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  1. http://9to5google.com/2011/09/22/google-becomes-a-virtual-mobile-network-operator-in-spain-rest-of-europe-coming-soon/ It be interesting to see them come here and become an MVNO with one of the carriers here and maybe even start up their own ISP.
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  3. amNY.com Extreme Commuter: From Montreal to Queens By Justin Rocket Silverman, amNewYork Staff Writer [email protected] January 28, 2008 [/url] This Extreme Commuter rides a plane the way most of us ride the subway. Professor Adnan Turkey lives in Montreal but teaches computer science at DeVry Institute of Technology in Long Island City. He's been making that commute once a week for nine years, 45 weeks a year. Although the flight itself is only about 75 minutes long, getting to and from the airport makes it impractical to make the ride daily. Price is a factor, too. Flying directly from Montreal is too expensive even once a week, so for half the ticket price he drives across the border to fly out of Burlington, Vt. So every Monday at noon he leaves his house in Canada and makes that 2-hour trip to Vermont. He puts the car in long-term parking ($6 a day) and flies to New York, where he will sleep in a small rented apartment and teach until Thursday afternoon. Then he takes the flight and drives back home. Door-to-door it's about seven hours each way. "After working many years in Canada, I thought, 'why not come to New York City?'" he asks. "It's just next door and it's the capital of the world." Adnan knows of no other commuters on the Montreal/New York City run, and says many of the border guards laugh in amazement when he states his business in the U.S. Although the weekly $150-round trip JetBlue ticket, and the monthly rent in New York takes a bit out of his income (he won't say how much), Adnan says he has no plans to ask his wife, also a university teacher, and two college-age daughters to move to New York. Besides, money has never been his primary interest. "Education is a noble mission, so salary is not the No. 1 concern, at least for me," he says. "When I see the next generation of students learning and becoming skilled, that's my job satisfaction." Know an Extreme Commuter? Transit reporter Marlene Naanes wants to hear the story. Email her at [email protected] Copyright © 2008, AM New York http://www.amny.com/sports/football/giants/am-commuter0128,0,4574142,print.story
  4. (Courtesy of The Financial Post) :eek: I wish I knew about these people a little sooner. Man I need money now to buy some shares. I just hope its not to late.
  5. Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/business/fp/Quebec+brewers+froth+over+cheap+beer/4072041/story.html#ixzz1AJsv4pHS
  6. Boat dock inside the house Price: $25 million (sold as is) Living Space: 65,000 sq.ft Acreage: 43 It has an indoor pool and a golf course. No helipad though, which is weird. The place is 500 km from Toronto. Thats a nice commute.
  7. We get our petrol from Alberta, I know its more costly than a Saudi operation, seeing its oil sand and what not. Plus all the taxes, but with the situation in Libya why are people freaking out about oil production, when we have our own shit. For one why should our prices go up, if we produce and refine our own petrol The way I see it, if people in Canada raise their gas prices because of Libya, they are just profiting from people's stupid fear. Plus what we are paying doesn't make sense already, but thats just me. We pay around 0.16 cents per liter. Actually, I might have figured out my question. Seeing most oil prices are set by outside production (i.e OPEC) that was really effects the price, which to be if thats the case, fuck them and their oil politics and Canada and other countries should form a new oil union for other countries who want off OPEC oil and want something else. -end /rant.
  8. Montreal house prices hold steady The Gazette Monday, October 06, 2008 Montreal's real-estate market remained steady during the third quarter, with average house prices experiencing single-digit gains, according to a House Price Survey report released yesterday by Royal LePage Real Estate Services. A decline in unit sales was recorded, however. While activity levels have rescinded since last year, average listing periods have actually shortened by a few days, compared to the same period 12 months prior. Of the 10 Montreal markets examined, the average price of a detached bungalow increased by 4.8 percent to $236,045, a standard two-storey home appreciated by 0.5 per cent to $336,381 and a standard condominium rose by 4.4 per cent to $204,336, year-over-year. "House prices in Montreal are inching upwards, despite an increase in listing inventory and the fact that there are slightly fewer unit sales," said Gino Romanese, senior vice-president of Royal LePage Real Estate Services Ltd. "When looking at Montreal's current housing market, we need to realize that 2007 shattered records," he added. "It's unrealistic to believe that that pace can be kept up for very long." © The Gazette 2008 http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/business/story.html?id=952e9c04-7da1-4b47-8865-fd882d7d860b
  9. Welcome to the province of tax tax tax. Now we're poorer and can't keep up with the cost of living. So much for le modele Quebecois. We need to make some adjustments to improve our collective wealth http://montrealgazette.com/business/local-business/quebecers-high-taxes-take-toll-on-buying-power "Despite a slight increase in disposable income, Quebecers have not been keeping up with cost-of-living increases, giving residents of la belle province the second lowest buying power of any province in the country, according to l’Institut de la statistique du Québec. Only Prince Edward Island has less buying power. According to the latest figures, disposable income in Quebec increased 0.9 per cent in 2013. At the same time, the consumer price index grew by 1.2 per cent. Therefore, real disposable income per resident declined by 1.2 per cent— the first time this figure has gone down since 1996. The reasons for the reduction in buying power are taxes and contributions to social programs, the institute says. With an average disposable income of $26,774, Quebec ranked second to last in 2013. Disposable income in P.E.I. was $26,439 per resident. The Canadian average is $30,746."
  10. Dana FlavelleBusiness Reporter Dana Flavelle Business Reporter There’s a bill before the U.S. Congress that would allow Americans to bring back $1,000 worth of Canadian goods duty-free after just a few hours of shopping across our border. Meanwhile, Canadians can’t bring back anything from the U.S. duty-free until they’ve been away for 24 hours. Even then the limit is $50. This protectionism is one of the reasons U.S. retailers who open up shop in Canada can charge higher prices here than in their home market, an economics professor says. “There are two reasons prices are higher in Canada,” said Ambarish Chandra, a professor with the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. “It is more expensive. Retailers here have to pay higher taxes and have somewhat higher costs. But a larger part of it is because they can get away with it.” Canadians can complain all they like but unless they do more cross-border shopping, retailers here will charge whatever the market will bear, Chandra said. The same barriers exist online: Canadians are charged duty on items shipped across the border. The Consumers Association of Canada says it has lobbied Ottawa to raise the limits, noting the maximum exemption - $750 after a week-long stay - hasn’t changed in more than 15 years. But the consumer group says its efforts are always opposed by Canadian retailers. The Retail Council of Canada denies it has lobbied the government on this issue. “In an age when you can shop around the world, travellers’ exemptions would be the least of our concerns,” said council president and chief executive Diane Brisebois. “We have not had any conversations with the government about exemptions.” Ottawa doubled the exemption for 48-hour trips outside the country to $400 from $200 in 2007, but has no plans to make further changes at this time, said a spokesperson for federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty. “We continually monitor the adequacies of the travellers’ exemption for Canadians. This includes taking into consideration the impact of any further modifications on the government’s budgetary balance and the impact on Canadian retailers,” the minister’s office said in a written statement. The U.S. currently allows $200 for same-day shopping. The issue of retail price parity arose again this week after some Canadian customers complained U.S. retailer J. Crew is charging higher prices in its new Canadian store and on its Canadian website than in its U.S. stores and on its U.S. website. The difference in the stores averages 15 per cent; the difference online is up to 40 per cent, once taxes and shipping are included. Canadians have been railing about price differences between the two countries ever since the Canadian dollar rose to parity with the U.S. greenback in 2007 after years in the doldrums. “It’s come to the fore again because the Canadian dollar is so strong and so many U.S. retailers are coming here,” said Lynn Bevan, a partner with the consulting firm RSM Richter in Toronto. Bevan said retailers who bring their operations north of the border face a slew of higher costs, from duty and freight to real estate and labour. Overhead costs in Canada are spread across fewer stores, and in some cases the Canadian business is separately owned and must pay royalty and other fees to the U.S. parent. “It’s not like Canadian retailers are making out like bandits,” she said. Prices were on average 20 per cent higher in Canada than in the U.S. on a broad range of goods from DVDs to luxury cars to golf balls, according to a survey last April by Doug Porter, deputy chief economist at BMO Capital Markets. The only times the price gap has closed in the past four years are when the Canadian dollar has dropped below the U.S. greenback, Porter said. http://www.thestar.com/business/article/1043928--canadians-need-higher-duty-free-limits-prof-says
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  12. Canada's housing market cools Home prices are still rising but much more slowly.Tyler Anderson/National PostHome prices are still rising but much more slowly. Resale price growth lowest in seven years Garry Marr, Financial Post Published: Friday, June 13, 2008 More On This Story TORONTO -- The Canadian real estate market is being flooded with homes, causing prices to start falling in some key markets, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association. The average price of a home sold last month in the country's top 25 markets was $337,071, an all-time record. But that record price was only up 1.1% from May, 2007 -- the smallest year-over-year increase in seven years. "The record number of new listings means more opportunities for buyers," said Gregory Klump. chief economist with CREA. "The resale housing market has evolved in just a few short months." CREA said there were 67,628 new units on the market in May, a 7% jump from last year. It was the second straight month that a record number of houses has gone on sale. The impact on prices is being felt most keenly in Alberta. The average price of a home sold in Calgary last month was $418,881, a 2.4% drop from a year ago. Edmonton sale prices averaged out at $340,499, down 4.8% from a year ago. Unit sales in both Alberta cities are also plummeting. Calgary homes sales were off 34.2% from a year ago while Edmonton sales were down 34.8% during the same period. The home sales are dropping across the country. CREA said on a national basis sales were off 16.9% in May from a year earlier.
  13. Inauguration de la mise en lumière de l'édifice Price QUEBEC, le 16 juin /CNW Telbec/ - SITQ, entreprise d'investissement, de gestion et de promotion immobilières, invite les représentants des médias à assister à l'inauguration de la nouvelle mise en lumière de l'édifice Price. Pour souligner le 400e anniversaire de Québec, le caractère architectural exceptionnel de cet immeuble phare sera rehaussé par un nouvel éclairage éco-énergétique mettant en valeur les éléments architecturaux peu visibles au grand jour. Cette inauguration se fera en présence de plusieurs dignitaires. << ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Quoi : Inauguration de la nouvelle mise en lumière de l'édifice Price, pour souligner le 400e anniversaire de Québec ------------------------------------------------------------------------- ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Qui : M. Paul Campbell, président et chef de la direction de SITQ M. Jacques Langlois, président et directeur général de la Commission de la capitale nationale du Québec Autres dignitaires ------------------------------------------------------------------------- ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Quand : Le mercredi 18 juin 2008, 21 h 15 ------------------------------------------------------------------------- ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Où : Tente face à l'édifice Price 65, rue Sainte-Anne A noter que la rue Sainte-Anne sera bloquée à la circulation, mais que les médias pourront accéder au stationnement souterrain face à l'édifice Price ------------------------------------------------------------------------- >>
  14. jesseps

    Camera

    I am trying to decide on which Lumix to get. LX2 LX3 Comparison Hope you can help me out Malek UPDATE: Actually found something better and in the same price range Lumix FX150K, just need to find one.
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  16. jesseps

    Gst

    January 1st it goes down to 5%. Currently we pay 13.95%. As of January 1st it be 12.875%. I remember if it was just yesterday, when we paid 15.025%. All we have to do is twiddle our thumbs, when we see the price change on the products, because of the high dollar.
  17. EQ3 has launched in Montreal I have been a fan of EQ3 for a while but with no store in the town where I am living, I was more an observer than a participant. Until now! Yesterday, on my way out of Ze Apéro Montreal event, I spot the front window of EQ3 just in front of Meat Market. That is a lot of unfamiliar names for people that do not reside in Montreal. Ze Apéro is a monthly happy hour gathering for the young professional jungle of Montreal. Meat Market is a hip meat restaurant bar. EQ3 provides affordable furniture and home décor accessories to modern design conscious consumers. Tableware and barware collections There are many things that you can grab for your next party. Start with the latest SCRIPT clear glassware collection with its golden shapes. These types of glass plates are all the rage over the last year or two. The trend does not really died since designers always invent new patterns for several brands. That is how this idea is kept fresh. The latest by EQ3 are the KHOKHLOMA Plates. The color palette feels very autumnal. A sense of refinement and coolness emerge from the WILA Plate Set of three different sizes and the original WILA Fruit Tray. They are simple enough to not steal the show to the food but the design is strong enough to make a statement by itself. The REPLAY Ottoman Tray is a product that has a few years in age but that I feel as aged well. Maybe it is because I always wanted one but it does not fit my décor right now. I will show you soon some inspiration pictures by EQ3 for Holiday decoration and gift ideas. I know it is too early to think about Christmas decorating but what I have to show you deserve it. It has entertaining in style written all over it. Address of the new Montreal EQ3 Store: 4428 Boulevard Saint-Laurent | Montreal, QC H2W 1Z5 T 514.982.9992 Where to find EQ3? EQ3 showrooms are located across Canada in Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, London, Ottawa, Burlington and Montreal. EQ3 is a Canadian brand that introduced an innovative and affordable furniture concept with an European design flair. This is the best alternative to IKEA. In the United States, EQ3 stores can be found in the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, Grand Rapids, Richmond, Norfolk, Charlotte and Phoenix, amongst other locations. Sourcing: Glassware: SCRIPT Decanter at EQ3 - price: $24.99 Glassware: SCRIPT DOF whiskey / juice glass at EQ3 - price: $6.99 each Serving ware: KHOKHLOMA Plate at EQ3 – starting at $14.99 for the small Serving ware: WILA Plate Set - price: $79.99 CAD for a set of 3 plates Serving ware: WILA Fruit Tray at EQ3 – price: $84.99 CAD Home decor: REPLAY Ottoman Tray at EQ3 – price: $79 CAD Find a shop: Store locator of EQ3
  18. We ought to give each club, lounge, bar, restaurant, pub, it's own thread with reviews, pictures, info, commentaries and all that kind of stuff! I'll start with Opera since it's been the subject of a lot of talk lately with the possible demolition for the redevelopment of the ilot du monument national. Some pix from last sunday: My review: Good spot, huge, clean, modern, great music, (mostly) classy good-looking people but all this comes with a price - definitely one of the most expensive spots in town.
  19. Sure we've seen glorified dehumidifiers like this before, but we're a sucker for any aquatic wonder which claims to solve the world's drinking water shortage. The exterior wall-mounted Watermill from Element Four is the latest "water from thin air" contraption and produces up to 3.2 gallons of water a day, pumped through a trusty ultraviolet sterilizer. But more importantly, it offers to hydrate your family of 6 (according to EF) for a mere thirty-five cents a day in power, not including whatever price Element Four decides to sell it for. Or you could just stick a bucket on your roof and be done with it -- we hear it rains occasionally. http://www.gadgetreview.com/2008/09/the-watermill-converts-humid-air-to-drinkable-water.html
  20. Sirius XM Prepares for Possible Bankruptcy Article Tools Sponsored By By ANDREW ROSS SORKIN and ZACHERY KOUWE Published: February 10, 2009 Last summer, Mel Karmazin was rattling off his trademark one-liners to talk up the future of Sirius XM Radio, the combined company he ran that had just been blessed by regulators. He was planning to cut costs and expand a business that was already a fixture in the lives of millions of Americans. “Forty-three cents a day — it’s not even vending machine coffee,” he said at the time, parrying a question about whether the softening economy might hurt subscriptions. But now Sirius XM, the satellite radio company, has problems with much bigger price tags. It has hired advisers to prepare for a possible bankruptcy filing, people involved in the process said. That would, of course, be a grim turn of events for the normally upbeat Mr. Karmazin, Sirius XM’s chief executive, who had hoped to create a mobile entertainment juggernaut with stars like Howard Stern. It is unclear how a bankruptcy would affect customers. Service is unlikely to be interrupted, but the company might have to terminate contracts with high-priced talent like Mr. Stern or Martha Stewart. A bankruptcy would make Sirius XM one of the largest casualties of the credit squeeze. With over $5 billion in assets, it would be the second-largest Chapter 11 filing so far this year, according to Capital IQ. The filing by Smurfit-Stone, with assets of $7 billion, has been the year’s biggest to date. Sirius XM, which never turned a profit when both companies were independent, is laden with $3.25 billion in debt. Its business model has been dependent, in part, on the ability to roll over its enormous debts — used to finance sending satellites into space and attract talent like Mr. Stern (who was paid $100 million a year) — at low rates for the foreseeable future until it could turn a profit. The company’s success and failure are also tied to the faltering fortunes of the automobile industry, which sells vehicles with its radio technology installed and represented the largest customer base among Sirius XM’s 20 million subscribers. Sirius XM owes about $175 million in debt payments at the end of February that it is unlikely to be able to pay. Sirius XM’s problems could pave the way for a takeover by EchoStar, the TV satellite company, which has bought up Sirius XM’s debt. Mr. Karmazin has been locked in talks with EchoStar’s chief executive, Charles W. Ergen, over Sirius XM’s options, people involved in the talks said. The men are said not to get along, these people said, and Mr. Karmazin had rebuffed Mr. Ergen’s takeover advances before. Sirius XM hired Joseph A. Bondi of Alvarez & Marsal and Mark J. Thompson, a bankruptcy lawyer with Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett, to help prepare a Chapter 11 filing, these people said. Documents and analysis are close to completion and a filing could come in days, according to a person familiar with the matter. The threat of bankruptcy could also be part of a negotiating dance with Mr. Ergen, who could decide to convert his debt into equity instead of demanding payment. In addition to the $175 million due in February, EchoStar also owns $400 million of Sirius XM’s debt due in December. If Sirius XM files for bankruptcy, EchoStar could seek in court to take over the company. Mr. Ergen, however, may be able to negotiate to convert his shares before bankruptcy at an attractive rate and gain control of the company, these people said. For Mr. Karmazin, the sale or bankruptcy of Sirius XM would be one of his first failures. He founded Infinity Broadcasting, sold it to CBS and later merged the combined companies into Viacom, where he had a notoriously difficult relationship with Sumner M. Redstone, the chairman, before being ousted. Mr. Karmazin bought two million shares of Sirius XM at $1.37 a share in August. Before that, he had bought 20 million shares at an average price of $5 each. On Tuesday, Sirius closed at 11.4 cents a share. Since the summer, the company’s prospects have dimmed. “I’m not trying to paint the rosy picture, because we have challenges connected to our liquidity and certainly our stock price is dreadful,” Mr. Karmazin said in December. “But, you know, our revenues are growing double digits. We’re growing subscribers. We’re not losing subscribers.” A spokeswoman for Mr. Karmazin declined to comment. A spokesman for EchoStar could not be reached. Mr. Karmazin staked the success of the merger on nearly $400 million in annual cost savings and the potential to gain subscribers through deals with auto companies to put satellite radios into cars. But satellite radio failed to win over many younger listeners, and competition from other sources slowed subscriber growth.
  21. April 8, 2009 By MERAIAH FOLEY SYDNEY — The Australian government said Tuesday that it would create a publicly owned company to build a national high-speed broadband network worth 43 million Australian dollars in one of the largest state-sponsored Internet infrastructure upgrades in the world. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said the eight-year, $31 billion project would create up to 37,000 jobs at the peak of construction, giving a lift to the economy as retail spending slumps and mining companies cut workers amid weakening demand for Australian metals. The plan is “the most ambitious, far-reaching and long-term nation-building infrastructure project ever undertaken by an Australian government,” Mr. Rudd told reporters. The government’s announcement was a surprise rebuff to five private telecommunications firms, including Optus of Singapore and Axia NetMedia of Canada, that had been bidding to build a slower, less expensive network, with fiber-optic cables reaching as far as local nodes, worth around 10 billion dollars. But Mr. Rudd scrapped those proposals in favor of a superior but more expensive network that will deliver broadband speeds of up to 100 megabits per second — fast enough to download multiple movies simultaneously — to 90 percent of Australian buildings through fiber-optic cables that extend directly to the premises. The remaining 10 percent will receive upgraded wireless access. Analysts said the government-sponsored project would be the most ambitious fiber-to-the-premises network to have been undertaken by any nation and would be watched carefully by other governments considering Internet infrastructure spending as a way to stimulate growth as the global economic crisis continues. The Britain, Canada, Finland, Germany, Portugal, Spain and the United States have all included measures to expand broadband access and to bolster connection speeds in their planned stimulus packages. “Compared to what has been done elsewhere, this is quite a unique situation,” said Laurent Horrut, a telecommunications analyst at J.P. Morgan. Most developed countries have relied heavily on private-sector spending to upgrade their Internet networks, and those that have pledged public money have come “nowhere close” to the level of spending announced by Australia, he said. “This will set Australia up as potentially one of the international leaders here,” Paul Budde, an independent telecommunications analyst, said in a statement posted on his blog. “This government understands the trans-sector approach that is needed to stimulate the digital economy.” The government would make an initial investment of 4.7 billion Australian dollars in the enterprise, in which taxpayers would hold a 51 percent share. The remaining costs would be financed by investment from private companies and the sale of infrastructure bonds. Once the network was fully operational, Mr. Rudd said, the government would sell down its interest within five years. Mr. Rudd’s conservative opponent, Malcolm Turnbull, and some analysts criticized the plan, saying the cost of the project would likely be passed to consumers in the form of higher Internet fees. They also questioned whether consumers would embrace a fixed-line, fiber-to-the-premises network over increasingly popular wireless services. Even those who agree that the proposal is both sensible and achievable said setting the right price for companies to access the network would be “a major challenge.” “A low price will discourage private investors, but a high price will discourage consumer uptake and service innovation,” David Kennedy, research director at global advisory and consulting firm Ovum, said in an e-mailed statement. While most analysts agree that investing in communications technology makes economies more competitive, some are skeptical about whether long-term spending on communications infrastructure will provide the short-term stimulus needed to pull countries out of recession. The plan fulfills a 2007 election promise Mr. Rudd made to overhaul the country’s sprawling, antiquated Internet infrastructure. But the government is also holding the project up as a job-creating form of fiscal stimulus in a time when the private sector is shedding jobs at a faster-than-expected rate. On Tuesday, the Reserve Bank of Australia cut its benchmark cash rate by 0.25 percentage point to 3 percent, its lowest level since March 1960, amid signs the once-booming economy is continuing to deteriorate. The bank has so far slashed 4.25 percentage points from the cash rate since September in a bid to stop the country from slipping into its first recession in nearly two decades. According to government figures released last week, retail sales fell 2 percent in February, the biggest one-month drop since the introduction of a 10 percent goods and services tax in July 2000. Unemployment data has also gone from bad to worse. Australia and New Zealand Banking said Monday that job advertisements in newspapers and on the Internet had dropped 8.5 percent from February to March and a staggering 44.6 percent from the year before. It warned that unemployment could exceed 8 percent by next year. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/08/technology/internet/08broadband.html?_r=1&ref=business
  22. 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
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