Business Bulletins News

IW Business Bulletin – May 6, 2022

Norcast Concrete Batch Plant Commissioning in Prince Albert, SK. (CNW Group/Norcast Concrete Ltd)

SREDA launches SK Startup Institute

Saskatchewan Regional Economic Development Authority (SREDA) launched its SK Startup Institute on May 1. Previously known as Square One, this entrepreneurship program is available province-wide to support new businesses and entrepreneurs. The program offers free business advice, market research, education and more on its website and through personal appointments.

“There’s never been a time when entrepreneurship is so critical to creating jobs and growing our economy. This is why we’re launching SK Startup Institute; to help people start and grow their businesses and make their dreams a reality,” said Alex Fallon, SREDA’s president and CEO. “If you’re an entrepreneur looking to get a head start, our team of experts will guide and encourage you on your journey. Wherever you live in Saskatchewan, whatever your industry, SK Startup Institute is here to support you every step of the way.”

Mosaic and Nutrien report Q1 earnings

May 2 saw Mosaic report the company’s Q1 2022 results, with a net income $1.18 billion US for the quarter. Revenues were up 71 per cent to $3.9 billion, with potash earnings hitting $563 million (with net sales of $1.06 billion, up from $477 million at the same time last year).

“Mosaic’s first quarter results show the strength of our business, which is able to meet customer needs while also delivering value for our shareholders,” said Joc O’Rourke, Mosaic’s president and CEO. “Looking forward, we expect higher annual production across our global platform in both potash and phosphates, as a result of the completed ramp up of Esterhazy K3, a higher run-rate at Colonsay, and a recovery of phosphate output from our North American operations. We take our responsibility of helping the world grow the food it needs very seriously and are working to mitigate some of the impact of reduced global supply by efficiently maximizing output.”

In Saskatchewan, Esterhazy’s K3 is now running at its full annual run rate of 5.5 million tonnes of MOP production, and Colonsay has expanded to 1.3 million tonnes. The company also noted the impact the conflict in Ukraine is having on agricultural markets, and on fertilizer supply. Demand from North America, Brazil and China, supply chain issues and COVID also continue to impact potash and phosphates, and Mosaic sees that “these issues, combined with the current global supply and demand situation, point to persistent tight markets for both phosphates and potash.”

The same day, Nutrien reported its Q1 2022 earnings, with record net earnings of $1.4 billion US for the quarter. The company also increased its earnings guidance for the full year 2022 by 50 per cent, expecting to earn between $16.20 and $18.70 per share this year (up from $10.20 to $11.80).

“Global agriculture and crop input markets are being impacted by a number of unprecedented supply disruptions that have contributed to higher commodity prices and escalated concerns for global food security. The situation emphasizes the need for long-term solutions that support a sustainable increase in global crop production,” said Ken Seitz, Nutrien interim president and CEO.

Like Mosaic, Nutrien noted that “the Russia and Ukraine conflict has led to further tightening of crop export supplies and heightened global food security concerns.” As well, the company raised its potash sales volume guidance to between 14.5 to 15.1 million tonnes in 2022. This includes its previously announced increase of nearly one million tonnes on Mar. 16, 2022.

Three Farmers sees $6.2 million investment

Saskatchewan-based snack company has received an equity investment from District Ventures Capital and existing investors Export Development Canada (EDC), Golden Opportunities Fund Inc., and PIC Investment Group. The $6.2 million round was led by District Ventures, supplying $3 million with EDC, Golden Opportunities and PIC supplying $3.2 million.

“Canada continues to demonstrate its enormous agricultural and health expertise and resources. Investments in vertically integrated companies like Three Farmers are what will create generational opportunity for our country,” said Arlene Dickinson, general partner of District Ventures Capital. “As leading producers for lentil and green pea production in the world, Canada is missing out by not participating in the commercialization of these resources into products – a gap Three Farmers is able to help fill.”

The new investment will support Three Farmers’ growth with marketing in Canada, as well as sales and business development support for the company’s US expansion.

“We are very excited to welcome District Ventures as a partner in Three Farmers Foods. Armed with the resources required to build our brand and distribution across Canada and the USA and expand our manufacturing in Saskatchewan, we will be able to continue to push towards our goal of making whole bean snacking a staple in all households across North America,” said Natasha Vandenhurk, CEO at Three Farmers Foods. “Now, more than ever, consumers are relying on brands like us to provide them with healthy, wholesome foods that truly deliver on the promise of nutrition while still satisfying the need for big crunch and flavour.”

ISC reports Q1 2022 earnings

Regina’s Information Services Corporation (ISC) reported its Q2 2022 results on May 4, with revenues of $44.2 million – an increase of $5.0 million or 13 per cent compared to the same quarter in 2021. Net income was $7.4 million, up from $1.9 million in Q1 2021.

“After an outstanding year in 2021, we have continued to deliver excellent results for the first three months of 2022. Most notably, our Services segment exceeded our Registry Operations segment for the first time ever on a revenue basis while Registry Operations continues to make a significant contribution on an EBITDA basis.”  said Shawn Peters, ISC’s president and CEO, “As the year continues, we will be making investments in people and technology to further strengthen our overall business. In Services, we are enhancing our technology for our Recovery Solutions customers that will complement our Registry Complete offering, which has been very well received since it officially launched last year. We will of course, continue to actively explore appropriate acquisition targets that complement or add value to our existing lines of business or provide new key service offerings that will also drive value.”

The same day, ISC declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.23 per Class A Limited Voting Share, to be paid on or before July 15, 2022 to shareholders of record as of June 30, 2022.

Cameco releases Q1 2022 results

On May 5, Cameco released its Q2 2022 earnings, with net earnings of $40 million with revenue rising by 37 per cent from the same time last year. Revenue totaled $398 million, up from $290 million in Q1 2021.

“With the recent uranium price increase, we are beginning to enjoy the benefits of the strategic and deliberate decisions we have made. And, with leverage to rising prices, we are well-positioned to continue to capture value from the market transition we believe is underway, and that is supported by the fundamentals; fundamentals characterized by durable, full-cycle demand against a backdrop of growing concerns about security of supply,” said Tim Gitzel, Cameco president and CEO.

The company also increased its outlook for the year, increasing revenues to between $1.73 billion and $1.88 billion for the year, an increase from its earlier forecast for between $1.5 billion and $1.65 billion.

Saskatoon & Region Home Builders’ Association name new CEO

The Saskatoon & Region Home Builders’ Association has named Nicole Burgess as the organization’s new CEO. Burgess joins the association from Saskatchewan Institute of Supply Chain Canada, where she was CEO for 14 years.

“I look forward to the opportunity to serve the membership of the Saskatoon & Region Home Builders’ Association.” said Burgess. “This industry is vital to the economic success of Saskatoon & Region, and for Saskatchewan, and I am ready to meet the opportunities for advancing key drivers for success.”

Burgess succeeds interim CEO Silvia Martini, who has held the role since January.

International CCS Knowledge Centre appoints new president and CEO

Regina-based International CCS Knowledge Centre has named James Millar as the organization’s new president and CEO.

“We need deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions if we’re going to meet our ambitious climate goals over the next few decades,” said Millar at the announcement. “Many global organizations including the International Energy Agency and the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change agree that without CCS the world cannot meet its emission reduction targets. I’m excited to lead this organization at a time when widespread investment and interest in CCS is scaling up.”

Millar comes to the International CCS Knowledge Centre from Pieridae Energy, where he worked in public affairs. Prior to that, he was in public affairs for TransCanada Corporation (now TC Energy) and the Calgary Health Region. He starts his role on May 24, 2022.

Royal Helium strikes deal to acquire Imperial Helium

Saskatoon-based Royal Helium Ltd. announced on May 2 that the company has entered a deal to acquire Imperial Helium Corp.

“We are excited to have entered into this agreement with Imperial. The Steveville property, along with all of the other properties that Imperial has been targeting, make an accretive addition to Royal’s near-term Climax field as well as adding to the expansive properties currently held by Royal. This acquisition would allow Royal to initiate production and significant cash flow from multiple fields near term, accelerate its production profile and enhance future growth for all shareholders,” said Andrew Davidson, president and CEO at Royal Helium Ltd.

The deal will see Royal Helium acquire all of the issued and outstanding Imperial Helium shares, and the Royal Helium board will be increased by one to include one member from Imperial Helium’s board.

“Imperial sees this agreement as an opportunity to be a part of a bigger and stronger helium exploration and development company. Following Royal’s successful exploration campaign at Climax, they have completed some tremendous work to make helium production in Canada a near term reality and the addition of the Steveville property will further assist in achieving this goal. The combined company will be very well positioned to offer stable supply of helium to the world’s largest market at a time when existing supplies are challenged by geopolitical events,” said Kyler Hardy, co-chairman of Imperial Helium Corp.

Royal Helium controls over 1,000,000 acres of prospective helium land in southern Saskatchewan, and Imperial holds a helium discovery at Steveville, Alta.

Norcast Concrete commissions new facility in Prince Albert

Norcast Concrete Ltd., a newly created concrete company in Prince Albert, commissioned its new plant on May 2. The company, formed by local Prince Albert business leaders experienced in the concrete industry, will supply
ready-mix and pre-cast concrete products and aggregates to northern Saskatchewan.

“The combination of high throughput capability and high precision is something that was extremely important for our company to be competent in serving small residential projects to large complex commercial and industrial projects,” said Kevin Graves, president of Norcast Concrete.

According to the new company, they provide “full-service, diversified concrete products and services to commercial, residential, agricultural and industrial customers.”

“We are excited to begin the operations of Norcast today. Economic development in our home community is important to our company. We are excited to have the opportunity to provide local jobs to the people in our communities. We are currently hiring for plant staff and operators and expect the numbers of those positions to grow as we expand within the pre-cast component of our operations,” said Andrew Ardell, director of Norcast Concrete.

Avanti Energy acquires helium exploration permits

On May 3, Calgary’s Avanti Energy announced it has acquired three helium exploration permits from the Government of Saskatchewan for a total of approximately 63,000 acres. This expands the company’s holdings outside of Alberta and Montana.

“With the permits in hand, the team can now start looking at acquiring seismic data, fine tune our geological mapping and put an exploration plan in motion,” said Genga Nadaraju, the company’s vice president of subsurface. Adding a complementary asset to our portfolio of high impact helium projects positions Avanti with the potential of providing an irreplaceable resource across geographic areas which is critical for applications such as semiconductor chip manufacturing, aerospace, MRI scanning, optical fibre manufacturing and nuclear power generation.”

Creative Saskatchewan Feature Film and Television Production Grant Program application window opens

Creative Saskatchewan is now accepting applications for its Feature Film and Television Production Grant Program, which now has $5 million funding threshold for production companies to access the 2022-23 fiscal year. The total funds available total $10 million with the threshold for a single film and television project set at $5 million (requests higher than $5 million require an Order in Council).

“The conditions are in place for Saskatchewan to attract solid film and television projects to our province in coming months,” said Erin Dean, Creative Saskatchewan’s CEO. “These changes will support projects creating jobs and skills sets in Saskatchewan, generate spending at local businesses, and leverage out-of-province investment into Saskatchewan.”

Government of Saskatchewan funds hospitality and tourism training for Indigenous learners

The Government of Saskatchewan announced $532,000 in one-time funding to train Indigenous job seekers in skills for the hospitality and tourism sector. The program will support approximately 100 Indigenous people looking to enter or advance their skills in hospitality and tourism.

“Hospitality and tourism showcase our rich culture, history, and traditions and are further enriched by Indigenous participation,” Immigration and Career Training Minister Jeremy Harrison said. “The Hospitality and Tourism program will help to improve the participation of Indigenous people in our provincial economy and provide a skilled workforce to help drive Saskatchewan’s economic growth.”

The program will support job seekers in finding employment and skill building, including work placements and certifications, with income support. As well, employers will receive support for new hires and employees looking to build on existing skills.

City of Regina invests in construction

The City of Regina announced this week it will spend $118 million into transportation, water, wastewater and drainage infrastructure for 2022. Projects include the Winnipeg Street Overpass, North Central Drainage, and residential road renewal.

“Investing in municipal infrastructure is critical to the development of our city,” said Mayor Sandra Masters. “We need to ensure our existing infrastructure is well maintained, while continuing to make strategic investments to support economic growth and building a more vibrant, safe and sustainable community.”

Minimum wage increase announced

Saskatchewan’s minimum wage will rise to $13.00 per hour from $11.81 on October 1, 2022. The Government of Saskatchewan will increase the minimum wage on October 1, 2023 to $14.00 per hour, and then to $15.00 per hour on October 1, 2024.

“World events continue to put upward pressure on the cost of living in Saskatchewan and across Canada,” Labour Relations and Workplace Safety Minister Don Morgan said. “Our government is committed to ensuring life is affordable for our low-income residents by increasing the minimum wage over the next three years. This commitment to affordability will support Saskatchewan workers, and ensure Saskatchewan is the best place to live, work, and raise a family.”

Get the week’s top business stories every Friday free with the IW Business Bulletin.

Have a story for the IW Business Bulletin? Email us at