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Administration of Veritas NetBackup 7.5 for UNIX
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Killexams : Veritas Administration techniques - BingNews https://killexams.com/pass4sure/exam-detail/VCS-271 Search results Killexams : Veritas Administration techniques - BingNews https://killexams.com/pass4sure/exam-detail/VCS-271 https://killexams.com/exam_list/Veritas Killexams : Autonomous Data Management: A Complete Guide

Digital transformation has made data a strategic asset for the organization, with hybrid, multi-cloud environments the preferred operational models. However, the advent of big data and the rush to store and back it up in the cloud has resulted in data scattered across multiple clouds, making it challenging to harvest its value or protect it.

The situation is worsened by the lack of optimized enterprise data management tools for hybrid and multi-cloud environments. As a result, organizations lack the operational agility to utilize their stored data fully.

Hence, modern digital enterprises need to adopt new data management approaches that operate efficiently within the cloud environment, provide intelligent automation, deliver operational agility and efficiency at scale, and deliver a consistent experience across clouds.

This guide explains autonomous data management and how Veritas is transforming the future of data management using autonomous, multi-cloud-optimized solutions like NetBackup 10 and Cloud Scale Technology. It also looks at the challenges that gave rise to the need for autonomous data management solutions and the technology’s essence for the modern enterprise.

The Road to Autonomous Data Management

The current data protection market, including disaster recoverybackup and recovery, replication, deduplication, and other technology, is evolving quickly. In addition, the market is shifting from manual operations and oversight to intelligent and autonomous data management.

The leap from data backup to autonomous data management did not happen overnight. It started with protected backups stored on on-premises databases and was reliant on human workloads and oversight. It then changed to cloud-enabled environments that natively leveraged public and private clouds. Later came data intelligence to sift through extensive data before graduating to autonomous data management that minimizes human intervention.

Before autonomous data management, the focus was on supporting IT production, with data and app backup and recovery being the core objectives. However, the adoption of cloud-based technologies to support and extend traditional on-premises environments changed everything.

Emerging technologies and solutions will seamlessly and natively leverage private and public cloud infrastructures to ensure backup and recovery. They will also protect workloads in the cloud environment and across on-premises and cloud infrastructure.

However, increasing digital transformation makes organizations’ requirements for data content and context a priority and a going concern. Therefore, they need to derive more intelligence from stored data, and the data management gaps are an obstacle they need to overcome as they race toward data intelligence and autonomy.

The ultimate goal for organizations is autonomous data management. Here, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies allow the automation of data management processes and minimize human intervention and oversight. It results in operational efficiencies, increased uptime, enhanced security, and higher service levels.

Data intelligence and autonomy are relevant to Veritas and its introduction of the new Cloud Scale Technology to power autonomous data management.

The Challenges Facing the Cloud Environment

The need for organizations to manage and protect their data cost-effectively has never been more critical and challenging. But unfortunately, many of today’s data management technologies suffer from one or more of the challenges below:

  • Cloud-native vs. multi-cloud: The current data management solutions fall in one of two scenarios. They either provide multi-cloud support with a centralized control but consume many costly resources within each environment or are cloud-native. In the latter scenario, they are efficient within a single cloud environment but don’t scale across multiple clouds. The operational costs in both cases are higher than desired.
  • Functional silos with point solutions: The rush to implement cloud technology has created a proliferation of point solutions as cloud architects, app developers, and data scientists implement independent data management solutions, limiting centralized governance.
  • Manual operations: Enterprise data management solutions are programmable but retain a manual deployment and maintenance approach, slowing operational agility.
  • Passive cyber-resilience: Most of today’s data protection technologies take a passive approach to protecting data stored in the cloud. They back up data and restore it after an attack, resulting in unplanned downtime.

The need for multi-cloud strategies across the board has necessitated the development of a new autonomous approach to data management. The new Veritas technology supports multi-cloud operations, eliminates functional silos, automates all processes with minimal human intervention, and enhances cyber-resiliency using active ransomware detection and prevention methods.

What is Autonomous Data Management?

Autonomous data management allows enterprises to unlock full cloud benefits, including operational scale and agility. It refers to cloud technologies that operate autonomously and transparently with little to no human intervention. It also does not sacrifice human oversight.

Autonomous data management requires harnessing artificial intelligence, hyper-automation, and machine learning. It also combines this capability with an elastic, programmable, and multi-cloud-optimized technology.

Suppose you discover a new application deployed to the cloud that you require or use in your regular business operations. You would provide resources to immediately protect its data using the appropriate recovery point objective (RPO) and recovery time objective (RTO). However, you will rely on manual oversight since you don’t have the right intelligent technology to optimize your operations.

Unfortunately, humans are the weakest link because of their inherent limitations, especially in environments requiring swift and data-driven decision-making to achieve desired operational and business goals. In addition, human resources are prone to errors and are slower to execute than AI-powered solutions, especially when it comes to mundane, repetitive tasks.

Therefore, the best solution for managing data in a complex, hybrid, and multi-cloud environment is autonomous operation. It means minimizing the need and reliance on manual processes by combining hyper-automation with data-driven intelligence.

Achieving autonomous data management allows modern businesses to benefit from optimal data management that self-optimizes, self-heals, and self-provisions in multi-cloud environments. In this context:

  • Self-optimization means using AI and machine learning to adapt and adjust data protection and management policies and services.
  • Self-healing means the ability to predict, identify, and repair service errors or performance issues.
  • Self-provisioning means assigning appropriate protection and management policies and deploying the correct data management applications and services without requiring human involvement.

For example, before the advent of autonomous data management solutions, an app developer who wished to deploy a new application would have to rely on manual processes. Non-autonomous enterprise data management solutions require a lot of manual intervention and handoffs despite having some of the workflows automated. As a result, this makes the process inefficient, time-consuming, and prone to human errors.

Autonomous data management eliminates all the manual steps while protecting the application throughout the process without requiring any additional actions from the app developer, data protection team, or other IT personnel. Thus, it leads to an optimized, efficient, and secure environment.

Why is there a Need for Autonomous Data Management?

The 2021 State of DevOps report from Puppet reveals that manual operations increase an enterprise’s manual IT operations costs by 50-90%. Autonomous data management will significantly reduce these costs once fully implemented.

Data management is a crucial first step for organizations to analyze data at scale effectively. It leads to essential insights that add value to decision-making processes and customers and Improve the bottom line. The following factors explain the need for effective autonomous data management:

  1. Visibility: Data management can increase an organization’s visibility of its data assets. It makes it easier to find the correct data for analysis. Additionally, data visibility allows organizations to become organized, productive, and confident in their decisions because employees and senior management can find the data they need.
  2. Reliability: Data management should be reliable and minimize potential errors. Therefore, organizations need to establish policies and processes for building trust and using their data to make decisions. Additionally, reliable and up-to-date data enables organizations to respond efficiently to customer needs and market changes.
  3. Security: Data management protects organizations and stakeholders from data theft, breaches, and losses.
  4. Scalability: Data management enables effective scaling and data usage with repeatable processes to keep it up-to-date. Easy-to-repeat functions allow an organization to avoid unnecessary duplication costs and occurrences, such as employees re-running costly queries unnecessarily or conducting the same research repeatedly.

How Veritas Aims to Transform Autonomous Data Management

The traditional data backup and protection market will morph into an intelligent and autonomous data management environment. Innovative new cloud architecture is powering the inevitable fundamental shift to provide secure and reliable cloud environments.

Veritas Technologies, a global leader in multi-cloud data management, has recognized this inevitable shift by introducing the Cloud Scale Technology. Now, NetBackup will use the technology to operate autonomously. It allows automatic provisioning, optimizing, healing, and configuring data management services with little to no human involvement.

Veritas’ NetBackup strategy provides the first AI-enabled autonomous data management solution delivered using Cloud Scale Technology – a flexible, multi-cloud-optimized platform.

In late February 2022, Veritas announced the launch of new technology to support autonomous data management. The new technology helps Veritas simplify how businesses manage their data and automate protection from cyber threats like ransomware.

Veritas’ NetBackup™ will harness artificial intelligence and hyper-automation to enable self-provisioning, self-optimizing, and self-healing in multi-cloud environments. In addition, the company unveiled Veritas Cloud Scale Technology as a new generation of industry-leading NetBackup architecture designed and modernized to operate at web-scale.

The state-of-the-art technology is available with the latest version of NetBackup software named NetBackup 10. Veritas believes in accelerating digital transformation and cloud adoption to deliver benefits to businesses worldwide.

Veritas has also laid out a strategy to solve new and developing cyberattacks in the wake of a joint advisory from the governments of the US, UK, and Australia security services highlighting the increased impact of ransomware attacks targeting cloud data and services. The company’s tools will help reduce cloud costs and footprint, keep data safe, and usher in autonomous data management.

Veritas Cloud Scale Technology

Veritas Cloud Scale Technology will power NetBackup, becoming the foundation that delivers autonomous data management. The technology delivers a programmable, containerized, and AI-powered microservices architecture to provide autonomous and unified data management services across clouds.

The new Cloud Scale Technology from Veritas uses leading-edge web-scale IT techniques and technologies to provide greater cloud efficiency and agility. It also enables elastic, auto-scaling cloud data management. In addition, it creates the foundation for the new NetBackup 10 features and the entire Veritas autonomous data management strategy to transform the enterprise data protection space.

The Veritas Cloud Scale Technology will enable autonomous provisioning, optimizing, and repairing of data management services. It will also empower end-users to enjoy self-service data recovery and protection and free up their IT staff to focus on other strategic and transformational activities.

Enterprise data management must meet the needs of emerging multi-cloud infrastructures because that’s where customers and companies have their critical data. Once achieved, it would lower ownership costs and Improve returns on investment.

The full implementation of the Cloud Scale Technology and NetBackup 10 would translate into data self-service for other areas of the organization like cloud architects, data scientists, and application developers. It will also enhance operational agility, comprehensive protection, and cloud cost optimization.

Organizations can now enjoy AI-powered malware scanning, anomaly detection, and flexible data recovery options on-premises and cloud.


NetBackup™, powered by Cloud Scale Technology, is the industry’s leading enterprise data management solution. It provides agile autonomous data management and security across multi-cloud environments at scale. It leverages automation, AI, and flexible architecture and has 100 exabytes of information under management.

NetBackup provides an integrated approach to delivering unmatched performance and cost savings, making it the preferred technology of choice for 87% of Fortune Global 500 firms. Cloud optimization, operations automation, and cyber resilience are its main selling points because they help simplify data management.

The launch of NetBackup 10 will enable companies to realize the benefits of Cloud Scale Technology. NetBackup 10 leverages Cloud Scale Technology to lower the total cost of ownership (TCO) for the cloud, increase operating efficiency, and Improve security within multi-cloud environments.

The current space is characterized by organizations with a patchwork of piecemeal cloud data protection solutions and the deployment of individual workloads and applications managed in silos. However, while effective in the short-run, the costs add up over time and create a continually growing management and cost burden that becomes unsustainable at scale.

Therefore, organizations need a sustainable long-term solution to help reduce their cloud backup footprint and automate management.

NetBackup has earned a proven reputation for enabling scalable and unified enterprise data management. Therefore, by combining NetBackup 10 with the software-driven programmability, multi-cloud optimization, and dynamic resource provisioning capabilities of Cloud Scale Technology, it can operate autonomously with little to no human involvement.

The Benefits of NetBackup 10

NetBackup 10 is a cloud-optimized data management solution that provides the following benefits to organizations:

1.    Lower TCO through Cloud-Optimization

It features enhanced multi-cloud storage, backup, and orchestrated tiering capabilities. It also supports Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, allowing companies to reduce their backup storage costs significantly.

Additionally, Veritas has upgraded its deduplication services to help minimize NetBackup’s cloud footprint. At the same time, elastic multi-cloud compute services can deliver the scale businesses need, which further reduces operating costs.

Finally, NetBackup 10 provides multi-cloud cross-platform recovery and supports all major Kubernetes distributions. This allows users to recover their data to any Kubernetes distribution.

2.    Simplified, Automation Processes Provide Increased Efficiency

NetBackup 10 now integrates with NetBackup SaaS Protection to provide customers with a central view of their entire data protection estate, enabling easier governance and compliance.

NetBackup 10 comes fully integrated with NetBackup IT Analytics, providing comprehensive AI-driven analytics. It also includes real-time reporting to mitigate risks and streamline data protection services.

Finally, NetBackup 10 features automated detection and protection capability to support platform-as-a-service workloads such as Apache Cassandra, Microsoft Azure Managed SQL, Azure SQL, and major Kubernetes distributions.

3.    Enhanced Security and Ransomware Resiliency

NetBackup 10 has integrated malware scanning capability. The automatic malware scanning occurs during backups and before restores for infection-free data recovery.

The technology comes equipped with a powerful, AI-driven anomaly detection system that automatically initiates malware scanning. When combined with the technology’s ransomware detection service, NetBackup 10 provides content-aware and granular flexibility with rapid clean data restoration.

The technology also expands immutable storage support, including Microsoft Azure Blob Storage.

Why is Autonomous Data Management Important?

The benefits of autonomous data management are numerous, including providing faster, easier, and better self-service insight. Other benefits are:

  1. Security: Autonomous data management technologies encrypt data, monitor workloads and data in transit, and keep track of who accesses information to ensure enhanced cyber security and compliance.
  2. Speed: Automation eliminates manual data installation and analysis, providing decision-makers with essential insights faster.
  3. Efficiency: Autonomous data management leverages AI and ML to ensure it always runs efficiently.
  4. Scalability: Autonomous data management is scalable across multi-clouds with minimal human intervention without giving up human insight.

Veritas Cloud Scale Technologies and NetBackup are paving the way for AI-powered autonomous data management solutions that solve the challenges the industry faces today. The new Cloud Scale Technology has redefined enterprise data management for multi-cloud and hybrid cloud environments by powering NetBackup 10 to enable autonomous operations.

As the new generation of the NetBackup architecture, Cloud Scale Technology employs similar technologies found in web-scale services leading to elastic, portable, and programmable services. Additionally, by containerizing services like backups, deduplication, and snapshots, NetBackup services can grow and shrink depending on load, thanks to Cloud Scale Technology.

Containers also enable portability and reliability because they work within multiple clouds and provide greater resiliency. Additionally, Cloud Scale Technology enables NetBackup 10 to operate efficiently due to automation, subscription-based services, and multi-tenancy.

Efficient operation in multi-cloud environments controls costs, improves ROI, and delivers cyber-resilience to mitigate and reduce the impact of cyberattacks. NetBackup combines event-driven malware detection and AI-powered anomaly detection to identify potential threats proactively. Additionally, once an attack occurs, it offers flexible recovery options for data restoration to alternate clouds as needed to reduce the recovery time.

The Bottom Line

Enterprises are pursuing digital transformation by accelerating their multi-cloud strategies. However, many of the existing enterprise data management solutions are not equipped to meet the challenges of managing and protecting data in multi-cloud environments effectively. Hence, the need for autonomous data management solutions.

Veritas NetBackup and Cloud Scale Technology deliver the first autonomous data management solution powered by AI. The result is a cyber-resilient, autonomously-operated, and multi-cloud-optimized platform that allows worldwide data storage, protection, and recovery, no matter the threat. It also will enable organizations to operate cost-efficiently across any cloud and enable autonomous data management without sacrificing human insight.

Veritas customers include 98% of the Fortune 100, and NetBackup™ is the #1 choice for enterprises looking to back up large amounts of data.

Learn how Veritas keeps your data fully protected across virtual, physical, cloud and legacy workloads with Data Protection Services for Enterprise Businesses.

Sat, 05 Mar 2022 07:06:00 -0600 en-US text/html https://www.veritas.com/information-center/autonomous-data-management
Killexams : Ex-Project Veritas Staffer Claims James O’Keefe’s Party Guests Pooped on the Floor

Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Image

As an administrative assistant for the conservative undercover group Project Veritas, Antoinetta Zappier had some unusual responsibilities. She claims she would be woken up in the middle of the night because Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe had lost his apartment keys, or asked to fake O’Keefe’s signature onto thousands of copies of his book, after donors had paid $200 each to receive “signed” copies.

And then, there was the time, Zappier says, she had to buy supplies to clean up a boat after partygoers at an event hosted by O’Keefe relieved themselves on the floor.

In a lawsuit filed Sunday, Zappier alleges that her duties for Project Veritas extended to a particularly debauched boat party for Young Republicans. After buying hundreds of dollars worth of alcohol for the party, Zappier alleges, she was left frantically purchasing cleaning supplies when attendees “defecated on the floor.”

Proud Boy Named in Feds’ James O’Keefe Search Warrant

The boat-excrement scene is just one incident alleged in a federal lawsuit Zappier filed Sunday against Project Veritas. The allegations—which also include an abortion, a near-fatal drug overdose, pornography, and secret sexual recordings—portray a conservative group running out of control under O’Keefe’s leadership.

“It’s like Animal House,” said Zappier’s attorney, Arthur Z. Schwartz.

Zappier was fired from Project Veritas in March 2022. In her lawsuit, she claims she was fired after rejecting the sexual advances of Project Veritas’ field director, Michael Spadone, who she claims also sexually assaulted her.

“Project Veritas encouraged a culture of employees sleeping with each other, and constantly drinking, using drugs, and partying together,” the lawsuit, which was first reported by the New York Times, alleges.

The Daily Beast sent Project Veritas a list of Zappier’s allegations. Instead of addressing them individually, the group replied with a mass email sent to Project Veritas’ supporters that claimed Zappier was fired for “unprofessional and inappropriate behavior in the workplace,” citing a year-old voicemail recording in which Zappier spoke dismissively to an aspiring tipster.

Project Veritas has filed its own lawsuit against Zappier. And in an attempt to discredit Zappier’s complaint, Project Veritas’ statement also pointed to the fact that Schwartz once worked as a lawyer for Acorn, the progressive community organizing group O’Keefe’s undercover videos once helped destroy.

“Schwartz is attempting to leverage Zappier’s claims to hurt Project Veritas,” the email claimed.

NYT Reveals Shady New Details on How Project Veritas Got Its Hands on Ashley Biden’s Diary

Complicating the fallout over Zappier’s firing, Zappier’s husband once threatened a Project Veritas staffer with a gun, according to the lawsuit, after the staffer insisted on taking a shower at the Zappiers’ home. While Zappier named a number of Project Veritas employees as witnesses or perpetrators to incidents mentioned in the lawsuit, The Daily Beast was unable to independently confirm her allegations.

The alleged hostile work environment for women at Project Veritas went beyond Zappier, according to the lawsuit. The complaint describes a workplace rife with alcohol and drug use and sexual relationships, including one man described as a “superior” engaging in daytime drinking and “sexual activity in the office.”

All of those alleged relationships could have consequences. When a Project Veritas fundraiser impregnated a woman described in the lawsuit as a “subordinate,” he “paid for her abortion.” After O’Keefe was told about the abortion, according to Zappier, the employee remained in his position.

O’Keefe perpetuated that sexual treatment of women at Project Veritas, according to the lawsuit. In the court filing, Zappier claims O’Keefe required Project Veritas’ undercover operatives to familiarize themselves with both the book and movie versions of Red Sparrow, a story about female Russian spies using seduction to gather intelligence.

Meet the Democrats’ Answer to Sting Artist James O’Keefe

O’Keefe allegedly described good-looking Project Veritas female agents as “Pretty Young Things,” or “PYTs,” and asked his employees to flag private social media messages from women so he could “respond to them personally.” The complaint also alleges that O’Keefe disparaged individual women’s bodies, describing one woman as “a train” and nicknaming another “Belle” because she was “shaped like the Liberty Bell.”

In one of the lawsuit’s more startling allegations, Zappier claims O’Keefe secretly recorded phone calls with his then-girlfriend, another conservative media personality. Zappier allegges that O’Keefe shared the recordings with other Project Veritas employees, even though the audio files featured O’Keefe and the woman discussing their “sexual activities.”

Zappier also alleges that pornography appeared in the Project Veritas office, albeit sometimes accidentally. The lawsuit claims O’Keefe once inadvertently played a pornographic video in front of roughly 75 staffers during a presentation. Zappier also saw pornography on O’Keefe’s computer in another incident, when she entered his office to put something on his desk, according to the complaint.

Porn at Project Veritas was a point of dispute between the parties even before the lawsuit was filed. In a May email to a Project Veritas lawyer later released by the group, Schwartz—Zappier’s attorney—wrote that he has “witnesses to James O'Keefe watching porn in his office with the door open.”

In Zappier’s telling, the unusual activities at Project Veritas weren’t limited to its office in Mamaroneck, NY. She claims the group—registered as a tax-exempt, 501(c)3 nonprofit with the IRS—rented a corporate apartment that became a “frat house” for “drinking, sex, marijuana, and parties,” with O’Keefe sometimes appearing there himself. Zappier alleges that one of the group’s undercover operatives “nearly died of a drug overdose” at the apartment, prompting his boss to question other Project Veritas employees who witnessed the drug use.

Judge Rules O’Keefe’s Schemes Can Be Portrayed to Jury as ‘Political Spying’

Attempts to rein in Project Veritas’ culture were quickly quashed, according to the lawsuit. When a female attorney started to document potential human resources violations, including workday drinking and “a superior having an inappropriate sexual relationship with a much younger subordinate,” O’Keefe allegedly accused her of spying on staffers.

According to Zappier, O’Keefe panic news of the lawyer’s inquiry would reach the media. The lawyer was fired, the lawsuit claims.

“Humans gonna be human,” O’Keefe replied when confronted with the issues documented by the lawyer, according to Zappier’s lawsuit.

Zappier’s attorney, Schwartz, predicted that the allegations about the inner-workings of Project Veritas were just starting to come out, saying Zappier’s lawsuit could have a “snowball effect.” Schwartz has also filed a potential class-action lawsuit against Project Veritas over wages.

“This was a highly, highly trusted person,” Schwartz said of Zappier.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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Tue, 09 Aug 2022 07:58:00 -0500 en-US text/html https://money.yahoo.com/ex-project-veritas-staffer-claims-195859307.html
Killexams : Lawsuits allege ‘sexually hostile’ culture, underpayment at Project Veritas No result found, try new keyword!Employees of Project Veritas, a conservative media organization known for publishing undercover videos, filed two lawsuits Sunday alleging illegal business practices and accusing leaders of fostering ... Mon, 08 Aug 2022 10:23:49 -0500 en-us text/html https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/lawsuits-allege-e2-80-98sexually-hostile-e2-80-99-culture-underpayment-at-project-veritas/ar-AA10saar Killexams : Project Veritas on hook for Stanford legal tab after defamation ruling

The Hoover Tower rises above Stanford University in this aerial photo in Stanford, California, U.S. on January 13, 2017. REUTERS/Noah Berger

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  • Federal judge dismissed group's lawsuit over academic blog post on elections
  • Project Veritas appealing dismissal to 9th Circuit

(Reuters) - The conservative group Project Veritas was ordered on Thursday to pay Stanford University nearly $150,000 in legal fees after a federal judge dismissed the activist organization's defamation lawsuit against the California school.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Zilly of Seattle federal court awarded Stanford's attorneys at the firms Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman and Miller Nash the full amount they requested in June following the dismissal of the complaint.

An academic blog post in September 2020 from a Stanford-affiliated nonpartisan coalition called the Election Integrity Partnership was at the heart of Project Veritas' lawsuit.

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The blog post questioned a Project Veritas report about alleged "ballot harvesting" in Minnesota. Zilly's ruling dismissing the lawsuit said "the phrases in the blog post that Project Veritas challenges as defamatory are nonactionable opinions."

A spokesperson for Project Veritas on Friday said "Stanford was handed a dismissal on the basis that it published a report the court deemed non-factual — and now obtained a mandatory award of fees. Words have meaning, and we are appealing."

The group's challenge is pending in the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Project Veritas opposed Stanford's bid for fees.

Two lawyers for Project Veritas — Joel Ard of Ard Law Group and Libby Locke of Clare Locke — did not immediately respond to a request on Friday seeking comment.

Stanford and a spokesperson from the Election Integrity Partnership did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Pillsbury partner Sarah Flanagan in San Francisco, and Miller Nash's Brian Esler in Seattle, who represent Stanford, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

In court filings, Stanford said its bid request for $150,000 was tied to the school's effort to dismiss the case.

"This amount represents just a portion of the roughly $290,000 in total attorneys' fees paid by Stanford in defending this action and the repeated threats of litigation by Project Veritas that preceded it," the university's lawyers told the court.

Flanagan, who regularly bills at $1,290 hourly, charged $891 an hour as a discount, filings in the case show. Pillsbury counsel Lee Brand, whose standard rate is $945 an hour, billed at $718 hourly in the litigation.

Zilly dismissed Project Veritas' lawsuit under the 2021 Washington state law the Uniform Public Expression Protection Act. Stanford's attorneys said the law "broadly protects speech on matters of public concern from meritless civil litigation."

The case is Project Veritas v. Leland Stanford Junior University and University of Washington, U.S. District Court, Western District of Washington, No. 2:21-cv-01326-TSZ.

For Project Veritas: Joel Ard of Ard Law Group and Libby Locke of Clare Locke

For Stanford: Sarah Flanagan of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, and Brian Esler of Miller Nash

Read more:

New York Times is free to publish Project Veritas documents, appeals court rules

Project Veritas hires Washington law firm to lobby over FBI search

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Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Fri, 05 Aug 2022 07:33:00 -0500 Mike Scarcella en text/html https://www.reuters.com/legal/litigation/project-veritas-hook-stanford-legal-tab-after-defamation-ruling-2022-08-05/
Killexams : Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE:BIO) CAO Ajit Ramalingam Sells 518 Shares of Stock

Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE:BIOGet Rating) CAO Ajit Ramalingam sold 518 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, August 5th. The stock was sold at an average price of $537.00, for a total value of $278,166.00. Following the completion of the sale, the chief accounting officer now directly owns 98 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $52,626. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink.

Bio-Rad Laboratories Stock Performance

Shares of Bio-Rad Laboratories stock opened at $535.08 on Tuesday. The company has a current ratio of 5.30, a quick ratio of 4.22 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.13. The business’s fifty day simple moving average is $513.07 and its 200 day simple moving average is $544.65. Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. has a 12 month low of $462.61 and a 12 month high of $832.70. The firm has a market capitalization of $16.02 billion, a P/E ratio of -8.07 and a beta of 0.96.

Bio-Rad Laboratories (NYSE:BIOGet Rating) last released its earnings results on Thursday, July 28th. The medical research company reported $3.38 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $2.46 by $0.92. Bio-Rad Laboratories had a positive return on equity of 3.82% and a negative net margin of 67.66%. The business had revenue of $691.10 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $664.60 million. During the same period last year, the business posted $3.54 earnings per share. The business’s revenue for the quarter was down 3.5% on a year-over-year basis. As a group, analysts anticipate that Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. will post 14.28 EPS for the current year.

Wall Street Analyst Weigh In

BIO has been the subject of a number of accurate analyst reports. Citigroup dropped their price target on Bio-Rad Laboratories from $750.00 to $700.00 and set a “buy” rating on the stock in a report on Friday, July 8th. Jefferies Financial Group reiterated a “buy” rating and set a $700.00 price target on shares of Bio-Rad Laboratories in a report on Friday, April 29th. Finally, TheStreet lowered Bio-Rad Laboratories from a “b-” rating to a “c+” rating in a report on Thursday, April 28th.

Institutional Trading of Bio-Rad Laboratories

A number of large investors have recently bought and sold shares of BIO. Veritas Asset Management LLP purchased a new stake in Bio-Rad Laboratories in the second quarter worth $379,547,000. AustralianSuper Pty Ltd purchased a new position in shares of Bio-Rad Laboratories in the second quarter valued at $191,846,000. Artemis Investment Management LLP grew its position in shares of Bio-Rad Laboratories by 97.6% in the second quarter. Artemis Investment Management LLP now owns 195,787 shares of the medical research company’s stock valued at $97,034,000 after purchasing an additional 96,691 shares in the last quarter. Polar Asset Management Partners Inc. purchased a new position in shares of Bio-Rad Laboratories in the first quarter valued at $34,864,000. Finally, Prudential Financial Inc. grew its position in shares of Bio-Rad Laboratories by 181.0% in the first quarter. Prudential Financial Inc. now owns 85,053 shares of the medical research company’s stock valued at $47,905,000 after purchasing an additional 54,789 shares in the last quarter. 63.66% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About Bio-Rad Laboratories

(Get Rating)

Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc manufactures, and distributes life science research and clinical diagnostic products in the United States, Europe, Asia, Canada, and Latin America. The company operates through Life Science and Clinical Diagnostics segments. The Life Science segment develops, manufactures, and markets a range of reagents, apparatus, and laboratory instruments that are used in research techniques, biopharmaceutical production processes, and food testing regimes.

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Mon, 08 Aug 2022 21:30:00 -0500 admin en text/html https://www.defenseworld.net/2022/08/09/bio-rad-laboratories-inc-nysebio-cao-ajit-ramalingam-sells-518-shares-of-stock.html
Killexams : Veritas Technologies Named a Leader in the 2022 Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ for Enterprise Backup and Recovery Software Solutions for the 17th Time No result found, try new keyword!Veritas Technologies, a leader in multi-cloud data management, today announced it has been named a Leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Backup and Recovery Software Solutions for the 17 ... Wed, 03 Aug 2022 03:15:00 -0500 https://finance.dailyherald.com/dailyherald/article/bizwire-2022-8-3-veritas-technologies-named-a-leader-in-the-2022-gartner-magic-quadrant-for-enterprise-backup-and-recovery-software-solutions-for-the-17th-time Killexams : Veritas Capital Announces Strategic Investment in Epiq Solutions

NEW YORK & ROLLING MEADOWS, Ill., July 26, 2022--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Veritas Capital ("Veritas"), a leading technology and government investment firm, today announced that The Veritas Capital Vantage Fund, L.P. ("Vantage Fund") has made a strategic investment in Epiq Solutions, a leading provider of software defined radio and turnkey radio frequency ("RF") solutions for governments and enterprises. Epiq Solutions is now a portfolio company of the Vantage Fund, which targets opportunities in the middle market. Co-founders John Orlando, Aaron Madsen, and Michael Shogren will continue to lead the company and will retain a significant ownership position. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Founded in 2009, Epiq Solutions provides small form factor, SWaP-C (size, weight, power and cost) optimized software defined radio and turnkey RF solutions for mission-critical military and commercial embedded computing applications. The company offers a portfolio of commercial-off-the-shelf hardware and differentiated software solutions that leverage open-architecture standards, allowing government and enterprise customers to rapidly insert technology and accelerate modernization efforts.

"We’re thrilled to partner with Veritas, a premier technology investor with decades of experience, to accelerate our growth," said John Orlando, CEO of Epiq Solutions. "Veritas’ deep network, expertise investing at the intersection of technology and government, and collaborative approach will support our continued investment in product advancement and our rapid expansion into new markets. We look forward to delivering enhanced, best-in-class technology and powerful, mission-critical solutions to an expanded set of customers in the years to come."

"Epiq’s contemporary, market-leading open architecture solutions and unwavering commitment to its customers have positioned it at the forefront of the industry," said Hugh Evans, a Managing Partner of Veritas Capital. "With strong customer traction, the company is well positioned to meet its customers’ diverse and evolving needs and scale its national platform amid strong industry tailwinds. We look forward to partnering with John and the talented team to support the company’s continued growth, both organically and through targeted acquisitions."

Latham & Watkins served as legal counsel to Veritas. Raymond James served as financial advisor to Epiq Solutions and Miles & Stockbridge served as legal counsel.

About Veritas Capital
Veritas is a longstanding technology investor with a focus on companies operating at the intersection of technology and government. The firm invests in companies that provide critical products, software, and services, primarily technology and technology-enabled solutions, to government and commercial customers worldwide. Veritas seeks to create value by strategically transforming the companies in which it invests through organic and inorganic means. Leveraging technology to make a positive impact across vitally important areas, such as national security, healthcare, and education, is core to Veritas. We are proud stewards of national assets, protecting our nation and allies, improving the quality of healthcare while reducing cost, and advancing our educational system.

The Vantage Fund is a $1.8 billion fund targeting opportunities in the middle market. The Vantage Fund seeks to leverage the integrated platform, unique capabilities and demonstrated intellectual property of Veritas. For more information, visit www.veritascapital.com.

About Epiq Solutions
Epiq Solutions develops cutting edge RF tools that provide situational awareness and detailed insight into RF environments. With more than a decade serving governments and enterprises, and thousands of devices fielded, Epiq Solutions understands speed, cost, and performance for mission-critical applications. Epiq’s radically small, state-of-the-art software defined radio solutions and turnkey RF tools lead the way in minimizing size, weight, and power consumption. For more information, visit www.epiqsolutions.com.

View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20220726005453/en/



For Epiq Solutions:
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VP of Sales

For Veritas Capital:
FGS Global
Jenny Gore / Suzanne Byowitz

Tue, 26 Jul 2022 00:00:00 -0500 en-US text/html https://finance.yahoo.com/news/veritas-capital-announces-strategic-investment-120000435.html
Killexams : BUREAU VERITAS : Bureau Veritas acquires AMSfashion, an expert in sustainability, quality and conformity services for the fashion industry



Neuilly-sur-Seine, France – July 28, 2022

Bureau Veritas acquires AMSfashion, an expert in sustainability, quality and conformity services for the fashion industry

The acquisition strengthens Bureau Veritas’ position as a market leader in sustainability services in Europe

Bureau Veritas, a world leader in testing, inspection and certification, announced the acquisition of AMSfashion. The company is an expert in sustainability, quality and conformity services for the fashion industry, including organic/vegan content verification and durability testing.

AMSfashion, an AMSlab business unit, offers advanced analytical solutions for the textile and footwear sectors, and extensive experience in cosmetics analysis. It supports brands and suppliers of all sizes to verify the quality and conformity of products and materials against customer and regulatory requirements. This contributes to a reduction in claims, penalties, product recalls, customs blockages and shipment delays.
The company employs 50 people and generated revenue of approximately €3 million in 2021.

AMSlab was founded in 2008 and is headquartered in Lugo (Galicia, Spain).

The acquisition strengthens the Group’s presence in Iberia, a key hub for the expansion of its Consumer Products Services business, supporting the continuing growth in near shoring from South Europe and Africa. This also enables Bureau Veritas to support European retailers and brands looking to Improve their supply chain reliability and resilience.

Didier Michaud-Daniel, Chief Executive Officer of Bureau Veritas, commented:

This acquisition perfectly illustrates some of the objectives of our 2025 Strategy to increase scale and growth in attractive and strategic services and geographies. Safety, sustainability and supply chain reliability are now key drivers for the fashion industry. Bureau Veritas, as an independent and expert third party, has an important role to play: by bringing transparency, we help protect our clients’ brands and reputation. AMSfashion’s expertise will enable us to reinforce our position in the growing market for sustainable fashion testing and advisory services, especially in Europe. We are delighted to welcome the AMSfashion team to Bureau Veritas.”

Manuel Lolo, Founder of AMSlab, stated:

As long-term partners of Bureau Veritas, we look forward to expanding our capabilities and client services by leveraging the Group’s extensive geographic footprint and global leadership position with brands and retailers. We are proud of our advanced analytical and sustainable services, which we now share with Bureau Veritas worldwide. Through our combined expertise, we can offer the fashion industry an unparalleled value proposition.”

About Bureau Veritas
Bureau Veritas is a world leader in laboratory testing, inspection and certification services. Created in 1828, the Group has more than 80,000 employees located in nearly 1,600 offices and laboratories around the globe. Bureau Veritas helps its 400,000 clients Improve their performance by offering services and innovative solutions in order to ensure that their assets, products, infrastructure and processes meet standards and regulations in terms of quality, health and safety, environmental protection and social responsibility.
Bureau Veritas is listed on Euronext Paris and belongs to the CAC 40 ESG, CAC Next 20 and SBF 120 indices.
Compartment A, ISIN code FR 0006174348, stock symbol: BVI.
For more information, visit www.bureauveritas.com, and follow us on Twitter (@bureauveritas) and LinkedIn.

Our information is certified with blockchain technology.
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Wed, 27 Jul 2022 18:00:00 -0500 en-US text/html https://finance.yahoo.com/news/bureau-veritas-bureau-veritas-acquires-060000744.html
Killexams : Evaluating Web-Based Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Tests for Cancer Susceptibility

Falling costs of genetic testing in combination with growing public interest in personal genomics has driven the expansion of direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing. Today’s market encompasses a broad range of offerings, from tests that pair users with wines to tests that reveal serious disease risks.1 This review focuses on one area of the rapidly expanding DTC market—genetic testing for cancer susceptibility. Within this space, DTC offerings vary considerably in size and scope. The narrowest is a test that screens for three specific mutations in two genes and the broadest is a whole-genome sequencing service that analyzes dozens of genes for mutations that could affect cancer risk.

Traditionally, DTC genetic tests were advertised—and sold—to consumers without involving a health care professional; however, in accurate years, a new model of testing has come to dominate the market. In this model, tests are advertised to consumers but ordered by licensed physicians.2-5 A number of companies even allow consumers to choose between having tests ordered by their own physician or by a company-provided independent physician.

In both the academic literature and the popular media, there is a lack of clarity about which genetic tests count as DTC offerings.6 This uncertainty, as Hogarth et al7 explain, stems from ambiguity about the meaning of direct-to-consumer, a term that “has been used variously to refer to both advertising and sale of genetic tests.” According to the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), DTC genetic tests “are marketed directly to customers via television, print advertisements, or the Internet, and . . . can be bought online or in stores.”8(p163) Under this expansive definition, tests that are advertised to consumers but ordered by licensed physicians—often referred to as the hybrid model—fall within the ambit of DTC genetic testing.2,5


  • Key Objective

  • To provide an overview of available direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic tests for cancer susceptibility and to identify six aspects of the testing process that could affect consumers’ ability to make informed decisions about testing and interpret their results.

  • Knowledge Generated

  • Recent years have seen DTC genetic testing for cancer susceptibility change dramatically. Specifically, a new model now dominates the market where tests are advertised to consumers but ordered by physicians. Moreover, many of today’s tests are distinguished from earlier DTC offerings for cancer susceptibility by their scope and potential clinical significance. This review provides a comprehensive overview of available DTC genetic tests for cancer susceptibility and identifies aspects of the DTC testing process that could affect consumers’ ability to make informed decisions about testing and understand their results. Given how the DTC genetic testing market for cancer susceptibility has changed in accurate years, it is essential that health care professionals and researchers working in this space appreciate both the range of tests being offered and the challenges that consumers may face as they navigate this evolving landscape.

  • Relevance

  • On the basis of our review of companies’ Web sites, consumers would benefit from more information about certain aspects of the testing process. Providing this information would help consumers make informed decisions about whether to use a particular DTC genetic testing service and, should they choose to pursue testing, understand the implications and limitations of their results.

Other than the shift toward physician-ordered testing, many of today’s tests are distinguished from their predecessors by their scope and potential clinical significance. Previously, in the mid-to-late 2000s, most DTC tests used single-nucleotide variation profiling to assess cancer risk, a process that involves screening a DNA sample for single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs)—single base-pair differences that occur at specific positions in the genome—that may affect cancer risk.9,10 Single-nucleotide variation profiling, however, tends to have low predictive value for disease risk and limited usefulness in improving health outcomes (ie, clinical utility).

Today’s DTC companies have largely moved away from using single-nucleotide variation profiling. Instead, they tend to analyze specific genes for mutations that increase cancer risk. Yet this change has not eliminated uncertainty in cancer susceptibility genetic testing. For many of the genes included in larger tests, a positive result may be associated with uncertain risk estimates and/or unclear medical management strategies.11,12

Given how the DTC genetic testing market for cancer susceptibility has changed in accurate years, it is essential that health care professionals and researchers working in this space appreciate both the range of tests being offered and the challenges that consumers may face as they navigate this evolving landscape. Part I of this paper provides an overview of available DTC genetic tests for cancer susceptibility as of July 2019. For each test, we discuss cost; who orders it; whether variants of uncertain significance (VUS) are returned; availability of genetic counseling; intended users; whether consumers are recontacted about variant reclassifications; whether the test is characterized by the company as being diagnostic, actionable, and clinically valid; molecular technique used to analyze DNA; and whether the test is Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) certified and College of American Pathologists (CAP) accredited.

In Part II, we identify six aspects of the testing process that we believe could affect consumers’ ability to make informed decisions about testing and understand the implications—and limitations—of their results.13 These are: how companies use certain terms (eg, medical grade or clinical grade); how companies use consumers’ health information during the ordering process; the extent of genetic counseling provided by companies; companies’ procedures for returning results; the role of company-provided ordering physicians; and companies’ procedures for communicating variant reclassifications. On the basis of our review of companies’ Web sites, we believe that consumers would benefit from more information about these aspects of testing.

Here we describe the array of DTC genetic tests for cancer susceptibility that were on the market as of July 2019 (Table 1). Given the Internet-based nature of DTC genetic testing, today’s consumers primarily receive and interact with DTC companies’ offerings through their Web sites. Thus, to better capture the information that consumers are likely to access when deciding whether to use a test, we only include information about testing services that is, or was, available on companies’ Web sites. It is worth noting that some companies do not explicitly define the terms diagnostic, actionable, or clinically valid. Whereas we describe how each company characterizes these terms and indicate when definitions are absent, inasmuch as our objective is to convey what companies report on their Web sites, we do not evaluate the accuracy of their claims.14


TABLE 1. Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Tests for Cancer Susceptibility


In 2013, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning letter to 23andMe (Sunnyvale, CA) ordering the company to discontinue marketing its Personal Genome Service, which included reports for several hundred diseases and conditions, an SNP-based risk score for breast cancer, and a limited BRCA1/BRCA2 test.15 According to the FDA, 23andMe had failed to demonstrate that its service could correctly identify genetic disease risks, made misleading claims about the health benefits of tests, and failed to comply with the premarket review process for medical devices.16

Since that time, 23andMe has substantially revised its services. In March 2018, the FDA authorized 23andMe to market a BRCA test that screens for three specific BRCA1/BRCA2 variants, making it the first FDA-authorized DTC genetic test to report on cancer risk.17,18 Although there are more than 1,000 known BRCA1/BRCA2 mutations that are associated with an increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer, 23andMe’s test only screens for three founder mutations—two in the BRCA1 gene (BRCA1 c.68_69delAG and BRCA1 c.5266dupC) and one in the BRCA2 gene (BRCA2 c.5946delT)—that are found almost exclusively in individuals of Ashkenazi Jewish descent.17 The test, therefore, is unlikely to be useful to individuals from other ethnic backgrounds.19,20 As 23andMe acknowledges, its BRCA screen is not comprehensive and does not rule out the possibility that an individual carries one of the many BRCA1/BRCA2 mutations not covered by its report.21

In January 2019, 23andMe received FDA clearance to expand its cancer susceptibility testing to report on two MUTYH genetic mutations that are implicated in MUTYH-associated polyposis, an autosomal recessive hereditary colorectal cancer syndrome.22 The two variants that are included in the test—p.Y179C and p.G396D—are the most common pathogenic MUTYH mutations in individuals of northern European descent, although there are more than 100 pathogenic MUTYH variants.23 In the general northern European, Australian, and US population, the heterozygous carrier frequency for a pathogenic MUTYH variant is 1% to 2%.2 Individuals with a single MUTYH mutation are thought to have a slightly increased risk of colorectal cancer relative to the general population lifetime risk—approximately 4%.25-27 In contrast, individuals carrying mutations in both MUTYH alleles have a much higher cumulative risk of colorectal cancer—approximately 80% by age 70.28

23andMe’s BRCA report is included with its Health + Ancestry Service.29 Excluding special offers, the service costs $199. Consumers order their own tests and receive their results through an online account. If a consumer does not wish to view his or her BRCA result, they can opt to exclude it from the report. Although the company does not provide genetic counseling, consumers are encouraged to consult with a genetic counselor before and after testing. 23andMe uses genotyping to analyze DNA. The company states that its BRCA test meets FDA requirements for clinical validity, which it defines as “the degree to which a test accurately identifies or predicts a disease of interest.”30 23andMe maintains that its BRCA test “is not intended to diagnose any disease and does not describe a person’s overall risk of developing any type of cancer.”22 It also maintains that the test is not medically actionable and that “[r]esults should be confirmed in a clinical setting before taking any medical action.”22 All DNA samples are processed in CLIA-certified and CAP-accredited laboratories.

Veritas Genetics

Veritas (Santa Clara, CA) offers a whole-genome sequencing service called myGenome Standard that costs $599. For an additional $1,000, consumers can upgrade to myGenome Premium, which includes more diseases and carrier conditions. myGenome (standard and premium) can be ordered by the consumer’s own provider or, for an additional $129, by an independent physician affiliated with the telegenomics company Genome Medical. When the results are ready, Veritas notifies the consumer and the ordering provider, both of whom can then access the report through Veritas’ Web portal. If interested, consumers can pay an additional $99 to receive their raw data.

For myGenome (standard and premium), pathogenic and likely pathogenic results are reported, and benign, likely benign, and VUS results are not typically returned. Veritas does not state whether it will contact the ordering provider or the consumer about variant reclassifications. Through Genome Medical, Veritas offers a complimentary 30-minute return of results genetic counseling session for clinically actionable findings. Consumers can also pay $299 for Comprehensive Genetic Counseling, which includes access to pretest counseling and a 60-minute post-test session to review results.

According to Veritas, its service is intended to be a screening test for healthy individuals; however, myGenome is not meant to be diagnostic because “there is a chance that some of the variants that are associated with health conditions or disease risk could be missed.”31 As such, the test “should not be used to diagnose a known or suspected heritable disease in [the consumer] or [the consumer’s family].”32 Veritas does not state whether myGenome is a clinically valid test. It does, however, characterize myGenome as providing information that may “affect [the consumer’s] health and [is] actionable, be it with changes in diet and activity level, medical screenings, or enhanced vigilance.”33 Nevertheless, it is not clear that Veritas’ findings, at least by themselves, are intended to inform clinical care.34 This interpretation is supported by the company’s informed consent document, which states that “all variants considered clinically relevant in [the consumer’s] report should be confirmed with secondary testing before changes to [the consumer’s] healthcare are made.”32 Veritas uses next-generation sequencing to analyze DNA. The company’s US laboratory is CLIA certified and CAP accredited.

Invitae Corporation

Invitae (San Francisco, CA) offers a cancer susceptibility panel—Invitae Cancer Screen—that consists of 61 genes associated with 10 types of cancer (breast, colorectal, gastric, ovarian, pancreatic, prostate, renal cell, thyroid, uterine, and cutaneous melanoma). In addition, Invitae offers cancer susceptibility testing as part of its Genetic Health Screen, which consists of a 147-gene panel that also analyzes genes related to cardiac diseases and other inherited conditions. Neither test is intended to be diagnostic; both are considered proactive services that are intended for healthy adults without a strong personal or family history of cancer.

Invitae’s Cancer Screen and Genetic Health Screen cost $250 and $350, respectively, and can be ordered by the consumer’s own provider or by a company-provided physician. The ordering provider is notified via e-mail when the results are ready and receives a written report. Consumers who have their test ordered by an independent physician receive an e-mail when the results are ready, at which time they can review their results and schedule an appointment with one of Invitae’s genetic counselors. Post-test genetic counseling is available at no additional cost.

Invitae uses next-generation sequencing and does not report VUS findings for proactive tests. However, if a VUS is reclassified to likely pathogenic or pathogenic, Invitae will inform the ordering physician and issue an updated report. Invitae does not say whether it will contact the ordering physician and issue an amended report for other variant reclassifications. The company also does not state whether either proactive test is clinically valid, although it does provide links to validation studies.35 Regarding actionability, Invitae maintains that consumers can “take action based on [their] results” and “work with [their] provider to consider: increased or earlier screenings, lifestyle modifications, and early intervention to prevent the onset of disease.”36 Invitae’s laboratory is CLIA certified and CAP accredited.

Color Genomics

Color Genomics (Burlingame, CA) offers a test called Color Extended that analyzes genes related to cancer, cardiac disease, and medication response. The test costs $258.95 and includes 30 cancer predisposition genes associated with eight types of cancer (breast, ovarian, uterine, colorectal, melanoma, pancreatic, stomach, and prostate). Color Extended can be ordered by either the consumer’s own provider or by a company-provided independent physician at no additional charge. If the consumer’s own provider orders the test, the provider can choose whether the results are released to the consumer as soon as they are ready or after a delay. For tests that are ordered by an independent physician, information about the process for returning results is not available on the company’s Web site. Consumers who wish to discuss their results can access complimentary genetic counseling.

Color uses next-generation sequencing and reports VUS findings. If a VUS result is reclassified, Color will attempt to recontact the consumer. The company does not state whether Color Extended is a clinically valid test in its entirety. However, there is a section on the Web site where Color discusses the clinical validity of its tests with respect to certain conditions.37 Color Extended is described as being actionable, meaning that the consumer can “work with [their] healthcare provider to create a personalized screening and prevention plan, designed to reduce [their] risk of developing cancer.”38 Color maintains that its test is not diagnostic because “[p]ositive results do not necessarily mean that [the consumer] [has] that hereditary disorder or that [the consumer] will develop the disorder in [their] lifetime” and “[n]egative results do not eliminate [the consumer’s] risk of developing a disorder, and do not certain that [the consumer] will be healthy or will never develop any of the disorders that Color tests for.”39 Color’s laboratory is CLIA certified and CAP accredited.


Helix (San Carlos, CA) offers two tests—GenePrism and Prostate Cancer Genetic Risk Score—that evaluate cancer susceptibility. Whereas both tests are sold by Helix, GenePrism is administered by PerkinElmer Genomics, and Prostate Cancer Genetic Risk Score is administered by NorthShore University HealthSystem. The tests can only be ordered by a physician who is affiliated with the relevant partner company.

GenePrism analyzes the 59 genes included in the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics’ list of actionable genes, of which 26 are associated with an increased risk of cancer.40 The test costs $299.99, including a $30 fee that covers the ordering physician and genetic counseling services. The test is “intended to provide proactive health insights for those who do not have a significant family history associated with the health conditions that it includes.”41 The consumer is notified by e-mail when the results are ready to be accessed through the GenePrism Web site. Helix does not explicitly state whether the test is clinically valid. GenePrism is not a diagnostic test and “is not intended to diagnose any medical conditions” and “will not tell you if you currently have one of the conditions covered by the test, or if you definitely will or will not develop the condition in the future.”41 The test does not report VUS results. Helix describes the test as actionable, which, according to the company, means that “if [the consumer] learn[s] of a genetic risk from the test, [the consumer’s] risk is significantly increased over the general population, and there are actions [the consumer] or [the consumer’s] doctor can take to reduce [the consumer’s] risks based on established medical recommendations.”41 Helix does not explain its procedures for recontacting consumers about variant reclassifications, although the company does maintain that “[r]esults may change as research continues to allow us to better interpret what these and other genes mean for health.”41

Prostate Cancer Genetic Risk Score is an outlier among DTC cancer susceptibility tests. Unlike other tests that focus on single-gene mutations, Helix’s test provides a polygenic risk score based on an analysis of numerous SNPs that affect prostate cancer. The test costs $239.99, which includes a $40.00 fee that covers the ordering physician and genetic counseling services. Helix does not state whether the test is intended for individuals with a personal and/or family history of prostate cancer. Results are returned through secure e-mail. Helix maintains that the test is not a diagnostic product because “[a]n estimate of [the consumer’s] risk does not determine if [the consumer] will or will not get prostate cancer.”42 Helix does not state whether the test is clinically valid or whether results are medically actionable.

Helix uses next-generation sequencing to analyze DNA. For both GenePrism and Prostate Cancer Genetic Risk Score, genetic counseling is available through Genome Medical at no additional charge. Helix’s laboratory is CLIA certified and CAP accredited.

Meaning of Terms

In describing their offerings, several companies use terms that they do not clearly define. For example, Invitae characterizes its proactive tests as medical grade and diagnostic grade. Except to say that its proactive tests “offer the same clinical quality as a diagnostic test,” the company does not explicitly define either of these terms.43 Similarly, Color characterizes its offering as an “affordable clinical-grade test,” but does not specify what the term clinical grade means. Of note, despite describing these tests as medical, diagnostic, or clinical grade, both Invitae and Color maintain that their services are not intended to be diagnostic.39,43 Consumers who are unclear about the meanings of these terms, none of which are scientific or medical designations, may struggle to understand why a test that is marketed as medical-, diagnostic-, or clinical grade should not be used in a diagnostic capacity.

In addition, given that tests are often characterized as being medical, diagnostic, or clinical grade, consumers may wonder whether their results could expose them to potential insurance discrimination. According to the Genetic Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), it is illegal for US health insurance providers to use genetic information, including from DTC tests, to deny coverage or increase premiums. GINA, however, does not apply when an employer has fewer than 15 employees or to other forms of insurance (eg, disability insurance, long-term care insurance, and/or life insurance).44 Although all of the companies seem to provide some information on their Web sites about genetic discrimination, discussions about how consumers’ results could affect their access to different types of insurance is often covered during pretest counseling, which may be lacking in the DTC setting.

Companies could also be more transparent about whether their tests can accurately predict an individual’s risk of developing a particular disease—that is, whether they are clinically valid. Most DTC cancer susceptibility genetic tests analyze an array of genes that encompass a wide range of risk estimates. Whereas some of the genes included in these tests have well-established risk estimates, not all do. For example, Color and Veritas’ tests include the MITF gene.45,46 Although MITF mutations are suspected to increase the risk of melanoma and renal carcinoma, the extent to which a mutation carrier’s risk is elevated remains unclear.45,47 Overall, consumers might benefit from greater clarity about which genes in a test are considered clinically valid. Providing this information in a transparent and accessible manner could help consumers decide whether to pursue a test that may include genes with low predictive value for cancer risk.

Use of Consumers’ Health Information

Companies with testing services that can be ordered by a company-provided physician often ask consumers to answer a set of questions about their personal and family health history; however, it is not always clear how ordering physicians use this information. For example, Veritas maintains that consumers’ responses to these questions “are necessary to sequence [their] DNA and also helps [Veritas] better interpret [their] results.”48 Nevertheless, Veritas does not clarify how this information factors into the ordering process. As consumers consider whether to purchase a test, they may be interested in learning how their health information will be used. In particular, they might want to know whether the physician will follow up to discuss their health history before ordering testing. Consumers might also wonder whether company-provided physicians ever decline to order testing and, if so, for what reasons.

Genetic Counseling

Although all of the companies that offer physician-ordered DTC genetic tests seem to provide genetic counseling in some capacity, the extent, timing, and cost of these services is sometimes unclear. For example, Invitae maintains that “[o]ur team of board-certified genetic counselors is available on demand by phone during business hours to assist you with general questions about genetic testing and your results.”49 What remains unclear (for Invitae and some of the other companies) is the extent to which pretest counseling is comprehensive and individualized. In the clinical setting, pretest counseling is widely regarded as an important part of obtaining informed consent to testing.50,51 Companies could therefore help consumers make informed choices about whether to pursue DTC testing by including more information on their Web sites about pretest counseling.

Currently, companies differ in terms of how they provide genetic counseling. Helix, for example, outsources its genetic counseling to Genome Medical, which is a distinct corporate entity from Helix.41 Other companies, such as Invitae, offer in-house counseling that includes pretest counseling.49 This arrangement raises potential ethical concerns about whether a conflict of interest arises when companies provide pretest counseling services for their own tests.52,53

Procedures for Returning Results

Most of the companies that offer tests through the physician-ordered model do not include a detailed description of their process for returning results. On the basis of the companies’ online materials, it may not be clear whether procedures vary depending on the clinical significance of consumers’ results. Are positive and VUS results disclosed over the phone by a genetic counselor, while negative results are delivered through an online portal? Again, providing more information could help consumers make informed decisions about whether they are comfortable with a company’s model for returning results.

Role of Company-Provided Physicians

For some of the companies that offer company-provided independent physicians, it is unclear what role, if any, these physicians play beyond simply ordering tests. It is also not clear how companies conceive of the relationship between consumers and these physicians, some of whom may belong to an external physician network or separate company.54 For example, Helix states that the company “will share [the consumer’s] contact information and health history with PerkinElmer Genomics so a physician they designate can review and make sure this product is right for [the consumer].”41 Consumers may wonder whether they can contact the ordering physician with additional questions about the test or their results. Notably, will the ordering physician assume responsibility for a consumer’s follow-up care or refer the consumer to another provider? As of now, these questions are not easily answerable from companies’ online materials.

Variant Reclassification

As scientific understanding of variant pathogenicity evolves, genetic test results may be amended. Some changes could have significant clinical implications for disease risk and medical management (eg, a VUS that is upgraded to pathogenic). Nevertheless, information about companies’ procedures for handling amended results may not be readily available. Color’s Informed Consent, for instance, lacks specific information about how the company manages variant reclassification beyond stating that it may “at its sole discretion, amend or modify [the consumer’s] Test report” and will “attempt to notify (the consumer) of any material amendments or modifications.”39 Some companies, however, do not provide any information about variant reclassification. Helix’s informed consent, for instance, notes that “future information may change your results,” but does not specify whether the company monitors for variant changes or notify consumers about them.55 Given the potential clinical significance of variant reclassifications, consumers could benefit from more information about companies’ procedures for tracking variant changes and sharing amended results.

In conclusion, genetic testing for cancer susceptibility, once limited to the clinical setting, is now widely available through Web-based DTC genetic testing companies. To better understand whether test takers are knowledgeable about companies’ testing procedures, there is an urgent need to collect and study consumer outcome data.13 As the DTC market continues to evolve, outcome data should inform companies’ products and practices to ensure that consumers are equipped to make informed decisions throughout the testing process and understand their results.

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Fri, 14 Aug 2020 17:22:00 -0500 en text/html https://ascopubs.org/doi/full/10.1200/PO.19.00317
Killexams : Bureau Veritas SA (BVRDF) CEO Didier Michaud-Daniel on Q2 2022 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Bureau Veritas SA (OTCPK:BVRDF) Q2 2022 Results Conference Call July 28, 2022 9:00 AM ET

Company Participants

Didier Michaud-Daniel - Chief Executive Officer

François Chabas - Executive Vice-President, Finance

Conference Call Participants

Paul Sullivan - Barclays

Simon LeChipre - Stifel

Kate Carpenter - Bank of America

Neil Tyler - Redburn

Karl Green - RBC

Arthur Truslove - Citi

Sylvia Barker - JPMorgan


Hello, and welcome to Bureau Veritas H1 2022 results. My name is Suzanne, and I will be your coordinator for today's event. Please note, this call is being recorded. [Operator Instructions]

I will now hand over to your host, Didier Michaud-Daniel, CEO of Bureau Veritas, to begin today's conference. Thank you.

Didier Michaud-Daniel

Thank you for the introduction. Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening to everyone. Thank you for joining Bureau Veritas Half Year '22 Results on the webcast and on the call. As well, François Chabas, our group CFO, is here with me to present our results, along with Laurent and Colin.

In the first half of the year, the environment remained volatile with the consequences of the war in Ukraine and the new wave of lockdowns in China. So we continue to take measures to ensure the health and safety of all our employees. Employee safety is paramount for the management team. I would like to take the opportunity to thank all our teams who remain highly mobilized and ensure efficient solutions and support for all our clients.

Let's move now to the results. We have delivered a very solid set of results for the first half. The strong growth in revenue illustrates our excellent operational performance across the whole of the group's portfolio. Revenue totaled €2.7 billion, up 11.4% year-on-year and 6.5% organically. This has been achieved despite the impact of the lockdowns in China and the war in Ukraine. Adjusted operating profit increased by 8.7% year-on-year to €411 million with a margin of 15.3%. Our adjusted net profit is up 15.8%.

Free cash flow. Free cash flow totaled €130 million. This was held back by the increase in working capital in China, where the lockdowns resulted in delays in invoice settlement. The group's leverage ratio was further reduced to 1.1x from 1.3.

In H1 2022, we delivered very steady revenue growth across the board, illustrating our portfolio diversity and our numerous growth opportunities, notably in sustainability. In the pie chart, you see that, first, 1/5 of the portfolio industry delivered double-digit organic revenue growth, up 10.8% in H1, including 9.8% growth in Q2. It clearly benefited from both strong business activity for the Power & Utilities segment and for Oil & Gas markets, which were supported by the rise in oil prices.

Second, a further 1/5 of the portfolio, Agri-Food & Commodities delivered high single-digit organic revenue growth, up 8.6%. The growth was led by continuing buoyant market conditions in Metals & Minerals and improving trends in the Oil & Petrochemicals segment.

Third, more than 1/2 of the portfolio grew at 4.3% organically on average. Here, we are talking about Marine & Offshore, Buildings & Infrastructure, Certification and Consumer Products. Our diversified portfolio drove the delivery of 5.2% organic revenue growth in the second quarter, and this despite the lockdown measures in China.

Let's take a look now at what happened in China. China represents 15% of total group revenue at the end of H1 2022. The lockdowns impacted revenue, margins and cash in the second quarter. We have been able to manage the situation and continue to support our clients.

First, in Consumer Product activities, which makes up 1/2 of the group Chinese revenue, our teams were highly proactive and executed our contingency plan effectively. We were able to limit the impact in Q2 by diverting samples from one location to another across the country or out of China to the group's South Asia testing capabilities, Vietnam, Bangladesh, India. Bureau Veritas' continuous effort to diversify geographical footprint outside of China over the last years bore its fruits. All of the group's labs have reopened, and we are fully back to normal by end of June 2022.

Second point on the Buildings & Infrastructure, which represents 30% of China revenue. I'm talking about the Chinese Building & Infrastructure means for revenue. Construction sites were completely stopped for as much as 8 weeks in areas where lockdowns have been imposed such as Shanghai and Shenzhen. Once the mobility restrictions were removed, the group had to operate on a stop-and-go basis. Sites are required to shut down as soon as there is any suspicion of a COVID case. Since mid-June, the construction sites have gradually restarted, and the group expects to recover from Q3 2022 onwards.

So we have seen over accurate quarters how the group's geographical and business diversification has enabled us to post overall growth. Our strategy to grow the portfolio with bolt-on acquisitions to deliver consistent performance has continued. The acquisition of PreScience that we announced in January 2022 to reinforce our B&I platform in the U.S. aims to increase our footprint in the infrastructure sector. PreScience is one of California's leading players in project management and construction services for government transportation infrastructure projects. It has an expertise on highways, bridges and rail and realized $25 million of revenue.

Similarly to B&I, our diversification strategy in Consumer Goods continues with 2 acquisitions to expand our offering and footprint: ATL, scientific sourcing services for the North American consumer health care and cosmetics markets. With €31 million revenue and 500 employees, it expands our footprint in North America; AMSfashion, experts in sustainability, conformity and quality services for the fashion industry, including organic, vegan content verification and durability testing. With €3 million revenue and 50 people, it strengthens our presence in Spain and Portugal, supporting the continued growth in new offering from South Europe and Africa.

In the current inflationary environment, as a service company, the pressure for us concerns mainly wage inflation. We need to remain competitive with our compensation plan to retain our workforce. So we have to address wage inflation. The group has good traction in pricing even if there are variations across sectors and geographies. Price discipline execution is key in this environment. It is more favorable in the mass market and on highly regulated activities than it is for multiyear and large contracts, where there is a delay between price negotiation and the impact on our P&L.

Our world-leading position in sustainability services is spread group-wide. The BV Green Line continues to be a strong growth driver across the entire group, and the momentum builds across all sectors. The examples are diverse and wide ranging, covering all types of sector and services as illustrated by the many logos on this chart. We bring our expertise in the sustainability field to more than 200,000 clients.

In the resources and production sector, it goes from nuclear facility shop inspection to offshore wind project certification in North Sea. In the consumption and traceability area, we performed supply chain audits for a large e-commerce company. We also support the pioneer in salmon fishing in Norway in their responsible salmon aquaculture.

In Buildings & Infrastructure, we provide urban NO2 quality monitoring for the environment agency in the U.K. In new mobility now, we have signed a long-term contract with a battery producer for electric vehicles to perform the sustainability assessment of its supply chain and ensure full traceability along the value chain. This project will be conducted in collaboration with our partner, OPTEL, to track and trace the products along the entire chain for the use of digital tools. As regards social, ethics and governance, it ranges from CSR audit for a large furniture company to nonfinancial verification report for a leading express delivery company.

BV Green Line services and solutions are now well underway to representing a bold 55% of our sales at the end of H1 2022. Buildings & Infrastructure remains the biggest contributor driven by green building and energy efficiency programs. The sales pipeline related to EU Green Deal and the French government's recovery action plan is now increasing. Resources and production represent 1/4 of the Green Line, where renewable energy makes up the largest part. Social, ethics and governance amounts to 16% and is a key driver for sustainability assurance. Bureau Veritas' unique worldwide position in sustainability services ensures that we benefit from the tremendous growth opportunity.

Before handing over to Francois for the financial and business review, let me say a word on our CSR commitment. Our commitment is to act responsibly in order to shape a better world. This commitment was again recognized by nonfinancial rating agencies during the first half of 2022. This is a great achievement for the constant efforts regarding sustainability. Bureau Veritas entered in the Vérité 40 index produced by Axylia with an A rating. We have been also awarded Gold Class in the latest global sustainability assessment by S&P.

I would like to highlight the 5 key CSR KPIs. For a better workplace, health and safety is an absolute. Diversity is key. They start at the top, and today we have 4 female members of our Executive Committee out of 13. The proportion of women in leadership positions has increased to 29.2% in H1 2022, up 3 points year-over-year, towards our 35% target by 2025. As far as environment is concerned, we are committed to reducing our CO2 emissions. Regarding better business practices, ethics is an absolute.

So now I would like to hand over to Francois for the financial and business reviews. Francois?

François Chabas

Thank you, Didier. So hello, everybody. A quick sum up on our half year results. As Didier said, we have continued to grow and deliver in the context of a volatile environment from an economical and geopolitical standpoint. Organic revenue is 6.5% higher than in H1 '21 with a steady organic growth throughout the semester despite the lockdown measures, which negatively impacted the activity in China in the second quarter. Our margin achieved a [recent] 15.3% despite those external events, and our 15% EPS growth is led by a solid operating and financial performance. So in short, the momentum continues.

Moving to the revenue bridge first on Page 15. We delivered €2.7 billion in half year 2022 with an overall increase of 11.4%. Broad-based organic growth reached 6.5%, including a solid 5.2% growth in the second quarter. It benefited from a strong commercial momentum. ForEx had a positive impact of 5 -- or 4.5%, of which 5.6 in the second quarter. This was mainly due to the depreciation of the euro against the U.S. dollar and the renminbi in particular.

So how did each of the businesses perform in H1? As you see on the page, Marine & Offshore confirmed its steady growth, up 6%. Certification was up 4.1%, benefiting from strong demand for sustainability-driven solutions. Consumer products was up 4.1%. I would highlight to here that we have maintained 4% in the division in Q2 despite the lockdown in China, showing the benefit of our diversification strategy.

Similarly, Building & Infrastructure delivered 3.8% with our Americas platform compensating for the difficulties in China. When it comes to the top-performing businesses, Industry is up 10.8%, benefiting from both strong business activity in Power & Utilities, including renewables, and from Oil & Gas markets; the second one being Agri-Food & Commodities, which grew at 8.6%, led by favorable market conditions in Metals & Minerals and improving trend in the Oil & Petrochemicals segment.

Moving to the margin bridge. We delivered a healthy 15.3% margin in the first half despite the impact from the Chinese lockdown on the operations. Organically, we limited the drop to 44 basis points, thanks to the good execution of our contingency plans, while scope added 2 basis points and FX, 4.

Within the portfolio, the revenue improvement and operating leverage drove organic margin higher in Marine & Offshore and in Agri-Food & Commodities. Industry margin remained stable due to mobilization costs for a large contract recently won. As you can see, the strong resiliency of our consumer good margin north of 22% demonstrated the strong operating synergies between our Chinese and South Asian platform, as Didier mentioned previously. B&I dropped to 13.4%, largely due to the lockdown across many cities in China, with the suspension of construction sites and the stop-and-go operation for the foreseeable future. Our Certification business finally maintained a record high margin above 19%, thanks to enhanced operational efficiency.

Moving now to other financial metrics in the first half, EPS, cash and the balance sheet. Starting with EPS, we delivered an adjusted EPS of €0.55, up 15.2% year-on-year. This reflects strong operating performance, organic and FX-led, but also lower financial charges and minority interest.

Moving to the cash flow statement on Slide 22. Free cash is down but remains solid at €130 million. In more detail, the main drivers are, first, we find that with the second quarter top line growth of 11% in aggregate, it is not surprising to see a working capital requirement outflow of €177 million. This said, we had a temporary impact from the invoice settlement delays triggered by the Chinese lockdowns that we expect to recover in Q3. We remain very disciplined when it comes to investments. CapEx stood at 1.9% of revenue compared to 2.2% in the first half of '21, and we now expect this to be in the range of 2% to 2.5% for the full year 2022.

So we closed the first semester with a strong financial structure. The adjusted net debt stood at €1.09 billion, up 3.6% from December '21. Our profile reflects, first, a solid free cash flow generation of €130 million, a disciplined M&A strategy with €46.9 million of spend net of divestment, lease payments related to IFRS 16 presentation of €61 million, a limited dividend outflow of €9.8 million in H1 and a share buyback program of €50.8 million in the semester. Our leverage ratio was further reduced, as it is indicated on the chart on the right, to 1.10x from 1.30x at the end of June '21.

So to sum up, this solid financial performance has been delivered, thanks to a lot of hard work from all the teams of BV around the world in a still complex environment, sadly.

Moving to the business review. Let me share with you the highlights of the first half for each of our 6 businesses. First, marine & Offshore. The business delivered a very solid 6% organic revenue growth in the semester and 5.2% in the quarter. It was equally led by both in-service and new construction activities. It is worth noting that we grew high single digit for services as a result of strong commercial development for non-classification services and increased demand for our services in the offshore Oil & Gas market. As regards new construction activity, our new orders totaled 4.8 million gross tons in H1. The order book at 18 million gross tons end of June is up 10.4% compared to the end of previous year '21. It also remained very well diversified.

Moving to Agri-Food & Commodities. The business remained strong in the second quarter and recorded an organic growth of 8.6% in H1. Within this division, it is worth noting that our Metals & Minerals business achieved double-digit organic performance overall. It benefited from a strong exploration market across the group's key -- and all the major commodities with gold, copper and iron ore leading the way. The Oil & Petrochemicals segment continued to improve, thanks to increased activity with higher fuel consumption. We continue our diversification into nontrade-related activities and value-added segments such as biofuels, liquefied natural gas, oil condition monitoring.

Our agri-food business delivered positive organic revenue growth. Growth was primarily fueled by agricultural products and food testing in the U.S. in spite of the impact of the changes in trading routes triggered by the war in Ukraine. And lastly, the governmental services achieved double-digit organic growth, led by the strong development of Verification of Conformity contracts in several African countries.

Moving to Industry now. Revenue increased by 10.8% organically in the first half across the board. The strategy of diversification towards OpEx and Power & Utilities markets continue to bear fruit. Power & Utilities remain a key growth driver of the portfolio with double-digit organic performance achieved in the first semester. Growth came mainly from Latin America and Europe in particular. In renewables, opportunities remain significant, backed by a strong sales pipeline. In Oil & Gas, the performance improved. We benefited from the restart of many projects in the Middle East and in the U.S. notably. As of today, the share of Oil & Gas CapEx in the group revenue has reduced to 2%.

For Building & Infrastructure, I will not detail again the impact of lockdown in China, but overall revenue growth achieved 3.8% in the first half. The group is well positioned, thanks to its 3 growth platforms across different geographies: Europe, Asia Pacific and North America. Americas were the best performing region, supported by numerous growth drivers in the U.S. And construction-related activities grew faster than building in-service activities, benefiting from strong dynamics for a new project in the Americas and Middle East.

Moving now to Certification. Overall, the business achieved a solid organic growth against changing comparables supported by strong sales development and robust price increases. During the first semester, Bureau Veritas Sustainability services grew above 16%, driven notably by a strong demand for greenhouse gas emission verification solutions. The activity continues to benefit from the overall rising client demand for more brand protection, traceability and social responsibility commitments all along the supply chain.

Finally, Consumer Products, as mentioned, delivered healthy revenue growth, up 4.3% organically, including a 4% increase in the second semester -- second quarter. This was driven by our South Asian platform, which offset the disruption caused by the lockdown in China. This demonstrated the strong resilient energy of the group to operate in a complicated environment. We achieved the strong organic growth performance in other countries and regions, especially South Asia and South America.

I hand back now to Didier for the outlook for the rest of the year.

Didier Michaud-Daniel

Thank you, Francois. So the outlook now for the rest of the year based on the current environment and assuming there are no new severe lockdowns in our main countries of operation. We still expect to achieve mid-single-digit organic revenue growth, Improve the adjusted operating margin and generate sustained strong cash flow with a cash conversion above 90%.

We live in a volatile and uncertain world. In this environment, we delivered strong operating and financial performance in H1, thanks to our agile and resilient business model. The growth platform is in place. We are uniquely positioned to benefit from the key imperatives of sustainability and energy transition. With the '25 strategy, we will capitalize on our strength and continue our successful journey of creating value for BV and its stakeholders.

Thank you very much for your attention. Francois and I are now ready to answer your questions on the call or on the webcast.

Question-and-Answer Session


[Operator Instructions] The first question comes from the line of Paul Sullivan from Barclays.

Paul Sullivan

Three for me. Firstly, can you quantify the organic drag from China in the second quarter and how much of that comes back versus lost? And it feels like organic in June was high single digit. Is that about right and also a sensible indicator for Q3?

Secondly, Europe continues to be kind of weak spot and slowed further in the second quarter. What was the drag from Russia-Ukraine in the region? And given recessionary concerns, should we expect growth to slow further from here?

And then finally, sort of bigger picture, how should we think about sustainability of growth as commodity prices roll over given the direct and indirect impact we're seeing across the group?

Didier Michaud-Daniel

Okay. Thank you, Paul, for your questions. The first one, so on the organic drag from China, we had, as you could see on our results, a very limited impact for CPS overall. In fact, this is due to our contingency plan, as I said. And I take the opportunity also of thanking our team in China. They did a superb job. It was extremely well mobilized and very proactive to adapt to the new constraints by moving some samples from labs to labs in China but also by moving samples to our locations or lab in Vietnam, in Bangladesh or in India. By doing so, in fact, we did very well with CPS. And as you could see, we are -- we delivered quite a good organic growth in these difficult circumstances.

The second impact, which was a little bit more material, was on B&I. And in fact, our B&I business declined by approximately 30% in Q2 because the construction sites were fully stopped. We can see and we expect a gradual recovery of our B&I business in China. Still some stop-and-go -- there is still some stop-and-go situation because, as you may know, they are testing the people systematically. And when they find a case, of course, they stop the site. So I think that it's going to be a gradual recovery. But overall, when you look at the impact on our organic growth, it was very -- at the company level, I would say, very insignificant.

On Europe, we disclosed it. Ukraine and Russia represents approximately 1% of our revenue. So it's a very low part of our revenue. So it's difficult to say that because, of course, we are not -- we just can -- of the people and what is happening there. But in fact, today, for Bureau Veritas, we can see more opportunities than issues because of the war.

And I'm going to deliver you 2 simple ones because they are easy to understand. The first one is the fact that there will be much more imports from countries like the Middle East countries or even the U.S. of gas and, of course, for Bureau Veritas, it's an opportunity because we have a leadership position, as you know, in LNG ship construction.

And the second obvious, of course, impact, the one on the price of the oil per barrel. And in this case, there will be, of course, more CapEx. We don't want to be what we were in the past, too much exposed to oil and gas CapEx, but we can see already certain opportunities. And we kept our expertise, thanks to the fact that we decided to accelerate our OpEx positioning. So we can now, for sure, transfer some of our people from the OpEx to the CapEx as needed. But we will be very selective regarding the project. Yes, Paul?

Paul Sullivan

I was going to say any color on June and indications for Q3.

Didier Michaud-Daniel

For Q3, it's a little bit too early to talk about it. Again, you can see our guidance. I could see that in some notes, probably yours, but I'm maybe a little bit conservative. Knowing the conditions and knowing the fact that we don't know exactly what's going to happen with China, will it be another lockdown, what's going to be the impact on the consumer and the fact also that the inflation is getting high, of course, 17% for Q3 and Q4. So I cannot deliver you more details on that.

On the sustainability part, this market, whatever happens, and we can see it, is just growing fast. And again, it's important because I'm visiting as you know, Paul, a lot of clients. It's not just about ESG assurance who are doing very well in this sector. But it's also about renewables. The projects of wind farms, solar farms or hydrogen is the opposite. They are accelerating. So the projects regarding nuclear industry are accelerating, and we are very well placed on these projects. The building which are big today or the infrastructure are greener. So -- and we, of course, can sell our expertise.

And you could see through the last acquisition we made in Spain, there is more and more demand in organic product testing, in vegan product testing. So -- and on top, the ESG assurance, of course, which is a new market ramping up rapidly. So on the sustainability, I do not see any slowdown in the third quarter. In fact, it's the opposite. I foresee acceleration in the demand.


The next question comes from Simon LeChipre from Stifel.

Simon LeChipre

Three questions, please. First one, on the margin outlook. So you left your guidance unchanged, which basically guides something like 50 bps improvement in H2. Could you maybe comment on the different drivers behind this?

Secondly, on the economic environment, let's say, broadly as part of your discussion with clients, do you see, let's say, some specific area with, let's say, more cautiousness or any change in behavior from clients due to the economic uncertainties?

And lastly, on Marine & Offshore, you had quite a nice margin performance in the first half. Is there any sort of one-off in it? If you could just maybe deliver us a bit of details on the dynamics so we can, let's say, better assess the margin outlook for the division.

Didier Michaud-Daniel

Okay. I missed a little bit your second question. If you can repeat it, please.

Simon LeChipre

Just on the economic environment, if you noticed any, let's say, change in behavior from clients or any, let's say, cautiousness due to the economic concern.

Didier Michaud-Daniel

Okay. Okay. Okay. I'm going to start with Marine & Offshore, move to economic environment. And Francois will cover the margin question. On the Marine & Offshore, there was no one-off. In fact, I'm sure that you may remember that last year, we had a very good -- we had very good sales, probably top level. If I remember well, the last time we achieved the level of sale we achieved last year was in 2013, so a long time ago.

And in fact, we booked a lot of LNG ships, container ships. And these ships have started to be built. There was a little bit, in fact, you can see, of slowdown in Q2 for a simple reason. It's because the shipyard in China were closed. But we are very optimistic regarding Marine & Offshore because we can see a continuing trend in wins regarding your LNG ships and container ships.

So at the end -- I can be very transparent with you. At the end of the first semester, we already recorded 4.8 million gross tons. So -- and last year, more than 8 million gross tons, which is, again, if you think about the history of Bureau Veritas, since I took over in 2012, probably a record at the end of the first semester. So it's good news. And our backlog has never been at that level because if I'm right, you correct me, Laurent, 17 million, 18 million gross tons, so it's a very high level of backlog. I'm talking about new equipment.

The second point here, which is important, is, as you know, the IMO now is, of course, driving the shipowners to start thinking about scrapping old ships because they are not compliant, of course, anymore. They decided to reduce the speed of their ships to optimize the consumption, but there is a limit. You can imagine. It's easy to understand. So we can see now more and more ships which are going to be scrapped, which means that we will have more new construction in the future.

And on top, the Marine division has started to sell sustainability solutions, social audits. Or we talk about scrubbers in the past, this type of sustainability solutions. You know that we all are a class society, which is capable to certify dual propulsion fuel and gas. And we're also working with some shipowners on biofuel or even hydrogen. So clearly, this activity is doing well, and I can foresee a good future this year and the years to come for the Marine division. On the other hand, offshore has stabilized at a low level. It's not decreasing anymore. So if you combine both, of course, we are growing at a good margin.

On the economic environment, we all read the newspaper. We all see what the inflation impact is already for people. Honestly, when I visit clients, I cannot say today that they are putting pressure on us because of the economic environment. What I can foresee is probably an impact on one of our business, which could be B&I residential.

But I think that thanks to the good job we did in the past, by focusing our efforts on infrastructure and energy instead of residential, in France, for instance, if you think about the B&I business, it is just 5%. 5% of the B&I business now is residential. So it's nothing compared to what it was. The rest is mostly OpEx, and the OpEx is not going to be impacted. So it's good news. And for the rest, we are still again pushed by, of course, markets which are resuming, I'm thinking about the oil and gas market, but also by what we discussed before, sustainability.

On the margin side, Francois?

François Chabas

Yes. Simon, I would be very happy to answer your question, but the line here was not very great at the beginning. So would you mind repeating your question? And then I would be delighted to answer it.

Simon LeChipre

Yes, sure. So just on the margin outlook, so you left your guidance unchanged. So it implies something like 50 bps improvement in the second half. So just asking as to the driver for --

François Chabas

You have 2 ways to look at it, the complex way or the simple way. So let me start with the simple one, and then I go into the more complex. The simple way to look at it is to achieve our guidance, we, by and large, need to deliver 17.2% in H2, which is exactly what we've delivered in H2 2019. So that's the simple way to answer.

The more complex way is to try and explain where we see those improvements compared to H1. And without going too much into detail, you have 2 elements here. A first element, which is a recovery in the B&I segment for obvious reasons. As Didier mentioned, our outlook is based on a progressive reopening of our B&I activities in China over Q3 and consuming activity in Q4. So that's an obvious subside we expect in term of margin in H2 compared to H1.

The second element, which is, I would say, sequential, is the improvement in the Agri-Food & Commodities segment. You may remember that for now almost 2, 3 years, we have commented around the oil and petroleum segment of the Agri-Food & Commodities division, which represents 30% of the division, as being a complicated segment with price pressure and reduction of volumes in 2021. And this has stopped at the end of last year. I think we mentioned it in our yearly publication in February.

The last, I would say, quarter, half year was better. And it seems to be confirmed in the first semester. We expect this to continue with good activity in terms of oil and petroleum tests. We are talking here about the testing of products, not the exploration part. So -- and we expect this to continue for H2, and these are a laboratory-based business where if the top line is here, as good as me, it is driving the operating profit.

So these are the 2, I would say, sequential change. And then in a more global manner, we have a seasonality in our margin at Bureau Veritas, where typically businesses like Certification and CPS have a larger, bigger margin in H2 than in H1. Certification for -- it's a question of seasonality of audits. We have peak season in October and November, December, and CPS because Chinese New Year is in H1. So all this together, again, 2 options, the complex ones that I have gone through or the easy one, 17.2%, which is a copy-paste of 2019.


The next question comes from Kate Carpenter from Bank of America.

Kate Carpenter

Just a quick one on China. Just to clarify, did you make any headcount reductions in the country during the lockdowns in order to manage margins, particularly in the Consumer Products division? And then looking forward, how are you thinking about hiring and headcount just given -- in light of current macro conditions, particularly in the more cyclical divisions?

And then final question is just how much pricing -- or how much did pricing contribute to organic growth during the quarter? And then you mentioned a potential lag effect from your larger contracts. Just if you could elaborate a bit more on that.

Didier Michaud-Daniel

Okay. So first question is very simple answer. In China, we did not reduce any headcount, and I think we were right to do it because, again, we are back to a full speed type of activity, in particular with CPS. So we decided to keep all our headcounts in China.

On the hiring side, again, when you think about the model of Bureau Veritas today, we are a lot less cyclical than what we was in the past. And today, our OpEx business represent probably something like 60% of our revenue, probably even more, so meaning that we have no intention today in hiring more people in what you could call cyclical activities except for those that we know that the market will continue to boom. I'm thinking, for instance, about the wind farm and solar farms, which are going to, in fact, accelerate. I say that because you could consider CapEx as cyclical. For the rest, we manage the situation very well. We know now how to work. We're subcontracting compared to what it was in the past. But whatever the resiliency of Bureau Veritas compared to what it was, no comparison.

On the pricing side, it's difficult to answer your question for, let's say, S1, for the first semester. What we believe with Francois is that at the end of the year, the adjustment for the full year will be 1.5%, approximately around 1.5%.


The next question comes from Neil Tyler from Redburn.

Neil Tyler

Three from me as well, please. Firstly, your statement mentioned that Oil & Gas CapEx -- or rather the renewables CapEx is now larger than the 2% component derived from Oil & Gas. The question related to that is, when you think about the sort of follow-through OpEx-related business that stems from those customers for whom you've provided CapEx services, how do you think the sort of ratio of OpEx value relative to CapEx in the Renewables segment might match up? That's the first question.

Second question, a little bit more specifically. You mentioned the recovery in B&I in China, but presumably, much of that inspection work is just postponed. And so will there be some catch-up as well as sort of recovery to normalized levels over the remainder of the year, so actually, a bit of a backlog effect?

And finally, your statement talks in Consumer Products services of some government subsidies. I wondered whether you could just clarify whether this was at all meaningful in terms of its contribution to margin, whether you expect to -- or whether you're obliged to repay any of those amounts?

Didier Michaud-Daniel

Thank you, Neil. So I'm going to ask Francois to cover your second and third question. I will take your first one. Francois?

François Chabas

Yes, Neil. So on the second one, the recovery of B&I in China, I think we -- what we aim here to say is the recovery of the activity, the level of activity we had prior to the lockdown. I think our view here is, as Didier mentioned, we are cautious. We are still, in many area, have stop-and-go situation. You only need 2 guys to get COVID tested positive and then the whole thing is stopped for a week. So what we are thinking of so far is, in your word, you would create postponement. What has been -- what has not been delivered in the previous 8 weeks is getting delivered, but not a V-shape recovery as we may have gone through back in 2020. So we are cautious. We more expect that the activity will resume than any strong catch-up effect. It's too early to say at that stage, I believe.

On the governmental subsidies, so it's very easy. We are talking here about an incentive fund created in Hong Kong for some companies there. It is not material in terms of margin impact for the group, and it is not even material for our Consumer Product division. And it is not refundable. I mean it's a one-off. And it was done, by the way, in 2020 in that part of the world.

Didier Michaud-Daniel

Neil, regarding your first question, so I have probably 3 comments. The first one, of course, we want to continue to capture any potential CapEx opportunity in Oil & Gas, of course, because we have the expertise.

The second comment, which is very interesting, we continue to increase our OpEx presence with the oil and gas companies. And in fact, I can see a trend today which is very obvious, where some of our clients are moving to Bureau Veritas instead of local, small companies. It's probably coming from the fact that there is inflation now and they prefer being with a company of the size of Bureau Veritas has to be sure that we will continue to deliver the service through this new normal.

And of course -- so your question regarding renewable is very good. Today, there is no real OpEx business because we are at the beginning of it. What I can see is the number of projects is absolutely incredible, and it's everywhere in the world. It can be in Europe. It is clearly in Asia and accelerating in Asia. It is -- as you know, we decide to buy Bradley in North America. So now we have a good view on this business. It is in North America and even in Latin America. So you have a lot of projects, and we want to be a leader in this activity. What we did in terms of growth is just impressive. But what I can see in terms of pipeline of opportunities is just incredible.

The OpEx will follow. It will be a different type of OpEx. I'm very transparent with you. We are working on finding solutions. It will be different solutions because we are talking here about wind farms, so meaning that in this case, we will have probably to remotely control or remotely, let's say, support the control. This is something we are working on. But again, the CapEx market is so big today that we are focusing on getting as much as we can in terms of projects.


The next question comes from Karl Green from RBC.

Karl Green

Just a couple of questions. Didier, first question for you. If we think about that implied second half margin recovery for the group to get to the full year guidance, within that, there's clearly an assumption that the Buildings & Infrastructure margin gets back closer to the longer-run average. But just thinking about moving in the situation from China from lockdowns to a sort of broader economic and specifically construction slowdown given the residential property bubble is deflating quite heavily there, could you just talk a little bit more about your exposure to sort of broader municipal and infrastructure-related projects, which might be a knock-on effect from that residential construction slowdown and how that might affect your ability to drive that H2 margin performance?

And my second question, Francois, is much, much simpler. It's just whether it would be a reasonable assumption to double the first half noncontrolling interest charge, the minority interest line for the second half, please.

Didier Michaud-Daniel

So on your first question, as you know, Karl, we decided -- when we decided to be an actor in the B&I business in China, at that time, I knew the market in China very well. I decided not to be in residential. By the way, it was a good decision. And today, we are in a leading position on infrastructure and energy. I do not foresee any slowdown in energy. In fact, it's going to be the opposite. The energy might be a little bit different, and we're already working on the certification on wind field -- or in wind farm field, of course, as you can imagine, or solar field and even on hydrogen because the Chinese people are really working on hydrogen solutions. So I can still foresee good opportunities.

On top of it, I know the backlog today. So the backlog is at the level it is. It has not changed, and we will have to go to the end of the contract that we have in our backlog. We know we have 86 sites where we are working, big one. Just to deliver you an idea, 82 were closed during 8 weeks, but now they are restarting progressively. So I'm confident that we will Improve our margin in the second part of the year. Clearly, there is no doubt about it.

Regarding the second question, Francois?

François Chabas

Yes. So Karl, here as well, there are 2 ways to answer it. And for this time, I would choose the long one, if you don't mind. Those minority interests are a consequence of the Bureau Veritas strategy when it comes to M&A. As you know, we favor a very much bolt-on view with a strong engagement of the minority shareholders, which in 95% of the cases are the previous owner-manager. So -- and this is the way we do M&A, which we believe is bringing to the company, I think, the best value in terms of return and for the shareholders. So we don't intend to change this approach because that's proven efficient.

And I think we've mentioned, Didier and myself, the fact that in this complex H1 situation, the driver behind the still growth of our B&I segment despite the Chinese difficulties has been North America, which is a perfect example of the successful bolt-on strategy with committed managers. So those are the guys getting this minority interest. And to answer your question in short, we will not change gear, and you can count that H2 would be kind of the same as H1 around south of €10 million. So you had a long version for this time.


The next question comes from Arthur Truslove from Citi.

Arthur Truslove

Yes, just a couple from me, if you don't mind. I think in your opening remarks, Didier, you mentioned that there had been a big ramp-up cost in industry or something and that has held back the margin. I was just wondering whether you could elaborate as to roughly how much that was and how much it impacted the margin in the division in the first half.

And then the second question I had was around the Consumer Products division. Clearly, you did very well to keep it going as you did given the headwinds in China. But I just wondered, are you expecting a reasonable acceleration in the second half? Is sort of mid- to high single digits a reasonable assumption there? Or are there reasons why that might not be the case?

Didier Michaud-Daniel

Thank you, Arthur. So I'm going to take your second question, and Francois will cover the first one. No, I do not see any real acceleration in H2 for CPS. I expect the same type and probably the same level of organic growth for the second part of the year. And as Francois explained to you before, clearly, an improvement in the margin because of the seasonality.

But in terms of organic growth, again -- and as you said, we manage the situation very well because we manage the situation proactively. So we could foresee things coming. And we decided, thanks to our diversification -- geographical diversification, to move the samples around. It's the reason why we achieved it. We were quite at the level we were expecting, in fact. And we expect the same for the second part of the year. There is no real catch-up.

On the first question, Francois, you would cover it?

François Chabas

Yes, sure. So your point is on the margin of industry and the ramp-up cost. I think, here, we are a victim of our success, meaning this division is growing the fastest with stable margin. And you were right, we had even internally intention to be able to raise the margin. But our own target were not as high in terms of growth. We have been a bit surprised by the speed of growth there. That's why we grew almost 11% on Industry and energy, and the margin is the same in H1 as it was last year. So no -- on the face of it, no operating leverage, as you would put it.

I will deliver you a practical example on the why. We are here expanding very fast in what we call OpEx industry services. So we survey sites, network of -- electrical networks, pipelines. And when you gain -- when you win one of those contracts, we're talking about 200, 250 personnel to find, recruit, train, equip, put on the job. And so there is an amount of mobilization costs, which is not insignificant. We have, as per own procedures, a very strict accounting view to it, meaning that we take in the P&L the costs when they arrive, so meaning we are not storing somewhere in the balance sheet mobilization cost that would then further down the road erode the margin. We take them straight.

So that's why the -- I would say, as an industry, the growth stays, I would say, above the 10% mark. The margin will not move, margin in terms of percentage. Of course, in terms of million of euros, that will follow down but not without improvement. So again, here, it's all depending how fast we grow there. You will understand, for sure, we are not putting the break on growth just for the sake of the percentage of margin, provided that we deliver more operating profit at the end of the day and that we do not drop the margin, which is important to us, indeed.

Didier Michaud-Daniel

Knowing that after this mobilization cost, Francois, we will, of course, Improve the margin along the way.

François Chabas


Arthur Truslove

Just quickly following up on that, sorry. Just on that -- it's kind of what I would have thought. But is there any idea of how much those mobilization costs cost you in that first half, as in what would the margin have been had maybe you've grown at 6% or 7% or something like that?

François Chabas

We do not report on it, Arthur.


Last question comes from Sylvia Barker from JPMorgan.

Sylvia Barker

First question, please. Can I go back to CPS and just check, I guess, what would the margin have been or what would your profit have been excluding China? Because you have offset the revenue declines very well, but presumably, that came at some extra cost. So just thinking about how much of that might come back in the second half.

Then secondly, on the renewables business, how is that accounted for? So does the cost of the equipment goes through the top line and passed through kind of low margin? Or do you have any CapEx element related to it?

And then finally, on recertification. You flagged previously that there was a confluence of recertification last year with a deadline at the end of Q3. So should we expect a bit more of a slowdown in the Certification business in Q3? And could that have an impact on the margin as well? That's just on the ISO side.

Didier Michaud-Daniel

Yes. So Francois is going to take your first question. I want to cover the renewables first. There is no CapEx, 0. So it's a very simple answer. There is no CapEx. In fact, this is clearly our expertise in terms of inspection and procurement. So what we did, in fact, and we still do in CapEx, it's very easy for us to go and move on these projects because we have the expertise. So there is 0 CapEx.

On the recertification side, it's very important for you to understand that now we could call it assurance. Some of our colleagues call it assurance, by the way. We are not obsessed by the ISO certification anymore. We're obsessed by developing, pushing, increasing our ESG certification, our ESG assurance, sustainability commitment from clients, supply chain traceability.

And when you look at the organic growth of this activity now, in fact, on the sustainability part, we are moving at double digit. So clearly -- and this is the future, so meaning that it's not because there is rectification in 1 year and not the other one that we will slow down because, again, we are pushing very hard for new schemes, in particular, these schemes of ESG certification, these schemes of traceability. And we can see already a strong demand coming from our clients. On the first -- so in certification, if you think about it, compared to what it was some years ago, when it was more or less exclusively ISO, there is just no comparison.

The first point, Francois?

François Chabas

Yes. On the CPS margin, I think we have -- the first comparison which we'll all make is the margin that we've achieved this year, which is 22.3%, and the margin we had achieved end of H1 2020 when the operation had to face extreme type of lockdown. And I think it answers already a good chunk of the question. Now if nothing really had happened at all, sorry to say, but frankly, the margin would have been perhaps a bit better. But the best -- the most important information we have today is even with lockdown in China, we managed to keep the business above 22.5%. So if it had not happened, it would have been higher, for sure, perhaps. How much, we haven't computed it.

And I would dare to say this is not really the point to be for the management team here. The point and what we try and reflect is we built a company that is very much resilient. And of course, if there was no China, no Ukraine, not Russia, no Fed hikes in interest rate, I'm sure we'll do great. But I'm not sure that -- I'm not sure the investors are really interested to know what happens if everything good happens. I think you guys are interested by what happens when things happen.


I will now hand back to your host to conclude today's conference. Thank you.

Didier Michaud-Daniel

Okay. Thank you very much again for your attention. And for those who are going to be on vacation, good vacations. I wish you good morning, good afternoon, good evening. Bye.


Thank you for joining today's call. You may now disconnect.

Sat, 30 Jul 2022 06:25:00 -0500 en text/html https://seekingalpha.com/article/4527908-bureau-veritas-sa-bvrdf-ceo-didier-michaud-daniel-on-q2-2022-results-earnings-call-transcript
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