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KPS Stalking Horse for Briggs & Stratton

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KPS Capital Partners has agreed to acquire the assets of small engine manufacturer Briggs & Stratton, including the equity of foreign subsidiaries, for approximately $550 million.

On July 20, Briggs & Stratton voluntarily filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection to allow the company and its creditors to work out a reorganization plan, and the company has asked the bankruptcy court to designate KPS as its stalking horse bidder.

Briggs & Stratton (NYSE: BGGSQ) is the world’s largest producer of gasoline engines for outdoor power equipment used for power generation, pressure washing, lawn and garden, and turf care. Company owned brands include Briggs & Stratton, Simplicity, Snapper, Ferris, Vanguard, Allmand, Billy Goat, Murray, Branco and Victa.

For the trailing twelve months, Briggs & Stratton had revenues of $1.7 billion, gross profit of $242 million (14% GPM), and a negative EBITDA of $68 million. For the fiscal year ending June 30, 2017, the company had revenues of $1.8 billion, gross profit of $383 (GPM 21%), and EBITDA of $156 million (8.7% EBITDA margin).

Briggs & Stratton was founded in Milwaukee in 1908 and at one point was the world’s largest manufacturer of small gasoline engines. Over the past 112 years, it has produced more than 125 million engines.

“We are very excited to acquire Briggs & Stratton, a legendary brand in American manufacturing and the leading company in its industry,” said Michael Psaros, a co-founder and co-managing partner of KPS. “Briggs & Stratton enjoys a leading market position, scale, a global manufacturing footprint, world-class design and engineering capabilities, and a portfolio of industry-leading products sold under iconic brand names. Under KPS ownership, the new Briggs & Stratton will be conservatively capitalized and not encumbered by its predecessor’s significant liabilities.  KPS intends to grow the new Briggs & Stratton aggressively through strategic acquisitions.”

As part of this transaction, KPS has entered into an agreement in principle with the United Steelworkers of America under a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) for Briggs & Stratton’s hourly employees at its manufacturing facilities in Wisconsin. The new CBA will become effective upon completion of the acquisition. Briggs & Stratton has about 5,200 worldwide employees with 1,300 in Wisconsin.

A syndicate of banks including Wells Fargo, Bank of America, BMO Harris Bank and PNC Business Credit has committed to provide financing to Briggs & Stratton.

KPS Capital Partners makes control investments in manufacturing and industrial companies across a range of industries, including basic materials, branded consumer, healthcare, automotive parts, capital equipment, and general manufacturing. Many of KPS’s investments involve creating new companies to buy underperforming or distressed assets, companies operating in bankruptcy or in default of obligations to creditors, or with a history of recurring operating losses.

Kirkland & Ellis is acting as legal counsel to KPS on this transaction.

Private Equity Professional | July 24, 2020

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Source: https://peprofessional.com/2020/07/kps-buy-briggs-stratton/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=kps-buy-briggs-stratton

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A bankers guide to AI Part 3. Does the AI have more than one purpose? What is the roadmap?

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AI and Banking.001

This is the third in a 5 part series (published weekly) written by guest author Amber Sutherland a banker who understands technology who currently works for Silent Eight an AI-based name, entity and transaction adjudication solution provider to financial institutions.  Click here for Index and Part 1.

Many financial institutions have the dueling mandates to be both innovative and transform digitally, but also to rationalize vendors. So, when considering artificial intelligence solutions, which are often niche, it’s worthwhile finding out:

  • How the vendors decide to build out features;
  • Whether they are willing to customize their offering for you;
  • How reliably they’ve delivered on features in the past; and
  • Whether what’s on their roadmap adds value for you.

This way you can ensure that the decision you’re making is one that is future-proofed and set up for longevity.

Stay tuned next week for Part 4. Is it better than what you have now? 

Daily Fintech’s original insight is made available to you for US$143 a year (which equates to $2.75 per week). $2.75 buys you a coffee (maybe), or the cost of a week’s subscription to the global Fintech blog – caffeine for the mind that could be worth $ millions.

Source: https://dailyfintech.com/2020/08/12/a-bankers-guide-to-ai-part-3-does-the-ai-have-more-than-one-purpose-what-is-the-roadmap/

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Stablecoin News for the week ending Tuesday 11th August

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Here is our pick of the 3 most important Stablecoin news stories during the week.

Russia’s bill to regulate cryptocurrencies has been signed into law by President Vladimir Putin. The new law gives legal status to cryptocurrency but prohibits its use as a means of payment.

The law provides a definition to digital currency, stating that it “is recognized as an aggregate of electronic data capable of being accepted as the payment means, not being the monetary unit of the Russian Federation or a foreign state, and as investments,” Russian news agency TASS described. “The digital currency cannot be used at the same time to pay for any goods and services.”

Meanwhile, the law sets forth that digital financial assets “are digital rights comprising money claims, ability to exercise rights under negotiable securities, rights to participate in equity of a non-public stock company and right to claim transfer of negotiable securities set in a resolution on the DFA issue,” TASS noted. These assets can be sold, purchased, exchanged, and pledged. However, they cannot be used as a means of payment.

Russian banks and exchanges can become exchange operators of digital financial assets provided that they register with the central bank, the Bank of Russia.

Almost the very next day up pops SberBank, the largest and state owned retail Bank in Russia, with advanced plans to use Hyperledger for it’s very own stablecoin.

Russia’s Biggest Bank Considers Launching Its Own Stablecoin

Meanwhile, China’s big four state-owned commercial banks have started large-scale internal testing of what would be the world’s first sovereign digital currency, as the launch of the digital yuan appeared to move a step closer, the 21st Century Business Herald reported on Thursday.

The Bank of China, the China Construction Bank, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and the Agricultural Bank of China are working on the digital yuan with the central bank in major cities, including Shenzhen, according to the Guangzhou-based newspaper.

Users taking part in the trial can use the app to top up their accounts, withdraw money, make payments and transfer money after registering with their mobile phone number. The banks are also testing a scenario where a user can make a transfer to another account without an internet connection, the newspaper added.

China’s digital currency edges closer with large-scale test by state banks

Another interesting angle on the Chinese CBDC from the FT, they speculate that in the past, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC or Central Bank) gave the local Tech giants an easy ride in the payments space and is now looking to balance things going forward.

China’s new digital currency takes aim at Alibaba and Tencent

So what we are seeing is that these two very centralised State actors are looking at CBDC’s as an opportunity for the Central Banks to give the State Banks a major leg up.  Will the west follow or go a very different way?

______________________________________________________________________________________

Alan Scott is an expert in the FX market and has been working in the domain of stablecoins for many years.  

We have a self imposed constraint of 3 news stories per week because we serve busy senior Fintech leaders who just want succinct and important information.

For context on stablecoins please read this introductory interview with Alan “How stablecoins will change our world” and read articles tagged stablecoin in our archives. 

_______________________________________________________________________________________

New readers can read 3 free articles.  To  become a member with full access to all that Daily Fintech offers,  the cost is just US$143 a year (= $0.39 per day or $2.75 per week). For less than one cup of coffee you get a week full of caffeine for the mind.

Source: https://dailyfintech.com/2020/08/12/stablecoin-news-for-the-week-ending-tuesday-11th-august/

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Streamlining manual processes amid COVID-19

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The efficiency of any operations department within financial services depends on workflow, especially when working remotely during the coronavirus crisis, and ultimately, efficiency is a key indicator of bottom-line profits.

To streamline work processes and improve workflow, a business must have an overall assessment of operations. Financial institutions must evaluate office paper use, including the usage, processing and archiving of forms. The financial services industry must look for areas of improvement that move towards digitising manual processes and eliminating physical paperwork from order forms, onboarding documents and agreements.

digital icon for Foxit

Foxit’s OCR capability solves the problem of static images to making them text scannable.

DeeDee Kato, vice president of corporate marketing at Foxit Software tells FinTech Futures about what banks can do to ease the process of digitising paperwork during the coronavirus crisis and the challenges faced with remote working. From scanning documents, using optical character recognition (OCR) to make it text scannable and searchable, to the issues people face when relying on paper located in the office.

“The number one thing that’s the most important factor for our banking customers is customer service, as there are many things to think about when going digital, especially during the pandemic since there’s a whole uptick in online activities,” says Kato.

Statista’s July 2020 online activity report shows that “almost 4.57 billion people were active internet users as of July 2020, encompassing 59% of the global population”. With such high internet usage comes the need for banks to ensure they can support external parties and internal teams whilst working remotely. “That’s where streamlining workflows with robotic process automation (RPA) and machine learning can improve productivity,” adds Kato.

Gloria Sánchez, group head of legal for technology and legal transformation at Banco Santander, highlights the need to digitise cumbersome paperwork in a legal setting amid COVID-19. “The legal department tends to be quite traditional,” says Sánchez, “the pandemic sped up the need to digitise, although we were already in the process of being fully digital before COVID-19, there is still a lot of work to do within the implementation processes.”

Sánchez tells FinTech Futures about the importance of improving processes when providing information to regulators. “You may have the information in many documents and many repositories when applying data structure techniques, so you need OCR.” This creates a bottleneck as compliance teams must search across departments and verticals in the group to obtain the relevant information for the regulator, an often time-consuming process.

Kato mentions that Foxit’s OCR capability solves the problem of static images to making them text scannable, especially when handling multi-page documents converted to text files. A customer can use keyword searches to find critical information and copy and paste values into the regulator’s system.

“Regulators often receive these document requirements as paper documents and they mention how they need to make comments and remarks on them and send them to another party, who also had to make a paper copy, which is quite cumbersome,” notes Kato, “but now they scan it and apply OCR so it can contain legitimate texts which can now be edited and annotated.”

Some of the areas for both Kato’s clients and Sánchez’ teams that have moved towards digitising their processes are know your customer (KYC) management, converting mortgages and loans documentation, forms processing, compliance and security, signatures, archiving and retention and mobile apps/online banking.

“Our goal is to enable our customers to go fully paperless in each of these areas to significantly reduce operational costs associated with paper and manual processes,” says Kato.

During the KYC process, banks receive a multitude of files and documents from different clients. These entail identification documents, proof of income, proof of residence and more. The issue arises when the documents arrive in various formats such as scanned images, skewed scans, photo images, they all need to be standardised to be easily searchable and retrievable.

“Whilst the goal for banks and credit unions is customer convenience, it’s not usually the case the other way around. Customers can send it through a scan or take a picture of it and send it that way, scanned images, large text files, which are less than ideal,” notes Kato. An influx of these more static files only increases the KYC or regulatory review process as the documents require remediation before use.

“By converting the documents to PDFs or make use of digital portfolios with PhantomPDF, you can reprocess the documents and keep the original file,” adds Kato. This makes collecting and retrieving client information a lot easier for employees working on KYC procedures. For badly scanned images or file types that are way too large, PhantomPDF can automatically re-adjust the image, compress, and convert it to PDF while maintaining the original integrity of the document.

“Firms need to re-think and overcome the challenge of heavy paperwork and manual processes, so they need to meet the customer where they live,” says Lil Roberts, CEO at Xendoo. “They live in text messaging, mobile, live chats on website, emails and phone calls. But what the problem has been in the US is that practitioners don’t value the customer service side of the business and taking care of small business owners in a timely manner; customers need and want swiftness.”

Banks are incredibly reliant on physical documentation when reviewing complex cases like mortgages and home refinancing. Prospective clients submit a lot of documentation such as mortgage payments, tax returns, statement of assets, identification and more.

“We’re talking about customer documentation that needs to be deeply reviewed as part of the KYC procedure and in the situation we’re in with fluctuating rates, income loss caused by the coronavirus crisis combined with customers preferring to minimise branch visits, we foresee challenges in managing an influx of documentation which never comes in neatly organised or in standardised format and the process can be dragged out,” says Kato. “We’re the solution to this problem.”

Foxit’s PDF technology enables banks to not only transition from paper to paperless but also gives them the ability to work with digital documents like they would with paper.


Sponsored insights

Visit Foxit Software for more information on PDFs.

Source: https://www.fintechfutures.com/2020/08/streamlining-manual-processes-amid-covid-19/

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