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Found 80 results

  1. C'est un bon cas d'étude pour les écoles de gestion... via Bloomberg Target Will Abandon Canada After Racking Up Billions in Losses Target Corp. (TGT) will abandon its operations in Canada after less than two years, putting an end to a mismanaged expansion that racked up billions in losses. The Canadian business is seeking court approval to begin liquidation, the Minneapolis-based retailer said today in a statement. The move will lead to a $5.4 billion writedown. This is the first major strategic shift made under Chief Executive Officer Brian Cornell, who took over for Gregg Steinhafel last year. Steinhafel had seen Canada as burgeoning market for Target, the second-largest U.S. discount chain, because so many Canadians already knew the brand and would cross the border to shop at American stores. Fixing the Canada unit, which amassed more than $2 billion in operating losses since 2011, has been a top priority for Cornell. After taking the reins in August, he spent a portion of his early days at the company touring operations in Canada. The woes plaguing the company’s 130 stores there ranged from empty shelves to prices being higher than locations in the U.S. “We were unable to find a realistic scenario that would get Target Canada to profitability until at least 2021,” Cornell said today. “This was a very difficult decision, but it was the right decision for our company.” Target announced its foray into Canada in 2011 with the purchase of 220 locations from Zellers Inc., a subsidiary of Hudson’s Bay Co., for about C$1.8 billion. The deal cemented the chain’s first expansion outside the U.S., where it had about 1,750 stores at the time. Target’s shares have rebounded since taking a hit following a data breach during the 2013 holiday season. The stock had gained 21 percent to $74.33 over the past 12 months through yesterday. To contact the reporter on this story: Matt Townsend in New York at [email protected]
  2. California Cities Face Bankruptcy Curbs By BOBBY WHITE MAY 28, 2009 As California seeks more funds from its cash-strapped cities and counties to close a $21 billion budget deficit, some state legislators are pushing a plan that could compound municipalities' pain by making it tougher for them to file for bankruptcy. The bill would require a California municipality seeking Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection to first obtain approval from a state commission. That contrasts with the state's current bankruptcy process, which allows municipalities to speedily declare bankruptcy without any state oversight so that they can quickly restructure their finances. The bill, introduced in January, has passed one committee vote and could reach a final vote by mid-July. The bill was sparked by the bankruptcy filing last year of Vallejo, Calif., just north of San Francisco. Vallejo's city leaders partly blamed work contracts with police and firefighters for pushing the city into bankruptcy, and won permission from a bankruptcy court in March to scrap its contract with the firefighters' union. That spurred the California Professional Firefighters to push for statewide legislation to curtail bankruptcy, said Carroll Willis, the group's communications director. "What we don't want is for cities to use bankruptcy as a negotiating tactic rather than a legit response to fiscal issues," he said, adding that he worries cities may work in concert to rid themselves of union contracts by declaring bankruptcy. If the bill passes, it could hurt cities and counties by lengthening the time before they can declare bankruptcy. That creates a legal limbo during which a municipality is more vulnerable to creditors. The proposed state bankruptcy commission would be staffed by four state legislators, which some critics worry could politicize the bankruptcy process. "This bill is impractical," said John Moorlach, a supervisor in Orange County, Calif., which filed for bankruptcy in 1994. "In many instances, haste is important. If you can't meet payroll but have to delay seeking protection, what do you do?" California towns and counties face a catalog of troubles. Earlier this month, voters rejected five budget measures, sending the state deficit to $21 billion. To overcome the gap, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed borrowing $2 billion from municipalities, using a 2004 state law that lets California demand loans of 8% of property-tax revenue from cities, counties and special districts. But that proposal lands as California municipalities are already facing steep declines in tax revenue because of the recession. Dozens are staring at huge deficits, including Pacific Grove and Stockton, which have publicly said they are exploring bankruptcy. Assemblyman Tony Mendoza, a Democrat who introduced the bankruptcy bill, said the initiative is needed to protect the credit rating of California and its ability to borrow and sell bonds. Mr. Mendoza added that he wants to avoid bankruptcy's repercussions on surrounding communities by offering a system that examines all of a municipality's options before filing for bankruptcy. "Municipalities should have a checks and balance system in place based on the fact that all economies are interconnected," he said. Dwight Stenbakken, deputy executive director for the California League of Cities, a nonprofit representing more than 400 cities, said the group is lobbying against the bill because "there's nothing a state commission can bring to the process to make this better." Write to Bobby White at [email protected]
  3. 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
  4. Couche-Tard is a great Québec success story. Its market capitalization grew 500% in 5 years. http://montreal.ctvnews.ca/mobile/couche-tard-harnois-group-buying-esso-stations-1.2809690 CALGARY -- Imperial Oil says it has reached deals to sell its remaining 497 Esso retail stations in Canada to five fuel distributors for a total of $2.8 billion. Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. is set to buy 279 stations in Ontario and Quebec for nearly $1.69 billion.
  5. Natalie Finn Sat Feb 21, 1:59 am ET Los Angeles (E! Online) – It's not going to snag 11 Oscars, but The Dark Knight—Christian Bale and all—is nipping at Titanic's heels in the court of public opinion. The 2008 blockbuster has surpassed $1 billion at the worldwide box office, Warner Bros. announced late Friday. According to BoxOfficeMojo.com, the critically acclaimed Caped Crusader sequel—which actually could win eight Academy Awards on Sunday—is now in fourth place on the list of all-time box office grosses, behind only Titanic ($1.84 billion), The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King ($1.12 billion) and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest ($1.07 billion). The Dark Knight is currently sitting pretty with $1.001 billion, while the fifth-place Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone is way back there with $974.7 million. $533.1 million of that billion-plus sum was grossed in U.S. theaters, while $468 million was raked in overseas. Warner Bros.' news comes along with the announcement that The Dark Knight is also now the top-grossing 2-D IMAX release of all time, with $64.9 million grossed worldwide. ··· THEY SAID WHAT? Get today's most commented stories now at http://www.eonline.com Copyright © 2009 Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved.Questions or CommentsPrivacy PolicyTerms of ServiceCopyright/IP Policy
  6. (Courtesy of The Montreal Gazette) Congrats Montreal Lets hope 2011 will be another amazing year.
  7. The world's big digs http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2008/06/19/f-big-digs.html Last Updated: Monday, June 23, 2008 | 10:26 AM ET CBC News Construction on Montreal's Honoré Mercier Bridge, billed as Canada's largest bridge repair, has a price tag of $66 million for its first phase. Work is expected to last until 2011. It's a big endeavour, to be sure. But it still pales in comparison to the scope of massive projects planned or underway around the world. Consider China's $63-billion — yes, billion — water diversion project, or Canada's own ambitious plans for the 2010 Winter Olympics. Many of these projects break new ground, figuratively as well as literally, in striving to set new world standards. They want to be tallest, widest, first or most expensive works of their kind. Here are some of the world's biggest digs, either underway or planned: -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- China: north-south water diversion Estimated cost: $63 billion With this massive hydro-engineering plan, China seeks to deliver water from the water-rich Yangtze River area in the south to parched regions in the country's north and west. In essence, the Chinese want to build a series of new, artificial rivers. Adopted in 2002, the ambitious plan calls for three water routes to eventually be built. Planners hope that the 1,250-km central and 1,150-km eastern routes will divert 13 billion cubic metres of water to Beijing and other northern cities by 2010. Due for completion in 2050, the western route cuts through the mountains of Tibet to reach China's arid northwestern provinces. If completed as planned, all three routes would carry a torrent of water as powerful as the flow of the Yellow River, China's second-longest waterway. The key word is "planned": Parts of the project have been delayed by technological and financial difficulties and concerns over water pollution, state media has reported. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Vancouver: 2010 Olympic infrastructure Estimated cost: $2.6 billion Two major projects are transforming transportation in British Columbia's Lower Mainland in the lead-up to the 2010 Winter Olympics. The 80-kilometre Sea to Sky highway, from Vancouver to the resort town of Whistler, is being improved at an estimated cost of $600 million. New passing lanes are being added and some sections straightened to improve safety. The new Canada Line, meanwhile, will provide a 19.5-km rail link between Vancouver and the city's international airport in Richmond. Completion of the 16-stop line is expected in 2009 in advance of the beginning of the Games. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Panama: Panama Canal expansion Estimated cost: $5.25 billion Workers use heavy machinery at the site of the Panama Canal expansion project in Panama City on April 28, 2008. (Arnulfo Franco/Associated Press) Approved in a 2006 national referendum, this project will be the largest improvement in the historic waterway's history. The canal's locks will be widened by 17 metres to 50 metres to accommodate modern ocean-faring vessels. By the time of its expected wrap-up in 2014, officials expect the canal's shipping capacity will be doubled. That will be good news for the ships who make the 14,000 annual trips through the 82-km-long canal. The smaller waterway has forced costly queues in recent years. If finished as planned in 2014, the expansion will open at the same time as the Panama Canal's 100th anniversary. It was originally built by the Americans and French and transferred to full Panamanian control in 1999. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- United Arab Emirates: Burj Dubai Estimated cost: $4 billion With their ultra-tall Burj Dubai, Emaar Properties want to do more than part the clouds with their building. The developers want to make a statement. A big statement. Even while still under construction, the Burj Dubai is already the world's tallest free-standing structure, eclipsing Toronto's 553-metre-tall CN Tower in September 2007. When completed in late 2009, the building will exceed 800 metres and house offices, a glitzy hotel and residential space. By then, the skyscraper will have consumed 330,000 metric tonnes of concrete, 39,000 metric tonnes of steel rebar and 142,000 square metres of glass, and 22 million worker hours of labour. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Algeria: east-west highway Estimated cost: $13 billion Flush with a windfall of oil and gas revenues, the Algerian government has embarked on a $144-billion project to upgrade the country's public works. Schools, hospitals and a subway for the capital, Algiers, are all being built. A cornerstone will be the east-west highway that will span more than 1,200 km across the country, connecting the Tunisian border in the east with Morocco in the west. Expected to be completed in 2010 and financed completely by the government, the roadway will also connect Algiers and other major cities in the country's north. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- China: Three Gorges Dam Estimated cost: $25 billion Spanning the Yangtze River, Three Gorges is 210 metres high and more than two kilometres long. Critics call it an environmental nightmare, but China's leaders believe it will control flooding along the Yangtze, harnessing an estimated 18,000 megawatts of power by its eventual completion in 2009. However, the dam has displaced more than one million people and it's estimated rising waters will submerge 1,200 towns and villages. Work began in 1993 on the project which, when complete, will produce three times the capacity of Canada's Churchill Falls generating station in Newfoundland and Labrador. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Moscow: Crystal Island Estimated cost: $4 billion Once completed, this sprawling residential and commercial complex near the heart of Moscow is expected to be one of the world's largest and most expensive buildings. British architect Norman Foster has drafted plans for a tent-like structure with 2.5 million square metres of ground space set around a 450-metre peak. As planned, Crystal Island would include an observatory deck near the top, as well as apartments, entertainment facilities and sports complexes. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- San Francisco: Bay Bridge Estimated cost:$6.3 billion Upon its completion in 1936, the Bay Bridge was hailed as an engineering triumph, spanning the 13 kilometres between San Francisco and Oakland, Calif. But a major 1989 earthquake, which caused extensive damage to the bridge, drove home the need for repairs to guard against future temblors. So this massive repair project was drawn up. The eastern span will be entirely rebuilt and its western portions greatly overhauled. Work on the bridge, which carries an estimated 280,000 cars per day, is expected to wrap up in 2013. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Australia: Brisbane bypass tunnel Estimated cost: $3 billion This big dig will eventually deliver Australia's largest tunnel, built under the streets of the city of Brisbane. Named the Clem Jones Tunnel after a popular former mayor, it will provide another north-south traffic artery through the city. The goal for completion is the end of 2009. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Italy: Strait of Messina Bridge Estimated cost: $9 billion Since Roman times, Italian leaders have dreamed of a fixed link between the mainland and the island of Sicily. Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi tried to bring such a plan to life after his election in 2001, only to have it scuppered after a change of government in 2006. The April 2008 election restored Berlusconi to power and gave the idea a second life. The new plan calls for a 3.3-kilometre suspension bridge — it would be the world's longest, besting the current world record holder by almost 1.5 kilometres. Construction could begin in 2010 and wrap up by 2016, a government official says. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Las Vegas: CityCenter Estimated cost: $9 billion Dubbed a "city within a city" on the famous Las Vegas Strip, this monster complex will combine a resort casino called Aria, along with several other hotels and residential buildings. CityCenter will cover 76 acres after its expected completion in 2009. A little more than 46,000 square metres of space will be dedicated to The Crystals, a complex featuring restaurants, retail and other entertainment. The project will employ about 7,000 construction workers, according to the developers.
  8. monctezuma

    Apple new HQ

    Foster’s Apple Headquarters Exceeds Budget by $2 Billion © Foster + Partners, ARUP, Kier + Wright, Apple The estimated cost of Apple’s Cupertino City headquarters has escalated from an already hefty price of $3 billion to $5 billion (more than $1,500 per square foot), reportedly pushing back the original completion date to 2016. According to Bloomberg, Apple is working with lead architect Foster & Partners to shave $1 billion from the “ballooning budget”. Most of the cost is seemly due to Steve Job’s “sky-high requirements for fit and finish”, as the tech legend called for the 2.8 million square foot, circular monolith to be clad 40-foot panes of German concave glass, along with its four-story office spaces be lined with museum-quality terrazzo floors and capped with polished concrete ceilings. Although lambasted for his ambitious plans and “doughnut-shaped” design, Steve Jobs wanted to create a masterpiece that looked as good as it functioned, just like his products. During a 2011 presentation to the Cupertino City Council, Jobs stated, “This is not the cheapest way to build something… there is not a straight piece of glass in this building.” He continued, “We have a shot… at building the best office building in the world. I really do think that architecture students will come here to see it.” © Foster + Partners, ARUP, Kier + Wright, Apple The spaceship-like headquarters, as Jobs would describe, is intended to accommodate more than 12,000 employees. It will be one of six visible structures planned for the 176 acre parcel - including the headquarters, a lobby to a 1000-seat underground auditorium, a four-story parking garage near Interstate 280, a corporate fitness center, a research facility and central plant - all of which will be accessed by a network of underground roads and parking lots, hidden by 6,000 trees. In addition, Jobs envisioned the campus to achieve “net-zero energy” by offsetting energy use with 700,000 square feet of rooftop solar panels (enough to generate 8 megawatts of power), along with additional contracts for solar and wind power, climate responsive window dressings, and more (additional project information, including plans and images, can be found here). © Foster + Partners, ARUP, Kier + Wright, Apple Despite the cost, Bloomberg states, “There’s no indication that Apple is getting cold feet.” Site excavation is planned to commence in June. In related news, Facebook’s quarter-mile-long West Campus by Frank Gehry was just awarded approval from city council. All the details here. Reference: Bloomberg
  9. Canadian smog costs $1 billion, 2,700 lives: CMA Canwest News Service Published: Wednesday, August 13, 2008 The Canadian Medical Association estimates that by 2031, more than 4,900 Canadians, mostly seniors, will die prematurely each year from the effects of polluted air.Dean Bicknell/Canwest News ServiceThe Canadian Medical Association estimates that by 2031, more than 4,900 Canadians, mostly seniors, will die prematurely each year from the effects of polluted air. OTTAWA -- Smog this year will contribute to the premature deaths of 2,700 Canadians and put 11,000 in hospitals, costing the economy and health-care system $1 billion, Canada's doctors say. A report by the Canadian Medical Association calculates that deaths linked to air pollution will rise over the next two decades, claiming nearly twice as many lives each year and costing $1.3 billion annually in health care and lost productivity. The study estimates that by 2031, more than 4,900 Canadians, mostly seniors, will die prematurely each year from the effects of polluted air. Ontario and Quebec will bear the brunt, with smog-related deaths soaring among aging baby-boomers and the chronically ill. In Ontario, the number of premature deaths could double, to 2,200, from 1,200 per year, while hospital admissions over the same period could jump by as much as 70%. The annual health-care and economic costs could rise by as much as 30%, to $740 million, from $570 million. Quebec's mortality rate could rise by 70%, from 700 a year to 1,200, while hospital admissions could spike by 50% annually, costing the province 10% more, or up to $290 million a year. While smog can trigger lung problems, accounting for up to 40% of hospital visits, heart attack and stroke are the real problems, responsible for more than 60% of all air-pollution-related hospital admissions, the study found. Pollutants such as nitrous oxide damage the heart by harming blood vessels, leading to atherosclerosis, a disease that makes people susceptible to heart attack and stroke. Besides the direct costs to the economy and the health system, the study tries to put a price on the poor quality of life and loss of life caused by smog-related deaths. With those estimated costs included, this year's total bill -- in addition to the $1 billion estimate for economic and health-care costs - would amount to more than $10 billion. That figure would rise to $18 billion a year by 2031, with nearly $16 billion of that the price the doctors' association puts on lost lives. But Gordon McBean, a renowned climatologist at the University of Western Ontario, questioned the accuracy of such estimates. While he praised the report and called most of its data sound, he said the attempt to put a price tag on lost life is problematic. "Health-care costs you can do a reasonably good job quantifying, but quality of life and the actual value of life is a bit difficult," said Mr. McBean, co-author of a recently published Health Canada report on the impact of climate change on human health. As a Canadian representative to the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Mr. McBean said the world's top experts have tried unsuccessfully to come up with similar estimates for the human cost of climate change. "That became very controversial because the people who did it said, 'Well, a North American is worth so many thousand dollars and an African is worth a small fraction of that.' And people like me didn't think that was acceptable," he said. Given that climate change likely will lead to more smoggy days, the report does not exaggerate the level of anticipated deaths caused by air pollution, said Mr. McBean. "They're not overstating the problem. If anything, these are lowball estimates."
  10. http://montrealgazette.com/business/local-business/quebec-is-slowing-spending-but-its-a-far-cry-from-european-style-austerity "Unfortunately, the private sector hasn’t kept the rendezvous. Stéfane Marion, chief economist at the National Bank, notes that net private-sector employment has fallen by 30,000 in the province so far this year while Ontario has added 80,000 such jobs. Marion points to lingering fallout over the bitter charter of values debate under the preceding Parti Québécois government. Quebec lost a net 10,000 people last spring to interprovincial migration — the worst outflows since 1995-96. That didn’t help the job market." On the plus side, the economy does seem to be improving and stimulus is coming from other sources. Exports to the U.S. and Ontario are growing at a healthy clip, the cheaper Canadian dollar is a boost to manufacturers and lower oil prices are an added bonus to both businesses and consumers. Marion figures that Quebecers have received a $300-million break at the gas pump so far this year as prices have declined. That will ease the pain from an expected two-cents-per-litre jump in gas prices in the New Year to cover the cost to distributors of Quebec’s new cap-and-trade system for carbon emissions. And if you can believe Finance Minister Carlos Leitão, the pain is about to end for taxpayers who are tired of paying more and receiving less. Most of the measures needed to go from the current-year deficit of $2.3 billion to a balanced budget have already been identified, he said. Another $1.1 billion will still have to be found in the budget next spring. It’s about time, says Norma Kozhaya, chief economist at the Conseil du patronat du Québec which represents the province’s largest employers. Quebec has reached the limit on what it can absorb in the way of further tax increases and spending cuts, she argued. Kozhaya is worried about slow growth in the economy, pegged at 1.6 per cent this year and 1.9 per cent in 2015. “What’s important is to get more revenue from economic growth and not from new taxes and fees.” She would like to hear more of a pro-investment discourse from the Couillard government, especially when it comes to natural resources. In the meantime, there’s always 2017-18 to look forward to. That’s when Leitão talks boldly of a surplus and maybe even a tax cut — in what will be an election year.
  11. Building permits fall for third month Canwest News ServiceFebruary 5, 2009 9:01 AM OTTAWA—The value of Canadian building permits fell in December for a third straight month as a slowdown in the economy continued to temper construction activity in both residential and non-residential sectors. Statistic Canada said Thursday that municipalities issued $4.6 billion worth of permits during the month, a decline of 3.9 per cent from November. Residential permits were down 3.2 per cent to $2.6 billion in December, marking the ninth monthly drop in 2008. “Increases in multi-family permits in Ontario were not enough to offset the declines in single-family permits in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia,”the federal agency said. The value non-residential permits fell 4.9 per cent to $2 billion, the third straight monthly decline. This drop was mainly in institutional permits in Alberta and commercial permits in British Columbia, the agency said. Construction permits declined in five provinces and all three territories in December, it said.
  12. New York City fears return to 1970s Tue Jan 27, 2009 By Joan Gralla http://www.reuters.com/article/newsO...50Q6IH20090127
  13. Wall Street, R.I.P.: The End of an Era, Even at Goldman Article Tools Sponsored By By JULIE CRESWELL and BEN WHITE Published: September 27, 2008 WALL STREET. Two simple words that — like Hollywood and Washington — conjure a world. Goldman Sachs’s headquarters in New York. The company, a golden child of the financial sector, faces a very different future and mission amid seismic changes wrought by the credit crisis. Lloyd C. Blankfein led Goldman’s securities division before becoming chief executive in 2006. A world of big egos. A world where people love to roll the dice with borrowed money. A world of tightwire trading, propelled by computers. In search of ever-higher returns — and larger yachts, faster cars and pricier art collections for their top executives — Wall Street firms bulked up their trading desks and hired pointy-headed quantum physicists to develop foolproof programs. Hedge funds placed markers on red (the Danish krone goes up) or black (the G.D.P. of Thailand falls). And private equity firms amassed giant funds and went on a shopping spree, snapping up companies as if they were second wives buying Jimmy Choo shoes on sale. That world is largely coming to an end. The huge bailout package being debated in Congress may succeed in stabilizing the financial markets. But it is too late to help firms like Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers, which have already disappeared. Merrill Lynch, whose trademark bull symbolized Wall Street to many Americans, is being folded into Bank of America, located hundreds of miles from New York, in Charlotte, N.C. For most of the financiers who remain, with the exception of a few superstars, the days of easy money and supersized bonuses are behind them. The credit boom that drove Wall Street’s explosive growth has dried up. Regulators who sat on the sidelines for too long are now eager to rein in Wall Street’s bad boys and the practices that proliferated in recent years. “The swashbuckling days of Wall Street firms’ trading, essentially turning themselves into giant hedge funds, are over. Turns out they weren’t that good,” said Andrew Kessler, a former hedge fund manager. “You’re no longer going to see middle-level folks pulling in seven- and multiple-seven-dollar figures that no one can figure out exactly what they did for that.” The beginning of the end is felt even in the halls of the white-shoe firm Goldman Sachs, which, among its Wall Street peers, epitomized and defined a high-risk, high-return culture. Goldman is the firm that other Wall Street firms love to hate. It houses some of the world’s biggest private equity and hedge funds. Its investment bankers are the smartest. Its traders, the best. They make the most money on Wall Street, earning the firm the nickname Goldmine Sachs. (Its 30,522 employees earned an average of $600,000 last year — an average that considers secretaries as well as traders.) Although executives at other firms secretly hoped that Goldman would once — just once — make a big mistake, at the same time, they tried their darnedest to emulate it. While Goldman remains top-notch in providing merger advice and underwriting public offerings, what it does better than any other firm on Wall Street is proprietary trading. That involves using its own funds, as well as a heap of borrowed money, to make big, smart global bets. Other firms tried to follow its lead, heaping risk on top of risk, all trying to capture just a touch of Goldman’s magic dust and its stellar quarter-after-quarter returns. Not one ever came close. While the credit crisis swamped Wall Street over the last year, causing Merrill, Citigroup and Lehman Brothers to sustain heavy losses on big bets in mortgage-related securities, Goldman sailed through with relatively minor bumps. In 2007, the same year that Citigroup and Merrill cast out their chief executives, Goldman booked record revenue and earnings and paid its chief, Lloyd C. Blankfein, $68.7 million — the most ever for a Wall Street C.E.O. Even Wall Street’s golden child, Goldman, however, could not withstand the turmoil that rocked the financial system in recent weeks. After Lehman and the American International Group were upended, and Merrill jumped into its hastily arranged engagement with Bank of America two weeks ago, Goldman’s stock hit a wall. The A.I.G. debacle was particularly troubling. Goldman was A.I.G.’s largest trading partner, according to several people close to A.I.G. who requested anonymity because of confidentiality agreements. Goldman assured investors that its exposure to A.I.G. was immaterial, but jittery investors and clients pulled out of the firm, nervous that stand-alone investment banks — even one as esteemed as Goldman — might not survive. “What happened confirmed my feeling that Goldman Sachs, no matter how good it was, was not impervious to the fortunes of fate,” said John H. Gutfreund, the former chief executive of Salomon Brothers. So, last weekend, with few choices left, Goldman Sachs swallowed a bitter pill and turned itself into, of all things, something rather plain and pedestrian: a deposit-taking bank. The move doesn’t mean that Goldman is going to give away free toasters for opening a checking account at a branch in Wichita anytime soon. But the shift is an assault on Goldman’s culture and the core of its astounding returns of recent years. Not everyone thinks that the Goldman money machine is going to be entirely constrained. Last week, the Oracle of Omaha, Warren E. Buffett, made a $5 billion investment in the firm, and Goldman raised another $5 billion in a separate stock offering. Still, many people say, with such sweeping changes before it, Goldman Sachs could well be losing what made it so special. But, then again, few things on Wall Street will be the same. GOLDMAN’S latest golden era can be traced to the rise of Mr. Blankfein, the Brooklyn-born trading genius who took the helm in June 2006, when Henry M. Paulson Jr., a veteran investment banker and adviser to many of the world’s biggest companies, left the bank to become the nation’s Treasury secretary. Mr. Blankfein’s ascent was a significant changing of the guard at Goldman, with the vaunted investment banking division giving way to traders who had become increasingly responsible for driving a run of eye-popping profits. Before taking over as chief executive, Mr. Blankfein led Goldman’s securities division, pushing a strategy that increasingly put the bank’s own capital on the line to make big trading bets and investments in businesses as varied as power plants and Japanese banks. The shift in Goldman’s revenue shows the transformation of the bank. From 1996 to 1998, investment banking generated up to 40 percent of the money Goldman brought in the door. In 2007, Goldman’s best year, that figure was less than 16 percent, while revenue from trading and principal investing was 68 percent. Goldman’s ability to sidestep the worst of the credit crisis came mainly because of its roots as a private partnership in which senior executives stood to lose their shirts if the bank faltered. Founded in 1869, Goldman officially went public in 1999 but never lost the flat structure that kept lines of communication open among different divisions. In late 2006, when losses began showing in one of Goldman’s mortgage trading accounts, the bank held a top-level meeting where executives including David Viniar, the chief financial officer, concluded that the housing market was headed for a significant downturn. Hedging strategies were put in place that essentially amounted to a bet that housing prices would fall. When they did, Goldman limited its losses while rivals posted ever-bigger write-downs on mortgages and complex securities tied to them. In 2007, Goldman generated $11.6 billion in profit, the most money an investment bank has ever made in a year, and avoided most of the big mortgage-related losses that began slamming other banks late in that year. Goldman’s share price soared to a record of $247.92 on Oct. 31. Goldman continued to outpace its rivals into this year, though profits declined significantly as the credit crisis worsened and trading conditions became treacherous. Still, even as Bear Stearns collapsed in March over bad mortgage bets and Lehman was battered, few thought that the untouchable Goldman could ever falter. Mr. Blankfein, an inveterate worrier, beefed up his books in part by stashing more than $100 billion in cash and short-term, highly liquid securities in an account at the Bank of New York. The Bony Box, as Mr. Blankfein calls it, was created to make sure that Goldman could keep doing business even in the face of market eruptions. That strong balance sheet, and Goldman’s ability to avoid losses during the crisis, appeared to leave the bank in a strong position to move through the industry upheaval with its trading-heavy business model intact, if temporarily dormant. Even as some analysts suggested that Goldman should consider buying a commercial bank to diversify, executives including Mr. Blankfein remained cool to the notion. Becoming a deposit-taking bank would just invite more regulation and lessen its ability to shift capital quickly in volatile markets, the thinking went. All of that changed two weeks ago when shares of Goldman and its chief rival, Morgan Stanley, went into free fall. A national panic over the mortgage crisis deepened and investors became increasingly convinced that no stand-alone investment bank would survive, even with the government’s plan to buy up toxic assets. Nervous hedge funds, some burned by losing big money when Lehman went bust, began moving some of their balances away from Goldman to bigger banks, like JPMorgan Chase and Deutsche Bank. By the weekend, it was clear that Goldman’s options were to either merge with another company or transform itself into a deposit-taking bank holding company. So Goldman did what it has always done in the face of rapidly changing events: it turned on a dime. “They change to fit their environment. When it was good to go public, they went public,” said Michael Mayo, banking analyst at Deutsche Bank. “When it was good to get big in fixed income, they got big in fixed income. When it was good to get into emerging markets, they got into emerging markets. Now that it’s good to be a bank, they became a bank.” The moment it changed its status, Goldman became the fourth-largest bank holding company in the United States, with $20 billion in customer deposits spread between a bank subsidiary it already owned in Utah and its European bank. Goldman said it would quickly move more assets, including its existing loan business, to give the bank $150 billion in deposits. Even as Goldman was preparing to radically alter its structure, it was also negotiating with Mr. Buffett, a longtime client, on the terms of his $5 billion cash infusion. Mr. Buffett, as he always does, drove a relentless bargain, securing a guaranteed annual dividend of $500 million and the right to buy $5 billion more in Goldman shares at a below-market price. While the price tag for his blessing was steep, the impact was priceless. “Buffett got a very good deal, which means the guy on the other side did not get as good a deal,” said Jonathan Vyorst, a portfolio manager at the Paradigm Value Fund. “But from Goldman’s perspective, it is reputational capital that is unparalleled.” EVEN if the bailout stabilizes the markets, Wall Street won’t go back to its freewheeling, profit-spinning ways of old. After years of lax regulation, Wall Street firms will face much stronger oversight by regulators who are looking to tighten the reins on many practices that allowed the Street to flourish. For Goldman and Morgan Stanley, which are converting themselves into bank holding companies, that means their primary regulators become the Federal Reserve and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which oversee banking institutions. Rather than periodic audits by the Securities and Exchange Commission, Goldman will have regulators on site and looking over their shoulders all the time. The banking giant JPMorgan Chase, for instance, has 70 regulators from the Federal Reserve and the comptroller’s agency in its offices every day. Those regulators have open access to its books, trading floors and back-office operations. (That’s not to say stronger regulators would prevent losses. Citigroup, which on paper is highly regulated, suffered huge write-downs on risky mortgage securities bets.) As a bank, Goldman will also face tougher requirements about the size of the financial cushion it maintains. While Goldman and Morgan Stanley both meet current guidelines, many analysts argue that regulators, as part of the fallout from the credit crisis, may increase the amount of capital banks must have on hand. More important, a stiffer regulatory regime across Wall Street is likely to reduce the use and abuse of its favorite addictive drug: leverage. The low-interest-rate environment of the last decade offered buckets of cheap credit. Just as consumers maxed out their credit cards to live beyond their means, Wall Street firms bolstered their returns by pumping that cheap credit into their own trading operations and lending money to hedge funds and private equity firms so they could do the same. By using leverage, or borrowed funds, firms like Goldman Sachs easily increased the size of the bets they were making in their own trading portfolios. If they were right — and Goldman typically was — the returns were huge. When things went wrong, however, all of that debt turned into a nightmare. When Bear Stearns was on the verge of collapse, it had borrowed $33 for every $1 of equity it held. When trading partners that had lent Bear the money began demanding it back, the firm’s coffers ran dangerously low. Earlier this year, Goldman had borrowed about $28 for every $1 in equity. In the ensuing credit crisis, Wall Street firms have reined in their borrowing significantly and have lent less money to hedge funds and private equity firms. Today, Goldman’s borrowings stand at about $20 to $1, but even that is likely to come down. Banks like JPMorgan and Citigroup typically borrow about $10 to $1, analysts say. As leverage dries up across Wall Street, so will the outsize returns at many private equity firms and hedge funds. Returns at many hedge funds are expected to be awful this year because of a combination of bad bets and an inability to borrow. One result could be a landslide of hedge funds’ closing shop. At Goldman, the reduced use of borrowed money for its own trading operations means that its earnings will also decrease, analysts warn. Brad Hintz, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Company, predicts that Goldman’s return on equity, a common measure of how efficiently capital is invested, will fall to 13 percent this year, from 33 percent in 2007, and hover around 14 percent or 15 percent for the next few years. Goldman says its returns are primarily driven by economic growth, its market share and pricing power, not by leverage. It adds that it does not expect changes in its business strategies and expects a 20 percent return on equity in the future. IF Mr. Hintz is right, and Goldman’s legendary returns decline, so will its paychecks. Without those multimillion-dollar paydays, those top-notch investment bankers, elite traders and private-equity superstars may well stroll out the door and try their luck at starting small, boutique investment-banking firms or hedge funds — if they can. “Over time, the smart people will migrate out of the firm because commercial banks don’t pay out 50 percent of their revenues as compensation,” said Christopher Whalen, a managing partner at Institutional Risk Analytics. “Banks simply aren’t that profitable.” As the game of musical chairs continues on Wall Street, with banks like JPMorgan scooping up troubled competitors like Washington Mutual, some analysts are wondering what Goldman’s next move will be. Goldman is unlikely to join with a commercial bank with a broad retail network, because a plain-vanilla consumer business is costly to operate and is the polar opposite of Goldman’s rarefied culture. “If they go too far afield or get too large in terms of personnel, then they become Citigroup, with the corporate bureaucracy and slowness and the inability to make consensus-type decisions that come with that,” Mr. Hintz said. A better fit for Goldman would be a bank that caters to corporations and other institutions, like Northern Trust or State Street Bank, he said. “I don’t think they’re going to move too fast, no matter what the environment on Wall Street is,” Mr. Hintz said. “They’re going to take some time and consider what exactly the new Goldman Sachs is going to be.”
  14. Jan. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Smurfit-Stone Container Corp., a maker of cardboard packaging and one of the world’s largest paper recyclers, filed for bankruptcy in the face of falling demand and heavy debt payments. The petition for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, filed today in a U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Delaware, listed $5.6 billion in consolidated debt and $7.5 billion in consolidated assets as of Sept. 30. Twenty-four affiliates also sought protection. Smurfit-Stone, based in Chicago is North America’s second- largest maker of corrugated packaging, and has 22,000 employees in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Asia, according to its Web site. The company joins other pulp- and paper-related bankruptcies as rising Internet use hurts magazines and newspapers. Corp. Durango SAB, Mexico’s largest papermaker, sought U.S. bankruptcy in October. Quebecor World Inc., a magazine printer and Pope & Talbot Inc., a pulp-mill operator, also sought cross-border bankruptcies for their operations in the U.S. and Canada. Smurfit-Stone’s 30 largest consolidated creditors without collateral backing their claims are owed about $4.2 billion, court papers show. The Bank of New York, as agent for bondholders, has an unsecured claim of $2.2 billion, CIT Group Inc. is owed $36.8 million and British Petroleum is owed $22.1 million, according to court papers. Debt Levels Rivals AbitibiBowater Inc., Temple-Inland Inc. and International Paper Co. also have significant debt, according to Mark Wilde, an analyst at Deutsche Bank Securities in New York. In December, Smurfit-Stone said fourth-quarter earnings would be “significantly” lower than the previous period, citing slowing demand for containers for industrial and consumer goods. It said it would reduce production of containerboard and some types of paper. Credit-rating companies Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s downgraded their ratings on Smurfit-Stone’s debt shortly thereafter. Both said the company could be required to get waivers on its debt covenants. Smurfit-Stone has an $800 million revolving credit facility due Nov. 2009. Moody’s also rates an estimated $3.5 billion in debt, and noted in December that the company could need to get waivers on some of its covenants to maintain access to the revolver. Containerboard and corrugated containers are Smurfit-Stone’s main products, and it collects recycled paper as a raw ingredient through 27 recycling plants. Its net sales were $7.4 billion in 2007, and a three-year program designed to make mills more productive is slated to finish in the first half of this year, according to the company’s Web site. The case is Smurfit-Stone Container Corp., 09-10235, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).
  15. Canadian Investor Bets on a Montreal Revival Cadillac Fairview Wants to Expand City's Business Center to the South By DAVID GEORGE-COSH Nov. 5, 2013 6:11 p.m. ET For more than two decades, Montreal was one of the sleepiest office markets in Canada, seeing no new private development as cities such as Toronto and energy-rich Calgary added millions of square feet of new space. Now, as Canadian investors step up real-estate investment throughout the world, a company owned by one of Canada's largest pension funds is looking to shake things up. Cadillac Fairview Corp., a unit of Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, wants to expand the city's business center to the south with a planned 1.9 billion Canadian dollars ($1.82 billion) development next to the Bell Centre, where the National Hockey League's Montreal Canadiens play. The company earlier this year broke ground on the first building on the 9.2 acre site, named the Deloitte Tower after the professional-services firm that it lured from Montreal's traditional downtown. Owners of office buildings in Montreal's core dismiss the competitive threat, citing the lack of retail and transportation in the Deloitte Tower area. "I don't think that people who went to that location will be happy," says Bill Tresham, president of global investments at Ivanhoé Cambridge Inc., which owns the Place Ville Marie office complex that Deloitte is vacating. But Cadillac Fairview executives say businesses will be attracted to the tower's modern workspaces, energy efficiency and the civic square and skating rink in the complex modeled on New York's Rockefeller Center. "That's where we feel the growth is," says Sal Iacono, Cadillac's senior vice president for development in Eastern Canada. Developers in other cities have had mixed results when they have tried to build new business districts to compete with traditional downtowns. London's Canary Wharf development was forced to seek bankruptcy protection in its early years, although it eventually turned into a success. The Fan Pier project in Boston finally has gained traction after years of delay. The Cadillac Fairview development is partly a sign that Montreal has absorbed a glut of space that has hung over its office market for years. Its third-quarter vacancy rate for top-quality space downtown was 5.4%, compared with 9.4% in the third quarter of 2010, according to Cushman & Wakefield Inc. But the project also is a sign of the increasing appetite that Canadian investors have for real-estate risk as the world slowly recovers from the downturn. Canadian investors are on track to purchase at least US$15.6 billion of commercial real estate world-wide in 2013, up from US$14.5 billion in 2012, and a postcrash record, according to Real Capital Analytics Much of the interest is coming from Canadian pension funds, which have more of an appetite for risk than U.S. and European institutions because Canadian property wasn't hurt as badly by the downturn, experts say. The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, the country's largest pension fund, allocated 11.1% of its assets to real estate, for a total of C$20.9 billion, in the first quarter of fiscal 2014. That is up from 10.7% in the first quarter of fiscal 2013, for a total of C$17.7 billion. Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan has been aggressive in several other sectors as it tries to shore up its funding deficit amid stubbornly low interest rates. The fund last month acquired Busy Bees Nursery Group, the largest child-care provider in the United Kingdom, for an undisclosed sum, while contributing US$500 million to Hudson's Bay Co.'s purchase of Saks Fifth Avenue for US$2.9 billion in July. Over the past year, Teachers' also has made investments in Australian telecom companies, oil assets in Saskatchewan and a supplier of outdoor sports-storage systems. Cadillac Fairview's real-estate portfolio increased to C$16.9 billion at the end of 2012, the last period for which data is available, up from C$15 billion in 2011. Montreal has a population of 1.65 million and its business sector, which relies heavily on aerospace, information technology, pharmaceuticals and tourism, remained relatively healthy during the downturn. The last commercial office buildings in its modern office district were completed by private developers in 1992. Nearly 20% of the city's office inventory was built before 1960, more than in other large Canadian cities, according to Cushman & Wakefield. Other pension funds also are making new investments in Montreal's office market, though they are focusing on core properties. Ivanhoé Cambridge, an arm of Quebec-based pension fund Caisse de dépot et placement du Québec, spent more than C$400 million in August to acquire full control of the Place Ville Marie office complex, and is planning a C$100 million upgrade. Cadillac Fairview began assembling land for its project in 2009 when it acquired Windsor Station, a historic hub that dates to the 19th century. The area is southwest of Old Montreal, the historic section of the city near the St. Lawrence River. But the area has been unappealing to most office-building developers because it lacks many stores, restaurants or other amenities. "No one was interested in developing," Mr. Iacono says. The company has been planning a development including retail, office and residential space since then, but many were skeptical that businesses could be convinced to move outside of the city's traditional business center. That skepticism was damped when Deloitte announced plans to move. Then this year, the Alcan unit of mining giant Rio Tinto said it would move its headquarters to the top eight floors of the 500,000 square-foot tower, increasing its occupancy to 70%. Cadillac Fairview also has started building a 555-unit condo on the site. Eventually, the entire complex will include an additional 4 million square feet of office, retail and residential space as well as public areas. Deloitte executives say the new building—slated to open in 2015—was appealing because of its energy efficiency and green features such as stalls for charging electric cars. "This building is a catalyst for a whole energy for that part of the city," says Sheila Botting, national leader of real estate for Deloitte in Canada.
  16. http://www.thestar.com/article/845013--siddiqui-harper-s-ottawa-becomes-republican-la-la-land
  17. Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/business/Honda+expands+recall+more+Toyotas+probed/2545016/story.html#ixzz0fArsGWkh Hmm....
  18. Pfizer buying rival drug firm Wyeth for $68B US Unclear how purchase would affect Pfizer facilities in Calgary, Kirkland, Que., Mississauga, Ont. Last Updated: Monday, January 26, 2009 | 11:59 AM ET Comments16Recommend12 The Associated Press Pfizer Inc. is buying rival drug-maker Wyeth in a $68-billion US cash-and-stock deal that will increase its revenue by 50 per cent, solidify its No. 1 rank in the troubled industry and transform it from a pure pharmaceutical company into a broadly diversified health-care giant. At the same time, Pfizer announced cost cuts that include slashing more than 8,000 jobs as it prepares for expected revenue declines when cholesterol drug Lipitor — the world's top-selling medicine — loses patent protection in 2011. The deal announced Monday comes as Pfizer's profit takes a brutal hit from a $2.3- billion legal settlement over allegations it marketed certain products for indications that have not been approved. The New York-based company is also cutting 10 per cent of its workforce of 83,400, slashing its dividend, and reducing the number of manufacturing plants. Canadian impact unknown A spokeswoman for Pfizer Canada Inc. said it was unclear how the round of job cuts would affect the company's domestic operations, which employ more than 1,400 workers at facilities in Calgary, Kirkland, Que., and Mississauga, Ont. "At this time we really aren't aware of any impact on the Canadian organization related to the layoffs that were announced," said Rhonda O'Gallagher in an interview. She suggested that any possible job cuts to the Canadian operations wouldn't be announced for a few weeks or possibly months. Early Monday, Pfizer, the maker of Lipitor and impotence pill Viagra, said it will pay $50.19 US per share under for Wyeth, valuing Madison, N.J.-based Wyeth at a 14.7 per cent premium to the company's closing price of $43.74 Friday. Both companies' boards of directors approved the deal but Wyeth shareholders must do so, antitrust regulators must review the deal and a consortium of banks lending the companies $22.5 billion must complete the financing. Pfizer has been under pressure from Wall Street to make a bold move as it faces what is referred to as a patent cliff in the coming years. As key drugs lose patent protection, they will face generic competition and declining sales. Lipitor is expected to face generic competition starting in November 2011. It brings in nearly $13 billion per year for the company. Diversifying revenues Acquiring Wyeth helps Pfizer diversify and become less-dependent on individual drugs — Lipitor now provides about one-fourth of all Pfizer revenue — while adding strength in biotech drugs, vaccines and consumer products. Wyeth makes the world's top-selling vaccines, Prevnar for meningitis and pneumococcal disease, and co-markets with Amgen Inc. the world's No. 1 biotech drug, Enbrel for rheumatoid arthritis. "The combination of Pfizer and Wyeth provides a powerful opportunity to transform our industry," Pfizer chair and CEO Jeffery Kindler said in a statement. "It will produce the world's premier biopharmaceutical company whose distinct blend of diversification, flexibility, and scale positions it for success in a dynamic global health care environment." Together, the two companies will have 17 different products with annual sales of $1 billion or more, including top antidepressant Effexor, Lyrica for fibromyalgia and nerve pain, Detrol for overactive bladder and blood pressure drug Norvasc. Shortly after announcing the Wyeth deal, Pfizer said fourth-quarter profit plunged on a charge to settle investigations into off-label marketing practices. The company earned $268 million, or four cents a share, compared to profit of $2.72 billion, or 40 cents per share, a year before. Revenue fell four per cent to $12.35 billion from $12.87 billion. Excluding about $2.3 billion in legal charges, the company says profit rose to 65 cents per share. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected profit of 59 cents per share on revenue of $12.54 billion. Looking ahead, New York-based Pfizer expects earnings per share between $1.85 and $1.95 in 2009, below forecasts for $2.49.
  19. (Courtesy of The New York Times) Holy crap! The new AT&T going to have 129.23 million customers. It would be like Bell buying out Telus.
  20. I probably shouldn't be putting this in general discussions, but seeing that I found a Lexus LX570 with bullet proof armour for sale here in Montreal. I wonder who in the city or the province actually thinks someone would be crazy enough to attack them with assault rifles or even grenades? How many people in this province are that wealthy / connected that they are in need of that service? I know we have about almost a dozen or so billionaires, probably under 50 people with net worths between $50 million and $1 billion or is it someone in the mob? 2010 Lexus LX570 specs It is going for $99,000 and has about 15,000 km. If you want to check this thing out, head on over to L.A Leasing.
  21. Investing in infrastructure A question of trust Chicago pioneers a new way of paying for infrastructure May 12th 2012 | CHICAGO AND WASHINGTON, DC | from the print edition FOR decades America has underinvested in infrastructure—even though poor roads, delayed flights, crumbling bridges and inefficient buildings are an expensive burden. Deficiencies in roads, bridges and transport systems alone cost households and businesses nearly $130 billion in 2010, mostly because of higher running costs and travel delays. The calculated underinvestment in transport infrastructure alone runs to about $94 billion a year. This filters through to all parts of the economy and increases costs at the point of use of many raw materials, and thereby reduces the productivity and competitiveness of American firms and their goods. Overall the American Society of Civil Engineers reckons that this underinvestment will end up costing each family in the country about $10,600 between 2010 and 2020. Yet though investment in infrastructure would bring clear gains in efficiency, there is little money around, and all levels of government are reluctant or unable to pile up more debt. Traditional sources of funding, such as the (flat) tax on petrol, have delivered a dwindling amount of revenue as soaring prices at the pump have persuaded people to drive less. The federal government has been unable to get Congress to agree on other ways to generate new sources of funding for transport, to the point where money for new highways has almost dried up. For years America has talked about a federal infrastructure bank, which would blend private and public finance and would yield returns over a long number of years. Various other countries have tried the idea, but it has never caught on in the United States. Barack Obama wants $10 billion in funding as initial capital for a national infrastructure bank as part of his jobs plan. So far the idea has gone nowhere in Congress. In March the mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel, announced that his city could not wait for such help from elsewhere and will go it alone. With the speedy approval of the city council he created a new breed of infrastructure finance known as the Chicago Infrastructure Trust (CIT). The trust is not so much an infrastructure bank with money to hand out, but a city effort to match public infrastructure needs to private investors on a case-by-case basis; something more like an exchange. The city will finance the running costs of the trust itself to the tune of $2.5m. Several financial institutions are already lined up to make investments totalling $1.7 billion, among them Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets, Ullico, Citibank and JPMorgan. The background to this is that Mr Emanuel wants to spend about $7 billion to rebuild the city of Chicago—on everything from streets, to parks, to the water system, schools, commuter rail and the main airport. Tom Alexander, a spokesman for the mayor, says the city cannot ignore the future as it deals with the present. But raising the money needed for new investment, while maintaining the current infrastructure, is a daunting task. The CIT allows Mr Emanuel to tap the private sector for money, rather than just raising taxes and borrowing. The private sector will invest money in projects and get it back in the shape of tolls, user fees, premium pricing or even tax breaks. The first project is an investment of $225m to make city buildings more energy-efficient. This is expected to reduce annual energy costs by $20m, and the savings will then be used to pay back the investors. The CIT will provide some capital, bond financing and grants. It will also offer tax-exempt debt to entice investors. Returns on investment could vary from 3% on tax-exempt bonds to 8% for equity partners. Private involvement should, in theory, improve the quality of projects that get undertaken. A politically-expedient but financially dubious project would be unlikely to generate enough money to interest private investors. Padding, short cuts or shoddy construction are less likely to be tolerated. And city leaders might in turn overcome their aversion to the efficient pricing of public resources such as parking and busy roads. At the moment, investor appetites are keen and the supply of potential projects looks ample. The project is causing some anxiety in Chicago, though. Although the new trust would leave all the resulting investment under public ownership, the city’s recent bitter experience with a bungled 75-year lease of its parking meters under a previous mayor has left residents fearful. And with reason. For example, experience with public-private partnerships shows that cost-benefit estimates can sometimes prove wildly optimistic. When projects go bad—leaving half-built roads and schools—they become a public problem. Private investment might well end up being recouped in higher user fees. Mr Emanuel is well aware that other cities are watching this experiment with interest. The mayor is a hugely ambitious man, who is undoubtedly keen to leave a lasting legacy, and who some believe may want to remain as mayor for a period of Daleyian proportions. He, of all people, will want to build something that other cities will want to copy, not avoid. http://www.economist.com/node/21554579
  22. Ottawa boosts mortgage buyout by $50B Eoin Callan, Canwest News Service Published: Wednesday, November 12 TORONTO - After a sustained lobbying campaign by Bay Street executives that culminated in a breakfast meeting with senior government officials in Toronto Wednesday, Ottawa agreed to the most pressing demands of Canadian banks squeezed by the credit crisis. "We had asked for four things and we got all four," Don Drummond, a senior vice-president at TD Bank Financial Group, said after Ottawa unveiled co-ordinated measures to buy up to $75-billion worth of mortgages, facilitate access to capital markets, provide extra liquidity and loosen reserve requirements. Jim Flaherty, the Finance Minister, said the moves meant Canada was making good on a pledge he made during talks with his international counterparts to collectively bolster the banking system ahead of a summit on the financial crisis this weekend in Washington. The actions were a sign of the "commitment" of Ottawa to ensure the country's financial system remained strong, said Gerry McCaughey, chief executive of Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, which, along with TD, is thought to be among the main beneficiaries of new looser rules on minimum capital requirements. But executives who participated in the process cautioned state interventions to ease the credit crisis had proven to be more art than science, as the United States Wednesday ditched an earlier plan to buy up toxic assets at the same time Ottawa was expanding its own scheme to buy mortgage-backed securities by $50 billion. Executives said it remains to be seen if the interventions finalized at Wednesday morning's meeting would succeed in lowering the premium banks pay for medium-term financing, which is about five times higher than before the credit crisis. In a bid to ease funding pressures, executives persuaded the Conservatives to reduce to 1.1 per cent from 1.6 per cent the fee to be charged if banks invoke a special new government guarantee when they borrow money in international capital markets. Banks argued the previous higher rate had actually encouraged lenders to nudge up the premium they were charging banks at a time when other countries were offering more generous terms. The Finance Minister said he would resist new global initiatives that might put Canadian institutions at a competitive disadvantage during the weekend summit in Washington. But he said Ottawa's ability to influence the outcome was being undermined by the absence of a federal securities regulator in Canada, which is alone among major industrialized nations in not having national oversight of financial markets. "It is difficult for us to go abroad and say governments should get their house in order when there is a glaring omission at home," he said. Flaherty said a key objective of the moves announced Wednesday was addressing "concerns about the availability of credit" for business borrowers, adding that "the government stands ready to take whatever further actions are necessary to keep Canada's financial system strong among external risks." The Bank of Canada also said it would boost the availability of affordable credit in the banking system by $8 billion, using new rules that mean institutions can bid for cash using almost any form of collateral. Banks also welcomed a move late Tuesday by the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions to allow them to top up their capital reserves with securities that are a hybrid of debt and equity. The regulator clarified Wednesday that a related measure on treatment of money lent by banks to other financial institutions under the government guarantee of interbank lending "would have the effect" of "increasing their regulatory capital ratios, all else being equal", but would "not count as regulatory capital." Bank analysts said the interventions were positive for Canadian banks, but warned they would be squeezed further in the coming months as the global economic slowdown hit home and losses on bad loans mount. Ian de Verteuil, an analyst at BMO Capital Markets, cited as an example how falling demand for coal could by next year jeopardize more than $10 billion in bank loans made to finance the acquisition by Teck Cominco of Fording Canadian Coal Trust. Royal Bank of Canada, Bank of Montreal and CIBC each have about $1 billion in exposures, while TD and Scotiabank each have $400 million of exposures to the deal, which the companies expect will be viable. But bank executives remained bullish Wednesday, with TD chief executive Ed Clark saying he was still on the hunt for U.S. acquisitions.
  23. WOW just wow! http://www.architizer.com/en_us/blog/dyn/38638/azerbaijan-to-build-one-kilometer-tall-skyscraper/ Developers in Azerbaijan are planning to build a kilometer-high tower that would, obviously, be the world’s tallest. As News.az reports, Haji Ibrahim Nehramli, president of the Avesta Group of Companies, promises that the Azerbaijan Tower, as the project is being called, would rise 1,050 meters with 189 floors to dwarf both the Burj Khalifa (by 220 meters or 722 feet) and the Kingdom Tower currently planned for Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (by 50 meters or 164 feet). That’s not all. The Avesta Group will be planting their tower on an artificial island in the Caspian Sea, at the foot of virginal beaches and crystalline waters . The Azerbaijan Tower will be the crowning centerpiece of the Khazar Islands, a $100 billion city of 41 artificial islands that will spread 2,000 hectares over the Caspian. The buoyant metropolis is being planned for 1 million residents, who will be housed in endless rows of high-rises ranging for 25 to 60 stories in height with access to over 150 schools, 50 hospitals and daycare centers, plus numerous parks, shopping malls, cultural centers, university campuses, and even a Formula 1 racetrack. The city will be equipped with a robust network of “innovative” bridges and infrastructure that will link outlying islands to the urban core, while a large municipal airport will provide access to and from the radiant city. To briefly focus on the tower itself–much could be said on the vacuity of the entire project–the admittedly comical form altogether shuns the slim, shard-like profiles that characterize the current crop of Brobdingnagian skyscraper design. Instead, it curiously alludes both to the platonic massings of Constructivist projects (via corporate High-Tech of ’80s and ’90s) and various paper arcologies of the last quarter of the past century, from the Metabolists to the Sims. Construction on the Azerbaijan Tower is set to break ground in 2015 and will continue onto completion in 2018-2019 at a cost of $2 billion. And like all of the city’s other structures, the tower has been designed to withstand up to a 9.0 magnitude quake. The Khazar Islands are scheduled to be ready by 2022. LOL:
  24. Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Doors+slam+shut+Lowe+Rona/7019504/story.html#ixzz22Js017vJ I wonder what will happen. The only way Lowe's will not be able to buy Rona, is if the Quebec government buys up the majority of the shares on the market or buys the whole company. If the Government buys up Rona, we will have a new crown corporation on our hands.