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

Exco Technologies Ltd (XTC-T) increased its quarterly dividend by 6 per cent to 8.5 cents per share.

It also reported first-quarter sales of $134.9-million compared to $153.1-million in the same quarter last year.

Net income for the first quarter was $8.9-million 21 cents per share compared to $11.5-million or 27 cents per share in the same quarter last year.

"While Exco reported softer revenues and profits in our first fiscal quarter compared to the prior-year period, we remain bullish on our prospects for continued sequential improvement through the remainder of the year," said CEO Brian Robbins.

Analysts were expecting sales of $139.2-million and earnings of 22 cents.


Plaza Retail REIT (PLZ.UN-T) says it's raising $45-million in a bought deal public offering. It has an agreement to sell convertible unsecured subordinated debentures to a syndicate of underwriters led by RBC Capital Markets.

Plaza said it intends to use the net proceeds to redeem convertible unsecured subordinated debentures, repay amounts outstanding on its operating line of credit and for future and on-going development and re-development activities and for general trust purposes.

In a separate release, Plaza Retail REIT announced it has increased its interest in each of two Moncton-area plazas to 50 per cent from 10 per cent. It said a Canadian pension fund is buying the other 50 per cent on a co-ownership basis. Both properties were previously co-owned with Plaza through two retail syndications.  The REIT's incremental gross investment is approximately $17-million, and its incremental net investment is approximately $5.6-million, it said.

"This transaction reflects Plaza's strategy to capitalize on opportunities within its existing portfolio and enter into value-enhancing transactions that both increase the assets of the REIT and provide for higher unitholder returns."


Painted Pony Energy Ltd. (PONY-T) announced some executive changes, including the departure of its chief financial officer Derek Aylesworth, who will resign effective March 7, to pursue other business opportunities.

"Mr. Aylesworth will assist the corporation in completing its year-end financial statement filing obligations prior to his departure," the company said. It said Stuart Jaggard, vice president of finance, will be appointed interim CFO.


Obsidian Energy Ltd. (OBE-T; OBE-N) says it has an agreement to sell "a significant portion" of its non-core legacy assets "in exchange for the assumption of abandonment and reclamation liabilities."

CEO David French called the transaction "another important step forward" for the company. "It demonstrates the continued refocusing of the business only on assets where we can deliver distinctive performance."

The company also revised its full-year production and operating cost guidance to reflect the impact of the disposition.


Invesque Inc. (HLP.UN-T) says it has acquired a recently constructed, 70-bed post-acute transitional care facility in Round Rock, Texas from Mainstreet Property Group, LLC for approximately $22.8-million (U.S.).

The company said it funded the transaction through a combination of the assumption of debt and cash on hand.


UrtheCast Corp. (UR-T) issued a statement on Wednesday after markets closed saying it is "continuing to work exclusively with the selected institutional investor to close the previously announced financing for the UrtheDailyTM Constellation."

The company said it is working towards closing the financing in the near term, but that "definitive documentation will not be completed by the targeted date of January 31."

"While we will require additional time to conclude the financing, we are pleased with the progress made to date and are working towards closing the financing in the near term.  We continue to believe the financing will unlock substantial value for our shareholders, customers and partners," stated Sai Chu UrtheCast's chief financial officer.


MPX Bioceutical Corp. (MPX-CN) says it has a management agreement, through its S8 Management subsidiary, with GreenMart of Maryland, LLC, which is authorized to operate a dispensary and sell medical cannabis products in the state.

"Pursuant to the management agreement, S8 Management will provide all management services typically required by a dispensary facility of similar type and size of GreenMart, including but not limited to, all staffing, materials, equipment, logistical support, accounting and other administrative functions, contractor selection, advisory services and any other requirements essential to the successful operation of GreenMart," the company stated.

"With only a very limited number of licenses permitted, the GreenMart transaction strengthens our first-mover advantage in Maryland," stated CEO Scott Boyes. "Upon completion of licensing approval for GreenMart and final inspection of the dispensary, we expect the facility to open its doors and to commence selling cannabis-based medicines to Maryland patients early in the second quarter of 2018. With this addition, MPX companies will be managing three dispensaries in Maryland and one of only fifteen concentrate processing operations."


PolyMet Mining Corp. (POM-T) issued a statement after markets closed, at the request of regulators, to say it's "not aware of any material undisclosed development that would cause today's upward movement in the company's share price."

The stock closed up 16 per cent or 22 cents to $1.60.


Namaste Technologies Inc. (N-CN) says it's raising $34.5-million in a bought-deal equity financing.

It has a letter of engagement with Eight Capital, along with a syndicate of underwriters, to buy 11.8 million units at $2.55 each.

The company intends to use the net proceeds to fund inventory and for working capital and general corporate purposes.


Abattis Bioceuticals Corp. (ATT-CN) says it has an agreement to acquire a 49-per-cent stake in CannaNUMUS Blockchain Inc., which is developing a cryptocurrency where tokens will represent the performance of a suite of portfolio cannabis companies.

"With a 49-per-cent equity stake in this blockchain platform, Abattis could see a significant upside from any CannaNUMUS liquidity event, including a reverse take-over of CannaNUMUS or an ICO [initial coin offering]," stated Rob Abenante, CEO of Abattis.


Britain's Sainsbury's said on Thursday it has purchased the Nectar loyalty card business from Canada's Aimia Inc. (AIM-T) for $105-million, boosting the supermarket group's control of customer data.

Sainsbury's, which has been part of the Nectar scheme since it launched in 2002, said it has acquired all the assets, staff, systems and licences required for the independent operation of the Nectar loyalty programme in Britain from Aimia, a data, marketing and analytics company.

In a release, Aimia CEO David Johnston said the sale "was the optimal risk-adjusted outcome for Aimia and we have worked to ensure a seamless transition for collectors and employees. The transaction allows for a sharper focus on Aeroplan, our largest and most profitable business, and simplifies our operations all the while preserving a robust balance sheet for our ongoing business."

- with files from Reuters


EnWave Corp. (ENW-X) says it named Tilray, a Canadian licensed cannabis producer, as its licensed partner under the terms of an agreement signed in October.

The license grants Tilray an exclusive right to use and sub-license the company's proprietary dehydration technology in Canada for production of high-quality dried and decontaminated cannabis products, EnWave said.


Resolute Forest Products Inc. (RFP-N; RFP-T) reported net income of $13-million or 14 cents per share for the fourth quarter, compared to a net loss of $45-million or 50 cents per share in the same period in 2016.

Sales were $898-million in the quarter, an increase of $9-million from the fourth quarter of 2016.

Excluding special items, the company said it earned $14-million or 15 cents per share for the quarter compared with a loss, excluding special items of $7-million or eight cents per share in the fourth quarter of 2016.

The company also named Yves Laflamme as its new president and chief executive. Mr. Laflamme — currently Resolute's senior vice-president of wood products, global procurement and information technology — succeeding Richard Garneau, who is retiring.

- with files from The Canadian Press

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