High River, Alberta –
High River, Alberta – The Western Investment Company of Canada Limited TSXV: WI) (“WICC or “Western”) announced today that it has distributed a message to shareholders from President & CEO Scott Tannas.
In his message to shareholders. WCC CEO Scott Tannas provided the following commentary:
“Last December marked the third anniversary of the commencement of operations for The Western Investment Company, whereby we completed our initial investment in GlassMasters Autoglass, the leading Alberta based autoglass repair and replacement company. Between then and now, we have continued to build our little investment company. Here are some key milestones of the past three years:
- Within a few months of completing the GlassMasters Autoglass investment, we substantially increased our equity base, closing on a $12 million common share offering, and welcoming hundreds of new shareholders in the process.
- Using our network of contacts, we identified and ultimately negotiated the purchase of a partnership in Golden Healthcare, the largest private nursing home management company in Saskatchewan. We purchased a direct ownership share in three nursing homes operated by Golden.
- We negotiated a partnership with the owners of Ocean Sales, Canada’s leading company in the demonstration sales retail channel.
- Together with our partners at ATB Financial, we successfully completed the purchase of Foothills Creamery, makers of high quality butter and ice cream products, with a strong and established brand in western Canada.
- Since inception, we actively searched for a way to enter the insurance business. We recently found the perfect opportunity with Fortress Insurance. Together with our partners, we developed a bold plan to engage the western Canadian market with specialty insurance products. After an extensive regulatory review and approval process, our plan is in now in action, and demonstrating some early success.
In addition to the above, we:
- Sourced and reviewed over 100 potential investment opportunities.
- Established effective, entrepreneur friendly governance systems with each of our portfolio companies.
- Provided value added management and consulting services to our companies including helping them to establish planning and KPI rhythms.
- Reacted to the unique needs of each business as they encountered challenges in the course of business. We have helped with hiring, firing, sales, strategy, banking, and other operational leadership tasks. All while respecting the unique partner relationships we have forged with the founders and managers of our portfolio companies.
The economic downturn in Alberta and Saskatchewan tested some of our companies beyond anything they had encountered prior. In some cases, we needed to make difficult decisions, but we did so always with the long term health of the business in mind. While the economic headwinds still continue to blow, we have done the hard work to position our companies to survive and thrive.
All of the above has required thousands of hours of hard work, patience and creativity. And it’s been worth it. Today, we have a portfolio with five active investments in vibrant western Canadian companies. Added together, our portfolio companies represent:
- $96 million in annualized sales
- 290 employees
- 120 years of successful operations in western Canada
Western’s $17.5 million of shareholder equity (book value) equates to 55 cents per share, as of Q3 2019, and will grow though future retained earnings.
2020 and Beyond
While we have accomplished much in the past three years, we have a lot of work to do to secure all the potential value our efforts have created. As we look forward:
- We need to continue to nurture our companies as they navigate the difficult market conditions in the West.
- We must help Fortress seize on the opportunities presented by the unusual insurance market conditions that exist today. This will require a significant investment of time and effort, and possibly additional capital. But the potential rewards are exceptional. We have a rare opportunity right now to build a very valuable financial institution.
- We will keep our expenses low, allowing us to have flexibility with capital flows to and from our portfolio companies.
- We must continue to grow net income.
- We will focus more attention on rewards to shareholders including a concerted effort to see our stock price better reflect our intrinsic value. We will develop a methodology and begin to report on our best estimate of the increased market value of our investments to help current and prospective shareholders better understand Western’s intrinsic value. Also, we will develop and communicate a clear timeline toward the commencement of a dividend program.
We will report on these imperatives as we move through 2020. We are determined to be evaluated by shareholders on our success, and will continue to work hard to keep the trust you have vested in us.
As we report financial results, we will provide further updates on our efforts and goals for 2020. In the meantime, please feel free to reach out to me with any concerns, comments or questions you may have.”
Western is a unique publicly traded, private equity company founded by a group of successful Western Canadian business people, and dedicated to building and maintaining ownership in successful Western Canadian companies, and helping them to grow. The company’s shares are traded on the TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol WI. For more information on the company, please visit its website at www.winv.ca.
The Western Investment Company of Canada Limited
President and Chief Executive Officer
This news release may contain certain forward-looking information and statements, including without limitation, statements pertaining to future plans, acquisitions, financings and earnings. Statements containing the words: ‘believes’, ‘intends’, ‘expects’, ‘plans’, ‘seeks’ and ‘anticipates’ and any other words of similar meaning are forward-looking. All statements included herein involve various risks and uncertainties because they relate to future events and circumstances beyond Western’s control. There can be no assurance that such information will prove to be accurate, and actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such information. A description of assumptions used to develop such forward-looking information and a description of risk factors that may cause actual results to differ materially from forward-looking information can be found in Western’s disclosure documents on the SEDAR website at www.sedar.com. Any forward looking statements are made as of the date of this news release and Western does not undertake to update any forward-looking information except in accordance with applicable securities laws.
Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.