The head office of SNC Lavalin are seen Thursday, February 19, 2015 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

The head office of SNC Lavalin are seen Thursday, February 19, 2015 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

SNC-Lavalin cuts 100 jobs as politicians say it is vulnerable to takeover

MONTREAL — SNC-Lavalin Inc. is eliminating about 100 positions in Canada at the same time as the Quebec engineering firm is being described by political leaders as being vulnerable to a foreign takeover.

The Montreal-based firm says the workforce reduction is attributable to the completion of various projects across the country.

“We are hiring employees based on the needs of our current projects and adjusting when they come to an end. This strategy is crucial to remain competitive,” said spokesman Nicolas Ryan.

The eliminated positions represent a fraction of the 8,700 Canadian workforce.

SNC-Lavalin is preparing to open a new office next year in London, the former headquarters of WS Atkins, acquired in 2017 for $3.5 billion. Ryan said no positions from the Montreal head office would be transferred to the British capital.

Quebec Premier Francois Legault told a Montreal radio station Thursday that the government’s investment agency may have to get involved to protect the company from a foreign takeover.

“In the future, when it comes time to protect head offices, I would like the leader to be Investissement Quebec,” he said in an interview.

Montreal’s La Presse reported this week that the Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec — which was already SNC-Lavalin’s largest shareholder — had increased its stake since the spring to about 20 per cent, valued at about $1.6 billion.

SNC-Lavalin’s share price has dropped about 10 per cent since October, when federal prosecutors refused to set aside criminal charges against the company by approving a deferred prosecution agreement.

The RCMP charged the company in 2015 with fraud and corruption for alleged actions in Libya. It has pleaded not guilty but could be excluded from federal tenders for up to 10 years if convicted.

Some analysts have suggested that the current situation could result in the sale of some company assets or make it vulnerable to a takeover offer.

“It puts the company in a difficult situation,” said Legault. “There is no controlling shareholder.”

He added that other investors could be approached to ensure that any outside offer is blocked.

Companies in this story: (TSX:SNC)

Julien Arsenault, The Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Masks were made mandatory in any workplace setting across Alberta as the premier introduced sweeping measures to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. (Photo by Paul Cowley/ Advocate Staff)
Kenney declares state of public health emergency as COVID-19 cases rise

High schools shift to online learning, businesses face new restrictions

Lynne McConnell, a Red Deer single mom who runs a delivery company, is left without a car for her business after her vehicle was stolen twice in about 48 hours. Photo by Mamta Lulla/Advocate staff
Highway 11, from Sylvan Lake to Rocky Mountain House, is about to be twinned in a $120-million project announced Friday. Photo by PAUL COWLEY/Advocate staff
Town of Sylvan Lake likes Highway 11 twinning plans

Province plans to twin Highway 11 to Rocky Mountain House

Lynn Van Laar, chair of this year’s Christmas Wish Breakfast, said the event was planned outdoors to minimize the risk of COVID. Photo by Mamta Lulla/Advocate staff
Outdoor Christmas Wish Breakfast helps central Alberta families this holiday season

The coronavirus pandemic isn’t going to stop children from having a merry… Continue reading

QMJHL Roundup: Armada down Olympiques to extend win streak to seven games

QMJHL Roundup: Armada down Olympiques to extend win streak to seven games

Nashville SC ends Toronto FC’s season with stunning 1-0 extra time upset

Nashville SC ends Toronto FC’s season with stunning 1-0 extra time upset

Juve, Barça, Chelsea, Sevilla advance in Champions League

Juve, Barça, Chelsea, Sevilla advance in Champions League

Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet (23) brings the ball up court against Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young (11) during the first half of NBA basketball action in Toronto on January 28, 2020. The Raptors officially annoucned that VanVleet has agreed to a multi-year contract with the team. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Raptors guard Fred VanVleet says contract negotiations were “easy”

Raptors guard Fred VanVleet says contract negotiations were “easy”

FC Cincinnati head coach Alan Koch waves to the crowd before an MLS soccer match against the Portland Timbers in Cincinnati on March 17, 2019. Canadian Premier League team FC Edmonton has hired Koch as head coach and director of football operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, John Minchillo
FC Edmonton names Alan Koch coach of Canadian Premier League club

FC Edmonton names Alan Koch coach of Canadian Premier League club

Time running short for NHL to start next season Jan. 1

Time running short for NHL to start next season Jan. 1

Former Chicago Blackhawk Fred Sasakamoose, one of the first Indigenous pro hockey players, is honoured at the Edmonton Oilers and Chicago Blackhawks game in Edmonton on December 29, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Fred Sasakamoose, Indigenous NHL pioneer, dies at age 86 after presumed COVID-19 case

Fred Sasakamoose, Indigenous NHL pioneer, dies at age 86 after presumed COVID-19 case

Thanksgiving lessons jettison Pilgrim hats, welcome truth

Thanksgiving lessons jettison Pilgrim hats, welcome truth

Most Read