Business Briefs News

MBI Business Brief – April 8, 2022

Rob Palmer, Vice President Commercial, Strategy and CFO of The Calgary Airport Authority, Merren McArthur, President and CEO of Lynx Air and Brad McMullen, VP of Sales, North America, Boeing, are joined by Lynx cabin crew members to cut the ribbon for Lynx's inaugural commercial flight. (CNW Group/Lynx Air)

Lynx Air takes to the skies

Canada’s budget airline market saw a new entrant take off on Apr. 7. Calgary-based Lynx Air saw its inaugural flight take off from Calgary this week, landing in Vancouver. The company, “Canada’s new ultra-affordable airline” has a fleet of three brand-new Boeing 737s and will start serving more Canadian airports over the next few weeks.

Lynx will begin service between Calgary and Toronto on April 11 and then add Kelowna on April 15, Winnipeg on April 19 and Victoria on May 12. The company also plans to add two more planes to its fleet this year and add Halifax, Hamilton, St. John’s and Edmonton by the end of July.

“We are super excited to be finally taking to the skies today,” said Merren McArthur, CEO at Lynx. “I would like to thank and congratulate the entire Lynx team for the effort and planning that has gone into today’s launch. Lynx is on a mission to make air travel accessible to all Canadians, with a transparent, à la carte pricing model which empowers passengers to pick and pay for the services they want, so they can save money on the trip and spend where it counts – at their destination. Air fares have been too high for too long in Canada, and we aim to change that.”

Great-West Lifeco closes acquisition

Winnipeg’s Great-West Lifeco announced the completion of their U.S subsidiary’s acquisition of the full-service retirement business of Prudential Financial Inc. The Empower subsidiary will expand its reach “to more than 17.1 million retirement plan participants and assets under administration to US$1.4 trillion on behalf of approximately 71,000 workplace savings plans.”

“We’re pleased that this strategic transaction has advanced Great-West Lifeco’s value-creation priorities and accelerated our growth, and demonstrated immediate earnings accretion from expense and revenue synergies,” said Paul Mahon, president and CEO at Great-West Lifeco. “Empower and its customers benefit from the significant added scale and capabilities, further solidifying Empower’s leadership position in the world’s largest retirement market.”

The deal was first announced in July 2021 with a total transaction value of approximately C$4.45 billion (US$3.55 billion).

Empower is based in Denver, Colo. and is the second-largest retirement plan recordkeeper by total participants in the United States.

Manitoba Harvest signs deal with Whole Foods Market

Manitoba Harvest and Whole Foods Market announced their exclusive partnership on Apr. 6. Manitoba Harvest, wholly-owned subsidiary of Tilray Brands, Inc. will sell their Hemp+ Matcha and Hemp+ Supergreens powders exclusively at 300 plus Whole Foods Market locations across North America for a limited time.

“We are thrilled to be working with Whole Foods Market to launch our new Hemp+ powders, Matcha and Supergreens. Whole Foods seeks out the finest natural and organic foods available. This exclusive release is a testament to our product quality and hemp’s increasing popularity,” said Jared Simon, president at Manitoba Harvest.

After the 90-day exclusive sales period, the products will be available at Whole Foods and other locations in the U.S. and Canada.

Kane Biotech appoints chief scientific officer

Winnipeg’s Kane Biotech announced the appointment of Dr. Gregory Schultz as the company’s chief scientific officer on Apr. 5.

“As a world-renowned expert in wound care and biofilms, we are honoured to welcome Dr. Schultz as Kane Biotech’s Chief Scientific Officer,” said Marc Edwards, CEO at Kane Biotech. “Dr. Schultz’s appointment is a big step in confirming Kane as THE biofilm company, as we advance development and commercialization of our DispersinB® and coactiv+™ technologies, aimed at treating biofilm-mediated antimicrobial tolerance.”

Dr. Schultz is Professor Emeritus of Obstetrics and Gynecology in the College of Medicine at the University of Florida where he established the interdisciplinary Institute for Wound Research (IWR), and served as Director for IWR for 32 years. He holds 36 patents and is the co-founder of two successful biotechnology companies.

“My career has focused on biofilm research. We underestimate how big of a problem that biofilms are, as non-healing wounds are a major worldwide healthcare burden. The key to addressing this challenge is to treat associated biofilm formation,” said Dr. Schultz. “Kane’s technology has current and potential applications across a broad spectrum of biofilm-related issues in animal and human health. I am honored to lead the development of technologies to overcome the tolerance that bacteria in biofilms develop to patients’ immune systems, antibiotics, and anti-microbial technologies as Chief Scientific Officer.”

Kane Biotech is a biotechnology company engaged in the research, development and commercialization of technologies and products that prevent and remove microbial biofilms.

BMO Blue Book sees growth for Manitoba

The BMO Blue Book, released on Apr. 6, provides an outlook on Canada’s economy and each province, with views on key business sectors. According to the book, the Manitoba economy “is expected to grow 3.3. per cent this year, just behind the national increase, but only after a relatively weaker performance in 2021. It remains a stable province, with exposure to many industries but no excessive weight in any one sector.”

The Blue Book also predicts growth for the Canadian economy overall in 2022, with the demand for tech talent remaining high and the Canadian housing market staying strong. BMO sees Alberta leading the country in growth at 5.0 per cent. Saskatchewan and B.C. are predicted to grow by 3.8 per cent.

“The Canadian economy is growing at a strong pace, with most industries and segments of the job market fully recovered from the pandemic, and the Bank of Canada now tightening policy,” said Doug Porter, chief economist at BMO Financial Group. “Real GDP is likely to expand 3.5 per cent this year, cooling from the 4.6 per cent pace in 2021, but still running well above potential growth. In the meantime, with inflation proving to be persistent and meaningfully above the Bank of Canada’s target, look for a further steady stream of interest rate hikes into 2023.”

The BMO Blue Book is published jointly by BMO’s Economics Department and its Canadian Commercial Banking Business.

Xplornet acquires Full Throttle Networks Inc.

Xplornet Communications Inc. has completed the acquisition of the high-speed Internet business of Full Throttle Networks Inc. in Winnipeg. Full Throttle Networks served residential and commercial customers in the Winnipeg area, providing broadband access through a fixed wireless network.

“We are confident we have brought our network to the best home possible, to bring the service and technology to the next level and beyond,” said Dane Davis, president at Full Throttle Networks Inc. “We would like to extend a warm thank you to our amazing customers for believing in us, encouraging us, and joining us along our journey. We hope they are just as excited as we are for this new path of evolution we are embarking on.”

Xplornet is expanding its fibre network across the province and upgrading towers for 5G to over 350 rural and 30 First Nation communities. The company has had a presence in Manitoba since 2004 and opened an office in Brandon in 2017.

“The acquisition of Full Throttle Networks supports our ambitious plan to offer more Manitobans access to the latest network technologies and fastest speeds,” said Bill Macdonald,  executive vice president, business development at Xplornet Communications Inc. “We’re eager to bring the vast benefits of high-speed Internet connectivity to even more Manitobans so they can connect to what matters.”

Westland Insurance acquires Savante Insurance

B.C.-based Westland Insurance Group announced the acquisition of Savante Insurance on Apr. 7, as well as Saskatoon insurance brokerage Booth Burnett. Savante Insurance has locations in Winnipeg and Steinbach.

“We’re proud to welcome these two established brokerages to the Westland family,” said Jamie Lyons, President & Chief Operating Officer. “Each has a legacy of professionalism and a strong track record of delivering exceptional client service. The Prairies continue to be a critical part of Westland’s national strategy, especially given our ambition to serve more Canadians coast-to-coast. Both Booth Burnett and Savante help deepen our presence in key Western Canadian cities and communities, including Saskatoon, Winnipeg, and Steinbach.”

Coming Up:

NFI Group Inc. will release its first quarter 2022 financial results on Thursday, May 5, 2022.

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MB Inc. Business Brief – April 1, 2022


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