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Steve Hudson's Element begins trading on TSX

If the blond-haired fellow pushing the button to open trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange Friday looks familiar, it's because he once ran one of the biggest companies listed in Toronto.

Steve Hudson's newest venture, Element Financial Corp. , begins trading Friday after its going-public transaction closed. For Mr. Hudson, it's a return to a market he once played a very big part in when he was running Newcourt Credit Group.

After selling Newcourt, Mr. Hudson tried a number of ventures, including running Hair Club for Men. (Go ahead, joke. Hair Club made him a lot of money: He and his partners put in $25-million and sold the company for $210-million.) But Element marks a return not just to the TSX but to the business that he started in, leasing and equipment financing.

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It's not the most auspicious time to be going public, with the rough markets of the past few months. But Mr. Hudson says that it's all right by him because it means that there are still large financial services firms like banks that are looking to sell off businesses that he's willing to buy.

"It's a great time for us," he said. "What did Rothschild say? 'When there's blood in the streets it's time to buy?' Well, there's blood in the streets."

But what about Element stock? Is the company making money?

For the first 12 months, the company lost money, Mr. Hudson says. "But in the first quarter of this year we'll break even. Then we'll go from there."

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