The global insurance company released some preliminary numbers from its 2014 balance sheet, saying the full report would be released on March 20.
Net income fell to $956.4 million from $1.02 billion in 2013.
Gross premiums earned also fell to $5.5 billion from the same period a year earlier, which the company says is partially because of the "foreign exchange rate impact of the strengthening U.S. dollar."
The company reported a 2 percent increase for net premium earned, which rose to $3.6 billion in the year ending Dec. 31. Policyholder surplus also increased 9.5 percent to $10.6 billion, according to the company.
Overall, FM Global touts "another successful year."
"The financial numbers speak to the strength of our business model as a mutual insurer and to our balance sheet, long-term trusted client partnerships and our employees; single-minded commitment to our policyholder-owners," said Thomas A. Lawson, president and CEO, in a statement.
The company maintained its A.M. Best and Fitch rating of A+ and AA, respectively, which has been consistent since 2007. Standard & Poor's has given the company the rating A+.
FM Global says its retention rate was 95 percent and 86 percent of property insurance policies were delivered on or before the effective date of the contract. Ninety-six percent were delivered within 30 days, according to the company.
"As we enter our 180th year in 2015, our emphasis will be on flawless execution and delivering value to our clients by providing them scientifically based, cost-effective risk management and insurance solutions that assist them in making their businesses more resilient," Lawson said in a statement.]]>
"After thorough consideration, we have decided to close our facility in Cranston and transition operations to other existing Honeywell facilities. While this will impact manufacturing and distribution roles, nonproduction employees will be relocated to our Smithfield facilities," Lourdes Pe a, Honeywell's communications manager, said in a statement.
She said this action will affect most of the production employees, but those who remain will shift to Smithfield.
She said the company has "hundreds of Rhode Island-based employees supporting many different Honeywell businesses and we continue to be committed to the communities where we live and work."
The closing, she said, "will help ensure a competitive business model aimed at long-term growth and profitability and is linked to the needs of our customers."
The Morristown, N.J.-based company does not disclose the number of employees by site, Pe a said. The closing process will not take place until later this year. The facility will finally shut in 2016, she said.
Honeywell has 1,300 sites in 68 countries and approximately 131,000 employees.]]>
The nanotechnology firm also reported a profit loss for the fourth quarter of $2.7 million, or 12 cents per diluted share, an improvement over the loss of $17 million, or $5,403.25 per share, reported during the prior year period. For the year, the net loss was $5.37 per diluted share.
However, the company reported increases in revenue for both the fourth quarter and year that ended Dec. 31.
Aspen Aerogels reported revenue growth of 15 percent to $28 million in the fourth quarter, and 19 percent to $102.3 million for the year.
Don Young, president and CEO of Aspen Aerogels, said that 2014 was an important year for Aspen Aerogels, as its initial public offering was completed in June 2014. He said the IPO provided funds enabling the company to expand its capacity to meet growing customer demand and strengthen its balance sheet.
Young said construction of the company's third manufacturing plant in East Providence remains on schedule and should be operational in the second quarter of this year. Another manufacturing plant is expected to begin operating in two years, and the company is still reviewing potential sites in the United States, Young said.
"Aspen Aerogels also achieved several important financial milestones during 2014, including significant improvements in profitability as measured by gross margin, gross profit and adjusted [earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization]. The health of our business remains strong and I am excited about our prospects for 2015," Young said.
The company released its 2015 full-year outlook, saying it expects revenue to range between $113 million and $117 million.]]>
The University of Michigan final index of sentiment fell to 95.4, the first decrease in seven months, from January's 98.1 that was the highest since the start of 2004. The median projection in a Bloomberg survey of 58 economists called for 94 after a preliminary reading of 93.6.
Prices at the gas pump have climbed 31 cents a gallon this month and most consumers surveyed anticipate further gains, tempering optimism. Rising payrolls, low inflation and cheap borrowing costs will probably ensure Americans will sustain their spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of the economy.
"Gasoline prices are still extremely low although the slight increase we've seen recently may be hurting consumers a bit," said Jennifer Lee, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets in Toronto. "Ultimately, the strong job environment and strong U.S. economy are playing a big role in supporting consumer confidence."
The figures showed sentiment dropped 10.1 points among residents in the Northeast and 8.9 points in the Midwest, as snow piled up in those regions.
"It is hard not to attribute some of the diminished confidence to the harsh winter weather," Richard Curtin, director of the Michigan Survey of Consumers, said in a statement. Still, "consumers continued to evaluate their financial situation as well as their future financial prospects at the most favorable levels since 2007."
Estimates in the Bloomberg survey ranged from 93 to 97.7. The index averaged 75.5 from the start of this expansion through last month, compared with 89 in the five years before December 2007, when the last recession began.
The Michigan sentiment survey's current conditions index, which takes stock of Americans' view of their personal finances, dropped to 106.9 from the prior month's 109.3 reading that was the highest since January 2007.
The measure of expectations six months from now decreased to 88 from 91.
Americans expect the inflation rate in the next year will be 2.8 percent, compared with 2.5 percent in January. Over the next five to 10 years, they expect a 2.7 percent rate of inflation, compared with 2.8 percent in January.
The average cost of regular gasoline climbed to $2.37 on Thursday, according to AAA, the biggest U.S. motoring group. It has been advancing after sliding to $2.03 a gallon on Jan. 25, the cheapest since 2009.
The labor market remains supportive of consumer spending. Job gains in January capped the strongest three months of payroll growth in 17 years, Labor Department data show.
Household purchases climbed in the fourth quarter by the most in four years, a report Friday from the Commerce Department showed. The overall economy grew at a slower pace than initially estimated, restrained by a smaller gain in inventories and larger trade deficit.
Lowe's Cos., the second-largest U.S. home-improvement retailer, is among companies saying sentiment, along with income gains and low mortgage rates, bodes well for their outlook. Lowe's reported fourth-quarter profit that topped analysts' estimates.
"Expected growth in the home improvement market is further supported by recent consumer confidence ratings and the results of our fourth-quarter Consumer Sentiment Survey, which revealed that homeowners' views around personal finances and home values continue to improve," Chief Executive Office Robert Niblock said during an earnings call on Feb. 25.
Other confidence data indicate Americans are less upbeat. The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index fell last week by the most since May 2014 as Americans' views of the economy and their finances dimmed.]]>
The report showed that the homeownership rate for Latinos is 26 percent compared with 64 percent for non-Latinos, and that the majority of Latinos who have mortgages - 56 percent - tend to be cost-burdened, meaning 30 percent or more of their income is spent on housing costs. Thirty-five percent of non-Latinos are cost-burdened, according to the report.
"That doesn't leave a lot of resources to be participating in the overall economy," Anna Cano Morales, director of the Latino Policy Institute, said in a phone interview about the cost issues facing Latinos.
Nationally, the gap between the two groups is closer, as 45 percent of Latino households own their homes compared with 63 percent for non-Latinos, according to information from the agencies.
Cano Morales said research showed that Latinos in the Ocean State are not even applying to be considered for mortgages. And those who do own homes tend to be relatively young. They also have not been in their homes very long, less than 10 years, so they lack equity, which is needed in case of unexpected expenses, she said.
She said the statistics are concerning as Latinos are the fastest-growing ethnic group in Rhode Island.
"We need them to become more engaged in the housing market, to be able to save enough money to purchase their first home, or to build equity to pass down to the next generation. The first step is addressing the affordability gap facing so many Latino households so they can play an even larger role in Rhode Island's economic future," she said.
She said that the lack of Latinos buying homes has implications for the real estate market and economic development, as well as communities with aging populations.
"Who's going to buy the homes in these neighborhoods?" Cano Morales said.
She said they hope to study this issue further this year.
HousingWorks RI said that from 2007 to 2013, the income needed to afford the median priced single-family home outpaced the household incomes of both Latino and non-Latino renters. It said that to afford a home in 2013 at the median price of $205,000, an income of $63,192 was needed.
The median renter household income for Latinos declined 16 percent from 2007 to 2013 (from $27,683 to $23,174) while the median renter household income for non-Latinos essentially remained the same ($31,682 to $31,436).
In 2013, the median Latino homeowner household income was $55,113, compared with non-Latinos at $79,596.
Jessica Cigna, research and policy director for HWRI, said that home mortgage applications for Latinos decreased 53 percent from 2007 to 2013, compared with 26 percent for non-Latinos.
"With such a large gap between household incomes and the incomes needed to afford to buy a home, it's not surprising to see a decline in the number of Latinos applying for a home mortgage," Cigna said.
Ninety percent of Latino households have a mortgage compared with 68 percent of non-Latino homeowners, the report said.
HousingWorks RI, a program in the division of university outreach and engagement at Roger Williams University, used data from the U.S. Census Bureau to come up with its findings.]]>
According to information from CharterCare Health Partners, of which Roger Williams Medical Center is an affiliate, 13 percent of the more than 1,500 Commission on Cancer-accredited cancer programs nationwide hold this designation.
Roger Williams met the following criteria from the Commission on Cancer to achieve the new classification:
Provides postgraduate medical education in at least four program areas, including internal medicine and general surgery
Records more than 500 newly diagnosed cancer cases each year
Full range of diagnostic and treatment services either on-site or by referral
Participates in cancer-related clinical research either by enrolling patients in cancer-related clinical trials or by referring patients for enrollment at another facility or through a physician's office.
"This designation is a reflection of both our academic and clinical efforts to provide better treatment for cancer patients in our region," Dr. N. Joseph Espat, director of the Cancer Center at Roger Williams, said in a statement. "More patients are coming to our cancer program, our residency and fellowship programs continue to provide excellent training for the next generation of physicians and our clinical trials are advancing research into diagnosis and treatment of cancer."
Kimberly O'Connell, president of Roger Williams, said the entire oncology team - including those involved with cancer teaching and research programs - has been involved is reaching this designation.
Dr. Steven Katz, chairman of the Roger Williams' Cancer Committee, said "innovative research programs" played a role in enabling the recognition.
"Our immunotherapy platforms promise to bring novel treatments to patients with limited options. We look forward to launching several new T cell trials for liver tumors in the coming year," Katz said.
The Commission on Cancer, a program of the American College of Surgeons, recognizes cancer care programs for their commitment to providing comprehensive patient-centered care. In Rhode Island, The Miriam Hospital and Rhode Island Hospital are also designated Academic Comprehensive Cancer Centers by the Commission on Cancer.]]>
Gross domestic product, the value of all goods and services produced, rose at a 2.2 percent annualized rate, down from an initial estimate of 2.6 percent, Commerce Department figures showed Friday in Washington. The median forecast of 83 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a 2 percent pace.
While overall growth was revised down, consumer spending last quarter climbed by the most in four years, underscoring the fundamental strength of the expansion. An improving job market and cheaper fuel costs will probably keep supporting households this year, which will help the U.S. overcome a slowdown in exports as the dollar climbs and foreign economies struggle.
"The economy is still chugging along pretty nicely," said Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James & Associates Inc. in St. Petersburg, Fla., who correctly projected the rate of growth. "We're seeing better job growth, the drop in gas prices is really going to be beneficial for consumers and small businesses, and that should help the pace of growth to pick up."
Stock-index futures held earlier losses after the report. The contract on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index maturing in March fell 0.1 percent to 2,107.9 at 8:46 a.m. in New York.
Economists' GDP projections in the Bloomberg survey ranged from 1.5 percent to 2.5 percent. This is the second of three estimates for the quarter, with the other release scheduled for March when more information can be incorporated.
For all of 2014, the U.S. economy grew 2.4 percent from the year before, following a 2.2 percent advance in 2013. Consumer spending rose 2.5 percent, the most since 2006.
Household consumption, which accounts for about 70 percent of the economy, grew at a 4.2 percent annualized rate in the fourth quarter, the most since the last three months of 2010. It was previously estimated at 4.3 percent. Purchases added 2.8 percentage points to growth.
A smaller gain in spending on goods than previously calculated was almost fully offset by a bigger advance in purchases of services, which grew at a 4.1 percent pace, the most since 2000.
Inventories contributed less to growth than earlier reported. Stockpiles grew at a $88.4 billion annualized rate from October through December, down from a prior estimate of $113.1 billion. Following the $82.2 billion increase in the third quarter, the smaller gain added 0.1 percentage point to growth, compared with a previously reported 0.8 point.
The trade gap weighed on growth more than previously estimated, Friday's report showed. The difference between exports and imports shaved 1.15 percentage point from growth, compared with a 1.02 percentage point reduction previously estimated.
The U.S. dollar index, a gauge of its value against major world currencies, climbed Thursday to the highest level in more than a decade. An appreciating currency could pressure exports by making American goods more expensive to foreign customers.
Stripping out inventories and trade, the two components of GDP that are most vulnerable to swings, so-called final sales to domestic purchasers increased 3.2 percent, exceeding the previously reported 2.8 percent advance.
Business fixed investment increased at a 4.5 percent annualized rate, revised up from a previously estimated 2.3 percent gain. The improvement reflected more spending on equipment and on research and development.
Government spending declined at a 1.8 percent pace, compared with the previously reported 2.2 percent decrease, Friday's report showed. More outlays by state and local agencies account for the upward revision.
Friday's report also included revisions to third-quarter personal income. Wages and salaries rose by $87.2 billion, a $20.5 billion improvement from the prior estimate. Preliminary data showed they climbed by $94.4 billion in the fourth quarter.
Federal Reserve policy makers are expecting growth to pick up this year, as they weigh the timing of their first interest rate increase since 2006. The central tendency of Fed-official estimates projects GDP will climb between 2.6 percent and 3 percent.
"If economic conditions continue to improve, as the committee anticipates, the committee will at some point begin considering an increase in the target range for the federal funds rate on a meeting-by-meeting basis," Yellen said in congressional testimony on Feb. 24-25. GDP "is expected to be strong enough to result in a further gradual decline in the unemployment rate."
Job growth has strengthened over the past year, with payrolls rising 257,0000 in January to cap their strongest three-month run in 17 years. Unemployment rose to 5.7 percent from 5.6 percent in December as Americans streamed into the labor force in search of work.
While the jobs have yet to translate into bigger gains in wages, there are "perhaps hints" that bigger increases may be on the horizon, Yellen said in the testimony. Average hourly earnings climbed 0.5 percent from the month before in January, the most since November 2008.
Companies such as Target Inc. are benefiting from the improvement in consumers' balance sheets. The Minneapolis-based company posted earnings for its fiscal fourth quarter that topped analysts' estimates, lifted by a holiday sales gain.
"We recognize that the consumer confidence has certainly improved," CEO Brian Cornell said in a Feb. 25 conference call, adding that lower gasoline prices have been helping the retail industry. "The consumer, we do believe, is healthier, and we're pleased that they are spending in our stores, both in our stores and online."]]>
And that number has grown 139 percent, when comparing 1992 with 2013.
In 2013, $2.2 billion in goods and $1.8 billion in services were exported from the Ocean State, the association said.
"Trade is vital to economic growth and jobs in Rhode Island and the United States," Business Roundtable President John Engler said in a statement. "To help local businesses reach 95 percent of the world's customers who live outside the United States, we must continue to create new trade opportunities."
The association conducted a state-by-state analysis, and found that while Rhode Island's total employment declined from 2004 to 2013, trade-related jobs increased 17 percent. It also found that 89 percent of Rhode Island exporters are small- and medium-sized companies with fewer than 500 workers.
Also, customers in 164 countries and territories buy Rhode Island-made goods and services, including billions of dollars in annual exports to top markets like Canada, Germany and Mexico, it said.
And, the association said that Rhode Island consistently ranks among the top half of state exporters in four industries - 10th in recycled products ($565 million), 14th in marine products ($32 million), 20th in nonferrous metals ($217 million) and 21st in ships and boats ($21 million).
One of the fastest growing export categories in Rhode Island is resins and synthetic fibers, which have increased by 13 percent every year since 2003. In 2013, exports of these products reached $56 million.
In 2013, $899 million of Rhode Island's exports, or 42 percent, went to free trade agreement partners.
Foreign-owned companies employ 27,300 employees in Rhode Island. Those companies include Japan's Toray Plastics (America).
More than one in five Rhode Island jobs depend on international trade.]]>
Rome-based GTECH S.p.A., parent of Providence-based GTECH Corp., received unanimous approval from the Nevada Gaming Commission Thursday for its pending $4.7 billion acquisition of International Game Technology. The final gaming authority approval comes less than a year after the international gaming-company announced the acquisition last July. Upon closing - expected in the second quarter of this year - the combined entities will be branded as "IGT" and corporate headquarters will move to London.
"The combination of GTECH and IGT brings together two highly complementary legacy businesses to form the true blue-chip company in global gaming. The new name and branding reflect this positioning," said Marco Sala, GTECH CEO, in a statement.
The GTECH logo will join the IGT name, which Sala says "draws upon the substantial brand equity of our two companies."
The parent company and corporate headquarters would be called International Game Technology PLC in London, but operation headquarters would remain in Providence, Nevada and Rome.
A GTECH spokeswoman said the company was "completely committed to Providence, as always."
A full re-branding will commence after the acquisition is complete and the company will be solely listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "IGT," according to the spokeswoman.
Under the new leadership team, GTECH Chairman Donald R. Sweitzer would become chairman of IGT Corp. (North America) and senior public affairs adviser.]]>
The state department, in its monthly cash collections report, said $1.9 billion was collected fiscal year to date, an increase of $78 million, or 4.1 percent, from the prior year period.
Of that number, personal income tax had the largest increase at 6 percent to $734.7 million, followed by sales and use tax at 5.2 percent, to $578 million; other general revenue sources at 2 percent, to $206.9 million; and departmental receipts at 1.3 percent, to $253.2 million. Lottery transfer had the smallest increase at 0.3 percent, to $188.3 million.
"Year-to-date [fiscal year] 2015 cash collections continue to show solid growth over cash collections through January in [fiscal year] 2014, with all the major components of total general revenues exhibiting positive growth on fiscal year to date over fiscal year to date basis," state Director of Revenue Rosemary Booth Gallogly said in a statement. "Also, the lottery transfer to the general fund shows positive growth on a fiscal year to date basis for the first time in [fiscal year] 2015, a welcome result."
On a monthly basis, cash collections increased 0.4 percent in January to $295.7 million compared with January 2014's $294.4 million.
Departmental receipts had the largest drop in January at 22.7 percent, to $24.4 million from $31.6 million a year earlier. The sales and use tax category had the largest increase at 5 percent, to $84.3 million in January, followed by lottery transfer at 4.2 percent, to $30.3 million.
Gallogly blamed the large decline in departmental receipts cash collections in January 2015 on the receipt of $5.6 million in a delinquent hospital licensing fee payment in January 2014.
January 2014 also had nearly $1 million more of revenue classified as general revenue compared with January 2015, she said.]]>