Acquisitions Lead the Way

Algonquin Power and Utilities Corp (TSX: AQN, OTC: AQUNF) announced it has received approval from Empire District shareholders for its C$3.4 billion merger, previously announced in February 2016. Shareholders approved the merger agreement with an overwhelming 95.5% of the votes cast. The deal has already received approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the state of Oklahoma. Some additional regulatory approval, involving other states in which the companies operate, will be needed before the merger’s completion, expected in the first quarter of 2017.

The acquisition will be significantly accretive to APUC’s earnings per share and funds from operations per share. The resulting company will possess an asset base of C$8.9 billion.

Canadian Apartment Properties REIT (TSX: CAR-U, OTC: CDPYF) announced it completed the $180.3 million acquisition of a five-property portfolio of townhomes in Ottawa—totaling 850 units. The portfolio currently sports a 96% occupancy ratio, in one of Canada’s stronger housing markets.

“This high-quality acquisition significantly strengthens our Ottawa portfolio and enhances our ability to leverage our regional management office structure to generate increased cash flows in the new properties through economies of scale and operating synergies,” CAPREIT CEO Thomas Schwartz said.

The acquisition expands CAPREIT’s presence in Ottawa by 35.7% to approximately 2,377 units. The company’s Ottawa portfolio held one of its strongest occupancy ratios at the end of 2015, roughly 99.7%.

New Flyer Industries (TSX: NFI, OTC: NFYEF) continues its banner year. It recently announced that subsidiary New Flyer of America won a contract with the Connecticut Department of Transportation for up to 485 heavy-duty 35 and 40-foot Xcelsior buses. The contract includes a firm order of 267 equivalent units (EUs), valued at approximately US$122 million and the option for an additional 218 units over the next five years.

New Flyer also added a contract with Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority for up to 550 EUs. The deal includes a firm order of 90 units, valued at approximately US$50 million, with options for an additional 460 units. All business will be delivered between 2017 and 2020. This will add to its order backlog of approximately 9,718 EUs.

New Flyer continues to enjoy tremendous demand for its buses, which has led to strong growth and investor returns. In the first quarter, revenues jumped 45.5% year over year to $553.2 million. This helped drive a free cash flow growth of 400% to C$61.5 million and allowed the company to hike up its annual dividend by 35.7% to C$0.95.

With its current production schedule, the company expects to be able to deliver 3,450 EUs in fiscal 2016, compared to 3,265 EUS last year.

TransForce (TSX: TFI, OTC: TFIFF) announced it acquired the assets of K.A.S. Personnel Services. The Toronto-based K.A.S. offers similar driver staffing services in Ontario, which will boost TransForce’s operations in the area. This acquisition is TransForce’s sixth in the past three years. Management says that it continues to look toward acquisitions to grow its business. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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