(Street Life is a regular feature that profiles what's playing in the stock market.)
Act I: Share And Share Alike
* The Player: Canadian National Railway (TSX:CNR)
* Action: Down in a month (from $46.07 Jan. 9)
* Recent Price: $44.92
* 52-Week High/Low: $58.44/$38.90 One of Canada's major railway companies is playing nice with the Americans.
Montreal-based Canadian National Railway (CN) announced a three-part agreement to share loads and routes in the U.S. with Norfolk Southern Corp. (NS) based in Virginia. In the first part of this "MidAmerica Corridor" deal, NS (NYSE:NSC) will carry CN freight between Chicago and St. Louis.
Second, NS will get to use CN's routes between St. Louis and Fulton, Ky. Third, CN will haul NS freight between Chicago and Fulton. The agreement benefits both parties in that they trim distance off their current routes of shipping, and provide improved connections to other rail carriers.
Together, CN and NS also plan to create a new coal gateway at Corinth, Miss., including an upgrade to the West Tennessee Railroad (between Fulton and Corinth) to handle heavier shipments and additional traffic.
The deal is expected to be finalized over the next few months, after the completion of definitive agreements and trackage rights approval by the U.S. Surface Transportation Board.
Act II: No Deal
* The Player: Allied Properties REIT (TSX:AP.UN)
* Action: Up in a month (from $11.43 Jan. 9)
* Recent Price: $13.15
* 52-Week High/Low: $22.45/$9.75 Shareholders on both sides appeared happy when a Toronto-based real estate trust turned down an unsolicited takeover bid.
Allied Properties REIT received a bid from First Capital Realty Inc. (TSX:FCR) a few days ago, in which FCR would surrender 0.81 of a First Capital share in exchange for each Allied unit (a deal amounting to roughly $448 million).
The next day, Allied, an owner and manager of office properties in Canada, turned the deal down, stating the company's trustees "disagree with the stated benefits of the proposal."
First Capital, an owner, developer and operator of shopping centres, had expected to close the deal on Feb. 17, 2009.
Allied shares rose three cents to close at $13.15 the day of the rejection, while First Capital shares rose 18 cents to close at $17.69.
Act III: Another No-Go
* The Player: Gold Reserve (TSX:GRZ)
* Action: Down in a month (from $1.45 Jan. 9)
* Recent Price: $1.24
* 52-Week High/Low: $5.55/$0.29 While Allied could simply say no to its takeover bid (see Act II), another Canadian company had the court's help in fighting off a hostile bidder.
Gold Reserve Inc., a Canadian company with executive offices in Washington, holds the rights to a gold/copper project and a gold exploration property in Venezuela. In December 2008, the company's board unanimously voted to reject a hostile takeover offer from Vancouver-based Rusoro Mining Ltd. (TSXV:RML), and suggested shareholders do the same. But the company didn't stop there; Gold Reserve also filed a motion to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice to restrain Rusoro from proceeding with any hostile takeover.
Recently, the court sided with Gold Reserve, granting an interlocutory injunction against the takeover on the grounds that Rusoro had "access to or benefited from the use of Gold Reserve's confidential information as a result of Rusoro's relationship with Endeavour Financial International Corp.”
Rusoro subsequently withdrew its offer. Gold Reserve shares dropped four cents on the news, while Rusoro shares remained unchanged on the day at $0.74 and Endeavour shares rose two cents to close at $1.58.
Act IV: SOLID QUARTER
* The Player: Sierra Wireless Inc. (TSX:SW)
* Action: Down in a month (from $7.51 Jan. 9)
* Recent Price: $5.64
* 52-Week High/Low: $21.25/$5.58 In an economic downturn, some may say technology companies will be hit hard. A Canadian wireless company agrees, saying its recent flat fourth-quarter revenue is "solid."
Sierra Wireless, a Richmond, B.C.-based wireless technology company, recently released its fourth-quarter revenue (for the period ending Dec. 31, 2008) was US$132.9 million, compared to US$135.6 million in Q4 2007. Earnings were US$9 million, down from US$13.3 million in Q4 2007.
Annual revenue increased by 29 percent to US$567.3 million (from US$439.9 million in 2007), and net earnings were US$62.6 million, compared to US$32.5 million in 2007.
Sierra Wireless CEO Jason Cohenour referred to "stiff economic headwinds" in a statement and praised the company for expanding aggressively into the M2M market by offering to purchase Wavecom (a wireless M2M company based in France). Sierra shares fell 29 cents to close at $5.64 the day of the financials release.
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 Feb. 10, 2009.
(Nicole Strandlund can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)