Canadian business stories to watch this week

By The Canadian Press | May 4, 2020 | Last updated on May 4, 2020
2 min read
Business adviser analyzing financial figures denoting the progress in the work of the company
© Yuliya Tsyhun / 123RF Stock Photo

It’s a busy week in the Canadian business world, with major companies reporting earnings and Statistics Canada releasing April employment numbers.

Air Canada earnings

Air Canada says it lost $1.05 billion in its first quarter compared with a profit of $345 million in the same quarter last year as governments imposed travel restrictions around the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The airline says the loss amounted to $4.00 per diluted share for the quarter compared with a profit of $1.26 per diluted share in the first quarter of 2019.

Operating revenue fell to $3.72 billion compared with $4.43 billion in the year ago quarter.

On an adjusted basis, Air Canada says it lost $392 million or $1.49 per diluted share in the first quarter of this year compared with an adjusted profit of $17 million or six cents per diluted share in first three months of 2019.

The airline has reduced its second quarter capacity by 85% to 90% when compared with the same quarter last year, while its third quarter capacity is expected to be reduced by about 75% compared with a year earlier.

Air Canada is also accelerating the retirement of 79 older aircraft in a move that it says will simplify the airline’s fleet, reduce costs structure and lower its carbon footprint.

Shopify update

Shopify Inc. will release its first-quarter results and hold a conference call with financial analysts on Wednesday. The Ottawa-based technology company recently began offering interest-free cash advances to help companies that use its e-commerce products cope with the impacts of Covid-19. The initiative is meant to provide fast relief to cash-strapped businesses without having to take on debt.

Latest from the oilpatch

Thursday is a big earnings day in the oilpatch, with results expected from Enbridge, Canadian Natural Resources, Inter Pipeline, Pembina Pipeline and more. Results last week from Husky Energy, Cenovus, Imperial Oil and Precision Drilling portrayed an industry in crisis amid plummeting demand and sinking oil prices.

BCE earnings

BCE Inc. will release its results Thursday. Rival Rogers Communications recently revealed that it felt the first financial bite from the Covid-19 pandemic during the tail end of its first quarter and senior executives said they expect conditions will get worse in months to come.

April jobs numbers

Statistics Canada will release the findings of its labour force survey for April on Friday. More than one million Canadians lost their jobs at the onset of the Covid-19 crisis in March, pushing the national unemployment rate up 2.2 percentage points to 7.8%, the highest it has been since October 2010. Economists are expecting the April numbers to be even worse, with up to three million jobs lost.

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