The Canadian construction sector is for sale as Aecon looks for a

Canada’s construction industry may soon have a better idea of how attractive it is to the increasingly globalized building sector as one of its biggest catches sits on the auction block awaiting bidders.Toronto-based Aecon Group Inc. is in the process of courting suitors after it put it itself up for sale Aug. 25, a move analysts say will draw players across Europe, the U.S. and China looking to size up the company’s — and Canada’s — potential.In its 140-year history, Aecon has been involved in landmark construction and engineering projects, including the CN Tower, Vancouver’s SkyTrain and the Halifax Shipyard. It currently has major contracts for Toronto transit and nuclear refurbishment, among others.However, analysts say its value has taken a major hit from the drop off of energy and mining projects due to a commodities downturn in recent years. Aecon’s share price has plunged 23 per cent in the past year alone to hover around $14 just before it announced it was weighing its options.“The Canadian construction sector is for sale right now, it’s pretty cheap,” said Frederic Bastien, an analyst at Raymond James.Bastien said there’s only a handful of companies globally that could make a serious bid for the company and that it would likely cost at least $1.5 billion to take it over. Interested parties could include Spain’s ACS Group, U.S.-based AECOM and Italian firms Astaldi and Salini, he suggested.However, he added, any firms looking to bid on Aecon will be making a bet on a recovery in the resource sectors, as well as banking on an increase in government infrastructure spending.“You have to believe that the natural resources sector will pick up, you have to be attracted, obviously, to the infrastructure spending.”The federal government has been looking to give the construction sector, and the economy, a further boost with promises of $180 billion in infrastructure spending over 12 years, but analyst Mona Nazir at Laurentian Bank Securities says the initial excitement has worn off as the spending has been slow.“We still haven’t seen that huge surge, and I think the initial expectations for that single high-digit organic growth, or even double digit growth, those expectations have been tempered in the market.”She said the proposed $35 billion infrastructure bank, while also slow to get going, could speed up projects once it gets established, while the impact of the hit to commodity prices is starting to dissipate.CIBC analyst Jacob Bout added Germany’s Hochteif as a possibility, but noted big international construction firms have become more focused on the U.S. market as it heats up, while also adding that Canadian regulators might not be so welcoming to Chinese interests.AltaCorp Capital analyst Chris Murray speculated in a note that some of the most likely buyers are those who have already worked with Aecon, like U.S.-based Kiewit Corp and ACS Group.He said he doesn’t see Canadian companies like SNC-Lavalin, WSP Global or Stantec making a run for Aecon because they’ve been increasingly turned focus to pure design work and away from construction, though at least one domestic company, privately-held construction firm Beattie LP has expressed an interest.Murray said he expects to see strong interest for the company based on Aecon’s record backlog of projects, its very strong positioning in Canada and expectations that the country will remain one of the most robust infrastructure markets globally.“With the announcement, we believe other bidders are likely to emerge making for a robust auction process for a very unique asset.” read more

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Bayer recalls laxative over possible choking hazard

Bayer Inc. has issued a recall for the RestoraLAX 45 + 10 Value Pack sold at Costco Canada over possible choking concerns.The company says the product may contain deposits or lumps that may pose a choking hazard.The affected product was sold as a combination pack of 1 bottle of 45 Dose RestoraLAX and 1 box of 10 single dose sachets of RestoraLAX shrink wrapped together for sale by Costco Canada only.Health Canada is advising consumers to stop using this product. If you experience difficulty swallowing or breathing after using the recalled product, you should seek immediate medical attention.For more information about this recall, click here.

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British Manly Exercises guidebook shows how gentlemen stayed trim in Georgian England

first_imgThe 1834 volume of British Manly Exercises  St John's College, Cambridge A guide to balancing  While the working classes spent most of their even shorter lives engaged in backbreaking manual labour in either field or factory, many members of higher classes suffered health problems due to inactivity.Walker aims to persuade readers that exercise had the potential to “prolong life and improve its happiness” and could combat and prevent ailments; “nay, it supersedes medicine by banishing disease”.Popular 19th century medicines often contained poisons and opiates and the poor, unable to afford these treatments, relied heavily on quack cures.Walker is keen to set his manual apart from this, stating that “All exhibitionary and quackish preparatory exercises, as they are termed, are here excluded … no tick-tack, cross-touch, kissing the ground, goats jump, spectre’s march etc”.And it notes that to improve the nation’s health, “education must be divided into two parts – physical and mental”. According to the manual to achieve ‘the highest condition’ gentleman should drink cold beer and cider exclusively, avoiding all other liquids save for a half pint of red wine after dinner.The author appropriates the diet to a Captain Barclay, while noting that it has received glowing user reviews and comes recommended by ‘professional men’. A man swims Avoiding vegetables and only drinking cider, beer and wine, may not seem the obvious way to stay trim, but in Georgian England it was the ultimate dietary regime for the ‘manly gentleman.’Researchers at St John’s College, Cambridge University, have unearthed an 1834 fitness manual which aimed to help the middle and upper classes – whose sedentary lives and fatty diets could lead to obesity and gout – to get in shape.The guide, entitled British Manly Exercises was written by Donald Walker and gives instructions on a range of physical activities deemed suitable for young gentlemen, from leaping and vaulting to skating and wrestling.But while it reveals that pre-Victorians knew much about the benefits of regular exercise, there is other more questionable advice. St John’s College, Cambridge A man swimscenter_img Whenever the gymnast feels tired, or falls behind his usual mark, he should resume his clothes and walk home.Donald Walker A spokesman for St John’s College, Cambridge said: “Little is known about Donald Walker other than the fact that he penned several other books including Exercises for Ladies and Literary Composition.“British Manly Exercises was donated to the Library by Hugh Gatty who was appointed college lecturer in history in 1936 and who left several valuable manuscripts to the Library and over five hundred early printed books.“It gives clear instructions on the art of adopting a healthier lifestyle and offers a fascinating insight into 19th century attitudes to exercise.” A guide to balancing  The guidebook, which claims to be the first to describe the procedures of rowing and sailing as exercise, gives instructions on how to exercise “with a direct, immediate and obvious purpose”.It was forward-thinking at a time when infectious disease was rife and, on average, a middle-class man could not expect to live past the grand old age of 45. As part of the regime a gentleman must gradually increase his level of exercise to 20 to 24 miles of walking and running a day, his diet should consist of lean meat, stale bread and biscuits – no other vegetable matter is permitted and “everything inducing flatulency must be carefully avoided”.It also stresses the importance of gentle and consistent training to avoid injury and recommends that: “No exertion should be carried to excess, and whenever the gymnast feels tired, or falls behind his usual mark, he should resume his clothes and walk home.” The 1834 volume of British Manly Exercises  Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

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