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

Cannings to pedal through South Okanagan — West Kootenay riding

MP leaves from Nakusp on Aug. 23 and ends in Kaledon on Aug. 29.

UPDATED: MV Balfour ferry returns to service

The 65-year-old ferry had been out of action for a month

Rossland council urges minister to kill Jumbo Glacier Resort project

Mayor writes letter panning ski resort on environmental, legal, and economic grounds

Contempt charge against Balfour logging protesters dropped on technicality

A B.C. Supreme Court justice ruled Cooper Creek Cedar failed to file a contempt application

RCMP renew request for help finding missing Nakusp man

Christopher Sanford was reported missing Aug. 5

VIDEO: Facebook rolls out tool to block off-Facebook data gathering

CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the “clear history” feature more than a year ago

RCMP originally planned to arrest Meng Wanzhou on plane, defence lawyers say

The allegations have not been proven in court. Meng was arrested Dec. 1 at Vancouver airport at the behest of the U.S.

Bodies of two missing Surrey men found near Ashcroft

Ryan Provencher and Richard Scurr have been missing since July 17

Ethics commissioner ready to testify on Trudeau, SNC-Lavalin: NDP critic

A new poll suggests the report hasn’t so far hurt the Liberals’ chances of re-election this fall

Inflation hits Bank of Canada 2% target for second straight month

Prices showed strength in other areas, including an 18.9 per cent increase in the cost of fresh vegetables

Pregnant teachers fight to change WorkSafeBC compensation rules

Agency does not recognize risk to unborn babies when mother catches illness from work

Five hedgehogs quickly adopted after being left at BC SPCA

Lucky new owners picked up their pets from Maple Ridge branch on Aug. 20

B.C. cricket players get interrupted by racist remark

Community has had protocols in place for years to respond to prejudice

Most Read