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Cenovus to cut up to 25% of combined workforce with Husky Energy after merger – CBC.ca

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The $3.8-billion merger between Cenovus Energy and Husky Energy will result in a trimming of the workforce by as much as 25 per cent, CBC News has confirmed.

“The estimate is that the reductions will be approximately 20 per cent to 25 per cent of the combined workforce, which is about 8,600 employees and contractors,” Reg Curren, senior media advisor for Cenovus, said in an email to CBC News on Tuesday, two days after the merger was announced.

The majority of the job cuts of 1,720 to 2,150 positions are expected to take place in Calgary, where both firms are headquartered.

The new company will operate as Cenovus Energy and will be based out of Calgary.

“As with any merger of this type, there will be overlap and there will be some difficult decisions as we work to create a combined organization best positioned for the future,” Kim Guttormson, communications manager at Husky, said in an emailed statement.

Deal generally applauded 

Cenovus CEO Alex Pourbaix said his company’s merger with rival Husky would create a new entity that’s stronger, more resilient and operating with ‘significantly reduced’ risk to market volatility. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

Cenovus CEO Alex Pourbaix said the merger would create a new entity that’s stronger, more resilient and operating with “significantly reduced” risk to market volatility.

His counterpart at Husky, CEO Rob Peabody, said the deal would allow the combined companies to “make better returns in a tougher environment.”

Analysts generally applauded the surprise Cenovus-Husky hookup for its operational advantages but criticized the plus-20-per-cent premium in the price for Husky.

Husky Energy president and CEO Robert Peabody said the two companies have talked about a merger for several years, but discussions picked up in March. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

“The deal does make strategic sense,” said Manav Gupta of Credit Suisse in a note to investors.

“Like U.S. E&P (exploration and production companies), Canadian energy companies also need to come together, cut costs and become leaner to better adapt to lower energy demand in [a] post-pandemic world.”

Both companies are carrying a relatively hefty amount of debt and that’s why joining forces made financial sense. 

While the oilpatch has struggled for many years, this deal is happening in a remarkably unique time in the industry, with many companies bleeding money with historically low oil prices that even turned negative this year.

The oil pipeline and tank storage facilities at the Husky Energy oil terminal in Hardisty, Alta. Husky’s CEO says the combined company will be better able to achieve climate targets, such as the goal to have net-zero emissions by 2050. (Larry MacDougal/The Canadian Press)

Cenovus shares fell by as much as 15 per cent to $4.15 in Monday trading in Toronto before closing down 8.4 per cent at $4.47.

Husky, meanwhile, gained as much as 14.2 per cent to $3.62 before closing up 12 per cent at $3.55

Earlier in 2020, Cenovus and Husky shares had lost 63 per cent and 70 per cent of their value, respectively.

Cenovus expects to find savings of $1.2 billion.

More mega-mergers likely, analyst says

The all-share deal will likely spark more mega-mergers among Canadian oil and gas majors, according to a veteran oilsands analyst.

“This is likely just the start of big deals in Canadian energy land and thus it begs the question of who is next?” said analyst Phil Skolnick of Eight Capital in a report on Monday.

“As seen in the U.S. with the accelerated M&A activity, when there’s one meaningful transaction, there’s likely more to come.”

Several industry observers point to Calgary-based oilsands producer MEG Energy Inc. as the leading potential target, noting Husky’s failed $3.3-billion hostile takeover attempt of its smaller rival two years ago.

The Husky-Cenovus merger calls for Husky shareholders to receive 0.7845 of a Cenovus share plus 0.0651 of a Cenovus share purchase warrant in exchange for each Husky common share if the deal is concluded.

Cenovus shareholders would own about 61 per cent of the combined company and Husky shareholders about 39 per cent.

The transaction must be approved by at least two-thirds of Husky’s shareholders but Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-Shing controls 70 per cent of Husky’s shares and has agreed to vote them in favour of the deal.  

Third-quarter results expected this week

The announcement Sunday came just as Calgary’s oilsands companies are about to start rolling out third-quarter financial results, with Suncor Energy Inc. set to report Wednesday and both Cenovus and Husky scheduled to report on Thursday.

Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage said in a statement that she predicts opponents of Canada’s energy sector will “seize upon today’s news.”

“But projections show continued global demand for fossil fuels well into the future,” she said. “We believe that Canada should not cede that market to countries like Russia and Saudi Arabia.”

“As companies across the globe navigate unprecedented economic times, job restructurings are an unfortunate reality of weathering the storm. 

More Alberta business news:

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Moderna chairman says Canada near front of line for 20M vaccine doses – 680 News

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The chairman of American vaccine maker Moderna says Canada is near the front of the line to receive 20 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine it pre-ordered.

Noubar Afeyan offered that assessment today in an interview with CBC’s Rosemary Barton Live.

Afeyan’s remarks come as the Trudeau government has come under fire this past week for its ability to deliver a timely vaccine to Canadians.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau created a firestorm when he said Canadians will have to wait a bit to get vaccinated for COVID-19 because the first doses off the production lines will be used in the countries where they are made.

Afeyan was asked whether the fact that Canada committed to pre-purchase its doses before other jurisdictions means it will get its supply first.

Afeyan confirmed that was the case.

“The people who are willing to move early on with even less proof of the efficacy have assured the amount of supply they were willing to sign up to,” he said.

“In the case of Canada, that number is about 20 million doses. But the Canadian government, like others, have also reserved the ability to increase that amount. And those discussions are ongoing,” he added.

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Shares take a breather after stellar month, China data upbeat – reuters.com

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SYDNEY (Reuters) – World shares paused to assess a record-busting month on Monday as the prospect of a vaccine-driven economic recovery next year and yet more free money from central banks eclipsed immediate concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.

FILE PHOTO: Passersby wearing protective face masks are reflected on a stock quotation board outside a brokerage, in Tokyo, Japan November 10, 2020. REUTERS/Issei Kato

Helping sentiment was a survey showing factory activity in China handily beat forecasts in November, and the country’s central bank surprised with a helping of cheap loans. That left blue chips up 1.3% on the day and 7.4% for the month.

The rush to risk has also benefited oil and industrial commodities while undermining the safe-haven dollar and gold.

“November looks set to be an awesome month for equity investors with Europe leading the charge at a country/regional level,” said NAB analyst Rodrigo Catril.

Many European bourses are boasting their best month ever with France up 21% and Italy almost 26%. The MSCI measure of world stocks is up 13% for November so far, while the S&P 500 has climbed 11% to all-time peaks.

Early Monday, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan slipped 0.4%, to be up almost 11% for the month in its best performance since late 2011.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 eased 0.4%, but was still 15.4% higher on the month for the largest rise since 1994.

E-Mini futures for the S&P 500 dipped 0.4%, and EUROSTOXX 50 futures 0.6%.

“Markets are overbought and at risk of a short term pause,” said Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy at AMP Capital.

“However, we are now in a seasonally strong time of year and investors are yet to fully discount the potential for a very strong recovery next year in growth and profits as stimulus combines with vaccines.”

Cyclical recovery shares including resources, industrials and financials were likely to be relative outperformers, he added.

The surge in stocks has put some competitive pressure on safe-haven bonds but much of that has been cushioned by expectations of more asset buying by central banks.

Sweden’s Riksbank surprised last week by expanding its bond purchase program and the European Central Bank is likely to follow in December.

DOLLAR IN DECLINE

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell testifies to Congress on Tuesday amid speculation of further policy action at its next meeting in mid-December.

As a result U.S. 10-year yields are ending the month almost exactly where they started at 0.84%, a solid performance given the exuberance in equities.

The U.S. dollar has not been as lucky.

“The idea that a potential Treasury Secretary (Janet) Yellen and Fed chair Powell could work more closely to shape and coordinate super easy monetary policy and massive fiscal stimulus that could drive a rapid post pandemic recovery saw the dollar under pressure,” said Robert Rennie, head of financial market strategy at Westpac.

Against a basket of currencies, the dollar index was pinned at 91.771 having shed 2.4% for the month to lows last seen in mid-2018.

The euro has caught a tailwind from the relative outperformance of European stocks and climbed 2.7% for the month so far to reach $1.1967. A break of the September peak at $1.2011 would open the way to a 2018 top at $1.2555.

The dollar has even declined against the Japanese yen, a safe-haven of its own, losing 0.7% in November to reach 103.89 yen, though it remains well above key support at 103.16.

Sterling stood at $1.3334, having climbed steadily this month to its highest since September, as investors wagered a Brexit deal would be brokered even as the deadline for talks loomed ever larger.

One major casualty of the rush to risk has been gold, which was near a five-month trough at $1,771 an ounce having shed 5.6% so far in November.

Oil, in contrast, has benefited from the prospect of a demand revival should the vaccines allow travel and transport to resume next year. [O/R]

Some profit-taking set in early Monday ahead of an OPEC+ meeting to decide whether the producers’ group will extend large output cuts. Brent crude futures fell 52 cents to $47.66, while U.S. crude eased 60 cents to $44.93 a barrel.

Editing by Lincoln Feast & Simon Cameron-Moore

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Alberta reports 1,608 new cases of COVID-19, second highest number during pandemic – CBC.ca

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Alberta reported 1,608 new cases of COVID-19 and nine additional deaths on Sunday.

The total number of active cases in Alberta grew to 15,692, according to the province. There are 435 people in the hospital and 95 in intensive care. 

According to the province there is a “brief delay in a death being reported to Alberta Health or in a death being confirmed post-mortem as having COVID-19 as a contributing cause”.

The nine deaths brings the provincial total to 533. Five of which are linked to the outbreak at the Edmonton Chinatown Care Centre in Edmonton. They include a man and woman, both in their 80s who died on Nov. 25. They had underlying conditions along with COVID-19. A man in his 70s who died on Nov. 26 who also had underlying conditions. Another man and woman in their 90s who died on Nov. 27 also had one or more additional conditions.

The remaining deaths include a man in his 90s linked to the outbreak at Westlock Continuing Care Centre in North Zone. The province did not confirm if he had underlying conditions. Another man in his 90s in south zone who died on Nov. 28 also with underlying conditions. 

Another man in his 80s linked to the outbreak at Laurel Heights Retirement Residence in Edmonton Zone who died on Nov. 28, and a man in his 80s who died on Nov. 29 due to the outbreak at Clifton Manor in Calgary Zone. The province could not confirm underlying conditions for either. 

A regional breakdown of cases as of Saturday shows the impact of COVID-19 in different parts of the province:

  • Calgary zone: 5,756 active cases

  • South zone: 642 active cases

  • Edmonton zone: 7,230 active cases

  • North zone: 857 active cases

  • Central zone: 1,101 active cases

  • Unknown: 106 active cases

The majority of people in the hospital and ICU are from the Edmonton zone. There are 222 people hospitalized in Edmonton and 50 in intensive care. In comparison, Calgary has 138 people in hospital and 33 in intensive care. The remaining zones’ hospitalizations are in double digits.

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