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Bombardier chairman defends $17.5M Bellemare severance – BNN

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MONTREAL — The chairman of Bombardier Inc. is defending the multimillion-dollar compensation plan handed to former CEO Alain Bellemare.

Pierre Beaudoin, grandson of the Quebec giant’s founder, told shareholders at the company’s annual meeting Thursday that the board “respected the company’s contractual obligations” to the former chief executive.

“They were not atypical in regard to what other corporations are paying senior management,” he said.

The package Bellemare received when he stepped down in April could reach $17.5 million, including $10 million in severance and nearly $2.7 million in share awards. He will rake in an additional $4.9 million if the sale of Bombardier’s rail unit to France’s Alstom SA goes through following regulatory scrutiny.

Bellemare’s five-year tenure saw the plane-and-train maker struggle to manage a debt that now stands at more than US$9 billion as the company sold off division after division, leaving it a pure-play producer of private jets — a high-end luxury product in a recession.

Quebec pension fund manager Caisse de depot et placement has criticized the compensation arrangement, calling it “excessive.”

At the virtual meeting Thursday, new CEO Eric Martel told investors that developments under his predecessor’s watch were “unacceptable.”

“Repeated program delays and technical challenges have tarnished our reputation for operational excellence,” Martel said. “We understand your disappointment, but I am convinced that we will rebuild this Quebec flagship.”

Martel ruled out the possibility of more layoffs and the need for government financial support for the time being.

“We are discussing with the (federal and Quebec) governments, but we are not at a point where we need any of that support,” Martel said, expressing a preference for private financing or none at all.

“Clearly, in the end, we remain open to having those discussions if things change or the market fluctuates,” said the former head of Hydro-Quebec.

Two weeks ago, Bombardier announced 2,500 layoffs — 1,500 in Quebec — or about 11 per cent of its aviation division in anticipation of a 30-per-cent decline in deliveries over the next 12 months.

Nonetheless, there have been fewer than a dozen order cancellations, Martel said, far less than during the 2008-09 financial crisis.

Brian Acker discusses Bombardier

Brian Acker of Acker Finley gives his outlook for Bombardier.

On Thursday, the board of directors proposed a non-binding resolution on executive compensation which was opposed by a group of institutional investors. The resolution was adopted following a vote, though the precise tally was not released immediately.

The Beaudoin-Bombardier family controls 50.9 per cent of voting rights while holding a small fraction of the nearly 2.4 billion outstanding shares.

Major North American pension funds including the Caisse said they would vote against the compensation plan.

The Caisse — Bombardier’s second-biggest investor at 2.24 per cent — highlighted issues with severance pay and the non-recurring bonuses that will be granted to other executives if the Alstom sale is completed.

“These elements of compensation are considered excessive,” it said.

Other institutional investors that opposed the proposal included the Quebec Labour Federation Solidarity Fund — the investment arm of the province’s largest labour group — the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, California Public Service Pension Plan, California State Teachers’ Retirement System and Florida’s State Board of Administration.

Several of the pension funds also opted not to support re-election of board members August Henningsen, Vikram Pandit and Douglas Oberhelman, because they sit on the board human resources and compensation committee.

The Caisse supported a proposal by Montreal-based investor rights group MEDAC to disclose voting results by class of shares.

The proposal was voted down. Whether that was due to Class A shareholders remains unknown.

Glass, Lewis & Co., a leading shareholder advisory agency, strongly criticized the compensation amount given to Bellemare, recommending late last month that shareholders oppose a compensation policy that marks a “considerable jump from previous arrangements.”

“When considered alongside the significant, expanded actual severance benefits for Mr. Bellemare despite the company’s performance during his tenure, we believe that the company’s pay practices warrant serious concern and a vote against this proposal,” Glass Lewis said.

Institutional Shareholder Services Inc., the other large proxy advisory agency, gave the policy a thumbs-up in a separate report.

Bombardier spokesman Olivier Marcil said the company is respecting the opinion “expressed by certain investors,” stating that the compensation policy has been supported by 97 per cent of shareholders on average over the three last years.

Nonetheless, governance expert Michel Nadeau said the resistance of institutional investors constitutes a “very strong message” to the board of directors.

“It means that the majority of the shareholders are not satisfied,” he said. “They say, ‘You haven’t done your job, we’re not happy.”‘

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Get ready for an awful earnings season – CNN

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A version of this story first appeared in CNN Business’ Before the Bell newsletter. Not a subscriber? You can sign up right here.
Brace yourself: According to estimates compiled by FactSet, analysts predict that earnings for the S&P 500 plummeted nearly 45%, which would be the biggest drop since a 69% plunge during the depths of the Great Recession in the fourth quarter of 2008. Revenues are expected to have fallen more than 10%. Retailers, energy companies and industrial firms likely reported the biggest declines in sales and profit.
Financial firms take center stage this week. JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Wells Fargo (WFC), Goldman Sachs (GS), Bank of America (BAC) and BlackRock (BLK) are just a few of the big banks and asset managers that will post their latest results.
Trump warns stocks will 'disintegrate' if he loses. But stocks are climbing as Biden pulls ahead
“Now that we are getting through the first full quarter of Covid-19 lockdowns … the effects of the pandemic and resulting loss of economic activity are starting to show an impact,” Mark Doctoroff, managing director and global co-head of the financial institutions group for MUFG, said in an email to CNN Business.
Doctoroff said investors will be keeping a close eye on loan quality — especially after a recent spate of high-profile corporate bankruptcies. Consumers may have struggled to make auto and credit card payments as well, even as many banks have offered mortgage forbearance programs.
But Doctoroff added that there could be some bright spots to bank earnings. Profits from trading desks could be robust, thanks to the surge in stock market volatility. Financial firms may also post solid results from their debt underwriting businesses. Companies have been rushing to issue new bonds as interest rates remain near zero.
Banks won’t be the only companies in the earnings spotlight. Pepsi, Delta, Netflix and Dow components Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) and UnitedHealth (UNH) are also due to report their latest results.
It seems unlikely that many of these firms will provide much in the way of financial guidance due to the uncertain nature of the economy. For what it’s worth, analysts expect the profit picture to improve as the year progresses. And analysts now predict a big rebound next year, with profits expected to rise 12% in the first quarter and nearly 30% for all of 2021.
Hopes for a rapid, pronounced V-shaped recovery in earnings have been one of the main reasons why the overall market has rebounded so quickly from its March lows.
The S&P 500 is now down only 1.4% this year. It’s possible that the bear market is already over even though the overall economy remains weak and there are worries about another surge of Covid-19 cases in the United States. But the Federal Reserve has helped fuel expectations of a comeback with its trillions of dollars of loan programs.
“What you are looking at over the next 12 months is still a moderate recovery,” said Erik Knutzen, chief investment officer of multi-asset for Neuberger Berman, adding that there is a “titanic struggle” in the markets between bears focusing on weak fundamentals and bulls who have expectations for more stimulus.

Why Wall Street may be turning on US stocks

Is it time to look for stock buys outside the United States?
It’s a question investors are asking more and more as they ponder how long the massive run-up in US shares can continue.
Amazon, Apple and Microsoft race to $2 trillionAmazon, Apple and Microsoft race to $2 trillion
The numbers: The S&P 500 has risen 42% since its low point on March 23. Europe’s Stoxx 600 index has gained 31% since its March low.
But Wall Street strategists are increasingly looking at European shares more favorably, noting the strength of the region’s recovery from Covid-19 and seeing opportunities to tap value.
Last week, BlackRock downgraded US equities to a “neutral” rating, warning that a surge in coronavirus cases could hit the recovery just as support for more government stimulus starts to wane. Its strategists said they now favor European shares, citing robust public health measures and a “ramped-up” policy response.
They’re not the only ones. On a recent call with reporters, Evan Brown, head of multi-asset allocation strategy at UBS, praised German Chancellor Angela Merkel for quickly moving to roll out fiscal stimulus measures. There’s a lot of room for Europe to outperform, he said.
The counterargument: The massive rebound in US stocks has been driven by surging shares in companies like Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and Alphabet, which helped push the Nasdaq toward a series of all-time highs last week. There’s no reason to think these companies will falter soon.
Brian Belski, chief investment strategist at BMO Capital Markets, said Friday that he believes US tech stocks can keep outperforming over the next 12 to 18 months given expectations for longer-term growth. But he told clients that selectivity may be increasingly important, and encouraged them to look beyond the traditional Big Tech names.
Monday: PepsiCo (PEP) earnings
Tuesday: US inflation data; UK balance of trade; Germany economic sentiment; Citigroup (C), Delta Air Lines (DAL), JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Wells Fargo (WFC) earnings
Wednesday: US industrial production; Goldman Sachs (GS) and UnitedHealth (UNH) earnings
Thursday: China GDP; US initial unemployment claims and retail sales; Bank of America (BAC), Charles Schwab (SCHW), Honeywell (HON), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Morgan Stanley (MS), Truist (TFC) and Netflix (NFLX) earnings
Friday: US housing starts and building permits; BlackRock (BLK) earnings

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The Most Desirable Crude Oil On The Market – OilPrice.com

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The Most Desirable Crude Oil On The Market | OilPrice.com

Haley Zaremba

Haley Zaremba is a writer and journalist based in Mexico City. She has extensive experience writing and editing environmental features, travel pieces, local news in the…

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    China bought up so much oil during April and May’s oil price crash that now they don’t know what to do with it all. A huge volume of the purchases that Beijing made when the market was down are just now coming into port, and China simply can’t get them all into storage fast enough. And as China’s seas fill up with oil tankers, the country’s onshore storage tanks are filling up too–and they’re getting dangerously close to overflowing As China’s own Caixin News reported earlier this week, “as of Wednesday, China had used up 69% of its crude oil storage capacity with the 33.4 million tons it had stockpiled, up by 24% from the previous year, according to data from energy information provider Oilchem China. That’s only 1 percentage point away from the 70% threshold that experts view as the country’s capacity limit.”

    This week, Bloomberg told the story of just one of these ships currently crowding Chinese ports. “Leaving behind the waters of the Caribbean Sea, the 1,100-feet long oil tanker Maran Apollo is emblematic of the wider petroleum market,” the report begins. “Steaming at 11.5 knots, she’s heading toward China, where oil demand is fast recovering, hauling a cargo of two million barrels of U.S. crude. But her voyage didn’t start a few days ago. She loaded in early May, and with no buyers during the worst of the coronavirus outbreak, the supertanker stood floating in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico for almost two months, waiting for better times.”

    The fact that Maran Apollo has now departed for Rizhao, China is a promising one, indicating that refiners are finally starting to demand more crude that has been sitting unwanted for months out at sea. But it’s not just any kind of crude. In order to really understand the oil industry’s uneven recovery, you have to look a little closer. 

    “Refiners are competing for barrels in one corner of the market known as medium-heavy sour crude — barrels with a higher content in sulfur and relatively dense. It’s the kind of oil that Saudi Arabia and its allies pump. And also the type of crude that’s pumped offshore in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico — and that’s what’s in the Maran Apollo’s tanks.” Bloomberg compares different kinds of crude oil to different vintages of wine. “Urals of Russia and Arab Light from Saudi Arabia are normally two of the most widely consumed — think Cabernet Sauvignon, maybe a Merlot. But in today’s oil market, such crude is in increasingly short supply due to record output cuts by the two nations and their allies.”

    Related: Saudi Arabia Hikes Oil Prices For The Third Consecutive Month

    The production cuts from OPEC+ don’t just remove any old crude oil from the oversaturated market, they remove the most in-demand kinds of crude, and its absence has caused problems for an energy industry trying to get back to business-as-usual. “Deep OPEC+ cuts and demand recovery have tightened balances and this has been reflected in improvements in physical differentials,” Bassam Fattouh, director of the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, was quoted by Bloomberg. “But the recovery has not been even, with medium-sour crudes faring better than light-sweet crudes.”

    The shortage of medium-sour crude, and “particularly those known as light sweet crude that have a lower sulfur content and are less dense” has also upset conventional price brackets for crude oil. Usually, these barrels are plentiful and inexpensive, but as austere production cuts have removed so much medium-sour crude supply from the market, these barrels’ prices have soared. 

    While recovering oil prices can be seen as a sign of success for OPEC+ and their production curbing strategies, they don’t necessarily indicate a healthy market for oil. “Not only is medium-heavy sour crude trading at a premium to benchmarks, but barrels for immediate delivery are commanding premiums to forward contracts, a price pattern known as backwardation that also reflects a tight physical-market,” writes Bloomberg. As the world slowly returns to normal, markets will have to absorb the often unpredictable impacts of economic intervention like stimulus packages and production cuts on top of all the other externalities of economic recession. No one said the road to recovery would be easy. 

    By Haley Zaremba for Oilprice.com

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      Quick Compare: 2020 Tesla Model 3 Vs Model Y After $3,000 Price Cut – Forbes

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      Here’s a very short, very basic comparison of the Model Y and Model 3 for newbie electric car buyers just getting their feet wet:

      *Pricier Model 3 configs offer up to 322 miles of range

      **The Model 3 with rear seats folded has “almost comparable cargo capacity [to the Model y], not as bad as those numbers from the owner’s manuals suggest,” according to Motor Trend.

      Type:

      —Model Y: CUV (crossover utility vehicle)

      —Model 3: sedan

      Production start date:

      —Model Y: January 2020

      —Model 3: mid-2017

      Price:

      2020 Tesla Model Y Dual Motor All-Wheel Drive Long Range: base price: $49,990* (cheapest version currently available / price as shown on Tesla’s website)

      2020 Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus base price: $37,990 (cheapest model)

      Cheaper Model Y version:

      The cheapest Model Y now available isn’t cheap. A cheaper version of the Model Y will eventually be offered, according to Tesla.

      American made:

      Both the Model 3 and Model Y are made in America in Fremont, Calif.

      How similar?

      The Model Y is based on the Model 3 and shares 75% of the parts, according to Tesla. And to the untrained eye, they can be hard to distinguish.

      How different?

      But there are some big differences like cargo space and ground clearance — the Model Y has more of both. And you sit higher in the Model Y because the Y’s seats are on risers, which makes it easier to get in and get out of the car compared to the Model 3.

      The Model Y also uses a more efficient heat pump versus the resistive heating system in the Model 3.

      And the Model Y is taller, wider, and longer than the Model 3. It’s only a matter of inches (e.g., the Y is about 7 inches taller) but it can make a difference for things like headroom.

      How popular?

      The Model 3 was the best-selling car in California — the hottest electric car market in the U.S. — in the first quarter of 2020, beating both the Honda Civic and Toyota Camry, according to the California New Car Dealers Association. Since the Model Y is just beginning to ramp up production, the jury is still out but CEO Elon Musk has said that he expects it to outsell the Model 3.

      Seating capacity:

      5 passengers for both the Model 3 and Model Y, though the Y has an option for seven passengers (see “options” below).

      Ground clearance (think: light off-roading):

      —Model Y: 6.6 inches

      —Model 3: 5.5 inches

      Basic warranty:

      4 years / 50,000 miles for both the Model 3 and Model Y.

      Major options:

      —Model Y will offer a third row of seats, allowing it to seat seven passengers ($3,000 option)

      —The Model 3 Performance offers 0-60 in 3.2 seconds for thousands of dollars less than the Model Y Performance (which is a plodding 3.5 seconds by comparison).

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