The prospect of a recession hasn’t dampened the city of Montreal’s spending plans.
While the current year’s capital spending plan called for 70.3 per cent of long-term investments to be aimed at maintaining existing infrastructure and installations rather than developing new projects, the proportion is diminished to 68 per cent in the new 10-year capital spending plan. That means nearly one-third of the $22 billion planned as investments over the next decade are for building projects.
Using the analogy of a house, the city operating budget is like a bank account that’s used to pay for groceries and other day-to-day expenses. The capital spending plan is a wish list of expensive long-term projects, like repairing the roof, which are financed largely through long-term borrowing.
Some of the investments in the 2023-2032 capital spending plan
- $3.77 billion for repair of roads and sidewalks, including $880.6 million destined for a program that puts a layer of asphalt on roads that are in bad shape while they await major repair.
- $747.3 million to be spent on upgrading the city’s technology platforms, including digital technology at the municipal courthouse and a new communication platform for citizens.
- $682.2 million to replace the incinerator at the island’s only water treatment facility, the Jean-R.-Marcotte plant in Rivière-des-Prairies; $461.2 million to continue a project to build an ozonation unit to disinfect water at the used-water treatment plant.
- $507.1 million on bike paths, which includes $300 million to develop paths in the express bike network, known in French as REV, and $100 million to maintain existing bike paths.
- $120.4 million for real-estate acquisitions to build social and community housing; $480 million for acquisitions to build affordable housing.
- $413.4 million for aquatic installations.
- $171.8 million to maintain sports installations.
- $434.2 million for the long-promised Cavendish extension.
- $132.3 million to redo Jean-Talon St. E. in St-Léonard.
- $451.5 million to continue the renovation of Ste-Catherine St. downtown; $40.4 million to redo Peel St.; $70 million for continuing work on Pine Ave.
- $409.6 million to improve Montreal’s library network.
- $287.8 million for the city’s plans to build “eco-neighbourhoods,” including the Blue Bonnets-Hippodrome site near Jean-Talon St. W. and Décarie Blvd. ($156.6 million), de Louvain St. E. next to Christophe-Colomb Ave. ($67.2 million) and Lachine-Est ($64 million).
- $270.3 million on natural habitats on the island; $406.5 million for large parks, including Jarry Park.
- $264.3 million to repair the properties of Montreal’s police department and fire department.
- $162.9 million to renovate Jean-Drapeau Park, including the aquatic centre.
The city anticipates $2.35 billion in gross expenditures on capital works projects in 2023, and borrowing of $1.13 billion.
As of this year, Montreal’s gross debt, including for the Société de transport de Montréal, is above $16 billion, which is double what it was in the first year of the municipal mergers in 2002. The STM has driven most of that increase.
While the opposition at city hall and the mayors of the island’s demerged suburbs have criticized the Plante administration for increasing the city’s debt, credit rating agencies have said they’re allayed by the province’s willingness to provide financial aid to the city.
Nevertheless, the agencies keep an eye on Montreal’s debt-to-revenue ratio. Montreal had a long-standing benchmark of 100 per cent, meaning the city’s net debt never exceeded its annual revenue. The Plante administration sought city council’s approval two years ago to temporarily go to 120 per cent.
The new capital works plan says the city’s net debt-to-revenue ratio will hit 111 per cent in 2022, below the new temporary ceiling of 120 per cent — largely because the city says investment slowed during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the debt-to-revenue ratio is expected to hit 115 per cent in 2023, it says. It was 114 per cent in 2021.
The document says the city is still promising to return to a 100-per-cent net debt-to-revenue ratio in 2027.
Montreal’s credit rating influences the interest rate that lenders will charge the city on the billions of dollars it borrows for its infrastructure projects.
City administrations never spend all of their planned capital investments and have long promised to step up the pace.
The value of annual capital investments nearly doubled from 2015 to 2019, from $960 million to $1.8 billion, the latest capital plan says. However, investment slowed in 2020 and 2021 because of the pandemic, it says, adding that projects were either delayed or their start was postponed. The document says the rate of investment in 2022 should reach pre-pandemic levels.
Zacks Investment Ideas feature highlights: Alphabet, Tesla, Shopify, Amazon and Palo Alto
For Immediate Release
Chicago, IL – February 2, 2023 – Today, Zacks Investment Ideas feature highlights Alphabet GOOGL, Tesla TSLA, Shopify SHOP, Amazon AMZN and Palo Alto Networks PANW.
Which of These Stocks Has Been the Best Buy, Post-Split?
Stock splits have been a regular occurrence in the market over the last several years, with many companies aiming to boost liquidity within shares and knock down barriers for potential investors.
Of course, it’s important to remember that a split doesn’t directly impact a company’s financial standing or performance.
In 2022, several companies performed splits, including Alphabet, Tesla, Shopify, Amazon and Palo Alto Networks. Below is a chart illustrating the performance of all five stocks over the last year, with the S&P 500 blended in as a benchmark.
As we can see, PANW shares have been the best performers over the last year, the only to outperform the general market.
However, which has turned in a better performance post-split? Let’s take a closer look.
We’re all familiar with Tesla, which has revolutionized the EV (electric vehicle) industry. It’s been one of the best-performing stocks over the last decade, quickly becoming a favorite among investors.
Earlier in June of 2022, the mega-popular EV manufacturer announced that its board approved a three-for-one stock split; shares began trading on a split-adjusted basis on August 25th, 2022.
Since the split, Tesla shares have lost roughly 40% in value, widely underperforming relative to the S&P 500.
Palo Alto Networks
Palo Alto Networks offers network security solutions to enterprises, service providers, and government entities worldwide.
PANW’s three-for-one stock split in mid-September seemingly flew under the radar. The company’s shares started trading on a split-adjusted basis on September 14th, 2022.
Following the split, PANW shares have struggled to gain traction, down roughly 15% compared to the S&P 500’s 3.3% gain.
Shopify provides a multi-tenant, cloud-based, multi-channel e-commerce platform for small and medium-sized businesses.
SHOP shares started trading on a split-adjusted basis on June 29th, 2022; the company performed a 10-for-1 split.
Impressively, Shopify shares have soared for a 50% gain since the split, crushing the general market’s performance.
Alphabet has evolved from primarily being a search engine into a company with operations in cloud computing, ad-based video and music streaming, autonomous vehicles, and more.
Last February, the tech titan announced a 20-for-1 split, and investors cheered on the news – GOOGL shares climbed 7% the day following the announcement. Shares started trading on a split-adjusted basis on July 18th, 2022.
Alphabet shares have sailed through challenging waters since the split, down 10% and lagging behind the S&P 500.
Amazon has evolved into an e-commerce giant with global operations. The company also enjoys a dominant position within the cloud computing space with its Amazon Web Services (AWS) operations.
AMZN’s 20-for-1 split was a bit of a surprise, as it was the company’s first split since 1999. Shares started trading on a split-adjusted basis on June 6th, 2022.
Following the split, Amazon shares have lost roughly 18% in value, well off the general market’s performance.
Stock splits are typically exciting announcements that investors can receive, with companies aiming to boost liquidity within shares.
Interestingly enough, only Shopify shares reside in the green post-split of the five listed.
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$13 million investment in Campbellford Memorial Hospital
The Campbellford Memorial Hospital will be receiving a $13 million investment from the Ontario Government to address infrastructure concerns.
The announcement was made at the hospital by Northumberland—Peterborough South MPP David Piccini.
The $13 million is broken down as follows:
- $9,639,900 will be going to CMH as one-time capital funding to address the HVAC and generator
- $1,874,929 for reimbursement of CMH’s COVID-19-related capital expenses
- $771,797 in COVID-19 incremental operating funding
- up to $600,000 in one-time funding to support the hospital’s in-year financial and operating pressures
- $163,600 in pandemic prevention and containment funding
- $81,132 through the Health Infrastructure Renewal Fund
- $46,884 in health human resources funding.
Interim President and CEO Eric Hanna welcomed the news, saying much needs to be done about the HVAC and generator.
At the announcement, Hanna spoke of the issues with the generator.
“I’ve got the wee little generator up at the lake and then I’m thinking well, everything should be going well at the hospital,” Hanna told the audience in attendance.
“You get a call from the person in charge who says, ‘Guess what Eric? Generator didn’t start. Oh, so what does that mean? There’s no power in the hospital.’ That’s happened a couple of times in the past year and the generator is over 30 years old.”
Hanna says the solution was not as easy as replacing the generator.
“You can go buy the generator and that may be about a million dollars. But then when we found out afterwards, we came to hook up the new generator to the electrical distribution system and said it won’t work with that because your electrical distribution system is 1956. You can’t plug this generator into that. So now we’re putting close to $5 million into a whole electrical distribution system so the generator will work. It’s part of that ongoing thing and that’s why these costs continue to go up.”
The HVAC system was also something addressed by Hanna.
“It’s a contract close to $7 million to replace that. This wing, for example. There’s no fresh air in this wing. It hasn’t worked in here for 15 years. So now this is administrative areas and the concern was that in some of the patient carriers, it wasn’t working either. So – having those discussions with David (Piccini) and saying what we have to do to correct this.”
Chile’s Enap Set to Slash Debt Burden That Weighed on Investment
(Bloomberg) — Enap, Chile’s state oil and gas company, plans to use near-record earnings to slash its debt burden, while increasing investment in its refineries and in exploration and production.
The company aims to reduce its debt load to about $3 billion “medium term” from the current $4.3 billion, Chief Executive Officer Julio Friedmann said in an interview. Plans include a bond sale in the first half of this year to refinance some securities.
The improved financial position — with 2022 profit surging to $575 million — comes after Enap’s oil and gas operations in Egypt, Ecuador and Argentina got a boost from high crude prices, while healthy international refining margins benefited plants in Chile. Those trends are expected to extend into this year and next, enabling the company to pre-pay some short-term obligations. About half of the current debt burden matures in the next three years.
“We are going to issue bonds,” the MIT-trained executive said Wednesday from the Aconcagua refinery in central Chile. “We are closely evaluating the local and international markets.”
At the same time, Friedmann, who took the reins at Enap in November, plans to increase capital expenditure to about $700 million this year from $550 million last year.
The increase comes after underinvestment in the past few years because of Covid restrictions and the heavy debt load. Spending will focus on making treatment processes cleaner and upgrading infrastructure, as well as a more aggressive approach to increasing gas reserves in the far south of the country, he said.
Enap plans to expand in both liquefied petroleum gas and natural gas markets in Chile, focusing on the wholesale business and eventually selling directly to large-scale consumers such as mines. Organizational changes to enable the expansion will be announced soon. There are no plans to enter the final distribution business, Friedmann said. The company wants to supply more gas to southern cities as a way of replacing dirtier fuels such as wood and diesel.
Enap and its partners are also preparing pipelines and a refinery near Concepcion to start receiving crude from Argentina’s Neuquen basin sometime this year in an arrangement that could supply as much as 30% of its needs.
While there’s plenty of potential do collaborate more with energy-rich Argentina, particularly in the Magallanes area, that would require greater long-term visibility on supplies from the neighboring country, Friedmann said.
He sees a role for Enap in the development of green hydrogen in Chile. It’s in talks with three companies to enable its facilities in Magallanes to be used to receive all the wind turbines, electrolyzers and other equipment that will be needed to make the clean fuel. Enap is also evaluating its own small pilot plants and will consider whether to take up options to enter other green hydrogen projects as an equity partner.
While the company will maintain its focus on meeting rising demand for traditional fuels, it anticipates new regulation that will require lower emissions. It’s also looking closely at clean-fuel options for aviation, Friedmann said.
(Adds clean fuel plans in last paragraph. I previous version corrected spelling of CEO’s surname.)
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