SNC’s has 'no one to blame but themselves' for their current situation: Taylor Asset Management
A shareholder of SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. (SNC.TO) is calling on the embattled engineering and construction giant to undertake a sweeping overhaul of its operations and senior management after the abrupt exit of CEO Neil Bruce on Tuesday.
"From what we understand, absolutely everything is on the table," said David Taylor, president and chief investment officer at Taylor Asset Management, in an interview with BNN Bloomberg.
Taylor cheered Bruce's departure from the company, noting SNC's stock price rallied almost seven per cent on the news, in contrast to the day the company announced it was selling the majority of its stake in the 407 toll highway in Toronto, when shares fell almost two per cent.
But he believes the company has more work to do to regain investor confidence after SNC, which Taylor described as a "stupid-cheap stock," plummeted in value after a series of operational missteps and a controversy over claims of political interference in a criminal corruption case.
"We never believed that this company would ever get a proper valuation, unfortunately, with Neil [as CEO]. Maybe we have to ask whether the current board is the right board," Taylor said, adding a "wholesale change" might also be necessary in the executive ranks even after Chief Operating Officer Ian Edwards inherited Bruce’s role as CEO on an interim basis.
After a fiasco involving a mining contract and setbacks in Saudi Arabia that contributed to SNC’s woes, Taylor said the company needs to reduce its exposure to high-risk businesses and focus on the operations that generate free cash flow and deliver a high return on capital.
"Get out of the resource business. Get out of the infrastructure business. Keep the nuclear business. Keep the consulting business [Atkins],” Taylor said. “Hold on to the rest of your 407 [highway stake] and sell the rest, and you've got yourself a $50-stock."