BAUTA, Cuba — After two decades of relative stability fueled by cheap Venezuelan oil, shortages of food and medicine have once again become a serious daily problem for millions of Cubans.Stores no longer routinely stock eggs, flour, chicken, cooking oil, rice, powdered milk and ground turkey, among other products. These basics disappear for days or weeks. Hours-long lines appear within minutes of trucks showing up with new supplies. Shelves are empty again within hours.A plunge in aid from Venezuela and poor performances in sectors including nickel mining, sugar and tourism have left the communist state $1.5 billion in debt to the vendors that supply products ranging from frozen chicken to equipment for grinding grain into flour, according to former Economy Minister José Luis Rodríguez.Andrea Rodriguez And Michael Weissenstein, The Associated Press
TORONTO — Canadian Tire Corp. Ltd. has signed a deal to buy Helly Hansen, a maker of sportswear and workwear based in Norway, for $985 million.Under the deal for the company controlled by the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, Canadian Tire also assume $50 million in debt.The retailer said outdoor and workwear are core products in its stores and it has had a long history with Helly Hansen as one of its largest customers.“For more than 10 years, Helly Hansen has been an exceptional fit with CTC and this acquisition will strengthen our assortment across all of our banners,” Canadian Tire chief executive Stephen Wetmore said in a statement.“With our capabilities and Helly Hansen’s trusted global brand and management team, we see tremendous opportunity for CTC and Helly Hansen, in Canada and internationally.”Helly Hansen CEO Paul Stoneham and the management team, based in Norway, are expected to continue to lead the business.“CTC provides us with the ideal platform to further accelerate our growth trajectory and also strengthen our Canadian presence. This is a great opportunity for Helly Hansen and our team,” Stoneham said.“As a Canadian, I am particularly proud to say that Canadian Tire is the new home for Helly Hansen.”The deal, which is expected to close in the third quarter of this year, was announced as Canadian Tire reported its first-quarter profit slipped compared with a year ago due to one-time accelerated depreciation charge.Canadian Tire reported a profit attributable to shareholders of $78 million or $1.18 per share for the quarter, down from $87.5 million or $1.24 per share a year ago.Revenue totalled $2.81 billion, up from $2.72 billion in the same quarter last year.Consolidated same store sales were up 5.2 per cent in the quarter as Canadian Tire gained 5.8 per cent, Mark’s added 3.4 per cent and FGL, which includes the Sport Chek banner, gained 3.9 per cent.