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A Westjet Boeing 737-700 taxis to a gate after arriving at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C., on February 3, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Our roundup of Canadian small-caps of between $100-million and $2.5-billion in market capitalization making news and on the move today.

WestJet Airlines Ltd. (WJA-T) on Tuesday reported a third-quarter profit that beat analysts' estimates as the carrier flew a record number of passengers in the quarter.

WestJet's revenue per available seat mile (RASM), an indicator of an airline's efficiency, rose 2.2 per cent in the quarter.

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The company said its load factor, which measures how effectively a carrier fills seats, rose to 85.7 per cent from 84 per cent a year earlier.

The Calgary-based carrier said it flew 6.5 million passengers in the quarter, helping revenue increase 8.1 per cent to $1.22-billion.

Net earnings rose to $138.4-million, or $1.18 cents per share, in the quarter ended Sept. 30, from $116-million, or 97 cents per share, a year earlier.

Analysts on average were expecting a profit of $1.14 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

--Reuters

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GMP Capital Inc. (GMP-T) says Richardson GMP Ltd. has entered into a four-year $80-million credit facility agreement with a syndicate of chartered banks.

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Richardson GMP intends to use the initial proceeds from this facility to refinance its existing long-term debt, the company said in a release.

"The remainder of the proceeds will be used to redeem a substantial portion of its Class B preference shares" and "to repay fully its $5-million subordinated loan facility made available by GMP."

"This new credit agreement is reflective of the evolution of Richardson GMP's franchise and allows Richardson GMP to access more cost effective and tax efficient external funding thereby increasing its financial flexibility," said  GMP CEO Harris Fricker.

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ECN Capital Corp. (ECN-T) says it has an agreement to sell its Canadian commercial and vendor (C&V) finance assets to Canadian Western Bank (CWB-T) for $900-million in cash.

ECN says the deal represents a $2-million premium to book value, excluding goodwill, break and other costs totalling approximately $10-million after tax.

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It said the transaction will free up approximately $180-million in equity capital for "redeployment in furthering of ECN Capital's ongoing strategic plan."

"The successful execution to sell all of the Canadian C&V assets brings an end to harvesting assets and has positioned us well to continue to execute on our strategic plan," said Steve Hudson, ECN Capital's CEO.

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Liberty One Lithium Corp. (LBY-X) issued a statement after markets closed on Monday regarding recent market activity in its common stock traded on the OTCQB marketplace.

The company said it became aware of "certain promotional activity on its securities" on Oct. 27 related to an e-mail newsletter by Stock Report on Oct. 23.

"It is noted that this promotional activity coincided with higher than average trading volume and volatility in the company's stock price," it stated. "The company believes that the promotion may have had some impact on market activity, but that recent stock price increases are due primarily to other factors."

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Great Panther Silver Ltd. (GPR-T;GPL-N) reported third-quarter revenues of $18.3-million (U.S.), an increase of 17 per cent over the same period in 2016.

Analysts were expecting revenue of $21.7-million.

Its net loss was $700,000 in the quarter compared to net income of $2.1-million in the same quarter of 2016.

"The net loss is primarily attributed to a $1.2-million increase in exploration, evaluation and development expenditures reflecting the first full quarter of the Coricancha project and its care and maintenance costs since the closing of the acquisition on June 30, 2017," the company stated.

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HNZ Group Inc. (HNZ-T) says its CEO Don Wall and PHI Inc. are buying the company for $18.70 per share in cash.

It's a premium of 43 per cent to the Oct. 30 closing price on the Toronto Stock Exchange and values the company at $242.4-million.

"We are pleased with the strategic review process that has led to this important transaction, which we believe to be in the best interests of the corporation and its shareholders," said board chairman Larry Pollock in a release.

HNZ provides helicopter transportation and support services around the world.

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Avesoro Resources Inc. (ASO-T) has a conditional agreement to acquire the Youga Gold Mine and Balogo Gold Mine in Burkina Faso for $69.5-million (U.S.).

The acquisition is through the entire issued share capital of MNG Gold Burkina SARL, Cayman Burkina Mines Ltd., MNG Gold Exploration Ltd., AAA Exploration Burkina Ltd. and Jersey Netiana Mining Ltd. and their subsidiaries from Avesoro Jersey Ltd., a related party being the majority (73.5 per cent) shareholder of the company.

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CannaRoyalty Corp. (CRZ-T) says its investee company, Resolve Digital Health Inc., has signed an exclusive agreement with Aphria Inc. (APH-T), one of Canada's largest licensed medical cannabis producers.

The agreement will provide Resolve with a Canadian source of cannabis products to be packaged and sold in its proprietary Breeze Smart Inhaler metered dosing system pods and cartridges, the company stated.

"This agreement marks a significant milestone for Resolve as it prepares for commercial launch in the Canadian marketplace, following its successful financing earlier this year," said Marc Lustig, CEO of CannaRoyalty.

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Artis Real Estate Investment Trust (AX.UN-T) says it has sold its Quarry Park portfolio, which includes three office properties in Calgary for $90-million.

It also has an agreement to sell Millennium Centre, an office property in Red Deer, Alta., for $33-million.

"The sale of these assets further reduces our exposure to the Alberta office market, which became a strategic initiative for Artis since the downturn in oil prices," said Armin Martens, CEO of Artis.

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Innergex Renewable Energy Inc. (INE-T) is offering to buy Alterra Power Corp. (AXY-T) for $1.1-billion, including the assumption of Alterra's debt.

The deal is subject to approval by Alterra's shareholders and other customary closing conditions, the company said in a release issued during the last hour of trading on Monday.

lterra shareholders will receive 25 per cent in cash and 75 per cent in common shares of Innergex.

The price of $8.25 per Alterra common shares implies a premium of 58 per cent to Alterra's 20-day volume weighted average price of $5.21 on the TSX as of Oct. 27.

"This transaction is highly strategic and accretive for Innergex as we believe it significantly accelerates Innergex's growth profile," said Michel Letellier, CEO of Innergex.

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Neo Lithium Corp. (NLC-X) is raising $20-million in a bought-deal financing. 

It has an agreement with Cormark Securities Inc., leading a syndicate of underwriters that has agreed to purchase 10.3 million common shares at $1.95 each.

"The net proceeds of the offering are expected to be used for advancement of the company's Tres Quebradas lithium project in Catamarca, Argentina and general corporate purposes," the company stated.

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About the Author
Contributor

Brenda Bouw is a freelance writer and editor based in Vancouver. She has more than 20 years of experience as a business reporter, including at The Globe and Mail, The Canadian Press, the Financial Post and was executive producer at BNN (formerly ROBTv). Brenda was also part of the Globe and Mail reporting team that won the 2010 National Newspaper Award for business journalism. More

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