July 1, 2021
It’s time to celebrate our neighbors to the north! July 1 marks the anniversary of the passing of the Constitution Act in 1867. This enactment effectively united the colonies of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick to become what is now Canada. In celebrating Canada Day, let’s look at some of the recent developments at a few Canadian companies whose shares trade on U.S. exchanges.
Headquartered in Ottawa, Ontario, Shopify Inc. (Tii:SHOP) is the company behind the major e-commerce platform of the same name. Boasting more than 100 million registered users at 2020 year-end, Shopify recently invested $1 billion in pre-IPO shares of Stripe, which provides payment processing services. While this is far from a controlling interest, it could add up to a very big payday if Stripe’s IPO is a successful one. Shopify is also expanding its e-learning platform, which it launched in 2016 in partnership with several Canadian universities. The program, which offers students an accredited computer science degree at no cost, now allows students to enroll remotely from anywhere in Canada and select U.S. states. In addition, many graduates are offered a permanent job with the company, and 90% land full-time engineering roles at Shopify or elsewhere before graduation, with the remainder finding work in their field within six months.
A Toronto-based media and communications giant, Rogers Communications (Tii:RCI) operations include internet, cable television, wireless communications, and mass media – not to mention a stake in the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs and NBA’s Toronto Raptors. The company recently surprised more than 375 Canadian youth with a Ted Rogers Scholarship to support their post-secondary studies this fall. The scholarships are renewable for up to three more years, enabling students to collect up to $10,000 each. In the meantime, Rogers Communications is busy rolling out 5G services in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The company has brought the fifth generation broadband cellular network to more than 700 communities, covering half of the Canadian population.
When it comes to the chicken sandwich wars, are you more of a Popeyes or a Burger King fan? The good news is that Restaurant Brands International (Tii:QSR) shareholders do not have to choose, as the multinational fast food conglomerate owns both. With more than 3,100 Popeyes, 17,800 Burger King, and 4,800 Tim Hortons locations worldwide, Restaurant Brands International is one of the largest quick-service restaurants in the world. The fast-food holding company, which added 148 net new restaurants in its most recent quarter, announced plans to add 1,000 new Popeyes locations worldwide over the next ten years, including developing and growing the brand in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Though the company's profile has suffered significantly in recent years, BlackBerry was one of the most prominent smartphone brands in the world a little over a decade ago (to the degree that the devices were once referred to as "crackberries"). That was before the Android and iOS platforms proliferated and drastically ate away market share. Now a cybersecurity play (the company decided to cease competing in the smartphone market directly in 2016), Waterloo, Ontario-based BlackBerry Ltd. (Tii:BB) provides security software and services to enterprises and governments worldwide. QNX, the company’s Unix-like real-time operating system, is currently installed in more than 195 million vehicles that include Volvos and the W6 all-electric SUV manufactured by WM Motor, a Chinese electric carmaker.
Vancouver-based Lululemon Athletica Inc. (Tii:LULU) is in one of the industries that actually emerged from the train wreck that was 2020 in prime condition. As the pandemic forced indoor fitness centers to shut, consumers turned to at-home exercise options. On top of this, business attire was ditched in favor of more comfortable apparel for at-home work. As an athletic apparel company, Lululemon benefited from these trends. The company reported that fiscal first-quarter revenue increased 88% as shoppers returned to Lululemon’s physical stores. This performance comes on top of a 24% increase in net revenues for its last fiscal year. Lululemon made big waves in the exercise equipment industry in 2020 when it invested $500 million to acquire the remaining stake in Mirror, a manufacturer of an interactive at-home workout device that consists of a mirror, camera and speakers. The device, which competes with Peloton Interactive, Inc. (Tii:PTON) products, is expected to generate $250-$275 million in sales by year-end.
Canada is the largest country in the Western hemisphere and the second-largest country in the world after Russia. It is also home to a fair share of popular publicly traded brands in the good old USA.