Neil Bruce, president and CEO of SNC-Lavalin, listens to proceedings at the engineering company’s annual shareholders meeting in Montreal on Thursday, May 2, 2019. Executives at SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. continue to ponder a Plan B that could see the company break up ahead of a potential criminal conviction. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

SNC-Lavalin execs ponder company break-up at private shareholder luncheon

“Plan B” — what Montreal-based SNC might have to do if it can’t convince the government to grant a so-called remediation agreement

Executives at SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. continue to ponder a Plan B that could see the company break up ahead of a potential criminal conviction.

David Taylor of Toronto-based Taylor Asset Management, a shareholder of SNC-Lavalin, said the embattled engineering and construction firm’s CEO and chief financial officer discussed spinning off assets — which could include U.K.-based WS Atkins — at a private luncheon hosted by TD Securities in Toronto.

“They mentioned spinning off,” Taylor said in an interview, referring to chief executive Neil Bruce and chief financial officer Sylvain Girard.

READ MORE: SNC-Lavalin to step back from 15 countries, swear off fixed-price bids in mining

“They’ve got great assets within that are being punished and their good assets aren’t being valued properly. So they sort of hypothetically talked about crystallizing that value, and the only way you can really do that is to sell,” Taylor said.

The sitdown last Friday, first reported by the Globe and Mail, came a day after the company announced plans to wind down its operations in 15 countries and reported a $17-million loss in its latest quarter, precipitating a stock drop to new 10-year lows over the past few days.

The discussion floated an alternative to a possible plan that SNC-Lavalin laid out for federal prosecutors last fall where the company would split in two, move its offices to the United States within a year and eventually eliminate its Canadian workforce if it didn’t get a deal to avoid criminal prosecution.

Confidential documents, part of a PowerPoint presentation obtained by The Canadian Press in March, described something called “Plan B” — what Montreal-based SNC might have to do if it can’t convince the government to grant a so-called remediation agreement to avoid criminal proceedings in a fraud and corruption case related to projects in Libya.

SNC-Lavalin said in an email that it “continues to evaluate all possible scenarios to create maximum value for company shareholders.”

“We have publicly made it clear for several months that the company has a fiduciary obligation to its shareholders and employees to have a Plan B in place, retaining the services of external legal and financial advisers to help develop different scenarios for consideration,” the company stated.

“That said, no decision has yet been made, so it is premature to comment further on the subject.”

READ MORE:Few SNC-Lavalin rivals have been granted DPAs, contrary to CEO’s claims

SNC-Lavalin bought British engineering giant WS Atkins in 2017, which now has more than 10,000 employees in Britain.

SNC hopes to sell the bulk of its 16.77 per cent stake in Highway 407 to the OMERS pension plan, with a deal expected to close before the end of June.

Companies in this story: (TSX:SNC)

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Prince Rupert citizens concerned by influx of out of province visitors

Local politicians call on Minister of Oceans and Fisheries to limit licenses

Bunkowski’s busted out of the boredom during self isolation

After 14 days Prince Rupert family finally finds freedom

COVID-19 liability protection for essential workers

Provincial government taking steps to limit operators from being sued

Prince Rupert seniors are often not able to purchase groceries

Shopping hours, panic buying makes basic essentials extremely difficult for those at high risk

Kitimat LNG Canada worker tests positive for COVID-19

The company announced the positive case to its workers on March 28

VIDEO: ‘Used gloves and masks go in the garbage,’ says irked B.C. mayor

Health officials have said single-use gloves won’t do much to curb the spread of COVID-19

Sex workers face new risks during COVID-19 pandemic

‘Desperation has kicked in’ for vulnerable, undocumented workers unable to access help

Unclear if Cowichan couple refusing to self-isolate will face penalty

No fines or charges have been laid to date, including Cowichan couple who won’t self isolate

COVID-19: Postponed surgeries will be done, B.C. health minister says

Contract with private surgical clinic to help clear backlog

Black Press Media ad sparks discussion about value of community newspapers

White Rock resident hopes front-page note shines light on revenue loss during COVID-19 crisis

Don’t stop going to the doctor, just do it virtually: B.C. association

Doctors encourage patients to access telephone, online visits

Businesses advised to prepare for federal, B.C. COVID-19 assistance

Canada Revenue Agency portal expected to open next week

‘Drive right through’: Haida Gwaii First Nation erects checkpoint for non-residents

Skidegate Band Council Emergency Operations Centre erected checkpoint on April 2

Most Read