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Calgary-based Cenovus Energy is looking to cut spending for this year by 32 per cent after losing more than half its value Monday. Chevron, Occidental Petroleum, Marathon Oil, Diamondback Energy and Parsley Energy are doing so, as well. (Regina Leader Post, CBC News)

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Talking point: It’s not just oil firms that may be in for tough times. Canadian banks increased their oil and gas lending at roughly double the rate of overall business loan growth over the past three quarters, leaving them particularly exposed following yesterday’s price drop, which was the largest since the Gulf War. Finance Minister Bill Morneau said Monday he’s had “extensive discussions” with the banking industry. Alberta opposition leader Rachel Notley has asked Premier Jason Kenney to put together a new budget taking the falling oil revenues into account. It’s possible the low prices could extend for years to come—Moscow said on Monday it can handle prices of US$25 to US$30 per barrel for up to 10 years. A barrel of crude is currently trading at about US$35—a 15 per cent jump since yesterday, but still a 43 per cent year-to-date drop. Alberta’s budget, by contrast, is based on oil prices being US$58 per barrel in 2020.

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The North American division of German payment-processing firm Wirecard, has hired an investment bank to find an acquirer. (The Logic)

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Talking point: The announcement comes on the heels of Wirecard’s bankruptcy filing last week following charges against the firm’s recently resigned CEO Markus Braun, who is accused of “inflating Wirecard AG’s sales volume with fake income.” The US$2.1-billion discrepancy on the company’s books has compelled Germany to overhaul its accounting oversight rules. In a news release announcing its sale process, Wirecard North America distanced itself from its parent company, emphasizing it is a “self-sustaining entity that is substantially autonomous from Wirecard AG.” It also noted its U.S. and Canadian customers, which include WestJet, haven’t had their services disrupted because of the scandal. Selling while its business is still intact could help the North American division—which Wirecard acquired in 2016—safeguard against any ripple-effect from the damage to the brand of its parent firm.

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Silicon Valley-based Wing VC led the Series A round, while Greylock Partners and Sallyport Investments also invested. The company makes hardware and software to monitor and manage oil and gas quality data and trading. It has offices in Calgary, Toronto and Houston. (The Logic)

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Talking point: The raise comes at a difficult time for Validere’s customer base. After oil prices plummeted on Sunday and energy stocks followed when the markets opened Monday, half a dozen of Canada’s biggest producers announced cost cutting plans. Validere also has clients in the energy storage, transportation and refining businesses. It put together the round before last week’s events. In a “tough price environment … there is [a] larger focus on margin improvements, cost cutting and just running more efficient operations,” CEO Nouman Ahmad told The Logic. He acknowledged that companies’ struggles to continue operating in the wake of last week’s shock could hurt the market for software, which he said the energy sector has been slower to adopt than its similarly-sized peers. While most of Validere’s current customers are Canadian firms, the company will use its new funding to expand in the U.S. and other countries.

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Members of the Climate Finance Partnership, a group led by BlackRock that includes France, Germany and the Hewlett and Grantham charitable foundations, will provide the first US$100 million, which will be used as a safety net for possible losses incurred by other institutional investors for the remaining US$400 million. The fund will focus on projects in Africa, Southeast Asia and Latin America. (The Logic)

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Talking point: This is the latest in a string of climate-related commitments from the world’s biggest asset manager. In his annual letter to chief executives last week, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink stressed the need to address climate change in business and investment decisions; he committed to doubling the number of ESG exchange-traded funds and dropping portfolio firms with more than a quarter of their revenues from thermal coal. Days earlier, BlackRock signed onto Climate Action 100+, a global initiative in which institutional investors pressure the biggest carbon-emitting companies to curb their environmental impact. BlackRock’s investment decisions tend to have a ripple effect in the finance community, with its stance on gun control and corporate responsibility, for example, driving industry-wide change. The concept of considering climate change in financial decisions already had momentum before BlackRock went all in on the file, but its new commitments could sway some holdouts or encourage bolder strategies.

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Facebook can be forced to remove content that violates European hate speech laws—as well as “equivalent” content—anywhere in the world, the European Court of Justice ruled Thursday. Facebook said the decision violates the principle that one country can’t impose its speech laws on another, and doesn’t account for the limits of automated filters. (Bloomberg)

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Talking point: This ruling, which cannot be appealed, solidifies Europe’s emerging role as a global digital watchdog in spite of objections from the U.S. The court’s decision could have a ripple effect on the regulation of internet content—this is the first time one jurisdiction has ruled that its enforcement laws apply to the global web. It also references “equivalent” content, which Facebook said may obligate platforms to proactively monitor for banned content in case it’s reposted. The firm stressed that automated filters are not capable of handling that type of request, since they can’t detect nuances in, for example, satire and political commentary. The case was spurred by a conflict between Facebook and Eva Glawischnig-Piesczek, the former leader of Austria’s Green Party, who was the subject of offensive posts. As an editorial in The Financial Times pointed out, the ruling could be exploited by European populist governments: courts there could demand that content criticizing the government be removed worldwide. The decision stands in contrast to another the court handed down last week, in which it ruled that Europe’s “right to be forgotten” law cannot be imposed outside the bloc.

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In an announcement at Communitech on Thursday, Bardish Chagger, House leader and member of Parliament for Waterloo, along with Raj Saini, member of Parliament for Kitchener, said the investment will help attract global investment in a wide range of sectors including information and communication technology and financial and business services. It will come from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario). Meanwhile, FedDev Ontario also announced an investment of $5 million for a new incubator lab in Markham on Thursday. (The Record)

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Talking point: Out of 22 funding announcements made by FedDev Ontario since April, six investments totaling over $72 million were specific to the Waterloo Region, which has a population of just over 600,000. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called the region an important place for innovation in Canada, saying that the region’s success has a ripple effect across the country. In April, FedDev Ontario invested $18 million in Communitech, $41 million toward quantum and artificial intelligence research in the region, and invested $6.8 million to help scale three local firms. In May, it invested 2.5 million to help Nicoya, a nanotechnology company, scale up operations and it invested $750,000 in Kitchener, Ont.-based Bridgit, a project management platform company.