Avara Boucherville Pharmaceutical Services

Avara Boucherville Pharmaceutical Services, a Boucherville, Quebec-based international pharmaceutical services company that delivers world-class contract manufacturing and technical services to the pharmaceutical industry, was placed in receivership on February 18 on application by Sandoz Canada, another pharmaceutical company. EY was appointed receiver. Miller Thomson is counsel to the applicant.

Sural Québec (“SQ”)

Sural Québec ("SQ"), a Victoriaville, Quebec-based greenfield plant that manufactures and commercializes aluminum rods, and Sural Laminated Products of Canada ("SLPC"), a Becancour, Quebec-based rod plant, filed for protection under the CCAA on February 11, listing approximately $142.0MM in liabilities, including $39.3MM to Investissement Québec and $41.3MM to BMO. The two companies are part of a large global group of privately owned companies operating four rod mills in the aluminum sector. In 2014, this group acquired the Becancour plant from Alcoa Canada and entered into a 10-year supply contract with it to provide SLPC with 100,000 metric tons per year of molten aluminum. SQ has experienced higher losses than forecast primarily because of schedule delays caused by, amongst other things, the death of a worker and construction cost overruns. The problems experienced by SQ impacted the SLPC operations. Furthermore, in fall 2018, Alcoa informed SLPC that its molten metal production would no longer be sufficient to meet SLPC's demand. Compounding these existing issues, the US announced in May 2018 that tariffs of 25% on imports of Canadian steel and 10% imports of Canadian aluminum would take effect on June 1, 2018. These tariffs significantly increased working capital pressures on the group as it scrambled to negotiate price concessions with its metal supplier and price premiums with its clients. By February 2019, SLPC's indebtedness to Alcoa increased to approximately $40.0MM, and it sent the company a notice requesting payment. PwC was appointed monitor. Counsel is Norton Rose Fulbright for the companies, Fasken for PwC, BLG for BMO and Lavery de Billy for Investissement Québec.

Lanla

Lanla, a Montreal, Quebec-based marketing research company, and Wizper, a digital advice management mobile app driven by customer experience-focused AI technology that is backed by Lanla's 15 years of customer experience expertise, filed NOIs on February 1. EY is the proposal trustee.

Taxelco

Taxelco, a taxi company founded in 2015 with the objective of being an environmentally and socially-friendly tax service, obtained protection under the CCAA on February 1 on application by National Bank, owed approximately $10.2MM. In February 2018, the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, the FTQ Solidarity Fund, Fondaction CSN and XPND Capital agreed to inject $17.0MM into the company to grow its Téo Taxi fleet of electric cars. When it became clear, however, that the firm's financial outlook would not improve, the investors refused to provide any more capital. Richter was appointed monitor. Counsel is Stikeman Elliott for the applicant, McCarthy Tétrault for the monitor and Norton Rose Fulbright for the company.

Pizza Salvatore

Pizza Salvatore, a Thetford Mines, Quebec-based pizza restaurant franchise with more than 12 restaurants in operation in Quebec, filed for bankruptcy on January 17, listing $761.0M in liabilities. Raymond Chabot is the bankruptcy trustee.

V.A. Transport

V.A. Transport, a Boucherville, Quebec-based company that provides transportation, distribution, warehousing and related logistical support services for furniture, household appliances and electronics industries, filed for protection under the CCAA on December 21, listing $16.3MM in liabilities, including $6.4MM to BDC and $2.3MM to Roynat. The company, which has a 40-year history, has been experiencing a decline in profitability since 2012 due to a slowdown in the furniture industry and increasing competition from online US commercial transport companies. Furthermore, the company's fleet of registered vehicles is ageing, which means that a significant investment will be required to renew this fleet. Raymond Chabot was appointed monitor. Counsel is Norton Rose Fulbright for the company and Miller Thomson for Roynat and BDC.

Group Collette

Group Collette, a Montreal, Quebec-based general contractor for commercial, industrial and environmental construction projects, filed an NOI on December 7, listing $15.0MM in liabilities, including $12.0MM to 89591089 Quebec. The major shareholder of Group Collette, 8317399 Canada, also filed an NOI on December 7, listing $16.6MM in liabilities. Houle Roy is the proposal trustee.

Carpet Art Deco

Carpet Art Deco, a Montreal, Quebec-based manufacturer and distributor of carpets and rugs, filed an NOI on November 29, listing $53.9MM in liabilities, including $28.2MM to CIBC and $10.7MM to BDC. The company reported a loss of approximately $7.0MM for the eleven months ended August, which it attributed to difficulties arising from its efforts to expand its business in the United States and modifications to the current international trade policies. Richter was appointed proposal trustee and has launched a sale and solicitation process for the company's business. Counsel is BLG for the company, Stikeman Elliott for the proposal trustee, McCarthy for CIBC and Miller Thomson for BDC.

C & E Canada

C & E Canada, the Canadian operating entity of the Crabtree & Evelyn group of companies, an international retailer of body, fragrance and home care products with a global network of stores, filed an NOI on November 28, listing $15.2MM in liabilities, including $3.1MM to Crabtree & Evelyn US. The company, which operates 19 retail stores in Quebec, Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta, has been experiencing significant losses over the last several years, which it attributes to changing consumer demand for new product items; the rise of e-commerce; and long-term declines in traditional retail traffic and productivity. After conducting an analysis of store performances, the company has determined that it would be in the best interest of all its stakeholders to proceed with an orderly liquidation of its inventory and other assets. Gordon Brothers will be leading the liquidation efforts. Richter is the proposal trustee. Osler is counsel to the company.

Gestion Maison Éthier and Gestion Immobilière Maison Éthier

Gestion Maison Éthier and Gestion Immobilière Maison Éthier, which operate household furniture stores in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu and Saint-Basile-le-Grand, Quebec, filed an NOI on November 9 and KPMG was appointed proposal trustee. Desjardins, owed approximately $14.0MM, eventually filed a motion for the appointment of a receiver to liquidate the assets of Gestion Maison Éthier. In response, the two companies filed a concurrent CCAA application to submit a preliminary restructuring plan to the court that would benefit the mass of creditors. On November 15, the court allowed the companies to continue their reorganization proceedings under the CCAA. KPMG was appointed monitor. The companies owe approximately $5.5 to BDC and $7.9MM to their other creditors. In 2016, Sylvain Bonneau and François Éthier acquired Maison Éthier for $19.0MM. Not only did they find this transition challenging, the rising popularity of online furniture and mattress retailers such as Casper, Endy and Wayfair also contributed to their considerable decline in margins. Counsel is Gilbert, Séguin & Guibault Avocats for Desjardins, Gowlings for BDC, Fasken for Fédération des Caisses Desjardins, Blakes for the monitor and Groleau Gauthier Plante for the companies.