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A Sears Canada outlet is seen Tuesday, June 13, 2017 in Saint-Eustache, Que. Sears Canada's stock plunged Wednesday morning following a report that it's preparing to seek court protection from creditors. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

Globe and Mail Update

Our roundup of Canadian small-caps of between $100-million and $2.5-billion in market capitalization making news and on the move today.

Warren Buffett is coming to the rescue of Home Capital Group Inc. (HCG-T).

One of the world's most famous investors is backing the Toronto-based mortgage company in a financing deal that is designed to shore up confidence in the beleaguered firm as it tries to stabilize its deposit base.

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Mr. Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. has agreed to indirectly acquire $400-million of Home Capital's common shares — at a steep discount to the current trading price — and provide a new $2-billion line of credit on slightly better terms than the emergency loan it received in April from the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP).

This kind of bet is in keeping with Mr. Buffett's history of investing in distressed financial institutions on favourable terms, most famously in the United States during the 2008 financial crisis, when he invested billions in Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and other firms.

Home Capital has been in financial distress since April, when the Ontario Securities Commission levelled allegations against the firm and three former high-level executives of violating securities rules by failing to disclose problems in its mortgage underwriting business in 2014-15.

-- Christina Pellegrini

In a separate release, Home Capital  reported its financial position as of June 20.

It said total liquidity and credit capacity stood at approximately $1.23-billion, compared to $1.14-billion the day before and $1.10-billion on June 7.

Its high-interest savings account deposit balances stood at approximately $111.8-million, compared to $112.3-million the day before and $105.9-million on June 7.

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Total GIC deposits stood at approximately $12.02-billion compared to $12.01-billion the day before and $12.12-billion on June 7.

**

Sears Canada Inc. (SCC-T; SRSC-Q) issued a release early Thursday saying that it and some of its subsidiaries have applied to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice (Commercial List) for protection under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act "in order to continue to restructure its business."

Ailing Sears Canada Inc. has asked for court protection from its creditors so that it can continue operating as a stronger retailer, the company confirmed on Thursday morning.

Under court protection, the company will restructure and continue its reinvention plan which entails introducing discounted designer fashions and a new private label line to draw more customers to the stores.

Despite its poor results over the past years, Sears has managed to increase its same-store sales in each of its last two quarters under the new strategy, the company said. "Sears Canada believes this indicates that the new brand positioning is starting to resonate with consumers," it said in a statement.

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It said it has applied to Ontario Superior Court for protection under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act in a bid to revamp its business. Industry sources have said it wants to shrink its portfolio of 94 department stores by about 30.

-- Marina Strauss

**

GreenSpace Brands Inc. (JTR-X) reported fourth-quarter revenue of $12.9-million compared to $5.6-million a year earlier.

It said the fourth-quarter revenue was higher than the entire previous fiscal year's revenue of $12.3-million.

Net revenue (minus rebates, discounts and listing fees) was $11.1-million up from $4.2-million a year ago, the company said.

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Analysts were expecting revenue of $11.3-million in the most recent quarter.

The company also reported a net loss of $722,000 versus a loss of nearly $2-million a year earlier.

**

Altius Minerals Corp. (ALS-T) reported fourth-quarter revenue of $13.5-million versus $7.5-million a year earlier.

Its net loss was $963,000 or 2 cents per share versus a loss of about $20-million or 50 cents a year earlier.

**

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Orocobre Ltd. (ORL-T) says severe weather has impacted its operations South America.

At the Olaroz Lithium Facility in Argentina, the company said production was suspended for three days last week "after on-site stocks of soda ash, a key process reagent, were depleted after heavy snowfall forced the closure of the Paso de Jama for over three weeks."

It said the conditions have had short-term impacts on production, shipment schedule and brine evaporation rates but that "the overall process of re-profiling the pond brine inventory is developing as expected."

**

Stuart Olson Inc. (SOX-T) says its commercial systems group has been awarded approximately $110-million in new contracts.

The new projects include a large health care facility in Alberta and a number of smaller projects, including work on a mental health and treatment facility in B.C.

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**

NewCastle Gold Ltd. (NCA-T) is raising $15-million in a bought-deal financing.

It has an agreement with a syndicate of underwriters co-led by Beacon Securities Ltd., TD Securities Inc. and Canaccord Genuity Corp. to buy about 15.8 million shares at 95 cents each.

NewCastle says it plans to use the net proceeds for exploration work at its Castle Mountain Project, repayment of debt and general corporate purposes.

**

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