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Found 14 results

  1. CGI profit rises 10.5 per cent The Canadian Press January 27, 2009 at 11:27 AM EST MONTREAL — CGI Group Inc. has reported a 10.5 per cent profit increase in its latest quarter to $79.5-million as revenue rose 11.7 per cent from a year earlier to just over $1-billion. The 25,000-employee international information technology service provider said Tuesday that foreign exchange shifts boosted the top line by 7.4 per cent in its first quarter ended Dec. 31. Pre-tax earnings were up six per cent to $105.2-million. CGI recorded bookings of $775-million in the quarter, down from $1.13-billion a year earlier, while its operating profit margin slipped to 11.4 per cent from 11.8 per cent. The quarter's net income of $79.5-million, 26 cents per share, compared with $71.9-million or 22 cents per share a year earlier, when revenue was $895.4-million. The latest quarter's earnings adjusted for one-time items came in at 22 cents per share, in line with market expectations. The company said it plans to continue a stock buyback which in the past year cancelled 18.5 million shares at an average price of $10.68. CGI ended the quarter with $216-million in cash and $1.3-billion available in a credit line, which CEO Michael Roach said provides “the financial flexibility to execute our profitable growth strategy.” Desjardins Securities analyst Eric Bernofsky commented that investors will likely be concerned about the 31.7 per cent drop in bookings, but noted that year-ago business signings were unusually strong and there is quarter-to-quarter “lumpiness” in new contracts. On the bright side, Mr. Bernofsky wrote in a note, revenue from American clients grew 14.1 per cent on a constant-currency basis, which “should be viewed very positively in light of the current economic climate. As we had anticipated, higher work volumes from the government and health-care verticals contributed to the strong revenue growth.”
  2. http://www.ottawacitizen.com/opinion/op-ed/Economics+lefties/1633305/story.html
  3. California Cities Face Bankruptcy Curbs By BOBBY WHITE MAY 28, 2009 As California seeks more funds from its cash-strapped cities and counties to close a $21 billion budget deficit, some state legislators are pushing a plan that could compound municipalities' pain by making it tougher for them to file for bankruptcy. The bill would require a California municipality seeking Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection to first obtain approval from a state commission. That contrasts with the state's current bankruptcy process, which allows municipalities to speedily declare bankruptcy without any state oversight so that they can quickly restructure their finances. The bill, introduced in January, has passed one committee vote and could reach a final vote by mid-July. The bill was sparked by the bankruptcy filing last year of Vallejo, Calif., just north of San Francisco. Vallejo's city leaders partly blamed work contracts with police and firefighters for pushing the city into bankruptcy, and won permission from a bankruptcy court in March to scrap its contract with the firefighters' union. That spurred the California Professional Firefighters to push for statewide legislation to curtail bankruptcy, said Carroll Willis, the group's communications director. "What we don't want is for cities to use bankruptcy as a negotiating tactic rather than a legit response to fiscal issues," he said, adding that he worries cities may work in concert to rid themselves of union contracts by declaring bankruptcy. If the bill passes, it could hurt cities and counties by lengthening the time before they can declare bankruptcy. That creates a legal limbo during which a municipality is more vulnerable to creditors. The proposed state bankruptcy commission would be staffed by four state legislators, which some critics worry could politicize the bankruptcy process. "This bill is impractical," said John Moorlach, a supervisor in Orange County, Calif., which filed for bankruptcy in 1994. "In many instances, haste is important. If you can't meet payroll but have to delay seeking protection, what do you do?" California towns and counties face a catalog of troubles. Earlier this month, voters rejected five budget measures, sending the state deficit to $21 billion. To overcome the gap, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed borrowing $2 billion from municipalities, using a 2004 state law that lets California demand loans of 8% of property-tax revenue from cities, counties and special districts. But that proposal lands as California municipalities are already facing steep declines in tax revenue because of the recession. Dozens are staring at huge deficits, including Pacific Grove and Stockton, which have publicly said they are exploring bankruptcy. Assemblyman Tony Mendoza, a Democrat who introduced the bankruptcy bill, said the initiative is needed to protect the credit rating of California and its ability to borrow and sell bonds. Mr. Mendoza added that he wants to avoid bankruptcy's repercussions on surrounding communities by offering a system that examines all of a municipality's options before filing for bankruptcy. "Municipalities should have a checks and balance system in place based on the fact that all economies are interconnected," he said. Dwight Stenbakken, deputy executive director for the California League of Cities, a nonprofit representing more than 400 cities, said the group is lobbying against the bill because "there's nothing a state commission can bring to the process to make this better." Write to Bobby White at [email protected]
  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. Wireless win will mean new growth for Quebecor: Peladeau VIRGINIA GALT Globe and Mail Update August 5, 2008 at 9:21 AM EDT Montreal-based media company Quebecor Inc. is “poised to embark on a new round of growth” as a result of its successful bid for a new wireless spectrum licences covering all of Quebec and part of the Toronto area, the company said Tuesday. “This is a key strategic development for Quebecor media, since consumer demand for advanced wireless services is expected to increase substantially in the coming years,” said chief executive officer Pierre Karl Paul Peladeau, in releasing the company's second quarter financial results. The company, which has gone through a major restructuring, reported consolidated net profit of $57.3-million, or 88 cents a share, compared with $43.2-million, or 77 cents a share, in the corresponding period a year earlier. The year-ago result was dragged down by a $6.7-million loss at the company's former printing subsidiary, Quebecor World Inc., which sought court protection from creditors earlier this year. “Once again, Quebecor's very positive results were spearheaded by robust numbers in the cable segment, which continued to log strong customer growth for all its services,” Mr. Peladeau said. Quebecor Inc. “At the conclusion of the spectrum auction for advanced wireless services, Quebecor Media held standing high bids on 17 operating licences, covering all of Quebec and part of the Toronto area.” Quebecor bid $554.6-million for the operating licences in the auction that closed late last month – an investment that pave the way for future growth by allowing the company to offer its customers “a still more complete and competitive array of cable and telecommunications services,” Mr. Peladeau said. The company reported that consolidated revenue from continuing operations increased to $942.3-million, up 15.6 per cent from the corresponding period a year ago. Revenue in the cable segment was up 20.3 per cent to $75.6-million, “reflecting continued customer growth for all services,” the company said. Newspaper revenue was up 27.2 per cent to $65.7-million, due primarily to the acquisition of Osprey Media Income Fund in August, 2007, and broadcasting revenue was up 4.2 per cent to $4.5-million.
  6. La compagnie aérienne est également revenue sur ses intentions d'embaucher 1200 employés supplémentaires. Elle va retirer de sa flotte 22 avions parmi les plus anciens. Pour en lire plus...
  7. 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.
  8. 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
  9. 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.
  10. Big Apple starting to crumble Janet Whitman, Financial Post Published: Thursday, November 06, 2008 NEW YORK -- The Big Apple is losing its shine. After years of benefiting from consumer bingeing on everything from luxury lofts to US$99 hamburgers, New York is seeing a dramatic turn in its fortunes as Wall Street stumbles. Investment banks and other financial-services firms here have cut tens of thousands of high-wage jobs and many more pink slips still could be on the way as they grapple with the deepening credit crisis. This year's Wall Street bonus pool, which makes up the bulk of the pay for high-flying financial executives, is forecast to be chopped in half to US$16-billion. Businesses are already feeling the pinch. Revenue at some high-end Manhattan restaurants are down an estimated 20% this year and the once sizzling real-estate market is cooling fast. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said this week that the big drop in tax revenue collected from financial firms is forcing him to renege on planned US$400 property tax rebates for homeowners and to mull a 15% income tax hike. Economists said yesterday that the downturn could resemble New York's financial crisis in the early 1970s, when the city nearly went bankrupt and crime rates skyrocketed. "Compensation is going to be way down and that's going to weigh on restaurants and retailers and the housing market as well," said Mark Vitner, senior economist at Charlotte, N.C.-based bank Wachovia Corp. "We're going to have a very difficult climb back out of this. The recovery might begin in the middle of next year, but that just means things will stop getting worse." Mr. Vitner said it could take at least three years before New York starts to see strong growth and five years before the city gets back to normal. After the dot-com bust in 1999 and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, New York soon roared back, fueled by Wall Street's recovery. But the city can't depend on Wall Street this time around. "The flavour is different," said James Brown, a New York state Department of Labor regional analyst who focuses on New York City. "It's not clear how much growth we can expect from our financial sector in the next upturn. We don't know to what degree they may not be as profitable and able to lavish the same high salaries in the next boom as they have in the past booms." With the U.S. government looking to avoid sowing the seeds for a future financial crisis by cracking down on executive bonuses and limiting how much financial firms can wager, Wall Street's recovery could be slow. That's bad news for New York State, which depends on the financial sector for 20% of its revenue. The state already is facing its biggest budget gap in history, at US$47-billion over the next four years. The crisis last week prompted New York State Gov. David Paterson to ask U.S. Congress for billions of dollars in federal assistance. New York City has been particularly hard hit. For every Wall Street job another three or four will be lost in the city. Despite the doom and gloom, Mr. Bloomberg assured New Yorkers at a press briefing this week that the city wouldn't return "to the dark days of the 1970s when service cuts all but destroyed our quality of life." The mayor, who is seeking a third term to guide the city through the crisis, said New York is in much better fiscal shape than it was then and won't make the same mistakes. Still, he warned, it could be as many as five years before financial companies have to start paying city or state taxes again because of the half a trillion dollars in write-downs they have taken, which will offset future profits.
  11. La banque suisse a confirmé jeudi être revenue dans le vert au troisième trimestre grâce à un crédit d'impôts. Pour en lire plus...
  12. not good gents.. Fitch Affirms Province of Quebec at 'AA-'; Outlook Revised to Negative Thu Dec 12, 2013 5:36pm EST * Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release. 0 COMMENTS Fitch Affirms Province of Quebec at 'AA-'; Outlook Revised to Negative Fitch Ratings affirms the 'AA-' long-term ratings on senior unsecured obligations of the Province of Quebec, Canada, as detailed at the end of this release. In addition, Fitch affirms the outstanding 'F1+' short-term ratings on the Province of Quebec. The Rating Outlook is revised to Negative from Stable. SECURITY Senior unsecured obligations are direct and unconditional obligations of the Province to which the Province's full faith and credit is pledged. Commercial paper notes are promissory notes ranking equally with Quebec's other unsubordinated and unsecured indebtedness. For Financement-Quebec, payment of debt service is unconditionally guaranteed by the Province from the consolidated revenue fund. KEY RATING DRIVERS NEGATIVE OUTLOOK BASED ON DELAYED FISCAL BALANCE: The revision of the Outlook on the Province's long-term rating, to Negative from Stable, reflects the delay in achieving budgetary balance, to fiscal 2016 from fiscal 2014. The delay is based on slower economic and revenue performance since the fiscal 2014 budget was tabled and the consequent reduction in forecast economic and revenue growth thereafter. HIGH DEBT: Debt is high relative to resources and has grown as the Province works toward budgetary balance. Debt management is strong and centralized, and the Province maintains ample access to liquidity for both operations and debt service requirements, supporting the 'F1+' short-term rating. FISCAL FLEXIBILITY: Fiscal flexibility has been provided by a willingness to date to adjust tax policy and by progress in constraining spending growth; budgeted contingency funds provide additional cushion. Longer term spending control remains the most persistent risk to fiscal balance, particularly given lower spending growth targets in the revised fiscal consolidation framework. DIVERSE ECONOMY: The economy is large and diverse, and historically slower growing and less wealthy than the Canadian average. Modestly paced growth continues. Vulnerabilities include global trade links, particularly with the U.S. market, and a significant manufacturing sector. SOVEREIGNTY MOVEMENT REMAINS: The sovereignty movement has been a source of uncertainty in the past although it is not a current issue. FINANCEMENT-QUEBEC'S RATING LINKED TO PROVINCE: The rating for Financement-Quebec reflects the credit strength of the Province given the Province's unconditional guarantee. RATING SENSITIVITIES INABILITY TO ACHIEVE ECONOMIC AND FISCAL TARGETS: Additional near-term economic and revenue deterioration, or an inability to attain revised fiscal targets under current forecast trends would result in a rating downgrade. CREDIT PROFILE The revision of the Outlook on Quebec's long-term 'AA-' rating, to Negative from Stable, is based on weaker-than-planned economic and revenue performance since the fiscal 2014 budget was tabled, reducing the province's near-term revenue forecast and resulting in a two-year delay, to fiscal 2016, in achieving fiscal consolidation. Although the revised fiscal framework includes additional corrective actions to return to balance and offset the additional deficit borrowing now expected in fiscal years 2014 and 2015, a higher accumulated debt burden further reverses the progress on debt reduction made by the Province during the decade prior to the last recession. Despite the slow, uneven economic recovery now underway, Quebec's credit quality continues to be supported by careful fiscal and debt management, ample access to debt markets for liquidity needs, and past success of achieving progress in debt reduction and spending control. The Province has drawn on its considerable budgetary flexibility to date as it carries out its fiscal consolidation framework, including raising a variety of taxes and curbing spending growth. The latter is a particularly notable achievement, and Fitch believes the Province has additional flexibility to reduce spending. DEBT BURDEN WILL REMAIN HIGH The Province's high debt remains its most significant long-term credit challenge, in Fitch's view. Outstanding gross debt, including debt of consolidated entities and pension liabilities, was C$191.8 billion in fiscal 2013, equal to 53.6% of GDP. Debt service, at C$7.8 billion in fiscal 2013, consumed 11.5% of fiscal 2013 budgetary revenues, a high but manageable level. Much of the current debt burden stems from accumulated deficits built over prior decades and in the years since the 2008-2009 recession, amounting to C$118.1 billion in fiscal 2013 or 33% of GDP. Total public sector debt, at C$256.4 billion, equals 71.7% of GDP. Under the revised forecast through fiscal 2018, projected gross debt gradually flattens out, albeit at higher levels than envisioned in the government's previous plan. The government forecasts that gross debt will begin to decline as a percent of GDP in fiscal 2015, and its statutory debt burden target includes achieving a gross debt to GDP ratio of 45% and accumulated deficit to GDP of 17%, in fiscal 2026. Debt figures are net of the Generations Fund balance, a reserve for debt reduction, funded at about C$5.2 billion in fiscal 2013. Despite its high debt metrics, the Province has demonstrated broad market access for borrowing and is a sophisticated debt manager. ECONOMIC GROWTH CONTINUES AT SLOWER PACE As of its November 2013 forecast, Quebec's economic performance in 2013 is estimated to have slowed considerably compared to forecast expectations in March 2013 when the government last updated its economic outlook. After rising 1.5% in 2012, real GDP in 2013 is now estimated to rise only 0.9%. Real GDP growth in 2013 was expected to be 1.3% as of the government's March 2013 forecast, and 1.5% in November 2012, when the fiscal 2014 budget was tabled. The disappointing performance is attributed to numerous factors, including continuing weak global economic trends, more modest domestic consumption and much lower inflation. Economic gains are continuing, even if at a slower pace than expected. November 2013 employment rose 0.4% year over year, compared to 1% for Canada; unemployment, at 7.2% in November 2013, was ahead of the 6.9% Canadian level. The revised forecast assumes modest labor market gains through 2013, with the unemployment rate at 7.7% for the year. Forecast expectations for 2014 appear reasonable, in Fitch's view, with higher economic growth rates, albeit off the lower 2013 base. The update assumes real GDP growth accelerating to 1.8% in 2014, unchanged from the March 2013 forecast. Growth going forward is driven in part by the accelerating, but still slow, U.S. recovery, among other factors. The strength of the economic recovery in the U.S., Quebec's main international trading partner, remains a key uncertainty to achieving forecast expectations. The next forecast update will be released in spring 2014, when the fiscal 2015 budget is tabled. DELAYED FISCAL CONSOLIDATION Quebec, as with many Canadian provinces, has been on a multi-year path to restore budgetary balance since the recession of 2008-2009. In its fiscal 2010 budget, the province announced a framework for returning to budgetary balance by fiscal 2014, with gradually diminishing annual deficits. Disappointing 2013 economic performance and its effect on recent actual revenue collections and forecast growth is now prompting a delay, to fiscal 2016, in achieving balance and requiring additional actions to consolidate the budget. To date, the province has relied on considerable fiscal flexibility to diminish projected operating deficits, although in Fitch's view much less flexibility now remains given the extent of actions taken to date. The Province estimates tax rate changes since the framework began will generate a cumulative $6.3 billion in revenues as of fiscal 2014; recent phased-in changes, notably in consumption taxes, are believed to have affected consumer demand, and the government's newly-revised consolidation plan avoids additional tax rate adjustments. Quebec has had notable success in reducing spending growth. The government's revised fiscal framework relies on additional spending controls both to offset lower revenues and absorb certain spending increases (including a recently-announced stimulus program and for retiree obligations). Program spending growth has fallen from an average of 5.6% annually during the fiscal 2007-2010 period, to 1.2% in fiscal 2013; lower than planned spending helped to absorb some of the unexpected revenue weakness experienced during fiscal 2013. The government's revised framework maintains fiscal 2014 spending at the budgeted level, while reducing projected annual growth in fiscal 2015 and beyond to 2%. Fiscal 2014 is now forecast to end with a deficit of $2.5 billion, essentially matching the November 2013 downward revision in own source revenues; fiscal 2014 own source revenue growth is now expected at 2.6%, down from 5.2% in the March 2013 plan. The revenue outlook in fiscal 2015 and beyond also has been lowered accordingly, although newly-announced budget measures reduce the projected fiscal 2015 deficit to $1.75 billion. To offset the higher near term deficits and resulting higher borrowing, the revised framework increases planned deposits to the Generations Fund beginning in fiscal 2017. AFFIRMED RATINGS Fitch's affirmation of the long-term 'AA-' rating and revision to Rating Outlook Negative applies to the following senior unsecured bonds of the Province of Quebec and Financement-Quebec, as follows: Province of Quebec: --Senior unsecured debt; --Local currency long-term rating; --Long-term issuer rating. Financement-Quebec: --Senior unsecured debt; --Local currency long-term rating; --Long-term issuer rating. In addition, Fitch affirms the short-term 'F1+' ratings on the Province of Quebec and Financement-Quebec, as follows: --Province of Quebec short-term issuer rating; --Province of Quebec short-term commercial paper; --Financement-Quebec short-term issuer rating. In accordance with Fitch's policies the issuer appealed and provided additional information to Fitch that resulted in a rating action that is different than the original rating committee outcome. Additional information is available at 'www.fitchratings.com'. Applicable Criteria and Related Research: --'Tax-Supported Rating Criteria', Aug. 14, 2012; --'International Local and Regional Governments Rating Criteria, Outside the United States', April 9, 2013. Applicable Criteria and Related Research: International Local and Regional Governments Rating Criteria http://www.fitchratings.com/creditdesk/reports/report_frame.cfm?rpt_id=704438 T