March 22, 2019
Rothmans, Benson & Hedges, a Toronto, Ontario-based company that produces and sells tobacco products in Canada, filed for protection under the CCAA on March 22. It is the third and last of the big three Canadian tobacco companies to obtain creditor protection this month. The company has two primary business segments: it is the second largest supplier of traditional tobacco products in the Canadian market, and it sells and distributes IQOS products, smoke-free electronic tobacco devices which it purchases from Philip Morris. In addition to two class action proceedings commenced against the company in Quebec, the company is a defendant to a number of other putative class actions, individual actions and government-initiated proceedings throughout Canada. The company has been held liable for approximately $13.5B as a result of the Quebec Appellate decision. EY was appointed monitor. Counsel is McCarthy Tétrault for the company, Cassels Brock for the monitor and Gowling WLG for Philip Morris.