Good morning; everybody ready for the end of the week? Our stories today cover many of our main business sectors: banks, airplane and auto manufacturing, trade and insurance.
Statistics Canada has put its controversial bank data collection project on hold after a public outcry, Geoff Zochodne reports. “We will not proceed with this project until we have addressed the privacy concerns expressed by Canadians,” chief statistician Anil Arora told the Senate’s banking, trade and commerce committee yesterday. No related data had been collected. We’ll see if it goes through, as the Privacy Commissioner is looking into the project.
CROSSWINDSBombardier shares fell almost 25% yesterday on its revised cash flow projection, a surprise development in its turnaround strategy. Because of its history of financial tight-roping and job cuts,
Naomi Powell reports, shareholders and analysts have less faith in its ability to get above the rain clouds. The company announced a 5,000-job-reduction plan and the sale of two business units. It’s carrying $9.5 billion of debt, built up through cost overruns and delays. “They chew up a lot of cash,” an analyst said.
THE Ps AND Qs
It wasn’t unexpected that the USMCA would pass without some challenges. It seems Canada is at odds with U.S. changes to the preliminary text of the deal. “Not at all what we agreed to,” is how a source put it. “We are having discussions around the interpretation of a variety of things.” But, a spokesman for Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said it “is normal after an agreement-in-principle for all countries to work together to ensure the text is accurate.” Let’s hope it’s not another 13 months of talks.
IN THE DRIVER’S SEATCanada’s Outstanding CEO of the Year is Linamar’s Linda Hasenfratz. The chief executive of the autoparts maker has a lot on her mind: innovation, tariffs and setting up the Guelph-Ont.-based company to be around in 2100. As
Andy Holloway writes in the Financial Post Magazine, she’s sanguine about the state of affairs in business now, because she foresees growth in traditional autoparts and electric vehicles. “Any time you have a high degree of change,” she said, “you have a high degree of opportunity.” Since 2002, she has seen the company from a $1.3-billion auto-parts company to a $6.5-billion diversified global manufacturer of highly engineered products, operating 60 manufacturing locations and eight R&D centres in 17 countries. “I’ve seen a lot of water under the bridge and that has given me great insight because I’ve been able to experience some pretty big ups and downs. You learn a lot from that experience.”
THAT’S NOT INSURANCE
Manulife shares climbed 7% yesterday as its CEO scorned a hedge fund’s claims as “commercially absurd.” Molten Investment is suing Manulife into taking unlimited deposits, with a guaranteed return of 4%. “We remain confident we will prevail and that it will not have any material impact in our business operations,” Roy Gori said. Regulations don’t permit the company from engaging in deposit-taking activities. Manulife reported third-quarter earnings of 75¢, beating the 67¢ expected.