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Douglas Dynamics Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2020 Results

Strong Conclusion to Challenging Year; Well-Positioned for Long-Term Success Fourth Quarter 2020 Highlights: Produced Net Sales of $158.2 MillionGross Profit Margin increased by approximately 130 basis points over fourth quarter last yearNet Income of $18.2 million increased 57% compared to fourth quarter 2019Adjusted EBITDA was $33.2 million, compared to $29.9 million in 4Q19 and Adjusted EBITDA margin increased by approximately 230 basis points Announced quarterly dividend increase to $0.285 per share for 2021 first quarter MILWAUKEE, Feb. 22, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Douglas Dynamics, Inc. (NYSE: PLOW), North America’s premier manufacturer and upfitter of work truck attachments and equipment, today announced financial results for the fourth quarter and full year ended December 31, 2020. “We are pleased with how our team stepped up and performed, driving strong fourth quarter results to end what was a challenging year for many reasons,” explained Bob McCormick, President and CEO. “Today, we are realistic regarding both the unpredictable economic environment and potential for additional pandemic disruption, and remain optimistic about the potential for improved conditions and performance in 2021.” Consolidated Fourth Quarter 2020 Results $ in millions(except Margins & EPS)Q4 2020Q4 2019Net Sales$158.2$160.3Gross Profit Margin30.2%28.9% Income from Operations$27.9$25.0Net Income$18.2$11.6Diluted EPS$0.78$0.50 Adjusted EBITDA$33.2$29.9Adjusted EBITDA Margin21.0%18.7%Adjusted Net Income$18.2$16.7Adjusted Diluted EPS$0.78$0.72 Fourth quarter Net Sales were slightly down compared to last year due to supply chain constraints at Work Truck Solutions early in the quarter, somewhat offset by increased sales at Attachments due to strength in early retail activity.Despite lower Net Sales, most other financial metrics improved when compared to fourth quarter 2019 due to early season snowfall in certain core markets positively impacting the Attachments segment and reduced discretionary spending, normalized class 7-8 chassis delivery, and DDMS initiatives positively impacting the Solutions segment.Gross Profit Margin and Adjusted EBITDA margin were 130 basis points and 230 basis points higher for the quarter compared to last year, respectively.Net Income was 57% higher than the corresponding quarter of 2019. Work Truck Attachments Segment Fourth Quarter 2020 Results $ in millions (except Adjusted EBITDA Margin)Q4 2020Q4 2019Net Sales$83.0$79.9Adjusted EBITDA$24.0$21.3Adjusted EBITDA Margin28.9%26.7% Net Sales increased approximately 4% and Adjusted EBITDA increased approximately 13% over the prior year, due primarily to the strong retail activity, early season snowfall in certain core markets positively impacting reorder activity, as well as reduced discretionary spending under our income protection plan despite pandemic-related disruption. Work Truck Solutions Segment Fourth Quarter 2020 Results $ in millions (except Adjusted EBITDA Margin)Q4 2020Q4 2019Net Sales$75.2$80.4Adjusted EBITDA$9.2$8.6Adjusted EBITDA Margin12.2%10.7% Net Sales declined approximately 6% compared to the prior year, mainly attributable to reduced business activity due to pandemic related disruption in the supply chain.Despite lower net sales for the segment and pandemic-related disruption, Adjusted EBITDA increased by 7% over the prior year, while Adjusted EBITDA Margin increased by 150 basis points due to normalized class 7-8 chassis delivery, reduced discretionary spending and the impact of DDMS. Consolidated Full Year 2020 Results $ in millions(except Margins & EPS)FY 2020FY 2019Net Sales$480.2$571.7Gross Profit Margin26.7%29.5% Income from Operations$(75.1)$86.6Net Income$(86.6)$49.2Diluted EPS$(3.81)$2.11 Adjusted EBITDA$74.9$108.1Adjusted EBITDA Margin15.6%18.9%Adjusted Net Income$27.8$56.3Adjusted Diluted EPS$1.18$2.42 Full year Net Sales decreased by approximately 16% compared to record net sales in 2019 due primarily to lower volumes driven by two consecutive seasons of below average snowfall, inconsistent class 4-6 chassis supply, and pandemic-related disruption.The Company recorded a Net Loss of $86.6 million in 2020, compared to full year Net Income of $49.2 million in 2019, due to an impairment charge of $127.9 million related to the goodwill impairment that was recorded in the second quarter of 2020.Adjusted Net Income for the year was $27.8 million, compared to $56.3 million in the prior year. Adjusted EBITDA was $74.9 million, compared to $108.1 million in the prior year. Both decreases were primarily driven by lower volumes, partially offset by lower discretionary spending.Interest expense increased to $20.2 million, compared to $16.8 million in the prior year due to non-cash mark-to-market and amortization adjustments on an interest rate swap not accounted for as a hedge and higher interest paid on a term loan from the increase in principal balance, slightly offset by lower short-term borrowing on our revolving line of credit.The effective tax rate (benefit) was (12.4%), lower than 21.5% last year due to the impairment of nondeductible goodwill taken in the second quarter. Work Truck Attachments Segment Full Year 2020 Results $ in millions (except Adjusted EBITDA Margin)FY 2020FY 2019Net Sales$252.8$293.6Adjusted EBITDA$62.5$80.7Adjusted EBITDA Margin24.7%27.5% Net Sales for Work Truck Attachments were $252.8 million for the year, compared to $293.6 million in the prior year. The decrease was primarily driven by below average snowfall for the season ending in March 2020.Adjusted EBITDA for the segment was $62.5 million, compared to $80.7 million during the prior year, lower as a result of the lower volumes. Work Truck Solutions Segment Full Year 2020 Results $ in millions (except Adjusted EBITDA Margin)FY 2020FY 2019Net Sales$227.3$278.1Adjusted EBITDA$12.4$27.4Adjusted EBITDA Margin5.4%9.8% Net Sales for Work Truck Solutions were $227.3 million, compared to $278.1 million in the prior year. The decline was primarily due to class 4-6 chassis supply constraints and pandemic related disruption. Adjusted EBITDA declined to $12.4 million from $27.4 million in the prior year due to the lower volumes, slightly offset by lower spending through our income protection plan. Dividend & Liquidity A quarterly cash dividend of $0.28 per share of the Company’s common stock was declared on December 3, 2020, and paid on December 31, 2020, to stockholders of record as of the close of business on December 18, 2020.In addition, the Company’s Board of Directors approved and declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.285 per share for the first quarter of 2021. The declared dividend will be paid on March 31, 2021 to stockholders of record as of the close of business on March 19, 2021.During the quarter, the Company paid down $30 million in debt.Net Cash Provided by Operating Activities for 2020 decreased to $53.4 million from $77.3 million during 2019. Free Cash Flow for full year 2020 decreased to $38.9 million from $65.8 million for full year 2019; the reduction was mainly driven by lower operating results.Free Cash flow for the full year 2020 was $38.9 million, which well exceeded the dividend paid during 2020 of $25.9 million. Outlook McCormick noted, “We are confident we’ll exit the pandemic stronger than we entered it. 2021 will still present challenges, especially in the first half of the year, driven by a number of external factors. If the economic environment and pandemic conditions stabilize and continue to slowly improve, we feel confident we can improve upon our 2020 results and position ourselves to meet our long-term profitable growth objectives.” The 2021 financial outlook is as follows: Net Sales are expected to be between $505 million and $565 million.Adjusted EBITDA is predicted to range from $75 million to $100 million.Adjusted Earnings Per Share are expected to be in the range of $1.20 per share to $2.00 per share.The effective tax rate is expected to be approximately 25% to 26%.The outlook assumes relatively stable economic conditions and pandemic restrictions, and that Company’s core markets will experience average snowfall levels. Earnings Conference Call Information The Company will host a conference call on Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time (9:00 a.m. Central Time). To join the conference call, please dial (877) 369-6591 domestically, or (253) 237-1176 internationally. The call will also be available via the Investor Relations section of the Company’s website at www.douglasdynamics.com. For those who cannot listen to the live broadcast, replays will be available for one week following the call. About Douglas Dynamics Home to the most trusted brands in the industry, Douglas Dynamics is North America’s premier manufacturer and up-fitter of commercial work truck attachments and equipment. For more than 70 years, the Company has been innovating products that not only enable people to perform their jobs more efficiently and effectively, but also enable businesses to increase profitability. Through its proprietary Douglas Dynamics Management System (DDMS), the Company is committed to continuous improvement aimed at consistently producing the highest quality products, at industry-leading levels of service and delivery that ultimately drive shareholder value. The Douglas Dynamics portfolio of products and services is separated into two segments: First, the Work Truck Attachments segment, which includes commercial snow and ice control equipment sold under the FISHER®, SNOWEX® and WESTERN® brands. Second, the Work Truck Solutions segment, which includes the up-fit of market leading attachments and storage solutions under the HENDERSON® brand, and the DEJANA® brand and its related sub-brands. Use of Non-GAAP Financial Measures This press release contains financial information calculated other than in accordance with U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (“GAAP”). The non-GAAP measures used in this press release are Adjusted EBITDA, Adjusted Net Income and Adjusted Earnings Per Share, and Free Cash Flow. The Company believes that these non-GAAP measures are useful to investors and other external users of its consolidated financial statements in evaluating the Company’s operating performance as compared to that of other companies. Reconciliations of these non-GAAP measures to the nearest comparable GAAP measures can be found immediately following the Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows included in this press release. Adjusted EBITDA represents net income (loss) before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization, as further adjusted for certain charges consisting of unrelated legal and consulting fees, pension termination costs, stock-based compensation, certain purchase accounting expenses, impairment charges, expenses related to debt modifications, and incremental costs incurred related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Such COVID-19 related costs include increased expenses directly related to the pandemic, and do not include either production related overhead inefficiencies or lost or deferred sales. We believe these costs are out of the ordinary, unrelated to our business and not representative of our results. The Company uses Adjusted EBITDA in evaluating the Company’s operating performance because it provides the Company and its investors with additional tools to compare its operating performance on a consistent basis by removing the impact of certain items that management believes do not directly reflect the Company’s core operations. The Company’s management also uses Adjusted EBITDA for planning purposes, including the preparation of its annual operating budget and financial projections, and to evaluate the Company’s ability to make certain payments, including dividends, in compliance with its senior credit facilities, which is determined based on a calculation of “Consolidated Adjusted EBITDA” that is substantially similar to Adjusted EBITDA. Adjusted Net Income and Adjusted Earnings Per Share (calculated on a diluted basis) represents net income (loss) and earnings (loss) per share (as defined by GAAP), excluding the impact of stock based compensation, pension termination costs, non-cash purchase accounting adjustments, impairment charges, expenses related to debt modifications, certain charges related to unrelated legal fees and consulting fees, incremental costs incurred related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and adjustments on derivatives not classified as hedges, net of their income tax impact. Such COVID-19 related costs include increased expenses directly related to the pandemic, and do not include either production related overhead inefficiencies or lost or deferred sales. We believe these costs are out of the ordinary, unrelated to our business and not representative of our results. Adjustments on derivatives not classified as hedges are non-cash and are related to overall financial market conditions; therefore, management believes such costs are unrelated to our business and are not representative of our results. Management believes that Adjusted Net Income and Adjusted Earnings Per Share are useful in assessing the Company’s financial performance by eliminating expenses and income that are not reflective of the underlying business performance. Free Cash Flow is a non-GAAP financial measure that we define as net cash provided by (used in) operating activities less capital expenditures. Free Cash Flow should be evaluated in addition to, and not considered a substitute for, other financial measures such as Net Income (Loss) and Net Cash Provided By (Used in) Operating Activities. We believe that free cash flow represents our ability to generate additional cash flow from our business operations. With respect to the Company’s 2021 guidance, the Company is not able to provide a reconciliation of the non-GAAP financial measures to GAAP because it does not provide specific guidance for the various extraordinary, nonrecurring, or unusual charges and other certain items. These items have not yet occurred, are out of the Company’s control and/or cannot be reasonably predicted. As a result, reconciliation of the non-GAAP guidance measures to GAAP is not available without unreasonable effort and the Company is unable to address the probable significance of the unavailable information. Forward Looking Statements This press release contains certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. These statements include information relating to future events, future financial performance, strategies, expectations, competitive environment, regulation, product demand, the payment of dividends, and availability of financial resources. These statements are often identified by use of words such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “intend,” “estimate,” “expect,” “continue,” “should,” “could,” “may,” “plan,” “project,” “predict,” “will” and similar expressions and include references to assumptions and relate to our future prospects, developments, and business strategies. Such statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause our actual results, performance, or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause or contribute to such differences include, but are not limited to, weather conditions, particularly lack of or reduced levels of snowfall and the timing of such snowfall, our ability to manage general economic, business and geopolitical conditions, including the impacts of natural disasters, pandemics and outbreaks of contagious diseases and other adverse public health developments, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, our inability to maintain good relationships with our distributors, our inability to maintain good relationships with the original equipment manufacturers with whom we currently do significant business, lack of available or favorable financing options for our end-users, distributors or customers, increases in the price of steel or other materials, including as a result of tariffs, necessary for the production of our products that cannot be passed on to our distributors, increases in the price of fuel or freight, a significant decline in economic conditions, the inability of our suppliers and original equipment manufacturer partners to meet our volume or quality requirements, inaccuracies in our estimates of future demand for our products, our inability to protect or continue to build our intellectual property portfolio, the effects of laws and regulations and their interpretations on our business and financial condition, our inability to develop new products or improve upon existing products in response to end-user needs, losses due to lawsuits arising out of personal injuries associated with our products, factors that could impact the future declaration and payment of dividends, our inability to compete effectively against competition, our inability to achieve the projected financial performance with the assets of Dejana Truck & Utility Equipment Company, Inc., which we acquired in 2016, and unexpected costs or liabilities related to such acquisitions or any future acquisitions, as well as those discussed in the section entitled “Risk Factors” in our annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2019 and any subsequent Form 10-Q filings. You should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. In addition, the forward-looking statements in this release speak only as of the date hereof and we undertake no obligation, except as required by law, to update or release any revisions to any forward-looking statement, even if new information becomes available in the future. Financial Statements Douglas Dynamics, Inc.Consolidated Balance Sheets(In thousands) December 31,December 31, 20202019 (unaudited)(unaudited) Assets Current assets: Cash and cash equivalents$41,030$35,665Accounts receivable, net 83,195 87,871Inventories 79,482 77,942Inventories – truck chassis floor plan 8,146 6,539Prepaid and other current assets 5,334 3,511Total current assets 217,187 211,528 Property, plant, and equipment, net 64,320 58,444Goodwill 113,134 241,006Other intangible assets, net 152,791 163,722Operating lease – right of use asset 21,441 22,557Non-qualified benefit plan assets 9,041 7,270Other long-term assets 1,288 1,168Total assets$579,202$705,695 Liabilities and stockholders’ equity Current liabilities: Accounts payable$16,284$16,113Accrued expenses and other current liabilities 30,831 26,496Floor plan obligations 7,885 6,539Operating lease liability – current 4,326 3,822Income taxes payable 5,214 2,990Current portion of long-term debt 1,666 22,143Total current liabilities 66,206 78,103 Retirement benefits and deferred compensation 15,804 14,017Deferred income taxes 26,681 47,211Long-term debt, less current portion 236,676 222,081Operating lease liability – noncurrent 17,434 18,981Other long-term liabilities 16,197 12,139 Total stockholders’ equity 200,204 313,163Total liabilities and stockholders’ equity$579,202$705,695 Douglas Dynamics, Inc.Consolidated Statements of Income (Loss)(In thousands, except share and per share data) Three Month Period Ended Twelve Month Period Ended December 31, 2020December 31, 2019 December 31, 2020December 31, 2019 (unaudited) (unaudited) Net sales$158,160 $160,298 $480,154 $571,710 Cost of sales 110,373 113,959 351,874 402,893 Gross profit 47,787 46,339 128,280 168,817 Selling, general, and administrative expense 17,182 18,608 64,617 71,288 Impairment charges – – 127,872 – Intangibles amortization 2,717 2,739 10,931 10,956 Income (loss) from operations 27,888 24,992 (75,140) 86,573 Interest expense, net (4,529) (4,172) (20,238) (16,782)Pension termination – (6,609) – (6,609)Debt modification expense (113) – (3,542) – Other income (expense), net 124 (149) 91 (565)Income (loss) before taxes 23,370 14,062 (98,829) 62,617 Income tax expense (benefit) 5,208 2,502 (12,276) 13,451 Net income (loss)$18,162 $11,560 $(86,553)$49,166 Weighted average number of common shares outstanding: Basic 22,857,457 22,795,412 22,846,467 22,779,057 Diluted 22,880,841 22,831,077 22,846,467 22,813,711 Earnings (loss) per share: Basic earnings (loss) per common share attributable to common shareholders$0.78 $0.50 $(3.81)$2.13 Earnings (loss) per common share assuming dilution attributable to common shareholders$0.78 $0.50 $(3.81)$2.11 Cash dividends declared and paid per share$0.28 $0.27 $1.12 $1.09 Douglas Dynamics, Inc.Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows(In thousands) Twelve Month Period Ended December 31, 2020December 31, 2019 (unaudited) Operating activities Net income (loss)$(86,553)$49,166 Adjustments to reconcile net income (loss) to net cash provided by operating activities: Depreciation and amortization 19,737 19,212 Debt modification expense 267 – Amortization of deferred financing costs and debt discount 1,364 1,214 Stock-based compensation 2,830 3,239 Adjustments on derivatives not designated as hedges 2,854 – Provision for losses on accounts receivable 1,081 1,361 Deferred income taxes (19,598) (2,123)Impairment charges 127,872 – Earnout liability (2,017) (417)Changes in operating assets and liabilities, net of acquisitions: Accounts receivable 3,038 (7,747)Inventories (1,801) 4,054 Prepaid assets, refundable income taxes paid and other assets (3,715) (2,140)Accounts payable (21) (2,562)Accrued expenses and other current liabilities 6,577 6,491 Benefit obligations and other long-term liabilities 1,451 7,548 Net cash provided by operating activities 53,366 77,296 Investing activities Capital expenditures (14,490) (11,533)Net cash used in investing activities (14,490) (11,533) Financing activities Shares withheld on restricted stock vesting paid for employees’ taxes (72) (50)Payments of financing costs (1,133) – Borrowings on long-term debt 270,875 – Dividends paid (25,926) (25,183)Repayment of long-term debt (277,255) (32,685)Net cash used in financing activities (33,511) (57,918)Change in cash and cash equivalents 5,365 7,845 Cash and cash equivalents at beginning of year 35,665 27,820 Cash and cash equivalents at end of year$41,030 $35,665 Non-cash operating and financing activities Truck chassis inventory acquired through floorplan obligations$38,167 $44,929 Douglas Dynamics, Inc.Net Income (Loss) to Adjusted EBITDA reconciliation (unaudited)(In thousands) Three month period ended December 31, Twelve month period ended December 31, 2020 2019 2020 2019 Net income (loss)$18,162 $11,560 $(86,553) $49,166 Interest expense – net 4,529 4,172 20,238 16,782 Income tax expense (benefit) 5,208 2,502 (12,276) 13,451 Depreciation expense 2,316 2,138 8,806 8,256 Intangibles amortization 2,717 2,739 10,931 10,956 EBITDA 32,932 23,111 (58,854) 98,611 Stock-based compensation 62 178 2,830 3,239 Pension termination – 6,609 – 6,609 Impairment charges – – 127,872 – Debt modification expense 113 – 3,542 – COVID-19 (1) 69 – 1,391 – Purchase accounting (2) – (200) (2,017) (417)Other charges (3) 27 212 128 63 Adjusted EBITDA$33,203 $29,910 $74,892 $108,105 (1) Reflects incremental costs incurred related to the COVID-19 pandemic for the periods presented.(2) Reflects $2,000 reversal of earn-out compensation acquired in conjunction with the acquisition of Dejana in the year ended December 31, 2020. Reflects $17 reversal of earn-out compensation in conjunction with the acquisition of Henderson in the year ended December 31, 2020. Reflects $217 reversal of earn-out compensation related to Henderson in the year ended December 31, 2019. Reflects $200 reversal of earn-out compensation related to Dejana for the quarter and year ended December 31, 2019.(3) Reflects unrelated legal and consulting fees for the periods presented. Douglas Dynamics, Inc.Segment Disclosures (unaudited)(In thousands) Three Months Ended December 31, 2020 Three Months Ended December 31, 2019 Twelve Months Ended December 31, 2020 Twelve Months Ended December 31, 2019 Work Truck Attachments Net Sales$82,985 $79,937 $252,838 $293,630 Adjusted EBITDA$24,005 $21,324 $62,532 $80,747 Adjusted EBITDA Margin 28.9% 26.7% 24.7% 27.5% Work Truck Solutions Net Sales$75,175 $80,361 $227,316 $278,080 Adjusted EBITDA$9,198 $8,586 $12,360 $27,358 Adjusted EBITDA Margin 12.2% 10.7% 5.4% 9.8% Douglas Dynamics, Inc.Reconciliation of Net Income (Loss) to Adjusted Net Income (unaudited)(In thousands, except share and per share data) Three month period ended December 31, Twelve month period ended December 31, 2020 2019 2020 2019 Net income (loss)$18,162 $11,560 $(86,553) $49,166 Adjustments: Stock based compensation 62 178 2,830 3,239 Pension termination – 6,609 – 6,609 Impairment charges – – 127,872 – Debt modification expense 113 – 3,542 – COVID-19 (1) 69 – 1,391 – Purchase accounting (2) – (200) (2,017) (417)Adjustments on derivative not classified as hedge (3) (279) – 2,854 – Other charges (4) 27 212 128 63 Tax effect on adjustments 2 (1,699) (22,200) (2,373)Adjusted net income $18,156 $16,660 $27,847 $56,287 Weighted average basic common shares outstanding 22,857,457 22,795,412 22,846,467 22,779,057 Weighted average common shares outstanding assuming dilution 22,880,841 22,831,077 22,872,032 22,813,711 Adjusted earnings per common share – dilutive$0.78 $0.72 $1.18 $2.42 GAAP diluted earnings (loss) per share$0.78 $0.50 $(3.81) $2.11 Adjustments net of income taxes: Stock based compensation – – 0.09 0.11 Pension termination – 0.22 – 0.22 Impairment charges – – 4.72 – Debt modification expense – – 0.10 – COVID-19 (1) – – 0.05 – Purchase accounting (2) – (0.01) (0.07) (0.02)Adjustments on derivative not classified as hedge (3) – – 0.09 – Other charges (4) – 0.01 0.01 – Adjusted diluted earnings per share $0.78 $0.72 $1.18 $2.42 (1) Reflects incremental costs incurred related to the COVID-19 pandemic for the periods presented.(2) Reflects $2,000 reversal of earn-out compensation acquired in conjunction with the acquisition of Dejana in the year ended December 31, 2020. Reflects $17 reversal of earn-out compensation in conjunction with the acquisition of Henderson in the year ended December 31, 2020. Reflects $217 reversal of earn-out compensation related to Henderson in the year ended December 31, 2019. Reflects $200 reversal of earn-out compensation related to Dejana for the quarter and year ended December 31, 2019.(3) Reflects non-cash mark-to-market and amortization adjustments on an interest rate swap not classified as a hedge for the periods presented. (4) Reflects unrelated legal and consulting fees for the periods presented. Douglas Dynamics, Inc.Free Cash Flow reconciliation (unaudited)(In thousands) Three month period ended December 31, Twelve month period ended December 31, 2020 2019 2020 2019 Net cash provided by operating activities$80,448 $98,465 $53,366 $77,296 Acquisition of property and equipment (5,025) (3,732) (14,490) (11,533)Free cash flow$75,423 $94,733 $38,876 $65,763 For further information contact: Douglas Dynamics, Inc. Nathan Elwell 847-530-0249 investorrelations@douglasdynamics.com

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Manulife Investment Management Announces Reduction of Management Fees on Three Mutual Funds and Three Upcoming Fund Terminations – Canada NewsWire

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C$ unless otherwise stated                                            TSX/NYSE/PSE: MFC     SEHK: 945

TORONTO, Feb. 25, 2021 /CNW/ – Manulife Investment Management announces a reduction of management fees on three global equity funds and the termination of three mutual funds. These changes will help streamline our platform of actively managed investments and further our commitment to offering diverse, strong-performing products to help investors achieve their goals.

Reduction of Management Fees

A reduction of management fees on the following series of three mutual funds will be effective on or about March 1, 2021:

Fund Name

Series

Existing Management Fee (%)

New Management Fee (%)

Manulife Global Equity Class

Advisor Series/ Series T

1.95%

1.82%

Series F/Series FT

0.85%

0.72%

Manulife Global Thematic Opportunities Fund

Advisor Series/ Series T

1.95%

1.82%

Series F/Series FT

0.85%

0.72%

Manulife Global Thematic Opportunities Class

Advisor Series/ Series T

2.00%

1.87%

Series F/Series FT

0.90%

0.77%

It is expected that the reduction in management fees should have a corresponding impact on the management expense ratio of the funds over time.

“Delivering the best value possible to Canadian investors is a priority for us,” said Leo Zerilli, Head of Wealth and Asset Management, Canada. “Our team constantly monitors our fund lineup and identified an opportunity to improve our pricing on certain products within the global equity category.”

Fund Terminations

Effective on or about June 28, 2021, Manulife Investment Management will terminate the following funds and distribute the proceeds to securityholders of record on that date. The planned terminations include:

  • Manulife Fundamental Dividend Class
  • Manulife Global Dividend Growth Class
  • Manulife Global Real Estate Unconstrained Fund

Prospectus qualified securities of the terminating funds will no longer be available for new purchases effective as of 4 p.m. ET on March 3, 2021. This includes purchases through automatic investment services such as pre-authorized chequing plans or automatic rebalancing services. Impacted investors are encouraged to contact their advisor to discuss the financial and tax implications of these fund changes and to discuss options, including how to switch their assets to another Manulife mutual fund that best meets their individual investment needs and circumstances prior to the termination date.

About Manulife Investment Management

Manulife Investment Management is the global wealth and asset management segment of Manulife Financial Corporation. We draw on more than a century of financial stewardship and the full resources of our parent company to serve individuals, institutions, and retirement plan members worldwide. Headquartered in Toronto, our leading capabilities in public and private markets are strengthened by an investment footprint that spans 17 countries and territories. We complement these capabilities by providing access to a network of unaffiliated asset managers from around the world. We’re committed to investing responsibly across our businesses. We develop innovative global frameworks for sustainable investing, collaboratively engage with companies in our securities portfolios, and maintain a high standard of stewardship where we own and operate assets, and we believe in supporting financial well-being through our workplace retirement plans. Today, plan sponsors around the world rely on our retirement plan administration and investment expertise to help their employees plan for, save for, and live a better retirement. 

As of December 31, 2020, Manulife Investment Management had CAD$966 billion (US$758 billion) in assets under management and administration. Not all offerings are available in all jurisdictions. For additional information, please visit manulifeim.com.

About Manulife
Manulife Financial Corporation is a leading international financial services group that helps people make their decisions easier and lives better. With our global headquarters in Toronto, Canada, we operate as Manulife across our offices in Canada, Asia, and Europe, and primarily as John Hancock in the United States. We provide financial advice, insurance, and wealth and asset management solutions for individuals, groups and institutions. At the end of 2020, we had more than 37,000 employees, over 118,000 agents, and thousands of distribution partners, serving over 30 million customers. As of December 31, 2020, we had $1.3 trillion (US$1.0 trillion) in assets under management and administration, and in the previous 12 months we made $31.6 billion in payments to our customers. Our principal operations are in Asia, Canada and the United States where we have served customers for more than 155 years. We trade as ‘MFC’ on the Toronto, New York, and the Philippine stock exchanges and under ‘945’ in Hong Kong.

SOURCE Manulife Investment Management

For further information: Media Contact, Olivia Jones, Manulife, 438-340-3416, [email protected]

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Bank of America Cuts Staff in Investment Banking and Trading – Yahoo Canada Finance

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The Canadian Press

Military reeling as new defence chief steps aside amid allegations of misconduct

OTTAWA — The Canadian Armed Forces is reeling after news defence chief Admiral Art McDonald is being investigated for misconduct, only weeks after military police launched an investigation into allegations against his predecessor. Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan revealed late Wednesday that McDonald had “voluntarily stepped aside” while military police investigate unspecified allegations. McDonald took over as the chief of the defence staff last month from Gen. Jonathan Vance, who is being investigated after allegations of inappropriate behaviour. Vance has denied any wrongdoing and McDonald has not commented. Canadian Army commander Lt.-Gen. Wayne Eyre has been appointed acting chief of the defence staff. Conservative defence critic James Bezan called Thursday for the government to reveal the nature of the allegations against McDonald, who used his first address as defence chief on Jan. 14 to apologize to victims of military sexual misconduct and hate. “In the interest of morale, and for our women and men in uniform to have confidence in the senior leadership of the Canadian Armed Forces, Minister Sajjan must confirm why chief of defence staff Admiral Art McDonald is under investigation,” Bezan said in a statement. Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet said the message from the government must be that the military “can be no less than exemplary.” “I believe that the people that go into the army, that decide that this is their choice for a career, are good people, and must not be judged as a whole. I believe that there are a few people in the institutions that are not up to the task of being exemplary.” In a memo to members of the Forces on Wednesday, McDonald made no mention of allegations against him, but said the “time for patience is over” and the military must “accelerate our culture change.” “Our institution can no longer put the burden of change and transformation on those affected by harassment, discrimination, or any form of misconduct. That burden must rest on us. All of us,” he wrote. “I as the Chief, along with all the leaders in CAF, need to work every day to earn your trust. And we are all committed to doing so.” “If you are considering speaking to anyone with information on (the Vance) case, or any other case of alleged misconduct, you have my support to come forward, to speak up, and to tell the truth. And you can expect to be heard, supported, and protected as you do.” The investigation of McDonald has renewed calls for external oversight of the military, which self-polices allegations of sexual misconduct in the ranks. Lawyer and retired colonel Michel Drapeau said the government needs to appoint a permanent and independent inspector general similar to that of other militaries. That person would have the investigative powers to look into allegations of wrongdoing within the Canadian Armed Forces. “If, during his investigation, he came across any evidence of a criminal nature, he would be duty bound to stop his investigations and turn the matter to the criminal police,” Drapeau said in an email. Barring that, Drapeau said, Sajjan should immediately convene a board of inquiry — perhaps headed by a military judge — to investigate the allegations against McDonald, with police only involved if the allegations are of a criminal nature. Should police become involved, Drapeau added, it should be the RCMP, not the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service, the investigative arm of the military police. “I do not have confidence in terms of training, experience and independence,” Drapeau said of the service, known as the NIS. “Additionally, (the military police) and NIS report to the vice-chief of the defence staff, which makes any claim of ‘independence’ illusory.” In addition to criminal offences, Canadian military personnel can also be charged with what are known as service offences, which usually relate to inappropriate conduct such as drunkenness and having a relationship with a subordinate. Former naval reservist Marie-Claude Gagnon, who founded a group for survivors of military sexual misconduct called It’s Just 700, has been raising concerns for years about gaps in the system. She said the time for external oversight of the Armed Forces is now. “External oversight, it’s essential,” Gagnon said. “Self-policing itself has never worked. … It’s not a recipe for success. I’m hoping that there’s no doubt that there needs to be oversight.” In the House of Commons Thursday, Conservative MP Leona Alleslev said a thorough, independent investigation of the allegations against McDonald is critical, but senior officers who may themselves be complicit remain in key positions within the chain of command. “How will the minister ensure that compromised senior officers are not interfering in these investigations to protect themselves?” she asked during question period. Sajjan replied that all allegations would be investigated thoroughly, independent from the chain of command. “And regardless of position, and regardless of rank, we will take the appropriate action because we owe it to our members.” This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 25, 2021. — With a file from Christopher Reynolds Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press

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Cannabis May Be the Hottest Investment Opportunity of the Year – Baystreet.ca

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Cannabis may be one of the hottest investments of the year.

More states are legalizing its use, including New Jersey. North Dakota just approved a cannabis legalization bill. Legalization has been proposed in Maryland. In fact, the Maryland sponsor of the bill, Del. Jazz Lewis, argues, “the bill would take the production of cannabis off of the streets to ensure safer products, while simultaneously creating jobs, helping small businesses, and bringing in potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in annual tax revenue.”

Even some of the top lawmakers in D.C. want to federally decriminalize cannabis. To-date, according to CNET, recreational sales are legal in 15 states, plus Washington, D.C. Medical sales are legal in 35 states. Medical sales of CBD are legal in seven states. In addition, it has been decriminalized in 32 states.

It’s also fueling big growth for the global edibles market, which could generate about $13.65 billion by 2025 at a CAGR of 30.5%, says Zion Market Research. “The growing acceptance of cannabis is the key factor likely to drive the cannabis edibles market globally in the future.”

All Could Help Drive Cannabis Stocks to Higher Highs

Pure Extracts Technologies Corp.(CSE:PULL)(OTC:PRXTF)(XFRA:A2QJAJ), for example, just announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Pure Extracts Manufacturing Corp.’s distribution partner has submitted a Notice of New Cannabis Product (NNCP) application to Health Canada on behalf of the Company seeking approval for its retail cannabis products including cannabis extracts and edible cannabis.

The Company submitted over 20 Stock Keeping Units (SKUs) product identifiers for approval including THC vapes, CBD vapes, 1:1 blended vapes, and 3 different flavours/formulations of gummies. The Company plans to launch these products under its ‘Pure Pulls Vapes’ and ‘Pure Chews Gummies’ branded product lines and is looking forward to having them listed for sale with provincially authorized distributors and retailers nationwide.

Pure Extracts is continuing to develop its portfolio of cannabis 2.0 products with emphasis on its 34 proprietary formulations of ‘Pure Pulls’ branded full spectrum oil (FSO) vape products and on its new line of ‘Pure Chews’ edible gummies manufactured under license from Taste-T, LLC, the manufacturer of Fireball cannabis gummies.

Pure Extracts CEO, Ben Nikolaevsky, remarked, “We create products that are in high demand by provincially authorized distributors and retailers nationwide, and are looking forward to having our high quality, FSO products in consumers’ hands early in Q2 of this year.”

Or, look at Canopy Growth Corporation (NASDAQ:CGC)(TSX:WEED).

The company just announced the launch of a new line of science-backed CBD products for dogs under the brand name SurityPro. Leading scientists at Canopy Animal Health developed this new generation of advanced pet specialty CBD products for dogs to support calm behavior, joint health and flexibility, healthy aging, and overall physical and mental well-being in dogs. The SurityPro portfolio is scientifically-formulated to deliver carefully controlled CBD content for customized daily use in dogs of all sizes. All SurityPro CBD Pet products carry the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) quality seal, denoting strict adherence to manufacturing, labeling, testing and marketing guidelines. The products also contain no corn, soy, artificial flavors, colors or preservatives.

Organigram Holdings (NASDAQ:OGI)(TSX:OGI) announced its results for the first quarter ended November 30, 2020. “We are pleased with our double-digit sales growth in the Canadian adult-use recreational market this past quarter as it reflects the success of many of our new product launches, particularly in the dried flower value segment,” said Greg Engel, CEO. “Now we look forward to our new higher margin Edison dried flower offerings contributing substantially to overall revenue with even more new products to come in the next few quarters. We believe our product portfolio revitalization combined with additional resources to ramp up production and achieve greater economies of scale as well as our relentless focus on increased automation and cost efficiency opportunities position us well to generate further top-line growth and significantly improve gross margins.”

Charlotte’s Web Holdings, Inc. (TSX: CWEB)(OTCQX: CWBHF), the market leader in hemp CBD wellness products, announces that Charlotte’s Web, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary, has been granted U.S. Utility Patents for its hemp genetics by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The newly issued patents cover two of the Company’s new feminized seed hybrid hemp varieties developed under the Company’s breeding program; ‘Kirsche’ (US Patent No. 10,888,060) and ‘Lindorea’ (US Patent No. 10,888,059).  ‘Lindorea’ and ‘Kirsche’ are the world’s first two allowed U.S. Utility Patents reading on feminized hybrid hemp plants. The Company now has earned a total of five U.S. hemp variety patent grants: one Plant Patent and four Utility Patents as it advances the science of hemp horticulture. 

Neptune Wellness Solutions Inc. (NASDAQ:NEPT)(TSX:NEPT) announced groundbreaking research on the absorption of omega-3 fish oils, which are the basis of its exclusive product MaxSimil®. The study was published in The Journal of Nutrition by the Oxford University Press. MaxSimil® is a patented omega-3 fatty acid delivery technology that uses enzymes that mimic the natural human digestive system to predigest omega-3 fatty acids. The study — titled ‘Pharmacokinetics of Supplemental Omega-3 Fatty Acids Esterified in Monoglycerides, Ethyl Esters, or Triglycerides in Adults in a Randomized Crossover Trial’ —adds to a growing body of research on Neptune’s patented MaxSimil® fish oils.

Legal Disclaimer / Except for the historical information presented herein, matters discussed in this article contains forward-looking statements that are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such statements. Winning Media is not registered with any financial or securities regulatory authority and does not provide nor claims to provide investment advice or recommendations to readers of this release. For making specific investment decisions, readers should seek their own advice. Winning Media is only compensated for its services in the form of cash-based compensation. Pursuant to an agreement Winning Media has been paid three thousand five hundred dollars for advertising and marketing services for Pure Extracts Technologies Corp. by a third party. We own ZERO shares of Pure Extracts Technologies Corp. Please click here for full disclaimer.

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