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Jul 2, 2019

SNC's bid to clean up 'old ethical issues' should be commended: Quebec minister

SNC has done a great job clearing ethical issues: Quebec economy minister

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SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. (SNC.TO) is taking action to correct some of its “deficiencies” and should be praised for its financial stability, according to Quebec’s economy and innovation minister.

“We should commend them on what they’ve done to clean up the old ethical issues,” Pierre Fitzgibbon said in an interview with BNN Bloomberg on Tuesday.

“They had had some issues in some foreign jurisdictions, which was nothing illegal – more [about] business practices. I feel comfortable that SNC is taking action to correct some of the deficiencies.”

SNC’s reputation has taken a beating over fraud and corruption charges relating to its business in Libya from 2001 to 2011. The Montreal-based engineering firm has also been mired in a political controversy following accusations by former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould that top government officials pressured her to negotiate a deferred prosecution agreement for the Libya case with SNC.

SNC has argued that internal changes have been made and that the alleged actions were committed up to 20 years ago by formal employees who are no longer with the company.

Fitzgibbon added that he believes SNC is on sound financial footing and that its new interim CEO, Ian Edwards - who took over after Neil Bruce abruptly stepped down last month - can focus on operational issues.

“The issue is more reputation and business practices, and I feel comfortable that they are going in right direction as we speak,” Fitzgibbon said.