Groupe Sélection’s coffers are empty while the dispute between the company and its bankers surrounding the auctioning of its assets continues. However, without these auctions, there will probably be no more new funds to make it work from the end of June, explained Friday the head of restructuring.
“We’ve come to a crossroads, [in] the sense that I don’t think I’ll be able to get more interim financing without a monetization process,” PwC’s Christian Bourque explained Friday before Judge Michel Pinsonneault. , of the Superior Court of Quebec.
Certain creditors of Sélection – financial institutions – agree to release an additional 20 million to ensure the maintenance of the activities of the real estate developer and manager of residences for the elderly (RPA) who has turned to the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act ( LACC) last November.
The condition: the green light from the court for the process of auctioning the assets – stakes in RPAs, real estate projects and land – of Selection in order to restore its finances. The deadline had been set for March 20, but the banking syndicate agreed to the deadline being pushed back a week later.
Eight million will be paid into company accounts to avoid disruption next week. We will debate the auction conditions next week before Judge Pinsonneault, who will have to decide.
Selection Group believes that the Monitor’s plan constitutes a wholesale “fire sale” that will lead to an “outright” liquidation. The lawyers of the founder Réal Bouclin propose a “recovery plan” with staggered sales over time rather than in bulk. This will give the businessman more time to reach agreements with financial partners and keep assets, they argue in their challenge.
However, Mr. Bourque counters, the additional funding only ensures the continuation of activities until June 24. It is therefore necessary to proceed quickly to obtain new funds.
“We don’t know who it is, we don’t know when and we don’t know how much,” the controller summed up before Judge Pinsonneault. “The further we go in time, the more restrictive the conditions will be for accessing additional funds. »
Other terms of the auctions proposed by the controller also arouse discontent. Creditors, who are partners of the Quebec company in certain projects, oppose the suspension of restrictive sales clauses requested by the monitor. Essentially, these creditors want to have a say in whether they are affected by a transaction.
If so, it could have a “devastating effect” on the auction as “potential buyers could withdraw from submitting a bid if they conclude that they have no reasonable chance” of believing that it could be retained.
As a curtain raiser to the hearing, Mr. Bourque’s concerns surrounding potential service disruptions – cable and telephony – in RPAs because of unpaid bills sparked a strong reaction from Selection’s lawyer, Joseph Reynaud.
In his opinion, the controller refused to take into account elements which, Mr. Reynaud said, showed that the situation was under control despite the late payments. The RPA giant even presented an affidavit from its chief financial officer, Robert Laplante.
Évolia and Bläckfisk may therefore be subject to recovery measures.
In its affidavit, Sélection blames the “negligence or [the] refusal” of the Fonds immobilier FTQ to pay sums due to Évolia and Bläckfisk in connection with the Espace Montmorency and District Union projects. This gives the two subsidiaries a hard time, says Selection.
The company blames the comptroller for “deliberately choosing not to disclose” the subsidiaries’ talks with telecom providers to avoid service disruptions.
Mr. Bourque replied that there was a way to clear things up.
“The only way to manage this risk is to have an idea of the financial health of Évolia,” he told Judge Pinsonneault. We asked to have access to the accounting books of Évolia. This has been formally requested. »
Mr. Bourque has still not received a positive response.