Hillspring Farms Ltd. ("Hillspring"), HSF Foods Ltd. ("HSF"), and Hillspring Warehouse & Logistics Inc., New Brunswick-based companies engaged in grain brokerage services, a potato farming operation and a flake plant operation, filed for bankruptcy on June 26 and was placed in receivership on June 29 on application by Farm Credit Canada ("FCC"), owed approximately $70.7 million. In addition to the financing with FCC, the companies obtained financing from CIBC, owed approximately $21.2 million, BDC, and other secured creditors. Although the combined HSF and Hillspring revenues between 2016 and 2019 remained relatively stable, averaging $30.6 million per year, the combined debt levels increased from $43.1 million in 2016 to $107.0 million in 2019. After various meetings, the companies determined that a sale of their assets was the only solution to address their financial difficulties and the court has approved a sale agreement between the companies and McCain Produce. EY is the bankruptcy trustee and was appointed receiver. Counsel is McInnes Cooper for the companies, Cox & Palmer for FCC and Davies for the McCain Produce.
Skillsoft Canada, as the foreign representative of Skillsoft, a US educational technology company which provides cloud-based learning solutions, had its Chapter 11 proceedings recognized in Canada under the CCAA on June 19. The primary purpose of the Chapter 11 proceedings is to implement a pre-negotiated, consensual restructuring that will reduce the company's existing balance sheet liabilities from $2.1 billion to $585.0 million. In recent years, the company has faced several challenges that have adversely impacted the operating performance of its business, including customer attrition resulting from steep market competition as well as the company's difficulty adapting its business model to address market shifts. In 2019, the company launched a successful transformation plan aimed at stabilizing the business. Despite increased order intake, customer renewal rates and new business, however, the company remains over-levered, with looming debt maturities in 2020 and 2021. Richter was appointed information officer. Counsel is Stikeman Elliott for the company, Fasken for the information officer, Osler for an ad hoc group of first lien and second lien lenders, and Goodmans for an ad hoc group of first lien lenders.
GWD Christmas Tree Farms, a Saint John, New Brunswick-based company which operated a Christmas tree farm on five parcels of land in New Brunswick, was adjudged bankrupt on January 15, listing approximately $11.9 thousand in liabilities. However, the bankruptcy trustee, Grant Thornton, is aware of at least 50 additional claims with claim values totaling $2.2 million. The company's creditors have not received any payments or communications from the company, and it appears the company has no formal management or representation in place.
Northfield Glass Group, a Moncton, New Brunswick-based manufacturer of insulated glass units that operated various divisions including City Thermo Pane and Economy Glass, had certain of its property and equipment placed in receivership on May 16 by way of a private appointment by BDC, owed approximately $1.2MM. Despite a $1.0MM investment from the provincial and federal governments in 2011 to modernize certain of its facilities, the group still suffered from inefficiencies in its operations and had not been profitable for the past few years. The group's main shareholder, Prelsecur, recently came to the conclusion that the operations of the group were no longer viable and decided to withdraw all financial support. The receivership is preceded by an assignment in bankruptcy that occurred on April 5. BDO is the receiver. EY is the bankruptcy trustee.
Terra Nova Transport, a Salisbury, New Brunswick-based transportation company with a 30+ year history, filed for bankruptcy on December 28. EY is the bankruptcy trustee.
665670 NB, a Baie Verte, New Brunswick-based company, was placed in receivership on March 20 on application by RBC. BDO was appointed receiver.