Business Briefs News

MBI Business Brief – March 3, 2023

Merit Functional Foods in receivership.

Merit Functional Foods heads into receivership

Winnipeg’s Merit Functional Foods announced Mar. 1 that the company has entered receivership. Merit creditors Export Development Canada and Farm Credit Canada filed an application with the Court of King’s Bench in Manitoba to appoint a receiver for the company, and PwC Canada became receiver on Wednesday.

Ryan Bracken, the company’s co-CEO, said in a LinkedIn post that Merit did not have the cash flow required to be profitable.

Founded in 2019, Merit processed pea and canola protein into ingredients for plant-based dairy, meat and beverages. It opened its processing plant at CentrePort in Winnipeg in February 2021.

NFI Group Inc. releases Q4 2022 and year-end results

NFI Group Inc. announced its Q4 2022 and year-end results on Mar. 1. NFI saw $683 million in revenue for Q4 2022 and a net loss per share of $1.94 in the quarter. The company reported a full-year loss of $59 million and a net loss per share of $3.60.

“In Fiscal 2022, we saw record demand for our products and services, juxtaposed with continued supply chain disruption, associated production inefficiencies, and the impacts of heightened inflation and rapid foreign exchange movements. Our financial results reflect those realities, with declines in certain performance metrics, paired with significant growth in backlog and contract pricing. The aftermarket segment was also a significant bright spot in 2022, delivering profitability while the navigating through supply challenges,” said Paul Soubry, president and CEO at NFI. “Fiscal 2023 is expected to be a transition period with significant improvement from 2022 results, but still challenged by certain contracts being at inflation-impacted margins, a result of those contracts originally being bid in 2020 and 2021. We will also operate at lower production rates until supply chain challenges begin to ease, which we anticipate for the second half of the year. Going forward, our updated pricing, inflation-adjusted option backlog, higher ZEB deliveries, and increased production rates are expected to drive stronger margins and financial performance in 2024, 2025, and beyond.”

Bioscience Association of Manitoba celebrates industry with annual awards

Bioscience Association of Manitoba (BAM) held its annual awards dinner on Mar. 2, recognizing the accomplishments of the bioscience industry in the province. This year’s award recipients include:

Most Outstanding Bioscience Student of the Year – Daniel Gussakovsky, Ph.D. is a student with the Department of Chemistry, University of Manitoba. He completed his honours studying RNA-protein interactions of non-coding RNA prevalent in cancer.

Outstanding Leadership in Bioscience of the Year – Dr. Albert (Bert) Friesen is the founder, CEO and board chair at Medicure Inc. Dr. Friesen is the recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award, University of Manitoba in 2003 and the Order of Manitoba in 2005. He was the first employee and president of the Winnipeg Rh Institute, where he oversaw the development of the WinRho vaccine.

Emerging Bioscience Company of the Year – Scimar is a Manitoba-based biotech company that focuses on preventing, detecting, and treating Type 2 diabetes.

Bioscience Company of the Year – Cerebra is a leading medical device technology company transforming the future of sleep diagnosis and therapy.

“We are extremely proud of this year’s award winners and all they have accomplished,” said Kim Kline, President of the Bioscience Association Manitoba. “Their dedication, hard work, and commitment to excellence are a testament to the Manitoba advantage and the strength of our industry. We thank them for their contributions.”

Conference Board sees slowing growth for Canadian prairies

According to the latest release from The Conference Board of Canada, Manitoba will see slower economic growth for the remainder of 2023 and into 2024. Manitoba’s strong performance agriculture is expected to continue in 2023, despite rising input costs. Real GDP for Manitoba is projected to be 0.9 per cent in 2023, followed 2.2 per cent in 2024.

“Despite the signs pointing to slow economic performance this year, the worst-case scenarios of a deep recession or highly destabilized labour and capital markets are becoming less likely,” said Ted Mallett, director, economic forecasting at The Conference Board of Canada. “We anticipate that the hospitality, transportation, arts and recreation sectors will be at the leading edge of growth through 2025.”

Royal Winnipeg Ballet artistic director and CEO stepping down

The Royal Winnipeg Ballet (RWB) announced on Feb. 23 that André Lewis, O.M., the organization’s artistic director and CEO, will step down from his role in spring 2025.

“The months ahead will be ones of celebration, transition, and renewal,” said Don Leitch,  RWB’s board chair. “André held the appreciation of the ballet world and our broader cultural community with his outstanding contributions. He’s brought greater recognition to the vibrancy that defines arts in Manitoba.”

Lewis first came to Winnipeg as a student in the Professional Division of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School in 1975, joining the Company as a dancer four years later. Lewis danced with RWB until 1989 when he retired from dance and became associate artistic director. In 1996, he was promoted to artistic director and became CEO in 2018.

The RWB Board of Directors will launch an international recruitment process and hope to announce a new Executive Director by the end of June 2023 and a new Artistic Director in 2024.

Application deadline coming for Spirit of Winnipeg Awards

The Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce Spirit of Winnipeg Award applications are due Monday, March 6. Any Winnipeg business is eligible to apply. The 14th annual Spirit of Winnipeg Awards Gala will be held on Friday, June 16 at the Club Regent Event Centre.

Construction Association of Rural Manitoba holding Trades Summit

The Construction Association of Rural Manitoba is hosting a Trades Summit in partnership with Assiniboine Community College. The event will be held Mar. 16, 2023 at the North Hill Campus in Brandon.

Information session for business opportunities in Europe

World Trade Centre Winnipeg and Global Affairs Canada – Trade Commissioner Service are hosting an session on market opportunities under the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with a focus on Belgium, Luxembourg, Denmark, Germany and Netherlands on Mar. 17, 2023. Companies in all sectors are welcome.

Next week: International Indigenous Tourism Conference (IITC) in Winnipeg on March 9, 2023.

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