Malaysian Buy-Now-Pay-Later fintech platform Split generates US$2.48mil revenue for businesses “in a matter of months”


  • 500 Startups-backed platform has signed more than 250 Malaysian brands
  • Allows shoppers to access interest-free instalment payments; isn’t tied to any bank

Malaysia’s first channel-agnostic “Buy Now Pay Later” (BNPL) fintech platform, Pay with Split (Split), has been successful at generating US$2.48 million (RM10 million) in revenue for Malaysian businesses “in a matter of months”.

Split works by enabling merchants to offer up to three interest-free instalments to their customers, which customers can repay using any debit or credit card from any local bank (hence “buy now, pay later”). The platform guarantees a transparent shopping experience without hidden costs or budget constraints.

Since April 2020, Split has signed more than 250 Malaysian brands, including merchants the likes of Dyson, Switch, Lorna Jane and Gamers Hideout. Being channel-agnostic, Split can be used on e-commerce platforms and offline stores, but also on social media platforms, chat applications and live streams.

The platform is backed by Silicon Valley-based 500 Startups and global talent investor Entrepreneur First.

“We created Split to provide a win-win solution to both merchants and their customers. During this difficult time, we want to financially empower consumers to worry less about affordability and instead shop with confidence,” says Split cofounder Dylan Tan.

“As our platform also allows shoppers to make purchases with debit cards, Split opens up to merchants a massive untapped segment of consumers who can now access instalment payments for the first time. We want to disrupt the traditional credit card model by offering consumers an alternative that is accessible, interest-free and does not charge them penalties for having an outstanding balance. Malaysians will find that our model is very consumer-friendly and that’s entirely by design.”

Tan adds that Split isn’t tied to specific banks. Just by connecting to Split, merchants can immediately offer their BNPL instalments from all local banks. “Ultimately, we aim to broaden the reach of our merchants, connecting them to as many shoppers as possible and vice versa,” he adds.

First.  “We created Split to provide a win-win solution to both merchants and their customers.

Adding flexibility

Split touts easy-to-use features. Online customers are able to shop and finalise their purchase as they normally would. During the virtual checkout, they will be given the option to pay with Split. The platform would automatically divide a payment into as many as 3 monthly instalments, as well as provide customers with step-by-step instructions on how to complete their first payment.

Split works offline as well – users can opt for offline payment plans via uniquely-generated QR codes at physical stores. Merchants without a storefront can use Split’s dashboard to generate a payment link to send to their customers on any social media, chat applications or on their live streams.

For merchants, Split works by paying them upfront and in full for every order made, as well as assuming the risk of non-payments and fraud. It also serves as a lead generation tool. Through independent marketing initiatives, Split gathers potential customers and redirects them for free to merchants, which in theory creates constant influx of prospects to its merchant partners.

The platform claims that, to date, it has generated more than 20,000 monthly referrals on behalf of businesses directly from its website.

Split notes that its channel-agnostic feature allows the platform to cater to financing needs of a larger network of businesses across multiple platforms, beyond that of e-commerce. It monetises through a small success fee percentage with every successful transaction, as part of its partnership with each of its merchants.

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Ten countries suffering the biggest tourism revenue loss due to COVID-19


1. United States

The United States has reported more COVID-19 cases and deaths than any other country in the world as of January 2021. What’s more, the US has experienced the biggest tourism revenue loss due to the pandemic, missing out on a remarkable $147.245 billion in the first 10 months of 2020. Many states have cracked down on travel in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, but the country as a whole has also implemented bans on travel from key markets, including Europe.

2. Spain

Spain hosted fewer than 20 million foreign visitors in 2020 and saw the largest tourism revenue loss of any European country at $46.707 billion, Official ESTA determined. The country reopened to travellers from other EU and Schengen-area countries this past summer but is still off-limits to many travellers, including Americans.

3. France

The world’s most visited country, France typically hosts more than 89 million tourists each year. However, the COVID-19 crisis caused that figure to decline dramatically in 2020, resulting in a total tourism revenue loss of $42.036 billion over the first 10 months of the year. Spain and France aren’t alone, however, as a total of five European countries rank inside the top 10.

4. Thailand

Thailand has begun safely and slowly reopening to international travellers and that’s welcome news for the country’s economy as the Asian hotspot has seen a $37.504 billion loss in tourism revenue due to the ongoing pandemic. The figure is the highest among any country in Asia, according to Official ESTA’s latest report.

5. Germany

Germany’s $34.641 billion in total tourism revenue losses from January 2020 to October 2020 is the fifth-most in the world and trails only Spain and France in Europe. The country lifted restrictions on travel from nearby nations back in June but remains closed to many travellers, including those visiting from the US and UK, which will be paramount to the country’s tourism recovery.

6. Italy

Italy emerged as a COVID-19 hotspot in the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic and, unsurprisingly, hasn’t been able to put a stop to the dramatic tourism revenue losses in the months since, reporting a total loss of $29.664 billion over the first 10 months of 2020 as the country remains closed to travellers from the US and other key markets.

7. United Kingdom

While the United Kingdom continues to be impacted by a new variant of coronavirus that experts say appears to spread more easily than others, the country’s tourism revenue losses keep piling up, reaching $27.889 billion based on the latest figures taken into consideration by Official ESTA.

8. Australia

Australia narrowly trails the UK in terms of tourism revenue loss, missing out on $27.206 billion over the first 10 months of 2020. The country was praised for its swift response to the pandemic and has remained vigilant as it continues to keep its borders closed to travel.

9. Japan

Japan’s tourism industry has been equally hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced officials to postpone the Summer Olympics in Tokyo to 2021. Japan’s total tourism revenue loss of $26.027 billion over the first 10 months of 2020 ranks as the ninth-most of any country in the world.

10. Hong Kong

Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong has also been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on travel, experiencing a revenue loss of $24.069 billion, according to Official ESTA. The Special Administrative Region of China has charted a path to recovery, however, with the Hong Kong Tourism Board recently launching a standardised list of hygiene protocols to help prepare for the resumption of inbound travel.

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Link accused of playing games after reporting slightly higher revenue guidance


Morningstar analyst Gareth James, who has a ‘buy’ rating on PEXA shares, said the profit upgrade announcement was barely material and “a little bit concerning”.

“For me, it smacks of desperation a little bit,” Mr James said. “It’s not necessarily great news to do better than very low expectations.”

Link underperformed last year as it was hit with regulatory headwinds and surprise legislation that eroded its earnings, including the federal government’s early release of super scheme that forced it to process roughly half of the $35.9 billion in withdrawals.

Officially, the PEP offer is still on the table. Link knocked back the proposal, describing it as materially under-valuing the company, but still gave the consortium access to its books and records in the hope of a higher bid coming through.

“These aren’t game-changing announcements by any means,” Mr James said. “I think they are keen to have a good news story.”

Link’s shares closed up 1.7 per cent to $4.82 compared to a 0.8 per cent rise for the broader market.

“I don’t think anything has materially changed from the company’s operating business perspective,” Mr James said, adding the bigger questions around Link’s operations were related to the future of PEXA could be sold or spun off on the ASX.

Link group chief executive Vivek Bhatia said PEXA continued to build on its strong business model. “Pleasingly, the business continued to perform well through December 2020.”

Mr James said these comments were intentionally vague. “There are a lot of games going on at the moment.”

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Why Some States Are Predicting Higher Revenue Amid Job Losses


As Congress has spent the last few weeks debating aid to state and local governments, a number of states have announced surprising news: Their finances no longer look quite as bad as they had feared in the uncertain early days of the pandemic.

States are still broadly hurting from the economic crisis. But California now expects a one-time windfall this fiscal year. Wisconsin said it might still be able to sock away some revenue in its rainy day fund. Maryland nudged up its projected revenues, for the second time this fall. And Minnesota now forecasts a surplus.

This good news reflects in part the dire economic expectations of six months ago; even modest numbers look good now compared with the worst fears written into state budgets in the spring. And state officials say they’ll still need federal help, as they expect the pandemic’s effects to drag on for years and to batter local governments. Federal help, after all, is part of what has buoyed them so far.

The states with rosier forecasts also complicate the political fight in Washington over state aid, which has held up agreement on a year-end stimulus deal. Republicans have characterized state aid as a bailout for profligate blue states. But many states that are looking better now have among the most progressive tax structures in the country, and that is part of what has rescued them this year.

This recession, distinct from many before it, has piled its worst effects on low-wage workers. That means that state budgets that rely the most on wealthier residents to fund government haven’t been hurt as much by an economic crisis that left the well-off largely unscathed.

“We have a recession for low-wage earners, and we have just a weird situation for everyone else,” said Peter Franchot, the comptroller for Maryland, which announced last week a $64 million increase in estimated revenues this budget year, compared with September estimates (which were up $1.4 billion from May).

Forecasters and state officials say they didn’t see this coming back in May and June, when they drafted budgets imagining a severe downturn that might look more like the Great Recession — with broad layoffs among manufacturing workers, with a slumping stock market, with economic pain spreading into white-collar offices and middle-class subdivisions.

In typical recessions, when unemployment rises steeply, state revenues fall steeply, too. But the relationship between the two has been much weaker this year. Effectively, the inequality inherent in the Covid recession has insulated many states from worse fiscal effects.

But that doesn’t mean that everything is fine.

“Despite the progressive tax structure, despite the wealth that we have in Maryland, despite the fact that we’re back within a safe harbor of tax revenue collection, the suffering is just completely unacceptable,” said Mr. Franchot, who has called for Maryland to enact its own stimulus apart from Congress.

In California, which has a progressive income tax, state revenues collected this year through October were down only modestly from that same timeline in 2019. Texas, which has no state income tax and what is considered among the least equitable tax systems in the country, has been in a more precarious position.

While Texas does not rely on taxes from the volatile energy sector to finance its base budget, decreased oil and gas production and lower prices have also contributed to the drop in overall tax revenue.

Florida and Nevada, which rely heavily on tourism (which has been harmed by the pandemic), also have no income tax. And Florida is among the few states that never moved to capture sales taxes on online transactions after a 2018 Supreme Court decision expanded that power for states. (In Texas, the ability to tax e-commerce has been a salve in this moment, adding about $1.3 billion in the last year.)

From the start of the pandemic in March through October, tax revenues in 38 states were down 5 percent or less from the same period the year before, according to data from the Urban Institute. When states gave far graver projections in the spring, they didn’t have past experiences to draw on and tried to be conservative in their estimates, said Lucy Dadayan, a senior research associate with the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center.

“To be fair, they didn’t have any information,” Ms. Dadayan said. “Yes, the revenues are stronger than compared to initial forecasts prepared right after the pandemic in the spring. But that doesn’t mean revenues are performing well.”

Across all of these states, federal stimulus has played a significant role. It’s not that the crisis was exaggerated; it’s that the federal aid really worked.

Stimulus checks and extra unemployment dollars increased the consumption of laid-off workers, which in turn bolstered sales tax revenues. Most states also collect income tax on unemployment benefits. And all this federal support lessened the burden on states to provide a safety net to struggling families, even as federal dollars helped cover many state Covid expenses.

States that rely on higher-income taxpayers have been helped by other unexpected ways this recession has differed from past ones. Consumption has shifted from services, which are hard to consume in person in a pandemic, to goods, which are taxed much more heavily (you pay taxes when you buy a lawn mower, for example, but typically don’t pay taxes if you pay someone to mow your lawn).

In California, forecasters in March never expected the stock market to soar as it has. That has increased capital gains, which are taxed as regular income in the state. And a series of lucrative I.P.O.s — another unexpected mid-recession trend — has added to state revenue, too.

From August through October, collections from California’s personal income, sales and corporate taxes were up 9 percent over the same window last year, according to the California Legislative Analyst’s Office. That’s a reflection of how well the well-off have fared this year. But the resulting budget windfall also exists because the state planned a budget in June for dire times.

“This is really a temporary situation,” said Gabriel Petek, an analyst in the California legislative office who prepared the latest fiscal outlook. The budget effects of this downturn have just been pushed into coming years, he said, when the state expects deficits that could further strain services.

“There’s been a little bit of a narrative that has emerged that the state is doing well fiscally, and it’s true that our revenue picture is better than we thought,” Mr. Petek said. “But really the only reason we’re in a better fiscal position is this one-time difference between what we’re collecting this year and what we assumed in the budget we’d collect.”

California, like other states, still doesn’t know how bad the pandemic’s winter surge will be. In the near term, states won’t be able to draw again on one-time pots like rainy day funds. Eventually, when the public health emergency ends, the federal government will cut extra payments to states to cover Medicaid. And local governments will continue to struggle, as they rely on even less stable revenue sources like parking fees, user fees on public transit, and hotel taxes.

States still face both sides of the pandemic’s built-in inequality — the affluent residents who’ve been sitting tight, buying stocks and new cars, but also the low-wage workers who are struggling.

“Even states that have a lot of rich people often have a lot of low-income people as well,” said Tracy Gordon, a senior fellow with the Tax Policy Center. State and local governments will ultimately be responsible for the safety net, she added, “and they’re not built to absorb that risk.”



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Myefo: Australia’s economic recovery lifts government revenue and shrinks deficit to $198bn | Australian economy


The Australian government’s projected deficit will shrink to $197.7bn this year, as better jobs numbers, higher tax receipts and decreased spending on wage subsidies boost government coffers.

On Thursday the treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, and finance minister, Simon Birmingham, released the mid-year economic and fiscal update showing the effects of Australia’s return to growth in September at the tipping point of the Covid-19 recession.

Frydenberg told reporters in Canberra that unemployment is set to reach the pre-pandemic level of 5.25% in four years, after peaking at 7.5% in March 2021.

Despite the faster-than-expected labour market recovery, Frydenberg announced the jobseeker coronavirus supplement will be extended to March.

He also signalled the government will not aim to pay back debt until unemployment is “comfortably below” 6%, which he suggested was back in the range of 5.25% to 5.5%.

1. Jobseeker supplement among $7.7bn of new spending

The Myefo contains $3.2bn to extend the $150 fortnightly jobseeker coronavirus supplement to 31 March.

Frydenberg said the government will “continue to monitor” the labour market, declining to say whether the supplement could be further extended to prevent jobseeker returning to the old rate of $40 a day.

Other new spending in Myefo included:

  • $1.6bn for Covid-19 vaccines and the national vaccination program, and $500m for vaccines for countries in Australia’s region

  • $1bn for aged care, including 10,000 home care packages

  • $683m for new pharmaceutical benefits scheme listings

  • $506m in new infrastructure investments including the Narrabri to Turrawan rail upgrade between the Hunter Valley coal network and inland rail, the Southern Highlands rail duplication, and the Murray Basin Freight Rail Project in Victoria

  • $241m to extend the HomeBuilder program to 31 March.

2. Jobs up but wages stagnant

On Thursday the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed that unemployment fell by 0.2% to 6.8% in November.

In November 90,000 jobs were added in seasonally adjusted terms, most of which (84,200) were full-time rather than part-time (5,800). The rebound was led by Victoria, with the number of employed persons up 2.2%.

The Myefo stated that 85% of the 1.3m people who lost their job or were stood down to zero hours in April are now back at work. It projected that unemployment will rise to 7.5% in March 2021 then fall to 6.25% in June 2022.

Youth unemployment remains a dark spot, with the employment rate of those aged 15 to 34 still 3.1% below its March level.

The Myefo projects wage growth will remain stuck at 1.25% for two years, before recovering to 2% in 2022-23.

3. More tax income shrinks the deficit

The October budget’s projected deficit of $213.7bn in 2020-21 has shrunk to $197.7bn, or 9.9% of GDP.

The government took $9.4bn more out of the economy in 2020-21 than expected in the budget, including $3.4bn of company tax and $3.2bn of GST, due to higher iron ore prices and domestic consumption.

Over four years, the government will take $16bn more out than projected, including $6bn in non-taxation receipts, such as the $1.3bn civil penalty from Westpac and higher dividends from the Reserve Bank.

Since the 2020-21 budget, total cash payments have decreased by $6.5bn in 2020-21 and by $3.6bn over the four years to 2023-24. This was driven primarily by an $11.2bn saving on jobkeeper wage subsidies.

4. GDP growth to help cut debt

The Myefo projected that GDP will grow by 4.5% in 2021, up from the budget forecast of 4.25%, following a reduction of 2.5% in 2020, up from the budget forecast of a 3.75% fall.

Net debt is expected to grow from $692bn in 2020-21 to $952bn in 2023-24. As a proportion of GDP, debt will rise from 34.5% of GDP in June 2021 to a peak of 43% in June 2024. Due to the growth of the Australian economy it is then expected to shrink to 38.3% in June 2031.

Frydenberg said the “peak of the debt is very similar to where it was at budget time” and conceded it would take “a long time” to repay.

5. Assumptions include vaccines for all by late 2021

The Myefo assumes a Covid-19 vaccine will be available in Australia by March 2021, with a population-wide vaccination program fully in place by late 2021.

It assumes there are no state border restrictions in place throughout 2021, and that temporary and permanent migration gradually returns from late 2021.

Frydenberg noted that the Myefo assumptions mirror those in the October budget, with the exception that Western Australia is now assumed to be open through all of 2021 not just from April.



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Collingwood’s $1.8 million loss after club takes massive revenue hit


The club said it had an operating profit before depreciation and amortisation of $1,028,336, with the final declared statutory result a net loss of $1,807,130.

Collingwood chief executive Mark Anderson thanked the club’s 76,931 members after the Magpies were able to retain cash reserves of more than $8 million and maintained a net asset position of about $43 million.

“That we were able to withstand the impact of COVID-19 and remain financially independent and strong says so much about the loyalty and commitment of the members,” said Anderson in a statement.

“Everyone did it hard in 2020 but our members, facing their own challenges with the pandemic, found ways to stay true and inspire us all with their support. We are incredibly grateful and appreciative of the deep connection our members and fans have with their club. Membership clearly remains our greatest strength.

“Even so, we had to restructure our business and with a heavy heart let go of some very good people from our football and netball programs, and from the administration. It is not overstating things to say that we were able to minimise the scale of our restructure – basically, save jobs – due to this strength.”

Collingwood pointed to “pivotal” backing from the Victorian government and support from its landlord – the club’s Holden Centre home is under the jurisdiction of The Melbourne and Olympic Parks Trust – for being able to protect their overall financial position.

The club’s net assets of $42,916,453 was a $1.8 million reduction from its 2019 balance of $44,723,579.

Significantly, the club’s cash reserves of $8,304,967 were well down on 2019 ($17,713,403), but the club said this was attributable to $4.5 million of cash previously on call within its Future Fund, which has now been invested.

“Following the sale of the gaming venues last year, the proceeds were invested into the CFC Future Fund, with the investments being managed by an investment committee, and comprise international equities, hybrids, fixed interests, property and alternatives and cash,” the club said in its annual report.

A note in the report says $4.9 million was needed to deal with impact of COVID-19 during the season. “Although it should be noted that $4 million of this relates to the delayed timing of membership renewals for the 2021 season,” the report read.



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Pawan Hans narrows FY20 loss to Rs 28 cr; revenue declines for fourth year in a row


Mumbai: State-run helicopter operator Pawan Hans narrowed its loss after tax to Rs 28.08 crore in FY20 from Rs 69.20 crore a year earlier, because of lower costs.

Revenue for the year decreased to Rs 356 crore from Rs 381 crore a year earlier, showed the information memorandum document floated by the government to invite expressions of interest to invest in the company.

The document showed the number of annual flying hours as well as revenue have consistently declined every year since FY16. Its fleet size has stayed between 42 and 44.

Total expenses for Pawan Hans in FY20 declined to Rs 385 crore from Rs 430 crore, cutting its post-tax loss.





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TIME notches US$223.3mil revenue in 9M 2020, 11% increase over corresponding 2019 period


  • 11% Y-o-Y revenue recorded across all core product & core customer groups
  • Consolidated PBT grew to US$77mil, 100% network availability a key priority

TIME dotCom Bhd has announced its financial results for the nine-month period ended 30 September 2020 (9M 2020) with a consolidated Group revenue of US$223.3 million (RM908.3 million), an 11% increase over the corresponding period in 2019 owing to increased revenue growth across all core product and customer groups.

The group also posted a consolidated profit before tax of US$77.1 million (RM313.8 million) for the current nine month period under review, which is RM65.6 million higher than the consolidated profit before tax recorded in 9M 2019 of RM248.2 million. This was driven by higher overall revenue growth, lower interest expense and a higher share of profit from associates.

[RM1 = US$0.24]

TIME notches US$223.3mil revenue in 9M 2020, 11% increase over corresponding 2019 period“The group remains vigilant of the external factors impacting the business and the telecommunications industry. Our strategy of focusing on our fundamental areas of strength has aided us in adapting to the various challenges posed by the changing market landscape in 2020,” said Afzal Abdul Rahim (pic), TIME’s Commander-in-Chief.

 

Outlook

The remainder of 2020 will remain challenging as the economy continues to face uncertainties arising from the Covid-19 pandemic. While impact on TIME’s business has been relatively modest, the group will continue to monitor for any changes or developments and stay prepared to take pro-active measures in order to continue protecting and safeguarding its employees, while minimising any potential disruptions to its business.

TIME continues to prioritise 100% network availability and stability in supporting the shift in usage behaviour to working and learning from home as well as the accelerated adoption of digital initiatives. Over the medium-term, the group is also fully committed to supporting the nation’s aspirations to developing the nation’s digital economy, which include delivering seamless digital connectivity and elevating quality of experience for Malaysians under the JENDELA initiative.

On the regional front, increasing demand for cross-border connectivity across ASEAN is an opportunity that TIME will continue to work with its partners in Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia to tap. The group is also on track to establish itself as a key regional data centre player with both its new data centres in Thailand and Cyberjaya expected to be operational before the end of the year, ensuring longer term strategic benefits and continued future growth of the Group.



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Nav Canada warns air traffic controllers that job cuts are coming as pandemic crushes revenue


Air traffic controllers are being warned that layoffs are coming as Nav Canada pursues a “full restructuring” in response to a revenue slump caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, CBC News has learned.

CBC News has obtained a confidential memo sent internally to air traffic controllers on Thursday. In it, Ben Girard, Nav Canada’s vice-president and chief of operations, told staff that the company has seen a $518 million drop in revenue compared to its budget.

He said he’s been pushing the federal government for help, but — unlike some other countries — Canada has not released an industry-specific bailout package yet.

“We anticipate that until air traffic returns to higher levels, which will not occur until the end of this fiscal year, we will continue to operate in a daily cash negative position and this will be made worse as funding from the [Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy] program is ratcheted back,” Girard wrote. 

Girard did not say in the memo how many air traffic controllers will lose their jobs or which locations will be affected. The memo said it’s looking to reduce the number of “IFR controllers.” These controllers are higher on the pay scale and work at area control centres in Gander, N.L., Moncton, N.B., Montreal, Winnipeg, Toronto, Edmonton and Vancouver.

The workers are responsible for controlling large amounts of airspace between airports using radar. Their job is to make sure planes keep proper distance from one another.

“I know this is very difficult news to hear. It is also very difficult news to deliver,” Girard wrote. “This is a decision that has been made at my level based on what needs to be done to ensure Nav Canada’s financial sustainability.”

Nav Canada manages millions of kilometres of airspace over Canada and used to provide air navigation services for more than three million flights a year. It’s funded through service fees paid by air carriers.

The Canadian Air Traffic Control Association said it is very concerned with the memo. 

“It is the opinion of this union that safety is not being taken into consideration in making sound decisions,” president Doug Best and executive vice-president Scott Loder wrote in a letter to members.

“Safety is the number one priority for Nav Canada and it has somehow taken a backseat to cost containment as the number one and only priority.”

‘We’re facing years of a downturn in air traffic’

In November, Canadian air traffic was down 54 per cent compared with the same time period in 2019, according to the memo.

“Over the summer and fall months, the outlook for the aviation industry has deteriorated significantly and it has become increasingly clear that we’re facing years of a downturn in air traffic that is much larger and broader in scope than we all initially believed, and will be much deeper and longer than any downturn in the history of the industry,” Girard wrote.

Nav Canada says it is conducting studies of air traffic control towers in Whitehorse, Regina, Fort McMurray in Alberta, Prince George in B.C., and Sault Ste. Marie and Windsor in Ontario that “will result in workforce adjustments.” The company is also looking into closing a control tower in St. Jean, Que.

Nav Canada air traffic controllers were told on Thursday that a workforce adjustment is coming because ‘the aviation industry has deteriorated significantly.’ (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press)

Government ‘pressed’ for help 

The company has been focused on securing liquidity and tapped into the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) to pay up to 75 per cent of employees’ wages, he wrote. Girard added that these payments are being reduced and will run through December, but Nav Canada isn’t sure if it can continue receiving that wage support.

“While an extension for the CEWS program through June 2021 was recently announced, NAV CANADA’s eligibility is uncertain,” he wrote.

Girard said the federal government has so far failed to come up with a bailout package for the airline sector, despite “significant lobbying.”

Last month, the Globe and Mail reported that the federal cabinet is working on a package for the airline sector that would include low-interest loans. 

Since Sept. 22, Girard wrote, the company has cut more than 700 managers and employees — 14 per cent of its workforce. It also let go of 159 students earlier in the pandemic, he added, and in November cut even more, “leaving just a few in the system.”

Along with the cuts, seven air traffic control towers are being considered for a downgraded level of service, and another 25 sites that are already Flight Service Stations — which provide only advisory services — could face more cuts.

Nav Canada’s board of directors has cut its fees by 20 per cent, and executives and managers have dropped their salaries by up to 10 per cent, Girard wrote.

These cost reductions, as well as access to government support through the wage subsidy program, have saved the company $200 million since March 1, he added. 

“However, that number still pales in comparison to the $518 million reduction in revenues as compared to budget,” Girard wrote.

“Despite these cost-containment efforts, we find ourselves in a situation where we expect our revenues to continue falling far short of our costs for several years, and we continue to require further cost-containment measures and indeed, a full restructuring of our business.

“In an environment where 30 per cent of costs are associated with ‘things’ and 70 per cent of costs are associated with ‘people,’ when all possible cuts with ‘things’ have been done, any further cuts will directly affect people.”

Girard added that he hopes the company can bring back some of the laid-off staff once the pandemic passes.

The Canadian Air Traffic Control Association said it will continue to challenge Nav Canada. The union hopes there will be “enough interest” in departure incentives for older controllers to offer them a package to retire. 

“The views of Nav Canada at this point are violating the vision, mission and overarching objectives of this company,” Best and Loder said in their letter to members.



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Online gaming service provider Bragg Gaming reports jump in third-quarter revenue


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Toronto-based online gaming service provider Bragg Gaming Group Inc. says it saw a significant jump in revenue and better cash-flow margins in its latest quarter. 

In the three months ended Sept. 30, the company, which provides turnkey online gaming solutions, posted group revenue of €11.7 million ($18.1 million), up more than 70 per cent from €6.8 million ($10.5 million) a year earlier, according to a release. 

During the third quarter, Bragg boosted margins on adjusted earnings (before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) to 15.7 per cent from 2.6 per cent a year earlier.  

Adjusted EBITDA was €1.8 million ($2.8 million) in the quarter, compared to a €0.2 million ($0.3 million) in the same period last year.  

Net Loss in the quarter was €3.15 million, according to financial statements released by the company,mostly due to a re-measurementof contingent consideration.

“We’ve made extraordinary progress in 2020 and are very pleased with the substantial revenue and EBITDA growth that we’ve delivered,” said Adam Arviv, interim chief executive of Bragg.



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