Quebec remained unmoved when the company Iffco put its immense land in Bécancour up for sale in 2021 at a time when the battery industry was taking shape. He corrected his mistake two years later by buying back the speculators’ lots, but he had to pay 50 million more.
In February and November 2023, the Bécancour Industrial and Port Park Company (SPIPB), which belongs to the Quebec government, paid 54.7 million to acquire three lots that had previously been sold to a private investor for only 5.9 million as recently as May 2021.
When the Indian cooperative Iffco put lots of nearly 2 million square meters on the market in 2021, the Legault government had been working on its strategy intended to create a battery sector for a while. What’s more, Nouveau Monde Graphite had already announced its arrival in Bécancour in October 2020 to produce purified battery-grade graphite.
“In 2021, the battery industry was in reflection. It was not officially launched, explains Donald Oliver, CEO of SPIPB since May 2022, today. At that time, the park had no shortage of available land. The question of adding one more arose. There is also the financial aspect,” he adds, suggesting that the park perhaps did not have the money available to carry out the repurchase in 2021. It would not be until June 2022 that Quebec authorized an injection of 500 million into the capital of SPIPB.
The provincially owned industrial park has become the heart of the battery industry for electric vehicles. Currently, three factories totaling nearly 3 billion in investments are under construction in Bécancour: Ford, GM-Posco and Nemaska Lithium. And SPIPB is working hard to ensure that it can welcome manufacturers wishing to join the sector.
On November 23, the Bécancour Industrial and Port Park Company (SPIPB) acquired from the company 9409-4927 Québec inc. a former Iffco land of almost 1 million square meters (10 million square feet) for the sum of 36.2 million, allowing the seller to realize a nice capital gain on paper.
According to him, 90% of the land can be developed.
A few months earlier, at the end of February 2023, SPIB had again played buyer. She had extended 18.5 million for two lots which had belonged to Iffco and totaled approximately 890,000 m2. One of them, measuring 330,000 m2, will have industrial use. The second plot of land, measuring 560,000 m2, will be used for conservation purposes.
In May 2021, it was a young start from Terrebonne which did not really have any operating income, Loop Canada, which had acquired the land from the Indian cooperative Iffco for 5.9 million. Opportunistic, Loop first resold part of the land to 9409-4927 Québec inc. for 12 million in August 2022, according to the deed of sale. Then, Loop sold the remaining land to SPIPB for 18.5 million in February 2023.
Chaired by Daniel Solomita, Loop aims to recycle single-use plastics, but the realization of its business plan is constantly delayed. At the time, the company claimed that the land purchased in Bécancour was to accommodate its first commercial factory. The size of the land had nothing in common with its immediate industrial needs.
Loop made a profit of 25 million in less than two years with its land transactions in the Bécancour industrial park.
To Daniel Solomita, we must add Luc Poirier, Jean Shoiry and Aaron Drazin to the list of happy landowners that the battery industry has enriched with millions of dollars.
Between the four of them, they have shared a capital gain of 286 million over the past two years by selling their lots to one or other of the players in the battery sector.
Luc Poirier and his partners sold their land in McMasterville and Saint-Basile-le-Grand for 240 million to the Swedish cellulier Northvolt. They paid 20 million for it in 2015. Jean Shoiry sold the LaPrade industrial park neighboring the Bécancour industrial park for 19 million. He became the master of the place in 2016 by spending 2 million.
As for real estate magnate Aaron Drazin, owner in particular of Immeubles Crest, he owns the numbered company which made a potential capital gain of 24.2 million by reselling (“creepy”) a former Iffco lot from Bécancour industrial park that the numbered company had acquired 15 months earlier.
When this company acquired this lot from Loop Canada in August 2022 for 12 million, its owner was Abe Leimzider, from Boisbriand. Aaron Drazin replaced him a month later, according to information from the Quebec business register.
“We bought it for a lot more than 12 million. This is what is recorded. There were other considerations in this transaction,” explains Michel Lapointe, representative of the numbered company, over the phone. It was Mr. Drazin’s company, Immeubles Crest, which put us in contact with Michel Lapointe.
The latter said he was uncomfortable revealing the amount of the other considerations or to whom they had been paid, justifying that he worked for a private company. Mr. Lapointe called Mr. Leimzider “a partner in the transaction.”