Shares in nursing home companies plunge in the wake of Ontario care scandal

Shares in nursing home companies plunge in the wake of Ontario care scandal

CALGARY — Shares in a company at the centre of a nursing home scandal in Ontario are falling to new depths on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Shares in Sienna Senior Living Inc. plunged by as much as 8.3 per cent on Thursday to $9.68, a near 10-year low that’s almost 50 per cent less than their $19.64 close on Feb. 18.

The company is the operator of the Altamont Care Community in Scarborough, Ont., named in a Canadian Armed Forces report this week for inadequate care and feeding of residents due to insufficient staff during the COVID-19 pandemic. The virus is blamed for 52 deaths there.

Sienna also operates the Camilla Care Centre in Mississauga, Ont., where at least 61 residents have died after contracting the coronavirus. The province said Wednesday it would take over operations of both Camilla and Altamont, along with three other nursing homes.

Shares in two other Canadian nursing home operators also fell Thursday, although neither has residences mentioned in the military report.

Extendicare Inc. slipped 3.3 per cent for a total drop of 35 per cent so far this year and Chartwell Retirement Residences fell 4.7 per cent for a year-to-date slide of 41.6 per cent.

In a report last week following Sienna’s first-quarter financial results, analyst Yashwant Sankpal of Laurentian Bank Securities said the pandemic’s impact on seniors’ care facilities has created plenty of investor anxiety over the sector’s future profitability.

But the crisis could also lead to more public investment in the sector to allow needed upgrades to the facilities that need it most, he pointed out.

“We believe that given the demographic trends, we as a society would have to come to terms with this situation and look for better solutions than just putting the whole blame on the operators,” the analyst said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 28, 2020.

Companies in this story: (TSX:SIA, TSX:EXE, TSX:CSH.UN)

The Canadian Press

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