London Inc. Weekly | 01 • 05 • 2018

Diamond Aircraft Group acquired by Wangeng Aviation Industry

Diamond Canada parent company, Diamond Aircraft, has been acquired by Wanfeng Aviation Industry Co.

DIAMOND AIRCRAFT INDUSTRIES GmbH (Austria) and Wanfeng Aviation Industry Co., Ltd., jointly announced the completion of the acquisition of Diamond Aircraft Group by Wanfeng Aviation Industry Co., Ltd., the parent company of London-based Diamond Canada.

According to the Wanfeng, the acquisition assures the continued long-term future of the Diamond brand, with plans to increase global sales volume, expand distribution and support networks and further the design and development of piston aircraft models.

Christian Dries, former CEO of Diamond Aircraft, says, “Diamond is my life’s work. In the interest of a successful long term future, we needed to find the right partner to continue our good work. Wanfeng, and specifically Mr. Bin Chen, share my vision of the future of general aviation and are investing for the right reasons, with a long-term strategy and the resources to see their vision through. I look forward to seeing Diamond develop further, and based on our successful year-long partnership in Diamond Canada, I am fully satisfied that I leave Diamond in very good hands.”

“We were attracted to Diamond’s leadership position in the market”, says Bin Chen, chairman of Wanfeng Aviation Industry and president of the Wanfeng Auto Holding Group. “Under the 25-year leadership of founder Mr. Christian Dries, the Diamond team has developed a broad range of superb aircraft that have gained worldwide respect for their performance, efficiency, safety and innovation. Based on this excellent foundation, we intend to take Diamond to a long term leadership position in worldwide general aviation.

Wanfeng Auto Holdings Group is a global company with more than 60 subsidiaries with industrial headquarters throughout the world. Wanfeng Auto Holdings Group employs over 12,000 employees in six industrial sectors.

Almost exactly one year after investing in Diamond Canada, Wanfeng Aviation Industry adds the research and technological talent of Diamond Austria and Austro Engine GmbH, where it will continue to develop new technologies and aircraft models, including the Dart turboprop aerobatic trainer and the DA50 models, for the global general aviation market. 

National accounting firm MNP establishes new region in Southwestern Ontario

Doug Greenhow, MNP regional managing partner, Southwestern Ontario

MNP, CANADA’S FIFTH largest national accounting and business consulting firm, has merged with the Southwestern Ontario regional accounting offices in London, Stratford, Strathroy, Arkona and Clinton.

The additional five locations will form a new MNP region, known as Southwestern Ontario, to be led by Doug Greenhow, new MNP regional managing partner. The new region will enhance the services MNP offers to clients across the area, building on the firm’s existing presence in Waterloo, Cambridge, Burlington and St. Catharines.

The Waterloo, Cambridge, Burlington and St. Catharines offices will form MNP’s newly-created South Central Ontario region, which will continue to be led by current MNP Regional Managing Partner, Bill Sloper.

“In joining MNP, our clients get the best of both worlds—a firm that offers leading mid-market expertise nationally and globally but from a Canadian, local perspective,” says Greenhow. “We were also attracted by MNP’s reputation as an entrepreneurial-driven family where each region and each office has a vested interest in supporting each other’s success. That sense of being part of a true national firm, one team, appealed greatly to us.”

Founded in 1958, MNP has grown to over 60 locations across Canada and delivers diverse services and specialized expertise in every sector and area of business. The London-area addition bolsters MNP’s ranks with a dedicated team of 76 professionals, including 11 partners, operating from five locations and delivering a diverse range of services and solutions to a wide variety of sectors (including family-owned businesses, healthcare professionals and those in the farming and agriculture industry).

In addition to tax and accounting expertise, MNP delivers a diverse range of advisory services, including consulting, enterprise risk, corporate finance, valuation and litigation support, succession planning, insolvency and restructuring, investigative and forensic accounting, technology solutions and cyber security, cross-border taxation, and much more.

“As part of MNP, our clients will benefit from access to hundreds of MNP professionals and specialists across more than 60 Canadian locations coast to coast, as well as more than 40,000 professionals in over 100 countries globally through its Praxity alliance,” adds Greenhow.  

Rygar Properties Inc. nixes Dundas Street highrise development

Rendering of Rygar’s proposed highrise development at 150 Dundas Street

RYGAR PROPERTIES INC. has announced it will not proceed with a $60-million highrise proposed for a site just steps from Fanshawe College’s new downtown campus.

Rygar owner John Rodgers failed to close a deal to buy the proposed site at 150 Dundas Street, where he had planned to demolish a commercial building to make way for the proposed project.

Promoted as a potential game-changer for the downtown, the 200-unit highrise building would have been just steps from Fanshawe College’s new downtown campus, which will house the college’s information technology and culinary, tourism and hospitality programs when it opens in September.

According to a report in the London Free Press, Rodgers said Rygar Properties opted to back out of the deal because it could not meet a deadline to receive an exemption on development charges.

Rodgers says that Rygar Properties plans to proceed with a $300-million, 700-unit multi-tower proposal on the site of the former Camden Terrace at 479-489 Talbot Street.  

‘Historic’ year for London residential real estate in 2017

A total of 11,203 London-area homes were sold in 2017

THE LONDON AND St. Thomas Association of Realtors (LSTAR) announced 2017 marked a historic year for residential real estate, with home sales surpassing 11,000 for the first time since the organization began tracking data in 1978. In 2017, a total of 11,203 homes were sold, up 8.0 per cent from 2016.

“Residential sales across the region in 2017 is definitely one for the record books,” says Jim Smith, 2017 LSTAR president. “Looking back, we saw it all last year. London and St. Thomas achieved so many firsts—from six consecutive months of record sales to robust out-of-town interest. The real estate activity very much echoed the positive momentum most of the country experienced throughout the year.”

In 2017, the average sales price across London and St. Thomas was $330,037 up 18.0 per cent from 2016. By geographic area, London South was $340,793, up 21.7 per cent from 2016. In London North, average home sales price was $407,801, up 18.1 per cent compared to the previous year, while in London East, it was $258,734, an increase of 16.9 per cent. In St. Thomas, it was $261,481, up 15.2 per cent over 2016.

“In 2018, it will be interesting to see what impact the new mortgage qualification tests will have on the housing market, here in our backyard and across Canada,” Smith adds.

St. Thomas saw a total of 901 homes sold in 2017, up 6.8 per cent from 2016. In 2017, there were a total of 14,301 home listings, down 1.2 per cent from 2016. The trend of high demand with low supply continued in 2017, with inventory (called Active Listings) down 35.6 per cent from the previous year.

“It was a wonderful year serving as president of our real estate association,” Smith says. “As we move ahead in 2018, I firmly believe home sales will continue to be strong in our marketplace.” unifies acquired platform co-founders, Stephanie and David Ciccarelli

VOICES.COM, THE largest global online marketplace for voice actors and audio production services, has announced it is adding access to talent agents and their unionized SAG-AFTRA voice actors to the site’s current offering of professional non-union voice actors.

Since 2005, has been the place where producers and marketers source freelance voice-over actors, using the platform to complete a project from start to finish. With the producer user base growing by nearly 45 per cent over the past year alone, the ability to now hire SAG-AFTRA voice actors further solidifies the company’s position as the leading destination for voice-over.

Since 2005, has been the place where producers and marketers source freelance voice-over actors, using the platform to complete a project from start to finish. With the producer user base growing by nearly 45 per cent over the past year alone, the ability to now hire SAG-AFTRA voice actors further solidifies the company’s position as the leading destination for voice-over.

In August, the company acquired California-based, a site used by producers to hire union voice-over actors through their talent agents. and are two of the biggest platforms in the $4.4-billion voice-over industry. To ensure that producers, talent agents and voice actors can benefit from the best of both offerings, on February 1, 2018, and will unite under one brand—

“With the two platforms coming together, everything a producer may want to complete a voice-over project is available on one site, including union or non-union voice actors, access to talent speaking over 100 languages and dialects, curated lists of custom addition and end-to-end project support,” says David Ciccarelli,” CEO of “For the competitive realities of the modern producer, has become the solution that will see the 100-year-old voice-over industry meeting 21st-century demands.”  

Business Events Calendar

Featured Event:

Mayor Matt Brown’s State of the City Address on January 16

2018 State of the City Address: January 16, 2018

The London Chamber’s State of the City Address is held annually to mark the beginning of a new year. It sets the tone for both mayor and council as they set out to tackle the important issues that face our municipality. It has become a must-attend event for the London business community drawing an attendance of over 1,200 people.



Upcoming Events:

Developing a Global Mindset: January 16, 2018

Entrepreneur’s Toolkit Workshops: January 17, 24 & 31, 2018

Starting a Small Business Seminar: January 17, 2018

Tech Trends 2018 with Carmi Levy: January 17, 2018

Navigating Regulatory Compliances for Your Food Business: January 23, 2018

Tech Community Night with the London Knights: January 23, 2018

Business Planning Basics: January 24, 2018

SmartStart Seed Fund Meet & Greet: January 24, 2018

London Chamber Business After Five: January 25, 2018

Ontario Scale-Up Vouchers Program Lunch & Learn with TechAlliance: January 25, 2018

Western’s Food & Beverage Career Night: January 29, 2018

Essential Finance Skills for Non-Financial Professionals: January 30, 2018

12th Annual Breakfast for YOU: February 8, 2018

How to Win in the New U.S. Economy: February 8, 2018