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Investments hampered: Prentice

OTTAWA -- Canada's new rules on foreign takeovers by state-owned firms are scaring away needed investment, threatening oilpatch development and hurting the economy, former Conservative minister Jim Prentice warned Tuesday.

The CIBC senior executive and former Harper government industry minister, regarded by many as a potential future leadership candidate, issued the blunt assessment in a speech in London, England, that contained some indirect criticism of his former colleagues.

In particular, the speech singled out the government's decision late last year to all but limit investment by state-owned enterprises in the oilpatch to minority stakes.

The policy shift followed months of agonizing over the proposed takeover of two Alberta energy firms -- Nexen Inc. and Progress Energy -- by Chinese and Malaysian state interests, respectively, which were eventually approved.

Prentice said he supports the policy but warns it has already caused negative blowback -- and said Ottawa needs to do a better job convincing potential suitors the country needs and welcomes their business.

 

Bought-deal offering for Boyd

BOYD Group Income Fund is raising $55.2 million in a bought-deal offering of new units.

Winnipeg-based Boyd, the largest non-franchised collision repair operation in North America, will use the proceeds of the offering to repay unamortized prepaid rebates (unearned income) previously received under paint supply arrangements as well as for general corporate purposes.

"Prepaid rebates from our paint supply partner have been an important component of our growth strategy to date. However, given our current size, purchasing scale and access to capital, combined with changing paint market conditions, we have now assessed that moving to higher, market-driven, back-end purchase discounts will be to our advantage and very accretive to our unitholders," said Brock Bulbuck, president and CEO of the Boyd Group.

The offering will be at $27.60 per unit. Boyd shares closed up $1.40 to $28.98, a new 52-week high.

Boyd expects to file a preliminary short form prospectus relating to the offering on Oct. 7 and closing of the offering is expected to occur on or about Oct. 22.

 

Richardson expanding

RICHARDSON International Limited is establishing two international subsidiaries to handle a dramatic increase in the volume of its grain handling business.

The Winnipeg-based company -- the largest grain handler in the country -- is opening offices in Geneva and Singapore to enhance its ability to serve existing customers and develop relationships with new customers in overseas markets.

"We want to establish a permanent presence for the Richardson group of companies in key international markets to be closer to our evolving customer base and make the most of opportunities to expand our global reach," said Brent Watchorn, executive vice-president, marketing.

With the acquisition of 19 new grain facilities across Western Canada and the newly open market for wheat and barley after the end of the Canadian Wheat Board monopoly a year ago, Richardson's volumes have grown significantly and company officials say they will continue to grow.

Richardson has had a presence in Asia for the last three years with a merchandising subsidiary in Hong Kong. These two new entities in Singapore and Geneva will enhance Richardson's ability to service new and existing customers in overseas markets.

Richardson is a worldwide handler and merchandiser of all major Canadian-grown grains and oilseeds and a processor and manufacturer of oats and canola-based products. It has more than 2,400 employees across Canada and the U.S.

 

-- staff / from the news services

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 2, 2013 B7

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