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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.

Aecon Group Inc. (ARE-T) says it has appointed Jean-Louis Servranckx as its president and CEO, effective Sept. 4. Current CEO John Beck will assume his previous role as executive chair of the board, the company stated.

Mr. Servranckx has 30 years of experience in the construction industry, across the infrastructure and industrial sectors, the company stated.

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"My commitment to employees and shareholders nearly two years ago was that I would remain at the helm for as long as needed until we found the right leader for Aecon. Jean-Louis, with his proven track record of successfully delivering on large-scale, complex projects, is that leader," stated Mr. Beck in a release.

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Aphria Inc. (APH-T) is amending its put and call agreement regarding its sale of shares in Liberty Health Sciences (LHS-CN) and “intends to repurchase the shares, if and when, U.S. federal laws change, subject to certain conditions including the consent of the Toronto Stock Exchange.”

"The U.S. cannabis industry continues to gain momentum at the state and federal level, and in public opinion, and we are pleased to retain the optionality to extend our strategic partnership with Liberty in a way that satisfies our obligations as a member of the Toronto Stock Exchange," said Vic Neufeld, CEO of Aphria. "We will continue to provide our shareholders with access to the most promising cannabis opportunities around the world, including where permitted in the U.S."

Liberty Health issued its own release saying Aphria has entered into an 18-month "lock-up or stand-still agreement" with the purchasers of Aphria's shares in Liberty. It said a group of buyers led by members of the Serruya family had entered into a purchase and sale agreement with Aphria to purchase all of Aphria's shares in the company that are not subject to Canadian Securities Exchange escrow requirements over the course of a two-and-a-half-year period.

"Under the CSE escrow requirements, the shares will be released from escrow in six-month intervals and will be completely released by the middle of 2020," Liberty stated. "The new agreement prevents the group from selling the next tranche of Liberty shares owned by Aphria that will become freely trading on July 26, 2018 for a period of 18 months and provides Aphria with the ability to purchase the shares back if U.S. federal laws change, subject to certain conditions including consent of the Toronto Stock Exchange."

It said Aphria currently owns 23.6 per cent of Liberty shares.

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"We are extremely pleased that Aphria entered into the lock-up agreement with the group. There is no question that this action will remove any uncertainty in the market surrounding the group's purchase of the shares and their long-term commitment and endorsement of Liberty," stated Liberty CEO George Scorsis.

Aphria also said it's investing $10-million in Fire & Flower Inc. by acquiring unsecured convertible debentures. "Fire intends to use the proceeds to finance the expansion and build-out of its retail outlets in Alberta and Saskatchewan," according to a release.

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Alaris Royalty Corp. (AD-T) reported record quarterly revenue of $28.4-million or 78 cents per share versus $22.7-million or 62 cents per share a year ago. Normalized earnings came in at $17-million or 46 cents per share versus earnings of $14.3-million or 39 cents a year ago, the company said.

“We are pleased to be announcing our largest revenue quarter in our 10 years as a public company," stated CEO Steve King. He said the corporation realized “great returns” on two investments, the Labstat redemption and End of the Roll sale. “We are proud of the current health of our portfolio and expect redeployment of recent redemption proceeds, positioning the company for a successful second half of 2018.”

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VersaPay Corp. (VPY-X) says a major U.S. distributor has selected its collections management solution for its U.S. and Canadian operations.

"We are delighted to add another large distributor to our rapidly growing client list and are extremely pleased at the strong alignment between what distributors need and what ARC does so well," said Craig O'Neill, CEO of VersaPay.

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Gear Energy Ltd. (GXE-T) is buying Steppe Resources Inc., a private oil and gas company, in a deal it says is valued at $70.4-million.

Steppe shareholders will receive 0.1445 Gear common shares for each Steppe share held. Gear says it will issue 21.9 million shares and will assume Steppe's $40.9 million in debt.

Steppe’s assets are focused in the Tableland area of southeast Saskatchewan. “This acquisition provides Gear with an exceptional opportunity to leverage its success with fractured drilling in Gear’s Wilson Creek assets to an area with higher netback oil and a significantly larger areal extent,” the company stated. “In addition, Gear believes that the Ratcliffe formation in the Tableland area could be very amenable to multi-lateral, un-lined horizontal drilling techniques, similar to those employed successfully by Gear throughout its heavy oil portfolio.”

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Lumina Gold Corp. (LUM-X) says Ecuador’s energy minister has enacted an agreement to allow mining concession holders to perform “non-systematic drilling” during the early exploration phase of mining concessions. “Drilling activities were previously only permitted during the advanced exploration phase of mining concessions and required an environmental license,” the company stated.

It said the agreement will enable the drilling of previously untested areas on the west side of its Cangrejos deposit, as well as the Gran Bestia satellite deposit, among other benefits.

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Emerald Health Therapeutics, Inc. (EMH-X) says it has signed a memorandum of understanding with the B.C. Liquor Distribution Branch (BCLDB) to supply its cannabis products to serve the adult-use market throughout the province.

“Emerald has a strong relationship with the BCLDB team, and our new supply partnership will allow us to provide them with local access to our large cannabis production capacity,” said Chris Wagner, CEO at Emerald. “We have been in negotiations with the BCLDB for a number of months and elected to wait until we could achieve suitable pricing before committing to an MOU."

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