Our summaries of recent Canadian insolvency filings.
September 19, 2019
an early stage cannabis cultivation company that is in the process of building a facility in Chatham, Ontario, was placed in receivership on September 19 on application by Auxly Cannabis Group, owed approximately $16.2 million. The company's facility is approximately 90% complete and it has submitted its application for a cultivation license. The company's loan from Auxly, which was used to finance the acquisition of the Chatham land and the construction of the facility, matured in August 2019 and the company has been unable to refinance the loan or otherwise put forward a proposal acceptable to Auxly. Farber was appointed receiver. Counsel is Bennett Jones for the applicant and Siskinds for the company.
September 19, 2019
Purdue Pharma LP, a Stamford, Connecticut-based pharmaceutical company, obtained a Canadian recognition order of its US Chapter 11 proceedings on September 19. The company's most prominent product is its opioid pain medication, OxyContin. The company has been named in more than 2,600 lawsuits filed throughout the US state and federal court systems. The lawsuits allege that the company acted improperly in the marketing and sale of OxyContin and is responsible for fueling an opioid addiction crisis in the United States. In Canada, Purdue is also subject to over 10 class-action lawsuits. The company has sought bankruptcy protection in an attempt to find a global resolution of the existing claims against it. The company is proposing a settlement that involves, among other things, a $3.0 billion contribution from the company's shareholders and the transfer of the company's business and assets into a trust for the benefit of claimants and the US public. EY was appointed information officer. Canadian counsel is Stikeman Elliott for Purdue, Torys for the information officer, BLG for certain affiliated Purdue Canadian entities and Paliare Roland for the Sackler families.
September 13, 2019
a Vancouver, British Columbia-based company that owns the Wolverine Mine in the Yukon Territory, was placed in receivership on September 13 on application by the Government of Yukon, which has grown increasingly concerned about the continually deteriorating condition of the mine site, as well as the company's failure to pay approximately $25.0 million in security outstanding since May 2018. On July 31, a day before the hearing of the Government of Yukon's petition to appoint a receiver over the company, the company filed an NOI, though a limited lifting of the stay was subsequently ordered to allow the Government of Yukon to proceed with its application to appoint a receiver. On September 5, a material adverse change was reported by the company's proposal trustee after the company failed to make certain forecast post-filing payments, including $618.0 thousand on account of projected remediation costs. PwC was appointed receiver and will be running a sales process for the company's assets, including the Wolverine Mine. Alvarez & Marsal is the proposal trustee. Counsel TGF for the applicant, Fasken for the company, Dentons for the receiver and BLG for the proposal trustee.
September 13, 2019
a Vancouver, British Columbia-based drilling contractor, obtained protection under the CCAA on September 13. Operating in 25 countries, the company's revenues have been adversely impacted by the deterioration of the markets it serves - in particular, the general downturn in mining that commenced in or around 2012 and the subsequent general downturn in oil and gas that commenced in or around 2014. While conditions in the mining sector have shown some signs of improving in recent years, neither the mining or energy sectors have recovered to their previously robust levels of activity. The company's restructuring plan includes reducing its debt load, cutting costs in its corporate office, selling non-core assets and refocusing attention to its remaining operating units. FTI was appointed monitor. EY was appointed financial advisor to the company. Portage Point Partners was appointed CRO. Counsel is BLG for the company, Cassels Brock for the monitor, Gowling WLG for EDC, Clark Wilson for Extract Advisors LLC as administrative agent to the secured noteholders, McCarthy Tétrault for RBC and Stikeman Elliott for the DIP lender.
September 9, 2019
Stornoway Diamond (TSX-SWY), a Montreal, Quebec-based diamond mining company that owns and operates Quebec's first and only diamond mine, obtained protection under the CCAA on September 9. Construction of the company's mine in Northern Quebec commenced in 2014, funded by a $946.0 million financing package that included equity, senior and convertible debt, equipment financing and the world's first ever diamond stream. The project was heavily supported by the Quebec government, which considered the mine an integral component of its "Plan Nord" initiative to enable development of the northern part of the province and its local communities. Commercial production commenced in 2017, but the mine's performance fell significantly short of expectations as a result of delays in the ramp-up of the mine, lower grade ore, and higher-than-anticipated levels of diamond breakage. Adding to the company's difficulties was a declining price for rough diamonds. When production commenced, the market price was US $147/carat. By the second quarter of 2019, the price was only US $76 / carat. Unable to operate profitably under its current conditions, and with no additional liquidity available, the company concluded that it had to restructure its balance sheet and launched a sale and investment solicitation process in April 2019. The process led to a proposed transaction with certain of the company's existing stakeholders, which the company will attempt to complete while under creditor protection. Deloitte was appointed monitor. Counsel is Norton Rose Fulbright for the company, Osler for the monitor, McCarthy Tétrault for Investissement Québec and Diaquem and Fasken for the Caisse.
September 9, 2019
Belkin Holdings and certain other related companies were placed in receivership on August 2 on application by BMO, owed approximately $8.1 million. The companies' primary asset is a 6 story apartment building in Winnipeg, Manitoba referred to as Kelly Towers. The companies' management failed to respond in a timely fashion or at all to requests for financial and other information, and with its financial benchmarks deteriorating, RBC demanded repayment from the companies. MNP was appointed receiver. Bennett Jones is counsel for the applicant.
September 9, 2019
Westridge Cabinets, a Red Deer, Alberta-based cabinet manufacturer, was placed in receivership on August 16 on application by BMO, owed approximately $2.4 million. Attributing its financial difficulties to the consistent decline in housing starts in Alberta, the company filed an NOI on July 5 after its majority shareholder, Toronto-based Signal Hill Equity Partners, advised that it was no longer prepared to continue supporting the company's financial losses. While under creditor protection, the company began a wind-down of its operations. No proposal was filed by the company and on August 10 it was deemed bankrupt. BMO then moved for a receiver to be appointed to protect its interests. PwC was appointed receiver. Counsel is Dentons for the applicant, BLG for the receiver and TGF for Signal Hill.
September 3, 2019
Icon Stone & Tile, a Calgary, Alberta-based stone fabrication and installation business, filed for bankruptcy on September 3, listing approximately $2.8 million in liabilities, including $1.6 million to HSBC. Grant Thornton was appointed bankruptcy trustee.
August 29, 2019
Wisp Internet Services, a Port Perry, Ontario-based internet service provider, filed an NOI on August 29, listing $8.5 million in liabilities. Focusing on providing high-speed internet services to thousands of residents in rural Ontario, the company attributes its financial difficulties to heavy storm damage to its tower network that caused internet service outages. This in turn led to a loss of customers and costly repairs to its tower network. The company intends to file a proposal to its creditors in the coming months which includes a restructuring of its operations. Dodick Landau was appointed proposal trustee.
August 26, 2019
Starmor Developments, a Calgary, Alberta-based real estate holdings company, filed for bankruptcy on August 26, listing $917.0 thousand in liabilities. Grant Thornton was appointed bankruptcy trustee.