Wednesday,  May 27, 2020  10:13 pm

Quebec billionaire looks to buy Transat A.T. Inc.

Quebec billionaire looks to buy Transat A.T. Inc.
Christine Hogg

Christine Hogg is the Associate Digital Editor at PAX Global Media. Prior to joining PAX, she obtained her Honours BA in Journalism from the University of Toronto. Upon graduating, she went on to write for several travel publications while travelling the world. Her longest trip was a three-week stint in Europe, and the shortest was a 16-hour adventure in Iceland. Get in touch:

Following Transat A.T. Inc.'s announcement on Apr. 30 that said it was in preliminary discussions with more than one party concerning a potential transaction involving the acquisition of the corporation, several interested buyers have come forward.

READ MORE: EXCLUSIVE: Transat further discusses reasons behind potential transaction

Yesterday (May 9), CEO of Quebecor Inc., Pierre Karl Peladeau announced that he had commissioned a financial analysis by an investment firm, according to the Canadian Press.

CP also reports that Montreal developer Vincent Chiara, who owns Groupe Mach, has also submitted an offer.

Foreign ownership levels

On May 8, 2019, Transat A.T. Inc. was granted permission by the Quebec Superior Court to increase permitted foreign ownership levels to the levels permitted under the Canada Transportation Act.

In a previous interview with PAX, Christophe Hennebelle,  vice-president, human resources and corporate affairs, Transat, said that "non-Canadians cannot own more than 49 per cent of an airline, with a limit at 25% for any non-Canadian individual party and also 25% for all non-Canadian airlines collectively, if applicable."

Now, Canadian air carriers, like Transat A.T. Inc. have had their permitted level of foreign ownership raised from 25 per cent to 49 per cent.

The Government of Canada stated that the move is an attempt to attract more foreign investment and encourage growth in the aviation sector.

At the same time, the CTA amendments introduced two new limitations on voting ownership and control, by capping the voting rights of single non-Canadians and of the aggregate of non-Canadian air carriers at 25%.

Transat announced on May 8 that it would file its amended articles, with the expectation that they'd become effective as of, or around, the same day. 

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