SNC-Lavalin selling oil and gas business, completes litigation review – Business News

The Canadian Press – Feb 9, 2021 / 10:14 am | Story: 324519

Air Canada will temporarily lay off 1,500 unionized employees and an unspecified number of management staff as it cuts more routes in response to harsher travel restrictions.

Air Canada will temporarily suspend service on 17 routes to the U.S. and other international destinations until at least April 30, the company said Tuesday.

“We are further reducing our transborder and international commercial schedule as a result of COVID-19,” a spokesperson for Air Canada said. “Affected customers with bookings will be contacted with options, including alternate routings.”

The route suspensions in the U.S. include flights to New York, Boston, Washington, D.C., Seattle, Denver and Fort Myers, Air Canada said. The earliest flight suspensions to the U.S. will go into effect Feb. 14.

Air Canada is also suspending flights to Bogota from Montreal, London and Tokyo from Vancouver, and Bogota, Dublin and Sao Paulo from Toronto, among other routes, the company said.

Flights from Toronto to Tel Aviv will continue to be suspended, and flights from Toronto to Dubai and Hong Kong will have their startups postponed.

The layoffs and route cuts come as Canada rolls out stricter measures to reduce international travel, including mandatory hotel quarantines for new entrants.

Wesley Lesosky, president of the Air Canada Component of CUPE, which represents flight attendants at Air Canada and Air Canada Rouge, blamed the cuts on the government’s new travel restrictions and said Ottawa wasn’t doing enough to help the airline sector weather the pandemic.

“We appreciate the need for measures to prevent the spread of new variants of COVID-19 in Canada,” Lesosky said. “But restrictions have to be accompanied by solutions.”

At the end of January, Canadian airlines agreed to suspend all flights to Mexico and the Caribbean until April 30, at the request of the federal government.

Last week, Air Canada said it planned to temporarily halt operations at Air Canada Rouge, which primarily operates the company’s flights to Mexico and the Caribbean. The service cuts involved temporary layoffs of around 80 employees.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has continued to crack down on international travel, saying Tuesday that as of Feb. 15, anyone entering Canada through a land border will have to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test.

A previous requirement for international travellers to show negative test results, which went into effect on Jan. 7, applied only to air travel. Airlines said they saw an immediate drop in bookings once the requirement was implemented, leading to another round of route cuts and layoffs by Canadian carriers in January.


The Canadian Press – Feb 9, 2021 / 10:08 am | Story: 324532

Shares in B.C. cannabis company Tilray Inc. soared after the announcement of a deal with Grow Pharma to supply medical cannabis in the United Kingdom.

Tilray shares were up US$11.43 at US$41.52 in late-morning trading on the Nasdaq market.

Grow Pharma is a leading medical cannabis distributor in the United Kingdom.

Tilray, based in Nanaimo, says it expects to have a range of medical cannabis products available for patients in the United Kingdom by March.

Tilray announced a deal last year to merge with Leamington, Ont.-based Aphria Inc.

The cannabis companies have said the move will help them slash costs and give them control of the biggest slice of the Canadian retail market.

The Canadian Press – Feb 9, 2021 / 10:05 am | Story: 324531

Canada’s oldest retailer is teaming up with one of the country’s newest financial technology companies to offer a new credit card.

The partnership between Hudson’s Bay Co. and Neo Financial announced Tuesday comes three months after U.S.-based Capital One said it was ending its relationship with HBC and Costco Canada in 2021.

Iain Nairn, president and CEO of Hudson’s Bay, says the new Hudson’s Bay MasterCard is part of the retailer’s “digital-first strategy” to improve the company’s digital offerings and customer experience.

He says the company has increasingly “digitally savvy” shoppers that will appreciate the new card’s digital applications, though customers will also receive a conventional plastic card.

Andrew Chau, co-founder and CEO of Neo Financial, calls the partnership the “next generation of credit card and retail innovation.”

He says it’s “symbolic” for the new financial company to partner with a retailer as iconic as HBC.

“It’s melding together this technology and the retail front of Hudson’s Bay to create one of the most advanced and rewarding credit cards and financial products in Canada,” says Chau, also a co-founder of food delivery service SkipTheDishes.

Hudson’s Bay permanently laid off more than 600 workers across Canada last month amid ongoing store closures due to COVID-19 lockdowns.

The company said nearly half the company’s department stores remained temporarily closed, forcing the retailer to make adjustments.

But while the brick-and-mortar business has been hammered by the pandemic, the company said its e-commerce business has been growing.

Nairn says the partnership with Neo will help the centuries-old retailer enhance its customer service through the financial company’s digital app, cash back, rewards points and enhanced security.

“Partnering with a Canadian company, built on innovation and an entrepreneurial spirit, will help us deliver a better shopping experience to Hudson’s Bay customers and, in fact, reward them as they shop with us,” Nairn says.

HBC says there are nearly two million existing Hudson’s Bay credit card holders.

The Canadian Press – | Story: 324530

SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. says it has signed a deal to sell its oil and gas resources business to Kentech Corporate Holdings Ltd. as it moves to further focus its engineering services business.

Financial terms of the deal were not immediately available.

SNC says the oil and gas business will be classified as an “asset held for sale” in its fourth quarter of 2020 and is expected to result in a fair value write down in the range of $260 to $295 million.

At closing, the company says the transaction is expected to generate a gain on the sale in excess of the fair value write down, after accounting for the elimination of a foreign exchange adjustment. A charge of $95 million on the retained resources business will also be taken in the fourth quarter of 2020.

SNC also announced that it has completed a review of its legacy litigation and commercial claims and will increase its provisions by $140 million and reduce its commercial claims receivable by $155 million.

In addition, following a review of its remaining three Canadian light rail infrastructure projects, SNC says it will take a $90-million charge, most of which it says is due to COVID-19 challenges and the decision to not recognize associated revenue at this time.

The Canadian Press – Feb 9, 2021 / 7:03 am | Story: 324507

Canopy Growth Corp. reported a loss of $829.3 million in its latest quarter as it was hit by impairment and restructuring charges related to cuts it announced in late last year.

The Ontario cannabis company says the loss amounted to $2.43 per diluted share for the quarter ended Dec. 31, compared with a loss of $109.6 million or 26 cents per share a year earlier.

Canopy says the results for its most recent quarter included $416 million in impairment, restructuring and other related charges plus $291 million stemming from non-cash fair value changes, mostly driven by the company’s higher stock price.

The company said in December it would stop operations at five facilities across the country and lay off more than 200 workers in a move to cut costs.

Net revenue in what was the company’s third quarter amounted to $152.5 million, up from $123.8 million in the same quarter a year earlier.

Cannabis net revenue totalled $98.8 million, up from $90.4 million a year earlier, while other revenue rose to $53.7 million compared with $33.4 million.

The Canadian Press – Feb 9, 2021 / 7:01 am | Story: 324506

Cenovus Energy Inc. reported a loss in the final quarter of 2020 compared with a profit a year earlier.

The company says it lost $153 million or 12 cents per share for the quarter ended Dec. 31 compared with a profit of $113 million or nine cents per share in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Cenovus says its operating loss for the quarter totalled $551 million or 45 cents per share for the quarter compared with an operating loss of $164 million or 13 cents per share a year earlier.

Total production in the quarter averaged 467,202 barrels of oil equivalent per day, compared with 467,448 boepd a year earlier.

Cenovus completed its takeover of Husky Energy on Jan. 1.

Last month, the company unveiled a capital spending budget of between $2.3 billion and $2.7 billion for 2021, including $2.1 billion in sustaining capital.

The Canadian Press – Feb 9, 2021 / 6:58 am | Story: 324505

As the Trudeau government is forced to explain delays rolling out COVID-19 vaccines, some of the world’s economic and health leaders are warning of catastrophic financial consequences if poorer countries are shortchanged on vaccinations.

At a video meeting convened by the Paris-based Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development on Monday, Secretary-General Angel Gurria predicted that rich countries would see their economies shrink by trillions of dollars if they don’t do more to help poor countries receive vaccines.

The leaders of the World Health Organization and others also bemoaned the long-term damage of continued “vaccine nationalism” if current trends continue — rich countries getting a pandemic cure at a much higher rate than poorer ones.

It was a message that could provide some political cover for the Liberals, who have been widely criticized for shortfalls in deliveries of vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna while also facing international criticism for pre-buying enough doses of vaccines to cover Canada’s population several times over.

Some international anti-poverty groups have also criticized Canada for planning to take delivery of 1.9 million doses from the COVAX Facility, a new international vaccine-sharing program that is primarily designed to help poor countries afford unaffordable vaccines, but also allows rich donor countries — including Canada — to receive vaccines.

Trudeau and his cabinet ministers on the vaccine file have repeatedly said that the pandemic can’t be stamped out for good if it isn’t defeated everywhere.

They say Canada is a trading nation that depends on the welfare of others for its economic prosperity — especially with the emergence of new variants of the virus in South Africa and Britain.

But their protestations are usually drowned out in the domestic clamour that tends to highlight unfavourable comparisons of Canada’s vaccine rollout with the United States, Britain or other countries.

On Monday, Gurria — the veteran Mexican politician who has led the OECD for 15 years — brought the full force of his political gravitas by offering up a pocketbook argument that eschewed any pretence of altruism.

“It’s a smart thing to do. It is ethically and morally right. But it is also economically right,” said Gurria.

“The global economy stands to lose as much as $9.2 trillion, which is close to half the size of the U.S. economy, just to put it in context … as much as half of which would fall on advanced economies, so they would lose around $5 trillion.”

The Canadian Press – Feb 9, 2021 / 6:24 am | Story: 324497

TMX Group Ltd. reported a fourth-quarter profit of $71.8 million, which grew from a profit of $47.5 million in the same quarter a year earlier.

The company, which operates the Toronto Stock Exchange, says its profit for the quarter amounted to $1.26 per diluted share. That’s up from a profit of 84 cents per diluted share, which included a non-cash impairment charge of 32 cents per share.

Revenue totalled $219.5 million, up from $202.8 million.

On an adjusted basis, TMX says it had a profit of $81.3 million, compared with a profit of $74.3 million from the same time a year earlier.

TMX had an adjusted profit of $1.43 per diluted share, which grew from a profit of $1.31 per diluted share.

Analysts on average had expected revenue of $215 million and a profit of $1.45 per share for the quarter, according to financial data firm Refinitiv.

“TMX’s 2020 results … serve as strong affirmation of the vitality of Canada’s capital markets ecosystem and the crucial role that healthy, vibrant public markets play in fuelling a resilient and competitive world-class economy,” stated CEO John McKenzie.

“While significant challenges remain on the near-term horizon across all industries and in our business environment due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we move along into 2021 clear in purpose as we work to advance our global growth strategy and build Canada’s markets stronger for all of our stakeholders into the future.”

For the full-year, TMX says its adjusted profit was $5.88 per diluted share on $865.1 million of revenues, compared with $5.31 per share on $806.9 million in 2019.

The Canadian Press – Feb 9, 2021 / 6:22 am | Story: 324496

Cineplex Inc. says it has once again amended its credit agreement with lenders as it struggles through the financial impact of the COVID-19 virus on its operations.

The country’s largest theatre chain says the third amendment allows for the suspension of financial covenant testing to continue until the fourth quarter under certain conditions.

These include the completion of a minimum $200-million financing of second lien secured notes by March 31.

Net proceeds must be used to repay debt, including $100 million that would be a permanent repayment.

Cineplex also says it entered into an “engagement letter” with BMO Capital Markets and Scotiabank for a proposed private placement offering of second lien secured notes following the release of its fourth-quarter results on Feb. 11.

Net proceeds from the notes offering would be to repay debt and add liquidity until the return of more normalized market conditions.

“With the vaccine rollout underway, our team is looking forward to reopening our circuit of theatres and entertainment venues across Canada and currently expecting to see a return to more normal operating conditions in the second quarter,” stated president and CEO Ellis Jacob.

“With the announcement today, we remain confident as ever in our strategy and financial outlook as well as the ability of the industry as a whole to not only recover, but thrive.”

Cineplex’s financial model has been pummelled since the start of the pandemic as provincial leaders closed movie theatres and Hollywood delayed the release of many anticipated blockbusters.

The Toronto-based company has already taken steps, including selling its Toronto headquarters for $57 million, to repay debt.

A separate $60-million agreement extended its Scene loyalty partnership with Scotiabank to offer new reward redemption options.

Cineplex’s share value has dropped nearly 70 per cent since the start of the pandemic, as a $2.8-billion takeover by London-based Cineworld fell apart, and the virus forced the company to lay off staff.

The shares traded for $11.25 on Monday, down from the 52-week high of $33.90 about a year ago.

The Canadian Press – Feb 8, 2021 / 2:06 pm | Story: 324441

DoorDash is buying automated food prep company Chowbotics to expand its fresh meal offerings.

San Francisco-based DoorDash announced the acquisition Monday. Terms of the deal, which closed late last year, weren’t disclosed.

Hayward, California-based Chowbotics, which was founded seven years ago, makes a refrigerator-sized robot called Sally that can store up to 22 prepared ingredients. Sally uses those ingredients to make up to 65 salads, bowls and other meals at a time.

Prior to this year, Chowbotics had sold around 125 of its $35,000 robots, mostly to universities, medical centres and grocery stores. But the company said sales jumped during the pandemic as customers looked for touch-free ways to dispense food.

DoorDash said Chowbotics’ robots could allow its restaurant partners to offer more varieties of meals without having to expand their kitchen space. Other DoorDash merchants, like convenience stores, could also use it to expand into fresh food.

Chowbotics CEO Rick Wilmer said DoorDash’s reach will help his company grow. DoorDash offers delivery from 390,000 merchants in the U.S., Canada and Australia and is the food delivery market leader in the U.S.

DoorDash said Chowbotics’ staff are now DoorDash employees. But otherwise, Chowbotics will continue to operate independently and has no plans to change its name.

Nelson Bennett, BIV – Feb 8, 2021 / 11:39 am | Story: 324419

A British utility that has been phasing out coal with wood pellets for producing power in the UK has announced plans to buy B.C. based Pinnacle Renewable Energy (TSX:PL) for $385 million.

Pinnacle’s stock jumped 11{f13b67734a7459ff15bce07f17c500e58f5449212eae0f7769c5b6fbcf4cc0c4} in value Monday on the news, with shares rising by more than $1 per share, from $10.03 to $11.10.

Drax is offering Pinnacle $11.30 per share, which is 13{f13b67734a7459ff15bce07f17c500e58f5449212eae0f7769c5b6fbcf4cc0c4} premium on Pinnacle’s share price at close of markets Friday. The company is also assuming Pinnacle’s debt, which would bring the total value of the sale to $831 million, when debt obligations are included.The sale must be approved by shareholders of both companies. The transaction is expected to be finalized by early to mid-Apeil.

Pinnacle owns and operates eight wood pellet plants in western Canada, and one in Alabama. Pinnacle also owns two export terminals in B.C. – the Westview terminal in Prince Rupert and the Fibreco Terminal at the Port of Vancouver.

The company uses mostly wood waste from forestry to produce wood pellets, although it lately has come under fire from the environmental group for using whole live trees.

While burning wood pellets to generate power produces CO2 emissions, it is considered a renewable energy source, since trees grow back and take up carbon dioxide when they regrow.

Pinnacle currently produces about 2.9 million tonnes of wood pellets annually. Drax is already one of its largest customers. It buys about 900,000 tonnes of pellets annually from Pinnacle.

Pinnacle has $7 billion worth of long-term contracts with buyers in a number of countries.

“We will absolutely homour those contracts,” Drax CEO Will Gardiner told BIV News. “That’s one of the real attractions of this deal for us is being to actually get access to those contracts, to those new customers.”

Pinnacle employs 498 people in North America. Drax said he doesn’t expect a lot of changes to the Canadian operations, once the deal is concluded.

Drax has been phasing out the use of coal in the UK to produce power. Its target is to end the burning of coal in the UK entirely by next month.

“Drax does not expect to use coal after March 2021, but will ensure its two remaining coal units remain available until September 2022 in line with its existing Capacity Market agreements,” the company said.

“Pinnacle’s board of directors has unanimously determined that the transaction represents the best course of action for the company and its shareholders,” Pinnacle CEO Duncan Davies said in a news release.

“At the same time, the combination of Pinnacle and Drax will create a global leader in sustainable biomass with the vision, technical expertise and financial strength to help meet the growing demand for renewable energy products around the world.”

Cameron Thomson/Vancouver is Awesome – Feb 8, 2021 / 10:54 am | Story: 324412

One might think receiving stellar grades in high school would lead to more leadership roles in your career, but a recent UBC study says that isn’t the case.

The study was conducted by Dr. Yue Qian, an assistant professor in the University of British Columbia’s sociology department, along with Dr. Jill Yavorsky from the University of North Carolina Charlotte. The study, which focused on a group of nearly 5,000 people in the U.S. aged 57 to 64, examines high school transcript data and responses to career-oriented surveys taken from 1988 to 1998. In the study, leadership is determined by the number of people the study’s participants reported supervising at work.

Published in the academic journal Social Forces, the study found the disparity between the leadership prospects each sex experienced only kicked in after they became parents. Fathers with perfect high school grades supervised more than four times as many employees, on average, as mothers with equally stellar grades. At the lowest levels of high school GPA, fathers still supervised slightly more people than mothers.

“Before they become parents, the relationship between high school GPA and leadership at work is similar for men and women,” Yue Qian wrote in a UBC release about the study. “After they become parents, men start to reap a lot of the leadership returns from their academic achievement, but women do not.”

Citing previously conducted research, the study explains the “why” behind these differences. For one, women are more likely to take parental leaves or work fewer hours which leads to shorter job tenure and less work experience. The study also cites research that shows labour in the home falls mostly to women, which likely hinders their career prospects.

Two decades have passed since these surveys, but Qian expects to find similar trends when more recent data becomes available.

“Many gender research scholars have found that the ‘gender revolution’ has stalled in recent years, especially since the 1990s in the U.S.,” Qian said. “In Canada we find similar trends: the female employment rate, gender wage gaps, segregation of occupations, and women’s access to leadership positions are all areas where it shows.”

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