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IW Business Bulletin – August 27, 2021

SaskPower Signs onto WESK Charter. Photo provided by WESK.

WESK and SaskPower Partner with Charter

Women Entrepreneurs Saskatchewan (WESK) and SaskPower announced on August 26 that SaskPower has signed onto WESK’s Saskatchewan Women Entrepreneurship Charter. This signing shows SaskPower’s commitment to supporting women-owned businesses in Saskatchewan.

The Charter comes out of the 2020 Enabling Scale in Saskatchewan report from the WESK-led Saskatchewan Advisory Committee, which examined how women entrepreneurs in the province could be better supported. The Charter was one of 10 recommendations in the report, and “affirms a commitment to advance women entrepreneurship and build connections.” Signatories to the Charter are committing to doing business with women-owned companies and to actively create and support opportunities for women entrepreneurs.

SaskPower firmly believes in advancing women entrepreneurs in Saskatchewan and will continue to actively look for opportunities to do so, which is why we have signed onto the Charter,” said SaskPower president and CEO Mike Marsh. “SaskPower is committed to a sustainable supply chain and this partnership with Women Entrepreneurs Saskatchewan will allow SaskPower to continue to build a diverse chain of suppliers and help support women-owned businesses in Saskatchewan.”

“We are very pleased to see SaskPower join the ranks of those paving the way towards gender entrepreneurship parity,” said Prabha Mitchell, WESK’s CEO. “Notwithstanding that SaskPower is the largest crown corporation in our province, signing onto the Charter reflects a strong commitment to advancing equal opportunities for economic growth. Through the support of the Government of Saskatchewan, the province has positioned itself to lead the country as the preeminent place for women to start, grow, and scale their businesses.”

Red Leaf Pulp Engages with Community

Red Leaf Pulp held an open house in Regina on August 25, 2021 to meet with the public about their wheat-straw pulp mill project on the city’s west side. Red Leaf will begin construction on the $350 million project in 2022, with plans to produce 182,000 tonnes of wheat pulp annually, using wheat straw acquired from local producers. The Red Leaf project is expected to create 110 permanent jobs, with an additional 250 during construction.

Innovative Copper-67 Production in Saskatoon

Iotron Medical Inc. (Iotron) and Canadian Isotope Innovations Corp. (CIIC) have announced a collaboration to produce the radioisotope copper-67 (Cu-67) for new cancer therapies. This investment will increase the production capacity of the CIIC-operated facilities in Saskatoon to make Cu-67 more widely available to international cancer researchers.

Cu-67 is known for its therapeutic properties for cancer, but due to production issues in quantity and purity, it has not be fully explored by researchers. The partnership between Iotron Medical and CIIC will provide a reliable supply of Cu-67 for researchers and companies, and creates a world-first private producer and supplier with a novel production method to supply high-purity Cu-67 for pharmaceutical researchers.

Iotron Medical is part of Iotron Industries, a B.C.-based biotechnology company, and CIIC is a Saskatoon-based startup focused on “producing medical radioisotopes using a novel linear accelerator-based method initially developed at the Canadian Light Source.”

“CIIC looks forward to working with our partner Iotron to bring this important radioisotope to market and to produce it in the volume needed for researchers and the broader pharmaceutical community,” said Dr. Mark de Jong, Chief Technical Officer of CIIC.

The companies have developed a five-year agreement and the first shipments of Cu-67 were made in July to U.S.-based researchers. Batches are being produced bi-weekly now, and by the end of the year more will be available for clinical trial use around the world.

“Iotron is excited about the future for Cu-67 and the opportunity to work with CIIC to make the benefits of this radioisotope available to the wider market, and positively impact the lives of so many people,” said Mike Scott, Iotron Board Chair.

Q3 Earnings for Canada’s Big 5 Banks announced

Scotiabank announced its Q3 earnings on August 24, reporting Q3 net income of $2.54 billion, up from $1.3 billion in the same period last year. “We delivered another quarter of strong results, with contributions from all our operating segments, reflecting the benefits of a well-diversified business model. While the economic recovery is unfolding at different rates across our footprint, I’m very proud of the Scotiabank team’s on-going resilience and continued commitment to our customers,” said Brian Porter, president and CEO of Scotiabank. “During the quarter, the Bank was recognized as the Most Innovative in Data by The Banker’s Global Innovation in Digital Banking Awards 2021. This award recognizes our commitment to data and analytics and highlights our ability to identify and support our most vulnerable customers. We are also proud to highlight the Bank’s recent closing of its inaugural USD $1 billion 3-year sustainability bond offering, the largest sustainability bond issued by a Canadian corporate to date. This offering is yet another example of our social responsibility initiatives in support of our commitment to making a positive impact and creating better communities for every future.”

BMO also reported its Q3 earnings on August 24, with a net income of $2.27 billion for the quarter. “Operating momentum across our diversified businesses continues to drive strong financial performance. We recorded third quarter adjusted earnings per share of $3.44, with strong pre-provision pre-tax earnings of $2.9 billion, up 12% year-over-year, driven by revenue growth of 10%,” said Darryl White, BMO Financial Group’s CEO. “Our consistent financial performance enables us to deliver on our vision for a sustainable future. This quarter, we continued to advance our work to address the impact of climate change and champion inclusivity, and made a long-term pledge to supporting the development of affordable housing. With the economic recovery continuing to take hold, and as communities adapt to the most recent pandemic developments, we are committed to helping our clients make real financial progress and supporting their growth ambitions.”

On August 25, 2021 RBC reported its Q3 earnings with a reported net income of $4.3 billion for the quarter ending July 31, 2021. Earnings were up by $1.1 billion (34 per cent) from the same time in 2020. “Our performance reflects disciplined execution of our strategy, strong expense control, volume growth, higher fee-based client assets, and record investment banking revenue,” said Dave McKay, RBC’s president and CEO during the Q3 earnings call. “This was partly offset by the expected normalization in global markets revenue and continued pressures from low interest rates.” RBC has “cautious optimism” for the rest of 2021 and into 2022. “We remain cognizant of the near-term challenges to global growth posed by new variants, an inconsistent global vaccine rollout, supply-chain disruption, rising geopolitical risks, and continued global travel restrictions. However, we are encouraged by the economy progressing as it reopens based on trends we are seeing in credit card spend on both goods and services, and business investments in term assets and working capital. While the momentum that is building could moderate in the near-term by rising virus cases ‒ even with 75 percent of the eligible Canadian population being vaccinated ‒ we believe the foundation of the economy remains solid, and will manage through the threat of the Delta variant,” said McKay.

TD announced Q3 earnings on August 26, reporting $3.54 billion in net income, up from $2.24 billion from the same time in 2020. “TD’s strong performance in the third quarter was supported by solid revenue growth in our Canadian and U.S. Retail businesses as economic activity and employment levels continued to improve on both sides of the border,” said Bharat Masrani, Group president and CEO, TD Bank Group. “TD’s strategy – anchored in our proven business model – enabled us once again to deliver for our shareholders, meet the needs of our customers and clients and contribute to the economic recovery, while continuing to invest in our people, technology, and capabilities.”

The same day, CIBC announced its Q3 earnings, reporting $1.73 billion in net income, up from $1.17 billion for same period in 2020. “We continue to deliver purpose-driven growth across all of our business units as we work with our clients to help them achieve their ambitions. This quarter’s record top-line revenue and earnings per share underscore the breadth and quality of the growth we have across all of our key business units, as we continue to successfully navigate an uncertain environment by staying focused on our clients and on the wellbeing of our team. This quarter we continued to make strategic investments in our future growth as we have throughout the pandemic,” said Victor G. Dodig, CIBC’s president and CEO.

Combined, the Big 5 saw profits of more than $14 billion in Q3, up from $9 billion in the same period in 2020.

Next week: VersaBank Q3 earnings on September 1, 2021.

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Saskatchewan Leaders in Profile: Prabha Mitchell, Advocate