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Future Returns: Investment Opportunities in Oil Continue – Barron's



Oil tankers ff the coast of Long Beach, California on April 25, 2020. Companies are using the tankers to store excess supplies of crude oil due to lack of demand during the coronavirus pandemic.

APU GOMES/AFP via Getty Images

On Monday, April 20, investors were stunned as they watched panic selling swamp the May crude oil futures of its benchmark, West Texas intermediate, or WTI. In the end, May contracts plunged $55.90 to nearly negative $40. Retail investors with a large portion of their portfolios in oil and gas saw significant losses in the ensuing mayhem.

Within two days, crude oil futures were trading back up near $17 per barrel. 

Huge swings in contracts bring big risks to investors, but also significant opportunities for those who are risk tolerant and have no aversion to the oil sector to pursue them. 

But what should long-term investors be looking at right now? Brian Overby, senior options analyst with Ally Invest, a Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based financial services company with $7.5 billion under management jokes that investors with a longer-term horizon should “lie down until the urge goes away” to invest in oil. 

“People need to understand the inherent risk of trading oil futures,” he says. 

Futures themselves are an approximation of the underlying asset and don’t always perfectly track the commodity. Also, futures are monthly rolling contracts so that the spot month—the nearest month—is constantly changing over time. Two weeks before the end of each month, the futures contract rolls into the next month and becomes the new spot futures contract. This triggers “rolling risk” between one month’s settlement price and the conversion to the next month’s spot price.  

Super Tankers as Profit Centers

One area for investors to keep their eyes on in the short term is oil storage. A glut of oil on the market has led to a high demand for storage.

“The joke is that people in Texas are filling up their swimming pools with oil,” Overby says. “The storage of oil is where the best benefit has been recently. Profitability has come from the supertankers.” 

Just after the crash of the crude market last week, oil traders began contracting super tankers to act as floating oil reserve vessels. This increased the number of barrels of oil held in tankers to 160 million, up 60% from the 2009 record level, according to Reuters. Each VLCC, or very large crude container, can hold more than 2 million barrels of crude oil. 

Some of the largest tanker and oil shipping companies, such as Nordic American Tankers, Teekay Tankersi, and Tsakos Energy Navigation, saw their shares rise 10% to 20% as demand for storage rose..

The oil industry had already experienced a huge drop in consumption and, and subsequently, prices by the time April 20 rolled around. In early March, Saudi Arabia had started an oil price war by slashing its prices after Russia walked out of OPEC negotiations to cut production during the Covid-19 crisis. When oil dipped below zero, traders were awash with excess oil, causing them to scramble to find oil reserve tanks. 

Look to Oil Refinery Stocks Instead

While the bottom of the crude market fell out last week, share prices of the largest refinery companies fared far better. Overby views a mini-crash in crude markets in 2015 to 2016 as instructive for what’s happening in some parts of the oil market today.

“I would look back to 2016 [as a] precedent,” he says. “How did Exxon do relative to the underlying market?”

In 2016 and again in 2020, the largest oil refinery companies outperformed oil futures and oil exchange-traded funds. For illustration, while the crude market on April 20 lost 306%, shares of Exxon, Phillips 66 and British Petroleum, for example, lost just 5.3%, 4.6%,and 7.6%, respectively, from the market close on Friday, April 17, to the close on Tuesday, April 21, rebounding to their prior levels by April 22.

Going Forward

There is no doubt that the oil market is trading on fear from the economic fallout of the pandemic and from the geopolitical situation among Saudi Arabia, Russia, and the United States. Like any other industry, the oil market can’t succeed in the long run by selling oil for $20 a barrel when its break-even costs are closer to $35.

Watch the employment side of companies, Overby says. Unemployment in the oil sector forecasts longer-term demand issues and pessimism about government support.

Another wildcard for oil is not knowing what level of support to expect from the U.S. government. “What is the government going to do?” Overby says. “You might be able to make the case that oil is a defense issue. If so, how much more money are they willing to throw in to stabilize the market?”

Ultimately, demand for oil is the driver of price. “Overall, the oil picture is so muddied right now,” Overby says. “I don’t see anything in the immediate future that will bring oil back to where it was. Do people go back to work, and are they driving, and are they driving Teslas.” 

For broader index investors, the portfolio exposure to oil should remain fairly moderate, according to Mark Haefele, chief investment officer of global wealth management at UBS.

“The fall in oil prices in recent years has been reflected in a lower weighting of the energy sector in the main benchmark indexes,” Haefele said in a research report, Oil Spills on Risk Assets, April 22, 2020.

“Energy stocks account for just 2.7% of the S&P 500 and 5.8% of MSCI EM, down from around 10% and 14% a decade ago, respectively,” he said. For that reason, “The impact of oil prices on broader equity markets is likely to be relatively small, and likely [will be] eclipsed by developments in addressing the Covid-19 pandemic.”

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Fax Capital Announces Additional Investment in Hamilton Thorne Ltd., Files Early Warning Report – GlobeNewswire




TORONTO, June 01, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — FAX Capital Corp. (FAX or the Company) (TSX: FXC & FXC.WT) is pleased to announce that it has acquired ownership of an additional 3,182,000 common shares (the Shares) of Hamilton Thorne Ltd. (Hamilton Thorne) (TSXV:HTL) through a non-brokered private placement transaction which closed on May 29, 2020 (the Private Placement).  The Shares were acquired at an average price of $1.10 per Share and an aggregate purchase price of $3,500,200.  Immediately prior to the closing of the Private Placement, the Company owned 12,574,700 Shares, representing 9.5% of the issued and outstanding Shares. Following the completion of the Private Placement, FAX now owns 15,756,700 Shares, representing 11.4% of the total number of issued and outstanding Shares of Hamilton Thorne. Pursuant to applicable securities laws, the Shares acquired through the Private Placement are subject to a hold period of four-months plus one day from the date of closing.

FAX’s investment presentation in respect of Hamilton Thorne will be available on the Company’s website at  The Company currently has no plans or intentions with respect to the acquired Shares of Hamilton Thorne and the Shares are being held for investment purposes. In the future, the Company may acquire additional Shares, or dispose of its holdings, both as investment conditions warrant.  

“We are pleased to add to FAX’s investment in Hamilton Thorne, a well managed company with a solid track record serving an important need in a large and growing industry,” said Blair Driscoll, FAX’s Chief Executive Officer. “The global In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) and fertility market is a recession resistant industry with expected market growth of up to 10%, driven by secular tailwinds such as rising maternal age of first pregnancy, broader insurance reimbursements, a rising middle class, and technological advancements to support increasing IVF success rates.”

“As one of the market leaders, Hamilton Thorne is well positioned to benefit from this growing market,” added Marc Robinson, FAX’s Managing Director and co-head of the Company’s Investment Team. “The company has a proven management team and sustainable competitive advantages driven by regulatory protection and high customer switching costs. Financially, the company has a 10-year track record of sales growth that has been accelerating, has margin expansion opportunity, and has a strong balance sheet and free cash flow generation to facilitate further organic growth and M&A within a consolidating industry.”

Hamilton Thorne is a Boston, Massachusetts based manufacturer, marketer and distributor of equipment, precision instruments, consumables, software and services to the global Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) market. The company’s products, marketed under the Hamilton Thorne, Gynemed, Embryotech and Planer brands, are cleared for sale in the US, Europe, China, and Canada and are sold to a customer base that includes pharmaceutical and biotech companies, fertility clinics, research centers and others. The head office of Hamilton Thorne is located at 100 Cummings Centre, Suite 465E, Beverly, MA, 01915, U.S.A.

The Company has today filed an early warning report under National Instrument 62-103 – The Early Warning System and Related Take-Over Bid and Insider Reporting Issues in respect of the Private Placement.  A copy of the early warning report will be available under Hamilton Thorne’s profile on SEDAR at, or may be obtained by contacting Ryan Caughey, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary at (647) 696-4679.  The Company is a corporation incorporated under the laws of Canada and its head office is located at TD Tower West, 100 Wellington Street West, Suite 2110, Toronto, Ontario, M5K 1H1.

About FAX Capital Corp.

The Company is an investment holding company with a business objective to maximize its intrinsic value on a per share basis over the long-term by seeking to achieve superior investment performance commensurate with reasonable risk. The Company intends to invest in equity, debt and/or hybrid securities of high-quality businesses. The Company initially intends to invest in approximately 10 to 15 high-quality small cap public and private businesses located primarily in Canada and, to a lesser extent, the United States.  Further information about the Company is available at

For additional information please contact:

Investor Relations
Sophia Tang, Investor Relations
Telephone: (416) 860-6108

Media Relations
Tim Foran
Telephone: (416) 986-8515

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Information

This press release contains forward-looking information. Such forward-looking information or statements (FLS) are provided for the purpose of providing information about management’s current expectations and plans relating to the future. Readers are cautioned that reliance on such information may not be appropriate for other purposes. Any such FLS may be identified by words such as “proposed”, “expects”, “intends”, “may”, “will”, and similar expressions. FLS contained or referred to in this press release includes, but is not limited to, the Company’s continuing views on Hamilton Thorne’s operations and the prospects of its associated industry; the Company’s expectations in respect to the acquisition or disposition of Shares or other securities of Hamilton Thorne and the Company’s continued intentions in respect of the Company’s Shares of Hamilton Thorne currently held. 

FLS is based on a number of factors and assumptions which have been used to develop such statements and information, but which may prove to be incorrect. Although the Company believes that the expectations reflected in such FLS is reasonable, undue reliance should not be placed on FLS because the Company can give no assurance that such expectations will prove to be correct. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those described in such FLS include, but are not limited to, the timing and terms associated with any further potential investment opportunities in Hamilton Thorne and other identified companies, the continued impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) on targeted investments, the economy and markets generally, as well as the identified risk factors included in the Company’s public disclosure, including the annual information form dated March 26, 2020, which is available on SEDAR at and on the Company’s website at The FLS in this press release reflect the current expectations, assumptions, judgements and/or beliefs of the Company based on information currently available to the Company, and are subject to change without notice.

Any FLS speaks only as of the date on which it is made and, except as may be required by applicable securities laws, the Company disclaims any intent or obligation to update any FLS, whether as a result of new information, future events or results or otherwise. The FLS contained in this press release are expressly qualified by this cautionary statement.  For more information on the Company, please review the Company’s continuous disclosure filings that are available at

No securities regulatory authority has either approved or disapproved of the contents of this news release. The Toronto Stock Exchange accepts no responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release. 

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Xebec and Fonds de solidarité FTQ launch an investment fund to increase renewable natural gas production in Québec – GlobeNewswire



MONTREAL, June 01, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Xebec Adsorption Inc. (TSXV: XBC) (“Xebec”), a global provider of clean energy solutions, and Fonds de solidarité FTQ (the “Fonds”) are proud to announce the creation of the GNR Québec Capital L.P. investment fund. With an initial capitalization of $20 million, this new investment vehicle aims to increase renewable natural gas (RNG) production in Québec. Partners, particularly from the agricultural and municipal sectors, will have access to the capital and expertise needed to develop and operate efficient facilities to treat organic waste. The creation of a fund of this type for renewable natural gas projects is a first in Québec.

Xebec and the Fonds will each initially invest $10 million into the partnership. Over time, Xebec and the Fonds expect that the partnership could receive an aggregate $100 million in equity capital from Xebec, the Fonds and other investors. Xebec and the Fonds’ initiative could, with a 75:25 debt to equity ratio, fund 12 to 15 renewable natural gas projects in Québec with an aggregate investment of $400 million over the next decade. The general partner, GNR Québec Capital Management Inc., overseen by a Board of Directors nominated by Xebec and the Fonds will be managing the partnership.

“We’re proud to once again partner with Xebec to increase the Fonds de solidarité FTQ’s impact in the fight against climate change. Renewable natural gas can accelerate the decarbonization of sectors such as transportation, home heating and industry, by supporting the circular economy through organic waste responsive management activities. This initiative also meets the Fonds’ objectives for a just energy transition by creating jobs and supporting local economies with additional revenue streams for farmers, municipalities, and industry. Xebec is a worldwide leader in renewable gases, and we are excited to have them as a partner in this project for the large-scale rollout of renewable natural gas facilities in Québec,” says Dany Pelletier, Vice President for Investments – Structuring Capital, Energy and Environment, Fonds de solidarité FTQ.

Our partnership with the Fonds de solidarité FTQ is a great demonstration of how local players can work together to foster the development of the renewable natural gas industry. When we launched this initiative a few years ago, we realized the need for new and better adapted structures to co-invest, develop and operate these facilities in a professional manner. Quebec has become a leading RNG province in Canada and currently has several RNG facilities in operation. Considering that new government regulations, such as the Clean Fuels Standard, will soon come into force and that the need for a higher renewable natural gas content will increase over the next few years, particularly in the utilities sector, we are pleased to partner with the Fonds de solidarité FTQ to accelerate the deployment of renewable gas infrastructures. Going forward, Xebec will seek to create more of these valuable financial partnerships in the field of RNG waste-to-energy conversion in Canada and will continue its mission to bring leading-edge technologies to the sector,” said Kurt Sorschak, President and CEO of Xebec Adsorption Inc.

A first-of-its-kind investment vehicle for renewable natural gas projects in Canada
This partnership is an innovative initiative that brings together industry participants (waste management companies, gas utilities, farmers, municipalities) and major financial institutions with a clear mandate to invest in organic waste treatment facilities for the production of renewable natural gas. The market for renewable natural gas in Canada is still in its infancy. In this context, Xebec and the Fonds de solidarité FTQ view this partnership as an essential step to develop and promote the expertise and efforts needed to accelerate the replacement of fossil fuels while supporting sustainable and responsible long-term investment in a waste-to-renewable gas economy in Canada.

GNR Quebec Capital: in line with government objectives for GNR production and greenhouse gas emissions reduction
GNR Quebec Capital L.P. believes that it could play a significant catalyst role in helping to meet government objectives of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing the use of renewable natural gas, while supporting existing developers.

Last March, the Quebec government’s 2020-2021 budget allocated $70 million to support RNG production and distribution up to 2022. This measure follows the passing, in March 2019, of regulations mandating the minimum quantity of RNG to be delivered by natural gas distributors at 1% in 2020, and 5% in 2025.

For its part, the Government of Canada announced on April 24, 2020 an updated timeline for the introduction of the Clean Fuels Standard (CFS). The objective of this standard is to achieve an annual reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 30 million tons by 2030. It will do so by stimulating investment and innovation in low-carbon-intensity fuels while enabling cost effective compliance. Xebec expects that the implementation of the ASC will create significant opportunities for the Canadian renewable gas industry over the next decade.

Xebec to host Webinar on the Partnership
On June 2, at 11:00 a.m. EDT (8:00 a.m. PDT), Xebec management invites shareholders, analysts, investors, media representatives and other stakeholders to participate in a webinar on this innovative partnership. For the occasion, Kurt Sorschak, Xebec’s President and CEO, will be joined by Louis Dufour, Xebec’s Chief Financial Officer, and Prabhu Rao, Xebec’s Chief Operating Officer. The presentation will be followed by a question period.

To Register:

Media inquiries:
Public Stratégies et Conseil
Harold Fortin, Corporate communications and Public affairs strategist
+418 572 4356

Fonds de solidarité FTQ
Patrick McQuilken, Media Relations
+514 703 5587

Investor relations:
Xebec Adsorption Inc.
Brandon Chow, Investor Relations Manager
+450 979 8700 ext 5762

About the Fonds de solidarité FTQ
The Fonds de solidarité FTQ is a capital development fund that channels the savings of Quebecers into investments. With $16.7 billion in net assets as at November 30, 2019, the Fonds has helped create and protect more than 215,000 jobs. The Fonds has over 3,100 partner companies and upwards of 700,000 shareholders-savers.

About Xebec Adsorption Inc.
Xebec is a global provider of gas generation, purification, and filtration solutions for the industrial, energy and renewables marketplace. Well-positioned in the energy transition space with proprietary technologies that transform raw gases into clean sources of renewable energy, Xebec’s 1500+ customers range from small to multi-national corporations, governments and municipalities looking to reduce their carbon footprints. Headquartered in Montréal, Quebec, Canada, Xebec has several Sales and Support offices in North America and Europe, as well as two manufacturing facilities in Montréal and Shanghai. Xebec trades on the TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol XBC.

Cautionary Statement
Neither TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release. This news release contains forward-looking statements and forward-looking information (together, “forward-looking statements”) within the meaning of applicable securities laws. All statements, other than statements of historical facts, are forward-looking statements, and subject to risks and uncertainties. Generally, forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of terminology such as “plans”, “seeks”, “expects”, “estimates”, “intends”, “anticipates”, “believes”, “could”, “might”, “likely” or variations of such words, or statements that certain actions, events or results “may”, “will”, “could”, “would”, “might”, “will be taken”, “occur”, “be achieved” or other similar expressions. Forward-looking statements, including statements concerning future capital expenditures, revenues, expenses, earnings, economic performance, indebtedness, financial condition, losses and future prospects as well as the expectations of management of Xebec with respect to information regarding the business and the expansion and growth of Xebec operations, involve risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results, performance, prospects and opportunities to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are subject to business and economic factors and uncertainties, and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from these forward-looking statements, including the relevant assumptions and risks factors set out in Xebec’s public documents, including in the most recent annual management discussion and analysis and annual information form, filed on SEDAR at Furthermore, should one or more of the risks, uncertainties or other factors materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those described in forward-looking statements or information. These risks, uncertainties and other factors include, among others, the uncertain and unpredictable condition of global economy, notably as a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic, Xebec’s capacity to generate revenue growth, the ability of Xebec and the Fonds to identify additional partners, the ability of the partnership to raise additional capital investment, the development of the renewable gas market in Canada, the capacity for the partnership to identify valuable renewable gas projects to invest in, the ability of the partnership to contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, price of raw material, Xebec’s capacity to meet all its other commitments and business plans, Xebec’s limited number of customers, the potential loss of key employees, share price volatility, and other factors. Although Xebec believes that the assumptions and factors used in preparing the forward-looking statements are reasonable, undue reliance should not be placed on these statements, which only apply as of the date of this news release, and no assurance can be given that such events will occur in the disclosed times frames or at all. Except where required by applicable law, Xebec disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

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US Foreign Investment Review Continues To Evolve – Government, Public Sector – Canada – Mondaq News Alerts




U.S. Foreign Investment Review Continues To Evolve

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The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS)
has remained active despite challenges presented by the COVID-19

What you need to know

  • Since new rules went into effect in February expanding its
    jurisdiction, CFIUS has been reviewing a broader scope of
    transactions by foreign investors in U.S. businesses and real
  • Filing parties should build in additional time to account for
    delays attributable to remote operations.
  • CFIUS recently implemented filing fees and will revise the
    scope of transactions subject to mandatory filing.

Reviews progressing at protracted pace during the pandemic

Although M&A activity has declined due to uncertainties
raised by the pandemic, the Committee’s broader mandate and
remote operations have delayed the review process.

Most notably, the time between parties’ submission of a
formal written notice and CFIUS’s acceptance of the notice for
review—period not governed by any regulation—reportedly
has increased to as much as 30-45 days. Because the Committee’s
threat assessment typically requires classified information, not
accessible from unsecured home computers, it is also understood
that CFIUS is clearing fewer transactions within the initial 45-day
review period.

During the pandemic, the new short-form declaration, review of
which is limited to 30 days, has been of limited value because
CFIUS is informing most parties that it cannot conclude action
within the timeframe. Under such circumstances, parties can proceed
to close without the benefit of the “safe harbor”
afforded cleared transactions or they can file a formal notice and
work through the full, lengthier process.

Parties subject to CFIUS jurisdiction should consider these
developments when assessing whether to submit a voluntary filing,
and parties expecting, or required, to file are advised to account
for delays in their transaction planning and documentation.

CFIUS implements additional new rules

The pandemic has not stopped CFIUS from implementing and
refining its rules and procedures pursuant to 2018’s Foreign
Investment Risk Review Modernization Act (FIRRMA).

1. Filing fees

Effective May 1, 2020, CFIUS now requires a filing fee for
formal written notices, but not short-form declarations. The
current fee scale is summarized below (in U.S. dollars):

Transaction Value Range

Fee Amount

$0 to $499,999.99


$500,000 to $4,999,999.99


$5,000,000 to $49,999,999.99


$50,000,000 to $249,999,999.99


$250,000,000 to $749,999,999.99


$750,000,000 +


2. Mandatory filing for certain critical
technology transactions

CFIUS currently requires a filing for certain foreign investment
transactions involving a U.S. business that produces, designs,
tests, manufactures, fabricates, or develops one or more critical
technologies in connection with one of 27 industries identified by
North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code. The
enumerated industries include, for example, aircraft manufacturing,
aluminum production, biotechnology R&D, and storage battery

On May 21, 2020, CFIUS proposed a revised rule, subject to
public comment through June 22, 2020, that eliminates the list of
27 industries. A CFIUS filing will instead be mandatory for
transactions involving a U.S. business that produces, designs,
tests, manufactures, fabricates, or develops one or more critical
technologies for which a foreign person to the transaction would
need a license for the export, re-export, transfer, or re-transfer
of the technology in accordance with U.S. export control rules
under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) or
Export Administration Regulations (EAR)1. The new rule
will oblige foreign investors to consider whether a CFIUS filing is
required for any transaction involving a U.S. business with
critical technologies.

This is not to suggest that all, or even most, transactions by
Canadian investors in U.S. technology businesses will trigger a
mandatory CFIUS filing under the revised rule. The mandatory filing
provisions do not apply to transactions involving an “excepted
investor”2, which is defined to include the
Canadian government, most Canadian individuals, and some Canadian
entities that meet specific criteria. In addition, although
U.S.-origin technology is subject to ITAR and EAR controls
generally, the export of such technology to Canada may not require
a license (contrasted, for example, with the export of the same
technology to China).

Reflecting on the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact, which may
prompt opportunistic foreign investment in weakened U.S.
businesses, a U.S. Department of Defense official recently observed
that CFIUS is “more important than ever”. Investors from
outside the U.S., and their prospective U.S. targets, should
contemplate CFIUS early in a transaction lifecycle and the new
rules will require parties to engage in a careful analysis to
determine whether a filing is mandatory.


1 The proposed rule also applies to critical
technologies relating to atomic energy and nuclear equipment or
material for which a license or authorization from the U.S.
Department of Energy or Nuclear Regulatory Commission is

2 See our bulletin, “CFIUS set to operate under new

The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.

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COVID-19: Cross Country Update (May 11, 2020)

Miller Thomson LLP

Today Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced support for large and medium-sized businesses so they can keep their workers on the payroll and survive the COVID-19 pandemic.

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