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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.

ATS Automation Tooling Systems Inc. (ATA-T) announced it has acquired Marco Ltd., a provider of "yield control and recipe formulation systems" that supports customers in the food, nutraceuticals and cosmetics sectors.

"Marco is a high-quality company that provides ATS with the means of entering a product-based, niche segment of the food industry that is growing at a mid-single-digit rate," said Andrew Hider, CEO of ATS.

ATS said the preliminary cash purchase price for the acquisition was £25 million (about $43.7-million Canadian) with up to an additional £7.3 million (about $12.8-million Canadian) payable subject to an earn-out structure over the next two years. ATS said it funded the acquisition from cash on hand.


Crombie Real Estate Investment Trust (CRR-UN-T) announced an agreement to issue $150-million of Series G senior unsecured notes maturing June 21, 2027. The notes will have an interest rate of 3.9 per cent per year and were priced at par the REIT stated.

Proceeds from the Series G notes are ear-marked for the repayment of approximately $153-million of secured mortgages maturing on February 1, 2020, bearing a weighted average interest rate of 5.6 per cent, the REIT said, and will be used to temporarily reduce bank debt in the interim.

“Closing out a busy 2019 by pre-funding the expiring Halifax Scotia Square mortgages with this note offering advances several of Crombie’s strategic priorities, reduces risks and harvests significant savings over the expiring interest rate,” stated CEO Don Clow in a release.


Minority shareholders in Canfor Corp. (CFP-T) have rejected B.C. billionaire Jim Pattison’s $983.8-million bid to take full control of the forestry company.

In August, he launched his go-private offer to buy 49.1 per cent of Canfor for $16 a share in cash. Mr. Pattison’s Great Pacific Capital Corp. and affiliates own 50.9 per cent of the Vancouver-based lumber producer. The offer required approval by a simple majority of the votes cast by eligible minority shareholders.

But in a statement late Monday night, Great Pacific said it has dropped its pursuit to acquire the remainder of Canfor, after seeing the results of votes cast by proxy. “This is due to the Canfor minority shareholders voting 45 per cent in favour and 55 per cent against the proposal, and thus not meeting the 50-per-cent-plus threshold of the minority requirement. Great Pacific will not be pursuing this opportunity any further,” it said.

The forestry firm issued its own statement, saying Canfor’s special meeting scheduled in Vancouver for Wednesday has been cancelled. “Canfor plans to continue to diversify its business and pursue growth strategies in positioning itself for long-term success and sustainability,” the company said. - Brent Jang


Canacol Energy Ltd. (CNE-T) announced its 2020 capital budget is US$114-million, which it said will be fully funded from existing cash and 2020 cash flow. Forecast realized contractual gas sales for 2020, which include downtime, are anticipated to average approximately 205 million standard cubic feet per day (MMscfpd), representing a 37-per-cent increase over 2019 anticipated average gas sales of approximately 150 MMscfpd, the company said. The average wellhead sales price, net of transportation costs where applicable, is expected to be about US$4.80/Mcf.

Canacol’s forecast production, EBITDA and cash flow for 2020 “will be substantially higher than previous years,” it said, with EBITDA forecast to be approximately US$265 million. “The budget also allows for a minimum of US$7-million in quarterly dividends, as recently announced, as well as approximately US$15-million in debt reduction in 2020,” it stated. “Despite the increases in dividends and debt reduction, the corporation expects a material cash build in 2020 which will allow for further flexibility in the recently renewed share buyback, dividend size and an expanded exploration program.”


CRH Medical Corp. (CRH-T; CRHM-N) announced it has acquired a 51-per-cent ownership interest in Florida Panhandle Anesthesia Associates, LLC, a gastroenterology anesthesia practice located in Florida. The price wasn't disclosed in the release.

“Florida Panhandle is the company’s sixth acquisition in the state of Florida and provides anesthesia services to a single GI ambulatory surgery center,” the company stated. It said the transaction was financed through a combination of the company’s credit facility and cash on hand.

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