Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

Onex committed $345-million of its own capital to the WestJet Airlines acquisition.

The Canadian Press

Private equity firm Onex Corp. posted a US$1.1-billion loss in the first quarter as it wrote down the value of WestJet Airlines and other holdings due to the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Toronto-based Onex booked a US$985-million loss on its investment portfolio and an additional US$67-million loss on its wealth management platform, Gluskin Sheff. Onex said the decrease in value of its investments ranged from declines of between 1 per cent and 77 per cent, and said the company is now ensuring each of its business have access to at least 12 months of capital, to ensure their survival through the current downturn.

Onex founder and chief executive Gerry Schwartz said the 36-year-old firm has endured numerous financial crisis, and “the one thing I know is that we will get back to normal.” Onex has investments in more than 40 businesses and Mr. Schwartz said his goal is to ensure they all emerge from the downturn “stronger and more resilient.”

Story continues below advertisement

While the company did not break down the value of individual holdings, analysts estimate the value of WestJet has declined by 65 per cent since the buyout firm acquired the airline in December for $3.5-billion. Onex committed $345-million of its own capital to the WestJet acquisition.

Onex executives said during a conference call Friday that WestJet is effectively in “hibernation,” with the company spending what’s needed to keep its employees and fleet ready to go once passengers start booking flights. Onex expects WestJet’s vacation travel business to ramp up ahead of business traffic as borders open up, but gave no timetable for the airline’s recovery.

Prior to the pandemic-inspired market decline in March, Onex raised US$202-million by selling a portion of its stake in European packaging company SIG Combibloc. In mid-April, Onex announced a major acquisition, agreeing to acquire U.K. medical services firm Independent Clinical Services. Analysts estimate the transaction was valued at US$1.4-billion. Mr. Schwartz said Onex sees opportunities to acquire more businesses, including companies that are in financial distress.

Onex is currently holding US$1.9-billion in cash, and maintained its quarterly dividend of 10 cents per subordinate voting share. Onex said while its holdings in several sectors, including aerospace and travel, are facing significant headwinds, the firm is benefiting from a conscious decision to avoid cyclical industries such as energy and natural resources.

Your time is valuable. Have the Top Business Headlines newsletter conveniently delivered to your inbox in the morning or evening. Sign up today.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Tickers mentioned in this story
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies