Editorial: November 19

CBJ NOV 2019 Cover

SNC-Lavalin is not expecting a plea deal on criminal charges in the wake of the Liberal election victory. However, CEO Ian Edwards says the engineering company would be open to a settlement. The upcoming trial deals with bribery and corruption charges linked to alleged dealings in Libya over a 10-year period starting in 2001. SNC’s shares surged almost 15% the day after the Liberals won the federal election, with speculation that another Trudeau-led government could lead to a deferred prosecution agreement and still possibly head off criminal prosecution. That issue is what caused the uproar between former Minister of Justice and Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould and the Prime Minister’s Office.

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg was quizzed by skeptical lawmakers in Washington about his company’s planned digital cryptocurrency called Libra. It would be a direct competitor to other major cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. The problem many people have is still trying to figure out just how this new digital monetary system is going to be regulated. Speaking before the U.S. House of Representatives Financial Services Committee, Zuckerberg said Facebook would not back any move by Libra until all U.S. regulatory concerns have been satisfied. Good idea. While it still has some momentum several big companies have opted to leave the project, including MasterCard, Visa, PayPal and eBay. Meanwhile, Facebook has agreed to pay a paltry $650,000 for its part in the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

The GM strike in the U.S. is believed to have cost the automaker more than $1 billion. Not only were plants closed in America, but the Canadian operations were also forced into a temporary shutdown when they quickly ran out of inventory. About 49,000 hourly workers in the U.S. went out on strike. GM and other carmakers have found it tough in recent years due largely to the struggles associated with transitioning to electric and autonomous vehicles.

Beer sales have been down and that has prompted Molson Coors Brewing to take drastic restructuring action with as many as 500 people being laid-off worldwide. The company is looking to simplify its executive operations and as such the office in Denver will be closed, which is expected to result in a savings of $150 million. Molson Coors is also dropping the word “Brewing” from its official name to as part of a conscious effort to indicate to consumers that it does more than make beer. As of January, 2020 the official new name will be the Molson Coors Beverage Company.

Did you know?… Canadians of legal age drank an average of 210 cans of beer in 2018, but that was a decline of 1.2% from the year before. Newfoundland had the highest per capita consumption at 93.4 litres of beer, followed by Quebec with 83.3 and P.E.I with 79.8 litres.

Angus Gillespie
angus@cbj.ca
@CanBizJournal

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