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A roundup of some of the North American equities making moves in both directions today

On the rise

Boralex Inc. (BLX-T) was up on Monday after announcing before the bell it has signed a deal to buy controlling interests in seven solar power plants in the United States from Centaurus Renewable Energy LLC and other investors for $283 million.

The deal includes five solar plants in California, one in Alabama and one in Indiana.

CRE and other investors will retain certain non-controlling interests in the assets.

The operations were commissioned between 2014 and 2017 and benefit from long-term power purchase agreements.

Boralex chief executive Patrick Lemaire says the acquisition will mark the company’s entry into the California, Alabama and Indiana markets and will be a springboard to further development.

The deal is expected to close before the end of the year.

On Friday, Boralex announced a $121.5-million deal to acquire 49-per-cent stake in three Quebec wind farms it does not already own from the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec

In a research note, Industrial Alliance Securities analyst Naji Baydoun said: “Overall, we view BLX as the best organic growth investment vehicle in the Canadian renewable IPP space, with (1) highly contracted operations (~13-year weighted average contract term), (2) strong FCF/share growth (5-8 per cent per year, CAGR 2019-24E), (3) potential upside from the Company’s development pipeline (more than 2.5GW of prospects), (4) potential for dividend growth (2-per-cent yield, 40-60-per-cent FCF payout target),and(5) potential upside from M&A (not included in ourestimates/valuation). The acquisition announced this morning immediately improves BLX’s financial profile and could further accelerate growth.”

See also: Monday’s analyst upgrades and downgrades

Lundin Mining Corp. (LUN-T) rose after one of the unions on strike at its Candelaria copper mine in Chile accepted a 30-month collective agreement.

The Candelaria AOS Union, representing about 550 workers at Lundin’s Candelaria operations in Chile, accepted the last formal offer, presented by Candelaria on Nov. 12, the company said.

It said it was assessing a resumption of partial operations at the mine, while the other union, Candelaria Mine Workers Union, representing about 350 workers, continues its strike.

The proposal includes increases in allocations and payments for closing the negotiations of 17.5 million pesos ($22,800), the company told Reuters.

Evelyn Walter, president of the union, told Reuters a promise by the company to review aspects not touched in the latest round of contract negotiations in the next round had been the “most important” part of the agreement.

“The pay deal was for $17.5 mil gross, so taxes will have to be deducted from that, and there was also decent agreement on benefits,” he said in a message.

The Candelaria copper mine, owned by the Canadian miner, announced plans to suspend operations at the mine on Oct. 20, after the two unions called on their workers to begin strikes.

Uber Technologies Inc. (UBER-N) and Lyft Inc. (LYFT-Q) rose after being awarded a federal contract worth up to US$810-million to offer their ride-hail services to public agencies and their more than 4 million employees and contractors across the country.

The General Services Administration (GSA), which manages services for federal agencies, issued its final five-year award on Monday, said Veronica Juarez, Lyft’s vice president of social enterprise and government.

While individual federal employees have previously been able to use ride-hail services for travel, the new contract allows the companies to formally launch their services within agencies and directly work with officials to promote the service.

Ms. Juarez said the award capped a nearly four-year negotiation process. She declined to say how much revenue Lyft expected from the contract, but said the U.S. government spends around US$200-million on ground transportation each year.

Lyft also hopes the government contract will open doors to further collaboration on public health and equity projects that require transportation.

The GSA did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but the agency in April announced the award to Uber and Lyft tentatively.

Canada’s largest grocer Loblaw Companies Ltd. (L-T) was higher in the wake of announcing it is launching a driverless-technology test for delivery trucks that carry products to its stores, as it works to speed up its supply chain to keep up with growing e-commerce demand.

On Monday, Loblaw revealed a multiyear partnership with startup Gatik, based in Palo Alto, Calif., to deploy five trucks for the test in the Greater Toronto Area.

This does not mean robots will be bringing groceries to Canadians’ homes any time soon. The bulk of Loblaw’s e-commerce customers use its PC Express “click-and-collect” service to pick up online orders at stores. What Loblaw is looking to do – and Gatik’s strategic focus – is to make the “middle-mile” journey of orders from hub locations to various pickup points, more efficient.

- Susan Krashinsky Robertson and Sean Silcoff

See also: Loblaw sales gain as pandemic continues to shape consumer spending habits

New York-based fintech firm Ideanomics Inc. (IDEX-Q) soared on Monday and led Nasdaq gainers after announcing it has increased its stake in e-Tractor company Solectrac Inc. through a follow-on investment of an additional US$1.3-million.

On Oct. 22, Ideanomics revealed the acquisition of a 14.7-per-cent stake in the California company for US$1.3-million.

“Since this announcement, Solectrac experienced an increase in product and investment inquiries,” it said in a release.

Drugmaker Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. (REGN-Q) rose after the FDA on Saturday granted emergency use authorization to its COVID-19 antibody therapy.

The FDA said the monoclonal antibodies, casirivimab and imdevimab, should be administered together for the treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 in adults and pediatric patients with positive results of direct SARS-CoV-2 viral testing and who are at high risk for progressing to severe COVID-19.

This includes those who are 65 years of age or older or who have certain chronic medical conditions.

The treatment is part of a class of drugs known as monoclonal antibodies, which are manufactured copies of antibodies created by the human body to fight infections.

Regeneron’s REGEN-COV2 “antibody cocktail” - containing an antibody made by the company and a second isolated from humans who recovered from COVID-19 - is designed so that the two antibodies seek out and bind to the coronavirus’ spike protein to prevent it from entering healthy human cells.

On the decline

Merck & Co Inc. (MRK-N) slid after agreeing to acquire OncoImmune in a deal that will give it control of a drug that could help ease symptoms and reduce deaths in patients with severe or critical cases of COVID-19.

Merck is paying US$425-million for the private company, in addition to extra payments for regulatory milestones and sales. Merck has built out its portfolio of COVID-19 medicines through a series of deals in recent months, including the acquisition of Australian drugmaker Themis and a partnership with Ridgeback Biotherapeutics LP.

OncoImmune recently announced positive interim data from a phase 3 trial of its leading therapeutic candidate, CD24F, for patients with severe and critical COVID-19.

Montreal-based transportation and logistics company TFI International Inc. (TFII-T) dipped with the premarket announcement of an agreement to issue and sell US $500-million of senior notes consisting of four tranches in a private placement transaction led by Prudential Private Capital.

TFI said intends to use the net proceeds from the issuance of the senior notes primarily to repay existing debt as well as for general corporate purposes, which may include acquisitions.

Sherritt International Corp. (S-T) was lower after saying president and CEO David Pathe intends to step down from his role in 2021 but will stay on until a replacement is in place.

The company says Mr. Pathe’s eight years as leader were marked by difficult and unpredictable nickel prices and financial threats posed by its participation in the Ambatovy nickel mine in Madagascar.

The Toronto-based company concluded a court-supervised restructuring in August that allowed it to exit the mine partnership and eliminate debt and cash calls associated with the investment.

Sherritt chairman Richard Lapthorne says Mr. Pathe’s tenure was also made more difficult by “increasingly hostile” U.S. policy toward Cuba, where the company mines for cobalt and nickel and produces oil and power with its Cuban partners.

Mr. Pathe also supervised Sherritt’s exit from the thermal coal business, selling assets including seven producing mines in Alberta and Saskatchewan in 2014 for $946 million.

Before becoming CEO in 2012, Mr. Pathe acted as chief financial officer and general counsel and corporate secretary for Sherritt.

“David’s tenure as chief executive was over a time as difficult to manage as any the company has faced in its over 90-year history,” said Mr. Lapthorne in a news release.

“Quite simply, David is leaving Sherritt having given it a new ability to look forward.”

With files from staff and wires

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