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Investment opportunities emerging as supply imbalance eases – Investment Executive

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Following a dramatic tech sell-off earlier this year and a protracted shortage of high-end computer chips, tech sector opportunities are once again presenting themselves to savvy investors, says a portfolio manager with Mackenzie Investments.

Brenda Nicholls, an assistant vice-president with Mackenzie Investments and co-lead manager, along with Martin Rose, of the Mackenzie GLC team’s science and technology fund, said high-performance computing is a secular long-term trend, regardless of short-term supply disruptions.

“The world needs very advanced, powerful, faster, and more efficient semiconductors,” she said. “One of the great opportunities for us right now, is we think company fundamentals are going to matter, even more so, as the speculative excess is curtailed.”

Speaking on the Soundbites podcast this week, Nicholls said semiconductors are the world’s fourth most-traded product, driven by the digitization that is transforming a wide range of industries, including automotive, telecommunications and consumer goods.

The recent shortage stemmed from a number of unrelated incidents: an escalating trade war between the U.S. and China which caused tech companies to stockpile inventory; a winter storm that cut power to a microprocessor plant in Austin, Tex., owned by Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.; and a fire in Tokyo, Japan that heavily damaged a fabrication plant owned by Renesas Electronics Corporation, provider of about 6% of automotive chips worldwide.

The pandemic also continues to hinder global production while at the same time spurring rising consumer demand for chip-powered products.

Adding to supply chain challenges, automakers slashed their semiconductor orders in March 2020 when economies shut down due to Covid-19, only to reverse those cancellations when orders came roaring back a few months later.

“Once 2021 is fully reported, chip shortages will have wiped out over $200 billion globally for carmakers with production of an estimated 7.7 million vehicles lost or delayed,” Nicholls said. “In fact, research has shown over 169 industries have been touched by the shortage in some way and range from air-conditioning manufacturing and breweries to game consoles and medical devices.”

However, she’s optimistic that supply chain issues will soon be resolved.

“We believe the semiconductor shortages are likely to improve in the second half of this year as the overspending on goods reverts back to more normalized trends,” she said. “There have been numerous mentions of shortages on company conference calls this earnings season, but we get the general sense that we’re getting through the worst of it.”

In aggregate, the period from order to delivery is no longer lengthening, she said. Chip manufacturers are predicting improvements beyond the current quarter. And packaging, testing and assembly plants in Southeast Asia are expected to resume full-time operations as Covid becomes more controlled.

Nicholls said tech companies with strong revenue growth outlook, pricing power and the ability to generate free cash flow will be in favour this year.

She pointed to software names like Intuit Inc. and Adobe Inc. (both based in California). She also likes networking and cloud-computing companies like Arista Networks of Santa Clara, Calif.; Microsoft Corp.; Amazon.com Inc.; and Alphabet Inc.

As for manufacturers of high-end superconductors, she likes Advanced Micro Devices Inc. of Santa Clara, Calif.; Nvidia Corp. of Santa Clara, Calif.; Broadcom Inc. of San Jose, Calif.; and Texas Instruments Inc. of Dallas, Tex.

“There have been a few companies that have seemingly weathered the previous two years stronger than others,” she said. “Texas Instruments comes to mind, as they have traditionally been viewed as an industry barometer, given the breadth of their product portfolio and customer base. They raised inventory in the latter months of 2019 and were rewarded with strong sales growth as the pandemic accelerated demand. They are vertically integrated and manufacture about 60% of their own product, which is positive for their cost structure.”

The supply chain issues of 2021 have sparked discussions of a North American reshoring of chip manufacturing, she said. “However, we’re not entirely convinced that it’s wholly beneficial for the industry,” she said.

The facilities are incredibly complex and expensive, she said, and it will take at least two years before new semiconductors hit the market. Even then, those products are likely to be trailing-edge nodes – a measure of chip complexity — rather than leading-edge ones.

“The risk of an overcapacity build of legacy node production with inherently higher North American cost structures gives us pause,” she said.

“The companies that are able to design the very high-end, high efficiency, customized chips, those are where the real opportunities lie,” she added. “As the use cases of the conductors broaden out, the opportunities for investments broaden out as well.”

**

This article is part of the Soundbites program, sponsored by Canada Life. The article was written without sponsor input.

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Heritage Center designation stripped; Township makes last call for private investment – Cornwall Newswatch – Cornwall Newswatch

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In this March 2021, file photo, a statue of Saint Andrew the Apostle looks on from the front of the Raisin River Heritage Center in St. Andrews West, Ont. South Stormont has removed the heritage destination for the century-old building with hope that the private sector will come forward with a solid business case to renovate the building. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

LONG SAULT – Despite a recommendation from the Conservation Review Board not to do it, South Stormont has stripped the heritage designation of the Raisin River Heritage Center in St. Andrews West.

Council agreed Wednesday to remove the designation under the impetus that removing it would cut red tape and open the door to less restrictive private sector investment.

The building, behind St. Andrews Catholic School, was closed in 2017 after it was considered unsafe. The township has estimated that it would take over $1 million to repair it.

Parks and Recreation Director Kevin Amelotte also explained that if the designation wasn’t removed now, it wouldn’t be able to be removed later because provincial legislation is changing that would make the review board’s decision final.

With the designation removed, the township is also going out for a final public expression of interest to see if someone will buy and renovate the century building that was a Roman Catholic convent and boarding school.

Amelotte said they had meetings with those opposed to removing the designation on Tuesday, before the Wednesday council meeting. “They did have some questions but again I feel they are working hard on their end but don’t have a proper business plan yet or an idea that works along what the board (Catholic school board) is looking for.”

CAO Debi LucasSwitzer says it will have to be a solid business case.

“It has to be a clear business plan. A hope isn’t going to work for us on a go-forward basis. It must be clearly set out in terms of the revenue, in terms of the expenses…and how they propose to be sustainable,” she said.

Amelotte added that they’ve received an idea in “half an email” with a $1 land transfer request but South Stormont has a responsibility to make sure someone doesn’t destroy it and then hand it back to the municipality. The township has had “six to eight” requests in the past from people who are “local within SD&G, as close as Ottawa.”

“We can’t keep asking people to send in emails with an idea. We need an actual business plan that we can review and be comfortable with and the school board endorses and move that forward,” Amelotte added.

The expressions of interest process is expected to take at least six months but any decision won’t happen until after the October municipal election.

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Grey Economic Development, Planning Advisory Committee Endorse Investment Attraction Strategy – Bayshore Broadcasting News Centre

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The Grey County administration building in Owen Sound. (file photo)

Grey County’s Economic Development and Planning Advisory Committee is endorsing an investment attraction strategy.

During a committee meeting on May 5, a report was brought forward by Director of the committee Savanna Myers and Manager of Economic Development and Tourism Steve Furness. The report recommended endorsing the strategy, directing staff to execute its first missions, maintain their relationship with ThinkCOMPASS, and enter into an annual contract to execute a three-year action plan.

The strategy assists the county in reaching economic development related goals in its official plan by identifying investment attraction, which can help the county create and maintain a growing and diverse economy.

“To plan for and provide sustainable growth, Grey County needs to find a balance. Focusing on opportunities that bring economic diversity, will not only support employment and wages, but will also balance assessment ratios and enable community well-being,” says the report.

The report says staff were able to receive funding from CanExport Community Investments Subprogram through Global Affairs Canada, to develop the county’s first investment attraction strategy. ThinkCOMPASS, a consulting and marketing company, was retained to develop the strategy.

The report says the strategy builds on the branding, inventory and labour force work already completed and is being put into action by county and municipal staff.

To further drive investment in the county, the attraction efforts will focus on sectors and foreign markets which generate a high return on investment, along with both provincial and federal government priorities, leveraging local strengths and bringing broad economic benefits to improve sector diversity in the county.

The report says business opportunities that are of particular relevance to the county while narrowing in on these various sectors, include agri-food companies, clean-technology companies like hydrogen and nuclear, knowledge-based companies, and tourism.

The report says the county finds itself in a position to be able to enter the market to actively pursue investment attraction, to better support existing businesses, build the supply chain, and welcome new investment.

Deputy Warden Paul McQueen proposed setting up a forum to draw attention to the county, to display all of its assets.

“We have got to create a buzz here and what we are all about, what we are looking at and where we are going through developing a strategy. I think at some point we need to step up here and create that buzz,” says McQueen.

“Certainly marketing, promotion, community engagement are all really critical success factors to any strategy we put forward,” says CAO Kim Wingrove. “We are going to take that suggestion and recommendation forward as we make the future plans.”

Following the endorsement, the funds received by CanExport to develop and execute a preliminary investment mission based on direction of the investment attraction strategy, will see planning begin.

All actions included in the strategy will be featured in the annual budget for council to consider. In the 2022 budget, the approved economic development budget includes $45,000 for ongoing investment guidance and support, investment training and investment mission.

The mission is also further supported by an additional $16,350 in matching federal funding that was unbudgeted.

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Historic investment to build modern, new RBCM, safeguard collection | BC Gov News – BC Gov News

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Chief Ron Sam, Songhees Nation –

“Songhees Nation is pleased to support the much-needed improvements to the Royal BC Museum, which sits in our traditional homelands, unceded Lekwungen Territory, alongside the Province of British Columbia. Not only will the new site provide additional exhibit and learning space, it will create more job and economic opportunities for our people and add to the growing tourist attractions in the provincial capital. We thank the Province for its support for these exciting enhancements, and we look forward to seeing the completed work that will draw many visitors and guests to the region.”

Chief Rob Thomas, Esquimalt Nation –

“The Lekwungen people are excited to rebuild our presence in the inner harbour with this extraordinary project. We have a strong partnership with the Province and RBCM, and together we will design and build a remarkable landmark that will represent our shared history and promising future.”

Murray Rankin, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation –

“Today’s commitment to modernize the Royal BC Museum in partnership with the Lekwungen people is a meaningful and pivotal moment in our history. For the first time, in the Royal BC Museum we will be telling our province’s authentic history in a way that includes, from the beginning, the consultation and participation of Indigenous Peoples. This is what reconciliation can look like and it represents an opportunity to reset the relationship between the museum and Indigenous communities throughout B.C.”

Brenda Baptiste, chair, Indigenous Tourism BC –

“Indigenous Tourism BC welcomes a new Royal BC Museum in a time of change, truth and reconciliation. Resetting the relationship between the Royal BC Museum and Indigenous Peoples in B.C. is an important step in having the Indigenous voices write and create our own narratives, exhibitions and learning programs. We all have a responsibility for a new approach to learn about and share the stories, know the history and the living, resilient Indigenous cultures, languages and people in B.C. The Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act allows us to move forward with intention, and the resetting of the Royal BC Museum function is a key change to systems and status quo. This will be a place of learning and will provide lifelong impacts through storytelling for locals and visitors. There is a dark past for Indigenous Peoples in B.C. and there is an incredibly rich and diverse history in B.C., and these stories need to be told.” 

Ryan Hunt, executive director, BC Museums Association –

“The BC Museums Association commends the Province of British Columbia for investing in the modernization of the Royal BC Museum and helping to ensure that visitors and British Columbians alike have world-class access to innovative and thought-provoking arts, culture and heritage experiences. Strong museums build vibrant communities, and we urge the Province of B.C. to ensure that all museums, galleries and heritage sites across the province have the resources they need to thrive.” 

Grace Lore, MLA Victoria-Beacon Hill –

“It is a great honour to represent Victoria-Beacon Hill during this exciting time – to be part of creating a true and lasting bond with the Lekwungen people of the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations and to welcome a new, modernized museum into this community. It’s an immense privilege to have a world-class museum as one of the gems in our inner harbour. Now the rest of B.C. will have greater access to even more treasures, stories and educational opportunities from the Royal BC Museum – treasures and history accessible to everyone.” 

Richard Porges, president and CEO, Destination British Columbia –

“The Royal BC Museum has long been a signature attraction in British Columbia, appealing to locals and visitors alike. Now more than ever, travellers are looking to connect on a deeper level with the places they visit, actively seeking opportunities to learn and further reflect on the history, the nature and the people that are the fabric of a destination. While B.C. vies for visitors in an increasingly competitive travel marketplace, attractions like the new Royal BC Museum will help us to compete fiercely on the global stage.”

Carole James, board member, Royal BC Museum and former B.C. minister of finance –

“Growing up in Victoria, as a parent and as a grandparent, the museum has always played a large role in my life. I have seen first-hand the ability museums have to unite, to build bridges, to teach, to feed curiosity and to ignite imaginations! This great provincial commitment will open the doors to more British Columbians and is a major investment for generations to come.”

Paul Nursey, president and CEO, Destination Greater Victoria –

“The Royal BC Museum has been and will continue to be a vital and essential demand driver for the visitor economy in Greater Victoria. At Destination Greater Victoria, we are excited about this significant capital investment downtown on the inner harbour in the heart of the capital city. We believe this investment will elevate the Royal BC Museum experience to become globally competitive. We also acknowledge the years ahead during construction will have challenges to overcome, but we are also hopeful that the strategy that Royal BC Museum has put in place will help to mitigate these temporary impacts. We are a forward-looking city and organization, and we look forward to what is to come.” 

Kris Foulds, curator, The Reach –

“RBCM travelling exhibitions allow local museums like The Reach to draw on resources outside our own collections and resources and give community museum curators opportunities to present a broader view of significant historical themes. I believe travelling exhibitions are the best way for the RBCM to meet its mandate of enhanced accessibility and access to its collections, exhibitions and educational programs by situating them throughout the provincial community it serves.”

Jasmine Marshal, exhibitions, Kelowna Museums –

“The travelling exhibits from the Royal BC Museum have allowed us to share stories with our community that deepen their personal connections to the place they call home, their own histories, and to learn about both the struggles and successes of people around them.”

Alison Pascal, Squamish Lil’wat –

“Bringing the Our Living Languages exhibit in has been a huge success at the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre. We’re the place in Whistler to come and learn about Indigenous Peoples and the truth and reconciliation process. We’ve had many local Sea to Sky residents visit us, along with the increasing international visitors. It’s extremely impactful to hear all the languages and learn of the work to keep them alive.”

Walt Judas, CEO, Tourism Industry Association of British Columbia –

“The Royal BC Museum has been an iconic tourism fixture in B.C. for decades, attracting visitors from all over the world. The new Royal BC Museum is poised to be an incredible attraction that draws all those people back again – and more – to experience B.C.’s whole history and make lifelong connections with our province. This is a legacy to First Nations, and indeed to all British Columbians, as well as to all those seeking a unique and meaningful visitor experience in B.C.”

Ingrid Jarrett, president and CEO, BC Hotel Association –

“Museums hold a unique power to reflect and shape our society, addressing key social issues to transform how we see the future. B.C. has a distinct and often painful history. To have a space that is a true reflection of the incredible complexity of B.C.’s landscape and its people will be foundational to education and growth, while also being a key economic driver for our hospitality and tourism community. A world-class museum that is inclusive of all British Columbians will keep B.C.’s tourism industry competitive, promoting exploration across our province.”

Grace Wong, chair, Chinese Canadian Museum –

“A new, inclusive Royal BC Museum representing all people who contributed to building this province is a magnificent step in recognizing diversity, giving the people of B.C. and all its visitors a meaningful experience to enrich their own lives. The Chinese Canadian Museum was established to share the history, culture and living heritage of Chinese Canadians and we look forward to working closely with the new RBCM.”

Lisa Helps, mayor, Victoria –

“This is a tremendously exciting day for the City of Victoria. The Royal BC Museum is a key institution in the cultural landscape of Victoria as the capital city. The significant investment the Province is making to build a new museum and the reconciliation-based approach they are taking to this project will ensure that the diversity of experiences that make up British Columbia’s history will be foregrounded and that the First Peoples of the province will be held up and honoured throughout this exciting redevelopment project.”

Rob Martin, mayor, Colwood –

“The investment by the provincial government into a modernized museum with a new Collections and Research Building in Colwood will play a vital role in deepening our understanding of B.C.’s full history. Together, these new buildings will bring people together, enhance cultural awareness, foster lifelong learning and reinforce the importance of environmental stewardship. It’s exciting to see the Province’s commitment to these shared goals, and we’re excited to see the museum continue to play an important role in enriching the lives of residents and visitors.”

Wendy King, vice-chair, Royal BC Museum board –

“The Royal BC Museum has long been recognized worldwide as an innovative, thought-leading institution offering visitors immersive experiences, thought-provoking exhibitions and inspirational programs. As the museum expands beyond the walls of the building and out into the province, there will be greater opportunities for British Columbians to access these resources and to share and learn more about their own stories. These initiatives increase inclusivity which, along with a new sustainable state-of-the art, world-class museum building and new collections and research building, is a truly progressive new era for our much-loved provincial museum.”

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