Plus Products Inc., a Vancouver, British Columbia-based parent company of a branded cannabis-infused edible manufacturing enterprise (the "Plus Group"), obtained CCAA protection on September 13. The company itself has limited assets and operations, but is the Plus Group's primary vehicle for raising debt and equity in the capital markets. It is a reporting issuer in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario, and is listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange under the symbol "PLUS" and the OTC Market Group in the US under the symbol "PLPFT". The operating subsidiaries hold licences that permit them to manufacture, distribute and sell the Plus Group's products in California and Nevada. The Plus Group has significant funds on hand - likely sufficient to continue operating in the ordinary course until about February 2022. However, there is currently no expectation that the Plus Group will be able to generate sufficient revenue or raise additional funds to make the interest payments due under certain unsecured convertible debentures or to continue to meet its liabilities beyond that date. PwC was appointed monitor. Counsel is Blakes for the monitor and Fasken for the company.
Abbey Resources Corp., a Calgary, Alberta-based owner and operator of over 2,000 shallow gas wells in Swift Current, Saskatchewan, obtained protection under the CCAA on August 13, listing approximately $15.3 million in liabilities, including $5.2 million for municipal taxes, $6.5 million owed to surface rights holders, and $1.6 million owed under leases with mineral rights holders. Since the company acquired the wells via three transactions in 2016 and 2017, the price the company has been able to sell its production from those wells has not been sufficient to pay its debts. While the company has been able to cover its day-to-day operating costs, it cannot consistently pay land taxes to the municipalities and one First Nation where the wells are located. Opponents to the CCAA application alleged, among other things, that the company was not acting in good faith. In particular, they suggested that the company knew from the outset that the operations it established in the three asset acquisitions would not generate sufficient cash flow to pay its debts as they become due. Moreover, the opponents stated that they have lost confidence in the company's management. Despite strong opposition by the regulator, the Saskatchewan Minister of Energy (the "Minister"), the court also approved the inclusion of a provision in the initial order staying administrative action by the Minister for the company's failure to pay certain funds. MNP was appointed monitor. Counsel is DLA Piper for the company, McDougall Gauley for the monitor, Robertson Stromberg for the Minister, Miller Thomson for the Rural Municipality of Lacadena No. 28, Kanuka Thuringer for the Rural Municipality of Miry Creek No. 229 and MLT Aikins for Carry the Kettle Nakoda Nation Band No. 76.
Spartan Bioscience Inc., an Ottawa, Ontario-based innovative DNA diagnostics company that conducts molecular testing for medical infectious disease, environmental monitoring, and animal diagnostics, had its NOI proceedings continued under the CCAA on June 21. After market introduction, the company's testing device showed a higher than previously observed incidence of returning "inconclusive" results than its clinical trials. Due to these technological challenges, the company faced significant near-term financial pressure, owing in large part to its efforts to ramp up manufacturing and build product inventory to supply the test kits as quickly as possible. This, combined with not being able to ship and bill for its COVID-19 test product, put the company in a working capital shortage and rendered it insolvent. To address its liquidity crisis, the company filed an NOI on April 5 pursuant to the BIA. The company has now sought to continue the NOI proceedings under the CCAA. EY is the monitor. Counsel is Norton Rose for the monitor, Dentons for the company, Vincent Dagenais Gibson for certain shareholders of the company, and Lenczer Slaght for the directors of the company.
Clearbeach Resources Inc. and Forbes Resource Corp. (the "Companies"), a London, Ontario-based business that owns and operates 402 oil and natural gas wells in Southwestern Ontario, obtained protection under the CCAA on May 20. In 2020, facing pressure from their senior lender, Pace Savings & Credit Union Limited ("Pace"), the Companies commenced NOI proceedings under the BIA to address the indebtedness to Pace as well as other operational issues, including environmental obligations in respect of various wells. The NOI proceedings were extended multiple times. The Companies were able to negotiate a settlement with Pace to continue their NOI proceedings under the CCAA. During these proceedings, the Companies will consult with the Ministry to address environmental stewardship obligations and consider the viability of presenting a plan to their creditors and stakeholders. MNP was appointed monitor. Counsel is Bennett Jones for the Companies, Aird & Berlis for Pace, and Loopstra Nixon for the monitor.
Salt Bush Energy Ltd., a Calgary, Alberta-based resource company engaged in the production and development of oil and natural gas assets primarily located in the Wizard Lake Oilfield, obtained protection under the CCAA on May 19. In January 2021, the company filed an NOI, listing approximately $19.9 million in liabilities, including $16.5 million to Whitebark Energy Ltd. ("Whitebark"). Deloitte, which consented to act as proposal trustee, commenced a stalking horse marketing and sales process for the company's assets (the "SISP"). However, since no qualified bids were received before the bid deadline, the SISP was automatically terminated and the company filed an application seeking the approval of an Asset Purchase Agreement between the company and Ironbark Energy Ltd. (the "Stalking Horse APA"). The Stalking Horse APA will be effected pursuant to a Reverse Vesting Order and the proposal proceedings commenced by the company under the BIA will be continued under the CCAA. Deloitte was appointed monitor. Counsel is McCarthy Tétrault for the company and Dentons for the monitor.
BioÉnergie AE Côte-Nord Canada Inc., which is a joint venture founded in 2012 between Biogaz SP S.E.N.C. and Ensyn BioEnergy Canada Inc. for the construction and operation of a biofuel factory in Port-Cartier, Quebec, obtained protection under the CCAA on May 5. Construction of the factory has been negatively affected by several delays and cost overruns. While most of the construction of the factory is now completed, it still does not have the capacity to produce biofuel in the volumes and level of quality provided for in various contracts. As a result of these operational issues, there is ongoing litigation between certain parties regarding who should pay for the costs of rectifying the defects that are preventing the plant from operating as intended. Raymond Chabot was appointed monitor. Counsel is Miller Thomson for the BioÉnergie AE Côte-Nord Canada Inc., Woods for Biogaz SP S.E.N.C., and BLG for Ensyn BioEnergy Canada Inc.
Coalspur Mines (Operations) Ltd., a Hinton, Alberta-based coal development company which owns and operates the Vista Coal Mine Project, filed for CCAA protection on April 26, 2021. While the company’s operations have significant value, with Phase I alone having the capacity to produce roughly 6.5 million tonnes of clean coal per year, Coalspur’s ability to conduct its business and generate revenue and liquidity has been severely impacted by: (a) the shut down of the mine in February 2021 as a result of a permitting issue with the Alberta Energy Regulator ("AER"), thereby suspending all coal production and cutting off Coalspur’s only source of revenue; and (b) the simultaneous crystallization of an approximately $59.9 million USD hedge obligation to Trafigura Lte. Ltd. following the rapid escalation in global coal prices in late 2020. Coalspur has now resolved the permitting issue with the AER and received approvals to restart mining operations. However, Coalspur lacks sufficient funding to restart the Project and begin producing coal because of the depletion of its coal inventory and the loss of all revenue since January 2021. FTI was appointed monitor. Counsel is Osler for the company and Blakes for the monitor.
EncoreFX Inc., a Victoria, British Columbia-based financial services company providing foreign exchange risk management services and cross-border payment solutions, had its bankruptcy proceedings continued under the CCAA on March 30, 2021. Exactly one year earlier, on March 30, 2020, the company voluntarily assigned itself into bankruptcy as a result of atypical volatile foreign exchange market conditions driven mainly by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to the extreme market volatility, several of the company's clients were OTM on their transactions. Under the terms of the company's standard ISDA agreements with its third-party banking counterparties (the "Liquidity Providers"), the company was required to pay significant additional margin to the Liquidity Providers to cover the value of the OTM contracts. The Plan of Compromise and Arrangement (the "Plan") entered into under the CCAA seeks to avoid the depletion of the company's assets resulting from extensive and uncertain litigation. The Plan aims to achieve this by providing a global resolution of certain claims against the company. The stakeholders with the largest claims filed against the company include Gustavson Capital Corporation, which filed a secured claim against the estate in the amount of $35.9 million, and Andreas Wrede, who filed a property claim for approximately $29.0 million. EY was appointed monitor. Counsel is MLT Aikins for the monitor, Jones Emery Hargreaves Swan for Gustavson Capital Corporation and Stikeman Elliott for Andreas Wrede.
Hydrx Farms Ltd., a vertically integrated Health Canada-licensed cannabis company with a facility in Whitby, Ontario, obtained protection under the CCAA on March 22 on application by Domenico Serafino. In August 2017, the company financed its operations through the issuance of a convertible debenture from Aphria Inc. for $11.5 million and raising approximately $86.0 million in an equity financing. To date, the company has accumulated losses in excess of $55.0 million and its operations have been shut down due to liquidity problems. All of the company's employees have been laid off and only a few consultants remain with the company in order to maintain the company's license with Health Canada. In addition to the company's financial issues, it is the subject of six legal proceedings. Schwartz Levitsky Feldman Inc. was appointed monitor. Counsel is Paliare Roland for the monitor and Minden Gross for the applicant.
Knotel Canada, Inc. had its US Chapter 11 proceedings recognized under the CCAA on March 12. Founded in 2015 and based in New York City, the company's parent and subsidiaries (collectively, the "Knotel Group") are a market leader in the dedicated flexible workspace industry. In Canada, the company has entered into leases for office space in the Financial District in Toronto to provide workspace arrangements in a dedicated, non-shared environment. Despite significant growth in 2019, the Knotel Group experienced significant disruption over the past year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which adversely affected the Knotel Group's cash flow and ability to raise new capital. Throughout 2020, the Knotel Group took various actions to improve sales, reduce costs, and raise new capital. However, the pandemic’s duration and severe impact on the Knotel Group's liquidity proved to be overwhelming. In January, the company's parent and more than 200 US subsidiaries filed voluntary petitions for relief under the US Bankruptcy Code to facilitate a going concern sale of the Knotel Group's core business. Recognition of the Chapter 11 cases will avoid multiple main proceedings in different jurisdictions and give the Knotel Group the opportunity to complete a comprehensive sale of its business. Alvarez & Marsal was appointed information officer. Counsel is Cassels for the Canadian filing entities and Blakes for the information officer.