The company began in 1931 as A. Cohen and Son (in 1934 it was renamed Confection Distributors and Agencies) when company co-founder Albert D. Cohen went into business with his father Alexander selling confectionery items on the roads of Western Canada. Albert’s five brothers eventually joined the business and spread out across Canada and each one contributed to the success of the company.
From that point on the company later known as General Distributors Ltd. grew and its holdings went on to include a 51% stake in Sony of Canada, the Canadian rights to Papermate Pens and American Tourister luggage, retail chains, ownership positions in several oil, gas and pipeline companies as well as a national real estate portfolio. From 1995 to 2004 a number of sales of its retailing, electronics and oil and gas businesses occurred and in 2005 Gendis Inc. (as the company was renamed in 1983) streamlined to its current structure.
Gendis’ significant assets include an investment in a publicly traded company, Veresen Inc., an investment in a private company, Osum Oilsands Corp. and ownership of a portfolio of six industrial and commercial real estate properties. Each of these assets represent approximately 1/3rd of Gendis’ asset base.
Veresen Inc., has three principal businesses. A Pipeline Business comprised of interests in two pipeline systems. The Alliance Pipeline, is a 3,000 km dense phase pipeline delivering natural gas and NGL from western Canada to the Midwest United States, and Alberta, and an Ethane Gathering System, a pipeline which is an integral part of Alberta’s world-class petrochemical industry. A Midstream Business which includes a significant interest in a world-class extraction facility near Chicago, Illinois, as well as gas processing and pipeline gathering facilities in Canada. A Power Business with renewable and gas-fired facilities and development projects in Canada and the United States, district energy systems in Ontario and Prince Edward Island, and waste heat power facilities.
Osum Oilsands Corp., a private pure play in-situ oil sands developer operating in Alberta. OSUM’s land holdings offer investors exposure to three distinct areas of Alberta’s oil sands-the Grosmont Carbonates Project, the Taiga Project and the Portage area.
Gendis’ real estate leasing assets consist of 6 properties highlighted by the company’s signature headquarters in suburban Winnipeg. The company also owns several commercial properties that were leased to former retail subsidiary SAAN Stores Ltd. and are now successfully operating as Bargain Shop and Red Apple store locations following the purchase of SAAN Stores Ltd. in August 2008 by the Bargain Shop’s former parent company Genuity Capital. In 2003 Gendis sold its entire city block of property in the heart of downtown Winnipeg to Manitoba Hydro to allow for construction of its new corporate headquarters which later opened in 2009. Dollarama also operates out of one retail property and Gendis completed a renovation of the storefront in the summer of 2013 to add to the revitalization of downtown Winnipeg and Portage Avenue.
Gendis Inc. has also recently made a new investment in a private Calgary, Alberta based energy and facility design company called Oak Point Energy Ltd. Oak Point Energy has land leases as well as several proprietary designs and patents pending on modular facilities related to more environmentally sensitive and cost efficient means of extracting oil resources.
In late 2012 Gendis enhanced its position within the Canadian agribusiness sector by investing in Input Capital Corp., a private Saskatchewan based agricultural commodity streaming company that provides upfront financing to qualified farmers in return for a share of their canola crop for between five and ten growing seasons. Input Capital is a non-operating farming company with a growing portfolio of canola streams. Input Capital subsequently went public in July 2013 and now trades on the TSX Venture Exchange. Gendis has also built a medium sized position in publicly traded MBAC Fertilizer Corp., a Canadian company based in Brazil looking to expand in the phosphate and potash sectors in the coming years. Gendis has since sold their position November 2016.
In March 2014 Gendis invested funds into TSX listed and Calgary, Alberta based Alter NRG Corp., a leading edge company focused on the growing global waste to energy sector. Alter NRG is currently installing its technology into plants located in the UK, China, India, Japan and Barbados with its sights on numerous global markets in this rapidly expanding sector. Gendis views its investment as a long term hold as the company is pursuing an aggressive growth strategy. Gendis has since sold their position July 2015.
In July 2014 Gendis invested funds into privately held Vive Crop Protection Inc. Headquartered in Toronto, Vive develops and commercializes innovative formulations that enhance the effectiveness of crop protection products and reduce their environmental impact.
Gendis also has 250,000 shares in San Angelo Oil Limited, a public Canadian conventional oil exploration and development company that intends to operate in north central Texas.