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Found 53 results

  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. 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
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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
  6. 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.
  7. 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
  8. (Courtesy of The Globe and Mail) First stop London, next stop global domination!
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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.
  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. 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.”
  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. 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.
  16. LIST :: http://www.financialpost.com/magazine/fp500/list.html The beat goes on The right numbers are up. But momentum? That’s another thing Cooper Langford, Financial Post Business Published: Tuesday, June 03, 2008 Related Topics Story tools presented by Good stories start in the middle of the action, so let's do that - specifically at the No. 162 spot on the 2008 edition of the Financial Post 500, our annual ranking of Canada's largest companies by revenue. In that position: Martinrea International Inc., a Vaughan, Ont.-based auto-parts maker that's put the pedal to the metal in pursuit of growth. In a year when the loonie hit par with the U.S. buck and belt-tightening at Detroit's Big Three throttled the auto sector, Martinrea did a surprising thing: It more than doubled its revenue to $2 billion. In the process, it also jumped 168 places, making it one of the highest-climbing firms on our list. That an upstart underdog in a declining sector can deliver such a positive outcome says a lot about the stories, themes and companies that define this year's FP500. Some firms have had great years, but for many others it was just the opposite. And in a lot of cases, one company's good fortune comes at the expense of others. Martinrea, for example, made its big leap because it was able to acquire a major rival at depressed market prices. Likewise, factors such as the price of oil - which rose to within a hair's breadth of US$100 per barrel in 2007 - boosted most oil producers while hammering other companies that were directly or indirectly hurt by the high cost of fuel. Martinrea's success is revealing in one other way as well. With total revenue of all the FP500 companies increasing by just $44 billion in 2007 - to $1.583 trillion from $1.539 trillion - the little parts maker's $1.1-billion revenue gain represents fully 2.5% of the entire increase. When you're counting on a company that represents a meagre 0.1% of the total FP500 revenue to do that much heavy lifting, you have to wonder about the strength of the underlying economy and the prospects for the year ahead. Meanwhile, the theme of surprise extended to some of the largest companies on the FP500, too. Start with Royal Bank of Canada, which returns as No. 1 overall. No one doubted that it would retain its crown as Canada's largest corporation, but how many thought it would also lead our list of top revenue gainers? After all, the financial sector was hammered last year by fallout from the subprime mortgage crisis and the choked credit markets that followed. Yet RBC - thanks to its well-diversified base of revenue streams - shone through with a year-over-year increase of more than $5 billion. And then there's EnCana Corp. (No. 13), Canada's largest energy company and one of its most profitable firms. Many people will no doubt be surprised to find that it tops our list of biggest profit decliners. Granted, it still earned $4.3 billion, but that's off $2.1 billion from 2006, despite a 24% increase in revenue to $23 billion. Blame a steep mid-year dip in the price of natural gas, the erosion of margins due to the rising dollar and ever-escalating costs that resulted from shortages of materials and skilled labour. (A complete series of "Top 5" breakout lists and profiles accompanies this story.) ANYONE LOOKING for more predict-able outcomes can still hang their hat on the global commodity boom. While price increases didn't match those of 2006, there was still enough steam in the market for it to have a major impact on the list - powering up some of 2007's largest percentage revenue gains. Yamana Gold Inc. (No. 340), for example, leapt onto the FP500 with a 318% increase, to $800 million, following its $3.5-billion acquisition in September of Meridian Gold Inc. Soaring oil prices continued to stoke more than a few bottom lines across the energy sector - average revenue growth there came in at 18.8%. Leading the way was Calgary-based Harvest Energy Trust (No. 94) with a revenue increase of 193.2%, to $4 billion. This gain was due, in part, to its mid-2006 acquisition of North Atlantic Refining Ltd. in Come By Chance, N.L., a groundbreaking $1.6-billion deal that turned Harvest into Canada's first vertically integrated oil and gas royalty trust. At the same time, however, energy costs - coupled with the strong dollar - weighed heavily on central Canada. They wreaked havoc particularly on forestry companies already reeling from the collapse of the U.S. housing market. Indeed, of the 19 forestry firms on our ranking, only four avoided outright revenue declines. Nine of the remaining firms saw a double-digit fall in their income. Weyerhaeuser Canada Ltd. turned in the worst performance, stumbling to the No. 384 position from No. 231 as its revenue fell to $648 million - a 50% decrease, which earned it the dubious distinction of this year's "Worst Fall." The picture looks only a little brighter in the beleaguered manufacturing sector, where half of the 28 ranked firms posted revenue declines. In broad terms, though, the economy absorbed the worst of these impacts. Much like corporate revenue and profit (which climbed 4.4% for the FP500 as a whole, compared to a 34% rise in 2006), GDP growth held steady, clocking in at 2.7%, the same as 2006, but down from 2.9% in 2005. Unemployment, meanwhile, fell to 6%, its lowest level in 33 years. These kinds of numbers, it seems, were good enough to keep consumers in stores with their wallets open, as a look at some of the newcomers to the FP500 suggests. For evidence, look no further than the No. 288 position, occupied this year by consumer electronics manufacturer LG Electronics Canada, with revenue of $1 billion. A few ranks further down, at No. 311, you'll find Kia Canada Inc., a subsidiary of Korean auto maker Kia Motors, with revenue of almost $900 million. Equally intriguing - given fears for the future of the music and video retail business - is the arrival on the FP500 of HMV Canada Inc. at No. 500, with revenue of $407 million. Granted, HMV's revenue is actually down 0.6%, yet it still made the jump from No. 510 last year on the Next 300 list. DEALING WITH volatility and a rapidly changing economic landscape may have been the biggest theme in corporate Canada during 2007, but it wasn't the only one: Foreign takeovers also swept the market. The headlines were bigger in 2006, when iconic Canadian firms such as Hudson's Bay Co., Inco Ltd. and Dofasco fell into foreign hands. But it wasn't until last year that the number and value of takeover deals hit truly astonishing levels. In the first six months of 2007, the value of foreign M&A activity in Canada soared to $153 billion, according to investment banking firm Crosbie & Co. Inc., eclipsing the total of $102 billion for all of 2006. By the end of the year, the value of deals reached a record-setting $186.8 billion, with international miner Rio Tinto plc's $44.9-billion acquisition of Alcan Inc. (No. 7) leading the way. Other deals included Houston-based Marathon Oil Corp.'s $7.1-billion bid for Western Oil Sands Inc. (No. 296), Abu Dhabi National Energy Co.'s $5-billion takeout of PrimeWest Energy Trust (No. 398) and IBM Corp.'s $4.4-billion acquisition of software maker Cognos Inc. (No. 261). With those kinds of names and numbers in the air, it's no surprise that the flurry of activity reignited the age-old debate about the "hollowing" of corporate Canada. Dominic D'Alessandro, who recently announced he'll retire next year as CEO of Manulife Financial Corp. (No. 2), weighed in during his annual address to shareholders in May 2007, saying: "I sometimes worry that we may all wake up and find that, as a nation, we have lost control of our affairs." Others wondered what all the fuss was about. In a March 2007 report, the Institute for Competitiveness & Prosperity argued that Canada's ability to produce companies that are global leaders far outweighs the losses it has witnessed due to foreign takeovers. Among the examples it used to make its case were Research in Motion Ltd. (No. 65), North American convenience-store giant Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. (No. 24) and ATS Automation Tooling Systems Inc. (No. 367), a manufacturing-solutions firm active in the international health-care, electronics and automotive sectors. We'll keep our opinions to ourselves, but here's one notable fact: According to Crosbie & Co., Canadian firms made twice as many acquisitions abroad as foreign firms did here. At $93 billion, however, the total value of those deals was only half the value of foreign takeovers in Canada. GIVEN ALL that acquisition activity in 2007, it's almost inevitable that some companies now on our list will have disappeared when it comes time to compile the FP500 for 2008. Others may fall off because their revenue stumbles to levels where they no longer make the cut-off. But the FP500 is a renewable resource; for every firm that leaves, there's another that takes its place. A scan of the Next 300, which follows our main ranking, offers hints. Companies that stand out include The Data Group Income Fund, which rose more than 100 positions to No. 507 and was just $10 million shy of making the big chart, as well as rising food manufacturer Lassonde Industries Inc. at No. 505, up from No. 545 in 2006. The biggest wild card for next year's ranking, however - one that affects nearly every company on both the FP500 and the Next 300 - has to do with where the economy will take them. The FP500 as a whole hasn't had a year of revenue decline since 2004 (and the drop was a miniscule $2 billion), but it looks like a distinct possibility if current GDP forecasts prove accurate. In late April, the Bank of Canada called for GDP growth of just 1.4% in 2008, with most private-sector forecasts in the same ballpark. While Canada's domestic markets should do okay, a weak U.S. economy will drag us down. Results like that, at least a full percentage point lower than 2007's 2.7%, would make it hard for FP500 revenue totals to stay out of the red. If so, spunky companies like Martinrea may be fewer and farther between when we do this again next year.
  17. 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.
  18. J'aime les anecdotes qui ont valeur symbolique... By DAMIEN CAVE Published: January 12, 2009 MIAMI — A financial adviser from Indiana disappeared into the Alabama woods early Monday after faking a distress call and parachuting from a small plane that crashed in Florida. The police in three states were looking for the pilot, identified as Marcus Schrenker, 38. No one was hurt in the crash. According to the police in Santa Rosa County in the Florida Panhandle, where the plane went down, Mr. Schrenker turned up safely about 220 miles north of there. And there is evidence that Mr. Schrenker was an experienced pilot who might have been trying to fake his own death. His life seemed to be unraveling. Court records show that Mr. Schrenker’s wife filed for divorce on Dec. 30. A Maryland court recently issued a judgment of more than $500,000 against one of three Indiana companies registered in his name — and all three are being investigated for securities fraud by the Indiana Secretary of State’s Office, a spokesman, Jim Gavin, said. Mr. Schrenker has at least a decade of experience as a pilot, according to the airport in Anderson, Ind., where he departed Sunday evening. But the police said that within hours of taking off, he issued a distress call. He told air traffic controllers that he was bleeding profusely and that the windshield of his Piper PA-46 turboprop had imploded. The control tower told him to try to land nearby, but instead he “appears to have intentionally abandoned the plane after putting it on autopilot over the Birmingham, Ala., area,” the police in Santa Rosa County said. He next appeared in Childersburg, Ala., about 30 miles to the southeast, when he approached local officers at a store and said he had been in a canoeing accident. He was wet from the knees down and carried what the police described as “goggles that looked like they were made for ‘flying.’ ” After checking his Indiana license, the officers drove Mr. Schrenker to a hotel. After learning of the abandoned plane, they returned, but his room was empty. Witnesses said a man believed to be Mr. Schrenker wearing a black toboggan cap had run into the woods next to the hotel. He has not been seen since. The telephones at Mr. Schrenker’s home and one of his companies, Heritage Wealth Management, have been disconnected. His piloting skills, however, can be seen in a YouTube video in which he flies under bridges in the Bahamas. “This stunt,” it says, “should not be tried by any pilot that wishes to stay alive.” http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/13/us/13plane.html?_r=1&hp#
  19. 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
  20. Quebec companies getting pummeled By Paul Delean December 12, 2008 Quebec’s economy supposedly is weathering current financial turbulence better than other parts of the country, but you’d never know it from the stock listings. Several publicly traded Quebec-based companies that used to have significant share valuations have plummeted below, or near, the dreaded dollar mark, in some cases becoming penny stocks. The 2008 Dollarama portfolio includes familiar names like AbitibiBowater, Quebecor World, Mega Brands, Garda World, Shermag, Hart Stores and Bikini Village. What happens from here is anybody’s guess. Once stocks start descending to these levels, getting back to past peaks really isn’t the issue anymore. Survival is. Institutional investors are leery. Several actually have a rule against buying shares priced below $5. “What matters are a corporation’s fundamentals, not the stock price. But often, they’re really bad when a company’s stock goes way down in price, and leave you wondering if it’s worth anything at all,” said Benj Gallander, co-author of information newsletter Contra The Heard, who’s been investing in out-of-favour stocks for 15 years with partner Ben Stadelmann. While takeovers are always a possibility, Gallander said companies that really get beaten up usually are not prime targets. “Companies are more likely to buy companies that are going really well, at ridiculous prices, than the ones that are struggling,” he said. What’s making this downturn especially challenging is the tightness of credit, Gallander said. Cash-strapped companies in need of fresh funds are having a harder time with lenders, and investors have cooled to new stock issues. “It used to be a lot easier (for companies) to go to the well and get cash. These days, the competition for funds is so fierce, and not as many people are willing to invest. Investors are more selective. They want to see clean balance sheets, and preferably dividends and distributions, not a lot of debt and a history of losses. Ongoing losses are very dangerous if you don’t have the cash to support it.” Montreal portfolio manager Sebastian van Berkom of van Berkom & Associates, a small-cap specialist, said there are decent stocks in the dollar range, but there are also an awful lot of highly speculative ones. “If someone had the intestinal fortitude to put together the best of these Dollarama stocks into a diversified portfolio of maybe 50-70 names, you’d probably end up doing pretty well. Ten per cent would go bust, 10 per cent would be 10 baggers (grow by tenfold), and the other 80 per cent would do better than the overall market,” he said. But since even the largest and strongest global companies have been battered by this year’s downdraft in equity markets, investors are understandably gravitating to those names, some now at prices unseen in decades. “In this kind of environment, why speculate at the low end when you can buy quality companies at the lowest price they’ve traded at in years? You don’t need to speculate, so why take the risk? That’s why some of the fallen angels have come down so much,” van Berkom said. Some of the deeply discounted companies undoubtedly won’t survive their current woes, Gallander said. The biotech sector, constantly in need of cash tranfusions, is especially vulnerable. “They may have great products in the pipeline,” he said, “but who’ll finance them?” While there is potential upside in some of the names, he considers it a bit early to start bargain-hunting. “I’d be wary of redeploying cash at this point. Even if you pay more (for stocks) in a year, there could be less downside risk if the economy’s in better shape. Personally, I don’t see things coming back for years. There’ll be lots of bargains for a long time.” Here’ are some of the downtrodden, and the challenges they face. AbitibiBowater Inc.: A $35 stock in 2007, AbitibiBowater is now trading around 50 cents. The heavily-indebted newsprint manufacturer recently reported a third-quarter loss of $302 million ($5.23 a share) on flat revenue. Demand is plunging around the world as the newspaper industry contracts in the face of competition from the internet In the U.S. alone, it’s fallen 20 per cent this year. Gallander is one of its unhappy shareholders; his purchase price, prior to the merger with Bowater, was $56.24. “We looked at getting out a few times, didn’t, and got absolutely killed,” he said. “At the current price, there’s huge potential upside, or the possibility in six months that it could be worthless.” Garda World: Investors did not take kindly to the global security firm’s surprise second-quarter loss of $1 million (3 cents a share) and revenue decline of 5.5 per cent. After years of rapid growth by acquisition, Garda – which reports third-quarter results Monday – is talking about selling off part of its business to repay its sizable debt. At about $1.20 a share (down from $26.40 in 2006), “it’s extremely speculative,” van Berkom said. “Rather than offering to buy parts of the business now, competitors may wait to see if it survives and then buy.” Mega Brands: The Montreal-based toy company had a prosperous business until it took over Rose Art Industries of Livingston, N.J., in a $350-million deal in 2005. Since then, it’s taken a huge hit from lawsuits and recalls of the Magnetix toy line it acquired in the Rose Art deal and the stock has plunged from $29.74 a share in 2006 to about 50 cents this week. The company lost $122 million in the third quarter (after writing down $150 million for “goodwill impairment”), just had its credit rating downgraded by Moody’s (which described 2009 prospects as “grim”) and now has to cope with a sharp decline in consumer spending for its peak selling season. Revenue has nonetheless held up relatively well so far, Gallander said, so this one could still be a turnaround candidate. Hart Stores: The smallish department store chain keeps adding to its 89-store Hart and Bargain Giant network in eastern Canada, but same-store sales have been slipping as consumers retrench. Profit in the last quarter was $757,000, down from $1.7 million the previous year. The stock’s dropped even more, closing this week around $1, down from $6.55 in 2006. But Gallander, who bought in at $3.46, still likes the company, which pays a dividend of 10 cents a year. “They’re facing a slowdown, which could hurt the bottom line and the distribution, but so’s everyone else. Few companies can be resilient in this kind of economy.” Groupe Bikini Village: All that remains of the former Boutiques San Francisco and Les Ailes de La Mode empire is 59 swimsuit stores generating quarterly sales of about $13 million and net earnings of less than $1 million. “Our company has come through some challenging times,” president Yves Simard said earlier this year, “and today, we are a stronger company for it.” You wouldn’t know it from the price of the 172 million outstanding shares. Friday, it was 3 cents. The 2008 range has been 10 to 2.5 cents. Boutiques San Francisco was a $32 stock in 2000. Kangaroo Media: It’s had plenty of media coverage for its handheld audio/video devices that allow spectators at NASCAR and Formula One auto races to follow and hear the action more closely, but only one profitable quarter since it went public four years ago. The company generated $2.2 million in sales and rentals in its most recent quarter, but lost $3.4 million (10 cents a share). Loss of Montreal’s Grand Prix race in 2009 won’t help. Shares got as high as $8.19 in 2006 but traded at 5 cents yesterday.. Victhom Human Bionics: Outstanding technology – a prosthetic leg that remarkably replicates human movement – but no significant sales yet spells trouble for the Quebec City company. It had revenue of $531,997 in its most recent quarter, most of it royalty advances, but a net loss of $3.3 million. Investors are losing patience. The stock, which traded at $2 in 2004, has tumbled to 3 cents. Quebecor World: One of the world’s largest commercial printers, it entered creditor protection in Canada and the U.S. last January and seems unlikely to emerge. It lost $63.6 million (35 cents a share) in the most recent quarter on revenue of $1 billion, which pushed the total loss after nine months to $289 million. The stock, as high as $46.09 in 2002, traded yesterday at 4 cents. Unless you buy for a nickel in the hope of getting out at 7 or 8 cents a share, this is probably one to avoid, said Gallander, who prefers to steer clear of companies in creditor protection. Shermag: Asian imports, a contracting U.S. housing market and rapid appreciation of the Canadian dollar pulled the rug out from under the Sherbrooke-based furniture maker, which experienced a 40-per-cent drop in sales in the past year, has lost money for the last 11 quarters and entered creditor protection in May. (It was extended this week to April). A $16 stock in 2003, it was down to 7 cents yesterday. “We looked at Shermag closely before (credit protection), but backed off. They’re good operators, but the way things are now in their business, they just can’t compete,” Gallander said. Railpower Technologies: The manufacturer of hydrid railway locomotives and cranes has a lot of expenses and not many customers, and the economic slowdown won’t help. It lost $7.1 million in the most recent quarter on sales of just $2.9 million. A $6.69 stock in 2005, it traded at 14 cents this week. Mitec Telecom: Revenue has been rising for the designer and manufacturer of components for the wireless telecommunications industry, but it’s still having trouble turning a profit. Through the first half of its current fiscal year, sales grew 63 per cent to $25 million, for a net loss of $1.1 million. The company, which went public in 1996 at $6.50 a share, traded yesterday at 6 cents. Management is doing a commendable job of trying to turn around the company, said Gallander, who has owned the stock for several years. “They seem to be doing the right things, but they’re not out of the woods yet. In normal times, they’d be doing better than now. But the telecom sector, too, will be hit.” [email protected] © Copyright © The Montreal Gazette
  21. The truth will set you free... !!! It’s been a little more than a month since the Liberal government of Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard released its belt-tightening budget, and since then everyone from movie producers and doctors to teachers and mayors has griped about the cuts it promises. They shouldn’t be surprised. Couillard campaigned on a pledge to fix Quebec’s “economic fiasco.” But a new report from the C.D. Howe Institute offers a stark reminder of how difficult that task will be. The report, authored by Philip Cross, the former chief economist at Statistics Canada, shows the extent to which the economies of Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes now rely on public sector versus private sector investment for growth. Condensed version: a whole honking lot. Investment spending refers to money spent on structures, machinery and equipment, and since 2000, the report notes, public sector investment as a share of GDP has nearly doubled in Quebec to almost six per cent. At the same time, business investment—you know, by actual companies—has stagnated at seven per cent. That’s put Quebec near the bottom of the pack, alongside Ontario, and a notch above New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. “Business investment is the lifeblood of economic growth,” Cross wrote in an opinion piece. “It determines what the economy will look like years from now, and how competitive its workers will be.” Of course, to have business investment, you’ve got to have businesses. And that’s where Quebec faces serious problems that run far deeper than any single austerity budget can hope to tackle. In December, Statistics Canada released a largely overlooked research paper that examined the rates at which new businesses have been joining and leaving the marketplace in each province. The creation of new firms and the destruction of old ones, through consolidation or closure, is key to a vibrant economy, bringing in new ideas and innovations and forcing existing businesses to pick up their game. You can probably guess where Quebec ranked, but I’ll tell you anyway. From 2000 to 2009, no province had lower so-called “firm entry” than Quebec. In fact, in the manufacturing, retail, transportation and finance sectors, more companies went away than were created. No other province had that level of “destruction” without the customarily accompanying “creative.” Related: Maybe Harper has slain the separatists The charter may be gone, but Quebec’s identity crisis remains Why Justin Trudeau risks alienating Quebec It gets worse. Another report from a few months ago, the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, measured the levels of entrepreneurialism across Canada. It did so by looking at the percentage of working-age adults who are either engaged in setting up a business or who own a wage-paying business that’s existed for less than 42 months. On that front, too, Quebec came dead last, with an entrepreneurship rate of 9.6 per cent, compared to 11.9 per cent in Ontario and close to 19 per cent in Alberta. Quebec Source: Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Sylvain Carle, an entrepreneur in Montreal who’s started several companies, recently shared an anecdote with the Montreal Gazette that sums up Quebec’s sluggish start-up culture. While attending a conference at Stanford University, a speaker had asked how many people in the audience of 100 were starting their own companies, and 105 hands went up, since some were multi-preneurs. When Carle asked the same question to a similar-sized audience in Montreal a few weeks later, five hands went up. It doesn’t take an advanced degree in rocketry to know why all this is the case. For decades Quebec businesses have been plagued with repeated bouts of separation anxiety and the constant irritant of the province’s language police. The province punishes businesses with some of the highest taxes in North America, yet it has rung up a $2.4-billion deficit and a debt load equal to half its GDP, the highest in the country. When not arbitrarily overriding the rights of shareholders to protect underperforming Quebec companies, the government has flip-flopped on its attitude toward resource development. In short, it’s an economic environment layered with uncertainty, instability and state interference. For the longest time, the solution from the Quebec government to its stagnant business environment was more Quebec government, in the form of state-sponsored funds doling out cheques to those it deems to be worthy entrepreneurs. Just this past March, the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec pension fund, that bastion of economic nationalism, joined with Desjardins Group to create a fund to pump $230 million into small and medium-sized enterprises, having already distributed $190 million to 186 other companies through an earlier fund. And yet the level of business creation is stuck in neutral. This is what Couillard faces. He’s said all the right things about tackling Quebec’s fiscal crisis: “The time for cosmetic changes is gone,” he said in his throne speech in May. “We must act firmly and decisively. And we will.” His far bigger challenge remains to make Quebec a place where entrepreneurs would want to set up shop. The best way he can do that is to get his government out of the way.
  22. (Courtesy of CBC) Read more by clicking the link. It would be something to see, but would it actually happen?