Keystone pipeline restarted after breach in North Dakota

Keystone pipeline restarted

The owner of the Keystone pipeline says the line has returned to service after a breach that leaked an estimated 1.4 million litres of oil in northeastern North Dakota late last month.

TC Energy Corporation says the move follows the approval of its repair and restart plan by the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, which ordered the line shut until the Canadian company completed corrective action.

The company says it will operate the pipeline at a reduced pressure with a gradual increase in the volume of crude oil moving through the system.

The line, which began operating in 2011, is designed to carry crude oil from Alberta across Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and through North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri on the way to refineries in Patoka, Ill. and Cushing, Okla.

The spill affected about 2,090 square meters of land near Edinburg, N.D.

TC Energy says it continues to work closely with the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and the North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality as it investigates the cause of the breach.

"We appreciate the cooperation and support from local officials, emergency response personnel and commissioners in Walsh County, as well as the landowner who has granted permission to access land for assessment, repair and clean-up activities," TC Energy said in a statement on Sunday.

"We also want to recognize the continued efforts of our crews, contractors and businesses in the community for their around-the-clock support, which has allowed us to respond quickly and safely to this event."

The company adds it is communicating plans to its customers and will continue working closely with them as it begins to return to normal operating conditions.

It said on its website that it has observed no significant impacts to the environment.

The pipeline spill and shutdown come as the company seeks to build the US$8-billion Keystone XL pipeline that would carry oilsands oil from Alberta to refineries in Texas.


BC craft beers are chipping away at brewing giants

Craft beer sales boom

An analysis of beer sales for B.C.’s top 10 producers shows that craft brewers’ share of the province’s beer market is growing.

In 2013, eight local producers accounted for 21.7% of the total sales for the top 10 companies. In 2019, their share was 31.4%.

This market increase becomes even more apparent when comparing the British Columbia Liquor Distribution Board’s sales growth of micro-brewers with industry giants Labatt Breweries of Canada and Molson Coors.

Over the seven-year period since 2012, growth of most craft brewers in the top 10 overshadowed that of Labatt and Molson Coors.

Labatt had the largest growth in sales out of the two major brewers: up 7.24% to $262.7 million in 2019 from $244.9 million in 2012. Molson Coors recorded 5% sales growth over the same period.

After Molson Coors and Labatt, Pacific Western Brewing Co. recorded the smallest sales growth over the same period (12.3%).

Granville Island Brewing Co. was the only brewery in the top 10 to suffer a drop (25.7%) in BCLDB sales over the period.

The growth in B.C. craft breweries appears to be taking market share from Molson Coors and Labatt.

In the four years following 2012, sales for craft breweries in the top 10 grew an average of 160%. Sales at Molson Coors fell 9.9% to $234.9 million in 2015 from $260.6 million in 2012, or by $25.7 million. During the same period, sales for local craft breweries increased $24 million.

Meanwhile, Labatt’s sales growth has dropped below 1% for the past two years.

Northam Beverages recorded the largest five-year sales growth of the top 10: up 130.9% to $37.3 million in 2019 from $16.2 million in 2015.

Parallel 49 Brewing Co. Ltd. had the largest one-year growth. It increased its BCLDB sales 100% to $13.4 million in 2019 from $6.7 million in 2015.

Thousands of old texts sent as telecom vendor restarts server

Why all those weird texts?

If you woke up to a weird text that seemed totally out of place, you aren't alone. A mysterious wave of missives swept North American phones overnight, delivering confusing messages from friends, family and the occasional ex.

Friends who hadn't talked to each other in months were jolted into chatting. Others briefly panicked.

A telecom vendor called Syniverse said a server failed on Feb. 14, and thousands of messages from multiple carriers didn't go through. When that server was reactivated Thursday, those messages got sent.

Syniverse initially estimated about 170,000 messages, but the company now says it's higher, without saying how many. Syniverse said it is reviewing internal procedures so this doesn't happen again. Syniverse typically deletes messages that don't go through.

The sudden release of messages sometimes had a dramatic effect.

Marissa Figueroa, a 25-year-old from Turlock, California, got an unwanted message from an ex she had stopped talking to — and then he got one from her as well. Neither actually sent them recently, both said. Figueroa couldn't figure it out, even worrying that her ex was messing with her, until she saw reports of this happening to others.

"It didn't feel great," she said. "It just was not good for me and my mental health to be in contact with him."

A friend who'd just re-entered his life got a mystifying message from Joseph Gomez at 5:32 a.m. Thursday. In that text, Gomez seemed to assume she was on her way over to his house so they could order a Lyft.

It took a half hour of back-and-forth texting and help from a screenshot to clear up the situation. Can their relationship recover? Gomez, who is 22 and lives in Washington, D.C., said it was "confusion, then awkward, and then funny." No mixed messages there.


TMX Group reports record revenue, Q3 earnings of $61.7M

TMX reports record revenue

TMX Group Ltd. says earnings edged up in the third quarter as it hit record revenue for the period.

The owner of the Toronto Stock Exchange says it earned $61.7 million, or $1.9 per diluted share, for the three months ending Sept. 30, up from $57.5 million, or $1.02 per share, for the same stretch last year.

Adjusted earnings were $1.25 per diluted share for the quarter, up from $1.19 per share last year.

Revenue was $196.3 million, up from $192.8 million for the third quarter last year.

Analysts had expected earnings per share of $1.45, and revenue of $208.2 million, according to financial markets data firm Refinitiv.

The company says revenue was boosted by higher derivatives trading and clearing and by Trayport, its energy trading platform.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 8, 2019.

Magna cuts outlook after GM strike in U.S. cuts volume

Magna cuts outlook

Magna International Inc. has cut its outlook for the year on lost volume from the nearly six-week strike by GM workers in the United States.

The company, which reports in U.S. dollars, says it now expects total sales this year of between $38.7 billion and $39.8 billion, a reduction of $1.3 billion on the top end of the range.

Magna also estimates 2019 net income of between $1.8 billion and $1.9 billion, a $200 million cut from the top end.

For the third quarter, the company reported a net loss of $233 million, or 75 cents per share, compared with earnings of $554 million or $1.62 per share for the same quarter last year.

The company recorded a $537 million non-cash impairment charge related its German transmission business Getrag in the quarter.

Adjusted earnings came in at $1.41 per share for the quarter ending Sept. 30, compared with $1.56 per share for the same quarter last year.

Analysts had expected $1.34 in adjusted earnings per share according to financial markets data firm Refinitiv.

Interfor's $35.6 million Q3 loss includes writedowns

Interfor's losses mounting

Interfor Corp. says it had a $35.6-million net loss in the third quarter, which included write-downs related to the permanent closure of a sawmill in Maple Ridge, B.C., as well as restructuring costs at its B.C. Coastal business.

The loss amounted to 53 cents per share and included $14 million of non-cash asset impairments at the Hammond sawmill and $17.8 million in expenses related to human resource matters and the retirement of CEO Duncan Davies.

Davies will retire at the end of the year and be replaced on Jan. 1 by Ian Fillinger, the company's chief operating officer.

The August announcement of Interfor's CEO succession plan was followed on Sept. 3 with a decision to permanently close the Hammond sawmill by the end of 2019 after its log and lumber inventories have been processed.

Interfor said Friday it also expects to receive fourth-quarter approval to complete its previously announced acquisition of B.C. Interior cutting rights and forestry licences, as well as certain liabilities, from Canadian Forest Products Ltd.

Interfor's adjusted loss for the three months ended Sept. 30, amounted to $11.8 million or 17 cents per share, while sales totalled $486.5 million.

In last year's third quarter, which has been restated for a change in accounting rules, Interfor had a net profit of $28.2 million or 40 cents per share. Adjusted net income was the same and sales totalled $570.5 million.

A quick glance at unemployment rates for October

Unemployment rates for Oct

The national unemployment rate was 5.5 per cent in October. Statistics Canada also released seasonally adjusted, three-month moving average unemployment rates for major cities. It cautions, however, that the figures may fluctuate widely because they are based on small statistical samples. Here are the jobless rates last month by city (numbers from the previous month in brackets):

— Kelowna, B.C. 4.1 (4.1)

— Abbotsford-Mission, B.C. 4.9 (5.0)

— Vancouver 5.0 (4.6)

— Victoria 3.2 (3.2)

— St. John's, N.L. 7.3 per cent (7.4)

— Halifax 5.9 (5.7)

— Moncton, N.B. 5.8 (5.5)

— Saint John, N.B. 7.7 (7.9)

— Saguenay, Que. 6.2 (6.2)

— Quebec 3.0 (3.0)

— Sherbrooke, Que. 5.8 (5.7)

— Trois-Rivieres, Que. 5.2 (5.6)

— Montreal 5.5 (5.5)

— Gatineau, Que. 4.5 (4.3)

— Ottawa 4.2 (4.4)

— Kingston, Ont. 5.9 (6.0)

— Peterborough, Ont. 4.5 (4.4)

— Oshawa, Ont. 5.3 (5.2)

— Toronto 5.7 (5.8)

— Hamilton, Ont. 4.8 (5.0)

— St. Catharines-Niagara, Ont. 5.5 (5.9)

— Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo, Ont. 5.4 (6.1)

— Brantford, Ont. 3.2 (3.6)

— Guelph, Ont. 5.7 (5.2)

— London, Ont. 6.2 (6.5)

— Windsor, Ont. 6.7 (6.2)

— Barrie, Ont. 5.6 (5.9)

— Sudbury, Ont. 6.2 (5.7)

— Thunder Bay, Ont. 5.5 (6.0)

— Winnipeg 5.2 (5.3)

— Regina 5.2 (5.7)

— Saskatoon 5.5 (5.8)

— Calgary 7.2 (7.1)

— Edmonton 7.1 (7.3)

Here are the jobless rates last month by province (numbers from the previous month in brackets):

— Newfoundland and Labrador 11.1 per cent (11.5)

— Prince Edward Island 8.4 (8.8)

— Nova Scotia 8.0 (7.2)

— New Brunswick 8.1 (8.3)

— Quebec 5.0 (4.8)

— Ontario 5.3 (5.3)

— Manitoba 5.3 (5.0)

— Saskatchewan 5.1 (5.3)

— Alberta 6.7 (6.6)

— British Columbia 4.7 (4.8)

A quick look at October employment (numbers from the previous month in brackets):

Unemployment rate: 5.5 per cent (5.5)

Employment rate: 62.0 per cent (62.1)

Participation rate: 65.7 per cent (65.7)

Number unemployed: 1,122,700 (1,113,200)

Number working: 19,163,400 (19,165,200)

Youth (15-24 years) unemployment rate: 11.3 per cent (11.9)

Men (25 plus) unemployment rate: 4.7 per cent (4.5)

Women (25 plus) unemployment rate: 4.4 per cent (4.3)

CHMC reports annual pace of housing starts slowed in October

Housing starts slower

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. says the annual pace of housing starts fell in October as the pace of new construction of apartment, townhouse, condo and other types of multiple-unit housing projects slowed.

The national housing agency says the seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts last month slowed to 201,973 units in October compared with 221,135 in September.

Economists had expected an annual pace of 221,200 for October, according to financial markets data firm Refinitiv.

The decline came as the pace of urban starts fell 9.0 per cent. Urban starts of multiple-unit housing projects fell 12.5 per cent to 139,518 units in October, while starts of single-detached urban homes rose 2.4 per cent to 49,786 units.

Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 12,669 units.

The six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts was 218,598 in October, down from 223,276 in September.

Gap CEO Art Peck steps down amid slumping sales, stock price

Gap CEO steps down

Gap announced Thursday that CEO Art Peck is stepping down as the company struggles to turn around a long-standing sales slump.

The San Francisco-based retailer also lowered its earnings outlook for the year as sales at the Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy fell in the most recent quarter.

The company's stock tumbled 7% to $16.75 in after-hours trading following the announcement. The shares were trading at around $41 when Peck took the CEO spot in early 2015.

Effective immediately, Robert J. Fisher, Gap's non-executive chairman of the board, will serve as president and CEO on an interim basis. Fisher is the son of Gap's co-founders Donald and Doris F. Fisher.

"As the board evaluates potential successors, our focus will be on strong leadership candidates with operational excellence to drive greater efficiency, speed and profitability," he said in a statement.

The news comes as the company is splitting into two publicly traded companies, one for its Old Navy brand and another for the Gap, Banana Republic and its lesser known brands like Athleta, Intermix and Hill City.

Like many mall-based clothing chains, Gap is struggling to turn itself around as shoppers go online or to discounters like T.J. Maxx for their clothing. But Gap, which defined casual dressing in the 1990s, has also long struggled with its own deep-rooted problems — its offerings have failed to stand out from that of its rivals.

Peck had been promising investors that a turnaround is in the making. But instead, the chain has struggled with sales declines, and has had to keep discounting its merchandise to get customers into its stores.

Now, it's turning to new ways to grab customers. In August, its Banana Republic division followed other clothing competitors in launching an online subscription service.

Gap Inc. said Thursday that global sales at its stores opened at least a year fell 4%. By brand, Gap's same-store sales fell 7%, while the figure was down 3% at Banana Republic. At Old Navy, which had been the company's juggernaut, same-store sales fell 4%.

PG&E falls into deeper hole in 3Q with $1.6 billion loss

PG&E falls into deeper hole

Pacific Gas & Electric reported another huge loss on Thursday as the fallout from catastrophic wildfires blamed on its outdated transmission lines drive the bankrupt utility into a deeper hole.

The company estimated it's facing a bill of more than $6 billion this year alone to pay for devastating fires in 2017 and 2018, more rigorous inspection of its electrical equipment, and customer credits for recent blackouts designed to prevent more blazes.

Additionally, PG&E logged a $2.5 billion settlement with insurance companies for the 2017 and 2018 wildfires, bringing its total charges for the fires during those years to $20 billion, according to a filing with regulators.

It added up to a loss of $1.62 billion for the July-September period, a reversal from a profit of $564 million at the same time last year.

That's a per-share loss of $3.06, or $1.11 when one-time costs are removed. Revenue was $4.43 billion.

For the first nine months of the year, PG&E's losses totalled $4 billion.

PG&E's third-quarter report only provides a snapshot of the staggering burden weighing on the San Francisco company as it wends through its second complex bankruptcy in less than 20 years. It emerged largely intact from a three-year stint in bankruptcy that ended in 2004, but it is on much shakier ground this time around.

Most investors have already jumped from PG&E's sinking ship. The company's stock plunged 13% to $6.02 in Thursday's trading. That's a sobering downfall from its peak price of $71.57 reached in 2017 just before the first round of wildfires altered its financial landscape.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom is trying to use the bankruptcy proceeding to impose radical changes at PG&E. That could include turning the utility into a customer-owned co-operative, a still-nascent idea floated in a letter to state regulators earlier this week by mayors and other leaders from more than two dozen cities and counties in PG&E's sprawling service area.

The 114-year-old company landed in bankruptcy again in January as it grapples with an estimated $30 billion in potential liabilities from wildfires that its equipment ignited or likely ignited in 2017 and 2018. Those include the fire last November that killed 85 people and incinerated roughly 19,000 homes, businesses and other buildings in the Northern California town of Paradise.

Those costs will rise even higher if PG&E is found culpable for the latest round of fires to rage through parts of Northern California last month.

The company is also facing criticism for intentional blackouts that have left millions without power as it tries to limit wildfires during dry, windy conditions that have become an annual autumn rite in California.

California officials and residents have expressed growing anger over the blackouts, which have left those without power struggling with to keep cellphones charged, find gas and withdraw cash. Businesses and schools were closed for days.

Some accused the company of instituting the blackouts to save money, but PG&E CEO Bill Johnson said that the blackouts were "well planned and executed" and done "solely in the interest of public safety."

Johnson later conceded the company botched the first round of blackouts that began Oct. 9, prompting PG&E, under pressure from Newsom, to give billing credits to 738,000 affected customers. Households will receive $100 apiece while businesses will get $250 apiece. The company disclosed Thursday the credits will cost it $65 million, after tax benefits.

Encana reveals Denver will be its new HQ after leaving Calgary

Encana's new HQ in Denver

Encana Corp. says its new head office will be in Denver following a reorganization that will include changing its name to Ovintiv.

The Calgary-based company didn't say which city would be its home base when it announced last week it would establish a "corporate domicile" in the United States to replace its longstanding home in Calgary.

The Denver decision, revealed in a corporate filing on Thursday, was expected because CEO Doug Suttles, a Texan, lives in Denver and it is the headquarters for the company's U.S. operations.

Suttles has said the change in corporate home is meant to help the company tap into a deeper pools of U.S. passive investor capital.

But one of Encana's founders, Gwyn Morgan, has said the move south and name change are signs Canada's energy industry has gone from being viewed as "positive to pariah."

The new name, the new corporate headquarters and a plan to consolidate Encana's shares are to go to a shareholder vote early next year.

CMHC says market stabilizing, moderate vulnerability remains

Housing market stabilizing

Canada's federal housing agency says the residential market showed a moderate degree of vulnerability in its latest quarterly report but that imbalances continue to narrow.

The moderate risk rating is the third in a row from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. after it flagged the market as high risk for two and a half years.

It says the narrowing risk comes as home prices ease somewhat, with the average price down 0.6 per cent in the second quarter of this year compared with last, while the young-adult population continued to grow at 1.9 per cent to increase the pool of potential first-time homebuyers.

The agency says Toronto has been downgraded from high risk to moderate as prices dipped by 0.8 per cent in the second quarter while inflation-adjusted disposable income grew by 0.5 per cent, though prices have been climbing in the third quarter. It also moved Hamilton from high to moderate risk.

CMHC says Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon, Regina, and Winnipeg still show a moderate degree of vulnerability.

It says cities including Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec, Moncton, Halifax and St. John's show a low degree of vulnerability.

More Business News

Data from CryptoCompare
Recent Trending
Soft 103.9
Castanet Proud Member of RTNDA Canada
Press Room