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Found 9 results

  1. (Courtesy of the Financial Post) Congrats to the National Bank of Canada. Singapore supposedly like the new Switzerland.
  2. CBC, VIA Rail considered for auction block: Documents BY ANDREW MAYEDA, CANWEST NEWS SERVICE JUNE 1, 2009 6:49 PM OTTAWA — The federal Department of Finance has flagged several prominent Crown corporations as "not self-sustaining," including the CBC, VIA Rail and the National Arts Centre, and has identified them as entities that could be sold as part of the government's asset review, newly released documents show. In its fiscal update last November, the government announced that it would launch a review of its Crown assets, including so-called enterprise Crown corporations, real estate and "other holdings." Finance Department documents, obtained by Canwest News Service under the Access to Information Act, reveal that the review will focus on enterprise Crown corporations, which are not financially dependent on parliamentary subsidies. Such corporations include the Royal Canadian Mint and Ridley Terminals, which is a coal-shipping terminal in Prince Rupert, B.C. But the documents also reveal that the government will consider privatizing Crown corporations that require public subsidies to stay afloat. "The reviews will also examine other holdings in which the government competes directly with private enterprises, earn income from property or performs a commercial activity," states a Finance briefing note dated Dec. 2, 2008. "It includes Crown corporations that are not self-sustaining even though they are of a commercial nature." In the briefing note, the Finance Department identifies nine Crown corporations that fall in that category, including Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., the CBC and VIA Rail. The government announced last week that it will split AECL in two and seek private-sector investors for the Crown corporation's CANDU nuclear-reactor business. The Crown asset review comes as the government struggles to contain the country's deficit, now expected to top $50 billion this year. The Jan. 27 budget assumes that the government will be able to raise as much as $4 billion through asset sales by the end of March 2010. The budget identified four federal departments whose Crown assets are being reviewed first: Finance, Indian and Northern Affairs, Natural Resources, and Transport and Infrastructure. VIA Rail is overseen by the Transport Department, while the CBC and the National Arts Centre fall under the portfolio of the Canadian Heritage department. The Finance Department documents confirm that all government assets will eventually be reviewed. Privatizations tend to work well when Crown corporations enter a reasonably competitive market with a good chance of turning a profit, said Aidan Vining, a professor of business and government relations at Simon Fraser University. Unlike successfully privatized firms such as Canadian National Railway, it's not clear that CBC and VIA Rail could operate as profitable ventures while maintaining the public mandates they provided as Crown corporations, he noted. "They're not the classic privatization candidates, where you sell and walk away," said Vining, an expert in Crown corporation privatizations. "Unless, of course, you're prepared to fully withdraw from the public purpose (of the Crown corporation)." Certainly, the sale of a flagship Crown asset such as the CBC would be politically controversial. After the CBC announced this spring that it would lay off hundreds of employees, opposition critics accused the government of turning a cold shoulder to the public broadcaster's struggles. Under the Financial Administration Act, Parliament would have to approve the privatization of any Crown corporation. "It's hard to believe that some of these sales would go forward in a minority Parliament," said Vining. The Finance Department has also begun to examine the government's vast real-estate portfolio, which includes 31 million hectares of land, and more than 46,000 buildings totalling 103 million square metres — more than double the office space available in the Greater Toronto Area, according to the Finance documents. The government's holdings are worth at least $17 billion, Finance officials estimate. A briefing note labelled "secret" said that the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs acquired $7 million in surplus properties between 1998 and 2006 for potential use in land-claims deals. Over the same period, the properties cost $2 million to maintain. Divesting such properties could not only generate revenue for the government, but also cut "ongoing operations and maintenance costs," states the briefing note. A Finance Department spokeswoman said the asset review won't necessarily lead to sales in all cases. "Reviews will assess whether value could be created through changes to the assets' structure and ownership, and report on a wide set of options including the status quo, amendments to current mandates or governance," department spokeswoman Stephanie Rubec said in an e-mail. "In some cases, it may be concluded that selling an asset to a private sector entity may generate more economic activity and deliver greater value to taxpayers." Crown corporations identified by the government as "not self-sustaining": (Company name, commercial revenues, parliamentary subsidy, expenses) Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., $614.2 million, $285.3 million, $1.3 billion CBC, $565.5 million, $1.1 billion, $1.7 billion Cape Breton Development Corp., $5.1 million, $60 million, $94.1 million Federal Bridge Corp. Ltd., $14.6 million, $31.0 million, $42.9 million National Arts Centre Corp., $26.0 million, $40.6 million, $65.7 million Old Port of Montreal Corp., $16.7 million, $15.1 million, $32.0 million Parc Downsview Park Inc., not available, not available, not available VIA Rail Canada Inc., $293.9 million, $266.2 million, $505.5 million Source: Department of Finance, Public Accounts of Canada Note: Financial results are for 2007-08 http://www.ottawacitizen.com/Rail+considered+auction+block+Documents/1652330/story.html
  3. Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/business/Caisse+bullish+France+despite+volatility/6602189/story.html#ixzz1uZiA0Nbr
  4. Insurance giant wants to build Canadian operations with Standard's Quebec assets CBC News Posted: Sep 03, 2014 5:13 PM ET Last Updated: Sep 03, 2014 6:45 PM ET Manulife Financial Corp. says its life insurance division is buying the Canadian-based assets of Standard Life Plc for $4 billion in cash. The deal combines Manulife, one of the largest life insurance companies in the world with 84,000 employees, and Standard Life Canada, this country's fifth-largest insurer with 2,000 employees. "Several months ago, Standard Life decided to explore the sale of its Canadian operations through a competitive process," Manulife CEO Donald A. Guloien said. "We are delighted to be named the successful bidder." Standard Life provides long term savings, investment and insurance products to about 1.4 million Canadians, with $52 billion of assets under management. Manulife said it was particularly keen to acquire Standard Life’s Quebec assets. "One of the key reasons we were interested in this company is its people in Quebec. We want to increase our presence in the province and use the very talented employee base to grow and expand our business in Quebec, throughout Canada and indeed the world,” Guloien said in a statement announcing the deal late Wednesday. Caisse contributes to deal Manulife plans to pay for the deal with a combination of a public offering, a private placement, internal resources and possible future debt, it said. Later in the day, the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, the Quebec provincial pension fund investment arm, announced a $500‑million equity investment in Manulife Financial to contribute to the financing of the acquisition. Manulife and Standard Life have previously collaborated in distributing investment products around the world, through a relationship between Standard Life Investments and John Hancock. Manulife said it would take 18 to 24 months to consolidate the new operations and it did not foresee any job losses in the near future. The company expects the deal to add three cents to its earnings per share every year over each of the next three years and to build earnings capacity beyond the 2016 core earnings target of $4 billion. The deal closes in the first quarter of next year, pending regulatory approval. http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/manulife-buys-standard-life-s-canadian-assets-for-4b-1.2754776
  5. Senate passes bailout Plan to buy $700B in troubled assets wins OK. Backers hope add-ons will yield more yes-votes in House. By Jeanne Sahadi, CNNMoney.com senior writer Last Updated: October 1, 2008: 10:20 PM ET NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The Senate on Wednesday night passed a sweeping and controversial financial bailout similar in key ways to one rejected by the House just two days earlier. The measure was passed by a vote of 74 to 25 after more than three hours of floor debate in the Senate. Presidential candidates Sens. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, and John McCain, R-Arizona, voted in favor. Like the bill the House rejected, the core of the Senate bill is the Bush administration's plan to buy up to $700 billion of troubled assets from financial institutions. Those assets, mostly mortgage-related, have caused a crisis of confidence in the credit markets. A major aim of the plan is to free up banks to start lending again once their balance sheets are cleared of toxic holdings. But the Senate legislation also includes a number of new provisions aimed at Main Street. The changes are intended to attract more votes in the House, in particular from House Republicans, two-thirds of whom voted against the bailout plan. The House is expected to take up the Senate measure for a vote on Friday, according to aides to Democratic leaders. The legislation, if passed by the House, would usher in one of the most far-reaching interventions in the economy since the Great Depression. Advocates say the plan is crucial to government efforts to attack a credit crisis that threatens the economy and would free up banks to lend more. Opponents say it rewards bad decisions by Wall Street, puts taxpayers at risk and fails to address the real economic problems facing Americans. "If we do not act responsibly today, we risk a crisis in which senior citizens across America will lose their retirement savings, small businesses won't make payroll ... and families won't be able to obtain mortgages for their homes or cars," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., moments before the vote. In a press briefing after the vote, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. R-Ky., said, "This is a measure for Main Street, not Wall Street. [it will help] to unfreeze our credit markets and get the American economy working again." Because of Senate add-ons, the bill's initial price tag will be higher than the $700 billion that the Treasury would use to buy troubled assets. But over time, supporters say, taxpayers are likely to make back much if not all of the money the Treasury uses because it will be investing in assets with underlying value. How the Senate bill differs The package adds provisions to the House version - including temporarily raising the FDIC insurance cap to $250,000 from $100,000. It says the FDIC may not charge member banks more to cover the increase in coverage. But that doesn't prevent the agency from raising premiums to cover existing concerns with the insurance fund, according to Jaret Seiberg, a financial services analyst at the Stanford Group, a policy research firm. Instead, the bill allows the FDIC to borrow from the Treasury to cover any losses that might occur as a result of the higher insurance limit. The bill also adds in three key elements designed to attract House Republican votes - particularly popular tax measures that have garnered bipartisan support. It would extend a number of renewable energy tax breaks for individuals and businesses, including a deduction for the purchase of solar panels. The Senate bill would also continue a host of other expiring tax breaks. Among them: the research and development credit for businesses and the credit that allows individuals to deduct state and local sales taxes on their federal returns. In addition, the bill includes relief for another year from the Alternative Minimum Tax, without which millions of Americans would have to pay the so-called "income tax for the wealthy." The debate over extending AMT relief is an annual political ritual. It enjoys bipartisan support but deficit hawks on both sides of the aisle contend the cost of providing that relief should be paid for. Others argue it shouldn't be paid for because the AMT was never intended to hit the people the relief provisions would protect. Nevertheless, lawmakers pass the measure every year or two. How Senate bill mimics House version For all the sweeteners added to the Senate bill, however, it is similar to the House bill in many key ways. The core is the Treasury's proposal to let financial institutions sell to the government their troubled assets, mostly mortgage-related. And as in the House bill, the Senate would only allow the Treasury access to the $700 billion in stages, with $250 billion being made available immediately. The Senate bill is also similar in that it includes a number of provisions that supporters say would protect taxpayers. One would direct the president to propose a bill requiring the financial industry to reimburse taxpayers for any net losses from the program after five years. And the Treasury would be allowed to take ownership stakes in participating companies. Like the House version, the Senate bill includes a stipulation that the Treasury set up an insurance program - to be funded with risk-based premiums paid by the industry - to guarantee companies' troubled assets, including mortgage-backed securities, purchased before March 14, 2008. And it would place curbs on executive pay for companies selling assets or buying insurance from Uncle Sam. One provision: Any bonus or incentive paid to a senior executive officer for targets met would have to be repaid if it's later proven that earnings or profit statements were inaccurate. Lastly, the Senate version would set up two oversight committees. A Financial Stability Board would include the Federal Reserve chairman, the Securities and Exchange Commission chairman, the Federal Home Finance Agency director, the Housing and Urban Development secretary and the Treasury secretary. A congressional oversight panel, to which the Financial Stability Board would report, would have five members appointed by House and Senate leadership from both parties. Differing views Despite the Senate bill's sweeteners, the bill did not garner unanimous support because those who oppose the Treasury plan felt passionately it was the wrong approach. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., a champion of the energy tax breaks in the bill, said on Wednesday afternoon she nevertheless would vote against the bill because she opposes "giving the keys to the Treasury over to the private sector." Opponents of the bill have said they resented being given a "my way or the highway" choice to address what they acknowledge is a very serious economic threat. During the Senate debate on Wednesday, Sen. David Vitter, R-La., characterized the administration's request to lawmakers 12 days ago as "crying 'Fire!' in a crowded theater, then claiming the only [way out] is to tear down the walls when there are many exit doors." Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., said the Senate will have "failed the American people" by acting hastily. "I agree we need to do something. ... [but] we haven't spent any time figuring out whether we've picked the best choice." Supporters of the bill say they hate the position they are in and are angry, too, but say it's better to do something now than to let the credit crunch persist. "There's no doubt that there may be other plans out there that, had we had two or three or six months to develop ... might serve our purposes better," said Obama during the floor debate. "But we don't have that kind of time. And we can't afford to take a risk that the economy of the United States of America and, as a consequence, the worldwide economy could be plunged into a very, very deep hole." Potential costs The tax provisions of the Senate bill - the bulk of which come from the addition of tax breaks from other legislation - may reduce federal tax revenue by $110 billion over 10 years, according to estimates from the Joint Committee on Taxation. More than half of that is due to the 1-year extension of AMT relief. The Congressional Budget Office said it cannot estimate the net budget effects of the troubled asset program because of the many unknowns about that piece of the bill. However, the agency noted in a letter to lawmakers on Wednesday, it expects the program "would entail some net budget cost" but that it would be "substantially smaller than $700 billion." Overall, the CBO said, "the bill as a whole would increase the budget deficit over the next decade." All eyes on House Now the fate of the bailout rests with the House. "The reality has hit some members," said House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank, D-Mass., late Wednesday on CNN. "The main change is reality - it's not possible now to scoff at the predictions of doom if we don't do anything." The lead House Republican, Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, was consulted on the Senate's plans and gave his "green light," spokesman Kevin Smith said. "We believe we'll have a better chance to pass this bill than the one that failed [Monday]," he added. The plan could attract House Republicans while simultaneously alienating bailout supporters among the Democrats because the tax cuts in the revenue bill aren't offset by spending cuts or increased revenues. President Bush, following the Senate vote, said the bill was central to the "financial security" of the nation. "The American people expect - and our economy demands - that the House pass this good bill this week and send it to my desk." - CNN's Jessica Yellin, Deirdre Walsh and Ted Barrett contributed to this story. To top of page First Published: October 1, 2008: 12:00 PM ET
  6. Tunisair May Sell Stake as Country Divests Assets (Update2) By Mahmoud Kassem June 5 (Bloomberg) -- Tunisair, the national airline of Tunisia, may sell a 15 percent stake as the North African country disposes of state assets amid an equities boom. ``We might sell more shares to a strategic investor, but the government will always want to hold a controlling stake,'' Adel Gaida, chief financial officer of Tunisair, or Societe Tunisienne de l'Air, said in an interview yesterday in London. ``We have been thinking of doing this for some time, though we don't have a timetable.'' Tunisia is selling assets to attract investment as buyers, particularly from the oil-rich Persian Gulf region, pour money into a country that isn't on emerging-market equity indexes and is commonly classed as a ``frontier market.'' Tunisia's main stock index, the Tunindex, has advanced 13 percent this year, making it the best-performing index in North Africa. Tunisair rose 0.8 percent to 4.05 dinars in Tunis trading as of 11:50 a.m. The stock has gained 6.6 percent this year, giving the company a market value of 329 million Tunisian dinars ($278 million). The airline serves more than 50 destinations in 25 countries and carried 3.5 million passengers last year. The government holds 74 percent. Companies on the Tunindex have one of the cheapest average price-to-earnings ratios in the Middle East at 13 times estimated earnings. The Dow Jones Arabia Titans 50 Index, a measure of 50 Arab stocks in 10 countries, trades at 21 times estimated earnings. The Tunisian government raised as much as $2.25 billion from the sale of a 35 percent stake in Telecom Tunisie, the country's largest telephone company, in 2006. Tunisair Expansion Tunisair is expanding in Africa and adding trans-Atlantic and Asian destinations, Gaida said. The carrier owns a 51 percent stake in Air Mauritania, which it formed as a joint venture in December 2006. Air France-KLM Group has a 5.6 percent stake in Tunisair, while 20 percent of shares trade freely. ``We are planning to add New York, Montreal, Beijing and Tokyo on our list of destinations, but that won't happen until we get our new fleet starting from 2011 because we would need A350s for the long haul,'' Gaida said. The airline's primary business is flying vacationers from Europe to beaches in Tunis. Airbus SAS, the world's largest planemaker, said on April 29 that Tunisair agreed to a 16-plane order valued at as much as $2 billion at list prices. Tunisia plans to acquire three twin- aisle A350-800 airliners, three A330-200s and 10 single-aisle A320s from the Toulouse, France-based manufacturer. ``We prefer to stick to one manufacturer because it saves us costs in maintenance,'' Gaida said. ``We will pay 10 percent of the cost of the new Airbuses and the remainder we will seek credit for.'' Tunisair's revenue rose 12 percent in the first quarter, compared with the same period a year ago. The company may distribute a dividend on 2007 profit this year, Gaida said. To contact the reporter on this story: Mahmoud Kassem in London at [email protected] Last Updated: June 5, 2008 06:06 EDT http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aXYjvLDxX8pg
  7. une des plus grandes banques américaines se dirige dangereusement vers une faillite.
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