Shahir Guindi, Brian M. Levitt O.C.
Shahir Guindi and Brian Levitt, Partners at Osler, discuss Québec investment patterns
Brian: Shahir, the Québec M&A market has been quite active this year; my sense is a little more active than in some other regions of the country. What do you put that down to?
Shahir: Well, I think we're seeing a couple of things happening. We're seeing Québec companies on the acquisition, like Couche-Tard buying the Statoil business, Genivar and CGI's acquisitions in Europe, and we've also seen Bell's attempted acquisition of Astral. So we're seeing those companies looking at better valuations, maybe globally, trying to expand for strategic reasons. And we're also seeing some Québec companies that are targets now, probably because they're not happy with their stock price and they're happy to give a private equity firm a chance to turn the business around or maybe get better valuation sometime in the future.
Brian: In terms of inbound investment, we've had a change of government and there were some early noises that they might not be continuing with the Plan Nord. What's your best estimation of what's going to happen there?
Shahir: I think all indications are that the new Parti Québécois government's going to continue with northern development, but we will have to see how it unfolds, specifically whether they agree increase the royalties or not, but all the signals they're sending so far say they want to continue development in the north. We'll see whether they tamper with the royalty scheme that the previous government had envisaged, but all indications are that it'll be a go.