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  1. MONTREAL, July 6, 2016 /CNW Telbec/ - Technoparc Montreal is pleased to present its activity report of 2015 via its annual report. The annual report describes the activities of 2015, a definite year of building! During the year, three major industrial projects (amongst the largest in Greater Montreal) were launched. These projects are the installation of the North American headquarters of Green Cross Biotherapeutics, the installation of ABB's Canadian headquarters and the construction of Vidéotron's 4Degrés data centre. These three major projects can be added to the list of companies that have chosen to locate their activities at the Technoparc. According to an analysis conducted by E&B DATA in 2015, the future construction of the new buildings at the Technoparc will generate $580 million to Quebec's GDP, $109 million to Quebec's public administration revenues and $37 million to federal public administration revenues. According to Carl Baillargeon, Technoparc Montreal's Director – Communications & Marketing "These projects represent the creation of more than 1,000 new jobs at the Technoparc, an investment of $400 million and the addition of 600 000 square feet to the real estate inventory. These are indeed excellent news for the economy of Montreal and the province of Quebec. This also confirms Technoparc's role as an important component of the economical development. In addition, the recent announcement of the proposed Réseau Électrique Métropolitain (electric train) by the CDPQ Infra, in which a station is planned at the Technoparc, reinforces the strategic location of the site and will thereby facilitate the access to the site via transportation means other than the car. " Technoparc Montréal is a non-profit organization that provides high-tech companies and entrepreneurs with environments and real-estate solutions conducive to innovation, cooperation and success. For more information, please see the website at http://www.technoparc.com. The 2015 annual report can be consulted online at: http://www.technoparc.com/static/uploaded/Files/brochures-en/Rapport-2015-EN_WEB.pdf SOURCE Technoparc Montréal
  2. (Courtesy of The Globe and Mail) First stop London, next stop global domination!
  3. I compiled the list down to a few names... All Canadian companies that excel in each category over other Canadian companies. - Aerospace & Defense: Bombardier - 8th (in that sector) [416th overall] - Banking: RBC - 17th (in that sector) [53rd overall] - Capital Goods: none - Chemicals: Potash of Saskatchewan - 16th (in that sector) [622nd overall] - Conglomerates: none - Construction: SNC-Lavalin - 34th (in that sector) [1063rd overall] - Consumer Durables: Magna International - 30th (in that sector) [922nd overall] - Diversified Financials: Power Corp of Canada - 9th (in that sector) [247th overall] - Food Markets: George Weston - 7th (in that sector) [412th overall] - Food, Drink & Tobacco: Saputo - 54th (in that sector) [1236th overall] - Health Care Equipment & Services: none - Hotels, Restaurants & Leisure: Tim Hortons - 18th (in that sector) [1714th overall] - Household & Personal Products: none - Insurance: Manulife Financial - 8th (in that sector) [112th overall] - Materials: Teck Resources - 17th (in that sector) [364th overall] - Media: Thomson Reuters - 7th (in that sector) [295th overall] - Oil & Gas Operations: Suncor Energy - 21st (in that sector) [159th overall] - Retailing: Shoppers Drug Mart - 30th (in that sector) [810th overall] - Semiconductors: none - Software & Services: CGI Group - 26th (in that sector) [1661st oveall] - Technology Hardware & Equipment: Research In Motion - 11th (in that sector) [384th overall] - Telecommuncations: BCE - 16th (in that sector) [239th overall] - Trading Companies: none - Transportation: Canadian National - 8th (in that sector) [377th overall] - Utilities: TransCanada - 21st (in that sector) [312th overall] All are publicly traded companies All the bold above. Their headquarters are here in Montreal
  4. Shipping Costs Start to Crimp Globalization When Tesla Motors, a pioneer in electric-powered cars, set out to make a luxury roadster for the American market, it had the global supply chain in mind. Tesla planned to manufacture 1,000-pound battery packs in Thailand, ship them to Britain for installation, then bring the mostly assembled cars back to the United States. Bread in a New Zealand supermarket. Soaring transportation costs also have an impact on food, from bananas to salmon. But when it began production this spring, the company decided to make the batteries and assemble the cars near its home base in California, cutting more than 5,000 miles from the shipping bill for each vehicle. “It was kind of a no-brain decision for us,” said Darryl Siry, the company’s senior vice president of global sales, marketing and service. “A major reason was to avoid the transportation costs, which are terrible.” The world economy has become so integrated that shoppers find relatively few T-shirts and sneakers in Wal-Mart and Target carrying a “Made in the U.S.A.” label. But globalization may be losing some of the inexorable economic power it had for much of the past quarter-century, even as it faces fresh challenges as a political ideology. Cheap oil, the lubricant of quick, inexpensive transportation links across the world, may not return anytime soon, upsetting the logic of diffuse global supply chains that treat geography as a footnote in the pursuit of lower wages. Rising concern about global warming, the reaction against lost jobs in rich countries, worries about food safety and security, and the collapse of world trade talks in Geneva last week also signal that political and environmental concerns may make the calculus of globalization far more complex. “If we think about the Wal-Mart model, it is incredibly fuel-intensive at every stage, and at every one of those stages we are now seeing an inflation of the costs for boats, trucks, cars,” said Naomi Klein, the author of “The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism.” “That is necessarily leading to a rethinking of this emissions-intensive model, whether the increased interest in growing foods locally, producing locally or shopping locally, and I think that’s great.” Many economists argue that globalization will not shift into reverse even if oil prices continue their rising trend. But many see evidence that companies looking to keep prices low will have to move some production closer to consumers. Globe-spanning supply chains — Brazilian iron ore turned into Chinese steel used to make washing machines shipped to Long Beach, Calif., and then trucked to appliance stores in Chicago — make less sense today than they did a few years ago. To avoid having to ship all its products from abroad, the Swedish furniture manufacturer Ikea opened its first factory in the United States in May. Some electronics companies that left Mexico in recent years for the lower wages in China are now returning to Mexico, because they can lower costs by trucking their output overland to American consumers. Neighborhood Effect Decisions like those suggest that what some economists call a neighborhood effect — putting factories closer to components suppliers and to consumers, to reduce transportation costs — could grow in importance if oil remains expensive. A barrel sold for $125 on Friday, compared with lows of $10 a decade ago. “If prices stay at these levels, that could lead to some significant rearrangement of production, among sectors and countries,” said C. Fred Bergsten, author of “The United States and the World Economy” and director of the Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics, in Washington. “You could have a very significant shock to traditional consumption patterns and also some important growth effects.” The cost of shipping a 40-foot container from Shanghai to the United States has risen to $8,000, compared with $3,000 early in the decade, according to a recent study of transportation costs. Big container ships, the pack mules of the 21st-century economy, have shaved their top speed by nearly 20 percent to save on fuel costs, substantially slowing shipping times. The study, published in May by the Canadian investment bank CIBC World Markets, calculates that the recent surge in shipping costs is on average the equivalent of a 9 percent tariff on trade. “The cost of moving goods, not the cost of tariffs, is the largest barrier to global trade today,” the report concluded, and as a result “has effectively offset all the trade liberalization efforts of the last three decades.” The spike in shipping costs comes at a moment when concern about the environmental impact of globalization is also growing. Many companies have in recent years shifted production from countries with greater energy efficiency and more rigorous standards on carbon emissions, especially in Europe, to those that are more lax, like China and India But if the international community fulfills its pledge to negotiate a successor to the Kyoto Protocol to combat climate change, even China and India would have to reduce the growth of their emissions, and the relative costs of production in countries that use energy inefficiently could grow. The political landscape may also be changing. Dissatisfaction with globalization has led to the election of governments in Latin America hostile to the process. A somewhat similar reaction can be seen in the United States, where both Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton promised during the Democratic primary season to “re-evaluate” the nation’s existing free trade agreements. Last week, efforts to complete what is known as the Doha round of trade talks collapsed in acrimony, dealing a serious blow to tariff reduction. The negotiations, begun in 2001, failed after China and India battled the United States over agricultural tariffs, with the two developing countries insisting on broad rights to protect themselves against surges of food imports that could hurt their farmers. Some critics of globalization are encouraged by those developments, which they see as a welcome check on the process. On environmentalist blogs, some are even gleefully promoting a “globalization death watch.” Many leading economists say such predictions are probably overblown. “It would be a mistake, a misinterpretation, to think that a huge rollback or reversal of fundamental trends is under way,” said Jeffrey D. Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University. “Distance and trade costs do matter, but we are still in a globalized era.” As economists and business executives well know, shipping costs are only one factor in determining the flow of international trade. When companies decide where to invest in a new factory or from whom to buy a product, they also take into account exchange rates, consumer confidence, labor costs, government regulations and the availability of skilled managers. ‘People Were Profligate’ What may be coming to an end are price-driven oddities like chicken and fish crossing the ocean from the Western Hemisphere to be filleted and packaged in Asia not to be consumed there, but to be shipped back across the Pacific again. “Because of low costs, people were profligate,” said Nayan Chanda, author of “Bound Together,” a history of globalization. The industries most likely to be affected by the sharp rise in transportation costs are those producing heavy or bulky goods that are particularly expensive to ship relative to their sale price. Steel is an example. China’s steel exports to the United States are now tumbling by more than 20 percent on a year-over-year basis, their worst performance in a decade, while American steel production has been rising after years of decline. Motors and machinery of all types, car parts, industrial presses, refrigerators, television sets and other home appliances could also be affected. Plants in industries that require relatively less investment in infrastructure, like furniture, footwear and toys, are already showing signs of mobility as shipping costs rise. Until recently, standard practice in the furniture industry was to ship American timber from ports like Norfolk, Baltimore and Charleston to China, where oak and cherry would be milled into sofas, beds, tables, cabinets and chairs, which were then shipped back to the United States. But with transportation costs rising, more wood is now going to traditional domestic furniture-making centers in North Carolina and Virginia, where the industry had all but been wiped out. While the opening of the American Ikea plant, in Danville, Va., a traditional furniture-producing center hit hard by the outsourcing of production to Asia, is perhaps most emblematic of such changes, other manufacturers are also shifting some production back to the United States. Among them is Craftmaster Furniture, a company founded in North Carolina but now Chinese-owned. And at an industry fair in April, La-Z-Boy announced a new line that will begin production in North Carolina this month. “There’s just a handful of us left, but it has become easier for us domestic folks to compete,” said Steven Kincaid of Kincaid Furniture in Hudson, N.C., a division of La-Z-Boy. Avocado Salad in January Soaring transportation costs also have an impact on food, from bananas to salmon. Higher shipping rates could eventually transform some items now found in the typical middle-class pantry into luxuries and further promote the so-called local food movement popular in many American and European cities. “This is not just about steel, but also maple syrup and avocados and blueberries at the grocery store,” shipped from places like Chile and South Africa, said Jeff Rubin, chief economist at CIBC World Markets and co-author of its recent study on transport costs and globalization. “Avocado salad in Minneapolis in January is just not going to work in this new world, because flying it in is going to make it cost as much as a rib eye.” Global companies like General Electric, DuPont, Alcoa and Procter & Gamble are beginning to respond to the simultaneous increases in shipping and environmental costs with green policies meant to reduce both fuel consumption and carbon emissions. That pressure is likely to increase as both manufacturers and retailers seek ways to tighten the global supply chain. “Being green is in their best interests not so much in making money as saving money,” said Gary Yohe, an environmental economist at Wesleyan University. “Green companies are likely to be a permanent trend, as these vulnerabilities continue, but it’s going to take a long time for all this to settle down.” In addition, the sharp increase in transportation costs has implications for the “just-in-time” system pioneered in Japan and later adopted the world over. It is a highly profitable business strategy aimed at reducing warehousing and inventory costs by arranging for raw materials and other supplies to arrive only when needed, and not before. Jeffrey E. Garten, the author of “World View: Global Strategies for the New Economy” and a former dean of the Yale School of Management, said that companies “cannot take a risk that the just-in-time system won’t function, because the whole global trading system is based on that notion.” As a result, he said, “they are going to have to have redundancies in the supply chain, like more warehousing and multiple sources of supply and even production.” One likely outcome if transportation rates stay high, economists said, would be a strengthening of the neighborhood effect. Instead of seeking supplies wherever they can be bought most cheaply, regardless of location, and outsourcing the assembly of products all over the world, manufacturers would instead concentrate on performing those activities as close to home as possible. In a more regionalized trading world, economists say, China would probably end up buying more of the iron ore it needs from Australia and less from Brazil, and farming out an even greater proportion of its manufacturing work to places like Vietnam and Thailand. Similarly, Mexico’s maquiladora sector, the assembly plants concentrated near its border with the United States, would become more attractive to manufacturers with an eye on the American market. But a trend toward regionalization would not necessarily benefit the United States, economists caution. Not only has it lost some of its manufacturing base and skills over the past quarter-century, and experienced a decline in consumer confidence as part of the current slowdown, but it is also far from the economies that have become the most dynamic in the world, those of Asia. “Despite everything, the American economy is still the biggest Rottweiler on the block,” said Jagdish N. Bhagwati, the author of “In Defense of Globalization” and a professor of economics at Columbia. “But if it’s expensive to get products from there to here, it’s also expensive to get them from here to there.” http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/03/business/worldbusiness/03global.html?pagewanted=1&em
  5. From what I heard from my father, I can only have 40% of my portfolio in other markets. So what companies should I look for here in Canada? Only one I can think of is Bank of Montreal. I would put some in Bombardier but it will never go up, plus I am iffy on Bell and Rogers.
  6. Top Asian team at global business challenge 31 March 2008 NUS' MBA team beat more than 270 Asian teams to emerge the best in the continent at Cerebration 2008, with DBS as principal sponsor. The Competition is an annual global business challenge organized by the NUS Business School. The team finished second overall among the more than 450 participating teams from 200 business schools worldwide. HEC Montreal team emerged the champion, with the London Business School and McGill University completing the final field of four. Now in its fourth year, the competition gives MBA students a chance to devise global business expansion strategies for participating Singapore companies -- Brewerkz Restaurant and Microbrewery, Expressions International and Qian Hu Corp. Each team had to study its chosen firm and come up with strategies based on the firm’s unique profile and target market. This is the second straight year that the NUS team has finished second in the competition, reflecting the School’s global ranking of the top 100 business schools for its MBA program.
  7. Developers & Chains ABOUT US Developers & Chains deals in business opportunities, not opportunities that you've missed out on. We specialize in futures, not histories. Developers & Chains is a subscription-only publication that focuses on retail and restaurant expansion across Canada. Developers & Chains is a subscription-only publication that concentrates on the growth and expansion aspects of the retail and restaurant industry across Canada, from British Columbia to Newfoundland. Each issue, and there are over 100 each year, includes information on new concepts and existing chains that have stated an interest in expansion and/or are showing signs of growth. And the reports include details on the companies, their needs and requirement along with the appropriate contacts. Developers & Chains issues also identify new shopping projects, malls and centres that are renovating, expanding or that simply have prime spaces that our subscribers may have available. Again, the issues include the leasing contacts, the uses they are seeking and where to contact them. There is more too. The publication keeps the subscribers aware of planned industry events and changes within the business. There are frequent reports on both retail and development sales and acquisitions, what companies are retaining which real estate-related suppliers and much, much more. Developers & Chains provides the type of leads and information that everyone in the business needs to make calculated decisions and it is all presented in a clear, factual, concise and timely manner that you can depend on. More important though, much of the leasing leads and company details are exclusive to the Developers & Chains’ E-News. They are available only in this publication. The information is exclusive in that it comes directly from our personal conversations with the principals or representatives of the featured companies. It’s almost as if you are there, sitting in on the conversation. Take a look through a recent issues of the Developers & Chains’ E-News. You will find details on new concepts seeking their first location and national chains looking for dozens of new units. You will learn, first hand, about planned entries into new markets. Whether it is a 150 square foot kiosk or a 30,000 square foot anchor tenant for your property, this is where you will meet them first. You will read about malls, centres and large format projects that have that ideal space, perfect for your next store. And you will ‘meet’ the people and companies involved. Oh yes, and the ‘editorial’ that ends every issue. Don’t take offence. It is just a tongue-in-cheek, maybe even irreverent, look at the business that we sometimes take a little too seriously. Sent from my SM-T330NU using Tapatalk
  8. Stage is set for Montreal to grow as a technology startup hub BERTRAND MAROTTE MONTREAL — The Globe and Mail Burgeoning tech companies are on the rise in Canada, attracting funding and IPO buzz in hubs across the country. Our occasional series explores how each locale nurtures its entrepreneurs, the challenges they face and the rising stars we’re watching. Montreal provides an ideal setting for the early care and feeding of tech startups. The city boasts a lively cultural milieu, a party-hearty mindset, cheap rents and a bargain-priced talent pool. ALSO ON THE GLOBE AND MAIL MULTIMEDIAStartup city: The high-tech fever reshaping Kitchener-Waterloo What it doesn’t have, though, is sufficient critical mass to propel promising tech companies forward in their later stages. Case in point: VarageSale Inc., the mobile app and listings marketplace that serial entrepreneur Carl Mercier co-founded with his wife Tami Zuckerman three years ago. Mr. Mercier and Ms. Zuckerman were quite content in the early going with the Montreal zeitgeist and support from the city’s tightly knit startup community as they nurtured their baby, a combination virtual garage sale, swap meet and social meeting place. But as VarageSale took off, the burgeoning company was no longer able to feed its growth relying only on Montreal resources. Mr. Mercier eventually opened an office in Toronto to tap into the wider and deeper software-developer talent pool in the Toronto-Waterloo corridor and he ultimately decided to move the head office to the Queen City. “We were growing extremely fast. We were hiring like gangbusters in Montreal but we needed to hire even faster, so we decided we needed two talent pools, but Toronto ended up growing faster than Montreal,” Mr. Mercier explains. “Occasionally, we will hire people in Montreal. “There’s a vibrant startup scene [in Montreal]. It’s not a big startup scene but it’s a vibrant one,” he adds. “There is lots of activity, a lot of events, a lot of early-stage capital. Startups can get off the ground cheaply and quickly.” It’s the later stages that present problems, according to successful local entrepreneur and angel investor Daniel Robichaud, whose password-management firm PasswordBox Inc. was bought last year by U.S. chip giant Intel. “Montreal is a terrific place to build a product but it’s not where the action is. It’s not a place to raise funding,” Mr. Robichaud said in a recent industry conference presentation. Montreal startup founders often find themselves having no choice but to move to bigger playgrounds because of a still-embryonic domestic investor scene, says Université de Montréal artificial intelligence researcher Joshua Bengio. The startup sphere in Montreal is “quite active, but the investors are too faint-hearted and short-term oriented, and so the developers often go elsewhere, particularly California and New York,” he said. In true Quebec Inc. fashion, the provincial government and labour funds have stepped in to fill the gap of funding homegrown companies. A key player is Teralys Capital, a fund manager that finances private venture capital funds that is backed by a score of provincial players – including the mighty pension fund manager Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, the labour fund Fonds de solidarité FTQ and Investissement Québec – said Chris Arseneault, co-founder of Montreal-based early-stage venture capital firm iNovia Capital. “They’ve been the most creative groups to try and put money at work,” he says about Teralys and its backers. Startup directory BuiltinMtl, has about 520 Montreal startups listed (excluding biotechs, film-and-tv-production houses or video-game developers). The actual number is probably closer to a “few thousand” if very early-stage startups still under the radar are included, according to Andrew Popliger, senior manager in PricewaterhouseCooper’s Assurance practice. Data from the Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association indicate venture capital firms invested $295-million in Quebec last year – just 15 per cent of the Canadian total – compared with $932-million in Ontario and $554-million in B.C. Most insiders and observers agree that what works in the Montreal tech “ecosystem” is a strong sense of community. There is a spirit of collaboration and collective vision. Notman House, a repurposed mansion adjacent to Sherbrooke Street’s famous Golden Square Mile, which sits at the crossroads of the city’s tech startup scene, rents office and workstation space, stages events, and acts as an incubator and networking locale and launch pad for budding companies seeking their big break. It represents everything that makes Montreal distinct in the North American startup sphere, says Noah Redler, the venue’s campus director. “We’re not just an incubator. We’re a community centre. We bring people together and collaborate. People are supported and surrounded by [successful] entrepreneurs,” he said. “There are more startups in the Waterloo area but there is more of a community feeling in Montreal,” says Katherine Barr, the Canadian-born co-chair of C100, a Silicon Valley expat group that helps connect Canadian entrepreneurs with U.S. investors. “They’ve built a real community here. Like Silicon Valley, its co-opetition, both competing and helping each other,” Ms. Barr said during a break at AccelerateMTL, an annual conference that brings together “founders and funders.” There may not be as great a number of head offices as in Toronto but the potential for big breakthroughs in Montreal is impressive, says John Ruffolo, chief executive officer of OMERS Ventures, the venture arm of the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System. “For Montreal, it’s only a matter of time. They’re going to have their Shopify,” he says in reference to the Ottawa-based e-commerce platform that has become a stock market star. For now though, Montreal may have to settle for being a relatively small player and modest incubator of talent and ideas on the North American startup scene, even compared with Vancouver and Toronto.
  9. as much as Aubin is a loud mouth - he;s not far from the truth. A wake up call to forum members.. we all love Montreal but we need to seriously wake up. 2011/2012 was a bad 2 years - we need to improve MONTREAL — SNC-Lavalin Inc. — founded by francophone Montrealers, headquartered in Montreal and active in engineering and construction projects in more than 100 countries — has long been the proud symbol of Québec Inc. Now, however, it risks becoming a symbol of something else — the decline of Montreal’s place on the world stage. The company announced last week that it is creating its largest corporate unit (one focused on hydrocarbons, chemicals, metallurgy, mining, the environment and water) and locating it not in Quebec but in London; heading it will be a Brit, Neil Bruce. As well, the company also said it was creating a global operations unit that would be based in the British capital. To be sure, SNC-Lavalin denies speculation by a La Presse business columnist that the company might be slowly moving its head office from Montreal. The two moves to London must be seen as reflecting “our healthy expansion globally,” says a spokesperson. “The corporate headquarters and all its functions still remain in Montreal.” Nonetheless, this unmistakable shift of authority abroad takes place within a broader context of fewer local people atop the SNC-Lavalin pyramid. In 2007, six of the top 11 executives were francophone Quebecers; last year, three. Note, too, that only two of 13 members of its board of directors are francophone Quebecers. When the company last fall replaced discredited Pierre Duhaime of Montreal as president, CEO, and board member, it picked an American, Robert Card. What’s happening to the company based on René-Lévesque Blvd. is the latest sign of the erosion of Montreal’s status as a major business centre. Of Canada’s 500 largest companies, 96 had their head offices in this city in 1990; in 2010, says Montréal International, only 81 remained, a 16-per-cent decline. It’s true that Toronto, too, has seen a decrease (with some of its companies heading to booming Calgary), but it’s only of six per cent. As well, because Hogtown has more than twice as many head offices as Montreal, the trend there has far less impact. Anyone with a stake in Montreal’s prosperity should care about what’s happening here. Head offices and major corporate offices, such as the SNC-Lavalin’s units, bring more money collectively into the city than do big events — the Grand Prix and the aquatics championship — whose threatened departures cause political storms. Such offices employ high-spending, high-taxpaying local residents and attract visiting business people year-round — people who represent income for cabbies, hoteliers, restaurateurs, computer experts, lawyers and accountants. Indeed, this week’s controversy over the absence of direct air links from Trudeau International Airport to China and South America is pertinent to this trend. It’s not only federal air policy over the decades that’s responsible for this isolation. It’s also that Montrealers have less money, and one reason for that is, as Trudeau boss James Cherry notes, “there are far fewer head offices in Montreal.” Keep losing them and we’ll be a real backwater. But how do we avoid losing these offices? We don’t need more studies. Tons of studies — good ones — already exist. The No. 1 factor for a company when choosing a head office location is corporate taxes, according to a Calgary Economic Development study. Quebec’s are the highest in Canada and the U.S. Thirty-four per cent of the executives at 103 local companies say that Montreal’s business climate had “deteriorated “ in the previous five years, Montreal’s Chambre de commerce found a year ago. The main reason: infrastructure (not only roads but also the health system). A study called “Knowledge City” that Montreal city hall commissioned in 2004 is still relevant. Its survey of 100 mobile, well-educated people (some of whom had already left Montreal) found that their top three biggest complaints with the city were, in descending order, high personal taxes, decaying infrastructure and political uncertainty from sovereignty. All studies agree that the quality of Montreal’s universities helps attract companies. Weakened universities would lower this power. The Parti Québécois government’s minister for Montreal, Jean-François Lisée, declared before Christmas that he was “Montréalo-optimiste.” He did not, however, spell out concrete steps for addressing the above-listed problems. Too bad that his government on Jan. 1 imposed higher personal taxes for people with high incomes — which hits business people. Too bad it has reduced spending on infrastructure by 14 per cent. Too bad that it has not only reduced funds to universities by $124 million over the next three months but that it says it might cut their funding in other years as well — in effect weakening them. And, finally, too bad that Premier Pauline Marois said this week her party would soon launch a campaign to promote sovereignty and that her government would step up its strategy of wresting powers from Ottawa. In the next few says, she’ll further promote Quebec independence with a meeting in Edinburgh with Scotland’s sovereignist leader. Staunch the hemorrhage of corporate offices from Montreal under this government? The very idea is Montréalo-irréaliste. Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/Henry+Aubin+avoid+losing+head+offices/7862525/story.html#ixzz2IrXbVaOH
  10. http://www.theatlanticcities.com/jobs-and-economy/2013/06/new-global-start-cities/5144/ RICHARD FLORIDA Author's note: Start-up companies are a driving force in high-tech innovation and economic growth. Venture capital-backed companies like Intel, Apple, Genentech, Facebook, Google, and Twitter have powered the rise of whole new industries and shaped the way we live and work. Silicon Valley has long been the world's center for high-tech start-ups. Over the next few weeks, I'll be looking at the new geography of venture capital and high-tech start-ups and the rise of new start-up cities in the United States. I'll be also track to what degree start-up communities are shifting from their traditional locations in the suburbs to urban centers. America's start-up geography, with its well-established high-tech clusters in Silicon Valley and along Boston's Route 128, as well as more recent concentrations in urban centers like San Francisco and lower Manhattan, has been much discussed. But what does the world's start-up geography look like? What are the major start-up cities across the globe? Up until now, good data on the geography of start-ups outside the United States has been very hard, if not impossible, to come by. That's why a relatively new ranking of start-up cities across the globe by SeedTable is so interesting. SeedTable is a discovery platform that's built on the open-source database of more than 100,000 technology companies, investors, and entrepreneurs available at CrunchBase (one of the TechCrunch publications). SeedTable has information on more than 42,500 companies founded since 2002, including whether the companies are angel- or venture capital-funded (angel funders invest their own money; venture capitalists raise money from others), and whether the funder has exited, either by IPO or acquisition. The data cover 150 cities worldwide. It is reported by separate city or municipality, so the Martin Prosperity Institute's Zara Matheson organized the data by metro area and then mapped it by three major categories: global start-ups, companies receiving angel funding, and companies receiving institutional venture capital. The first map tracks start-ups across the cities of the world. New York tops the list with 144, besting San Francisco's 135. London is next with 90, followed by San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara (Silicon Valley) with 66, and Los Angeles with 64. Toronto and Boston-Cambridge tied for sixth with 34 each, Chicago is eighth with 31, Berlin ninth with 27, and Bangalore 10th with 26. Austin (23), Seattle (22), and São Paulo (21) each have more than 20 start-ups. Another 20 cities are home to 10 or more start-ups: Istanbul with 19; Vancouver and Moscow each with 17; New Delhi (15); Paris, and Atlanta with 14 each; Washington, D.C., Amsterdam, and Miami with 12 each; San Diego, Madrid, Singapore, and Sydney with 11 apiece; and Barcelona, Dublin, Tel Aviv, Dallas-Fort Worth, Mumbai, Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro, with 10 start-ups each. The second map charts the leading locations for companies receiving angel funding. Angel funding comes typically from wealthy individuals, often established entrepreneurs who invest their own personal funds in start-up companies. San Francisco now tops the list with 138 companies receiving angel funding, followed by New York with 117. London is again third with 62. San Jose is fourth with 60, Boston-Cambridge fifth with 50 and L.A. sixth with 48. Chicago and Philadelphia are tied for seventh with 19, and Seattle and Portland tied for 10th with 18 apiece. Nine more cities have 10 or more companies receiving angel funding: Toronto (17), D.C. (14), Berlin, and Paris (13 each), Atlanta, Barcelona and Boulder (12 each), Dublin (11), and Cincinnati (10). The third map above charts the locations of companies that attracted venture capital funding. Now the ranking changes considerably. San Francisco tops the list with 354, followed by Boston-Cambridge with 248, and San Jose with 216. New York is fourth with 160 and London fifth with 73. L.A. is sixth with 65, Seattle seventh with 57, San Diego eighth with 48, Austin ninth with 47, and Chicago 10th with 29. There are seven additional cities with 20 or more venture capital backed companies: Berlin (25), Toronto and Boulder (22 each), D.C., Paris, and Atlanta (21 each), and Denver with 20. The big takeaways? For one, these maps speak to the urban shift in the underlying model for high-technology start-ups. With its high-tech companies clustered in office parks along highway interchanges, Silicon Valley is the classic suburban nerdistan. But, at least according to these data, it appears to have been eclipsed by three more-urbanized areas. New York and London, admittedly much larger cities, both top it on start-up activity and the number of angel-funded companies, while the center of gravity for high-tech in the Bay Area has shifted somewhat from the valley to its more-urban neighbor San Francisco, which tops it in start-up activity, angel-funded, and venture capital-backed companies. The globalization of start-ups is the second big takeaway. American cities and metros — like Boston-Cambridge, L.A., Seattle, San Diego, Washington, D.C., Chicago, and Austin, as well as New York and San Francisco — all do very well. But London now ranks in the very top tier of start-up cities, while Toronto and Vancouver in Canada; Berlin (so much for the argument that Berlin is a lagging bohemian center with hardly any tech or entrepreneurial future), Paris, Amsterdam, Dublin, Madrid, and Barcelona in Europe; Bangalore, New Delhi, and Mumbai in India; Singapore and Sydney in the Asia Pacific region; and Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro in South America each have significant clusters of start-up activity. The world, as I have written, is spiky, with its most intensive economic activity concentrated in a relative handful of places. Global tech is no exception — and it is taking a decidedly urban turn. All maps by the Martin Prosperity Institute's Zara Matheson; Map data via Seedtable Keywords: London, New York, San Francisco, Maps, Start-Up, Venture Capital, Cities Richard Florida is Co-Founder and Editor at Large at The Atlantic Cities. He's also a Senior Editor at The Atlantic, Director of the Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management, and Global Research Professor at New York University. He is a frequent speaker to communities, business and professional organizations, and founder of the Creative Class Group, whose current client list can be found here.
  11. The French election and business The terror The 75% tax and other alarming campaign promises Apr 7th 2012 | PARIS | from the print edition EUROFINS SCIENTIFIC, a bio-analytics firm, is the sort of enterprise that France boasts about. It is fast-growing, international and hungry to buy rivals. So people noticed when in March it decamped to Luxembourg. Observers reckon it was fleeing France’s high taxes. It will soon be joined by Sword Group, a successful software firm, which voted to move to Luxembourg last month. As France enters the final weeks of its presidential campaign, candidates are competing to promise new measures that would hurt business. François Hollande, the Socialist candidate, and the current favourite to win the second and final round on May 6th, has promised a top marginal income-tax rate of 75% for those earning over €1m ($1.3m). He has declared war on finance. If the Socialists win, he pledges, corporate taxes will rise and stock options will be outlawed. Other countries welcome global firms. “France seems to want to keep them out,” sighs Denis Kessler, the boss of SCOR, a reinsurer. Jean-Luc Mélenchon, an even leftier candidate than Mr Hollande, has been gaining ground. Communists marched to the Bastille on March 18th to support him. The right offers little solace. Nicolas Sarkozy, the incumbent, is unpopular partly because of his perceived closeness to fat cats. To distance himself, he has promised a new tax on French multinationals’ foreign sales. If Mr Hollande wins, he may water down his 75% income-tax rate. But it would be difficult to back away from such a bold, public pledge. And doing business in France is hard enough without such uncertainty. Companies must cope with heavy social charges, intransigent unions and political meddling. The 35-hour work week, introduced in 2000, makes it hard to get things done. Mr Hollande says he will reverse a measure Mr Sarkozy introduced to dilute its impact by exempting overtime pay from income tax and social charges. The 75% income-tax rate is dottier than a pointilliste painting. When other levies are added, the marginal rate would top 90%. In parts of nearby Switzerland, the top rate is around 20%. French firms are already struggling to hire foreign talent. More firms may leave. Armand Grumberg, an expert in corporate relocation at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, a law firm, says that several big companies and rich families are looking at ways to leave France. At a recent lunch for bosses of the largest listed firms, the main topic was how to get out. Investment banks and international law firms would probably be the first to go, as they are highly mobile. Already, the two main listed banks, BNP Paribas and Société Générale, are facing queries from investors about Mr Hollande’s plan to separate their retail arms from investment banking. He has also vowed to hike the corporate tax on banks from 33% to nearly 50%. In January Paris launched a new €120m ($160m) “seed” fund to attract hedge funds. Good luck with that. Last month Britain promised to cut its top tax rate from 50% to 45%. No financial centre comes close to Mr Hollande’s 75% rate (see chart). Large firms will initially find it hard to skedaddle. Those with the status ofsociété anonyme, the most common, need a unanimous vote from shareholders. But the European Union’s cross-border merger directive offers an indirect route: French firms can merge with a foreign company. Big groups also have the option of moving away the substance of their operations, meaning decision-making and research and development. Last year, Jean-Pascal Tricoire, the boss of Schneider Electric, an energy-services company, moved with his top managers to run the firm from Hong Kong (where the top tax rate is 15%). For now, the firm’s headquarters and tax domicile remain in France. But for how long? Pressure to leave could come from foreign shareholders, says Serge Weinberg, the chairman of Sanofi, a drugmaker. “American, German or Middle Eastern shareholders will not tolerate not being able to get the best management because of France’s tax regime,” he says. At the end of 2010, foreign shareholders held 42% of the total value of the firms in the CAC 40, the premier French stock index. That is higher than in many other countries. It is not clear whether the 75% tax rate would apply to capital gains as well as income. As with most of the election campaign’s anti-business pledges, the detail has been left vague. Mr Sarkozy has offered various definitions of what he means by “big companies”, which would have to pay his promised new tax. Some businessfolk therefore hope that the most onerous pledges will be quietly ditched once the election is over. But many nonetheless find the campaign alarming. French politicians not only seem to hate business; they also seem to have little idea how it actually works. The most debilitating effects of all this may be long-term. Brainy youngsters have choices. They can find jobs or set up companies more or less anywhere. The ambitious will risk their savings, borrow money and toil punishing hours to create new businesses that will, in turn, create jobs and new products. But they will not do this for 25% (or less) of the fruits of their labour. Zurich is only an hour away; French politics seem stuck in another century. http://www.economist.com/node/21552219
  12. January 15, 2009 By PATRICK McGEEHAN The retailing of recorded music will take another step toward extinction in early April, when the Virgin Megastore in Times Square closes to make room for Forever 21, a popular chain that sells moderately priced clothing. The closing, which was announced to the store’s 200 employees this week, will leave the Virgin store on Union Square as the last Manhattan outpost of a large music chain. The future of that store has not been decided, Simon Wright, the chief executive of Virgin Entertainment Group, said on Wednesday. Stores that sell prerecorded CDs and DVDs have been done in by the popularity of digitized music that can be downloaded from the Internet onto iPods and MP3 players. But Mr. Wright said that the Times Square store, which has about 60,000 square feet of selling space, is not simply a victim of technological progress. It has remained “very, very profitable” by shifting its merchandise toward apparel and electronics, including iPods, he said, adding that those two categories accounted for about 25 percent of sales during the holiday shopping season. “Stores that rely completely on recorded music have a difficult future,” he said, “but we’ve been changing our business quite dramatically.” But the chain’s owners, two big New York-based real estate development companies, saw greater potential in leasing the prime space to Forever 21. The Virgin chain, once part of Sir Richard Branson’s business empire, has been owned since 2007 by the Related Companies and Vornado Realty Trust. It comprised 11 stores when it was acquired, but now will be down to just five, two of them in California. Virgin closed other stores late last year. The Times Square space, on the east side of Broadway near 46th Street, will be closed for at least a year before it reopens as Forever 21’s largest location. It will be combined with some adjoining space to create a 90,000-square-foot store that will be triple the size of any of Forever 21’s three current stores in Manhattan, said Lawrence Meyer, a senior vice president of Forever 21. Forever 21 is a Los Angeles-based chain that sells trendy clothing for young women and men. It competes with other moderately priced retailers like H & M and Gap stores. “This is a bigger format,” Mr. Meyer said. “It’s going to be a fashion department store. It’s going to offer a deeper assortment of women’s apparel and men’s apparel.” Mr. Meyer said the recession had not diluted his company’s enthusiasm for making a big splash in an expensive area like Times Square. He declined to specify the rent Forever 21 will pay. “We have been doing O.K. in this environment because we have always given great value to our customers,” Mr. Meyer said. “Our stores are exciting and we want to create an exciting environment in Times Square.” http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/15/nyregion/15virgin.html?_r=1&scp=3&sq=virgin&st=cse
  13. 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.
  14. High tech US firms outsource to Montreal Tue, 2008-11-11 06:03. David Cohen An IT recruitment agency in Montreal says there has been a spike in the number of American companies crossing the border into Canada -- especially Montreal -- to do their software development and to save money. Kovasys Technology cites the unstable economy in the US, and massive layoffs. It says more and more companies are deciding to save money and move their IT operations to a cheaper but not out of the way location, and for many, that means Montreal. Quebec introduced subsidies for high tech companies less than a year ago.
  15. Mark Pacinda: How do you say ‘Boston Pizza' in French? BERTRAND MAROTTE Globe and Mail Update November 16, 2007 at 6:19 PM EST When Boston Pizza International Inc. decided it wanted to crack the Quebec market four years ago, the B.C.-based chain's executive team was warned by industry veterans that they shouldn't even bother. Outsiders have had a notoriously tough time winning over Quebec consumers, and the eatery business is particularly difficult, given the sometimes puzzling culinary preferences of the francophone majority, they were told. No doubt about it, La Belle Province presents its own challenges as an island of predominantly French language and culture in North America. THE LANDSCAPE Companies keen on making a foray into Quebec with their product or service need to be alert to the differences and respect the predominance of the French language. To cite one recent case of what can happen when you fail to heed Québécois sensibilities: Coffee chain Second Cup sparked public protests and complaints last month when it dropped from some of its signs the two French words – “Les cafés” – that appeared before its English name. BOSTON PIZZA'S ENTRÉE Boston Pizza president Mark Pacinda decided his company was ready to expand into Quebec, but not before it built a credible base in the province. The results so far indicate that the bet on Quebec is a winner. After just 21/2 years, Boston Pizza will have 24 restaurants in the province by the end of the year and is on track to have 50 by 2010. The chain boasts more than 280 Canadian locations and sales last year of $647-million. “We really took our time going in,” Mr. Pacinda says. “The first thing is that we wanted a Quebec team on the ground.” A separate regional head office for Quebec was opened in the Montreal suburb of Laval 18 months before the first outlet was opened, in 2004. Quebec City native Wayne Shanahan was hired to spearhead the Quebec strategy. GOING QUÉBÉCOIS Once the button on a Quebec launch was pressed, no detail was overlooked. For example, research was conducted into whether a French version of the brand name was warranted. “There's obviously no translation for Boston or for Pizza and we decided the name as it is would work,” Mr. Pacinda said. A key discovery was that Quebeckers want to have the option of a multicourse lunch, not just the more packaged “combo plate” offering. “They want a ‘table d'hôte,' in other words an entrée, a salad and desert,” he said. Also, because wine has more of presence in the province than in the rest of the country, Boston Pizza's wine list in Quebec was expanded from the standard eight choices to 25 labels, Mr. Shanahan says. The fine-tuning was even extended to the pizza pie: In Quebec, the cheese goes on as a final layer, not underneath the toppings. The Boston Pizza version was dubbed “La Québécoise Boston.” And two Quebec standards – poutine and sugar pie – were included on the menu. LE FRANÇAIS, TOUJOURS LE FRANÇAIS Making sure that all business is conducted in French was also important, Mr. Shanahan said. Many companies that move into Quebec, and even some local anglophone firms, don't bother to ensure that legal and business paperwork, and even day-to-day communications, are in French, he said. “What you want to do is essentially be a francophone company.” In another first for Boston Pizza, a local advertising agency was hired. A separate ad campaign was created, including billboards that displayed a Quebec vanity licence plate with the words “Boston, QC” on it. LESSONS LEARNED Boston Pizza's carefully plotted wooing of the Quebec market is a strategy increasingly practised by retailers eager to make inroads in the province or consolidate their position. Wal-Mart Canada Corp., for example, went on the offensive in the wake of the outcry over its decision two years ago to shut its Jonquière store after it became the first outlet in North America to be unionized. Wal-Mart insisted the closing was because the store wasn't meeting its financial targets. The retail behemoth nonetheless was portrayed as a cold corporate outsider that cared not a whit about Quebec society. A “Buy Quebec” campaign was launched last year, aimed at sourcing more homegrown products and groceries while playing to the province's regional tastes and local pride. Outfits like Boston Pizza and Wal-Mart will obviously never be known as true Québécois companies. But as Normand Turgeon, a marketing professor at the business school HEC-Montréal, wryly notes: “If you're going to be a bottle blond, you're better off choosing the right shade.”
  16. http://business.financialpost.com/2011/11/09/european-firms-look-to-canada-to-grow-assets/ It is quite an interesting article. I would say more, but I do not want the jinx it. Is Canada the new land of opportunity? Which countries is Canada really competing with? Australia and Brazil?
  17. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-07-31/downtown-nyc-landlords-remake-offices-in-shift-from-banks.htmlDowntown NYC Landlords Remake Offices in Shift From Banks By David M. Levitt - July 31, 2013 David Cheikin is betting that skateboard millionaires will be happy where the Thundering Herd once roamed. As vice president of leasing for Brookfield Office Properties Inc. (BPO), Cheikin is leading the push to remake lower Manhattan’s former World Financial Center into a destination for technology and media companies. Once home to the Merrill Lynch & Co., the brokerage firm known for its bull logo, the Hudson riverfront complex is now Brookfield Place New York, and much more than the name is changing. Brookfield is stripping away brass and marble trims and adding bicycle parking, free Wi-Fi in public spaces and electric-car charging stations. At Merrill’s former headquarters, clear glass is replacing the imposing, dark-tinted facade built as a barrier to the public, Cheikin said. “We’re just trying to work out ways to make it more in line with how people want to work today,” he said. Downtown landlords with millions of square feet of empty space are transforming offices that were designed for the global financial elite to better appeal to New York’s technology and media firms. They’re pitching their properties as an alternative to the converted factories of midtown south, where a frenzy of demand has pushed up rents and driven vacancies to the lowest in the U.S. The image makeover is only part of the challenge as the area faces a glut of space from skyscrapers that are nearing completion at the World Trade Center site. Empty Space Consolidating financial companies have left landlords with at least 6.3 million square feet (585,000 square meters) of space to fill, almost 7 percent of the lower Manhattan office market, according to data from brokerage Newmark Grubb Knight Frank. Another 2.4 million square feet remains unrented at two new trade center towers scheduled for completion by mid-2014. At Brookfield Place, vacancies loom on about a third of its 8 million square feet. Across the street at 1 World Trade Center, the Durst Organization is preparing a marketing campaign to convince creative firms that they’ll feel at home in the Western Hemisphere’s tallest building. Almost half of the tower, scheduled to open next year, is available for lease. Durst, equity partner with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey on the 1,776-foot (541-meter) skyscraper, is targeting companies that are in “phase-two growth, after the incubation startup stages,” said Tara Stacom, the Cushman & Wakefield Inc. vice chairman who is working with the developers on the leasing effort. New Construction “There’s something that the new construction can accommodate for all these tech users that the old construction can’t, and that is growth,” Stacom said. “A lot of these tenants are one size today, and they’re 200 times that size in less than a decade, and in some cases less than half a decade. We’re only now going out to speak to this audience.” Tenants could agree to take a small space at first, then expand into larger offices in the tower, Stacom said. As rents soar in the older buildings of midtown south, available government incentives and the efficiencies of new real estate would make the trade center more cost-effective, even at an asking rent of $75 a square foot, among the highest for downtown, she said. The tower’s open, column-free space offers more flexibility and the developers are even ready to duplicate a look that’s become popular with technology firms, leaving the ductwork exposed, Stacom said. Space ‘Mismatch’ About 1.4 million square feet are unspoken for in the skyscraper, which is slated to open to tenants next year and will have Conde Nast Publications Inc. as its anchor tenant. Another 1 million square feet are available at Silverstein Properties Inc.’s 4 World Trade Center, to open before year-end. There’s “a mismatch between the unprecedented amount of class A space currently available and the preferences of the tech sector for loft space in a neighborhood with a non-corporate vibe,” according to tenant brokerage Studley Inc. “Tech and creative-sector companies in Manhattan are indisputably growing by leaps and bounds,” Steven Coutts, senior vice president for national research at New York-based Studley, said in a July 24 report. “Nevertheless, this sector still lacks the heft to fill the void” left by contracting banks and other traditional office users, such as accounting and insurance companies. Lowest Rents Downtown Manhattan has the lowest rents and the highest office availability of the borough’s three major submarkets. The availability rate -- empty space and offices due to become vacant within 12 months -- was almost 16 percent at the end of June, up from 10.8 percent a year earlier, data from CBRE Group Inc. show. Asking rents jumped 20 percent to an average of $47.13 a square foot, a reflection of landlords’ expectations for the high-end space added to the market in the past year, according to Los Angeles-based CBRE. Rents in midtown south -- including such neighborhoods as Chelsea, the Flatiron District and Soho -- averaged $63.44 a square foot and the availability rate was 10 percent. Brookfield has about 2.7 million square feet of former Merrill offices to fill at its namesake complex. Bank of America Corp. (BAC), which took over the space when it bought Merrill in 2009, is keeping about 775,000 square feet and will stop paying rent on the rest in September when its leases expire. At Merrill’s former headquarters at 250 Vesey St., the vacant restaurant that once housed the Hudson River Club, where brokers dined on grouse and pheasant, has been removed. It’s now an open area where anyone can gaze at the Statue of Liberty in the distance. The change is part of a $250 million makeover of the World Financial Center’s retail space that will include an upscale food market and eateries that overlook the marina. Transit Hub Another selling point, according to Cheikin, will be the completion in the next two years of a $3.94 billion transit hub designed by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. Brookfield is close to completing a 55-foot glass entryway supported by a pair of cyclone-shaped steel columns that will link Brookfield Place with the transportation center. Across town on the East River waterfront, SL Green Realty Corp. (SLG) is marketing about 900,000 square feet at 180 Maiden Lane, a black-glass tower south of the Brooklyn Bridge. Most of that is space that American International Group Inc. (AIG), once the world’s largest insurer, will vacate next year. SL Green, Manhattan’s biggest office landlord, is spending $40 million on renovations that include making over the interior plaza, as well as AIG’s cafeteria, auditorium and health club to transform them into “communal-type amenities,” said Steve Durels, director of leasing. Soul Cycle “I want the cafeteria to look like it’s a Starbucks, and I want the fitness center to look like it’s a Soul Cycle,” Durels said. “And I want the auditorium to look like the presentation space you’d find in a W Hotel.” Most importantly, he said, the ground-floor atrium will work like an indoor park, with seating areas where people can get a coffee and work on their laptops. Half of the floor will be covered in artificial turf, where tenants could arrange a volleyball, badminton or bocce game. So far, downtown landlords’ efforts to land creative firms have borne little fruit. Some of the industry’s biggest names -- Yahoo! Inc., EBay Inc., LinkedIn Corp., Microsoft Corp. and Facebook Inc. -- have opted to go elsewhere. Yahoo took four floors in the century-old former New York Times headquarters in Midtown, while LinkedIn went to the 82-year-old Empire State Building. EBay chose a onetime department store on Sixth Avenue in Chelsea that dates back to the 1890s, when the corridor was known as Ladies’ Mile. ‘Iconic’ Firms Facebook went to the East Village, taking about 100,000 square feet in 770 Broadway, which was designed in 1905 by Daniel Burnham, the architect who conceived the Flatiron Building. The social-media company joins tenants including AOL Inc. and the Huffington Post in the 15-story property. “Those firms are all iconic,” said Miles Rose, founder of SiliconAlley.com, a Web-based community for New York’s emerging technology industry. “The big, plain boxes don’t work for either their corporate culture or their workers. Older, iconic buildings have character and they have presence.” Of the 50 largest Manhattan leases made by technology, media, information and fashion tenants in the past two years, only 10 were in buildings completed later than 1970, according to Compstak Inc., a New York-based provider of leasing data. When 10gen Inc., maker of MongoDB data-management software, sought to expand out of its Soho offices last year, “downtown wasn’t exactly right for us,” said Eliot Horowitz, co-founder and chief technology officer. “We wanted some place that was pretty wide-open and feeling kind of lofty. We sort of wanted a Soho feel, but with a lot more flexibility and a lot more space than you can actually get in Soho.” Older Buildings 10Gen wound up taking about 32,000 square feet at the Times Building, he said. This month, it expanded its commitment to almost 50,000 square feet. Some creative companies that have gone downtown have favored the market’s older buildings. When HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. agreed to leave its longtime Midtown headquarters, it took 180,000 square feet at 195 Broadway, a colonnaded tower built in 1916 that was originally the American Telephone & Telegraph Co. building. WeWork, a company founded three years ago to provide shared office space to startups, took 120,500 square feet at 222 Broadway, a 27-story property completed in 1961 that once housed Merrill offices. Brooklyn Projects Brooklyn, across the East River from lower Manhattan, may emerge as competition for technology and media tenants. Developers have plans for about 630,000 square feet of offices at the former Domino Sugar plant on the Williamsburg neighborhood’s waterfront. In an industrial district near the Brooklyn Bridge, 1.2 million square feet of buildings long-owned by the Jehovah’s Witnesses are under contract to be sold to a partnership that may make much of the space into offices. New York’s Economic Development Corp. projects that fast-growing technology companies will need an additional 20 million square feet of space over the next 12 years, and they’ll be seeking rents of less than $40 a square foot. Melissa Coley, a Brookfield spokeswoman, declined to say what rents it’s seeking at Brookfield Place. The landlord last week said it had rented about 191,000 square feet combined to Bank of Nova Scotia, Oppenheimer Funds Inc. and fitness-club chain Equinox Holdings Inc. Earlier this year, it landed GFK SE, a German retail-research firm, for 75,000 square feet at 200 Liberty St., formerly 1 World Financial Center. GFK is moving from an older building in Chelsea. Trade Center The World Trade Center site is poised to get its second large media tenant. GroupM, an advertising planning and placement firm owned by WPP Inc., is working on terms to lease 515,000 square feet at 3 World Trade Center, according to two people with knowledge of the talks. The skyscraper, slated for completion in 2016, is being developed by Larry Silverstein, who considered capping the tower at seven stories if he couldn’t land an anchor tenant. If he goes ahead with building it to the full 80-story height, he’ll have another 2 million square feet to fill. The 70,000-square-foot spaces planned for 3 World Trade Center, called “trading floors” on the developer’s website, can be designed for “any industry,” according to Jeremy Moss, Silverstein’s director of leasing. GroupM is planning to use some of the five base floors, according to the people. Greg Taubin, a broker at Studley who represented 10gen, said certain technology tenants will be tempted by landlords’ efforts, while others “won’t go below 14th Street, period.” “It’s very tenant-specific,” he said. “But as midtown south continues to be tight for these types of tenants, certain buildings downtown will be the beneficiaries of this.” To contact the reporter on this story: David M. Levitt in New York at [email protected] To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kara Wetzel at [email protected] ®2013 BLOOMBERG L.P. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
  18. Sirius XM Prepares for Possible Bankruptcy Article Tools Sponsored By By ANDREW ROSS SORKIN and ZACHERY KOUWE Published: February 10, 2009 Last summer, Mel Karmazin was rattling off his trademark one-liners to talk up the future of Sirius XM Radio, the combined company he ran that had just been blessed by regulators. He was planning to cut costs and expand a business that was already a fixture in the lives of millions of Americans. “Forty-three cents a day — it’s not even vending machine coffee,” he said at the time, parrying a question about whether the softening economy might hurt subscriptions. But now Sirius XM, the satellite radio company, has problems with much bigger price tags. It has hired advisers to prepare for a possible bankruptcy filing, people involved in the process said. That would, of course, be a grim turn of events for the normally upbeat Mr. Karmazin, Sirius XM’s chief executive, who had hoped to create a mobile entertainment juggernaut with stars like Howard Stern. It is unclear how a bankruptcy would affect customers. Service is unlikely to be interrupted, but the company might have to terminate contracts with high-priced talent like Mr. Stern or Martha Stewart. A bankruptcy would make Sirius XM one of the largest casualties of the credit squeeze. With over $5 billion in assets, it would be the second-largest Chapter 11 filing so far this year, according to Capital IQ. The filing by Smurfit-Stone, with assets of $7 billion, has been the year’s biggest to date. Sirius XM, which never turned a profit when both companies were independent, is laden with $3.25 billion in debt. Its business model has been dependent, in part, on the ability to roll over its enormous debts — used to finance sending satellites into space and attract talent like Mr. Stern (who was paid $100 million a year) — at low rates for the foreseeable future until it could turn a profit. The company’s success and failure are also tied to the faltering fortunes of the automobile industry, which sells vehicles with its radio technology installed and represented the largest customer base among Sirius XM’s 20 million subscribers. Sirius XM owes about $175 million in debt payments at the end of February that it is unlikely to be able to pay. Sirius XM’s problems could pave the way for a takeover by EchoStar, the TV satellite company, which has bought up Sirius XM’s debt. Mr. Karmazin has been locked in talks with EchoStar’s chief executive, Charles W. Ergen, over Sirius XM’s options, people involved in the talks said. The men are said not to get along, these people said, and Mr. Karmazin had rebuffed Mr. Ergen’s takeover advances before. Sirius XM hired Joseph A. Bondi of Alvarez & Marsal and Mark J. Thompson, a bankruptcy lawyer with Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett, to help prepare a Chapter 11 filing, these people said. Documents and analysis are close to completion and a filing could come in days, according to a person familiar with the matter. The threat of bankruptcy could also be part of a negotiating dance with Mr. Ergen, who could decide to convert his debt into equity instead of demanding payment. In addition to the $175 million due in February, EchoStar also owns $400 million of Sirius XM’s debt due in December. If Sirius XM files for bankruptcy, EchoStar could seek in court to take over the company. Mr. Ergen, however, may be able to negotiate to convert his shares before bankruptcy at an attractive rate and gain control of the company, these people said. For Mr. Karmazin, the sale or bankruptcy of Sirius XM would be one of his first failures. He founded Infinity Broadcasting, sold it to CBS and later merged the combined companies into Viacom, where he had a notoriously difficult relationship with Sumner M. Redstone, the chairman, before being ousted. Mr. Karmazin bought two million shares of Sirius XM at $1.37 a share in August. Before that, he had bought 20 million shares at an average price of $5 each. On Tuesday, Sirius closed at 11.4 cents a share. Since the summer, the company’s prospects have dimmed. “I’m not trying to paint the rosy picture, because we have challenges connected to our liquidity and certainly our stock price is dreadful,” Mr. Karmazin said in December. “But, you know, our revenues are growing double digits. We’re growing subscribers. We’re not losing subscribers.” A spokeswoman for Mr. Karmazin declined to comment. A spokesman for EchoStar could not be reached. Mr. Karmazin staked the success of the merger on nearly $400 million in annual cost savings and the potential to gain subscribers through deals with auto companies to put satellite radios into cars. But satellite radio failed to win over many younger listeners, and competition from other sources slowed subscriber growth.
  19. April 8, 2009 By MERAIAH FOLEY SYDNEY — The Australian government said Tuesday that it would create a publicly owned company to build a national high-speed broadband network worth 43 million Australian dollars in one of the largest state-sponsored Internet infrastructure upgrades in the world. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said the eight-year, $31 billion project would create up to 37,000 jobs at the peak of construction, giving a lift to the economy as retail spending slumps and mining companies cut workers amid weakening demand for Australian metals. The plan is “the most ambitious, far-reaching and long-term nation-building infrastructure project ever undertaken by an Australian government,” Mr. Rudd told reporters. The government’s announcement was a surprise rebuff to five private telecommunications firms, including Optus of Singapore and Axia NetMedia of Canada, that had been bidding to build a slower, less expensive network, with fiber-optic cables reaching as far as local nodes, worth around 10 billion dollars. But Mr. Rudd scrapped those proposals in favor of a superior but more expensive network that will deliver broadband speeds of up to 100 megabits per second — fast enough to download multiple movies simultaneously — to 90 percent of Australian buildings through fiber-optic cables that extend directly to the premises. The remaining 10 percent will receive upgraded wireless access. Analysts said the government-sponsored project would be the most ambitious fiber-to-the-premises network to have been undertaken by any nation and would be watched carefully by other governments considering Internet infrastructure spending as a way to stimulate growth as the global economic crisis continues. The Britain, Canada, Finland, Germany, Portugal, Spain and the United States have all included measures to expand broadband access and to bolster connection speeds in their planned stimulus packages. “Compared to what has been done elsewhere, this is quite a unique situation,” said Laurent Horrut, a telecommunications analyst at J.P. Morgan. Most developed countries have relied heavily on private-sector spending to upgrade their Internet networks, and those that have pledged public money have come “nowhere close” to the level of spending announced by Australia, he said. “This will set Australia up as potentially one of the international leaders here,” Paul Budde, an independent telecommunications analyst, said in a statement posted on his blog. “This government understands the trans-sector approach that is needed to stimulate the digital economy.” The government would make an initial investment of 4.7 billion Australian dollars in the enterprise, in which taxpayers would hold a 51 percent share. The remaining costs would be financed by investment from private companies and the sale of infrastructure bonds. Once the network was fully operational, Mr. Rudd said, the government would sell down its interest within five years. Mr. Rudd’s conservative opponent, Malcolm Turnbull, and some analysts criticized the plan, saying the cost of the project would likely be passed to consumers in the form of higher Internet fees. They also questioned whether consumers would embrace a fixed-line, fiber-to-the-premises network over increasingly popular wireless services. Even those who agree that the proposal is both sensible and achievable said setting the right price for companies to access the network would be “a major challenge.” “A low price will discourage private investors, but a high price will discourage consumer uptake and service innovation,” David Kennedy, research director at global advisory and consulting firm Ovum, said in an e-mailed statement. While most analysts agree that investing in communications technology makes economies more competitive, some are skeptical about whether long-term spending on communications infrastructure will provide the short-term stimulus needed to pull countries out of recession. The plan fulfills a 2007 election promise Mr. Rudd made to overhaul the country’s sprawling, antiquated Internet infrastructure. But the government is also holding the project up as a job-creating form of fiscal stimulus in a time when the private sector is shedding jobs at a faster-than-expected rate. On Tuesday, the Reserve Bank of Australia cut its benchmark cash rate by 0.25 percentage point to 3 percent, its lowest level since March 1960, amid signs the once-booming economy is continuing to deteriorate. The bank has so far slashed 4.25 percentage points from the cash rate since September in a bid to stop the country from slipping into its first recession in nearly two decades. According to government figures released last week, retail sales fell 2 percent in February, the biggest one-month drop since the introduction of a 10 percent goods and services tax in July 2000. Unemployment data has also gone from bad to worse. Australia and New Zealand Banking said Monday that job advertisements in newspapers and on the Internet had dropped 8.5 percent from February to March and a staggering 44.6 percent from the year before. It warned that unemployment could exceed 8 percent by next year. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/08/technology/internet/08broadband.html?_r=1&ref=business
  20. U.S. jobless rate climbs to 5.7% JEANNINE AVERSA The Associated Press August 1, 2008 at 12:19 PM EDT WASHINGTON — The U.S. unemployment rate climbed to a four-year high of 5.7 per cent in July as employers cut 51,000 jobs, dashing the hopes of an influx of young people looking for summer work. Payroll cuts weren't as deep as the 72,000 predicted by economists, however. And, job losses for both May and June were smaller than previously reported. July's reductions marked the seventh straight month where employers eliminated jobs. The economy has lost a total of 463,000 jobs so far this year. The latest snapshot, released by the Labour Department on Friday, showed a lack of credit has stunted employers' expansion plans and willingness to hire. Fallout from the housing slump and high energy prices also are weighing on employers. The increase in the unemployment rate to 5.7 per cent, from 5.5 per cent in June, in part came as many young people streamed into the labour market looking for summer jobs. This year, fewer of them were able to find work, the government said. The unemployment rate for teenagers jumped to 20.3 per cent, the highest since late 1992. The economy is the top concern of voters and will figure prominently in their choices for president and other elected officials come November. The faltering labour market is a source of anxiety not only for those looking for work but also for those worried about keeping their jobs during uncertain times. Job losses in July were the heaviest in industries hard hit by the housing, credit and financial debacles. Manufacturers cut 35,000 positions, construction companies got rid of 22,000 and retailers shed 17,000 jobs. Temporary help firms — also viewed as a barometer of demand for future hiring — eliminated 29,000 jobs. Those losses swamped job gains elsewhere, including in the government, education and health care. In May and June combined, the economy lost 98,000 jobs, according to revised figures. That wasn't as bad as the 124,000 reductions previously reported. GM, Chrysler LLC, Wachovia Corp., Cox Enterprises Inc. and Pfizer are among the companies that have announced job cuts in July. GM Friday reported the third-worst quarterly loss in its history in the second quarter as North American vehicle sales plummeted and the company faced expenses due to labour unrest and its massive restructuring plan. On July 15, GM announced a plan to raise $15-billion (U.S.) for its restructuring by laying off thousands of hourly and salaried workers, speeding the closure of truck and SUV plants, suspending its dividend and raising cash through borrowing and the sale of assets. GM also said it would reduce production by another 300,000 vehicles, and that could prompt another wave of blue-collar early retirement and buyout offers. Meanwhile, Bennigan's restaurants owned by privately held Metromedia Restaurant Group, are closing, driving more people to unemployment lines. All told, there were 8.8 million unemployed people in July, up from 7.1 million last year. The jobless rate last July stood at 4.7 per cent. More job cuts are expected in coming months. There's growing concern that many people will pull back on their spending later this year when the bracing effect of the tax rebates fades, dealing a dangerous blow to the fragile economy. These worries are fanning recession fears. Still, workers saw wage gains in July. Average hourly earnings rose to $18.06 in July, a 0.3 per cent increase from the previous month. That matched economists' expectations. Over the past year, wages have grown 3.4 per cent. Paycheques aren't stretching as far because of high food and energy prices. Other reports out Friday showed stresses as companies cope with a sluggish economy. Spending on construction projects around the country dropped 0.4 per cent in June as cutbacks in home building eclipsed gains in commercial construction, the Commerce Department reported. And, manufacturers' business was flat in July. The Institute for Supply Management's reading of activity from the country's producers of cars, airplanes, appliances and other manufactured goods hit 50, down from 50.2 in June. A reading above 50 signals growth. The news forced Wall Street to reassess its initial positive reaction to the jobs data. The Dow, which opened higher, slid about 80 points by midmorning. The Federal Reserve is expected to hold rates steady next week as it tries to grapple with duelling concerns — weak economic activity and inflation. In June, the Fed halted a nearly yearlong rate-cutting campaign to shore up the economy because lower rates would aggravate inflation. On the other hand, boosting rates too soon to fend off inflation could hurt the economy.
  21. Bush offers $17.4B to automakers Ford tells White House it doesn't need bailout loan Last Updated: Friday, December 19, 2008 | 12:14 PM ET CBC News U.S. President George W. Bush pauses during a statement on the auto industry at the White House on Friday in Washington. (Evan Vucci/Associated Press) Calling it the "more responsible option," U.S. President George W. Bush on Friday dipped into the massive financial bailout package to offer $17.4 billion US in short-term loans to automakers. "If we were to allow the free market to take its course now, it would almost certainly lead to disorderly bankruptcy and liquidation for the automakers," he said during a news conference at the White House. "Under ordinary circumstances, I would say this is the price that failed companies must pay. These are not ordinary circumstances." U.S. stocks rose in trading on Friday after the president's announcement. U.S. president-elect Barack Obama praised the announcement. "Today's actions are a necessary step to help avoid a collapse in our auto industry that would have devastating consequences for our economy and workers," he said. "With the short-term assistance provided by this package, the auto companies must bring all their stakeholders together — including labour, dealers, creditors and suppliers — to make the hard choices necessary to achieve long-term viability." TARP loans The loans will come from the $700-billion financial market rescue package approved by Congress in October, the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). The loans will be handed out in December and January, but will be recalled if the companies are not viable by March 31, 2009. GM CEO Rick Wagoner told reporters in Detroit that he doesn't think the March deadline is impossible. "What we need to do is show we can get that stuff done on the required timeframe, and then on the basis of that we will develop future projections for the company, and I'm highly confident we'll be able to meet that test," he said. The plan requires firms to accept limits on executive compensation and eliminate certain corporate perks, such as company jets. "The automakers and its unions must understand what is at stake and make hard decisions necessary to reform," Bush said. White House officials said Ford has told them it doesn't need the loan, so the money will likely go to General Motors and Chrysler. Chrysler CEO Bob Nardelli thanked the Bush administration for the help, saying it would get the companies through their immediate needs and on the path back to profitability. Ford CEO Alan Mulally said the bailout will help stabilize the industry, even though his company doesn't immediately need cash. "The U.S. auto industry is highly interdependent, and a failure of one of our competitors would have a ripple effect that could jeopardize millions of jobs and further damage the already weakened U.S. economy," Mulally said. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said Congress should authorize the use of the second $350 billion from TARP. Tapping the fund for the auto industry basically exhausts the first half of the $700-billion total, he said. Collapse would be 'painful blow' Bankruptcy was unlikely to work for the auto industry at this time because the global financial crisis pushed the automakers to the brink of bankruptcy faster than they could have anticipated, Bush said. "They have not made the legal and financial preparations necessary to carry out an orderly bankruptcy proceeding that could lead to a successful restructuring," he said. Consumers, already wary of additional spending, will be more hesitant to buy a Big Three auto if they think their warranties will become worthless, said the president. "Such a collapse would deal a painful blow to hardworking Americans far beyond the auto industry." Bush said the "more responsible option" is to provide short-term loans to give the companies time to either restructure, or set up the legal and financial frameworks necessary to declare bankruptcy. The Senate failed to pass a $14-billion US bailout package to the automakers last week. Earlier this month, Ottawa and the government of Ontario reached a deal to offer money to Canada's auto industry based on a proportion of any package agreed to by U.S. officials. Auto sales have dropped drastically, with carmakers reporting their lowest sales in 26 years. With files from the Associated Press