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Canadian vehicle sales up

OTTAWA -- Canada's vehicle manufacturers are poised to have their most profitable year in a decade in 2012, according to the Conference Board of Canada.

The Ottawa-based economic forecaster estimates the industry will have $1.35 billion in pre-tax profits this year, its best year since 2002.

"The industry will continue to benefit from brisk growth in vehicle sales, both this year and next," said Michael Burt, director, industrial economic trends.

Burt noted that while Canadian sales are set to surpass their pre-recession level this year, sales in the United States are not expected to return to 2007 volumes until 2014.

Through the first eight months of 2012, Canadian automotive production rose almost 20 per cent compared with the same period last year, said the Conference Board report.

Temple gets hotel stake

TEMPLE Real Estate Investment Trust has acquired a 50-per-cent stake in Winnipeg's Holiday Inn South hotel, with plans to buy the other half in 2013.

The Winnipeg-based trust said Thursday it acquired the ownership stake from unrelated third parties for $5.5 million.

The other 50 per cent share of the 11-storey, Pembina Highway hotel is owned by a firm related to Temple -- Lake Louise Limited Partnership (LLLP). Twenty-three per cent of LLLP is owned by a numbered Manitoba company owned by the wife of Temple REIT CEO Arni Thorsteinson.

Thorsteinson is also the president of the numbered company -- 2668921 Manitoba Ltd. And 2668921 is the parent company of Shelter Canadian Properties Ltd., which manages Temple REIT's assets.

Temple said Thorsteinson, who is also one of its trustees, abstained from voting on the resolution approving the Holiday Inn South deal. It said it expects to acquire LLLP's half interest in the hotel next year, subject to regulatory approvals.

Earlier this week, Temple announced that its unitholders had approved a proposal to convert the REIT to a corporation called Temple Hotels Inc. The proposal is now subject to approval by the Toronto Stock Exchange and the Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench, as well as the receipt of all required consents from third parties.

Ruling benefits local firm

THE Canadian International Trade Tribunal has ruled that South Korean manufacturers of large electrical transformers were dumping equipment at below cost in Canada and anti-dumping duties will continue to be imposed.

The Canada Border Services Agency imposed preliminary duties in August.

CG Power Systems Canada Inc. of Winnipeg, one of only three facilities in North America capable of building large, 500-kilovolt transformers, filed the complaint in March along with ABB, Inc. of Varennes, Quebec.

Ian Harrison, the general manager of the Winnipeg plant that employs more than 300 people, said, "It is good news... It is nice to get a positive result. We just hope it will mean we will have a level playing field in North America to sell our products."

Harrison said the Korean imports may have captured as much as 50 per cent of the Canadian market over the last three-to-four years.

CG Power is part of a global operation that has plants around the world, but the Winnipeg plant services the North American marketplace.

-- The Canadian Press / staff

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 23, 2012 B7

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