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Found 3 results

  1. CBC, VIA Rail considered for auction block: Documents BY ANDREW MAYEDA, CANWEST NEWS SERVICE JUNE 1, 2009 6:49 PM OTTAWA — The federal Department of Finance has flagged several prominent Crown corporations as "not self-sustaining," including the CBC, VIA Rail and the National Arts Centre, and has identified them as entities that could be sold as part of the government's asset review, newly released documents show. In its fiscal update last November, the government announced that it would launch a review of its Crown assets, including so-called enterprise Crown corporations, real estate and "other holdings." Finance Department documents, obtained by Canwest News Service under the Access to Information Act, reveal that the review will focus on enterprise Crown corporations, which are not financially dependent on parliamentary subsidies. Such corporations include the Royal Canadian Mint and Ridley Terminals, which is a coal-shipping terminal in Prince Rupert, B.C. But the documents also reveal that the government will consider privatizing Crown corporations that require public subsidies to stay afloat. "The reviews will also examine other holdings in which the government competes directly with private enterprises, earn income from property or performs a commercial activity," states a Finance briefing note dated Dec. 2, 2008. "It includes Crown corporations that are not self-sustaining even though they are of a commercial nature." In the briefing note, the Finance Department identifies nine Crown corporations that fall in that category, including Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., the CBC and VIA Rail. The government announced last week that it will split AECL in two and seek private-sector investors for the Crown corporation's CANDU nuclear-reactor business. The Crown asset review comes as the government struggles to contain the country's deficit, now expected to top $50 billion this year. The Jan. 27 budget assumes that the government will be able to raise as much as $4 billion through asset sales by the end of March 2010. The budget identified four federal departments whose Crown assets are being reviewed first: Finance, Indian and Northern Affairs, Natural Resources, and Transport and Infrastructure. VIA Rail is overseen by the Transport Department, while the CBC and the National Arts Centre fall under the portfolio of the Canadian Heritage department. The Finance Department documents confirm that all government assets will eventually be reviewed. Privatizations tend to work well when Crown corporations enter a reasonably competitive market with a good chance of turning a profit, said Aidan Vining, a professor of business and government relations at Simon Fraser University. Unlike successfully privatized firms such as Canadian National Railway, it's not clear that CBC and VIA Rail could operate as profitable ventures while maintaining the public mandates they provided as Crown corporations, he noted. "They're not the classic privatization candidates, where you sell and walk away," said Vining, an expert in Crown corporation privatizations. "Unless, of course, you're prepared to fully withdraw from the public purpose (of the Crown corporation)." Certainly, the sale of a flagship Crown asset such as the CBC would be politically controversial. After the CBC announced this spring that it would lay off hundreds of employees, opposition critics accused the government of turning a cold shoulder to the public broadcaster's struggles. Under the Financial Administration Act, Parliament would have to approve the privatization of any Crown corporation. "It's hard to believe that some of these sales would go forward in a minority Parliament," said Vining. The Finance Department has also begun to examine the government's vast real-estate portfolio, which includes 31 million hectares of land, and more than 46,000 buildings totalling 103 million square metres — more than double the office space available in the Greater Toronto Area, according to the Finance documents. The government's holdings are worth at least $17 billion, Finance officials estimate. A briefing note labelled "secret" said that the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs acquired $7 million in surplus properties between 1998 and 2006 for potential use in land-claims deals. Over the same period, the properties cost $2 million to maintain. Divesting such properties could not only generate revenue for the government, but also cut "ongoing operations and maintenance costs," states the briefing note. A Finance Department spokeswoman said the asset review won't necessarily lead to sales in all cases. "Reviews will assess whether value could be created through changes to the assets' structure and ownership, and report on a wide set of options including the status quo, amendments to current mandates or governance," department spokeswoman Stephanie Rubec said in an e-mail. "In some cases, it may be concluded that selling an asset to a private sector entity may generate more economic activity and deliver greater value to taxpayers." Crown corporations identified by the government as "not self-sustaining": (Company name, commercial revenues, parliamentary subsidy, expenses) Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., $614.2 million, $285.3 million, $1.3 billion CBC, $565.5 million, $1.1 billion, $1.7 billion Cape Breton Development Corp., $5.1 million, $60 million, $94.1 million Federal Bridge Corp. Ltd., $14.6 million, $31.0 million, $42.9 million National Arts Centre Corp., $26.0 million, $40.6 million, $65.7 million Old Port of Montreal Corp., $16.7 million, $15.1 million, $32.0 million Parc Downsview Park Inc., not available, not available, not available VIA Rail Canada Inc., $293.9 million, $266.2 million, $505.5 million Source: Department of Finance, Public Accounts of Canada Note: Financial results are for 2007-08 http://www.ottawacitizen.com/Rail+considered+auction+block+Documents/1652330/story.html
  2. Petite question corporative pour vous ce matin. Depuis environ 2 ans il y a cette compagnie Française qui est de plus en plus présente à Montréal. Veolia à plusieurs entités, Veolia Environnement et maintenant, dans le port de Montréal il y a au moins une douzaine de locomotive de Veolia Transport. Leur site web est assez complet et très instructif, si les corporations c'est votre genre de truc. Mais quelqu'un sait-il comment ils sont arrivé? ont-ils achetés des compagnies d'ici? Je n'ai rien trouvé sur leur arrivé.
  3. Head offices are worth protecting High-value jobs come with territory DAVID CRANE, Freelance Published: Thursday, July 24 When Rio Tinto, the Anglo-Australian mining giant, made a successful $38.1 billion bid for Alcan a year ago, the Quebec government quickly intervened to make sure that Alcan's global head office remained in Montreal. Fortunately, the Quebec government not only had leverage but, in un-Canadian fashion, chose to exercise it. Those with longer memories can recall how, when Stone Container of Chicago acquired Montreal-based Consolidated Bathurst in 1999, the head office was quickly dismantled and most important functions were transferred to Chicago. Head offices clearly matter, and, with the number of high-profile foreign takeovers of Canadian companies, this has triggered fears of a "hollowing out" of the economy. That's why, just over a year ago, the Harper government asked a small group of talented Canadians, led by corporate executive Red Wilson, to tell it what to do. Wilson's panel - the Competition Policy Review Panel - has now delivered its report, with many important proposals to improve the competitiveness of Canadian companies and build more Canadian multinationals. But Wilson's panel has not been successful in designing an effective policy on foreign takeovers that balances Canada's commitment to an open economy with the need for a stronger business sector headquartered in Canada. Our experience tells us that head offices of large corporations bring many benefits, the panel says. "When a Canadian company is acquired by another Canadian company, Canada loses a head office but gains a stronger company. When the acquirer is foreign, Canada loses a head office and a company," it contends, arguing that foreign takeovers affect career opportunities for Canadians as well as many community benefits associated with large head offices. As the panel stresses, "the head office of an enterprise is its 'brain.' It is the place where strategy and other critical decisions are made by its key management personnel." When a Canadian firm is acquired by a foreign enterprise, decisions that once were made in Canada are now made in another part of the world where Canadian interests may have little importance. Head offices provide high-skill, high-paying jobs. And as the panel points out, head offices also support many other jobs "by attracting high-value business services - legal, accounting, consulting, information technologies, marketing and advertising - to the community." But the panel's solution to foreign takeovers is not to propose stronger rules on foreign takeovers but to advocate policies to develop a new generation of Canadian-based multinationals, companies like CAE, Bombardier and SNC-Lavalin, as well as making Canada more attractive for divisional headquarters of foreign multinationals, as happened with Alcan. These are important proposals and we should certainly do all we can. But even if we do a better job of creating new companies, the best of them could also become foreign takeover targets. So we would be growing seed corn for foreign multinationals or, as it has been put, "growing guppies to feed the sharks." Moreover, the panel would make it even easier for foreign corporations to acquire budding Canadian multinationals by limiting Investment Canada screening of foreign takeovers to companies with a value of $1 billion or more, compared with the current level of about $295 million. This would be a mistake - we should keep as much screening scope as possible. The panel does propose that instead of judging foreign takeovers on a vague test of "net benefit" to Canada, that negotiation of proposed takeovers be based on a test of "Canada's national interest." Australia, which uses the "national interest" test for takeovers of about $100 million or more, has shown it's possible to use this approach to negotiate strong terms or alternatively to say no. For example, according to Secor Consulting, when BHP Ltd. of Australia and Billiton Plc of Britain merged in 2001 to create BHP Billiton, Australia required that the company continue to be an Australian, managed in Australia and listed on the Australian stock exchange. The global headquarters had to be in Australia, both the CEO and CFO had to have their principal places of residence, offices and key supporting functions in Australia and the majority of all regularly scheduled board and executive committee meetings had to occur in Australia. So the "national interest" test could make sense. But it would have to be carefully defined to give Canadians confidence that Ottawa would really stand up for Canadian interests. The panel also proposes easing Canada's foreign takeover restrictions on foreign ownership of Canadian airlines, telecommunications companies and broadcasters. But it's hard to see clear benefits. One important recommendation the panel does make is to give directors of Canadian corporations more power to say "no" to foreign takeover bids. Today, directors are typically forced to become "auctioneers" and find an alternative buyer in response to an unwanted bid. In the U.S., directors have much greater capacity to simply say "no." Canada should continue to screen foreign takeovers, but with a more rigorous and more transparent negotiation of conditions and a greater readiness to say no, while improving the ability of corporate boards to reject unwelcome takeovers. Canada should also focus more on attracting foreign corporations to launch new businesses here, not take over our existing ones. David Crane is a Canadian writer who closely follows innovation and globalization issues. He can be reached at [email protected] interlog.com. http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/story.html?id=65bbef64-3d8f-401e-8ad2-7790f7f4bcd1&p=2