In January 2015, Celtic and Allegheny Health Network formed a joint venture to combine each other’s home health and hospice assets in the western Pennsylvania region. Celtic manages the operations of the joint venture for a fee and holds a 40% interest. The pro rata operating results of the joint venture are included in the Company’s equity in earnings of affiliates. In connection with this transaction, the Company recorded a noncash pre-tax gain of $6.0 million in the first quarter of 2015 that is included in other non-operating income.
SocialCode is a provider of marketing solutions on social, mobile and video platforms. SocialCode revenues increased 28% in 2016, due to continued growth in digital advertising service revenues. SocialCode reported operating losses of $12.4 million in 2016; these results include incentive accruals of $12.8 million related to phantom equity appreciation plans. The expense amount related to these plans for 2015 was $2.0 million. As of December 31, 2016, the accrual balance related to these plans is $22.0 million.
Other businesses also includes Slate and Foreign Policy, which publish online and print magazines and websites; and two investment stage businesses, Panoply and CyberVista. Losses from each of these businesses in 2016 adversely affected operating results. In addition, Slate recorded a goodwill impairment charge of $1.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2016.
In November 2015, the Company announced that Trove, a digital innovation team, would largely be integrated into SocialCode and that Trove’s existing offerings would be discontinued. In connection with this action, the Company recorded a $2.8 million goodwill impairment charge at Trove in the fourth quarter of 2015, along with $0.5 million in severance costs.
In the second quarter of 2015, the Company sold The Root, an online magazine; the related gain on disposition is included in other non-operating expense, net.
Corporate Office. Corporate office includes the expenses of the Company’s corporate office, the pension credit for the Company’s traditional defined benefit plan and certain continuing obligations related to prior business dispositions. In the fourth quarter of 2016, the Company recorded an $18.0 million gain related to a bulk lump sum pension program offering.
In the fourth quarter of 2015, the Company recorded $6.0 million in incremental stock compensation expense due to the modification of restricted stock awards and implemented a Special Incentive Program that resulted in expense of $0.9 million, which was funded from the assets of the Company’s pension plan. In the third quarter of 2015, the Company recorded $18.8 million in incremental stock option expense, due to stock option modifications that resulted from the Cable ONE spin-off.
Excluding the pension gain and other pension incentive expense, the total pension credit for the Company’s traditional defined benefit plan was $64.1 million and $83.2 million for 2016 and 2015, respectively.
Excluding the pension credit and incremental stock compensation expense in 2015, corporate office expenses declined in 2016 due primarily to lower compensation costs.
Equity in (Losses) Earnings of Affiliates. At December 31, 2016, the Company held interests in a number of home health and hospice joint ventures, and interests in several other affiliates. The company recorded equity in losses of affiliates of $7.9 million for 2016, compared to $0.7 million in 2015. In the fourth quarter of 2016, the Company recorded an $8.4 million write-down on its investment in HomeHero, a company that managed an online senior home care marketplace.
Other Non-Operating (Expense) Income. The Company recorded total other non-operating expense, net, of $12.6 million in 2016, compared to $8.6 million in 2015.
The 2016 non-operating expense, net, included $39.9 million in foreign currency losses; $29.4 million in cost method investment write-downs; and $1.8 million in net losses on the sales of marketable securities, partially offset by a $34.1 million gain on the sale of land; an $18.9 million gain on the sale of a business; a $3.2 million gain on the Residential joint venture transaction and other items. The 2015 non-operating expense, net, included $23.3 million in losses from the sales of businesses, $15.6 million in unrealized foreign currency losses and other items, offset by a $21.4 million gain on the sale of land from Robinson Terminal, a $6.0 million gain on the formation of a Celtic joint venture and a $4.8 million increase to the gain from the 2014 sale of Classified Ventures.
Net Interest Expense. The Company incurred net interest expense of $32.3 million in 2016, compared to $30.7 million in 2015. At December 31, 2016, the Company had $491.8 million in borrowings outstanding at an average interest rate of 6.3%; at December 31, 2015, the Company had $399.8 million in borrowings outstanding at an average interest rate of 7.2%.