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.

Just Posted

Suspect in custody after Castlegar break and enters

RCMP reminding residents to look their doors.

Passenger counts still rising at West Kootenay Regional Airport

Reliability rates also on rise in second quarter.

Buddhist monument to be dedicated in Slocan cemetery

A new post has been created to mark the site where at least nine Japanese Canadians were cremated

PLACE NAMES: Grand Forks neighbourhoods, Part 2

No nuts were grown in Almond Gardens

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

Canadian high school science courses behind on climate change, says UBC study

Researchers found performance on key areas varies by province and territory

Six inducted into BC Hockey Hall of Fame

The 26th ceremony in Penticton welcomed powerful figures both from on and off the ice

CONTEST: Scene it?

Castlegar News’ weekly photo location contest.

RCMP investigate two shootings in the Lower Mainland

Incidents happened in Surrey, with a victim being treated at Langley Memorial Hospital

CRA program to help poor file taxes yields noticeable bump in people helped

Extra money allows volunteer-driven clinics to operate year-round

Recall: Certain Pacific oysters may pose threat of paralytic shellfish poisoning

Consumers urged to either return affected packages or throw them out

How a Kamloops-born man helped put us on the moon

Jim Chamberlin did troubleshooting for the Apollo program, which led to its success

Most Read