Vacancy Rate for Greater Phoenix Industrial Market Decreases in 2015

Posted on April 12 2016 by admin

Fourth Quarter 2015 Stats Bode Well For Industrial Properties in Greater Phoenix

Absorption

  • 1.4 million square feet of space was absorbed in the fourth quarter of 2015 (Q4) which impressively was the 23rd consecutive quarter of positive absorption in the Greater Phoenix industrial market.
  •  Net positive absorption for industrial space in 2015 was almost 8.5 million sq. ft. Most of the absorption gain was concentrated in build-to-suits, owner-built, and second generation space. (*)

Vacancy

  • Vacancy declined to 10.3% in Q4, a notable decrease over 11.1% in the third quarter of 2015 and 11.4% in the fourth quarter of 2014. This reduction is particularly encouraging when you consider that the vacancy rate hovered between 11% and 12% during the prior six quarters. In fact, Q4 marked the first time since 2007 that the industrial vacancy rate in Greater Phoenix fell below 11%.

Asking Rental Rates

  • The average monthly asking rental rate inched up a penny in Q4 to $0.52 per square foot on a monthly triple net basis.

Cap Rates

  • Cap rates averaged 7.5% in Q4 and were 7.6% for all of 2015.

The charts below present Cushman & Wakefield’s statistical data in the fourth quarter of 2015 for all classes of industrial space in Metro Phoenix related to total buildings, inventory, vacancy rates, net absorption, square feet under construction, and average rental rates. Note that net positive absorption in the Southwest Phoenix submarket accounted for 29% of the 4,027,249 square feet sold in Metro Phoenix in Q4 but its vacancy rate of 14.3% was the highest of any of the 17 submarkets in the Cushman & Wakefield study.

Real Estate Charts

 

The Experts Are Forecasting Another Good Year for the Phoenix Industrial Market in 2016

  • According to Collier’s International, “Vacancy in Greater Phoenix industrial properties will continue to trend lower in 2016, with net absorption outpacing deliveries of new space by approximately 1 million square feet. The vacancy rate should end 2016 in the low-to-mid 10 percent range.”
  • In regard to asking rents, Colliers International opines “Tenant demand for industrial space is strong and vacancy is improving, which should continue to push rents higher in 2016. Average asking rents are forecast to increase by more than 4 percent in 2016.”
  • CBRE believes investor interest in Metro Phoenix warehouse and distributing facilities will remain strong in 2016 and recommends purchases of industrial properties along transportation corridors to enable online retailers to provide same day delivery to customers.

Employment and Population Growth Should Create Demand for Industrial Properties in 2016

  • In October of 2015, Forbes Magazine named Arizona the best state for future job growth, projecting 3.1% growth through 2019.
  • In a September 2015 report on the technology industry in the United States, CBRE ranks Phoenix and San Francisco tied for number one in technology job growth nationwide.
  • The University of Arizona estimates that Metro Phoenix experienced a net migration increase of 12.1% in 2015 and forecasts net migration increases of 17.5% and 22.1% respectively in 2016 and 2017.

Do you recall your Economics 101 professor hypothesizing that job and population growth will almost always stimulate demand for real estate? As this theory pertains to the industrial market in Greater Phoenix, your instructor was correct as long as absorption outpaces new construction.

By Gary Ringel, CGREA

Resources

The primary sources for information in this article are the Greater Phoenix/Industrial 4Q 2015 Research & Forecast Report published by Colliers International; the Phoenix Industrial, Q4 2015 Marketview published by CBRE; and the Industrial Snapshot Q4 2015 MarketBeat published by Cushman & Wakefield.

(*) Second generation space is industrial space occupied by a prior tenant that has been improved and rented to a subsequent tenant.

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Can You Limit ERISA/Pension Fund Withdrawal Liability?

Posted on April 5 2016 by admin

It’s no secret that pension plans around the country are in trouble. The financial crisis of recent years has not only affected the value of securities and other investments, but has contributed to the failure of key businesses, and has caused many pension plans to become underfunded. What may come as a surprise to contributing employers of multiemployer pension plans is how an underfunded pension plan could have a significant impact on their business upon withdrawal from the plan. Employers need to know what the withdrawal liability is and how to identify and potentially minimize its financial consequences.

In September 1980, Congress enacted the Multi-Employer Pension Plan Amendments Act (“MPPAA”) which, among other things, required plan trustees to collect a “withdrawal liability” from employers withdrawing from an MPP. Any significant reduction in the employer’s duty to contribute – including layoffs, plant closures, sales or changes in the collective bargaining agreement – can trigger a complete or partial withdrawal from a plan, resulting in a withdrawal liability.

In general, the amount of withdrawal liability is the employer’s proportionate share of the plan’s unfunded vested liabilities, as determined under a statutory formula. Upon withdrawal, the plan determines the amount of the liability, notifies the employer of the amount, and collects that amount from the employer. A withdrawing employer may be required to pay the liability even if its employees are not entitled to benefits, or even if employees are immediately hired by another contributing employer that will continue to fund their benefits.

While the withdrawal liability itself may not be avoidable, there are situations where the amount due can be significantly reduced. Under ERISA Section 4225, 29 U.S.C.A. § 1405, an employer who withdraws due to the sale of assets, or an insolvent employer undergoing liquidation or dissolution, can potentially limit the amount of unfunded vested benefits allocable to them.

An employer who withdraws may be able to reduce the withdrawal liability, and a major factor in calculating the maximum liability is the “liquidation or dissolution” value. However, the “net book value” or “equity” reported on a company’s balance sheet rarely represents its liquidation value. Various adjustments typically must be made to book value, including restating the book value of tangible and intangible assets to estimated realizable value in liquidation, reductions for the cost of liquidating inventory and other assets, reductions for uncollectible accounts receivable, consideration of ongoing expenses that will be incurred during the liquidation period, etc. Considering the potentially significant financial burden as a result of an employer’s withdrawal from an MPP, which possibly could extend to related entities as well, it is recommended that a company facing such a liability obtain expert assistance in determining its liquidation value and calculating its maximum withdrawal liability. And of course, since the rules governing withdrawal liability are complicated, companies with specific issues and concerns should consult with legal counsel.

By Ted Burr, CTP, CIRA

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The Fraud Triangle

Posted on March 15 2016 by admin

In order for fraud to occur, there normally needs to be three conditions present: a pressure, an opportunity and a rationalization. This is known as the fraud triangle.

The first side of the fraud triangle is pressure. Pressure can take many forms, and the pressures that motivate employee fraud differ from those that motivate management fraud. Pressures on employees most often include financial, emotional and lifestyle.

  • Financial pressures may be high personal debt/expenses, heavy financial losses, tax avoidance and “inadequate” salary/income.
  • Emotional pressures include job dissatisfaction, coercion by management, fear of losing one’s job and the need for power or control.
  • Lifestyle pressures include addictions such as gambling, drugs, or alcohol; and family/peer pressure. It is important to note that lifestyle pressures do not necessarily exist in the person committing the fraud but may be found in a spouse, romantic partner, or other family member.

Some red flags that may be found in employees experiencing pressure are living beyond one’s means, recent acquisition of high dollar assets such as a sports car or boat, refusal to share job duties, reluctance to take time off, expression of bitterness over a missed promotion or pay raise, radical changes in behavior and/or appearance, sudden decline in performance, and sudden attendance issues. Organizational pressures on management, which often inspire financial statement fraud, include management characteristics, industry conditions and financial pressure.

The second side of the fraud triangle is rationalization. Rationalization provides the justification for committing fraud, and can take three forms, a justification, an attitude or a lack of personal integrity. Joseph Heath, a philosophy professor at the University of Toronto (U of T), and the former director of the U of T Centre for Ethics, suggests that there are seven rationalizations for unethical actions (*):

  • Denial of responsibility
  • Denial of injury
  • Denial of the victim
  • Condemnation of the condemners
  • Appeal to higher loyalties
  • Everyone else is doing it
  • Entitlement

The final side of the fraud triangle is opportunity. Opportunity is the condition or situation that allows an individual to commit fraud, conceal fraud, and convert the theft or misrepresentation to personal gain. This side of the fraud triangle is the easiest for organizations to address through the design, implementation and enforcement of internal controls. Some examples of controls include segregation of duties, authorization procedures, proper supervision, safeguarding of assets, clear lines of authority, adequate documentation and independent checks on performance.

In discussing the fraud triangle, and the motivations for fraud, it is also important to keep Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in mind, as this may provide additional insight into fraudster motivations and potential vulnerabilities. For example, an individual may be motivated by the need for money to maintain their family (a physiological need), and by job security (a safety need). An individual may also be susceptible to management coercion because they want to be seen as a worthy employee (a love, affinity need/an esteem/respect need). Individuals who commit fraud may be subject to the influence of needs along all levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy.

By Shyla A. Ingram, MSA

(*) Brooks, L.J., & Dunn, P. (2010). Business & professional ethics for directors, executives & accountants (6th ed.). Mason, OH: South-Western

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The Amazing Court Reporters

Posted on March 8 2016 by admin

dI have testified at dozens of depositions and always had a court reporter present to transcribe my testimony. In my earlier days of testifying in a courtroom, a court reporter was always present. Today, court reporters in the courtroom are a rare sight. The courtrooms in Maricopa County Arizona Superior Court, for example, generally use microphones for the judges, attorneys and witnesses. Testimony is electronically transcribed. The words spoken in the courtroom are now recorded on discs.
Whenever I’ve given a deposition, I am always amazed and impressed at how effortlessly the court reporters restate my testimony on those little typewriter-thingy machines they peck away at. Oh, alright, I looked up the official name of the gadgets and found they seemed to be called stenographs, or stenography machines. Whatever they are called, it takes a skilled court reporter to make them hum.

I look with wonder at the court reporters – mostly ladies but sometimes men, and how their nimble fingers fly as I am spouting off whatever it is that I’m testifying about. I am thinking there is no possible way the reporter could type all that I just said and have it come out in some intelligible written document later on. No way. Yet, in the end, their wonderfully assembled written reports had – what I thought was said too quickly, accurately transcribed.

I’ve also found, for some reason unknown to me, the reporters are always courteous and friendly. In other words, they never appear to get rattled or allow themselves to be jaundiced by the high emotions and sometimes caustic and hurtful remarks from both the witness being deposed as well as the opposing attorney asking the questions. I had one court reporter tell me one time that he was transcribing at a deposition when the witness, an elderly gent in his early 80s, decided he’d had enough of the perceived badgering by the opposing questioning attorney. He suddenly reached for the pitcher of ice water on the middle of the conference room table and tossed its contents onto the befuddled and stunned said questioning attorney. I wonder how the court reporter accounted for this in his transcript. I thought it must have gone something like this:

Q. So you admit that it was a very unreasonable – strike that; a very dumb – strike that; a very stupid thing you chose to do. Isn’t that right Mr. Kruft?

A. Why you dirty #@!%&*! I’ll show you who’s stupid.

Next, I wondered how the court reporter would make written note of what he’d just witnessed. Surely, this event was so significant that it had to, somehow, be noted in the old guy’s deposition. I thought the ice water incident might have been recorded by the court reporter something like this:

(The witness suddenly picks up the pitcher of ice cold water, with several ice cubes in it, which was sitting in the middle of the conference room table, and slings it all over Mr. Ames. A short recess is taken.)

I’ve found court reporters to be unflappable, even when catastrophe strikes them during a deposition. I remember once when I was testifying and the court reporter, who was sitting to my left, placed a glass of water on the conference room table in front of her. The water happened to be right in front of, and above, her stenograph machine and a laptop computer which was storing the court reporter’s typing. I thought to myself, “Uh-oh, this doesn’t look good.” Sure enough, the reporter rose from her chair and reached to pick up a document on the conference room table. The document was to be marked by the reporter as an exhibit to my testimony. As the court reporter attempted to sit down – you guessed it – her left hand caught the glass of water. It spilled onto the conference room table. It spilled onto her stenograph machine. And, it spilled onto the laptop. A short recess was taken. The reporter calmly called her office which, fortunately, was not too far from my deposition location and asked a colleague to bring a backup stenograph machine and laptop. Within 20 minutes the new equipment arrived and my deposition continued. The reporter remained calm and upbeat. I was impressed.

In closing, I tip my hat to court reporters. They are truly amazing people. And that’s the truth!

By Don Bays, CPA, ABV, CVA, CFF

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The IRS and Section 2036

Posted on March 2 2016 by admin

The IRS continues to look at family limited partnerships (FLPs) and whether or not they have been formed for a sufficient business purpose. Section 2036 of the IRS Code provides that the gross estate should include the value of any property to the extent a transfer has been made but the decedent has retained 1) the possession or right to income from the property or 2) the right to designate who shall possess or enjoy the property or income derived from the property. In a recent case, Estate of Perdue v. Commissioner, the IRS argued that the transfer of assets used to form an LLC was a transfer with a retained interest. The IRS argued for the transferred assets to be included in the estate of Mrs. Perdue.

The Estate argued that the transfer was a bona fide sale for full consideration, an exception to Section 2036.

The Tax Court considered the issues of bona fide sale and full consideration as two separate items.

In considering a bona fide sale, the Tax Court looked for whether the LLC was formed for a legitimate and significant non-tax reason. The tax court considered many factors to determine whether or not a bona fide sale occurred.

As for full consideration, the court looked to their position in other cases that full consideration is satisfied if the taxpayers received an interest in the LLC equal to the proportionate value of the LLC.

The Tax Court (T.C. Memo 2015-249) ruled in favor of the estate for both bona fide sale and full consideration. The court noted that the taxpayers were not financially dependent upon distributions from the LLC, there was no commingling of personal and LLC assets, bank accounts were maintained, the operating agreement was followed, assets were timely transferred and the taxpayers were in good health at the time of transfer. The Tax Court also ruled that the “decedent’s desire to have the marketable securities and the building interest held and managed as a family asset constituted a legitimate non-tax motive for transfer of property” to the LLC.

Despite the ruling in favor of the taxpayer, taxpayers need to be aware that the IRS has had Section 2036 issues in its sights for some time now and that is likely not to change. Taxpayers and their trusted advisors need to be aware of the areas which the IRS is prone to concentrate on:

  • Dependence upon income from the entity;
  • Commingling of personal and FLP assets;
  • Establishment of a partnership or operating agreement and adherence thereto;
  • Separate FLP bank accounts;
  • Annual meetings of the FLP;
  • Health and age of the taxpayer at time of transfer;
  • Have the assets been managed differently since formation of the FLP.

Facts and circumstances will always dictate whether or not the formation of the FLP qualifies as a bona fide sale for full consideration. So be sure to get your ducks in a row when forming your FLP.

By Melissa E. Loughlin-Sines, CPA, CFE, CVA, CFF, ABV

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When 50% is Not Half

Posted on February 25 2016 by admin

You own 50% of a closely-held (not publicly traded) company that has been determined to have a fair market value of $3 million. Your ownership interest is worth $1.5 million, right? Maybe, maybe not. The value of a 100% ownership interest in a business includes the value of “control” – that is, the owner has the ability to control key decisions that affect the business, such as to appoint or change operational management and/or the board of directors; determine management’s compensation; purchase, sell or lease business assets; liquidate, dissolve, sell or recapitalize the company; and determine when and how much to pay out in dividends or distributions. Therefore, the value of your 50% interest depends in part on the degree of control that you have.

One consideration is the distribution of the remaining 50% interest. For example, if it is divided equally among 50 others, your 50% interest could have considerable control, in that it could be fairly easy for you to form a majority by obtaining the cooperation of as little as one other owner. However, if the other 50% interest is also owned by just one person, neither interest is considered a controlling interest. While they are not minority interests either, equal individual interests are usually worth less than a pro rata portion of what the entire company is worth, and the sum of the values of the individual owners is likely less than what the total company could be sold for to a single buyer.

When less than a 51% ownership interest is valued, discounts are applied to arrive at the value of the lesser interest. One such discount is the “minority interest” discount – also known as the “lack of control” discount. This discount is commonly applied to minority interests, or those less than 50%, but it is applicable to any interest that lacks the prerogatives of control that a 100% owner would have.

Obviously, many factors can impact the degree of control a partial owner has over the operations of a company. The degree of control is dependent on the shareholder’s ability to exercise the prerogatives of control – or of the minority shareholder’s ability to exercise negative control by being able to block certain decisions. Whenever a valuation consultant is engaged to value a partial interest, the consultant must determine the extent of any control limitations or opportunities. When any of the control elements are not available to the ownership interest, the value attributable to control must be adjusted accordingly.

By Lynne Bouvea, CPA/ABV/CFF, ASA, CFE

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Taxpayer Victory in Personal Goodwill Case

Posted on February 9 2016 by admin

In August of 2014, the U.S. Tax Court (the Court) made a decision in a case that addresses personal goodwill, the Estate of Adell v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo 2014-155. In this case, the decedent, Franklin Z. Adell, and his son Kevin formed The Word Network (The Word), a 24-hour television station that broadcasts urban religious ministries and gospel music, as a §501(c)(3) organization. The decedent was also sole owner of STN.Com which was organized to provide the satellite uplink services necessary to give The Word access to national and international cable television distribution. Although Mr. Adell was a board member and officer of STN.Com and The Word, Kevin operated both companies and was the face of the operation as he was the individual soliciting content and pursuing broadcast opportunities. On the date of Mr. Adell’s death, August 13, 2006, Kevin, who was the personal representative of the estate, reported the value of Mr. Adell’s 100% interest in STN.Com at $9.3 million . The respondent (Commission of Internal Revenue) reported the value at $26.3 million.

The primary dispute in this case was the treatment of the goodwill associated personally with Kevin. This was not a corporate asset; indeed, Kevin served as STN.Com’s president, but had never entered into an employment agreement or a noncompete agreement with STN.Com, and his personal connections with The Word and its religious affiliates were crucial to the future of both The Word and STN.Com.

After analyzing the opinions of the various experts, the Court found that the estate’s appraiser presented the best evidence of value in that it properly accounted for Kevin’s personal goodwill. Therefore, the Court concluded that the fair market value of the STN.Com stock owned by the estate on August 13, 2006, was $9.3 million, the amount originally reported on the estate tax return.

For more details on this case and a review of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code and U.S. Treasury Regulations as they pertain to the value of an estate and calculating the goodwill of a business, refer to the full article.

By Cindy Andresen, ASA

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Greater Phoenix Office Market Looking Positive for 2016

Posted on February 2 2016 by admin

Vacancy Rates Trended Lower for Fifth Consecutive Year in 2015

The chart below presents statistical data in the fourth quarter of 2015 for Class A, Class B and Class C office space in Metro Phoenix related to total inventory, vacancy, vacancy rates, net absorption, and average rental rates. Note that the Class A category had the lowest vacancy rate of the three building types coming in at 15.4%. Economists, developers and investors were delighted to learn that the overall vacancy rate in the Greater Phoenix office market ended 2015 at 17.2% down 90 basis points from 18.1% on December 31, 2014.

Table 1

The next chart further delineates fourth quarter statistics for the largest office submarkets within Greater Phoenix.

Table 2

2015 Greater Phoenix Office Market Golden Nuggets

  • Net absorption peaked in the fourth quarter of 2015 bringing the total for the year to approximately 3.5 million square feet making it the strongest single year of office absorption since 2006.
  • Because tenant demand is on the rise, construction of new space is accelerating at a rapid pace. Developers currently have nearly 3 million square feet of new space under construction.
  • Class A asking rents increased 6.6% in 2015 to $26.56 per square foot after gaining 5.3% in 2014.
  • Vacancy rates in Class A building throughout Metro Phoenix declined in 2015 from 17.5% to 15.4%.
  • With employment growth rates projected to grow in Metro Phoenix during 2016, tenant demand for office space will cause further declines in vacancy rates.
  • Sales attributable to office buildings totaled about $3 billion in 2015 reflecting an impressive growth of 50% compared to 2014.

In summary, the future of the office market sector in Metro Phoenix looks bright and optimistic in the coming year.

By Gary Ringel, CGREA

The primary source for information in this article is the Greater Phoenix/Office 4Q 2015 Research & Forecast Report published by Colliers International.

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When Should an Appraisal of a Non-Cash Charitable Contribution be Performed?

Posted on January 19 2016 by admin

ValueTaxpayers who make charitable contributions of non-cash property could be putting themselves in IRS penalty danger if the contribution is more than $5,000 and the property has not been appraised by a qualified appraiser who has issued a qualified appraisal report. A recent Tax Court case emphasizes the need for an appraisal report to be made.

In Gemperle v. Commissioner, TC Memo 2016-1 on January 4, 2016, the IRS argued and the Court agreed, that a 20% negligence penalty under 6662(a), and a 40% gross valuation misstatement penalty under 6662(h) should be applied when no appraisal was attached on this charitable contribution case. The Internal Revenue Code, the instructions for Form 8263, and the commentary from the Joint Committee on Taxations’s Technical Explanation clearly indicate that an appraisal should have been attached to the return. An appraisal was required, in this instance, as a matter of law. It was not attached, the taxpayer lost the case, and had penalties applied as a result. Clearly, an appraisal was required to substantiate the charitable contribution. (*)

The Internal Revenue Code provides the following guidance with regard to: a) appraisals of non-cash charitable contributions; and, b) definitions of a qualified appraisal and a qualified appraiser:

“A taxpayer’s deduction for charitable contributions is generally permitted under IRS § 170(a), subject to certain limitations depending on the type of taxpayer, the nature of the property contributed, and the type of done organization. In particular under § 170(f) (11) (C), taxpayers are required to obtain a qualified appraisal for donated property for which a deduction of more than $5,000 is claimed. Under § 170 (f) (11) (D), in certain cases the qualified appraisal must be attached to the tax return. Section 1219 of the Pension Protection Act of 2006 amends § 170(f) (11) (E) and provides definitions of a qualified appraisal and qualified appraiser for appraisals prepared with respect to returns filed after August 17, 2006”. (**)

A “qualified appraisal” is an appraisal that is conducted by a “qualified appraiser” in accordance with generally accepted appraisal standards; e.g., consistent with the substance and principles of the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP), as developed by the Appraisal Standards Board of the Appraisal Foundation. (***)

A “qualified appraiser” is an individual who has earned an appraisal designation from a recognized professional appraiser organization, if the designation is awarded on the basis of demonstrated competency in valuing the type of property for which the appraisal is performed, or has otherwise met minimum education and experience requirements set forth by the Secretary. An appraiser will be treated as having demonstrated verifiable education and experience in valuing the type of property subject to the appraisal if the appraiser makes a declaration in the appraisal that, because of the appraiser’s background, experience, education, and membership in professional associations, the appraiser is qualified to make appraisals of the type of property being valued. And, that the individual regularly performs appraisals for which she/he receives compensation.” (****)

Taxpayers who are making non-cash charitable contributions of more than $5,000 should check with their tax accountant to make sure a qualified appraisal is, or is not, required in support of their contribution.

By Don R. Bays, CPA, ABV, CVA, CFF

(*) From online QuickRead of the National Association of Certified Valuators and Analysts, When Should an Appraisal be Attached to a Return? January 13, 2016; Michael Gregory.

(**) Internal Revenue Bulletin: 2006-46, November 13, 2006, Notice 2006-96, Guidance Regarding Appraisal Requirements for Noncash Charitable Contributions.

(***) Pension Protection Act of 2006.

(****) Ibid.

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Happy New Year!

Posted on December 31 2015 by admin

HAPPY NEW YEAR 12.29.15

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We believe that this service to our clients, and other interested parties, will bring valued information to those involved in and in need of valuation and forensic services. We bring with us years of knowledge and experience that can provide you with the information you need, or at least a little insight into the business valuation and forensic accounting worlds. As we provide weekly information to you, our reader, we value your input and feedback. We will also share that feedback with others, as we find appropriate. Welcome to Perspectives. We hope you find it informative and worthy of your time.


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