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IW Business Bulletin – December 9, 2022

Air Canada in Calgary. Photo by Justin Hu, Unsplash.

Air Canada to end Calgary flights from Saskatoon and Regina

Air Canada will suspend flights from Saskatoon and Regina to Calgary in January 2023, shifting the company’s focus to its main hubs in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. Flights to Toronto and Vancouver from Saskatoon and Regina will continue.

Economic Development Regina (EDR) was quick to respond with a letter to Air Canada’s senior leadership team. EDR CEO Chris Lane wrote that “as one of Canada’s fastest growing economies and population areas, the need for connectivity and the opportunity it presents for airlines is as necessary as it is mutually beneficial.” As well, Lane pointed out that Calgary “is not only a gateway to Alberta but also it is the most effective and efficient way for Regina travelers to access Air Canada’s Star Alliance and code share partners – and for international travelers to access Regina in return.”

Flair Airlines adds flights

Flair Airlines announced Dec. 8 that it would add new service in May from Saskatoon to Calgary on the heels of Air Canada’s suspension of its Saskatoon-Calgary route.

“We know how important it is for Saskatoon to be connected to Calgary,” said Garth Lund, chief commercial officer, Flair Airlines. “There are so many Saskatchewanians and Albertans with connections between the two cities be it for family, friends or work, so this is a natural fit. And Flair Airlines can make it work at the lowest fares ever between the two cities.”

Mosaic halts production at Colonsay

Mosaic Potash has curtailed production temporarily at its Colonsay, Sask. mine. The company saw slower demand in the second half of 2022, with its inventory levels able to meet current demand.

“Our decision to temporarily curtail Colonsay reflects near-term dynamics and not long-term agricultural market fundamentals. Crop prices remain strong and continue to support healthy grower economics,” said President and CEO Joc O’Rourke. “After a year of reduced applications, we believe farmers are incentivized to maximize yields, which should drive significant recovery in fertilizer demand in 2023.”

The company anticipates restart of both mills in early 2023.

Brandt expands in Australia

Regina-based Brandt will expand its footprint in Australia, announcing the acquisition of Westernport Tractors & Implements Pty Ltd in Victoria, Australia. The acquisition brings all of Southern Victoria under a single John Deere dealership brand.

“Just like Westernport, Brandt is a family owned and operated business where serving the customer is absolutely #1,” said Brandt CEO, Shaun Semple. “The fit between our two organizations is a natural one and we look forward to welcoming Ross Beischer and his team to the Brandt family.”

In November, Brandt also acquired the assets of  New Zealand’s Agrowquip NZ Ltd.

PFM Capital and others acquire Sexton Family of Companies

PFM Capital announced on Dec. 5 that it has acquired a majority interest in Sexton Family of Companies (SFOC) with co-investors BDC Capital (BDC) and Roynat Equity Partners (Roynat).  Brian Kusisto, current SFOC chair, will rstay with the company as a board member and Sexton Investments will retain a portion of its ownership interest. The acquisition will allow SFOC to manage its next stage of growth.

“This is an exciting day for SFOC. The acquisition is a testament to the hard-work and dedication of everyone at SFOC and demonstrates the successful execution of our strategy for 55 years.” said Kusisto, chair of SFOC.

SFOC includes Sexton Group, Kenroc Building Materials, Builders Choice Products, Sexton Transport and Tage Davidsen Drywall Supplies, and got its start in Regina in 1967.

“SFOC is a classic Saskatchewan success story. A story that now includes customers and members across Canada. We are honored to become part of the SFOC legacy. We look forward to working with the SFOC team as they write a new chapter in their history,” said Jeff Linner, chief investment officer at PFM.

Environmental Material Science Inc. closes $1.6 million seed round

Environmental Material Science Inc. (EMS) announced Dec. 8 it has closed its first seed round, raising $1.6 million. The round was led by PIC Investment Group, with participation from Startup TNT (as the winner of the 2022 Cleantech Investment Summit), Golden Opportunities Fund Inc., WTC Investments LP and founders.

The funding will be used for the company’s 36-month growth strategy.

“Closing our first financing round is a significant milestone in EMSʼs journey and has positioned our company to become a global leader in soil analytics,” said Steve Siciliano, CEO at EMS. “With the collective expertise, experience, and support from PIC and Golden Opportunities Fund, we are excited for what the future holds for our company and for how we will play a role in creating a more sustainable planet. We want to thank all our investors who participated in this round for their belief in our vision and trust in our growing team. We look forward to an exciting 2023 and introducing more customers to a sustainable path forward towards managing their environmental footprint.”

Based in Saskatoon, Environmental Material Science Inc. is a technology company focused on the management, monitoring and cleanup of contaminated sites.

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