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News and Opinion Highlights

  • BC forestry sector maintains strong performance – BC’s top three forestry companies, Canfor Corp., West Fraser Timber, and Interfor Corp., reported second quarter earnings that were stronger than the first quarter of 2017. The BC wildfires have decreased overall lumber supply, which has fuelled higher lumber prices, and helped these  forestry companies to absorb the softwood lumber duties set by the US earlier this year. BC producers are also benefitting from tight supplies and higher priced lumber in the US and China.

  • Technology companies in BC secure four of the top 10 Canadian venture capital (VC) deals in Q2 2017 – The Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (CVCA) announced that four BC tech companies made the list of Canada’s top 10 VC deals in the second quarter of 2017. Respectively closing the third, fourth, sixth, and ninth place for largest VC deals in Canada were Vision Critical, Visier, Aurinia Pharmaceuticals, and D-Wave Systems. The companies raised a combined value of $231 million to pursue their endeavours.

  • AltaGas signs export deal with Japanese company – Calgary-based AltaGas Ltd. has signed a deal which will see Tokyo-based Astomos Energy Corp. buy half of the liquefied propane gas produced by Altagas at its Ridely Island Propane Export terminal near Prince Rupert, British Columbia. The terminal is currently under construction and is expected to be in service by the first quarter of 2019. According to AltaGas, the value of the deal could grow to $500 million per year and could boost Canadian exports to Japan by up to seven percent per year.

  • AIMCo acquires solar assets – In partnership with US-based AES Corp, the Alberta Investment Management Corp (AIMCo) has acquired sPower, the largest private owner of operating solar assets in the US, for $1.6 billion. sPower owns and operates over 150 utility and commercial distributed solar and wind electrical generation systems found across 11 states and 74 cities.

  • TransCanada to expand the Canadian Mainline pipeline – Calgary-based TransCanada Corp. is planning to expand the Canadian Mainline pipeline, which carries natural gas from Alberta and Saskatchewan to Ontario and beyond. The $160 million expansion will increase capacity of the natural gas pipeline to help meet rising demand in southern Ontario and Atlantic Canada. The company will apply to the National Energy Board in early 2018 to meet a November 1, 2019 in-service date.

  • Enbridge begins construction of its Line 3 replacement pipeline in Saskatchewan – Enbridge Inc. has begun construction on the first phase of its Line 3 replacement pipeline, which runs from Hardisty, Alberta to Gretna, Manitoba. The first phase includes 405 kilometres of pipeline in Alberta and Saskatchewan. According to Enbridge’s vice-president of liquids pipelines, roughly half of the 1,600 individuals who will work on the project this summer will be based in Saskatchewan. In addition, most of the steel to be used in the Line 3 Replacement project will be manufactured by Evraz North America in Regina. Enbridge also estimates that the Line 3 Replacement will provide benefits totalling roughly $50 million to Indigenous communities in 2017.

  • BHP has delayed completion of the Jansen potash mine – BHP (formerly known as BHP Billiton) announced it will not be asking its board for approval to complete the Jansen potash mine in Saskatchewan this year. BHP is reportedly considering options to share risk and reduce exposure in the development of the mine, including selling up to a 25 percent stake in the project. The sale valued at close to US$2 billion is expected to attract interest from global players, including firms from China and India. The project, which is partially complete, has an estimated total cost of $14 billion USD. To date, BHP has committed $3.8 billion USD to the mine.

  • Red River College Receives WD Funding – Minister Bains announced $10 million in funding over five years for Manitoba’s aerospace and advanced manufacturing sectors. The funds will be used to expand the Centre for Aerospace Technology and Training (CATT) and create a new space for the “Smart Factory” at Red River College (RRC) in Winnipeg. The Smart Factory will provide equipment and technological support to aerospace and specialized manufacturing within the province. CATT, a collaboration between RRC and industry, tests new processes and materials for the industry.

  • New Flyer wins new contracts – Winnipeg-based New Flyer Industries, the largest transit bus and highway coach manufacturer in North America, has won a contract with the City of Edmonton for 110 clean diesel heavy-duty transit buses with an option to purchase an additional 120. In addition, it has been awarded a contract extension with the City of Winnipeg for 70 Xcelsior® clean diesel heavy-duty transit buses. To date, the company has reported a 40.7 percent increase in net earnings compared to 2016.