Shares of China’s Evergrande Group slid as much as 14% on Thursday after a deal to sell a $2.6 billion stake in its property services unit fell through, in the latest blow to the developer whose massive debt woes have rattled global markets.
Evergrande said on Wednesday it had scrapped a deal to sell a 50.1% stake in Evergrande Property Services Group Ltd to Hopson Development Holdings Ltd as the smaller rival had not met the “prerequisite to make a general offer”.
Both sides appeared to trade blame for the setback, with Hopson saying it does not accept “there is any substance whatsoever” to Evergrande’s termination of the sales agreement, and it is exploring options to protect its legitimate interests.
The deal is the developer’s second to collapse amid its scramble to raise cash in recent weeks. Two sources told Reuters last week the $1.7 billion sale of its Hong Kong headquarters had failed amid buyer worries over Evergrande’s dire financial situation.
The latest setback also comes just ahead of the expiry of a 30-day grace period for Evergrande to pay $83.5 million in coupon payments for an offshore bond, at which time China’s most indebted developer would be considered in default.
Evergrande in an exchange filing on Wednesday said the grace periods for the payment of the interest on its U.S. dollar-denominated bonds that had become due in September and October had not expired. It did not elaborate.
“The scrapped transaction has made it even more unlikely for it (Evergrande) to pull a rabbit out of a hat at the last minute,” said a lawyer representing some creditors, requesting anonymity as he was not authorised to speak to the media.
“Given where things are with the missed payments and the grace period running out soon, people are bracing for a hard default. We’ll see how the company addresses this in its negotiations with creditors.”
Trading in the Hong Kong-listed shares of China Evergrande, its property services unit and Hopson all resumed on Thursday after a more than two-week suspension. Evergrande trimmed opening losses and was down 9.8% in early trade. Its property services unit dropped 5%, while its electric vehicle arm plunged as much as 10.3%. Shares of Hopson rose 5.6%.
Mainland China’s property index gained nearly 2%.
Evergrande was once China’s top-selling developer yet is now reeling under more than $300 billion of debt, prompting government officials to come out in force in recent days to say the firm’s problems will not spin out of control and trigger a broader financial crisis.
The string of official reassurances are likely aimed at soothing investor fear that the developer’s debt crisis could ripple through China’s broader property sector, which contributes around a quarter to the country’s economic growth.
Since the government started clamping down on corporate debt in 2017, many real estate developers have turned to off-balance-sheet vehicles to borrow money and skirt regulatory scrutiny, analysts and lawyers said.
Statements from other property developers on Thursday exacerbated investor concern of contagion.
Chinese Estates Holdings Ltd said it would book a loss of $29 million in its current fiscal year from the sale of bonds issued by property developer Kaisa Group Holdings Ltd.
Modern Land (China) Co Ltd said it had ceased to seek consent from investors to extend the maturity date of a dollar bond due on Oct. 25. Its shares were suspended from trading on Thursday.
While Chinese high-yield spreads, as indicated in an index of Chinese corporate high-yield issuers, continued to narrow as of Wednesday evening U.S. time, Modern Land’s decision weighed on investors’ mood, said Clarence Tam, fixed income portfolio manager at Avenue Asset Management in Hong Kong.
“The market is worried all single-B companies will choose not to pay,” he said.
(Reporting by Clare Jim in HONG KONG and Andrew Galbraith in SHANGHAI, additional reporting by Anshuman Daga in SINGAPORE; Writing by Anne Marie Roantree; Editing by Jacqueline Wong and Christopher Cushing)
High River Cargill beef processing plant workers vote 71 per cent in favour of new deal – CTV Edmonton
Cargill workers approved a new contract with 71 per cent support, avoiding a strike or lockout.
After two days of voting, employees at the beef-processing plant in High River, Alta., embraced the new labour contract.
In a statement, the United Food and Commerical Workers (UFCW) Local 401, representing workers at the plant, said on Saturday that it was a “bittersweet victory.”
The site, employing about 2,000 people, experienced a COVID-19 outbreak last year that affected more than 900 people and forced Cargill to close the plant temporarily. Three deaths have been linked to the outbreak, including two workers and one family member.
Workers will receive $4,200 in retroactive pay, a $1,000 signing bonus, a 21 per cent wage increase over the life of the contract, and improved health benefits. The company also agreed to provisions to facilitate a new culture of health, safety, dignity, and respect in the workplace.
“Our employees in High River are important to Cargill’s work to nourish the world in a safe, responsible and sustainable way,” said Jarrod Gillig, Cargill North America’s business operations and supply chain president, in a statement to CTV News.
“We are pleased to have reached an agreement that is comprehensive, fair, and reflective of their commitment to excellence at Cargill and the critical role they play in feeding families across Canada.”
According to UFCW Local 401, the union and workers were ready for a potential strike, erecting tents in front of the plant, installing floodlights and propane heaters, levelling nearby fields to act as parking lots, and finalizing a picketing payroll system.
UFCW Local 401 president Thomas Hesse previously told CTV News that the deal was “fair” but would support workers on the picket line if they decided to reject the offer.
“Tomorrow, work will begin to enforce and apply the new provisions of the Cargill union contract,” Hesse said in a statement Saturday. “Local 401 congratulates and thanks Cargill union members and our Cargill Bargaining Committee.”
Hesse added that the past few months were trying for many employees at the plant.
MORE WORK TO DO
While the decision was not an easy one and a cause for celebration, UFCW Local 401 says there is further work.
The union says workers at the JBS Plant in Brooks, Alta., observed the Cargill proceedings as they head into bargaining for a new contract next year. Additionally, the UFCW Local 401 says it plans to continue pushing for meatpacking industry reforms and restructuring.
As prices for meat continue to soar at the grocery store, Hesse said more needs to be done to better support workers and ranchers.
“Workers have been ripped off. Ranchers have been ripped off. And we’ve all been ripped off at the supermarket counter,” he said. “Government failed to protect these workers, as well as failing to protect Alberta ranchers and consumers. Change must occur.”
With files from CTV News Calgary’s Michael Franklin
Why employers may need to bend toward a more flexible future to stay competitive – CBC.ca
You don’t have to convince Ross Simmonds about the benefits of remote work.
The founder and CEO of Foundation Marketing has been leading the way on that front, running his business as “remote first” since it started in 2014.
While the company may officially be based in Halifax, it employs team members as far away as Ireland and Nigeria.
“I like to say we’re based on the internet,” said Simmonds, whose 30-plus staff also includes people in the U.S. and a half-dozen Canadian provinces.
The long-term provision of more flexible work will remain a key draw for employees in Canada’s future economy and also for organizations looking to retain their services, employers and experts say.
It’s already the case in a COVID-altered work world that millions of Canadians are used to doing things differently and don’t necessarily want to go back to the way things were.
“Workers, at this point, who work online have come to expect to be able to continue to work online,” said Eddy Ng, the Smith Professor of Equity & Inclusion in Business at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont.
Some Canadian employers are factoring this reality into their thinking as they shape their approach to their business.
At software giant SAP Canada, the organization is bending toward a more flexible future — one that many employers will have to contend with as they compete for talent, said SAP Canada vice-president and head of HR Megan Smith.
“Most talent, at this point, expects some degree of flexibility in where and when they work,” Smith said. “So organizations that really want to attract the best talent are going to want to offer some degree of that.”
Simmonds said it’s already clear people are moving toward jobs that provide that.
Foundation Marketing has been fielding inquiries about job opportunities from people at other companies who have been told they are going back to the office.
“That’s when we see a spike for the number of applicants applying for our roles,” said Simmonds.
Binod Sundararajan, the interim director of Dalhousie University’s Rowe School of Business, said companies are weighing what they are “going to get by bringing people back,” including the impact on corporate culture.
But that consideration is taking place amid an awareness that they have workers who want more flexibility, he said.
Canada has more than four million people working at home, according to Statistics Canada’s latest labour force survey. That group would include many people whose remote work experience began with the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Janet Candido, the founder and principal of the Toronto-based Candido Consulting Group, has observed a shifting set of employee preferences over the course of the pandemic.
At the start, Candido heard employees expressing a strong desire to be able to work at home. Then some people found the home-work environment tough to adjust to, she said.
“Now that pendulum seems to have swung back, where people really do want not necessarily to work remotely all the time,” said Candido. “They want the flexibility now.”
But Candido, too, notes she has seen people leaving their jobs in recent months because they found a new employer that permits remote work.
Meanwhile, Simmonds said he’s seen organizations that are trying to implement a blend of office and remote work — a development he views as “a good step forward.”
When flexibility is offered to workers, Simmonds said, it’s key to convey to people they won’t be “viewed negatively” for preferring a remote setup, if that’s what works best for them.
“Don’t be afraid to go hybrid, but in doing so, don’t discipline those who do not embrace fully coming back to the office,” he said.
Less commuting, more options
The more traditional a company’s working arrangements, the more limited its hiring choices may be — at least when compared to organizations offering more flexible options.
“If you need everybody to come into the office, they need to be [living] within commuting distance,” said Candido.
That lack of a commute is one of the reasons Simmonds favoured remote work for Foundation Marketing. He thought others would feel the same way.
“I had a hypothesis that there was a lot of other people out there in the world who would get a lot of value for not having to do the commute and not having to work in an office building,” Simmonds said.
He said he also believed “it would be a competitive advantage to be able to be fully remote, because you would be able to attract some of the brightest and greatest minds, with no limit to their location.”
What about those left behind
There are, however, many workers for whom remote work won’t be an option in future — and not only because of the jobs they currently have.
Because to move to a job that can be done remotely, a person has to have a certain set of baseline digital skills that may not be easily acquired outside of a work or school context.
“If they want to be part of the remote economy, they have to have new skills,” said Ng, noting this is a long-term problem that policy-makers have failed to solve.
And while some may see remote work as having potential to help alleviate some barriers for these workers, Ng said the reality is very different.
“The availability of workers who are underrepresented is simply not there,” said Ng, explaining these same people are often in jobs that do “not permit them to actually retrain or retool.”
There’s a need for employers to take a long-term view, Ng said, and be willing to invest in people to help them gain the broader skills required to move toward new employment.
Ontario man who accidentally transferred $19000 to stranger's account left for weeks without solution – CTV Toronto
An Ontario man says he has been fighting to get back $19,000 for months after making a “simple mistake” while trying to transfer money between two of his bank accounts.
Milton, Ont. man Roberto Guardado said he had just purchased a new home and in September was trying to transfer money from his Bank of Montreal (BMO) account to his CIBC account so that he could make the down payment.
He said he called BMO to arrange the wire transfer, figuring it would be the easiest way to move the funds to CIBC.
Guardado said he has two bank accounts with CIBC, one for his personal savings and one for business. He was trying to transfer the money into the savings account.
He said while making the transfer, he correctly read out his CIBC savings account number, but mistakenly gave the transit number of his CIBC business account.
The five-digit transit number helps the bank identify which branch the money is being sent to.
The mistake resulted in Guardado’s money being sent to a stranger’s CIBC account, he said.
“I noticed the money went out but it didn’t go into my CIBC account,” Guardado told CTV News Toronto. “So I went home that day and I started looking on my computer and then I realized I gave the wrong transit number.”
He said he immediately called BMO, who told him they would launch an investigation.
Despite calling the bank every few days for an update, he said it took five weeks before he got any answers.
Guardado said he was told that his $19,000 was deposited into someone else’s account and the person had withdrawn it.
He said both BMO and CIBC told him nothing further could be done to retrieve his money.
“I couldn’t believe I made the mistake,” Guardado said.
Guardado said he called the police, but was also told that because he initiated the transfer there was nothing to investigate.
“The police told me that because it’s not considered fraud they can’t do anything about it,” he said.
‘JUST A SIMPLE MISTAKE’
Guardado said that while he fully admits the error was his fault, he doesn’t understand why the bank couldn’t help him quickly reverse the transfer.
“It was just a simple mistake and my money ended in someone else’s account,” Guardado said.
Because of the lost money, Guardado said he had no choice but to back out of the sale of his new home.
Shortly after CTV News Toronto contacted CIBC and BMO about Guardado’s situation, he said he received a call from the banks telling him his $19,000 would be returned to his account.
CIBC spokesperson Trish Tervit confirmed on Saturday they had resolved the issue with Guardado.
“It’s important that when transferring funds between financial institutions that the sender ensures the recipient account number is correct as misdirected funds may be difficult to recover,” Tervit added.
Guardado said CIBC told him this is a “unique situation” that is being resolved on a one-time basis.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson from BMO said they had a “good conversation” with Guardado, but couldn’t comment further for privacy reasons.
While this stressful two-month chapter is now over for Guardado, he said banks “have to come up with a better system” for when people make mistakes.
“It was a stupid mistake on my part, but the process to fix it has to be easier,” he said. “I was so stressed that I lost weight and I couldn’t sleep. It was bothering me so much.”
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