International Trade Minister Michael Wilson introduced legislation that will bring the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) into force. Wilson said that the government wants the legislation, known as Bill C-115, to pass by June. The bill would amend 29 existing Canadian statutes ranging from the Income Tax Act to the Copyright Act. NAFTA, which the governments of the United States and Mexico must also approve, is scheduled to take effect in January, 1994.
TURBULENCE AT PWA
Calgary-based PWA Corp., which owns cash-strapped Canadian Airlines International Ltd., has posted a record $543.3million loss for 1992. The company is in the throes of a financial restructuring and is also attempting to conclude a deal with American Airlines Inc. of Fort Worth, Tex. The airline recorded a $333.2-million charge for 1992 to cover the cost of its restructuring including investment writeoffs and the cost of cancelling and deferring the delivery of new aircraft. On Feb. 19, PWA’s competitor, Air Canada, reported a $454-million loss for 1992.
A ROYAL AFFAIR
Royal Trasteo Ltd. has announced that its search for a partner to supply needed capital has come down to the Royal Bank of Canada, the country’s largest financial institution. Although both Toronto-based companies declined to elaborate, industry analysts said that a final deal will probably take several months to conclude. Also last week, Dominion Bond Rating Service Ltd. of Toronto cut its ratings for the Royal Bank because of the prospect of an increase in the bank’s bad loans. The bank’s profits fell to $107 million in 1992, down from $983 million in 1991.
PETROCAN SHARE SQUEEZE
A group of investment dealers has lost as much as $16 million on a new issue of Petro-Canada shares. Last week, about 24.5 million shares of the Calgary-based oil producer were sold on Canadian stock exchanges at $7.25 each. In November, a syndicate of 10 dealers bought 30.3 million shares from Petro-Canada for $7.92 each, planning to resell them at $8.25 for a profit of about $10 million. But many investors, including pension funds and other institutions, balked at the price, so that only about 10 million shares changed hands at $8.25. Although the company’s board of directors fired longtime chairman Bill Hopper in late January, there was no subsequent increase in the share price.
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