What you need to know before you start your work day on Feb. 9
Happy Friday! Editor Shari Kulha (@FPExecEditor) here, catching you up on the best business news for the last day of the work week (… unless you’re in retail, as the saying goes).
Woe to the week
Volatility returned to the markets yesterday, with the Dow correcting another 1,000-plus points and the S&P500 off 100-plus, both averaging about 4 per cent down and deepening the historic losses of Monday. The TSX fell almost 265 for a 1.7 per cent dip, landing at its lowest point in five months. Rate-hike fears were top of mind, and bond yields suggest there may be more swings to come. Who’s hoping there’ll be no Friday fracas?
Pipelines v. policies
Ottawa has unveiled new environmental rules after years of political wrangling over major pipeline projects tightened Canadian oil export capacity. As Jesse Snyder and Maura Forrest report, the federal government is designating a single agency to oversee in a “predictable, timely and evidence-based” fashion its review process for such major projects as mines, hydroelectric facilities and oil pipelines. However, critics say the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada, which will replace the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, will just add more red tape. Suncor had earlier told Geoffrey Morgan it was paring back investments in Canada because of “burdensome regulations and uncompetitive tax rates.”
Quote: “We can’t get things done, we have uncertain regulatory policies, we’re mired in our own politics and we’re not seeing the world for what it really is,” said Chris Bloomer, CEO, Canadian Energy Pipeline Association.
Bell and Telus rang up their best wireless performances in years on the holiday rush for unprecedented 10 gig/$60 data deals. As Emily Jackson reports, it was Bell’s best sales result in 15 years and Telus’s in five. Ironically, the special offer aimed at customer gains was started by a Rogers promotion that saw everyone else follow; it worked for Rogers’ competitors’ wireless counts but not as well for its own.
Quote: “We do not believe anyone had anticipated this magnitude of subscriber outperformance,” Barclays analyst Phillip Huang wrote to clients about Bell.
Buds are blooming
Aurora Cannabis almost doubled its number of patients and grams sold, and saw revenue jump more than 200 per cent year-over-year in Q2. As Mark Rendell reports, the company’s growth shows it solidifying its front-row position in the burgeoning industry. The average price per gram sold jumped to $8.36 from $5.96, in large part due to exports to Germany, where medical cannabis prices are higher. And Mark further reports that Canadian regulators changed their mind on pot companies who have U.S. exposure.
Bottom line: Aurora sold $9.7 million worth of cannabis and $1.9 million in products and services, compared with $3.8 million in total revenue in 2017’s second quarter (ended Dec. 31). Rival Canopy Growth is set to release its second quarter results on Wednesday, but accounting inconsistencies across the industry make it hard to compare competitor results.
Montreal’s new 67-km automated light-rail line to the suburbs and airport will be built by a consortium that won’t include home-town Bombardier. For the $6.3B project, SNC-Lavalin and France’s Alstom were chosen. It’s possible, Alicja Siekierska hears, that finally Bombardier’s disastrous record with on-time delivery for its New York City subway, Toronto Transit Commission streetcar and Metrolinx railcar orders may have been a factor.
Quote: “The optics that you can’t even get your own government … to buy your product, it’s something that will cause them sales grief around the world for a while to come,” said Karl Moore, management professor at McGill University.