Rohingya’s want solid commitment before returning home

Video shot of interviews of Rohingya in exile

The Rohingya’s community in exile in Bangladesh imposed conditions before their return home.

But in between, the Rakhine state is getting attention from both India and the United States.

India provides US$25 million aid for Rakhine state development for a five-year development project in Rakhine State, according to Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement.

This, coupled with the American aid of U.S. 50 million, is the focus on the Rohingya diaspora in the Rakhine state.

The Indian aid is over a 5-year development plan, with the state of Rakhine getting US$5 million per annum.

This is in accord with the Rakhine State Development agreement between Myanmar and Indian governments.

“The respective ministries will need to submit proposals as soon as possible to implement the projects in sectors such as education, health, agriculture, environment and cultural heritages, promoting of efficiency for women and caring of children,” said the communique.

However, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) is providing an additional $50 million in humanitarian assistance for vulnerable people fleeing the Rakhine State crisis.

This brings the United States’ response to the crisis in Burma and Bangladesh to more than $163 million since August 2017, and total humanitarian assistance for displaced people in and from Burma to more than $255 million since the start of FY 2017.

Nearly 700,000 people, mostly Rohingya women and children, have fled violence in Rakhine State, Burma since August.

The Unites States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) support to the Rohingya response in Cox’s Bazar.

It focuses on providing for the immediate needs of the refugees with life-saving food assistance, nutrition interventions for the severely malnourished, and logistics support for the delivery of humanitarian assistance.

However, the Rohingya community in Coz Bazar has established their own demands for their future return to their homeland.

They escaped a campaign of murder, repression and rape by Myanmar’s military and militant Buddhist monks. Now they await the political deal to allow a return to their homeland in Myanmar’s Rakhine State. But will it happen?

From Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, and in partnership with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, special correspondent Tania Rashid and videographer Phillip Caller bring us the first of three reports.

Tania Rashid said these Rohingya refugees came out to show how tired they are of living in uncertainty. It’s been seven months since they fled for their lives from Myanmar into Bangladesh. They are fed up and have come out to protest for their safe return to Myanmar.

Salahuddin, who is a schoolteacher says he fled Rakhine State with his family six months ago after an attack on his village.

“It is our country, and we have been living there for more than 1,000 years. And after years of slow genocide, we were finally forced to flee,” he said.

Now more than 1.2 million Rohingya live in the world’s largest refugee camp in cramped and squalid conditions on the edge of Cox’s Bazar. The repatriation was meant to begin two months ago after a deal between Myanmar and Bangladesh.

And the Bangladeshi government is keen to speed things up, as they fear the upcoming monsoon could devastate the camps.

Abul Kalam, Bangladesh’s refugee relief and rehabilitation commissioner, is responsible for coordinating the repatriation.

“Repatriation process will certainly happen, based on the agreement reached two governments late last year. And preparatory works are ongoing now. I believe, as we are doing our part, they also are certainly doing their part,” says Kalam.

The Rohingya community has drawn up 13 demands that they want to be met before they agree to return.

For the repatriations to go ahead, the first thing we need is for U.N. peacekeepers to come with us, says another refugee.

“Secondly, the Myanmar government must give us back our citizenship rights. We are not asking for a new nationality.

“We have tons of proofs that we used to have Myanmar nationality. The Myanmar government must compensate us for everything we lost.

“We cultivated our land and built our homes with love, with our own hands. So we must be allowed go back to our own homes and villages,” he said.

But will the aid pouring in from the U.S., in particular, be good for the refugees?

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Baichoo to revive party?

With the wind blowing against Mr Anil Baichoo, the latter is apparently pitching for a revival of his old party, the Movement Socialist Democrats (MSD).

Baichoo is said to have assembled a number of personalities within the party to jump to the MSD.

There is also the possibility that former-MMM member Mr Pradeep Jeeha might join Baichoo’s party.

The idea is to align with other parties in the hope Baichoo will get a future role, in the event he has to leave the Labour Party.

Baichoo is hot on the heels of leader Navin Ramgoolam to make a choice for the Labour leadership: The battle is between himself and Mr Arvind Boolell.

Labour diehards are not able to digest the fact that the party leadership is in limbo.

Ramgoolam has finally accepted the growing popularity of Boolell within the party base and among the public.

Labour does not have a good choice for leadership, as a non-Vaish may lose an election against a Vaish from an opposing front.

Boolell led a silent revolt against Ramgoolam in the aftermath of the December 2017 by-elections won by Boolell.

Hence, Baichoo is pressing hard for his nomination as Labour leader in the event Ramgoolam was to rescind power.

However, the party’s leadership is not in favour of a Baichoo transition in the party.

The MMM and the crux of the social media world: Adopt and conquer

The MMM remains one of the most sought after political organisation in the country,

Based on its history, and the nostalgia of the political struggles of its leaders, the party is yet to lose its glitter.

But it needs a new approach to inject its philosophy for a better society in the minds of the younger generations.

How would it achieve that in the age of the Internet?

The other day Paul Raymond Berenger showed, in an interview with L’Express, his awe about the internet.

The leader of the ‘Mauve’ party managed to extract and watch a video of a minister spurting his ‘nonsense’ in public.

But the internet is much more powerful than that!

Adopting and conquering

Needless to say it has to face the challenges posed by the surge in social media activities in the country.

Sure, the MMM needs to adopt all the social media platforms.

But the crucial element remains how will it share its glorious philosophy to the youngsters?

Here, we are suggesting that the MMM should set up a social media wing. It should be an internal wing that will look after all social media activities.

The role cannot be given to old stalwarts who does not even know how to post a message online.

It is the job of the youngsters within the party – those rising stars (though they are very few).

Henceforth, if there are not enough people capable to execute this project, the party should employ the right staff.

This is exactly how the party started its own organ, Le Militant, which sparked a revolution in the local media industry.

The same feat can materialise again, if the party takes steps to capture the lost grounds.

If the leaders would think that cost of this operation is to be a hazard for the party, they should rethink.

The internet revolution

The internet is here to stay. It is here to liberate the people from the numerous shackles of modern slavery.

Yes, some people will react by saying the mobile world is yet another form of slavery.

But remember, the internet is the core of the new world and if it is used in a smart manner, it will result in the liberation of the people.

It is in this perspective that we are here at WFTV. We want to put the spark in the future political struggle of the country.

And we believe that the MMM is the future of the country, not the Labour or PMSD and not even the MSM in its current state. Not even the ML for that matter.

The reason why we are saying this is that these parties – minus the MMM – have one thing in common: They do not have the leadership that can bring Mauritius to greater shores.

The MMM has it

Berenger said it during the L’Express interview – without the newspaper even realising it – that the party is doing a great job with lesser MP’s.

What does that mean?

It means the party still has the resolve to work for the people and to represent them at the highest level of the democratic process.

This is simply a great prowess that the MMM should be proud of.

It is also one that gives the people the right to keep their faiths – at least in the MMM’s leadership – with the hope that the current messy situation will be resolved soon.

Labour in leadership tussle: Baichoo v/s Boolell

The Labour Party, one of the strongest political formation today in Mauritius, is facing its own troubles.

The party is facing a leadership tussle between Arvind Boolell’s group and that of Anil Baichoo.

After the failed attempt by the Arvind Boolell group to gain support from New Delhi, the latter has rallied his troops with that of Navin Ramgoolam.

The aim is to fend-off the push by the Baichoo team to gain an upper hand over the leadership tussle in the next party congress.

Boolell, like Baichoo, is hoping they will be nominated leader perhaps prior to the upcoming General Elections.

While the elections are expected at the end of the year 2019, the political formations are busy rebuilding their stables.

But the Labour Party is facing the difficult decision of nominating Mr Boolell as the leader – before or after the polls.

There is strong opposition to a non-Vaish Hindu holding the Labour leader post.

A group led by Anil Baichoo is pressing for a Vaish to be nominated as party leader instead.

While Baichoo is targeting the leadership of the party, Ramgoolam is said to have taken steps to halt a double-edged revolt against him.

Baichoo is said to have plotted a revolt against Ramgoolam with a certain number of party members.

“He is waiting for the party’s congress to make known his intentions, but Ramgoolam already has wind of the plot,” said a source to WFTV.

After the Boolell ‘revolt’ in New Delhi against Ramgoolam, the latter does not seem to be able to accept another revolt by his former protege.

Before the Labour’s defeat in the 2014 elections, Baichoo was seen as the man to replace Ramgoolam.

But with Boolell’s big win in the December 2017 by-elections, Baichoo’s popularity dipped.

The fall in his popularity with Ramgoolam had started after the 2014 defeat, an elections in which the Labour leader failed to win his seat.

This devastating element made Ramgoolam realise that the party’s foundations was not right.

Coupled with Boolell’s strong win – Boolell was the obvious candidate for the by-elections in Rose-Bell, Quatres-Bornes – the leadership battle shifted.

But the party still has to decide who among the two groupings – the one supporting Boolell or the one supporting Baichoo – have the upper hand.

WFTV is told that the Vaish element within the Labour Party would have the upper hand, as a number of party leaders and members are seemingly in support of Baichoo.

MMM cleansing its stable with Jeeha expulsion

Youtube Screen Grab of Jeeha with A. Guness and Berenger

The MMM has finally relinquished its hold on Mr Pradeep Jeeha, expelling him from the party after granting him a grace period.

The latter brought this on himself, said a source to WFTV.

“But it is a good thing that he was shown the exit door. Claimed to be a high-flying figure in the party. But he did not deliver for the party,” said the source.

Jeeha had his share of parting shots against the MMM leader Paul Berenger whom he accused of marginalising his role in a letter earlier this month.

He also said the party was diverting from its struggle but was given a tap on his back by the leadership instead.

It is his recent criticism of the party that brought his expulsion.

Nevertheless, Jeeha exposed a few truths regarding his opposition to Berenger as leader of the party and as Prime Minister of Mauritius in 2003.

WFTV reported that Jeeha was one of the ‘gang of three’ who went to India to put pressure on New Delhi to prevent Berenger from becoming PM in 2003.

But on his return to the country, he was the one who broke the protocol with the other two MMM members.

He is said to have informed Berenger of the bid to prevent him from becoming PM after it was clear Sir Aneerood Jugnauth wanted to confirm the MMM leader as PM.

The source said Jeeha wanted to become PM in 2003, but then Prime Minister Aneerood Jugnauth stood firm.

“The then PM SAJ made good of his deal with Berenger and the MMM and allowed the MMM leader to hold the PM post,” said the source.

Seeing that Berenger won the battle to become PM, he then sided with the latter.

His recent admission of his opposition to Berenger becoming PM in 2003 is a blatant expose on why it is good the party got rid of him, said the source.

“He may join other parties and it will be up to the people to decide on his future. But logically speaking, this is the end of his political career,” said the source to WFTV.

Jeeha recently failed in a leadership bid in the MMM and this brought his downfall from the party.

Labour-PMSD alliance sealed with MP as third partner

Labour-PMSD

Sources told WFTV the Labour Party has sealed an alliance with the PMSD and the MP of Mr Alan Ganoo.

The PMSD is to get 12 tickets and the MP 3 tickets. The rest goes to the Labour Party.

However, the Labour leadership has promised the PMSD that it will increase its ticket share to 15 if the party does well on May 1.

“If the PMSD draw the same crowd that it did in the last few years, then the Labour may consider increasing their ticket share to 15,” the source said.

Nevertheless, the PMSD is also looking for two tickets in Beau-Bassin-Rose-Hill where the MMM is firmly entrenched.

“This is not going to happen,” said the source, who added that it is the PMSD’s secretary general’s office that is pressing for the two tickets in BB-RH.

Last year WFTV reported that an alliance between the Labour and the PMSD were 80% done.

On the other hand, Alan Ganoo is said to have finally turned his back on the MMM after trying to put the party together.

The MP has finally decided to join the Labour-PMSD in the ‘Red-Blue’ alliance.

The parties are now putting all efforts to draw the maximum crowd to their May 1 rally. The intention is to show their crowd-pulling prowess.

On the side of the MMM, the situation is now stable with the retreat of Pradeep Jeeha. The party has decided not to sanction him for his retreat from the politburo.

It is now up to firebrand lawyer Madan Dulloo to vet for the post of deputy within the party, said a source to WFTV.

This is yet to come as the party is still restructuring its bases, said the source.

Let the cheat begin: Najib has nine lives?

cheat

cheat

An unfair zoning and a ridiculous Fake News law greet the opposition for the General Elections 2014 or GE14.

It is under such circumstances together with a massive vote buying exercise that Malaysians will go to the polls on May 9.

That date – if it goes the Barisan Nasional way – will be an important one in the country’s history.

It will be one that will not be forgotten for generations to come.

This is the date that will mark the people’s rubber-stamping of all the ills the country is suffering.

On May 9, the people will wake up with the BN having won the elections.

To be fair to the ruling party, they would have won with the people’s vote, in the end.

In my view, elections are a bit like football matches. The cheats, the fakes, the referee bias, the crowd vouching for their sides.

But there is also the missed opportunities, the lone players whose actions sink their team in the end.

What will it mean for the people’s rights? After May 9, the people will have an even lesser say.

They will not be able to question the BN on the running of their affairs.

Nevertheless, their vote for the BN will be a consolidation of the current state of opaque rule.

This will also seal BN’s grip on power but it risk deepening the racial divisions.

For many, it will be the opportunity to opt for the option of an exodus abroad.

But what will another 5, and possibly 50 years of BN rule mean for this ‘Islamic’ country?

The absolution of cheats, moving of goal posts and barring opponents from expressing freely will shape a new Malaysia.

This will also shape a new ‘Islamic’ way, or rather the un-Islamic way of running a country.

The new Mufti’s will have a hard time issuing fatwa’s (Islamic edicts) to condemn electoral cheats – which is not allowed in Islam.

They will also have a harder time to get four pairs of eyes to prove whether a PM received RM2.6 billion in his account.

Oh well, the current Mufti’s did not find it useful to issue edicts on whether a country’s leader can accept such payouts.

What will change in Malaysia then?

Nothing. Absolutely nothing. What happened in the past nine years (Najib’s nine lives?) became the new normal.

There were scuffles here and there, some people were jailed for perjury others walked free from stupidity.

In the finality of things – nothing is final in politics – Najib’s rule is the rightful concretisation of a nation’s dream.

The dream of a powerful, incredibly rich and untouchable leader that came true.

Unless the results go the other way. That, my friends, will then be another story to tell.

BlackRock Reports First Quarter 2018 Diluted EPS of $6.68, or $6.70 as adjusted

 

CIAL RESULTS REFLECT NEW REVENUE RECOGNITION STANDARD (PRIOR PERIODS HAVE BEEN RECAST)
Q1 Q1 Q4
(in millions, except per share data) 2018 2017(a) Change 2017(a) Change
AUM $ 6,316,984 $ 5,420,477 17 % $ 6,288,195 %
Total net flows $ 56,946 $ 64,599 $ 102,929
GAAP basis:
Revenue $ 3,583 $ 3,092 16 % $ 3,764 (5 )%
Operating income $ 1,375 $ 1,143 20 % $ 1,485 (7 )%
Operating margin 38.4 % 37.0 % 140 bps 39.5 % (110 ) bps
Net income(1) (2) $ 1,089 $ 859 27 % $ 2,295 (53 )%
Diluted EPS $ 6.68 $ 5.21 28 % $ 14.01 (52 )%
Weighted average diluted shares 162.9 164.9 (1 )% 163.8 (1 )%
As Adjusted:
Operating income(3) $ 1,378 $ 1,147 20 % $ 1,488 (7 )%
Operating margin(3) 44.1 % 42.6 % 150 bps 44.7 % (60 ) bps
Net income(1) (3) $ 1,092 $ 862 27 % $ 1,013 8 %
Diluted EPS(3) $ 6.70 $ 5.23 28 % $ 6.19 8 %
(a) Financial results for 2017 were recast to reflect the adoption of the new revenue recognition standard. For further information, refer to the Current Report on Form 8-K furnished on March 22, 2018.
(1) Net income represents net income attributable to BlackRock, Inc.
(2) GAAP net income for fourth quarter 2017 reflects $1.2 billion of net tax benefit related to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
(3) See notes (1) through (3) to the condensed consolidated statements of income and supplemental information for more information on as adjusted items and the reconciliation to GAAP.

BlackRock, Inc. (NYSE: BLK) today reported financial results for the three months ended March 31, 2018.

“Paced by a strong January, long-term net inflows of $55 billion, representing 5% annualized organic base fee growth, were positive across active and index strategies,” commented Laurence D. Fink, Chairman and CEO of BlackRock. “Momentum continued in technology and risk management, with 19% year-over-year revenue growth, further highlighting the strength and diversity of our global platform.

“Investors experienced a spike in market volatility during the quarter, driven by concerns over global trade policies, a heightened focus on rates and inflation, and headlines in the technology sector. Institutional investors, in particular, reacted to these factors, by de-risking and re-balancing. At the same time, we also saw many corporate clients adapting to U.S. tax reform by seeking liquidity to fund future capital investment or more aggressive share repurchases. As a result of these various crosscurrents, BlackRock experienced a significant number of both large inflows and large outflows from institutional clients in the first quarter. Total institutional net inflows were $3 billion, but reflected active net outflows from multi-asset strategies, primarily related to the loss of a single client from M&A activity, and from active fixed income strategies, linked to profit-taking and cash repatriation planning.

“Driven by strong flows in our retail channels, BlackRock saw continued demand for a diverse range of fixed income strategies, including unconstrained, total return, short duration and emerging market debt, as well as alpha-seeking equity strategies. Our top performing fixed income platform saw $27 billion of net inflows across active and index. Active equities generated $1 billion of net inflows as performance improved, with 78% of fundamental equities and 90% of systematic active equity assets above benchmark or peer median for the five-year period.

iShares® saw quarterly net inflows of $35 billion, as clients continued to use iShares at the core of their portfolios to drive active returns and as simple, efficient tools to manage risk exposure amid market volatility.

“Growth in technology and risk management revenue was powered by demand for institutional Aladdin® and expansion of our digital wealth and distribution technologies, including Aladdin Risk for Wealth Management and Cachematrix. We continue to invest in technology to enhance our distribution capabilities and help partners efficiently scale their businesses and construct better portfolios.

“In a challenging environment, BlackRock continued to perform well. Building on a strong start to 2018, we remain committed to investing for growth and delivering the benefits of our scale to both clients and shareholders.”

RESULTS BY CLIENT TYPE
March 31, 2018 Q1 2018
Q1 2018 March 31, 2018 Q1 2018 AUM Base fees(1)
(in millions), (unaudited) Net flows AUM Base fees(1) % of Total % of Total
Retail $ 16,686 $ 638,363 $ 855 10 % 29 %
iShares ETFs 34,649 1,767,925 1,158 28 % 39 %
Institutional:
Active (7,088 ) 1,130,446 527 18 % 18 %
Index 10,378 2,324,327 256 37 % 9 %
Total institutional 3,290 3,454,773 783 55 % 27 %
Long-term 54,625 5,861,061 2,796 93 % 95 %
Cash management 2,674 454,784 151 7 % 5 %
Advisory (353 ) 1,139
Total $ 56,946 $ 6,316,984 $ 2,947 100 % 100 %
RESULTS BY INVESTMENT STYLE
March 31, 2018 Q1 2018
Q1 2018 March 31, 2018 Q1 2018 AUM Base fees(1)
(in millions), (unaudited) Net flows AUM Base fees(1) % of Total % of Total
Active $ 5,513 $ 1,693,883 $ 1,365 27 % 46 %
Index and iShares ETFs 49,112 4,167,178 1,431 66 % 49 %
Long-term 54,625 5,861,061 2,796 93 % 95 %
Cash management 2,674 454,784 151 7 % 5 %
Advisory (353 ) 1,139
Total $ 56,946 $ 6,316,984 $ 2,947 100 % 100 %
RESULTS BY PRODUCT TYPE
March 31, 2018 Q1 2018
Q1 2018 March 31, 2018 Q1 2018 AUM Base fees(1)
(in millions), (unaudited) Net flows AUM Base fees(1) % of Total % of Total
Equity $ 26,514 $ 3,363,237 $ 1,540 53 % 52 %
Fixed income 26,683 1,886,523 757 30 % 26 %
Multi-asset (1,987 ) 476,697 296 8 % 10 %
Alternatives 3,415 134,604 203 2 % 7 %
Long-term 54,625 5,861,061 2,796 93 % 95 %
Cash management 2,674 454,784 151 7 % 5 %
Advisory (353 ) 1,139
Total $ 56,946 $ 6,316,984 $ 2,947 100 % 100 %

BUSINESS HIGHLIGHTS

Long-term net inflows of $57.3 billion and $3.2 billion from clients in the Americas and Asia-Pacific regions, respectively, were partially offset by net outflows of $5.9 billion from clients in EMEA. At March 31, 2018, BlackRock managed 63% of its long-term AUM for clients in the Americas, 29% for clients in EMEA and 8% for clients in Asia-Pacific.

The Company’s net flows by client type for the first quarter of 2018 are presented below.

  • Retail long-term net inflows of $16.7 billion reflected net inflows of $8.7 billion in the United States and $8.0 billion internationally. Fixed income net inflows of $10.0 billion were diversified across the Company’s top-performing active platform, led by net inflows into unconstrained, emerging market and municipals categories. Equity net inflows of $4.2 billion reflected inflows into index mutual funds and international active equities. Multi-asset net inflows of $2.0 billion were largely due to inflows into the Multi-asset Income fund family.
  • iShares ETFs long-term net inflows of $34.6 billion reflected strength in iShares Core ETFs. Equity net inflows of $29.7 billion were driven by both U.S. and international equity market exposures. Fixed income and commodity iShares generated $3.2 billion and $1.7 billion of net inflows, respectively.
  • Institutional active long-term net outflows of $7.1 billion were driven by fixed income outflows of $4.1 billion linked to profit-taking and cash repatriation planning, and multi-asset net outflows of $4.1 billion resulting from a single redemption associated with client M&A activity. Alternatives net inflows of $1.4 billion were led by inflows into hedge funds, private equity solutions and infrastructure offerings.
  • Institutional index long-term net inflows of $10.4 billion included fixed income net inflows of $17.5 billion, led by demand for liability-driven solutions, partially offset by equity net outflows of $7.2 billion.

Cash management AUM increased 1% from the prior quarter to $454.8 billion.

INVESTMENT PERFORMANCE AT MARCH 31, 2018(1)
One-year period Three-year period Five-year period
Fixed income:
Actively managed AUM above benchmark or peer median
Taxable 83% 72% 90%
Tax-exempt 63% 58% 74%
Index AUM within or above applicable tolerance 96% 99% 100%
Equity:
Actively managed AUM above benchmark or peer median
Fundamental 66% 77% 78%
Systematic 84% 89% 90%
Index AUM within or above applicable tolerance 96% 98% 98%

Rite Aid Corporation: Rite Aid Reports Fiscal 2018 Fourth Quarter and Full Year Results

Rite Aid Corporation: Rite Aid Reports Fiscal 2018 Fourth Quarter and Full Year Results

www.twst.com

Rite Aid Reports Fiscal 2018 Fourth Quarter and Full Year Results

  • Fourth Quarter Net Loss from Continuing Operations of $483.7 Million or $0.46 Per Diluted Share, Compared to the Prior Year Fourth Quarter Net Loss of $25.1 Million or $0.02 Per Diluted Share
  • Fourth Quarter Net Loss includes $325 million of income tax expense relating to the revaluation of the company’s deferred tax assets in connection with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (‘2017 Tax Act’) and a goodwill impairment charge of $191 million, net of taxCAMP HILL, Pa. (Apr. 12, 2018) – Rite Aid Corporation (NYSE: RAD) today reported operating results for its fourth quarter and fiscal year ended March 3, 2018.

    For the fourth quarter, the company reported net loss from continuing operations of $483.7 million, or $0.46 per diluted share, Adjusted net loss from continuing operations of $10.3 million, or $0.01 per diluted share, Adjusted EBITDA from continuing operations of $157.4 million, or 2.9 percent of revenues and pro-forma Adjusted EBITDA from continuing operations of $173.2 million.

    For the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018 the company reported net income of $767.1 million, or $0.73 per diluted share. For the full year, the company reported net income of $943.5 million, or $0.90 per diluted share. Net income for the fourth quarter and the full year of fiscal 2018 includes an after-tax gain of approximately $1.2 billion and $1.3 billion, respectively, relating to the 1,554 and 1,651 stores and related assets sold to WBA. As of March 27, 2018, Rite Aid has completed the sale of all 1,932 stores and related assets to WBA.

    The transfer of the three distribution centers and related inventory is expected to begin after September 1, 2018. As a result of the proceeds received from the store sales, Rite Aid’s debt related to continuing operations, net of cash, was $2.9 billion as of March 3, 2018.

    ‘During the fourth quarter, we made significant progress in a number of areas: our Retail Pharmacy Segment delivered strong results with an increase in Adjusted EBITDA over the prior year; our Pharmacy Services Segment is off to a strong start in the new commercial selling season; shortly after the quarter ended, we completed the asset sale of 1,932 stores to WBA; and we entered into a definitive merger agreement with Albertsons Companies to transform Rite Aid into a truly differentiated leader in food, health and wellness,’ said Rite Aid Chairman and CEO John Standley.

    Rite Aid President and Chief Operating Officer Kermit Crawford added: ‘We are pleased that we’ve been able to drive improved operational performance through a stabilization of reimbursement rates, improvements in drug purchasing costs and a record number of immunizations which helped us deliver a higher pharmacy margin for the quarter.

    “These areas of our business will continue to be key priorities as we begin our new fiscal year and work together to continue building momentum.’

    Revenues from continuing operations for the quarter were $5.4 billion compared to revenues from continuing operations of $5.9 billion in the prior year’s fourth quarter, a decrease of $509.1 million or 8.6 percent.