European Commission clears Lotos’ acquisition by PKN Orlen

first_imgThe decision follows an in-depth investigation of the proposed merger by the Commission, which combines PKN Orlen and Grupa Lotos Orlen station in Gdańsk, Poland. (Credit: Wikipedia/Artur Andrzej) The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of Grupa Lotos by PKN Orlen. The approval is conditional on full compliance with a commitments package offered by PKN Orlen.Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “Access to fuels at competitive prices is important for businesses and consumers alike. Today, we can approve the proposed acquisition of Lotos by PKN Orlen because the extensive commitments offered by PKN Orlen will ensure that the relevant Polish markets remain open and competitive and that the merger will not lead to higher prices or less choice for fuels and related products for businesses and consumers in Poland and Czechia.”Today’s decision follows an in-depth investigation of the proposed merger by the Commission, which combines PKN Orlen and Grupa Lotos (“Lotos”), two large Polish integrated oil and gas companies. They are both active in Poland, where they both own refineries, and also have activities in several other Central and Eastern European and Baltic countries.The Commission’s investigationDuring its in-depth investigation, the Commission gathered extensive information and feedback from competitors and customers of the merging companies.Following its investigation, the Commission had concerns that the transaction, as initially notified, would have harmed competition, in particular in the following markets:the wholesale supply of motor fuels in Poland;the retail supply of motor fuels in Poland;the supply of jet fuel in Poland and Czechia;The supply of related products such as different types of bitumen in Poland.The proposed remediesTo address the Commission’s concerns, PKN Orlen offered the following commitments:To divest a 30% stake in Lotos’ refinery accompanied by strong governance rights, with the purchaser having the right to approximately half of the refinery’s diesel and gasoline production, while also giving the purchaser access to important storage and logistics infrastructure;To divest nine fuel storage depots to an independent logistics operator, and to build a new jet fuel import terminal in the Polish city of Szczecin, which would be transferred to the independent logistics operator on completion;To release most of the capacity booked by Lotos at independent storage depots, including the capacity booked at Poland’s biggest terminal for the import of fuels by sea;To divest 389 retail stations in Poland, amounting to approximately 80% of the Lotos network, and to supply these with motor fuels;To sell Lotos’s 50% stake in the jet fuel-marketing joint venture that it has with BP, to continue to supply the joint venture, and to give the joint venture access to storage at two airports in Poland;To make available up to 80,000 tonnes of jet fuel per year to competitors in Czechia via an annual open tender;To divest two bitumen production plants in Poland, and to supply the purchaser with up to 500,000 tonnes of bitumen/heavy residues annually.The Commission found that the combination of divestitures and other commitments would enable the purchasers of the divested businesses, as well as other competitors, to compete effectively with the merged entity in the relevant markets in the future. In the wholesale diesel and gasoline markets in particular, the purchaser of the stake in the refinery will be able to import significant volumes thanks to greater access to infrastructure. Through this combination of refining capacity and import potential, the purchaser will exert a competitive constraint similar to that of Lotos before the transaction.The Commission therefore concluded that the transaction, as modified by the commitments, would no longer raise competition concerns. This decision is conditional upon the full compliance with the commitments. Source: Company Press Releaselast_img read more

Darrow comes to life at Chester Bedell luncheon

first_img July 15, 2003 Daniel Staesser Assistant Editor Regular News Darrow comes to life at Chester Bedell luncheon Darrow comes to life at Chester Bedell luncheonAssistant EditorAsk a lawyer who Clarence Darrow is and you’ll hear descriptions like legendary and timeless, provocative and introspective, dynamic and calm, idealistic and skeptical. Ask Clarence Darrow who Clarence Darrow is and he would have said something like “Who are any of us?”At the Trial Lawyer Section’s Chester Bedell Memorial Luncheon of The Florida Bar Annual Meeting, Darrow was all of these things. Brought to life by acclaimed actor Paul Morella, Darrow, the persona, the myth, told the story of Clarence Darrow, the lawyer and the man.“I suppose I should tell you that I went into law to help people who were suffering, or to fight for human decency. I should tell you that, but it would be a damn lie,” he said in his opening remarks. “The truth is I have no idea why I went into law.”The truth is he thought about it. The truth is he thought about the reasons he went into law just like he pondered every philosophical, moral, and religious question that ever riddled the Hamlets of the world.“What anyone ends up doing in life is mostly an accident, and there certainly wasn’t much rhyme or reason to me becoming a lawyer,” he argued.But who he was as a man rhymed perfectly with the profession. Clarence Darrow had a gift for questioning, for analyzing things, for experiencing other people’s pain as if it were his own.“This isn’t a gift,” he said. “I’ve gone to battle for people in trouble all my life so I could get some damn sleep!”The truth is he enjoyed it. And he enjoyed listening to himself talk: “Sometimes I don’t know what I think until I hear what I have to say.”What he had to say often convinced juries, confounded witnesses, and conjured sympathies.With the sound of a gavel somewhere offstage, Paul Morella resurrected the scenes of cases that made Darrow the defense attorney legend he is today. I n 1898, Clarence Darrow defended Thomas I. Kidd, general secretary of the Amalgamated Woodworkers International Union, for conspiracy to injure the lumber industry. Darrow didn’t argue so much on his client’s behalf, as he did against the charge of conspiracy.Of conspiracy he said, “It is an effort to punish the crime of thought. It is an effort to keep the powerless in chains by denying them the right to make up in numbers what they lack in wealth.”He would become known as the “champion of the poor.”In what was noted as the first “Crime of the Century,” Darrow defended “Big Bill” Haywood, secretary of the Western Federation of Mines, who was accused of planning the murder of Frank Steunenberg, former governor of Idaho. In this case, Darrow reminded the jury of the consequences of a decision of paramount proportions.“Mr. Haywood is not my greatest concern,” he said. “Other men have died before him.”He later continued, “Gentlemen, if you should kill Bill Haywood, he is mortal, he will die. But if your verdict should be ‘not guilty’ in this case, there are still those who will reverently bow their heads and thank you 12 men for the life and reputation you have saved.”It was “those” whom Darrow never forgot. He was a man who believed in forgiveness, and in love. “I do not believe in the law of hate,” he said. “I may not be true to my ideals always, but I believe in the law of love, and I believe you can do nothing with hatred.”These convictions were put to the test when Darrow was asked by the NAACP to defend Dr. Ossian Sweet, a black man charged with murder, when he fired gunshots into an angry white mob that had his house and family surrounded.Layer by layer, Paul Morella unraveled the inner workings of a man, a lawyer who seemed so intricately put together.“A child is born into this world without any knowledge of any sort,” he said. “He has a brain which is a piece of putty; he inherits nothing in the way of knowledge or of ideas. You can teach a man anything beginning with the child; you can make anything out of him, and we are not responsible for it.”Darrow’s philosophy was that environment shapes who people become, and he used this argument to fuel his defense.“Suppose you were black. Do you think you would forget it even in your dreams?” he would ask the jury. And they put aside their prejudice with a verdict of “not guilty.” To this end Darrow said, “That’s the best any human being can do.”He focused on the greater good. Perhaps he was best known for his defense of John Scopes, accused of teaching evolution in schools, in what became know as the Monkey Trial. Darrow essentially put the Bible on trial. He targeted the intolerance that often associated itself with religion, saying, “Ignorance and fanaticism are ever busy and need feeding.”Then came his argument in defending 18-year-old Nathan Leopold and 17-year-old Dickie Loeb, who had admitted to killing little Bobby Franks.“I am pleading for the future,” he addressed the jury, “when we can learn by reason and judgment and understanding and faith that all life is worth saving, and that mercy is the highest attribute of man. If I should succeed,” he said, “in saving these boys’ lives and do nothing for the progress of the law, I should feel sad, indeed.”And at that moment, with those words, Paul Morella became Clarence Darrow, and Clarence Darrow every trial lawyer at that luncheon. Darrow was looking to the future, to further the law to secure the lives of tens of thousands of others to follow.Clarence Darrow knew it wasn’t about the then and there; it was about the future. He knew that it wasn’t whether somebody remembered him, but whether they remembered the principle that was being fought for.It was during Morella’s portrayal of Darrow in the Thomas I. Kidd trial that he said something to an invisible jury that was all too clear and relevant for those watching:“It has fallen to your lot, gentlemen, to be the leading actors in one of the great dramas of human life. For some mysterious reason Providence has placed in your charge for today, aye for ages, the helpless toilers, the hopeless men, the despondent women and suffering children of the world; it is a great, a tremendous trust, and I know you will do your duty bravely, wisely, humanely, and well.”last_img read more

Listen to Mark Hughes dismiss talk of a crisis meeting at QPR

first_imgBoss Mark Hughes dismisses talk of a crisis meeting at QPR. It came after his assistant Mark Bowen had said discussions took place between the management staff and players following last weekend’s home draw against Reading.Click here for the Stoke v QPR quiz 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Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

Navigating intrafamily loans

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Brian E. RavencraftIf a relative needs financial help, offering an intrafamily loan might seem like the most gracious route to take. But, if not handled properly, such loans can carry substantial negative tax consequences — such as unexpected taxable income, gift tax or both. Here are some things to ponder before lending a helping hand:1.      Everything should be documented. To avoid undesirable tax consequences, one thing you’ll need to do is show that the loan was bona fide. Doing so should include documenting evidence of:  the amount and terms of the debt,  interest charged,  fixed repayment schedules,  collateral,  demands for repayment, and  the borrower’s solvency at the time of the loan and payments made.Be sure to make your intentions clear. Help avoid loan-related misunderstandings by documenting the loan and all payments received.2.      Plan to collect repayment. Even if you think you may end up forgiving the loan, ensure the borrower makes at least a few payments. By having some repayment history, you’ll make it harder for the IRS to argue that the loan was really an outright gift. Do some soul searching before giving the loan. If the would-be borrower has no realistic chance of repaying a loan, don’t make it. If you’re audited, the IRS is sure to treat such a loan as a gift.3.      Charge interest if the loan exceeds a certain amount. If you lend more than $10,000 to a relative, charge at least the applicable federal interest rate (AFR). The interest on the loan will be taxable income to you. (If no or below-AFR interest is charged, taxable interest is calculated under the complicated below-market-rate loan rules.) However, if no or below-AFR interest is charged, all of the forgone interest over the term of the loan may have to be treated as a gift in the year the loan is made.4.      Know about gift tax exclusion. Let’s look at an example. If you help a relative buy a house but don’t want to use up any of your lifetime estate and gift tax exemption, make the loan, charge interest and then forgive the interest, the principal payments or both each year under the annual gift tax exclusion. For 2016, you can forgive up to $14,000 per borrower ($28,000 if your spouse joins in the gift) without paying gift taxes or using any of your lifetime exemption. But you will still have interest income in the year of forgiveness.5.      Forgive or take action. If an intrafamily loan that you intended to collect is in default, don’t sit by hoping payments will begin to appear. To prove this was a legitimate loan that went south, you’ll need to take legal action to move toward collection. If you know you’ll never collect but don’t want to get lawyers involved, begin forgiving the loan using the annual gift tax exclusion, if possible.It is always a smart idea to discuss the specifics of an intrafamily loan with a trusted advisor before opening your checkbook. Don’t let your good intentions place you in the path of tax issues. If executed correctly, you can be of help to your loved one while protecting your own interest. As always, give me a call if you have any questions. I am always happy to help. Brian E. Ravencraft, CPA, CGMA is a Principal with Holbrook & Manter, CPAs. Brian has been with Holbrook & Manter since 1995, primarily focusing on the areas of Tax Consulting and Management Advisory Services within several firm service areas, focusing on agri-business and closely held businesses and their owners. Holbrook & Manter is a professional services firm founded in 1919 and we are unique in that we offer the resources of a large firm without compromising the focused and responsive personal attention that each client deserves. You can reach Brian through www.HolbrookManter.com or at [email protected]last_img read more

HC gives CBI nod to file FIR against Rawat in sting video case

first_imgIn a setback to former Chief Minister Harish Rawat, the Uttarakhand High Court on Monday permitted the CBI to register an FIR against the Congress leader in connection with a 2016 sting video that purportedly showed him negotiating a deal to buy the support of rebel MLAs. A Bench of Justice Dhulia gave the nod to the CBI to go ahead with its investigations in the case and lodge an FIR against Mr. Rawat after the agency submitted a report in a sealed cover on the preliminary inquiry. Former Union Minister and senior Supreme Court lawyer Kapil Sibal, appearing for Mr. Rawat, contended that the CBI’s preliminary inquiry report is invalid as the Rawat government, which was restored after an order of the Supreme Court, had decided through a Cabinet meeting to form an SIT to conduct an investigation in the case. Citing the example of the S.R. Bommai case, Mr. Sibal said the Supreme Court has ruled that the decisions taken by the Governor during President’s Rule will be held unconstitutional. However, Assistant Advocate General Rakesh Thapliyal, appearing for the government and the CBI, said that the accused cannot have the right to decide which agency will conduct an investigation against him. ‘Deep conspiracy’Alleging a deep conspiracy in the case, Mr. Sibal said that a report from the Chandigarh lab on the authenticity of the sting CD was a proof in itself. He also presented before the court the details of an earlier conversation between Cabinet Minister Harak Singh Rawat and Umesh Sharma, who allegedly conducted the purported sting operation.last_img read more

Anushka, family fly out of Mumbai amid wedding rumours

first_imgMumbai, Dec 8 (PTI) Actor Anushka Sharma and her family were spotted early this morning at the international airport leaving for an unknown destination amid rumours that she and cricketer Virat Kohli are getting married in Italy.Anushka was photographed leaving from Mumbai airport around 1 am with her brother Karnesh and their parents.There are reports that the couple, which has dated for over four years now, will tie the knot at a private ceremony in Milan on December 12. However, Anushkas spokesperson denied it.The wedding will reportedly be a quiet affair followed by a grand reception in Mumbai, attended by Bollywood and sports personalities.While Virat is more vocal about his love for Anushka, the actor has remained tight-lipped about their relationship.The two, both 29, were recently seen together at Zaheer Khan and Sagarika Ghatges wedding. PTI JUR BK MINlast_img read more

The Red Wings Empire Is Crumbling

2016140.6+22.9-45.5-8.7109.3 Abbreviated seasons prorated to 82 games.Source: hockeyabstract.com, Hockey-Reference.com Without those kinds of star turns, Detroit might be starting up a new playoff streak — one of the “drought” variety. Although there’s still plenty of time for the club’s recent draft picks to develop, the Red Wings as they’re currently constructed aren’t an especially young team — they have the NHL’s 12th-oldest roster — and they certainly aren’t a good one. The NHL is a league designed for parity, so Detroit’s record probably won’t stay outright bad for long, but it might also be awhile before we see the Wings restored to their former glory.If so, it’s all the more reason to appreciate the playoff dynasty Detroit built over the past 26 years. Thanks to shrewd drafting, trades, player development and a forward-looking vision of the game, the Red Wings built one of the best teams in hockey year in and year out for two and a half decades. For a whole generation of Motor City fans, greatness on the ice is all they’ve ever known. It’s a remarkable legacy, even if, like every great empire, it eventually collapsed.CLARIFICATION (Feb. 9, 2:34 p.m.): Since this article was originally published, a sentence has been rephrased to reflect the fact that Alexey Marchenko is no longer on the Red Wings’ roster, though he did have a Corsi greater than 50 percent during his time as a regular skater for the team this season. NET GVT ADDED VIA… 2010174.6+15.9-8.2-46.9135.4 2008178.4+22.1+35.7-35.8200.4 2015114.9+3.8+25.7-3.8140.6 2009200.4+28.3-50.3-3.8174.6 2012145.4+9.7+28.9-12.2171.8 No NHL team averaged a better Corsi than the Wings from 1991 to 2016, and the team even ranked fifth in the statistic as recently as two seasons ago. But the next generation has fumbled the torch on the handoff, and Detroit’s fabled possession machine has eroded badly in recent seasons as its stars have aged and departed.Gone are such advanced-metric idols as Pavel Datsyuk, whose 58.1 percent on-ice Corsi3At 5-on-5, adjusted for score effects and zone starts. ranked second among all NHL players from 2007-08 until his retirement from the NHL last summer, as well as Brian Rafalski (fifth), Tomas Holmstrom (10th), Mikael Samuelsson (14th) and Nicklas Lidstrom (19th). (Fifteenth-ranked Johan Franzen is also technically on the Red Wings’ long-term injured reserve list, but is unlikely to ever play again.) In the wake of that mass exodus, Detroit has fallen to an unheard-of 25th in the NHL in Corsi, according to PuckOn.net’s calculations. Only three players who have regularly skated for the Red Wings this season — forwards Anthony Mantha and Tomas Tatar, and recently waived defenseman Alexey Marchenko — have been on the ice for a Corsi greater than 50 percent (i.e., on the ice while Detroit possessed the puck more than the opponent). Even Henrik Zetterberg, normally one of the best possession-drivers in the game, has a mere 49.9 percent mark this season, with his relative Corsi, which measures how much he influences play relative to his teammates, dropping 12 percent from what it was during his best seasons.Detroit’s decline isn’t just about a drop-off in possession rate. The Red Wings have bled talent up and down the ice for years, going back to their post-lockout high-water mark of 124 standings points in 2005-06. Here’s how their roster changed each season since then, according to incoming and outgoing goals versus threshold (GVT), a metric that estimates each player’s value over a hypothetical replacement player in terms of goals added per 82 games: SEASONPREVIOUS GVTNEWCOMERSHOLDOVERSDEPARTURESSEASON GVT 2013171.8+5.9-14.8-25.1137.8 Related: Hot Takedown Simply put, the talent coming in hasn’t been able to keep pace with the talent going out — and nowhere is Detroit’s drain more evident than on the blue line. The Red Wings used to be able to pencil in the likes of Lidstrom, Rafalski and Mathieu Schneider for 50 to 60 points a season, with significant contributions made in quarterbacking one of the league’s top power-play units. This year’s Wings, though, have the worst power play in the NHL and the league’s fourth-worst group of offensive defensemen, according to GVT. (Where have you gone, Paul Coffey?) Although some of their weak shooting percentage with the man advantage is bound to improve with better luck, Detroit’s D corps is contributing about half as much GVT as the team got from its defensemen during the playoff streak, with nearly two-thirds of the blueliners’ drop-off coming specifically on offense.And it isn’t as though the rest of this season’s roster has picked up the slack. Goalie Petr Mrazek has been one of the worst in the league, and Detroit’s forwards have been mediocre at both ends of the rink. (They rank seventh-worst in offensive GVT and 10th-worst on defense.)In the past, the Red Wings were able to phase in a few promising young forwards every time one of their veterans declined or left the club. When Yzerman’s point totals dipped in the mid-1990s as he focused more on checking, Sergei Fedorov, Slava Kozlov and Keith Primeau provided an offensive spark. When Yzerman, Fedorov and Brendan Shanahan left the club in the mid-2000s, Datsyuk and Zetterberg were there to carry the torch. But although Tatar, Mantha, Gustav Nyquist, Dylan Larkin and Andreas Athanasiou have all shown flashes of potential, none has emerged as a star on anything approaching the level of a Fedorov or Datsyuk. 2011135.4+8.5+5.3-3.8145.4 2014137.8+10.2-24.7-8.3114.9 On April Fools’ Day in 1990, the Detroit Red Wings and Philadelphia Flyers skated for the final game of the season at The Spectrum in south Philly. Captain Steve Yzerman banged home a goal late in the third period to earn the Wings a 3-3 tie, ending Detroit’s campaign with 70 points and a last-place finish in the Norris Division. Soon after, the 1989-90 Red Wings cleaned out their lockers and parted ways for the summer.In the nearly 10,000 days since then, Detroit has played 2,035 regular-season games and employed 246 players. It’s gone through three captains, four general managers and six head coaches. But the one constant throughout the last 25 full seasons of Red Wings hockey has been extra action in the spring — and often deep into the summer. Detroit hasn’t missed the postseason since that April day in 1990, a mind-boggling run that beats any playoff streak outside of hockey1The longest playoff streak for an NBA team is 22 seasons, by the Syracuse Nationals/Philadelphia 76ers from 1950 to 1971. The longest for MLB is 14 seasons, by the 1991-2005 Atlanta Braves. The longest for the NFL is nine seasons, by the 1975-83 Dallas Cowboys and 2002-10 Indianapolis Colts. and is tied for the third longest in NHL history. (That it has come partially during the NHL’s salary-cap era is especially impressive.)But it could all come screeching to a halt this season. With a 22-21-10 record, Detroit currently occupies last place in the Atlantic Division, five points out of the Eastern Conference’s final wild-card spot with seven teams ahead of them. According to Hockey-Reference.com’s playoff simulator, the Red Wings have just a 7 percent probability of continuing their run for a 26th straight postseason. Every streak has to end eventually, but how did Detroit go wrong after so many years of success?Perhaps the Red Wings’ most distinctive hallmark during their playoff streak has been a focus on puck possession. Even as teams won through superior playmaking and shooting talent in the 1980s and early ’90s, Detroit loaded up on ex-Soviet stars who’d been trained to take care of the puck. In doing so, the Red Wings anticipated the direction that the game would head in the future, building their dominant teams of the 1990s less on the premise of aiming pucks past the league’s rapidly improving goaltenders and more on the basis of simply controlling the flow of play. These days we measure that control through Corsi percentage, the share of even-strength shots a team directs at the opponent’s net (as opposed to vice-versa) after adjusting for score effects and other factors.2For seasons after 1986-87 and before 2005-06, this number can be estimated using a team’s shots for and against, its power-play and shorthanded chances, its record and its goal differential. Although we didn’t know it at the time, the Red Wings were dominating Corsi back when Corsi was just a guy, not a metric. 2017109.3+15.1-12.9-22.788.8 Is College Basketball Broken? We Asked The Game’s Top Stats Guru Net change in goals versus threshold (GVT) for Detroit Red Wings 2006199.2+32.6+32.0-45.7218.1 2007218.1+22.7-4.2-58.2178.4 read more

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