.”

Two: America is and will remain a Pacific power and a Pacific leader. “Just as we have for the past 70 years, Pacom joint forces will maintain a robust and stabilizing military presence in the Indo-Asia-Pacific,” he said.

Finally, the strength and necessity of the Japan-U.S. alliance has not changed. “In a world crying out for leadership at the global level, the need for our alliance has never been stronger,” he said. “Today, the ties that bind our countries together have never been more robust. And I submit that those ties have never been more vital than they are today because of the mutual threats we face.”

North Korea

North Korea is “a clear and present danger” to global peace and stability, Harris said. Kim Jong Un’s regime is not only a threat to South Korea, Japan and the United States, but to China and Russia and U.S. allies in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. “[North Korea is] a threat to the entire world because North Korea’s missiles point in every direction,” he said. “It’s the reason why we call for all nations to implement far stronger economic sanctions against Pyongyang.”

North Korea now has an ICBM capability that can reach North America and Hawaii. “While I don’t know if those missiles can hit what they’re aimed at, but like in horseshoes and hand grenades, getting close is all that’s needed when you’re dealing with nuclear weapons,” the admiral said.

Harris expects North Korea’s capabilities to improve with time, so now is the time “to study and consider every possible step to increase the defense of our homelands with the best, most effective solutions possible,” he said.

Japan, South Korea and the United States are working to apply economic and diplomatic pressures aimed at persuading Pyongyang to give up its nuclear arms program. Credible combat power backs up the diplomatic and economic efforts. “That’s why we deploy carrier strike groups with Aegis ships and the world’s best submarines to Northeast Asia,” Harris said. “That’s why we maintain a formidable continuous bomber presence in the region. That’s why we continue our ironclad defense of Japan, to include deploying our newest and best military platforms like the F-35 [Lightning II] joint strike fighter, the P-8 Poseidon and the MV-22 Osprey.”

Harris also emphasizes multinational collaboration against a North Korean threat that endangers all nations. “This includes increasing trilateral cooperation between the U.S., Japan and South Korea — a partnership with a purpose if there ever was one,” he said.

Harris stressed that every nation “must work diplomatically and economically to bring Kim Jong-Un to his senses, not to his knees.”

That includes calling on China to do more to exert its considerable economic influence to stop Pyongyang’s unprecedented weapons testing. “North Korea only has one ally — that’s China; and vice versa,” Harris said. “That means Beijing has exponentially more influence on Pyongyang than anyone else, which makes China the key to a peaceful outcome on the Korean Peninsula.”

China

The world needs Chinese help with North Korea, but China also must work to tone down its own aggressive behavior on the water and in the air, he said. While most of the interactions between U.S. and Chinese aircraft and ships are professional and safe, there have been instances — this week in fact — where Chinese pilots have acted irresponsibly and dangerously.

“Some might find it odd for me to advocate cooperation with China on one hand while criticizing Beijing on the other, but as I like to say, great powers can walk and chew gum at the same time,” Harris said. “By that, I think we can praise Chinese efforts for help on issues like counter-piracy, even as we rightly hold them accountable for not doing enough to influence their North Korean allies. I think we can and should do both.”

The Chinese are building up combat power and positional advantage in an attempt to assert de facto sovereignty over disputed maritime features and spaces in South China Sea, the admiral said. “They are fundamentally altering the physical and political landscape by creating and militarizing manmade bases,” he said. “As I’ve said before, fake islands should not be believed by real people.”

China has operated vessels in America’s economic exclusion zone, and the Unted States doesn’t complain when they do so, because these are international waterways, Harris said. Yet China complains when American vessels and planes do the same things Chinese ships and planes do, he said. “China can’t have it both ways,” the admiral stated. “In my opinion, Beijing’s desire to pick and choose when it comes to international law demonstrates that China is a strategic competitor for the United States and Japan.”

This does not mean war is inevitable, he said. “But because we are in competition, I’ve advocated dealing with China realistically — as it is, and not as we would wish it would be. I’ve repeatedly emphasized that we can’t allow the areas where we disagree with China to impact our ability to make progress on the areas where we do agree.”

For Pacom, the goal remains to convince China that its best future comes from peaceful cooperation and meaningful participation in the current rules-based international order. “But I’ve also been loud and clear that we won’t allow the shared domains to be closed down unilaterally,” Harris said.

ISIS in Philippines

Harris shifted to ISIS, calling the terror group a clear threat that must be defeated. The Middle East and North Africa are the main areas of conflict against the group, but it is trying to expand and is having some success in Southeast Asia.

“Sadly, we’re seeing some of this come to fruition right now in the Southern Philippines, where in 2016, Isnilon Hapilon, a commander in the Abu Sayyaf Group, was named ISIS emir of Southeast Asia,” the admiral said. “In just a matter of months, Hapilon started uniting elements of several violent extremist organizations — building a coalition under the black flag of ISIS.”

Using tactics learned in Iraq and Syria, the group attacked the city of Marawi in Mindinao. It is “the first time ISIS-inspired forces have banded together to fight on this kind of scale in this region,” he said. “It’s clear that foreign fighters are passing their ideology, resources and methods to local, home-grown, next-generation radicals.”

Marawi should be a wake-up call and a rallying cry for every nation in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region, Harris said. “Only through multinational collaboration can we eradicate ISIS and other violent extremist organizations before they spread,” the admiral said. “Japan has done its part as a staunch member of the coalition to defeat ISIS. It has also helped by agreeing to provide the Philippines with patrol vessels and maritime surveillance aircraft.”

The U.S. is also supporting its Philippine ally. It just delivered two new Cessna-208 aircraft to the Armed Forces of the Philippines. “The aircraft will significantly enhance the AFP’s counterterrorism operations with the capability to locate terrorist groups operating in Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago,” Harris said.

The aircraft are part of the more than $300 million in military aid granted to the Philippines in the last five years.

“While these bilateral activities are helpful, even better are multinational initiatives — or ‘partnerships with a purpose’ as I like to call it,” he said. He noted recent exercises that brought together the United States, Japan, Australia and India.

“Unfortunately, there are some who question the motives for the increasingly cooperative relationship between the U.S., Japan, Australia and India,” he said. “To this I say our partnerships stand on their own merits. Deepening military cooperation between these four great democracies is based on shared values and shared concerns. So I’ve spoken about the clear benefits of a ‘democracy quadrilateral’ that enhances security cooperation between India, Australia, Japan and the U.S.”

Samsung Marks Portuguese Air Force’s 65th Anniversary with High-flying Innovations

To commemorate the Portuguese Air Force’s (PoAF) 65th anniversary, Samsung Electronics Portugal recently partnered with the military branch on a pair of exciting projects – one offering pilots a precision instrument to help them traverse the skies, the other providing civilians with a chance to experience the thrill of flying for themselves.

Check out the results of Samsung’s high-flying initiatives below.

The First Smartwatch Trusted by Aviators

The world of aviation has historically inspired exceptional examples of watchmaking. Samsung’s Gear S3 frontier Special Edition, the first smartwatch to be associated with military aeronautics, is the latest product of this innovative history.

The Gear S3’s IP68 dust and water resistance and military-grade durability distinguish the device as capable of adapting to the requirements of military missions. The PoAF’s special edition enhances that utility with an exclusive watch face – one that combines exceptional functionality with aesthetic cues that celebrate the tradition and innovation of the Portuguese Air Force.

The watch face features a design based on specifications provided by pilots across PoAF divisions. The black dial displays the time, date, day of the week and month, and includes a display for UTC/Zulu time, the worldwide reference time zone for pilots, at 9 o’clock.

The numerals are written in the same font that the PoAF has historically used for the tail numbers of its aircraft. In addition, to honor the anniversary, the 6 and 5 are highlighted either in gold or in the colors of the Portuguese flag, and may be customized to suit the user’s preference. At the top of the dial, in place of the 12, are the PoAF’s symbol – a stylized eagle – and the inscription, “Portuguese Air Force”.

Although it was originally designed exclusively for use by PoAF pilots, the watch face is currently available to download via the Gear App Store.*

Taking Flight with the Gear VR

Over the course of several months, Samsung Electronics Portugal, the Portuguese Air Force and Impresa Media Group shot a series of virtual reality films that allow viewers to experience the sheer exhilaration that comes with piloting a state-of-the-art aircraft.

The films were recorded with Samsung Gear 360 cameras and showcased at the PoAF’s 65th anniversary exhibit in Castelo Branco, two hours’ drive from the Portuguese capital, Lisbon. Upon strapping on Samsung’s Gear VR headset, attendees at the event were transported into the cockpits of Alpha-Jet instruction fighters, Aérospatiale Alouette III helicopters and F-16 AM fighter jets.

[embedded content]

By creating an experience that’s as close as can be to actually stepping into the cockpit of a supersonic aircraft, the immersive footage allowed attendees to experience the thrill and beauty of flying for themselves.

*Availability may vary depending on market

EUTELSAT COMMUNICATIONS FULL YEAR 2016-17 RESULTS

  • Revenues of €1,478m down 2.2% like-for-like[1]
  • EBITDA margin of 76.7%[2], up from 76.2%
  • Group share of Net Income of €351.8m, up 0.9%
  • Discretionary Free-Cash-Flow significantly ahead, by 65%
  • Proposed dividend of €1.21 per share, up 10%
  • All financial objectives confirmed or raised
Key Financial Data FY 2015-16 FY2016-17 Actualchange Like-for-likechange
Revenues – €m 1,529.0 1,477.9 -3.3% -2.2%1
Profitability
EBITDA[3] €m 1,164.6 1,133.6 -2.7%
EBITDA margin – %3 76.2 76.72 +0.5 pts
Group share of net income – €m 348.5 351.8 +0.9%
Financial structure
Cash Capex3 514.4 414.4 -€100.0m
Discretionary free-cash-flow3 247.3 407.8 +€160.5m
Net debt €m 4,006.8 3,640.7 -€366.1m
Net debt/EBITDA – x3 3.4 3.2 -0.2 pts
Backlog – €bn 5.6 5.2 -7.6%

Rodolphe Belmer, CEO of Eutelsat Communications, said: “During the past year, we have delivered or over-delivered on all our financial commitments. In particular, our strong performance on free cash flow generation has enabled us to reduce net debt to below 3.3x EBITDA, and to recommend a strong, 10% rise in dividend. Our performance was supported by solid commercial momentum in our core video business and in other verticals – particularly mobile connectivity, as well as the strengthening of our financial profile. In consequence, we are on track to achieve top-line stability in FY 2017-18, with a return to slight growth thereafter. The successful execution of our LEAP cost-savings plan will help us deliver an EBITDA margin above 76% in FY 2017-18, and we are raising our target for FY 2018-19 and beyond to above 77%. We also maintain our commitment to free cash flow growth, where we target mid-single digit compound growth for the next three years off the extremely high base achieved in FY 2016-17, with growth back-end loaded in the outer two years. This will enable us to further deleverage, with net debt / EBITDA now forecast below 3.0x within the next couple of years, while continuing to serve a stable to progressive dividend to our shareholders.

At the same time, we are laying the foundations for long term value-creation, with a strong focus on securing durable capex efficiencies while paving the way for step up in growth in the early 2020s, supported by our Connectivity verticals.”

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE YEAR

Delivery or over-delivery on all financial objectives:

  • Revenues in line with expectations at -2.2% like-for-like
  • EBITDA margin target raised and exceeded
  • Discretionary Free Cash Flow growth significantly ahead of expectations at +65%
  • Net Debt / EBITDA below 3.3x
  • Dividend per share recommended at €1.21, up 10%

Solid commercial performance:

  • In Video
    • HD take-up accelerating on HOTBIRD;
    • Significant contract renewals in Europe and in MENA with Arqiva at 28° East, and Digiturk at 7° East;
    • Multi-year, multi-transponder contract with NTV-Plus on Express-AT2 to reach homes in Far Eastern Russia and incremental capacity on Express-AT1 to consolidate coverage of Siberia.
  • In Government Services, a satisfactory outcome of renewal campaigns with the US Department of Defense;
  • In in-flight Connectivity, contracts with ViaSat on KA-SAT to provide capacity for SAS, Finnair and Icelandair, with Taqnia for the HTS payload of EUTELSAT 3B and to provide resources for Panasonic on EUTELSAT 115 West B;
  • Selection of EUTELSAT 5 West B by the European Global Navigation Satellite Systems Agency (GSA) for the next-generation EGNOS payload, a contract valued at c.€100 million over 15 years from 2019-20.

Strengthened financial profile:

  • Successful launch of the ‘LEAP’ cost-savings plan, to generate €30 million in annual savings in 2018-19;
  • Repayment of the March 2017 €850 million bond, generating €30 million in savings from fiscal year 2017-18;
  • Refinancing of several credit lines and pre-hedge of the January 2020 €930 million bond for an outstanding amount of €500 million;
  • Agreement to sell Hispasat stake to Abertis for a €302 million consideration, and other non-core asset disposals.

Laying the foundations for ongoing value creation:

  • Securing durable cash-flow generation through capex efficiencies:
  • EUTELSAT 5 West B satellite procurement with ‘design-to-cost’ policy enabling Capex savings of more than 30%;
  • Increased choice in the launcher market through a contract with Blue Origin for a launch on the New Glenn rocket, and multi-launch agreement with Arianespace for the launches of EUTELSAT 7C, Eutelsat Quantum and the African Broadband Satellite.
  • Preparing the ground for future revenue growth:
  • Launch of EUTELSAT 172B in June 2017 with a coverage of Asia-Pacific;
  • Launch of Russian Broadband programme;
  • Ka-band capacity secured from Yahsat enabling the commercial launch of Konnect Africa in June 2017;
  • Joint-venture with ViaSat paving the way for a step-up in Connectivity top-line from the early 2020s.

REVENUES[4]

Total revenues for FY 2016-17 stood at €1,477.9 million, down 2.2% at constant currency and perimeter. On a reported basis revenues were down 3.3%, reflecting a 1.7 points negative perimeter effect (disposal of Alterna’TV, Wins/DHI and DSAT Cinema) and a 0.6 points positive currency effect.

Revenues for the Fourth Quarter stood at €358.5 million, with a like-for-like change of -3.1% year-on-year and -0.9% quarter-on-quarter.

Unless otherwise stated, all variations indicated below are on a like-for-like basis.

Revenues by business application


Video Applications (64% of revenues)
Core businesses

In FY 2016-17 revenues from Video Applications were down 3.3% like-for-like to €908.0 million.

Revenues from Broadcast were down 2.2%, reflecting the negative impact of the rationalisation of capacity and the end of the TV d’Orange contract at the HOTBIRD position as well as lower revenues from FRANSAT off an exceptionally high base in FY 2015-16. Excluding these two factors, Broadcast revenues would have risen 2.7%, notably on the back of the contribution of incremental capacity launched during the course of FY 2015-16 (EUTELSAT 8 West B and EUTELSAT 36C).

Professional Video revenues were down 12.4% year-on-year reflecting the on-going tough competitive environment in this application.

Fourth Quarter revenues stood at €224.3 million, down 5.4% year-on-year and by 1.4% quarter-on-quarter.

At 30 June 2017 the total number of channels broadcast by Eutelsat satellites stood at 6,630 (+288 year-on-year). High Definition penetration continued to increase, representing 17.2% of channels compared to 13.6% a year earlier, or a total of 1,142channels, versus 863 a year earlier (+279).

Fixed Data (12% of revenues)

In FY 2016-17 revenues from Fixed Data were down 14.0% like-for-like to €168.1 million.

They continued to reflect ongoing pricing pressure as a result of a highly competitive environment in all geographies which is not offset by additional volumes.

Fourth Quarter revenues stood at €41.1 million, down by 11.5% on a year-on-year basis and by 0.8% quarter-on-quarter.

This confirms a sequential quarterly improvement since the beginning of the year, but does not, however, alter Eutelsat’s cautious view on this vertical in coming years.

Government Services (12% of revenues)

In FY 2016-17 revenues from Government Services were down 4.1% like-for-like to €176.1 million reflecting the carry-over effect of lower renewals in the US Department of Defense Spring 2016 campaign. In FY 2016-17 commercial activity was much more favourable with renewal rates of circa 90% in Fall 2016 and 85% in Spring 2017, together with new contracts representing an additional seven 36-MHz equivalent transponders.

Fourth Quarter revenues amounted to €44.8 million, up 6.1% year-on-year and by 0.9% quarter-on-quarter.

Connectivity

Fixed Broadband (7% of revenues)

In FY 2016-17 Fixed Broadband revenues stood at €96.2 million, up 18.4% year-on-year. This reflected, on one hand the positive effect of the entry into service in May 2016 of EUTELSAT 65 West A – on which the Ka-band payload is fully leased – and a solid European broadband performance driven by positive ARPU trends, and on the other, the negative effect of the early termination of the contract for Ka-band capacity on EUTELSAT 3B in December 2015 (since mostly resold to Taqnia and classified under Mobile Connectivity).

Fourth Quarter revenues amounted to €23.4 million, up 5.0% year-on-year and down by 2.2% quarter-on-quarter.

The launch of Konnect Africa in June 2017, and, to a lesser extent the ramp-up of the Russian broadband programme, are expected to support revenue growth next fiscal year.

Mobile Connectivity (5% of revenues)

In FY 2016-17 Mobile Connectivity revenues stood at €74.6 million, up 22.5% year-on-year, reflecting notably the effect of the agreement with Taqnia for the sale of four spotbeams on the High Throughput payload of the EUTELSAT 3B satellite as well as widebeam capacity sales at several orbital slots, notably 172° East and 21° East and over the Americas.

EUTELSAT 172B, successfully launched in June, will bring additional capacity dedicated to this application in FY 2017-18.

Fourth Quarter revenues amounted to €18.9 million, up 30.8% year-on-year, and 12.1% quarter-on-quarter.

Other revenues

In FY 2016-17 Other Revenues amounted to €55.0 million compared with €50.8 million a year earlier. They included fees in respect of technical and engineering services as well as, in the first quarter, termination fees related to the rationalisation of distribution at HOTBIRD. Since 1 January 2017, ‘Other Revenues’ no longer include revenues related to the agreements with SES at 28.5° East.

OPERATIONAL AND LEASED TRANSPONDERS

The number of operational 36 MHz-equivalent transponders stood at 1,372 at 30 June 2017, up 44 over 12 months, mainly reflecting the entry into service of EUTELSAT 117 West B in January 2017.

The fill rate stood at 67.9%, compared to 70.9% a year ago, mostly reflecting the entry into service of the new capacity mentioned above.

30 June 2016 30 June 2017
Number of operational 36 MHz-equivalent transponders[8] 1,328 1,372
Number of leased 36 MHz-equivalent transponders[9] 942 931
Fill rate 70.9% 67.9%

Note: Based on 36 MHz-equivalent transponders excluding high throughput capacity (KA-SAT 82 spotbeams, EUTELSAT 3B 5 Ka-bandspotbeams, EUTELSAT 65 West A 24 Ka-band spotbeams, EUTELSAT 36C 18 Ka-band spotbeams and 16 spotbeams leased on Al-Yah 2 satellite).

BACKLOG

Note: The backlog represents future revenues from capacity lease agreements and can include contracts for satellites under procurement.

At 30 June 2017, the backlog stood at €5.2 billion, down 8% compared to 30 June 2016. Contracts during the year included notably the agreement with Taqnia for high throughput capacity on EUTELSAT 3B and agreements with NTV Plus at
56° East and 140° East as well as renewal of capacity with Digiturk at 7° East and Arqiva at 28° East. The backlog was equivalent to 3.5 times 2016-17 revenues with 85% represented by Video, the same level as at 30 June 2016.

30 June 2016 30 June 2017
Value of contracts (in billions of euros) 5.6 5.2
In years of annual revenues based on last fiscal year 3.7 3.5
Share of Video Applications 85% 85%

PROFITABILITY


EBITDA amounted to €1,133.6 million (€1,164.6 million at 30 June 2016), down 2.7%.

Despite lower revenues, the EBITDA margin stood at 76.7% (76.6% at constant currency), compared to 76.2% last year, reflecting the early benefits of cost-savings measures, a lower level of bad debt and the positive impact on margin of the disposal of Wins/DHI.

Group share of net income stood at €351.8 million versus €348.5 million in 2015-16, an increase of 0.9%. The net margin stood at 23.8%. This reflected mainly:

  • Lower EBITDA;
  • An increase in the depreciation charge of €32.3 million principally due to the entry into service of new capacity in the past 18 months (EUTELSAT 8 West B and EUTELSAT 115 West B in October 2015, EUTELSAT 36C in February 2016, EUTELSAT 9B in March 2016 and EUTELSAT 65 West A in May 2016 and EUTELSAT 117 West B in January 2017);
  • ‘Other operating income’ of €14.1 million reflecting mainly the capital gain on the disposal of Wins/DHI;
  • A financial result of -€130.9 million, slightly less favourable than last year (-€123.0 million) on the back of lower capitalised interest and the full-year impact of the financial lease of the EUTELSAT 36C satellite;
  • A tax rate of 24.8% versus 37.1% last year, mainly reflecting the recognition of a positive non-cash one-off element related to deferred tax liabilities reflecting the upcoming reduction in French corporate tax rate to 28% in 2020 and the partial tax exemption of the capital gain in respect of the disposal of Wins/DHI;
  • The absence of significant income from associates (compared to €23.5 million in 2015-16), as the stake in Hispasat is classified as an asset held for sale.

CASH-FLOW

Net cash flow from operating activities stood at €982.9 million compared to €895.7 million in 2015-16, up €87.2 million. The decrease in EBITDA was more than offset by lower tax paid, relating to the timing of tax payments and the reduction of the tax rate in France as well as a more favourable evolution in working capital than last year notably on the back of actions taken to optimise days sales outstanding (DSO).

Cash Capex[10]amounted to €414.4 million in FY 2016-17 compared to €514.4 million a year earlier, showing the first results of the ‘design-to-cost’ approach and a strong reduction in on-ground capex. This amount is net of the €132.5 received from ViaSat following the agreement reached in February.

Interest and other fees paid net of interest received stood at €160.7 million (€134.0 million in 2015-16); the €26.7 million increase reflected notably the full-year impact of interest related to the financial lease of EUTELSAT 36C (which entered into service in February 2016) and the payment of the coupon on the bond issued in June 2016.

As a result, Discretionary Free-Cash-Flow[11] stood at €407.8 million at 30 June 2017, up by €160.5 million versus a year earlier or 65%.

FINANCIAL STRUCTURE

At 30 June 2017 net debt stood at €3,640.7 million versus €4,006.8 million a year earlier. Discretionary free cash-flow more than covered the dividend payments (€266.2 million) while equity asset disposals (predominantly Wins/DHI) generated a cash inflow of €54.7 million; export credit financings and financial leases – which are progressively repaid – decreased by €140.0[12] million.

As a result, the net debt to EBITDA ratio stood at 3.2 times, a 0.2 points improvement on 30 June 2016.

Throughout the year, Eutelsat continued to optimise its debt:

  • The option to extend by one year the maturity of the €600 million term loan and of the €200 million revolving credit facility of Eutelsat Communications, was exercised. These facilities will now mature in March 2022;
  • Ahead of the refinancing of the €930 million bond maturing in January 2020, the 7-year-mid-swap rate for an outstanding amount of €500 million has been pre-hedged at 1.12%;
  • The €450 million Eutelsat S.A. revolving credit facility maturing in September 2018 was refinanced at attractive terms. The new revolving credit facility will mature in April 2022 with two options for a one-year extension subject to lender consent for each extension.

At 30 June 2017 the weighted average maturity of the Group’s debt stood at 3.0 years, compared to 3.4 years at 30 June 2016. The average cost of debt was 3.1% (after hedging), down from 3.5% in FY 2015-16.

Liquidity remains strong, with undrawn credit lines of €650 million and cash of €408.0 million.

DIVIDEND

On 27 July 2017 the Board of Directors agreed to submit for approval at the 8 November 2017 Annual Meeting of Shareholders a dividend of €1.21 per share compared to €1.10 last year, up by 10%, in line with the Group’s commitment to serving a stable to progressive dividend.

The dividend will be paid on 23 November 2017, subject to the vote of the Annual Meeting of Shareholders.

OUTLOOK

All elements of the financial outlook are confirmed or raised:

  • Revenues for FY 2017-18 (at constant currency and perimeter[13]) are expected to be broadly flat with a return to slight growth from FY 2018-19.
  • The EBITDA margin (at constant currency) is expected above 76% for FY 2017-18. From FY 2018-19 onwards it is expected at above 77% (versus ‘heading towards 77% in FY 2018-19’ previously).
  • Cash Capex will be maintained at an average of €420 million[14] per annum for the period July 2017 to June 2020 (versus July 2016 to June 2019 previously).
  • After a rise of 65% in FY 2016-17, Discretionary Free Cash Flow[15]is expected to deliver mid-single digit CAGR in the period July 2017[16] to June 2020 (at constant currency), with growth back-end loaded in the outer two years.
  • The Group is committed to maintaining a sound financial structure to support its investment grade credit rating and now aims at a net debt / EBITDA ratio below 3.0x (vs. 3.3x times previously).

It also retains its commitment to serving a stable to progressive dividend.

FLEET DEVELOPMENTS

Nominal launch programme

The upcoming launch schedule is indicated below. Since the last quarterly update in May 2017, EUTELSAT 172B has been launched.

Satellite1 Orbital position Estimated launch
(calendar year)
Main applications Main geographic coverage Physical transponders 36 MHz-equivalent transponders / Spotbeams Of which expansion
EUTELSAT 7C 7° East H2 2018 Video Turkey, Middle-East, Africa 44 Ku 49 Ku 19 Ku
EUTELSAT 5 WEST B 5° West H2 2018 Video Europe, North Africa 35 Ku 35 Ku None
EUTELSAT QUANTUM To be confirmed 2019 Government Services Flexible 8 beams
“QUANTUM”
Not applicable Not applicable
African Broadband satellite To be confirmed 2019 Broadband Africa 65 spotbeams 75 Gbps 75 Gbps

1 Chemical propulsion satellites (EUTELSAT QUANTUM, EUTELSAT 5 West B) generally enter into service 1 to 2 months after launch. Electric propulsion satellites (EUTELSAT 7C and the African Broadband satellite) between 4 and 6 months. 2 Total capacity of the high throughput payload: 1.8 Gbps.

Procurement of new capacity

  • In October 2016 EUTELSAT 5 West B was procured to replace EUTELSAT 5 West A at the 5° West orbital position;
  • In October 2016 Eutelsat concluded an agreement with Yahsat to use Ka-band capacity on the fleet of Yahsat;
  • Elsewhere, Eutelsat and ViaSat expect to add the ViaSat-3 class satellite currently under construction for the Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region to the joint venture later this calendar year after concluding final contractual terms.

Changes in the fleet

  • In August 2016 EUTELSAT 70D reached the end of its operational life and was deorbited;
  • In January 2017 EUTELSAT 117 West B entered commercial service;
  • In April 2017 EUTELSAT 48A reached the end of its operational life and was de-orbited.

CORPORATE GOVERNANCE

In April 2017 Yohann Leroy was appointed Deputy CEO in addition to his function as Chief Technical Officer, alongside Michel Azibert, Deputy CEO and Chief Commercial and Development Officer.

In June 2017 Miriem Bensalah Chaqroun left the Board of Directors of Eutelsat Communications.

The Board of 27 July 2017 proposed, amongst others, the following resolutions to be submitted to the vote of shareholders present at the Annual General Meeting of 8 November 2017:

  • Approval of the accounts;
  • Dividend relating to Financial Year 2016-2017;
  • Appointment of Dominique D’Hinnin (currently permanent representative of FSP) as a Board Member. Following the AGM and subject to the approval of this appointment, Dominique D’Hinnin will replace Michel de Rosen who will step down from his functions as Chairman and Board Member of Eutelsat Communications;
  • Appointment of Esther Gaide, Paul-François Fournier and Didier Leroy as Board Members;
  • Compensation of corporate officers and compensation policy;
  • Several financial resolutions.

RECENT EVENTS

In July 2017, Eutelsat repurchased the minority holding of Inframed in BroadBand4Africa.

****

Note: This press release contains audited consolidated financial statements prepared under IFRS, reviewed by the Audit Committee on 25 July 2017 and adopted by the Board of Directors of Eutelsat Communications on 27 July 2017. These accounts will be subject to the approval of shareholders of Eutelsat Communications at the Annual General Shareholders Meeting of 8 November 2017.

Documentation

Consolidated accounts are available at www.eutelsat.com/investors/index.html

Results presentation

Eutelsat Communications will hold a results presentation on Friday, 28 July 2017 by conference call and webcast at 9:00 CET.

To join the call, please dial the following numbers:

  • + 33 (0)1 76 77 22 74 (from France)
  • + 44 (0)330 336 9105 (from Europe)
  • +1 719 325 2213 (from USA)

Access code:9924963#

A live webcast will be available on:

http://www.eutelsat.com/en/investors.html

A replay will be available from 28 July, 14:00 CET to 4 August, midnight by dialling the following numbers: 

  • + 33 (0) 1 70 48 00 94(from France)
  • + 44 (0) 207 984 7568 (from Europe)
  • +1 719 457 0820 (from USA)

Access code: 9924963#

Financial calendar

Note: The financial calendar is provided for information purposes only. It is subject to change and will be regularly updated.

  • 26 October 2017: First Quarter 2017-18 revenues
  • 8 November 2017: Annual General Shareholders’ Meeting
  • 16 February 2018: First Half 2017-18 results



About Eutelsat Communications: Established in 1977, Eutelsat Communications (Euronext Paris: ETL, ISIN code: FR0010221234) is one of the world’s leading and most experienced operators of communications satellites. The company provides capacity on 39 satellites to clients that include broadcasters and broadcasting associations, pay-TV operators, video, data and Internet service providers, enterprises and government agencies. Eutelsat’s satellites provide ubiquitous coverage of Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia-Pacific and the Americas, enabling video, data, broadband and government communications to be established irrespective of a user’s location. Headquartered in Paris, with offices and teleports around the globe, Eutelsat represents a workforce of 1,000 men and women from 32 countries who are experts in their fields and work with clients to deliver the highest quality of service. For more about Eutelsat please visit www.eutelsat.com

Disclaimer

The forward-looking statements included herein are for illustrative purposes only and are based on management’s current views and assumptions. Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks. For illustrative purposes only, such risks include but are not limited to: postponement of any ground or in-orbit investments and launches including but not limited to delays of future launches of satellites; impact of financial crisis on customers and suppliers; trends in Fixed Satellite Services markets; development of Digital Terrestrial Television and High Definition television; development of satellite broadband services; Eutelsat Communications’ ability to develop and market Value-Added Services and meet market demand; the effects of competing technologies developed and expected intense competition generally in its main markets; profitability of its expansion strategy; partial or total loss of a satellite at launch or in-orbit; supply conditions of satellites and launch systems; satellite or third-party launch failures affecting launch schedules of future satellites; litigation; ability to establish and maintain strategic relationships in its major businesses; and the effect of future acquisitions and investments.

Eutelsat Communications expressly disclaims any obligation or undertaking to update or revise any projections, forecasts or estimates contained in this presentation to reflect any change in events, conditions, assumptions or circumstances on which any such statements are based, unless so required by applicable law.

APPENDICES

Appendix 1: Additional financial data

Revenues by business application in the Fourth Quarter (€ millions)


Extract from the consolidated income statement (€ millions)

Twelve months ended June 30 2016 2017 Change
Revenues 1,529.0 1,477.9 -3.3%
Operating expenses[17] (364.4) (344.3) -5.5%
EBITDA 1,164.6 1,133.6 -2.7%
Depreciation and amortisation[18] (500.6) (532.9) +6.5%
Other operating income (charges) (2.0) 14.1 n.a
Operating income 662.0 614.8 -7.1%
Financial result (123.0) (130.9) +6.4%
Income tax expense (199.8) (120.1) -39.9%
Income from associates 23.5 (0.4) n.a
Portion of net income attributable to non-controlling interests (14.3) (11.6) -18.9%
Group share of net income 348.5 351.8 +0.9%

Change in net debt (€ millions)

Twelve months ended June 30 2016 2017
Net cash flows from operating activities 895.7 982.9
Cash Capex[19] (514.4) (414.4)
Interest and Other fees paid net of interests received (134.0) (160.7)
Discretionary Free Cash Flow 247.3 407.8
Acquisition / disposal of equity investments and subsidiaries 4.6 54.7
Distributions to shareholders (including non-controlling interests) (109.6) (266.2)
Change in long-life leases and ECA debt[20] (289.8) 140.0
Change in foreign exchange portion of the cross-currency swap (13.4) 26.0
Other (4.8) 3.8
Decrease (increase) in net debt (165.7) 366.1

Appendix 2: Quarterly revenues by application

Pro-forma revenues

Pro-forma revenues for FY 2015-16 were published with the H1 revenues release on 9 February 2017. They reflect:

  • The disposal of some businesses: Alterna’TV (Video) deconsolidated from April 2016, Wins/DHI (Mobile Connectivity) deconsolidated from end-August 2016 and DSAT Cinema (Video) from end-October 2016;
  • A new classification of revenues on the basis of five applications: Video, Fixed Data and Government Services (Core Businesses), and Fixed Broadband and Mobile Connectivity (Connectivity).

The table below shows quarterly revenues for FY 2015-16 (pro-forma) and FY 2016-17 under the new classifications:

Reported Revenues

For information purposes, the table below shows reported revenues for FY 2015-16 and first quarter of FY 2016-17 under the former classifications.


Appendix 3: Alternative performance indicators

In addition to the data published in its accounts, the Group communicates on three alternative performance indicators which it deems relevant for measuring its financial performance: EBITDA, cash capex and Discretionary free cash flow (DFCF). These indicators are the object of reconciliation with the consolidated accounts.

EBITDA, EBITDA margin and Net debt / EBITDA ratio

EBITDA reflects the profitability of the Group before Interest, Tax, Depreciation and Amortization. It is a key indicator in the Fixed Satellite Services Sector. The table below shows the calculation of EBITDA based on the consolidated P&L accounts for FY 2015-16 and 2016-17:

Twelve months ended June 30 (€ millions)

2016 2017
Operating result 662.0 614.8
+Depreciation and Amortization 500.6 532.9
– Other operating income and expenses 2.0 (14.1)
EBITDA 1,164.6 1,133.6

The EBITDA margin is the ratio of EBITDA to revenues. It is computed as follows:

Twelve months ended June 30 (€ millions) 2016 2017
EBITDA 1,164.6 1,133.6
Revenues 1,529.0 1,477.9
EBITDA margin (as a % of revenues) 76.2% 76.7%

The Net debt / EBITDA ratio is the ratio of net debt to EBITDA. It is computed as follows:

Twelve months ended June 30 (€ millions) 2016 2017
EBITDA 1,164.6 1,133.6
Closing net debt[21] 4,006.8 3,640.7
Net debt / EBITDA 3.4 3.2

Cash Capex

The Group on occasion operates capacity within the framework of financial leases, or finances all or part of certain satellite programs under export credit agreements, leading to outflows which are not reflected in the item “acquisition of satellites and other tangible or intangible assets”. Cash Capex including these two elements is published in order to reflect the totality of Capital Expenditures undertaken in any financial year.

Cash Capex therefore covers the acquisition of satellites and other tangible or intangible assets as well as payments in respect of export credit facilities and long term financial leases on third party capacity.

Cash Capex for 2016-17 is restated from the value of the payment owed in FY 2015-16 to RSCC in respect of lease of EUTELSAT 36C but paid effectively in 2016-17[22] (payment of €95.2m) which was already accounted for in FY 2015-16 cash capex. Cash Capex for 2016-17 is also net of the €132.5m received from ViaSat.

The table below shows the calculation of Cash Capex for FY 2015-16 and 2016-17:

Twelve months ended June 30 (€ millions) 2016 2017
Acquisitions of satellites, other property and equipment and intangible assets (390.2) (393.0)
Repayments of ECA loans and long-term capital leases[23] (29.0) (153.9)[24]
Payment owed to RSCC in respect of lease of EUTELSAT 36C blocked in fiscal year 2015-16 due to Yukos legal proceeding (95.2)
Payment received from ViaSat[25] 132.5
Capex per financial outlook definition (514.4) (414.4)

Discretionary free cash flow (DFCF)

The Group communicates on Discretionary free cash flow which reflects its ability to generate cash after the payment of interest and taxes. DFCF generally and principally serves the dividend payment and debt reduction.

Discretionary free cash flow is defined as Net cash flow from operating activities less Cash Capex as well as interest and other financial costs, net of interest income.

The table below shows the calculation of Discretionary free cash flow for FY 2015-16 and 2016-17 and its reconciliation with the cash flow statement:

Twelve months ended June 30 (€ millions) 2016 2017
Net cash flows from operating activities 895.7 982.9
Acquisitions of satellites, other property and equipment and intangible assets (390.2) (393.0)
Repayment of Export credit facilities[26] (18.8) (62.9)
Repayment in respect of long-term leases[27] (10.2) (186.2)
Interest and other fees paid net of interest received (134.0) (160.7)
Payment received from ViaSat[28] 132.5
Payment to RSCC in respect of lease of EUTELSAT 36C included in FY 2015-16 Discretionary Free-Cash Flow (95.2) 95.2
Discretionary Free-Cash Flow 247.3 407.8

[1] At constant currency and perimeter

[2] 76.6% at constant currency

[3] Alternative performance indicators. Please refer to the appendix 3 for more detail.

[4] i) All revenue growth rates are at constant currency and perimeter; ii) the share of each application as a percentage of total revenues is calculated excluding “other revenues””. IFRS 15 norm will be applied to revenues from FY 2018-19 onwards.

[5] Proforma revenuesreflecting disposals of Alterna’TV, Wins/DHI and DSAT Cinema. For more details, please refer to appendix 2.

[6] At constant currency and perimeter.

[7] Other revenues include mainly compensation paid on the settlement of business-related litigation, the impact of EUR/USD currency hedging, the provision of various services or consulting/engineering fees as well as termination fees.

[8]Number of transponders on satellites in stable orbit, back-up capacity excluded.

[9]Number of 36 MHz-equivalent transponders leased on satellites in stable orbit.

[10]See Appendix 3 for the definition of this indicator

[11]See Appendix 3 for the definition of this indicator

[12] Excluding amount due to RSCC described in Appendix 3 (€95.2 million)

[13] For fiscal year 2016-17, revenues on the basis of perimeter as of 30 June 2017 stood at €1,472 million (excluding revenues from Wins/DHI and DSAT Cinema which were sold during fiscal year 2016-17)

[14]Including capital expenditure and payments under existing export credit facilities and long-term lease agreements on third party capacity.

[15]Net cash-flow from operating activities – Cash Capex – Interest and Other fees paid net of interest received

[16] Discretionary Free-Cash-Flow of €407.8 million in FY 2016-17.

[17] Operating expenses is defined as the sum of operating costs and of selling, general & administrative expenses.

[18]Comprises amortisation expense of €57.0 million corresponding to the intangible asset “Customer Contracts and Relationships”.

[19]See detailed calculation below

[20]Excluding amount to RSCC described in the Appendix 3 (€95.2 million).

[21] Net debt includes all bank debt, bonds and all liabilities from long-term lease agreements and Export Credit Agencies as well as Forex portion of the cross-currency swap, less cash and cash equivalents (net of bank overdraft).

[22]In FY 2015-16 the payment was frozen in the context of the legal action brought against the Russian State by former Yukos shareholders.

[23]Included in lines “Repayment of borrowings” and of “Repayment of finance lease liabilities” of cash-flow statement

[24]Excluding payment to RSCC mentioned above (€95.2 million)

[25]Included in the line “Transactions relating to non-controlling interests” of cash-flow statement

[26]Included in the line “Repayment of borrowings” of cash-flow statement

[27]Included in the line “ Repayment in respect of finance lease liabilities” of cash-flow statement

[28]Included in the line “ Transactions relating to non-controlling interests ” of cash-flow statement

DESIGN PUBLIC HEARING TO BE HELD ON PROPOSED PLANS FOR THIRD SEGMENT OF I-64 WIDENING PROJECT – Public invited to learn more about plans to provide congestion relief on I-64 in York County

DESIGN PUBLIC HEARING TO BE HELD ON PROPOSED PLANS FOR THIRD SEGMENT OF I-64 WIDENING PROJECT
Public invited to learn more about plans to provide congestion relief on I-64 in York County

SUFFOLK — The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) will hold a design public hearing on Thursday, May 18, to present the proposed plans for the third segment of widening improvements on Interstate 64 in York County.

Design Public Hearing
Thursday, May 18, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Bruton High School
185 E. Rochambeau Drive
Williamsburg, VA  23188

The purpose of the meeting is to give citizens an opportunity to review the project exhibits on display, meet with VDOT representatives and provide input. This will be an open-house format meeting with no formal presentation. Media are invited to attend.

Citizens may provide oral and written comments at the hearing or submit them by May 28, 2017, to Janet Hedrick, P.E., Virginia Department of Transportation, 1992 South Military Highway, Chesapeake, Virginia 23320 or via email to Janet.Hedrick@VDOT.Virginia.gov. Please reference “I-64 Segment III Capacity Improvements Comment” in the subject line.

For more information on this project, please visit: http://www.i64widening.org/learn_more/segment_3.asp

 (END)

Information in VDOT news releases was accurate at the time the release was published. For the most current information about projects or programs, please visit the project or program Web pages. You may find those by searching by keyword in the search Virginia DOT box above.

Speech by Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel on the occasion of the G20 Dialogue Forum for the Science and Research Community (S20) in Halle (Saale) on 22 March 2017

begin 2017.03.22

Professor Hacker – I am also including all of your colleagues from the G20 nations or their representatives,
Minister-President, my dear Reiner Haseloff,
Ladies and gentlemen,

First of all, I would like to thank you for the work that you have done. Science depends on curiosity, a thirst for knowledge, and the joy of discovery. In science, one person builds on the insights of another. It is precisely this that makes it different from politics. In politics, one can feel comfortable saying the same thing two or three times because the audience is always different. In science, however, there is the expectation that you won’t repeat what a predecessor has already said. In politics, one is sometimes pleased when two people in a party say the same thing. Reiner Haseloff knows what I am talking about.

In science, interaction and cooperation are very important. Openness and interconnectedness are virtually taken for granted as part of life. This is also why science presents itself as a driver of globalisation on the one hand, and benefits from globalisation on the other. The fact that globalisation exists also makes scientific activity simpler and more normal.

Three hundred and sixty five years ago, four doctors laid the foundation for the Leopoldina in order to promote the exchange of ideas in the medical and natural sciences. Back in the era of stagecoaches, it was still somewhat more complex to communicate with each other than it is today in the digital age. But the urge for knowledge and understanding, the urge to learn from and with one another, already existed back then. The same rule that applied in those days still does today: Only those who demonstrate an openness to the world, and engage in cooperation beyond professional and physical boundaries, can fully benefit from it.

This is basically true for science, as it is for the economy. In both areas, we increasingly face the same challenges through the growing interconnectedness worldwide. Developments on one side of the globe have more and more impact on the other side of the globe. This applies in a positive sense, just as it does in a negative sense. One of the most concrete examples was surely the international financial and economic crisis at the end of the last decade.

Globalisation is taking place. Whoever tries to evade it, whoever focuses on isolation and protectionism, may perhaps expect to gain some advantages in the short term. However, it is clear to me that this will cause one’s own innovative capabilities and competitiveness to weaken in the medium and long term. After all, we find a great many examples of this in history.

In a closely networked world, we need – more than ever – answers that are consistent and don’t undermine each other in their effects. Therefore, global questions also require global answers. The G20 at the heads of state and government level – I wish to repeat this – was the result of the financial and economic crisis in the years 2007 and 2008. It was then that the heads of state and government met for the first time at G20 level. Previously, this was a forum for finance ministers. We saw back then that our joint action – concerning bank regulation as well as efforts to stimulate the world economy – actually made it more possible to deal with this global crisis.

At the beginning of July, the heads of state and government of the G20 member nations will meet for a summit in Hamburg. On this occasion, too, we will have guests in attendance. They are the representatives of regional organisations as well as representatives of international organisations, such as the United Nations, the IMF, the OECD, the World Bank, the World Trade Organization and the International Labour Organisation. For this reason, too, G20 summits are always global meetings, as it were. We have now included the scientific community, as well as other areas of civil society, in the summit process. Civil-society groups will be present from the very start this time – such as representatives of the business community as well as the trade unions. Also because of the good experiences from the G7 or G8 process, we had decided to expand the group of participants this year at the G20 level as well.

Therefore, this is a world premiere today, so to speak: the first meeting of science academies in the G20 format. I thank you for making the journey, which involved very long distances and travel times in some cases. I would also like to express my gratitude to Professor Hacker and his team, as well as all other participants, for deciding to convene here, for preparing the meeting, for thinking about the topics, for making a note of the conclusions, and all of this – I’ll come back to it later – in sensible language that we, as politicians, can understand.

Apart from business and trade-union representatives, the other groups we will meet with include non governmental organisations, think tanks, women and young people. As a result, this G20 process also has an impact on society.

In reference to science, it is clear that responsible policy depends on scientific recommendation. This is self evident for us in national politics. For this reason, we time and again seek the advice of scientists. This is enriching for policymakers, I would say.

Naturally, I am also pleased that Minister-President Reiner Haseloff is here and has said that his daily work routine is also enriched by this. I also thank the state of Saxony-Anhalt for being such a good host state for the German National Academy of Sciences. If the budget is already secured for the next two years, then that is much more than I can predict for our budgetary commitments. So, congratulations.

I mentioned earlier that you have developed a policy brief. It is important that the language of science is translated in such a way that it can also be comprehended by non scientists. In this sense, as presidents and representatives of your national academies, you are the builders of bridges into society. Because when it comes to the many problems that we have to solve, we can only benefit from scientific knowledge. This applies to the topic of health just as much as it does to other subjects, such as digitalisation, climate and environmental protection, poverty reduction, the empowerment of women, and the G20 partnership with Africa. All of this is crucial for the shaping of sustainable development.

We have adopted the 2030 United Nations Sustainable Development Agenda. A topic that plays a central role in the 2030 Agenda is health. The United Nations says in this sustainability charter that every person in the world is entitled to reasonable health care. Of course, serious illnesses are a bitter stroke of fate for those affected and their relatives, first of all. Many diseases also lead to life threatening situations or even to death. But as Professor Hacker already said: There aren’t just individual repercussions; illnesses can also devastate entire regions economically. They can cause social tensions and they can lead to violent conflicts. Therefore, it’s not for nothing that the 2030 Agenda gives a great deal of recognition to the topic of health.

As I have said, we have already had the scientific academies present in the G7 process and focused on health issues. We know – most notably from the Ebola crisis – that health issues can become a global topic very quickly and unexpectedly. People travel today, in times of globalisation, from one place to another – and the pathogens travel with them. The president of the World Bank, himself a physician, repeatedly points out the following: If we were to get another pandemic like the Spanish flu, as we had at the start of the 20th century, then the world – with the intense interconnectedness that we have today – would very quickly find itself in a very, very difficult state.

For this reason, a topic like health belongs on the G20 agenda. Perhaps the related organisational efforts sometimes can be quite burdensome. But I hope that you have also enjoyed getting to know each other. Of course, I also express my gratitude for the communiqué, in which you deal with the issues that particularly concern us.

Professor Hacker, I agree with you: It is essential to have strong health systems on the ground in order to prevent the outbreak of epidemics. Many epidemics could be confined locally if the health systems were sustainable and stable. This is a problem that affects many poorer countries, in particular. If you take one look at the African continent, you will know what a huge amount of work is ahead of us.

Therefore, German development cooperation has been drawing on exactly this point for years now. In Africa alone, we will make available about 600 million euros by 2020 in order to improve health systems. However, I would also add that good government leadership should always go with it – particularly in the cooperation with Africa – so that the funds don’t get stuck somewhere “unsustainably,” as it were, but rather that sustainable structures emerge out of this financial support.

With the World Health Organization, we have also started the “Healthy Systems – Healthy Lives” initiative, which serves to develop a common understanding of how we can strengthen health systems in a sustainable way. The goal is an action framework with specific agreements, with which we support countries in their efforts to provide better medical care. I promote this project among the G20 partners as well.

Within the G7, we spoke on several occasions – including when Germany held the presidency – about strong health systems. In 2015, when we hosted the summit, the G7 countries committed themselves to providing aid for at least 60 nations, in order to truly implement the international health regulations of the WHO. We have clear guidelines from the World Health Organization, but we haven’t introduced them everywhere. At the summit that followed last year in Japan, we broadened this goal. On the list, there are now 76 countries that we want to support in the development of an efficient health system. The G7 nations are doing this. Of course, we also need the governments concerned to have their own initiatives. Naturally, this process always involves evaluating the implementation of measures. I may say that we have completed such an evaluation in 30 countries. This is also planned for 30 more countries.

Strengthening national health systems is one aspect. The other one is to be prepared for emergencies at an international level as well, if diseases were to spread internationally in spite of preventive measures. In this case, the main issue is speed. A rapid response is critical. Medical staff, materials and mobile laboratories must be on the spot quickly in a crisis. Sufficient money must also be available.

I would like to add one more point because it is very sensitive. The World Health Organization is structured in such a way that it has regional offices. These regional offices have a relatively autonomous status. That means there is no chain of command from the head of the World Health Organization and no clear reporting obligation when something happens in a region. Instead, it is largely at the discretion of the regional offices to report on it.

Naturally, there is then something similar to shame: If I identify a looming pandemic in my region, should I report it and thereby trigger an alarm worldwide, so to speak, with all the consequences that this could involve – a collapse of tourism, economic repercussions? Should I have the courage to make myself heard in order to prevent major damage? There has been much discussion about this at the World Health Organization. The voluntary commitments – shall we say – were reinforced. I am relatively optimistic that it will work better in future. But this is, of course, a very important point. Because in order to trigger an alarm and to start a chain of action, I naturally need someone to tell me that something is going on somewhere – and, if possible, at a point in time when the spread of the disease isn’t that far advanced yet.

We must also ensure effective coordination. Therefore, the World Health Organization is of great importance in two respects. It must be the organisation from which we get the information and the assessment. It can employ the help of specialists for this purpose. There must also be the capability of triggering a chain of action for the international community.

The World Bank also plays an important role in this context. In particular, it has established the basis for poorer countries to be able to insure themselves against pandemic risks. This means it’s no longer necessary to just sit there alone with a huge burden in one’s hour of need because such insurance makes it possible to put to use the chain of action that we are still building up. For example, Japan and Germany are participating in this emergency programme. Naturally, there are huge debates, as there always are in science: Can one be insured against pandemics? Who wants to calculate and assess the risk? How long could it take for me to ever get into such a situation? It can take a very long time for the damaging event to occur. But it can then become very expensive once the damage has been done. These are all wonderful topics and they are all being dealt with.

A broad field of research opens up when it involves developing effective means to prevent, diagnose and treat diseases. In relation to potential pandemics in regions that may not have received the full focus of our attention so far, there should also be diagnostic and treatment options. You know how long it took with the Ebola vaccination. If it had involved measles, then perhaps we would have had it a lot sooner. Therefore, it is also important to be fair and to create similar treatment options for the different risks in the world.

In Germany – which I want to mention at this point – we have made great efforts to attend to health research, particularly in the past few years. I recently opened a health-research centre for neurodegenerative illnesses in Bonn. We have created a framework programme for health research in order to be well equipped to deal with the most diverse illnesses and to be a good partner in international collaborative arrangements.

However, we see that the incentive to go into certain fields of research also has to be kindled. In this regard, a global view is of great importance to all of us in order to concentrate not just on the diseases that we deal with in industrialised countries, but also to take into consideration other illnesses. At this point, I would like to mention the so called neglected, often tropical, diseases that were already a topic of interest during our G7 presidency. The research commitment for this doesn’t seem to be paying off at all in some cases. But if you consider that up to 1 billion people could be affected by such illnesses, you realise that it is a huge issue.

Therefore, I also expressly welcome an initiative that was launched at the beginning of this year – it was given the go ahead in Davos – and is called the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, abbreviated as CEPI. This will promote the research and development of new vaccines. Various countries, foundations and companies are participating in the initiative. Germany is also joining this public private partnership with a contribution of 10 million euros.

Professor Hacker has already pointed out that the development of new antibiotics and antibiotic resistance are also huge issues. We risk falling behind again in some areas because antibiotics that we had once researched no longer have the desired effect due to antimicrobial resistance. Therefore, the topic is one of the pillars of our health commitment in the G20.

In the G7, we reached agreement that we should rely on the so called One Health approach. That means there is just one health that applies to humans and animals in equal measure. That is to say, we carefully examine the food products that we humans ingest, looking at how the food came about and what types of antibiotics were used on the animals that we consume.

The G20 agriculture ministers have already held a meeting and committed themselves to the goal of allowing the use of antibiotics in veterinary medicine exclusively for therapeutic purposes and no longer for the purpose of promoting animal growth. But one must say that the definition of therapeutic purpose is an intriguing matter because the question of how much room hens and chicks have in their coops, for example, plays a part in deciding whether antibiotics must be used in order to prevent diseases, or whether one can forgo antibiotics because there is enough space for the poultry. We should give very good consideration to how high a price we are paying when there is resistance to an antibiotic and we aren’t finding new antibiotics so easily. Achieving success in antibiotic research in the pharmaceutical industry – I am no specialist, of course, but I’ve taken a look at it; indeed, all of you here are experts – is like getting five numbers right, or probably six, in Lotto. You can’t plan this easily. Success doesn’t grow on trees.

This year, not only you from the science academies have met, but we also have a conference of health ministers at the G20 level for the first time in order to once again make a good professional evaluation of what you tell us here. We have also asked the health ministers to carry out the simulation of a pandemic outbreak – a kind of dry run – for the first time and to describe action plans. At a national level, we conduct regular training exercises for anything and everything back in our home country in order to practice how we should act in the event of a catastrophe. But on a global level, we aren’t familiar with such exercises, which led to a situation in which the most efficient helpers in the fight against Ebola were military units because they were able to act with clear chains of command and clear capabilities, while the civilian structures were not prepared for it: Who will do the transporting? Who will procure the medicines? What does the chain of command look like? Who will boost hospital capacity? There were quite different approaches. In this respect, we want to be better prepared for crisis situations.

The state and government heads are supposed to be presented with a short version – so to speak – of the simulation exercise. I’m still not quite sure how theoretical or how clear the thing will be. I always look at my summit Sherpa quite eagerly when something is being presented to me. But it should be the case that we, as state and government heads, are also able to understand what is being presented to us. Because such presentations then lead to action recommendations, which we can prepare in our governments.

I really consider this topic to be extraordinarily important. For this reason, I would like to once again sincerely thank you for facing this joint undertaking. I hope that it was rewarding for you as well. It certainly is for us. Many thanks, Professor Hacker, and to your colleagues as well.

I have forgotten one other thing. We saw how poorly things worked when handling the Ebola crisis. We then considered what lessons were to be learned from Ebola. We thought that was something only the United Nations could carry forward – the World Health Organization indeed belongs to the United Nations system. Then three countries initially – Germany, Ghana and Norway – formulated an appeal to the UN Secretary-General to address the issue. The UN Secretary-General then commissioned three other countries to prepare recommendations for action. That was somewhat strange. I said: I haven’t heard anything more about it because three other countries are now dealing with it. The international community is large, but we were allowed to again bring in our experts in the second panel. The action recommendations were then delivered to the UN Secretary-General. After that, he named a special officer to oversee it further in cooperation with the WHO. It finally found a way, so to speak, into the mechanism of the United Nations. As a result, the issue was formalised and therefore has relevance at the United Nations as well. Now they should just make sure not to lose sight of it.

Ensuring prosperity for all

How can an economically prosperous, ecologically sustainable and socially integrative future be created for the world population? Academics, politicians and business representatives met at the Think20 Dialogue Forum to draw up recommendations for the G20 Summit in July which were then presented to Peter Altmaier.

Head of the Federal Chancellery Peter Altmaier at the Think20 Dialogue ForumPeter Altmaier, Head of the Federal Chancellery, accepted the Think20 recommendations on the Chancellor’s behalf Photo: PwC

The global economy is growing ever more connected and is shaped by rapid technical progress. Nevertheless, economic progress no longer seems to go hand in hand with social progress. One of the goals of the G20 should, ultimately, be to shape the global economy in such a way that people’s most pressing needs can be met. But that also means that the G20 should make efforts to promote not just economic growth but also robust, integrative and sustainable prosperity.

Academics, politicians and business representatives spent two days at the Think20 Dialogue Forum in Berlin discussing solutions to these global challenges. They then presented their recommendations to Peter Altmaier, Head of the Federal Chancellery.

Tackling global problems

Peter Altmaier said that innovation was driven by global problems which needed to be solved and by technical developments, not by politics. That was why it was necessary, he said, to create governmental structures so that problems could be discussed globally in a networked world. “We now understand that technical progress will only be possible and the risks associated with climate change, migration, poverty and terrorism can only be tackled in our closely networked world if we act together,” the Head of the Federal Chancellery said.

Migration and flight are huge challenges, Altmaier said. Events in the autumn of 2015 had showed that there was no fully functional international framework in place for dealing with such problems. Many countries in Europe, as well as in Africa, were helping to prevent a humanitarian disaster. The G20, Altmaier said, should focus on more than just economic and financial issues. The G20 countries needed to act together to address social and ecological risks. The problems faced in Africa, in particular, needed to be tackled collaboratively, said Altmaier.

Finding solutions to new challenges

It was of course important to increase military spending; foreign and security policy was on the agenda, but in a different way than in the past. It was not so much rockets and weapons which were important today, Altmaier said, but above all education, vocational training and integrating women into the world of work and the political debate. That could best be achieved in the context of democratic structures and global initiatives.

The experts recommended that the G20 countries develop a joint vision. That vision would need to enable the global population to shape an economically prosperous, ecologically sustainable and socially integrative future which was capable of withstanding any unforeseen shocks. The G20 countries as well as all the other nations of the world needed to each go their own way and at the same time find a common vision for tackling problems which affected them all, they explained.

Three simple ideas

Such a common vision should be based on three simple ideas: Firstly, the future of humanity is dependent on the stabilisation and cultivation of global public goods, including the global economy and the biosphere. These global public goods are the precondition for peace, security and human well-being going forward.

Secondly, cultivating these global public goods requires an overall culture of global cooperation as well as a system of global collective action. Thirdly, top-down global good governance will not work unless globalisation is focused on people.

As regards climate action, the Agenda 2030, which governments adopted in September 2015, already reflects the cornerstones of such an urgently required global vision. Consequently, the main emphasis of the G20 agenda, which is continually evolving, should be ensuring that people’s well-being across the globe is based on prosperity, their ability to actively participate and social integration.

Think20 (T20), a network of international think tanks from the G20 countries, supports the solving of these challenges by delivering recommendations and new perspectives to the G20 heads of state and government which can serve as guides when it comes to shaping policy.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Speech by Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel at the “G20 Africa Partnership – investing in a common future” conference on 12 June 2017 in Berlin

begin 2017.06.12

Messrs Presidents,
Prime Minister Gentiloni, my friend Paolo,
Distinguished representatives of international organisations, G20 nations and partner countries,
My honoured fellow Cabinet members Wolfgang Schäuble and Gerd Müller,
Ladies and gentlemen,

Some of you have travelled a very long way to be here today. So let me wish you all a very warm welcome to this partnership conference entitled “investing in a common future”. We hope that this conference will help ensure that these are not just nice words on paper. We really want to work during this conference to put cooperation into practice.

Our economic relations form an ever closer-knit web around the globe. Thanks to the Internet, we now know more about each other than ever before. Distance has lost its import when it comes to making new contacts and maintaining them. Developments like these of course bring tremendous opportunities. However, they also mean that we have to work towards sustainable and inclusive economic development for the entire world. A single country acting alone cannot make much headway on such a project. Yet globalisation is not a destiny to which we must yield without demur. On the contrary, it is something we must forge in partnership with others.

The Agenda 2030 is a great achievement, because all the countries on our planet have agreed on a common pathway for development. In contrast to the Millennium Development Goals, which defined targets for the developing countries, this time all countries – developed and developing nations alike – are part of this Agenda 2030.

It is on this basis that we have adopted the motto, “shaping an interconnected world”, for our G20 Presidency. The G20 Summit will take place in Hamburg. We have chosen a maritime image – a reef knot – as the symbol of our Presidency. The harder you pull on it, the better it holds. It symbolises the ties between our countries.

We know that pan-global development can only succeed if all continents share in such development. This also means, first and foremost, that the African continent has to make progress on its development pathway over the next few years. Even today, the economies of some African countries are remarkably dynamic. Some are even growing faster than the industrialised and newly industrialised economies of the G20. Success stories like those should inspire others. They reveal the potential that lies in African countries – for example in the field of renewable energy and digital development. There are many good examples of decentralised energy supply and much more besides. But much still remains to be done.

We in the industrialised countries have to consider whether we have always taken the right path in providing our traditional development aid. I don’t think we have. We have to focus more strongly on each specific country’s own economic development. That’s what gave rise to the idea – proposed first and foremost by our Finance Minister and our Development Minister – of saying we need an initiative through which we don’t speak about Africa, but speak with Africa. The result was the G20 Compact with Africa Initiative. The countries of Africa have also set their own targets in their Agenda 2063 and have clearly stated what they believe development should bring. That’s why it’s called the Compact with Africa, not the Compact for Africa. The idea is for each country to say what development steps it considers necessary and how it thinks we can help and how, together, we can make available suitable instruments, so that the relevant development projects do succeed. You will talk about this in more detail today and tomorrow.

We want to lend support for regional market integration, not least in order to enhance the transfer of technology and know-how. We also want to ensure that trade flows between Europe and African countries really benefit everyone. We still have a lot to do in this regard.

The next European Union-African Union summit will take place in November. Today’s meeting, which we are hosting as part of our G20 Presidency, will also serve to prepare the ground for that summit. We are aware that our achievements of the past years are not yet enough. In many countries, development lags behind what is needed given the speed of population growth. Africa’s population is expected to double by 2050.

We also know that development is only possible if security is given. However, in many parts of Africa security is not yet sufficiently guaranteed – be it due to fragile sovereignty, conflicts, terrorism or humanitarian crises. Numerous human tragedies are being played out as we speak. For this reason, boosting the economy does not top the agenda in some African countries. They need to deal with day-to-day survival first.

As a result, the G20 Africa Partnership is concerned on the one hand with economic development, but on the other with fostering peace, stability and security – i.e. in creating the basic conditions for economic activity. There, too, we have to learn to think anew. For many years development policy-makers did not pay sufficient attention to security issues. For many years, we felt virtuous when we were not dealing with military equipment. But some of you have said to me that you are expected to combat terrorism, but are not given any support to do so.

I thus think we have to be more honest and admit that only where security is given can development take root. I consider it very courageous of some countries to take responsibility upon themselves in the fight against terrorism in Mali and its neighbourhood. France now wants a Security Council mandate in this connection. I can only say that Germany will support this.

Special attention will have to be devoted to the youth of Africa – as highlighted in the Agenda 2063. More than half of all Africans are under 25 years old. As I keep saying in Germany, the average age here in Germany is 43 years. The average age in Niger, Mali and other countries is less than 15 years. This just goes to show the very different situations we have to deal with. If we don’t give young people prospects for the future, if we don’t invest in education and skills, if we don’t strengthen the position of girls and young women, the development agenda will not succeed.

In other words, as part of our work in the G20 we will do everything we can, through the compacts with African countries and through special initiatives for women’s education and female entrepreneurship, to improve the prerequisites that should enable Africa to develop and grow as we need it to.

If hopelessness is too widespread in Africa, young people are also more likely to seek a better life elsewhere in the world. Thus, by working together with you for your countries, we are also enhancing our own security and will be able to put a stop to the activities of criminals who are toying with refugees and migrants’ fates and extracting large sums of money from them. Many refugees have terrible tales to tell of human smuggling and trafficking in human beings. States thus have to work together. We have to create legal options for movement and must not permit people to make money from the suffering of others.

Ladies and gentlemen, this conference also serves to draw attention to the differences between your countries, to the diversity of challenges faced in Africa. For this reason, too, let me thank you for coming. Many people in Germany are not yet as well informed about either the good or the difficult aspects of life in your countries as we would wish. Getting to know each other better, learning more about each other, and assuming responsibility together are all also aspects of shaping an interconnected world. I hope that this conference will make a contribution to this end. And so let me ask all of you here today not to mince your words, to talk “tacheles”, as we say in Germany. Simply saying nice things doesn’t achieve anything. We have to learn from one another. And we need results. That’s what we’re here for.

A very warm welcome to you all.