Our roundup of Canadian small-caps of between $100-million and $2.5-billion in market capitalization making news and on the move today.
Aecon Group Inc. (ARE-T) announced it’s withdrawing its outlook for 2020 as it evaluates the impact of the temporary slowing or suspension of work on several of its projects in multiple jurisdictions “due to directives recently issued by clients and governments in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the deferral of certain project procurement processes in the company’s bidding pipeline.”
Aecon said it has activated continuity plans and "a rigorous COVID-19 health and safety assurance process, which meets or exceeds guidance by applicable government health authorities, to minimize disruptions to its business and adapt to evolving market conditions and safety standards."
Aecon also said it has eliminated all non-essential spending, reduced discretionary capital investments, and is evaluating ongoing cost-saving opportunities across the company under different operating scenarios and timelines. Aecon also said it doesn't intend to make any further purchases of its common shares as part of its normal course issuer bid until at least the date that its first-quarter 2020 results are released.
"Aecon's financial position, liquidity and capital resources remain strong, and are expected to be sufficient to finance its operations and working capital requirements for the foreseeable future," it stated.
The North West Company Ltd. (NWC-T) announced a series of measures in response to COVID-19 including a temporary $2 per hour wage increase the recruitment of additional employees to handle “higher anticipated sales over the next several months and to provide needed relief and back-up.”
The company also said it's working hard to re-supply the initial demand surge on core items "and we have frozen prices within our control. This week we will begin to reduce food prices through a range of in-store programs, to help our customers live as best as possible through COVID-19."
North West said it has approximately $190-million of available capacity on existing loan facilities to support the needs of its business. "This capacity combined with an anticipated 38-per-cent reduction in capital investments from $104-million in 2019 to $65-million in 2020 and previously announced $17-million in annualized administrative cost savings, are expected to provide growth in operating cash flow in 2020," it stated.
Quarterhill Inc. (QTRH-T) announced it has decided to “pause” its mergers and acquisition strategy and focus on its existing businesses, citing the impact of COVID-19 and “underlying uncertainty concerning valuations, the importance of preserving cash and the current vacancies in some key corporate executive positions.”
The company also said that, as part of the decision, and considering its "significant cash balance and the cash-flow generating potential of its portfolio companies," its board is undertaking a review of alternatives to return some capital to its shareholders. "These options may include, but are not limited to, one or more of a normal course issuer bid, a substantial issuer bid, a common share dividend increase and/or a special dividend," it stated.
The company also said it has no plans to make any changes to its dividend policy at this time.
"We have been proactive in discussions with our shareholders over the last several weeks and are listening to their concerns and input. Changes to the capital allocation and M&A strategy reflect input from these discussions," said John Gillberry, chair of Quarterhill.
BRP Inc. (DOO-T; DOOO-Q) announced that it’s temporarily suspending or slowing down all of its powersports and marine manufacturing operations around the world “due to the rapid evolution of the COVID-19 situation.”
"These actions are being taken to allow us to evaluate and respond to the changing conditions, as well as to respect international health and safety recommendations in the face of the current crisis," the company stated.
"Graduating to the TSX represents a significant milestone in our efforts to broaden our appeal to a larger shareholder base and raise the company's profile among the investment community," said CEO Tyler Robson. "Coming off a record year of growth for the company, this uplisting will work to enhance the liquidity of our stock and enable us to continue building long-term shareholder value."
Theratechnologies Inc. (TH-T; THTX-Q) announced it is withdrawing its revenue guidance for 2020 until further notice citing the uncertainty arising from the current COVID-19 situation and the “unknown evolution of the pandemic and its duration.” The company also postponed its annual meeting of shareholders scheduled for May 13.
WELL Health Technologies Corp. (WELL-T) reported fourth-quarter revenue of $9.8-million for the three months ended Dec. 31 which was ahead of expectations of $9-million and compared to revenue of $4.7-million during the comparable two-month period ended December 31, 2018.
Net profit of $216,067 in the three months ended Dec. 31 compared to a loss of $533,270 in the two-month period ended Dec. 31, 2018.