North America

Cirque du Soleil and its secured creditors are close to reaching a agreement on a second stalking horse bid for the financially strapped entertainment group, after lenders opposed a deal with shareholders including TPG Capital and Fosun International, a Canadian court heard today, Reuters reported. Canada’s once high-flying Cirque has received protection from creditors as it restructures after the COVID-19 pandemic forced it to cancel shows and lay off artists. The Montreal-based entertainment company filed for bankruptcy in late June.

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Canadian employment rose by a record-setting 953,000 people in June as COVID-19 lockdown restrictions eased across the country, the Globe and Mail reported. Statistics Canada said today that combined with May’s gain of nearly 290,000 workers, the labour market has recovered about 40 percent of the three million jobs that were lost during the pandemic. The unemployment rate fell to 12.3 percent from May’s record of 13.7 percent. June’s employment gains were almost evenly split between full-time and part-time work.

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The Canadian government is predicting a historic CDN$343 billion (US$254 billion) deficit for 2020-21 resulting from its economic and stimulus plans to battle COVID-19, the Associated Press reported. The amount, included in a fiscal “snapshot” the Liberal government released Wednesday, is a huge jump from the CDN$28.1 billion (US$20.8 billion) deficit projected prior to the pandemic. The report says that since March, the federal government has spent more than CDN$231 billion (US$171 billion) on health and safety measures as well as direct aid to Canadians and businesses.

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Petroleos Mexicanos’s nearly $105 billion in debt already makes it the biggest borrower of any oil company in the world. And it’s accruing more, Bloomberg News reported. Pemex, as the Mexican state oil company is known, is asking some of its contractors if they can wait until next year to be paid money that is owed to them now. Three contractors that are being asked to defer payment are waiting on $115 million in payouts, but the amount owed to companies across Pemex’s supply chain could easily total billions of dollars.

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Canada will ramp up issuance of long-term debt this year to finance its record budget deficit, Bloomberg News reported. The federal government plans to sell C$106 billion ($78 billion) of 10-year and 30-year bonds in the fiscal year that ends March 31, according to budget documents released Wednesday. That’s more than six times the C$17 billion of such bonds it sold last year.

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DavidsTea is seeking court protection from creditors so it can continue operating while it restructures and plans to close a significant number of its stores, the Globe and Mail reported. The Montreal-based company said today that it will seek an order in Quebec Superior Court to allow it to restructure under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act. It also plans to seek similar orders for its U.S. subsidiary under chapter 15 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

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Mexico’s Aeromexico yesterday scheduled meetings with investors to discuss debt restructuring after becoming the third large Latin American carrier to file for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last week, Reuters reported. Management of the airline part-owned by Delta Air Lines Inc. proposed focusing on the modification of payment terms for stocks and other certificates in the meetings now planned for July 20, according to a statement sent to the Mexican stock exchange.

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Insurer Aviva Canada faces a proposed class-action lawsuit that claims Canadian businesses have been denied contagious-disease coverage during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Globe and Mail reported. Toronto law firm Thomson Rogers filed a request for certification of a class action last week in the Ontario Superior Court against Aviva Insurance Company of Canada, alleging that the company failed to honour its business-interruption claims for Canadian businesses with what is known as enterprise-insurance policies.

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A stalking horse bid for Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group was dismissed as inadequate by lenders during a Quebec court hearing into the company’s restructuring on Tuesday, Reuters reported. Canada’s once high-flying Cirque received initial protection from its creditors, after the COVID-19 pandemic forced the famed circus operator to cancel shows and lay off artists. Montreal-based Cirque, which grew from a troupe of street-performers in the 1980s to a company with global reach, has slashed about 95% of its workforce and suspended shows due to the pandemic.

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