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Energy loan losses will be back in the spotlight this week as Canada's biggest banks wrap up their fiscal third-quarter earnings season.

Bank of Nova Scotia and National Bank of Canada, which report on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, have the largest direct exposure to the energy sector.

Among the major lenders, National Bank and Scotiabank set aside some of the biggest provisions for impaired energy loans for the first half of fiscal 2016.

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Although third-quarter results from other banks suggest that oil and gas loans are souring at a slower pace, there are lingering concerns about energy prices.

U.S. oil prices have recovered from their lows but remain down about 55 per cent from mid-2014.

"With oil prices and gas prices remaining as low as they are, I don't think the Canadian banks are out of the woods yet," said James Shanahan, a bank analyst with brokerage Edward Jones in St. Louis, Mo. Story

DAILY DEALS

Twin Butte debt holders reject takeover bid

Holders of Twin Butte Energy Ltd.'s debentures have rejected a takeover bid for the Canadian oil producer by Hong Kong-based Reignwood Resources Pte. Ltd., throwing the debt-hobbled company's fate into limbo.

The debenture holders had complained that Reignwood's offer for their securities, at 14 cents on the dollar, was vastly below what they were worth. Only 31 per cent of the debtholders voted in favour at a meeting in Calgary on Monday. Story

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Ivanhoe seeks 'strategic advice' in wake of unsolicited interest

Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. says it plans to get "strategic advice" to deal with the unsolicited interest the company and its projects have received in recent months.

Robert Friedland, executive chairman of the Vancouver-based company, said on Monday that it's likely an investment bank will be hired and its mandate will be to advise the board on all strategic options for Ivanhoe.

One of Ivanhoe's key projects is the Kakula high-grade copper deposit in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

"The mining industry has taken notice of our company," Mr. Friedland said in a news release. Story

Couche-Tard back on acquisition trail just days after unveiling its biggest deal ever

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Canadian convenience store operator Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. struck a deal to buy 53 retail sites in Louisiana, taking another small bite of the North American market after its biggest ever acquisition last week for CST Brands.

Laval, Que.-based Couche-Tard said Monday it signed an agreement to buy stores held by American General Investments LLC and North American Financial Group LLC, together known as Cracker Barrel. The stores are mostly located in the Baton Rouge area. Story

SNC-Lavalin says it is mulling offer for French business

Canadian construction and engineering company SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. said on Monday it is weighing an offer for its entire business in France, which has about 1,100 employees and manages 17 regional airports in the country.

The offer, for an undisclosed amount, comes from a partnership comprising private French companies Impact Holding and Ciclad Gestion, SNC spokesman Louis-Antoine Paquin said by email, confirming a report last week in Canada's La Presse newspaper.

Paquin said the company started a consultation process on Aug. 22 with employee representatives in France over the potential sale. Story

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Mondelez says it has ended talks to buy Hershey

Oreo cookie maker Mondelez International Inc. says it has ended discussions to buy Hershey Co., a combination that would have created a global powerhouse selling some of the world's best known chocolates and snacks.

Hershey had said in June that it rejected a preliminary takeover bid from Mondelez valued at roughly $22.3-billion (U.S.), according to FactSet. It said at the time that the offer provided "no basis for further discussion." A representative for Hershey did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday. Story

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

In Canada's boardrooms, activist investors are striking out

Activist investors are on a two-year cold streak, losing all of the 14 proxy fights brought by dissident shareholders in Canadian companies since January, 2015, after historically winning the majority of these boardroom showdowns.

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Governance experts say the change in the landscape reflects growing sophistication on the part of management teams and corporate boards, rather than any loss of clout for institutional investors.

Law firm Fasken Martineau recently published its annual study of proxy contests and found that from 2015 to this month, institutional investors who used proxy contests in an attempt to toss out corporate boards or change management "were wholly unsuccessful in their efforts." There were 16 proxy contests, and the only successful campaigns were two waged by company founders. Story

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