It is now of public knowledge that Québec Bourse is greatly concerned with the public financing ecosystem and the situation prevailing for listed companies
Our concerns are shared by senior officers of Québec based listed companies. You will find below the open letter available in the March 13, 2019 edition of La Presse +. This letter is signed by 10 presidents and/or chairman of Québec based companies listed on Toronto Stock Exchange.
The open letter:
Halting the decline of public financing and of the Quebec economy
Where would the Quebec economy be today without the contribution of major public companies with an international presence? The question is particularly salient at a time when public financing is declining and fewer and fewer companies are going public. A mere 200 Quebec companies are listed on Canadian stock exchanges, or 7% of a total 2,929 on Canadian exchanges. On top of that, in the past two years, Canam Group, Lumenpulse, Richmont Mines, Tembec, HNZ, Imvescor Group, the Jean Coutu Group and NAPEC were all privatized, while only two Quebec companies, Goodfood Market and Alithya Group, were listed on the TSX.
This decline has major implications for our economy, our collective wealth and the financial ecosystem. In addition to a loss of expertise in public financing, which negatively impacts Montréal’s reputation as a major financial centre, headquarters are often lost following a privatization. It is in Quebec’s best interest to create an environment favourable to initial public offerings (IPOs) to attract companies to go public.
Reducing the regulatory burden would already be a step in the right direction. Public companies are forced to dedicate a significant portion of their financial and human resources to fulfilling continuous reporting requirements (issuing annual and quarterly financial reports, annual information forms, management circulars, etc.) and implementing internal controls to ensure the accuracy of the information they disclose. However, considering the extended timeline required for legislative changes of this magnitude, it would be more efficient in the short term for the government to implement a measure to help businesses defray compliance costs. The same measure could also promote the hiring of financial analysts in Quebec to assist in maintaining our expertise.
Now, is also an appropriate time to encourage Quebecers to invest in our SMEs by introducing a tax credit for investors. This would have multiple benefits, such as making investment in this asset class more competitive, stimulating the demand for Québec companies’ shares, increasing the liquidity of their shares on the secondary market and consequently encouraging financing.
In addition, it is critical to review business support programs to ensure that none discriminate against public companies. Lastly, the announced revision of Investissement Québec’s mandate must take into account support for public companies so they may grow and prosper for the greater good of the Quebec economy.
Without question, Quebec’s public companies constitute a powerful economic driver and assist in spreading our society’s influence well beyond our borders. For this reason, we ask the Quebec government to consider the importance of public financing in its first budget to turn the tides and reverse a decline that has been ongoing for several years. Otherwise, our economy’s slow but unmistakable downturn will continue.
Antoine Amiel, President, New Look Vision Group Inc.
Louis Audet, Executive Chair of the Board, Cogeco Inc.
Marcel Bourassa, President and CEO, Savaria Corporation
Eric Boyko, President and CEO, Stingray Group Inc.
Jonathan Ferrari, Chairman and CEO, Goodfood Market Corp.
Jim Hamilton, President and CEO, Neptune Wellness Solutions Inc.
Germain Lamonde, Executive Chair of the Board, EXFO Inc.
Michel Léonard, President and CEO, BTB Real Estate Investment Trust
Paul Raymond, President and CEO, Alithya Group Inc.
Arjang Roshan, President and CEO, 5N Plus Inc.
Pierre Boucher, Partner, Executive Vice-President , MaisonBrison Communications
Louis Doyle, directeur exécutif, Québec Bourse Inc