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

On the rise

Vermilion Energy Inc. (VET-T) rose after saying it has signed a deal to increase its stake in the Corrib natural gas project off the coast of Ireland.

Under an agreement with Equinor ASA, the Calgary-based company says it will pay $556-million for Equinor Energy Ireland Ltd., which owns a 36.5 per cent stake in Corrib.

Vermilion says its operated interest in Corrib will increase to 56.5 per cent with the deal.

The company also announced an exploration and development capital budget of $425-million for next year, with expected production to average 83,000 to 85,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, before taking into account the Corrib acquisition.

Vermilion plans to spend about $215-million in North America in a capital program that will include the drilling of 50 wells, while it plans to spend $210-million across its international assets.

The company also says it plans to reinstate a quarterly dividend of six cents per share starting in the first quarter of next year.

Parkland Corp. (PKI-T) was up after announcing it has gained approval a normal course issuer bid to repurchase up to 15.1 million common shares, representing 10 per cent of the public float of common shares as of Nov. 25.

“In the right conditions, and in addition to our regular monthly dividend, the NCIB will provide optionality to return additional capital to shareholders,” said president and CEO Bob Espey. “We will continue to exercise strict capital discipline, and the decision to repurchase Parkland shares will be evaluated against our other investment opportunities and leverage guidelines. We are focused on creating long-term shareholder value, and only our most accretive opportunities will secure capital.”

In a research note, ATB Capital Markets analyst Nate Heywood said: “With a heavy reliance on internally generated cash flows to support this growth, we view the NCIB as more of an option for PKI to provide flexibility should we see continued share price weakness (down 17per cent year-to-date) or a slow-down in near-term M&A opportunities, with a focus on long-term value creation through accretive capital deployment.”

Dominion Lending Centres Inc. (DLCG-X) soared after it announced its plans for a substantial issuer bid that would cancel up to 3 million shares for $3.75 each. The shares closed at $3.35 on Friday.

The company said its board believes that the recent trading price of the shares “is not fully reflective of their intrinsic value” based on the value of the company’s assets and “its business and future prospects.”

On the decline

Capital Power Corp. (CPX-T) finished flat after announcing it has agreed to partner with Enbridge Inc. (ENB-T) on a carbon capture and storage (CCS) project that would aim to capture up to three million tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually.

The proposed project would serve Capital Power’s Genesee Generating Station near Warburg, Alta.,, which currently provides over 1,200 megawatts of baseload electricity generation to Albertans.

Alberta is aiming to become a hub for carbon storage and hydrogen production as the world moves away from fossil fuel consumption and tries to cut climate-warming carbon emissions.

Enbridge would be the transportation and storage service provider, while Capital Power would be the carbon dioxide provider on the project, which could be in service as early as 2026.

The captured carbon dioxide emissions from the re-powered units would be transported and stored through Enbridge’s open access carbon hub that could also serve several other local industrial companies.

Enbridge is applying to develop an open access carbon hub in the Wabamun area through the government of Alberta’s request for full project proposals process, which is expected to start as early as December 2021.

Tim Hortons parent company Restaurant Brands International Inc. (QSR-T) slid as its Chinese arm said on Monday it has signed a deal with Metro China to open coffee shops in the retailer’s stores, as it banks on rising coffee consumption in the world’s most populous country.

Tims China said the first batch of seven Tims Go coffee shops, a compact-store model with delivery services, opened on Monday at Metro China stores in four cities. It eventually aims to expand the partnership to 60 cities.

Metro China, a joint venture of Wumart and Metro AG, currently operates 99 stores.

The latest openings bring the store footprint for Tims China, which plans to go public next year, to over 335 stores in 20 Chinese cities, up from 137 stores at the start of the year.

“China is the fastest growing coffee market in the world,” Tims China chairman Peter Yu told Reuters.

“As of last year, Chinese per capita consumption of coffee was 5 per cent, so one-twentieth of what it was in Japan, and one-thirtieth of what it was in Canada. So we believe there is tremendous room for us to bring and to help grow a coffee culture here.”

In August, Tims China said in an investor presentation filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that it expects its stores in China to total more than 2,700 by 2026.

Twitter Inc. (TWTR-N) erased early gains after it announced Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey is stepping down from his role and Chief Technology Officer Parag Agrawal will now lead the company.

The appointment of Mr. Agrawal, a 10-year veteran of Twitter, marks an endorsement of a strategy the company previously laid out to double its annual revenue by 2023 and also indicates an increasing focus on Twitter’s long-term ambition to rebuild how social media companies operate.

Mr. Dorsey, who co-founded Twitter in 2006, is leaving after overseeing the launch of new ways to create content through newsletters or audio conversations while simultaneously serving as CEO of his payments processing company Square Inc.

He also navigated the tumultuous years of U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration before banning the Republican from the platform after the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

The CEO change is effective immediately and Mr. Dorsey will remain on the board until his term expires at the 2022 annual shareholder meeting, the company said.

In an email to employees on Monday, Mr. Dorsey said he chose to step down due to the strength of Mr. Agrawal’s leadership, the naming of Salesforce Chief Operating Officer Bret Taylor as the new chairman of the board and his confidence in the “ambition and potential” of Twitter’s employees.

Wynn Resorts Ltd. (WYNN-Q) and MGM Resorts International (MGM-N) slipped as Macau casino stocks were rattled by the arrests of 11 people over alleged links to cross-border gambling and money laundering, with the founder of the gaming hub’s biggest junket operator among those detained.

Shares in MGM China plunged 10 per cent, while Wynn Macau lost 7.8 per cent and Sands China fell 5.3 per cent as investors fretted about the near-term potential loss of business as well as the longer-term implications of the watershed hardline stance being taken towards the sector by authorities in Macau and mainland China.

Alvin Chau, the founder of Suncity - a junket operator that brings in high rollers to play at casinos, extending them credit and collecting on their debts - as well as the CEO of gambling sector investment firm Suncity Group Holdings, was among those arrested, Macau broadcaster TDM reported.

Macau authorities have previously said police were questioning a 47-year-old businessman surnamed Chau, without elaborating on his identity.

On Friday authorities in Wenzhou, a city in eastern China, issued an arrest warrant for Alvin Chau, accusing him of operating gambling activities in mainland China where gambling is illegal.

“Suncity accounts for over 50 per cent of junket revenue (in Macau), which accounts for roughly 50% of gaming revenues, so Suncity accounts for 25 per cent of gaming revenues,” said Carlos Lobo, a Macau-based gaming consultant.

“The impact on the gambling industry is huge ... But (Suncity) is no longer too big to fail, the system will not collapse.”

Suncity Group Holdings did not respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Macau police said on Sunday the 11 people arrested had admitted some allegations, including establishing overseas gambling platforms and conducting illegal virtual betting activities, but had declined to cooperate on other issues.

With files from Brenda Bouw, staff and wires

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