Canada public pension fund commits up to $1 billion to buy U.S. oil, gas assets

By Nia Williams



CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) – Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), the country’s biggest public pension fund, plans to invest up to $1 billion to buy oil and gas assets in the United States in a partnership with Encino Energy Ltd.



CPPIB said on Wednesday the partnership, Encino Acquisition Partners, would seek non-core assets being sold by global energy majors and would focus on basins already producing oil and gas.



Houston-based energy company Encino Energy, which is privately-owned, will operate the assets acquired by the partnership and has committed $25 million.



CPPIB, which manages C$317 billion ($243 billion) of national pension money on behalf of 20 million Canadians, does not have any particular assets or regions in mind, said Toronto-based Avik Dey, the fund’s head of natural resources. It is looking to buy assets being sold by large energy companies as they spend money on developing red-hot U.S. shale basins like the Permian and the so-called SCOOP and STACK plays in Oklahoma.



“We see an emerging opportunity to buy attractive assets from bigger companies that are remodeling their portfolios to pursue higher growth in the Permian and SCOOP/STACK,” Dey said.



International oil majors like ConocoPhillips (COP.N: Quote) have this year sold off oil and natural gas assets in both the United States and Canada to trim heir portfolios.



CPPIB already holds close to C$4.5 billion of assets in the energy sector, 80 percent of which are in western Canada. In the United States it holds $900-million of Denver Jules Basin assets acquired from Encana Corp (ECA.TO: Quote) in 2015. The fund started investing natural resources in 2015 and it is one of the smaller groups in its portfolio.



Dey said CPPIB although the partnership with Encino would be specifically focused on buying U.S. assets, it did not signify the fund was moving away from investing in the Canadian energy sector.





(Additional reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Andrew Hay)


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Drag from cheap oil largely over, Bank of Canada says

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) – Conversations with market participants and business surveys are invaluable for the Bank of Canada’s decision-making, Deputy Governor Lynn Patterson said on Wednesday in a speech that reiterated the hawkish sentiment that rate cuts had done their work.



Repeating Senior Deputy Governor Carolyn Wilkins’ recent assessment of the bank’s move to cut rates twice in 2015, Patterson said the rate cuts had done their job.



“Two years later, it is our view that these cuts have helped facilitate the economy’s adjustment to the oil price shock and that the economic drag from lower prices is largely behind us,” Patterson said in prepared remarks to financial analysts in Calgary.



While the central bank relies on its models and incoming data for its forecast, Patterson said regular outreach, business surveys and private meetings with financial players are critically important, particularly during times of transition or when sentiment is playing a bigger role.



“And while we are committed to communicating new information on the outlook and policy only in public settings, the insights we garner in both public and private are invaluable for our policy making,” Patterson said.





(Reporting by Nia Williams in Calgary, writing by Andrea Hopkins in Ottawa)


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Canada tightens inspections of imported Brazil meat

By Rod Nickel and Tom Polansek



WINNIPEG, Manitoba/CHICAGO (Reuters) – Meat-importing countries from North America to Europe and Asia have tightened inspection standards for shipments from Brazil in a bid to protect consumers, following a probe into possible corruption involving inspectors.



The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) said on Wednesday that the tighter inspection standards it enacted in April have resulted in checks on nearly every shipment from Brazil.



The new Canadian protocols involve full inspection – including tests for pathogens and chemical residues – of all Brazilian meat imports on five consecutive shipments from each approved plant and for each product category, CFIA spokeswoman Maria Kubacki said.



Previously, CFIA conducted one full inspection randomly out of 10 consecutive shipments from each Brazilian plant.



The tougher reviews highlight concerns about the safety of Brazilian meat even among countries that still accept its products. The United States last week banned imports of fresh Brazilian beef after a high percentage of shipments failed safety checks.



Brazilian police raided the premises of global meatpacking companies JBS SA (JBSS3.SA: Quote) and BRF SA (BRFS3.SA: Quote) in March, as well as dozens of smaller rivals, over suspected bribery of health officials..



Since then, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has re-inspected shipments of raw beef and ready-to-eat food products from Brazil and tested them for pathogens. All beef trimmings are now tested for salmonella and E. coli.



The checks have uncovered problems in fresh beef, including abscesses, blood clots, bones and lymphoid tissue, according to the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service
  Continued…


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Europe’s NATO members, Canada to raise defense spending in 2017

By Robin Emmott



BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Europe and Canada will raise defense spending at the fastest pace for three years in 2017, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Wednesday, partly aimed at showing the United States they are committed to shouldering more costs.



U.S. President Donald Trump has made more expenditure his priority for NATO, using his first alliance meeting in May to scold European leaders about spending, which is at historical lows and does not meet NATO’s target of 2 percent of GDP.



This year’s 4.3 percent increase represents the fastest growth since more than a decade of cuts ended in 2014. Spending growth was 1.8 pct in 2015 and 3.3 percent last year, although it was unclear how near that takes members to the target.



Stoltenberg said the higher spending by Europe and Canada, some $280 billion this year, was NATO’s way of showing Washington that the United States had reliable allies, after Trump repeatedly questioned the alliance’s worth and only this month publicly committed to its mutual defense pledge.



“For me, America First is not America alone,” Stoltenberg told reporters, referring to the new administration’s foreign policy focused on U.S. interests and U.S. national security.



“No other great power has that, China, Russia do not have anything like the U.S. has in NATO, 28 allies that stand together with the United States, which provide support.”





VITAL CAPABILITIES
  Continued…


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Canada, European NATO states to raise defence spending by 4.3 percent in 2017

By Robin Emmott
| BRUSSELS

BRUSSELS Europe and Canada will raise defence spending at the fastest pace for three years in 2017, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Wednesday, partly aimed at showing the United States they are committed to shouldering more costs.

U.S. President Donald Trump has made more expenditure his priority for NATO, using his first alliance meeting in May to scold European leaders about spending, which is at historical lows and does not meet NATO’s target of 2 percent of GDP.

This year’s 4.3 percent increase represents the fastest growth since more than a decade of cuts ended in 2014. Spending growth was 1.8 pct in 2015 and 3.3 percent last year, although it was unclear how near that takes members to the target.

Stoltenberg said the higher spending by Europe and Canada, some $280 billion this year, was NATO’s way of showing Washington that the United States had reliable allies, after Trump repeatedly questioned the alliance’s worth and only this month publicly committed to its mutual defence pledge.

“For me, America First is not America alone,” Stoltenberg told reporters, referring to the new administration’s foreign policy focused on U.S. interests and U.S. national security.

“No other great power has that, China, Russia do not have anything like the U.S. has in NATO, 28 allies that stand together with the United States, which provide support.”

VITAL CAPABILITIES

Figures for individual allies will be released on Thursday, after approval by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s envoys, but overall 2017 spending will add to a cumulative $46 billion (35.90 billion pounds) jump since cuts left Europe without vital capabilities, such as refuelling airborne fighter bombers.

NATO officials stressed that while Trump’s tough stance had put the spotlight on defence spending, Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in 2014 had had a bigger impact.

After that annexation, allies agreed to spend 2 percent of economic output on defence every year by 2024 and reverse a trend that saw military research spending in the European Union fall by more than 20 billion euros ($23 billion) since 2006.

But only four of NATO’s 27 European members – Greece, Britain, Poland and Estonia – met the spending target in 2016. Romania will also do so this year, followed by Latvia and Lithuania in 2018, Stoltenberg said.

Twenty five of NATO’s 29 allies plan to lift spending this year, he said, a day before NATO defence ministers meet in Brussels to discuss greater security spending on rising threats including deterring a resurgent Russia, dealing with failed states on its borders and protecting against cyber attacks.

For the first time, NATO governments will produce national plans this year showing how they will reach the 2024 spending pledge, focusing not just on spending increases but also monitoring troop contributions to missions and acquiring technology such as precision-guided munitions.

The new figures are part of a broader rise in military spending in Europe, as the United States commits billions more dollars to return troops and heavy weaponry to the continent to deter Russia, and as the European Union seeks to set up a multi-billion-euro defence fund.

“We have really shifted gears, the trend is up and we intend to keep it up,” Stoltenberg said.

He said the increase in funds would be spent on more military exercises, training and equipment and to allowing NATO troops to deploy at ever faster notice, as well to pay salaries and pensions.

“It’s more about high-end forces, heavier forces and more ready forces, meaning we need forces that are fully equipped, fully manned and fully trained,” Stoltenberg said.

(Editing by Louise Ireland)


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Canada allows Dow, Dupont merger after firms agree to sell assets


Canada’s Competition Bureau said
on Tuesday it would allow a planned merger between DuPont
and Dow Chemical Co after both firms agreed to dispose
of some assets.


DuPont will sell a significant part of its global herbicides
business and research and development branch to FMC Corp
. Dow will sell its global business of certain
specialized plastics products to SK Global Chemical
Corp, the bureau said in a statement.
(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Richard Chang)

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TMX picks TCS platform for clearing and settlement businesses

TMX Group Ltd, Canada’s biggest
stock exchange operator, said on Tuesday it had chosen India’s
Tata Consultancy Services to implement a single
integrated platform for Canada’s clearing and settlement
businesses.

The platform, called TCS BaNCS, will replace legacy systems
at Canadian Depository for Securities Ltd (CDS) and Canadian
Derivatives Clearing Corp (CDCC) – two of the clearing houses
that TMX operates.


The development is part of an initiative, started in August
last year, to improve CDS and CDCC’s businesses, TMX said.

(Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Edited by
Martina D’Couto)

Government of Canada : Announces support for Venn Innovation Inc. and Atlantic Canada small businesses

June 27, 2017 – Moncton, NB – Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Helping innovative small and medium sized enterprises grow their business and enter into new markets is critical to enhancing Atlantic Canada’s economic success. Thanks to an investment of $772,438 from the Government of Canada, Moncton-based Venn Innovation Inc. is supporting the information technology (IT) sector in New Brunswick with activities to increase their international business development capability, as well as providing companies from across Atlantic Canada with competitive intelligence and awareness training.

Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance, on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), together with Gudie Hutchings, Parliamentary Secretary for Small Business and Tourism, joined Venn Innovation Inc. officials today for the announcement.

The first investment announced today is to support the development of IT companies in New Brunswick with various initiatives, including coaching and training programs, designed to grow and increase the capacity of SME’s to enter into new international markets. The Government of Canada provided Venn Innovation Inc. with a non-repayable contribution of $441,208 through ACOA’s Business Development Program (BDP).

The second project is a competitive intelligence training and awareness program that will enable Atlantic Canadian businesses to understand their industry, markets, customers, and competitors and turn that information into actionable strategies to grow their operations. The program will run over two years and include group training classes, one-on-one coaching, and a series of workshops to hone the skills of participating companies on topics such as internal improvements, export readiness and market preparedness. The Government of Canada, through ACOA’s BDP program, is providing a non-repayable contribution of $331,230 to this initiative.

Both of these projects build on the Government of Canada’s commitment to drive economic growth and job creation in Atlantic Canada through the Atlantic Growth Strategy, which supports strategic investments in initiatives that build on the region’s competitive advantages, such as its strong export potential and skilled workforce.

Quotes

‘The Government of Canada is committed to helping Canadian businesses grow, innovate and participate in a global economy so that they can create good quality jobs and generate wealth for Canadians. Through ACOA, we are making strategic investments in organizations like Venn Innovation so they can help businesses better respond to changing markets and continue to remain competitive here in Canada and on the world stage.’

  • The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for ACOA.

‘Venn Innovation Inc. offers an array of entrepreneurial support activities, customized programs and services for firms at different stages of their development. I am pleased that the Government of Canada is helping Venn to empower companies to grow and expand throughout Atlantic Canada with investments such as the ones announced today.’

  • The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Member of Parliament for Moncton-Riverview-Dieppe

‘Venn Innovation delivers focused programs and services to innovative companies, virtually all of which have to compete in global markets. While the first project concentrated on helping New Brunswick companies with export market development strategies, the second project will help high growth companies across Atlantic Canada develop the competitive intelligence skills essential to succeed in today’s hyper-competitive global markets.’

  • Doug Robertson, President & CEO, Venn Innovation Inc.

Contacts

Paul CJ LeBlanc
Senior Communications Officer
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
506-452-3310

Doug Robertson
President & CEO
Venn Innovation Inc.
506-857-3074

Government of Canada published this content on 26 June 2017 and is solely responsible for the information contained herein.
Distributed by Public, unedited and unaltered, on 27 June 2017 13:19:08 UTC.

The Bureau reaches agreements to address competition concerns in the retail gas industry in Quebec, Ontario and Atlantic Canada.

Alimentation Couche-Tard purchases CST and sells part of CST’s assets to Parkland

June 27, 2017 – OTTAWA, ON – Competition Bureau

The Competition Bureau announced today that it has reached separate agreements with Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. (Couche-Tard) and Parkland Industries Ltd. (Parkland) to address competition concerns arising from Couche-Tard’s purchase of CST Brands Inc. (CST), the owner of the Ultramar brand, and the subsequent sale of the majority of CST’s Canadian assets to Parkland. These agreements preserve competition in the retail sale of gasoline in Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador.

The Bureau concluded that, if allowed to proceed, Couche-Tard’s proposed acquisition of CST would likely result in a substantial lessening of competition in numerous local markets in Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador. To address this concern, Couche-Tard agreed to sell 366 gas stations and gasoline supply contracts to Parkland and one gas station to Philippe Gosselin & Associés Limitée.

In the subsequent sale of assets to Parkland, the Bureau concluded that a substantial lessening of competition in several markets in Ontario was likely. In those markets, Parkland agreed to sell nine gasoline supply contracts to MacEwen Petroleum Inc. (MacEwen) or McDougall Energy Inc. In addition, there are two other markets where the Bureau found that Parkland was not a suitable purchaser. In the latter, Parkland also divested certain of its own assets to MacEwen, prior to the Bureau entering into either of the consent agreements.

The Bureau is confident that these agreements will address the competition concerns identified and support the objective of preserving competition and fair retail gasoline prices for Canadians.

Quotes

‘Competition in the gasoline industry is an area of significant interest to Canadian consumers. The Competition Bureau does not hesitate to take action, when appropriate, to address competition concerns in this important sector.’

John Pecman,
Commissioner of Competition

Quick Facts

  • Couche-Tard operates a network of convenience stores and retail gas stations across Canada. The businesses are operated primarily under the Couche-Tard and Mac’s brands.

  • CST is one of the largest independent retail and wholesale distributors of motor fuel, convenience merchandise and services in North America. CST operates primarily under the Ultramar brand.

  • Parkland delivers gasoline, diesel, propane, lubricants, heating oil and other petroleum products to motorists, businesses, households and wholesale customers in Canada and the United States.

  • During the course of its review, the Bureau conducted interviews with various market participants, including retail gasoline station operators, municipal agencies and an industry expert; reviewed documents and information provided by the parties and third parties; and analyzed transaction-level data, as well as data on prevailing retail gasoline pricing in specific regions of interest.

  • Under the Competition Act, the Bureau has a mandate to review mergers to determine whether they are likely to result in a substantial lessening or prevention of competition. In reviewing mergers, the Bureau considers many different elements, including the impact of proposed transactions on the level of economic concentration in the relevant industry.

Contacts

Contacts

For media enquiries, please contact:
Media Relations
Telephone: 819-994-5945
Email: [email protected]

For general enquiries, please contact:
Information Centre
Competition Bureau
Telephone: 819-997-4282
Toll free: 1-800-348-5358
TTY (hearing impaired): 1-866-694-8389
www.competitionbureau.gc.ca
Enquiries /Complaints

Stay connected

The Competition Bureau, as an independent law enforcement agency, ensures that Canadian businesses and consumers prosper in a competitive and innovative marketplace.

Government of Canada published this content on 27 June 2017 and is solely responsible for the information contained herein.
Distributed by Public, unedited and unaltered, on 27 June 2017 21:44:09 UTC.