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Newalta Corp.

Our roundup of Canadian small-caps making news and on the move today. This post will be updated throughout the morning.

Newalta Corp. announced a number of cost reduction initiatives, including about 180 layoffs, representing 15 per cent of the industrial waste processing company's work force. The cuts were made as a result of an internal review conducted after the company announced in December a deal to sell its industrial division for $300-million to private equity buyers. On top of a previously announced freeze on new hiring and salary increases, the new cost savings represent more than $25-million in annual earnings, the company said.

While the changes were "long overdue," according to TD Securities analyst Scott Treadwell, they do not appear sufficient to reach cost reduction targets. "While management had previously communicated a goal of 8 per cent for [general and administrative expenses] as a per cent of revenues, yesterday's announcement appears to leave a cost structure well in excess of that level," Mr. Treadwell said. He lowered his target price on the stock to $20 (Canadian) from $22 but maintained a "buy" rating.

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ProMetic Life Sciences Inc. said its drug for the treatment of pulmonary fibrosis has been approved by Health Canada for Phase 2 clinical trials. "The prospect of demonstrating that the significant improvements in lung function seen in our preclinical models can actually translate into similar improvements in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis patients is obviously of great interest to all involved," said John Moran, ProMetic's chief medical officer.

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Crombie Real Estate Investment Trust has entered into a bought deal to raise $125-million in a private placement of senior unsecured notes with five-year terms at 2.775 per cent. The proceeds will be used to pay down existing debt, including its outstanding 5.75 per cent Series C convertible unsecured subordinated debentures.

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Mettrum Health Corp. said it has signed a term sheet to purchase Oilseed Works Inc., which would mark the firm's entry into the hemp cannabis-based functional foods market. Mettrum will pay $250,000 up-front and 15 per cent of its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization over the next five years. "The proposed addition of Hempola to our product lines will further solidify our position in the natural health products markets," said chief executive officer Michael Haines. "We are very excited to have the opportunity to expand our operations and product offering into a complementary area of our existing business and look forward to completing the transaction and working together with our new colleagues at Hempola in further product development and growth."

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Anglo Pacific Group PLC said it has entered into a conditional agreement to acquire a 1 per cent gross revenue royalty stake in the Narrabri coal project in Australia for $65-million (U.S.).

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Rock Energy Inc. said it has increased the size of is share offering to $13.2-million from $10-million. The proceeds will be used to reduce debt and fund a portion of the company's 2015 capital budget.

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Leisureworld Senior Care Corp. said it will rebrand itself as Sienna Senior Living Inc., and will rename its 10 retirement residences and 35 long-term care homes, which will no longer carry the parent company's name. "Management believes that the new identity will go a long way in supporting the company's brand philosophy aimed at delivering on the warmth of human connection," Leisureworld said.

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Raging River Exploration Inc. said it has completed its previously announced bought-deal financing, having issued 13.8-million shares at a price of $6.40 per share, for gross proceeds of $88.3-million. "The net proceeds from the financing will initially be used to repay outstanding indebtedness under the company's credit facilities, which will be redrawn to fund the corporation's 2015 capital expenditure program and for general corporate purposes," the company said. The financing will improve Raging River's debt position and possibly set the company up for accretive acquisitions, Dundee Capital Markets analyst Brian Kristjansen said. "The company's exceptionally clean balance sheet, high forecast cash netbacks, production per share growth estimates and excellent management team keeps the stock positioned as our top pick in the intermediate space."

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Calian Technologies Ltd. released its financial statements for the quarter ended Dec. 31, which showed a moderate decline in earnings year over year, but an 8-per-cent increase in revenues over the same period. "Despite continued constraints in federal government spending, this marks the first time in a number of quarters where we did not encounter a substantial drop in year-over-year revenues," said Ray Basler, Calian's CEO. "This is as an indication that our effort to bolster our non-government service offerings is starting to pay off."

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Chesswood Group Ltd. announced the sale of its case funding subsidiary, which provides financing to U.S. attorneys and plaintiffs engaged in lawsuits in exchange for a portion of future proceeds. Chesswood sold the division to a U.S.-based private equity firm for $4.4-million (U.S.), resulting in a "small pre-tax net gain," the company said. "More importantly," the deal gives Chesswood the opportunity to "seek both organic growth and acquisitions that are better aligned with our desire to invest in scalable finance businesses."

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Sabina Gold & Silver Corp. named Bruce McLeod its new CEO, taking over from retiring leader Rob Pease. Mr. McLeod is a mining engineer and former president of Mercator Minerals Ltd. "Not only has the project evolved significantly over the last year, recent changes to currency and energy prices offer opportunities to also positively impact the project economics," Mr. McLeod said, referring to Sabina's key Black River gold mine in southwestern Nunavut.

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