North America

Canadian automation company Promation had been banking on a weaker currency to help it win a new U.S. contract, but a slower pace of vaccinations in Canada could erase that competitive edge, President Darryl Spector said, Reuters reported. Pandemic travel restrictions make it harder for Promation’s technicians to travel across the border to service and repair plant equipment, a drawback when competing against an increasingly vaccinated U.S. workforce. “With a fully vaccinated U.S. supply base, why buy from Canada if you can’t access the labor to support it?,” said Spector.
Read more

Two developments in the China Fishery Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing have given William Brandt, the trustee overseeing the sale of the company’s Peruvian assets, hope that he will get a deal done, Seafood Source reported. On 19 February, Brandt filed a proposed settlement agreement with China Fishery Group’s court-appointed liquidator, FTI Consulting, which had sued the company, arguing it had used ill-gotten earnings to purchase Copeinca in 2013.

Read more
U.S. private equity firm Blackstone in 2016 unplugged a Texas power plant that it owned from the state’s grid in a bet that it could make a fortune as the only American-based generator selling electricity exclusively to Mexico. That bet has gone south, Reuters reported. Nearly five years later, Blackstone’s gas-fired plant, Frontera Holdings LLC, is struggling to exit bankruptcy after burning investors holding nearly $1 billion of its debt - the victim of a succession of problems ranging from a power market collapse in Mexico in 2020 to last month’s severe cold snap.
Read more
Electricity and gas provider Just Energy Group Inc said it filed for creditor protection in Canada and plans to do the same in the United States, citing massive costs from the Texas deep freeze last month, Reuters reported. It became the second Texas electricity company to take the step in the face of extraordinary electricity charges during the cold snap. Last week, Texas’ largest and oldest electric power cooperative, Brazos Electric Power Cooperative Inc, filed for bankruptcy protection in Houston, citing a disputed $1.8 billion debt to the state’s grid operator.
Read more
The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board is considering selling part of its stake in the utility Puget Energy Inc., Bloomberg News reported. The investment group is working with an adviser to reduce its 31.6% stake by about 10 percentage points. The sale is expected to fetch $700 million, valuing Puget Energy at up to $7 billion, including debt. CPPIB was part of a group that took Puget private in 2009, alongside Macquarie Group Ltd., British Columbia Investment Management Corp. and Alberta Investment Management Corp., according to a statement on its website.
Read more

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has never been short of criticisms about his predecessor’s legacy. But he has reserved a special contempt for the sweeping overhaul that opened Mexico’s tightly held energy industry to the private sector, the New York Times reported. He has called the changes a form of legalized “pillaging,” the product of corruption and a resounding failure. He has suggested that some foreign energy investors are “looting” the nation and that Mexican lawyers who work for them are guilty of treason.

Read more

Blockchain payments firm Ripple has not experienced any fallout in its Asia Pacific business after being sued by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the company’s chief executive officer said on Friday, Reuters reported. In late December, the SEC charged Ripple, which is associated with cryptocurrency XRP, with conducting a $1.3 billion unregistered securities offering. After that, the top U.S. cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase shut down trading in XRP, which is the world’s seventh-largest cryptocurrency by market value.

Read more
Norwegian Air expects its dispute with Boeing over the cancellation of orders for 97 aircraft to be decided in U.S. legal proceedings and not as part of an Irish restructuring process, a lawyer for the airline said on Friday, Reuters reported. Norwegian was given protection from bankruptcy in both Norway and Ireland, where most of its assets are registered, late last year and is aiming to emerge from the process in April with fewer aircraft and less debt. On Friday, the airline indicated to the Irish court that it was seeking to repudiate three aircraft sales contracts with Boeing.
Read more