By Nicole Strandlund Business Edge
ACT I: CAVEAT EMPTOR
* The Player: BCE Inc. (TSX:BCE)
* Action: Up six per cent in a month (from $35.65 Feb. 8)
* Recent Price: $37.72
* 52-Week High/Low: $41.80/$29.90 BCE bondholders should have known better, agreed the Quebec Superior Court.
The bondholders had launched a lawsuit trying to block an impending $51.7-billion private takeover of BCE Inc. by a private investment arm of the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, claiming the debt-heavy deal is unfair to their interests.
Defence argued the bondholders are sophisticated investors who should have known such a deal was possible. The court sided with BCE and the company's stock jumped $1.92 to close at $37.72 the day of the ruling.
The deal still needs approval from the CRTC to proceed, but BCE expects all hurdles will be cleared and the takeover will occur in April.
ACT II: SASKA-BLING
* The Player: Goldsource Mines Inc. (TSXV:GXS)
* Action: Flat in the last month ($0.185 Feb. 8)
* Recent Price: $0.19
* 52-Week High/Low: $0.35/$0.16 If more affordable real estate doesn't entice ex-Saskatchewanites back home, the stones hidden beneath the earth there might.
Goldsource Mines, a Vancouver-based mining company with extensive land holdings in Indonesia, has commenced early-stage drilling for diamonds in eastern and central Saskatchewan (in areas north and east of Prince Albert).
Airborne geophysical surveys of the areas show "extensive" magnetic and electromagnetic data that may indicate a trail to diamonds.
Sure, the stock hasn't done much yet, but if the company hits the motherlode, it'll be hard to resist investing in the company or moving back to experience the economic boost in the province.
Now if only they could do something about the potholes, -30° winters and mosquito-infested summers ...
ACT III: PICK IT UP, CANADA
* The Player: Northstar Aerospace (TSX:NAS)
* Action: Down 34 per cent in six months (from $4.85 Sept. 7, 2007)
* Recent Price: $3.20
* 52-Week High/Low: $5.60/$2.50 Oh, Canada (sigh.)
That's probably a common phrase at meetings of Northstar Aerospace Inc., an Illinois-based flight-critical gears and transmissions manufacturer with plants in the U.S. and Canada.
Northstar would have had a good year if it weren't for its Canadian operations: Q4 revenue jumped up to US$42.2 million (from US$34.1 million in 2006), fuelled by a US$7.6-million increase in U.S. defence sector business. Annual revenue was US$163.7 million, up from US$144.1 million in 2006.
But the company's Windsor plant is pulling the other direction: A strong dollar and long-term defence contracts winding down meant Northstar had to reduce workforce north of the border, recording a US$1.4-million charge (mostly severance). The books were also hit with US$3.8 million in inventory adjustments, and US$5 million in 2007 and US$8.1 million in 2006 thanks to an environmental concern at one of Northstar's Canadian subsidiaries.
Pulling up Canadian operations will be a management priority for 2008, and perhaps one day they'll be able to say our country's name without a groan.
ACT IV: ON A ROLL?
* The Player: Great Canadian Gaming (TSX:GC)
* Action: Up four per cent in a day (from $11.94 March 9)
* Recent Price: $12.38
* 52-Week High/Low: $16.47/$10.40 Shareholders of Great Canadian Gaming may be hoping the company's strong 2007 financials will be what's needed to change their luck.
Investors have watched the stock fall steadily from highs over $16 in November, but must have sighed with relief when the stock climbed four per cent, thanks to a record revenue announcement.
The gaming company, which operates 10 casinos, five racetracks (with slot machines and table games), a hotel, theatres and various entertainment facilities, reported Q4 revenue of $100 million, up from $98 million in Q4 2006. Annual revenue was a record $397 million, up from $385 million in 2006.
Net earnings for the quarter were $13 million, compared to a loss of $11.5 million in Q4 2006. Annual net earnings were $35.8 million, compared to 2006's loss of $18.6 million.
NOTE: The above is not intended as investment advice to buy or sell any mentioned securities. Investors should do due diligence before investing. Quotes are based on results through March 10, 2008.
(Nicole Strandlund can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)