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Lefebvre announces new committee to help spur investment

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A new committee of Greater Sudbury city council is being set up to find the “best way of streamlining and of encouraging investment in Sudbury.”

So described Mayor Paul Lefebvre, who used Thursday’s Fireside Chat event with the Northeastern Ontario Construction Association to announce the new five-member committee.

“It’s a big exercise, but I think it’s a positive way of affecting change,” he told Sudbury.com after delivering his address at Verdicchio Ristorante, adding that his goal is for the committee to present recommended changes to municipal bylaws by the end of the year.

The committee would host five to seven meetings this year to learn from local industry leaders, with priority given to those with experience working for other municipalities.

“What is going on elsewhere?” Lefebvre asked. “How are they doing things different from what’s going on here, and why is that the case, so we have a better understanding.”

Lefebvre said that with many regulations provincially mandated, he wants the committee to narrow in on what the municipality can actually accomplish.

In concert with the committee’s work, Lefebvre said an internal team at city hall will work with their counterparts in other municipalities to dig out best practices for Greater Sudbury to adopt.

Reflecting on Lefebvre’s address, Northeastern Ontario Construction Association executive director Mark Kivinen told Sudbury.com he is “very optimistic,” and that Lefebvre has “hit the ground running” since he was elected to head city council on Oct. 24, 2022.

“He is so engaged with the community and understands what the community wants and needs, and also has the ability to not stay stagnant, to open up and don’t be just locked in your little bubble,” Kivinen said, adding that the upcoming committee should aid in this effort.

“There are other municipalities that are doing things better than us, and we are doing some things better than them,” he said. “I think we understand now that if we’re going to promote growth, we’ve got to open up the city a little more.”

Thursday night’s speech and subsequent question and answer period highlighted an ongoing concern within the local construction industry of so-called “red tape” at city hall, which Lefebvre said city council’s upcoming committee will strive to suss out.

Ward 5 Coun. Mike Parent has also addressed “red tape” in a motion greenlit by city council in February, which will see the city partner with the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce to investigate ways of streamlining processes for businesses.

During his speech, Lefebvre cited recent progress on the Employment Land Strategy and a $1.25-million interim fix approved for Fielding Road, which services one of the city’s industrial hubs, as recent signs of city council support for tackling economic growth.

“We’re serious about this,” Lefebvre said, adding that the work on Fielding Road is a solid investment that will help ensure clients and those working in the area won’t have to wear a mouthguard while navigating the pothole-filled road.

Earlier this week, city council approved a public consultation plan for a new tax incentive called the Employment Land Community Improvement Plan, which Lefebvre cited as another recent move toward spurring economic activity. Sudbury.com will be publishing an in-depth report on the proposal soon.

Tapping into the value-added market when it comes to battery-electric vehicles, the city’s infrastructure deficit, its collection of aging facilities, a need for housing across the continuum, and a need for employees in a local economy in which there are approximately 3,500 unfilled jobs right now, were also hot topics during tonight’s speaking engagement.

Lefebvre said all of these issues and more will need to be dealt with to help meet his ultimate goal of increasing Greater Sudbury’s population to 200,000 within 20 years.

Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for Sudbury.com.

 

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JPMorgan profit jumps on higher investment banking fees, accounting gain – Yahoo Canada Finance

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(Reuters) – JPMorgan Chase reported a 25% rise in second-quarter profit on Friday, buoyed by rising investment banking fees and an accounting gain of about $8 billion from a share exchange deal with Visa.

Wall Street banks have benefited from a resurgence in capital-raising activity in debt and equity markets. They are also seeing an uptick in fee income from advising on M&A deals as companies become more confident in the U.S. economy’s ability to avoid a major downturn.

“While market valuations and credit spreads seem to reflect a rather benign economic outlook, we continue to be vigilant about potential tail risks,” CEO Jamie Dimon said, adding that the risks included a changing geopolitical situation, which remains the most dangerous since World War II.

Inflation and interest rates may stay higher than market expectations due to threats like large fiscal deficits and restructuring of trade, Dimon said.

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The largest U.S. bank’s profit was $18.15 billion, or $6.12 per share, for the three months ended June 30, compared with $14.47 billion, or $4.75 per share, a year earlier, it said on Friday.

The bank’s shares dipped 0.6% in trading before the bell. They have gained 22% so far this year, but have underperformed rivals Bank of America, Citigroup and Wells Fargo.

JPMorgan benefited from a plan to exchange some of its shares in Visa, the world’s largest payment network.

Investment banking fees grew 50%, compared with a low base, but was higher than an earlier company prediction of 25% to 30%.

JPMorgan’s lending business also benefited from high rates, with net interest income (NII) – the difference between what it earns on loans and pays out on deposits – rising 4% to $22.9 billion.

Lending has remained healthy even as banks compete for deposits and face pressure to shell out more to depositors to store their money.

(Reporting by Niket Nishant in Bengaluru and Nupur Anand in New York, editing by Lananh Nguyen and Anil D’Silva)

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Citigroup’s quarterly profit climbs on investment banking surge, services strength – The Globe and Mail

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Customers use ATMs at a Citibank branch in New York, on Oct. 11, 2020.NICK ZIEMINSKI/Reuters

Citigroup’s C-N profit rose in the second quarter, boosted by a 60 per cent jump in investment banking revenue and gains in its services division.

Net income climbed to $3.2-billion, or $1.52 per share, in the three months ended June 30, the third largest U.S. lender said on Friday. That compares with $2.9-billion, or $1.33 per share, a year earlier.

The results come two days after U.S. regulators fined Citi $136-million for making “insufficient progress” in fixing data management problems identified in 2020. Regulators also required the lender to demonstrate it was putting enough resources toward those efforts.

Citi had already booked the penalties and additional investments on the data work in the second quarter.

CEO Jane Fraser is carrying out a sweeping overhaul in an effort to improve the bank’s performance, cut costs and simplify its sprawling businesses. As part of the turnaround, Citi aims to shrink its workforce by 20,000 over the next two years.

Revenue in the second quarter came in at $20.1-billion, up 4 per cent from a year earlier, buoyed by a $400-million gain from the conversion and partial sale of Visa stock in May.

Citi now breaks out earnings individually for its five businesses – services, markets, banking, U.S. personal banking and wealth, which were previously housed under broader divisions.

The new structure is part of Fraser’s efforts to cut bureaucracy and increase profits. Under it, the leaders of the segments report directly to the CEO.

Investment banking fees jumped 60 per cent in the second quarter to $853-million. The surge comes as a prolonged industry-wide slump in deals finally shows signs of a meaningful recovery.

Citi hired JPMorgan Chase veteran Viswas Raghavan as head of banking earlier this year. Fraser has expressed high hopes for Raghavan, who is tasked with revitalizing the division catering to multinational corporations.

Services revenue increased 3 per cent to $4.7-billion. The unit houses Citi’s treasury and trade solutions business, which the company touts as its crown jewel. The business had flat revenue this quarter, at $3.4-billion. It processes $5-trillion of payments a day for multinational corporations across 180 countries.

Fraser and other leaders highlighted their strategy for the services business at an investor day held at the bank’s New York headquarters last month.

Operating expenses fell 2 per cent to $13.4-billion, as the bank saved money from the reorganization that simplified its structure.

But the lower expenses were offset by the fines for failing to comply with regulatory punishments known as consent orders dating back to 2020, and investments for the remediation work.

Rival JPMorgan Chase JPM-N reported a rise in second quarter profit on Friday, while Wells Fargo’s WFC-N net income declined and it missed estimates for interest income.

Analysts have called 2024 a transitional year for Citi as it becomes leaner under Fraser’s turnaround.

Investors have also cheered the efforts and rewarded Fraser with a 28 per cent jump in the bank’s stock this year, far outperforming closest rivals JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America , as well as the broader equity markets.

Still, Citi has recently faced regulatory challenges tied to its so-called living will, which details how it would be unwound in the event of bankruptcy.

Citi is also working through two 2020 consent orders, in which the U.S. Federal Reserve and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency directed it to fix longstanding and widespread deficiencies in its risk management, data governance and internal controls.

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Adani Ports to Invest $1.2 Billion in New Transshipment Terminal

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(Bloomberg) — Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd. plans to ramp up its investment to 100 billion rupees ($1.2 billion) to boost its southern India transshipment container port, according to people with knowledge of the matter, as it looks to lure some of the world’s largest ships.

The investment in the first-of-its-kind Vizhinjam port in the state of Kerala is part of the second phase of the project that is expected to finish by 2028, said people familiar with the Adani Group’s plans who did not want to be identified as the details are not announced.

It is also wooing the biggest container lines such as MSC Mediterranean Shipping Co., A.P. Moller – Maersk A/S, and Hapag-Lloyd to call in at the port, they added.

The port, which is located near the southernmost tip of India, close to the international shipping routes and has deepest shipping channels, is set to receive the first container vessel from Maersk on July 12 as part of a trial run in the 800-meter container berth.

The Vizhinjam port that was inaugurated in October is an effort by billionaire Gautam Adani’s conglomerate to put India on the map for the world’s biggest container ships and grab a bigger slice of the international maritime trade currently dominated by China. Such containers so far have been skipping India because the country’s harbors weren’t deep enough to handle the vessels, and docked instead at ports such as Colombo, Dubai and Singapore.

The funds will be used to increase the length of the existing berth at the port and extending the breakwater at the port, the people said. Breakwater is a rock barrier built out into the sea to protect a harbor from the force of waves.

Representatives of Adani Group, Mediterranean Shipping and Hapag-Lloyd did not immediately respond to emailed requests for comments. Adani Ports will invest as much as 60 billion rupees every year to expand capacity, Chief Executive Director Karan Adani had told reporters in October.

Transshipment refers to transferring cargo from an original ship to another, bigger mother ship at a port on the way to the cargo’s final destination.

The Vizhinjam terminal will have bunkering facilities to fuel ships and plans to buy additional cranes to boost capacity, besides building a cruise terminal that can accommodate large luxury lines, the people said.

The proximity to international shipping routes that account for 30% of global cargo traffic, and a natural channel that goes as much as 24 meters (79 feet) below the sea makes Vizhinjam an ideal hub for some of the biggest ships to call in.

 

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