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Enbridge dives as market frets over financial hit from $14 billion Dominion deal

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Enbridge dives as market frets over financial hit from $14 billion Dominion deal
© Reuters. The logo of Calgary-based Enbridge, one of North America’s largest energy infrastructure companies, is displayed during the LNG 2023 energy trade show in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, July 12, 2023. REUTERS/Chris Helgren/File Photo

By Mrinalika Roy

(Reuters) – Enbridge (NYSE:) Inc shares tumbled nearly 7% to their lowest in more than four years on Wednesday, as some analysts questioned the financial impact of the Canadian pipeline operator’s surprise $14 billion bid to buy three utilities from Dominion Energy (NYSE:) doubling its gas distribution business.

The move to acquire East Ohio Gas, Questar Gas, and Public Service Co of North Carolina will make Enbridge the largest gas utility by volume in North America, with the unit accounting for a bit less than a fourth of the company’s overall business mix.

The deal is seen as a bet on the future of in a regulated market even as energy companies and consumers are transitioning to a greener future by phasing out fossil fuels.

But some analysts were surprised at the timing, the scale and impact such a deal would have on the company’s already leveraged balance sheet. Late on Tuesday, Moody’s (NYSE:) cut Enbridge’s outlook to negative.

“I do think the market was caught a bit off guard, as this wasn’t on my bingo card,” Morningstar analyst Stephen Ellis said. “Management had a realistic approach towards allocating capital, so a smaller transaction (perhaps a deeper investment in Canadian LNG?) would have been more expected,” Ellis said.

Enbridge struck the deal just over a month after CEO Greg Ebel told analysts the company saw ‘tuck-in’ acquisition opportunities ‘across the board’.

In a note, Ellis described the acquisition a “defensive move” and said despite the size of the deal Enbridge left its 5% annual EBITDA growth expectation over the medium term unchanged, which suggests that the earnings contribution is “replacing weaker results on the liquids side of the business.”

By late morning, Enbridge shares were down 5.5% at C$45.50, while the benchmark Canadian share index was off 0.5%. Rival TC Energy (NYSE:) was down 2.7%. Enbridge is selling new shares at a discount of 7.2% to its Tuesday close to part-fund the transaction.

“While Enbridge paid a reasonable price, high leverage and funding gap could act as overhang,” Wells Fargo analysts said in a note.

The transaction deploys some of company’s near term balance sheet capacity and hence the company will be even more selective on how it deploys remaining investment capacity, the note added.

In July, rival TC Energy said it would focus on transporting natural gas, as it announced the split of the business into two listed companies, saying they would be more valuable apart.

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Iridium secures $200M loan to boost share buybacks

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Iridium Communications Inc. (NASDAQ:) announced today that it has initiated a $200 million incremental term loan under the same terms as its existing $1.62 billion credit agreement. The company, a key player in the communications equipment sector, plans to use the additional funds to expedite its share repurchase program and for other general corporate purposes.

The new loan will be marketed with the backing of Deutsche Bank AG (NYSE:) New York Branch, which also serves as the Administrative and Collateral Agent. Joining the arrangement are Deutsche Bank Securities Inc., Barclays Bank PLC, Royal Bank of Canada, and Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, as Joint Lead Arrangers and Bookrunners.

Iridium’s move to secure additional capital comes as part of its strategy to enhance shareholder value through an accelerated share buyback plan. The company’s decision to allocate funds for this purpose reflects its commitment to managing its capital structure proactively.

This financial maneuver is disclosed in compliance with Regulation FD, which ensures that all investors receive key financial information simultaneously. The disclosure was made through an 8-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, providing transparency and allowing investors to assess the company’s financial decisions.

The McLean, Virginia-based Iridium, which operates under the jurisdiction of Delaware with a fiscal year ending on December 31, has not disclosed further details regarding the timeline or specific terms of the share repurchases.

The information in this article is based on a press release statement from Iridium Communications Inc. and serves to inform investors of the company’s latest financial activity. The strategic financial steps taken by Iridium are part of its broader efforts to optimize its operations and enhance shareholder returns.

In other recent news, Iridium Communications Inc. has reported positive second-quarter results, including a 5% growth in service revenue and an increase of 80,000 in its subscriber base. The company’s full-year guidance remains on track, forecasting continued growth in service revenue and EBITDA.

Significant contributors to this positive outlook include a $90 million 5-year contract with the U.S. government, a strong position in alternative Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) services, and advancements in IoT technology.

Iridium is also expanding its device and service offerings through its unique satellite network, with projections of record revenue in 2024 from its collaborations with the U.S. Space Development Agency. The company has also secured a reduction in annual interest expenses by $4 million due to term loan repricing and has increased its quarterly dividend through aggressive share repurchasing.

In terms of future expectations, Iridium is focused on expanding its IoT technology and lowering the cost of end-user devices. The company is also bullish on its satellite-based time and location service, expecting it to generate over $100 million in annual service revenue by 2030. These are all recent developments that investors should take into consideration.

InvestingPro Insights

Iridium Communications Inc. (NASDAQ:IRDM) has shown a proactive approach to shareholder value, as evidenced by their recent move to secure an additional $200 million loan to fund an accelerated share repurchase program. This strategy aligns with InvestingPro Tips that highlight management’s aggressive buyback policy and the anticipation of net income growth this year. With a solid gross profit margin of 71.91% in the last twelve months as of Q1 2024 and a notable EBITDA growth of 4.67%, Iridium is demonstrating its operational efficiency.

The company’s current market capitalization stands at $3.29 billion, and despite a high P/E ratio of 39.44, which suggests a premium valuation, the company’s liquid assets exceeding short-term obligations indicate a strong liquidity position.

Moreover, analysts have revised their earnings upwards for the upcoming period, which may signal confidence in the company’s future performance. For investors seeking more in-depth analysis and additional InvestingPro Tips, there are 10 more tips available, which can be explored further with a special offer. Use coupon code PRONEWS24 to get up to 10% off a yearly Pro and a yearly or biyearly Pro+ subscription at InvestingPro.

This article was generated with the support of AI and reviewed by an editor. For more information see our T&C.

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Protests and politics as Netanyahu addresses US Congress

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By Patricia Zengerle

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Dozens of Democratic lawmakers planned to skip Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress on Wednesday, expressing dismay over the thousands of civilian deaths and the humanitarian crisis from Israel’s campaign in Gaza.

The longtime Israeli leader will make a record fourth speech to a joint meeting of the Senate and House of Representatives at 2 p.m. EDT (1800 GMT), passing British wartime leader Winston Churchill, who made three such speeches.

Netanyahu’s speech was expected to focus on coordinating the Israeli and U.S. response to the volatile situation in the Middle East, where there is a growing danger of the Gaza war spilling over into a wider regional conflict.

He was also expected to call for stronger action against Iran, which supports Palestinian Hamas and Lebanese Hezbollah, both militant groups fighting Israel, and has drawn increased U.S. condemnation over its recent nuclear advances.

Republican leaders in Congress orchestrated the visit, but it was likely to be less confrontational than in 2015 when Republicans sidestepped then-President Barack Obama, a Democrat, and Netanyahu used his speech to criticize Obama’s Iran policy.

This time, Netanyahu will seek to bolster his traditional links to Republicans but also look to ease tensions with President Joe Biden, a Democrat whose support he will rely on for the remaining six months of the president’s term.

Washington is preoccupied with the fallout from Biden’s announcement on Sunday that he was ending his reelection bid and endorsing Vice President Kamala Harris for the Democratic presidential nomination to challenge Republican Donald Trump.

SOME LAWMAKERS STAY AWAY

Some lawmakers said they were uncomfortable about appearing to endorse Netanyahu and his hard-right coalition government as he faces declining poll numbers in Israel.

“For him, this is all about shoring up his support back home, which is one of the reasons I don’t want to attend,” Senator Chris Van Hollen told reporters. “I don’t want to be part of a political prop in this act of deception. He is not the great guardian of the U.S.-Israel relationship.”

A Republican House member, Representative Thomas Massie, also said he would not attend. “The purpose of having Netanyahu address Congress is to bolster his political standing in Israel and to quell int’l opposition to his war. I don’t feel like being a prop so I won’t be attending,” he wrote on X.

Some of the most prominent Democrats planned to stay away. They included Senators Dick Durbin, the chamber’s No. 2 Democrat, Tim Kaine, Jeff Merkley and Brian Schatz, all members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, as well as Patty Murray, who chairs Senate Appropriations.

In the House, those staying away included progressive Representatives Rashida Tlaib and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, as well as Ami Bera, a senior member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, and Adam Smith, the top Democrat on Armed Services.

Smith said he never attends joint meetings but also described himself on Tuesday as “very, very opposed to what Prime Minister Netanyahu is doing in Israel.” 

Harris, who normally would preside over the speech as vice president, will not be attending. Neither will Republican Senator JD (NASDAQ:) Vance, Trump’s vice presidential running mate.

Murray would have presided, as the senior Senate Democrat, in Harris’ absence. Democratic Senator Ben Cardin, who leads the foreign relations committee, will replace her.

NETANYAHU TO MEET BIDEN, HARRIS ON THURSDAY

Netanyahu will meet both Biden and Harris on Thursday. Harris has at times been more forward-leaning than her boss in criticizing Israel for heavy Palestinian civilian casualties in Gaza.

Netanyahu was to travel to Florida to meet with Trump on Friday. The meeting will be their first since the end of Trump’s presidency, during which the two forged close ties.

Before addressing Congress, Netanyahu spoke at a memorial for Senator Joe Lieberman, who died in March, stressing the lawmaker’s view that Israel must be allowed to achieve its goal of “disabling Hamas” and that the U.S. and Israel had a shared interest in a united front against Iran.

Several hundred activists staged a demonstration on Tuesday at a congressional office building, and mass protests were promised for Wednesday. The Capitol building was surrounded by high fencing and a heavy security presence.

Some protesters were out on Wednesday hours before Netanyahu’s speech, holding signs including, “Stop War Crimes in Gaza.” Dozens of Washington streets were closed, with some neighborhoods patrolled by New York City police officers.

Some Democrats said they were attending despite their concerns. 

© Reuters. Pro-Palestinian demonstrators protest, on the day of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's address to a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 24, 2024. REUTERS/Seth Herald

“I sit in that chair that I was elected to sit in on days that I enjoy it and days that are iffy and days that I despise it or a mix of the latter two. But I’m elected to be in that seat,” Representative Dan Kildee said.

    “My constituents didn’t elect me to show up only when I enjoy what I’m hearing. If I did that I would spend very little time on the floor of the House.”

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NSTS Bancorp reaches 52-week high, hitting $10.48

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NSTS Bancorp, a prominent player in the banking sector, has recently hit a 52-week high, reaching a price level of $10.48. This milestone marks a significant achievement for the company, reflecting its robust performance and strong market position. Over the past year, NSTS Bancorp has demonstrated a remarkable growth trajectory, with a 1-year change of 12.83%. This positive trend underscores the company’s resilience and adaptability in a dynamic market environment. Investors and market watchers are keeping a close eye on NSTS Bancorp, as it continues to navigate the financial landscape with strategic acumen and operational efficiency.

InvestingPro Insights

NSTS Bancorp’s recent surge to a 52-week high is a testament to its market performance, yet a deeper look through InvestingPro metrics reveals a more nuanced picture. With a market capitalization of $51.15 million, the company is a smaller player in the banking sector. Despite achieving a 1-year price total return of 11.25%, NSTS Bancorp grapples with challenges such as weak gross profit margins and a lack of profitability over the last twelve months. Additionally, the stock’s current price is hovering close to this peak, trading at 99.33% of its 52-week high. Investors considering NSTS Bancorp should note that while the stock exhibits low price volatility, it does not offer dividend payouts, which could be a significant factor for those seeking income-generating investments.

For a comprehensive understanding of NSTS Bancorp’s financial health and stock performance, consider the InvestingPro Tips which reveal that the stock is currently in overbought territory according to the RSI, and the company’s P/E ratio stands at -10.89, indicating that it may be overvalued given its lack of recent profitability. To explore additional insights and gain access to exclusive metrics, visit https://www.investing.com/pro/NSTS. There are 5 more InvestingPro Tips available for NSTS Bancorp, which can be accessed with a subscription. Use coupon code PRONEWS24 for up to 10% off a yearly Pro and a yearly or biyearly Pro+ subscription.

This article was generated with the support of AI and reviewed by an editor. For more information see our T&C.

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