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Alberta

Arc/Seven Generations merger vote today would create 6th largest oil and gas producer

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CALGARY — No surprises are expected today as shareholders in ARC Resources Ltd. and Seven Generations Energy Ltd. vote virtually on an all-shares transaction to form Canada’s sixth-largest oil and gas producer.

The merger, valued at $8.1 billion including debt, comes amid a spate of consolidation in the Calgary-based oilpatch but analyst Cody Kwong of Stifel FirstEnergy says what makes it unusual is that it is the combination of two equally well-respected intermediate companies.

He says the only criticism he’s heard of the deal proposed in February is that it will reduce investment options by one for those looking for high-quality choices to diversify their energy company portfolios. 

To proceed, the deal requires approval at virtual meetings today by holders of two-thirds of the shares in Seven Generations and a simple majority of the shares voted by ARC shareholders, along with their approval of the issuance of ARC common shares, plus court and other regulatory approvals.

The combined company is to operate as Arc Resources and remain headquartered in Calgary. Arc chairman Hal Kvisle and CEO Terry Anderson are to continue in their roles while Seven Generations CEO Marty Proctor is to become vice-chair.

Arc and Seven Generations say they expect to generate cost savings from synergies of about $110 million per year by 2022 while continuing to pay Arc’s quarterly dividend of six cents per share.

“We’ve seen several acquisitions and M&A activity in the past three to six months. This is probably the first time that we’ve seen a strong-versus-strong acquisition proposition, from my perspective, anyway,” said Kwong in an interview, adding the usual pattern is for stronger companies to buy weaker ones.

The merged company is to be Canada’s largest producer of condensate, a light oil prized as a diluent to be mixed with oilsands bitumen so it will flow in a pipeline. It would be its third-largest natural gas producer.

Overall combined production is expected to total more than 340,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day this year, composed of about 138,000 barrels per day of liquids like condensate and 1.2 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas.

The companies are among the largest drillers into the Montney, a sprawling underground formation that straddles the Alberta-B.C. border.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 31, 2021.

Companies in this story: (TSX:VII, TSX:ARX)

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Alberta

Gustavsson leads AHL Senators in 4-2 win over Heat

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CALGARY — Filip Gustavsson stopped 30 shots as the Belleville Senators doubled up the Stockton Heat 4-2 on Wednesday in American Hockey League play.

Lassi Thomson, Egor Sokolov, Mark Kastelic and Parker Kelly scored to help the Senators (8-12-1) halt a three-game slide.

Matthew Phillips and Zac Leslie replied for the Heat (10-12-1).

Garret Sparks stopped 28-of-31 shots for Stockton.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 14, 2021.

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Alberta

Calgary schools to shift to at-home learning for grades 7 to 12 due to COVID-19

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CALGARY — The Alberta government says schools in Calgary will move to at-home learning starting Monday for students in grades 7 to 12.

The change, due to COVID-19, is to last for two weeks.

Alberta Education said Wednesday that it approved requests from public and Catholic schools in the city to make the move to online learning.

Education Minister Adriana LaGrange said in a release that some school boards are dealing with operational pressures due to rising COVID-19 cases.

“The safety of students and staff is my top priority, which is why I am responding to the boards’ requests and respecting their autonomy,” she said.

“By having a clear process in place, we are giving them flexibility to move to at-home learning when necessary.”

The province said it has not closed any schools for health reasons, and any decision to move a portion of a school to at-home learning is at the discretion of each school board.

About 19 per cent of schools have COVID-19 alerts or outbreaks. Nine schools are currently doing online learning.

Marilyn Dennis, board chair with the Calgary Board of Education, said in the release that the greatest impacts of COVID-19 have been in schools with higher grades.

Alberta’s chief medical health officer, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, also said there has been a sharp rise in cases among school-aged Albertans.

The province, with 15,569 active infections, currently has the highest rate of active cases in Canada.

On Wednesday, the province reported 1,412 new cases of COVID-19 and eight additional deaths due to the virus. There were 420 people in hospital due to COVID-19, with 92 in intensive care.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 14, 2021.

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