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Mar 21, 2019

SNC 'looking at every single option': Must-see quotes from Neil Bruce's interview

SNC-Lavalin CEO: We don't fear going to court

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More than a month since The Globe and Mail's bombshell report about alleged political interference in the corruption case surrounding SNC-Lavalin Group Inc., the Montreal-based construction giant's CEO came out swinging on Wednesday. In a broadcast interview with BNN Bloomberg, Neil Bruce undermined some of the crucial talking points in the narrative surrounding the scandal and pounded the table for a resolution to the legal cloud hanging over his company.

Here are some of the key quotes from our conversation with the CEO of SNC:

 

On his discussions with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau:

“I've never talked to the prime minister about a [deferred prosecution agreement] or about jobs -- just to be clear.... To the prime minister's office, I mean, we have lobbied as you would expect a CEO or the company to do."

On the suggestion 9,000 jobs could disappear if SNC is blocked from a deferred prosecution agreement:

"That's incorrect. And we've never said that."

On whether he threatened to move SNC's headquarters from Montreal:

"No. No. I don't know what people make up or what they have in their minds. We are a proud Canadian global champion, one of the few, actually -- there's not many.... This is where we want to be, in terms of our base."

On operational problems in Chile and the Middle East, and the risk of being barred from Canadian federal contracts: 

“The issues in Chile are behind us. The issues in the Middle East [are] not of our making, in terms of the intergovernment relationships there. We're a global company, we've got over 50,000 people, we can dial up, dial down where we work.... We're not going to sit and wait for the end of this period to then find that we're restricted in terms of working federal contracts, we'll go off find something else to do."

On the political scandal surrounding his company:

 

“I think this is an election year. Speaking on behalf of our employees -- really talented employees, highly qualified, they're appalled. They're appalled by what's going on and they feel like -- I said before -- it feels like an ice hockey game between red and blue, and our employees are the puck being scattered around the ice. It's really unacceptable.”

On whether SNC has been approached for a takeover:

“No. It's always a possibility, but no, we haven't.”

On uncertainty holding back SNC's stock:

“It's just unfortunate and poor that we're actually still trying to resolve things that happened seven to 20 years ago. We've apologized for the behaviour of the previous management, and ultimately I firmly believe that the prosecution service should hold those responsible to account and stop damaging innocent people. And at the moment, the only people who are being damaged here, apart from the company, is the employees, is the pensioners, is the shareholders. So from that perspective, I just think justice is upside-down here on this.”

On recent disclosure about special board committee considering options to "protect value for SNC-Lavalin stakeholders:

"We are looking at every single option."

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