Connect with us

News

Air Canada, Transat agree to scrap $190M deal after EU hurdle – Global News

Published

 on


Air Canada scrapped its proposed acquisition of Transat AT Inc on Friday after being advised by the European Commission that it would still face high regulatory hurdles, clearing the way for other domestic suitors for the tour operator.

Canada’s largest airline said that after recent discussions with the European Commission (EC), it had become evident the EC will not approve the acquisition based on the offered remedy package the carrier made earlier this year.

Quebec businessman Pierre Karl Péladeau said on Friday that his December offer for Transat was still available.

Read more:
Transat expects to resume flights mid-June, says Air Canada deal uncertain


Click to play video: 'Air Canada to provide refunds in exchange for bailout, union says'



1:51
Air Canada to provide refunds in exchange for bailout, union says


Air Canada to provide refunds in exchange for bailout, union says – Mar 4, 2021

Montreal-based Air Canada said it had offered “a significant package of remedies” to satisfy EC anti-trust concerns around competition.

Story continues below advertisement

“Air Canada has concluded that providing additional, onerous remedies, which may still not secure an EC approval, would significantly compromise” its ability to compete internationally and recover from the effects of the pandemic on air travel, the airline said in a statement.

Air Canada in February refused to extend the deadline for its C$188.7 million ($150.19 million) deal for Transat, after European regulators did not give the go-ahead for the buyout.

The two companies had agreed in June 2019 on the acquisition, the terms of which were subsequently amended in August 2019 and then revised in October 2020 as a result of the severe economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Click to play video: 'Air Canada in exclusive talks to takeover Air Transat'



3:50
Air Canada in exclusive talks to takeover Air Transat


Air Canada in exclusive talks to takeover Air Transat – May 16, 2019

EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager said Air Canada offered insufficient concessions to address competition concerns.

“While the coronavirus outbreak has strongly impacted the airline sector, the preservation of competitive market structures is essential to ensure that the recovery can be swift and strong,” she said in a statement.

Story continues below advertisement

“The proposed transaction would raise competition concerns on a large number of transatlantic routes. Based on the results of the market test, the remedies offered appeared insufficient.”

The Canadian government said protecting jobs at Transat and preserving the long-term viability of the company, also based in Montreal, is the most important thing for the government.

Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said in a statement that he had spoken with Transat and the two sides were “examining next steps.”

Airlines have been in talks with the federal government since November about a possible aid package, so far to no avail.

Quebec Economy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon also said the provincial government “will not leave Transat without support.”

Story continues below advertisement

Québecor Inc Chief Executive Péladeau said he had made a new offer for Transat in December and that it was still available. Péladeau, who previously attempted to acquire Transat in his personal capacity as a businessman, said his offer would keep the tour operator independent and competitive.

“This proposition is still valid and included certain conditions that Mr. Peladeau wants to lift quickly in order to to remove the uncertainty the company has found itself in during several months,” the statement said.

A Transat spokesman said the airline’s priority was securing financing and its recovery plan.

“We will also review all our options, including the pursuit of the corporation’s business plan and Mr. Péladeau’s proposal,” Christophe Hennebelle said in an emailed statement.

Read more:
Air Canada, Transat deal up in the air as deadline passes

Transat has said it needed at least C$500 million in new financing in 2021. It also has a C$250 million short-term subordinated credit facility due on June 30.

The tour operator said it was at an “advanced stage” of discussions on federal government support for the airline sector and accessing Ottawa support for business affected by the pandemic.

Quebec Premier Francois Legault, who co-founded Transat in 1986, said in February that the province was looking at different scenarios for Transat, with or without Air Canada.

Story continues below advertisement

Air Canada has agreed to pay a C$12.5 million termination payment to Transat.

(Reporting by Arunima Kumar in Bengaluru and Allison Lampert in Montreal, additional reporting by Foo Yun Chee in Brussels; writing by Amran Abocar Editing by Marguerita Choy Editing by Matthew Lewis, Marguerita Choy)

© 2021 Reuters

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

News

Canadian retail titan W. Galen Weston dies at 80

Published

 on

(Corrects April 13 story to remove references to Primark in paragraph 3 and what had been paragraph 6, to reflect that Primark is actually owned by a different Weston family)

By Moira Warburton

(Reuters) -W. Galen Weston, patriarch of one of Canada‘s wealthiest families and retail titan, has died at age 80, according to a statement by the family on Tuesday.

Weston was the third generation of his family to lead George Weston Limited, an already-prosperous retail empire founded by his grandfather, which he expanded significantly.

The family company, now run by his son, Galen Weston, owns Selfridges in the United Kingdom, as well as the Canadian grocery chain Loblaw Co Ltd, pharmacy chain Shoppers Drug Mart, and real estate company Choice Properties.

Weston passed away peacefully at home after a long illness, the statement said.

He was born in Buckinghamshire, England, and moved to Dublin at 21 to escape a domineering father, the Irish Times reported in 2014, where he met his wife, Irish model Hilary Frayne. They married in 1966.

In the 1970s Weston returned to his family’s base of operations, Canada, to revive the family’s struggling Loblaws supermarket chain, and helped turn it into one of the largest food distributors in the country.

“In our business and in his life he built a legacy of extraordinary accomplishment and joy,” Galen Weston, chairman and CEO of George Weston Ltd, said in a statement.

“The luxury retail industry has lost a great visionary,” Alannah Weston, Weston Sr.’s daughter and chairman of Selfridges Group, said.

The Weston family is among the wealthiest in Canada, with Forbes estimating their total wealth at $8.7 billion.

(Reporting by Moira Warburton in VancouverEditing by Matthew Lewis)

Continue Reading

News

Canada’s migrant farmworkers remain at risk a year into pandemic

Published

 on

By Anna Mehler Paperny

TORONTO (Reuters) – Pedro, a Mexican migrant worker, knew he had to leave the Ontario cannabis operation where he worked when so many of his coworkers caught COVID-19 that his employer began to house them in a 16-person bunk house alongside the uninfected.

Pedro moved in with friends in the nearby farming town of Leamington, Ontario, at the end of October. He asked to be identified under a pseudonym because he fears that speaking out will affect his chances of employment.

“I didn’t know where to go, where to get help. So I was left behind, hopeless,” he said, speaking through a translator. About a week later, Pedro landed another job, working with peppers in a greenhouse. Conditions are better, he said.

But he added: “To be honest, I don’t think all employers are taking precautions.”

Pedro is one of about 60,000 migrant farmworkers – many from Central America and the Caribbean – who come to Canada as part of an annual migration of people that ramps up in spring. They grow and harvest the country’s food supply and have continued to work in the midst of a pandemic.

They feed the country and are a crucial part of a C$68.8 billion ($54.8 billion) sector, making up about one-fifth of the country’s agricultural workforce, according to the Canadian Federation of Agriculture.

As the pandemic crippled travel last year, agricultural employers were unable to fill one-fifth of the temporary foreign worker positions they needed, costing Canadian farmers C$2.9 billion due to labour shortages, according to research commissioned by the Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council.

These workers are also uniquely at risk. They live and work in crowded settings, and language barriers coupled with precarious immigration status tied to their employment prevent them from speaking out about unsafe conditions.

Last year they were hit hard by COVID-19, with 8.7% of migrants in Ontario testing positive. This year they are returning as Canada is in the grip of a third wave. While governments and employers say they are taking steps to keep these workers safe, advocates and workers contacted by Reuters say the dangers remain – except that now, those dangers are known.

Graphic on COVID-19 global tracker: https://graphics.reuters.com/world-coronavirus-tracker-and-maps/

SAME CRISIS

Syed Hussan, executive director of the Migrant Workers Alliance for Change, argues the same factors that made workers more vulnerable to COVID-19 last year – crowded workplaces, congregate living, visas that tie them to an employer and make them fearful of speaking out – still exist.

“We are walking into the same crisis yet again, the only difference being that we already know how bad it is.”

Keith Currie, vice-president of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, said employers are doing their best, but some transmission of the virus will occur.

“Because they’re living on the farm, they’re in contact with each other when they’re working … despite all our efforts, it spreads. Just like it does elsewhere in society.”

Some 760 farmworkers have been infected so far this year in Ontario, Canada‘s most populous province, according to provincial data. Ontario put agriculture workers in Phase 2 of its COVID-19 vaccinations, which begins this month, and has set up a clinic at Toronto’s airport offering vaccines to migrants on arrival.

But advocates worry migrant workers might lack requisite identification, especially if they are undocumented.

Advocates argue not enough is being done to keep these workers safe from the pandemic. They say rules such as the requirement to get – and pay for – a COVID-19 test within 72 hours of coming to Canada place an undue logistical and financial burden on migrants.

Last month the federal government announced new measures meant to protect migrant agricultural workers, including beefed-up inspections.

But the migrants interviewed by Reuters argued what will protect them is more stable status that does not tie them to an employer.

“Hopefully this year, the government of Canada gives us status,” said Teresa, a migrant worker from Baja California.

($1 = 1.2559 Canadian dollars)

 

(Reporting by Anna Mehler Paperny in Toronto; Editing by Denny Thomas and Matthew Lewis)

Continue Reading

News

Canadian crude imports fall 20% in 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic

Published

 on

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) – Imports of crude oil into Canada dropped 20% year-on-year in 2020 due to weak demand as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Canada Energy Regulator said in an analysis released Wednesday.

Canada imported 555,000 barrels per day (bpd) last year, the lowest level in at least 10 years, down from 693,000 bpd in 2019 and more than 800,000 bpd in 2010.

The total cost of imported oil in 2020 fell 40% from the previous year to C$11.5 billion ($9.18 billion), reflecting the lower volumes and a slump in global crude prices.

Canada is the world’s fourth-largest crude producer and exports around 3.7 million bpd but the vast majority of its production comes from the western province of Alberta.

The country still imports some crude to serve refineries in eastern Canada because of a lack of pipeline access to western supplies, the specific product requirements of different refineries, and because it can be cheaper to import.

“Refineries in the main importing regions of Quebec and Atlantic Canada have been slower to recover from the pandemic impacts compared to refineries in the rest of Canada,” the CER said in its analysis.

The CER said that was because of tighter COVID-19 travel restrictions in Quebec and Atlantic Canada than in western provinces, and weak demand from other countries for refined product exports from Atlantic Canada refineries.

The percentage of barrels imported from the United States rose to 77%, up from 72% the year before. Another 13% came from Saudi Arabia, 4% from Nigeria, 3% from Norway, and the remainder from several other countries.

($1 = 1.2534 Canadian dollars)

 

(Reporting by Nia Williams; Editing by Sam Holmes)

Continue Reading

Trending