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  1. Reclusive billionaire Robert Miller built a business empire far from the public eye. Now, a bitter divorce has thrown his legacy into question. By Joe Castaldo From Canadian Business magazine, September 27, 2010 http://www.canadianbusiness.com/managing/strategy/article.jsp?content=20100927_10022_10022&page=1 To say Robert Miller is a reluctant interview is a grand understatement. He has avoided attention his entire career, and there are no doubt countless activities he would much rather be doing right now than standing in his opulent office with a reporter. He has previously given a single media interview since co-founding Future Electronics Inc., a multinational distributor of electronic components based in Pointe-Claire, Que., that generates nearly $4 billion in revenue each year. Miller is the sole owner. He has never authorized a picture of himself to be published, and his name is rarely, if ever, attached to his extensive charity work. Miller does not do public appearances. He will never be seen at a ribbon-cutting ceremony or posing with an oversized novelty cheque. His desire for privacy has been his most identifiable trait — aside from his wealth. This magazine estimated his net worth last year at $1.19 billion. Forbes magazine valued him at US$2.5 billion. In the absence of any visible public image, the one surrounding Miller is that of an eccentric billionaire recluse. But now he has welcomed a reporter into his office, extending a large hand and wearing a warm smile. He is a tall, lanky man with a slightly stooped posture, sporting a pair of chunky black orthopedic shoes and rimless glasses. At 65, his hair is tinged with grey. He says he would like to write a book about Future Electronics some day. "It's an amazing story," he says in a gravelly baritone. "It could fill 600, 700 pages." The meeting comes at a time when the comfortable, profitable obscurity in which both Miller and his company have operated is threatened. He is in the midst of a long-running and acrimonious divorce proceeding with his ex-wife, Margaret Antonier, which has thrown this most private of men and his business empire into an unflattering spotlight. The pair was married for nearly 38 years before Miller filed for divorce in 2005. Assets likely totalling hundreds of millions of dollars, if not billions, are at stake, but the exact details of the proceedings are sealed in a Montreal court. The legal battles do not end there. In June, Miller filed lawsuits in Florida and Montreal against Antonier and the real estate development company they co-own, Miromar Development Inc. He is alleging Antonier and another executive are shutting him out of the company, and have even siphoned money from the firm. Antonier's lawyers, meanwhile, have accused Miller of "horrendous personal behaviour," the specifics of which are outlined in a filing Miller's lawyers have requested the court keep sealed. A Florida newspaper picked up on the case, followed by the Journal de Montreal, which splashed a picture of Miller across its front page, the first photo of him ever published. What it all means for the business empire he built remains to be seen. For Miller himself, it means reluctantly inching from the shadows to take hold of his public image. But that image is anything but simple. Current and former employees — even competitors — describe him as a genius and a visionary. Everything about him, from the way that he operates his company and interacts with employees to the many varied causes he supports (cryogenics research, for one) contribute to the image of a tycoon unlike any other. The more he reveals, the question "Who is Robert Miller?" becomes all the more difficult to answer. The basic biographic details are simple enough: Miller was born in 1945 and raised in Montreal, and later studied at what was then called the Rider Business College in New Jersey. He worked as a radio disc jockey in New Jersey in the 1960s, where his music program, The Bob Miller Show, aired three hours a day during the week and six hours on Sundays. He moved back to Montreal and joined a small wholesaler called Specialty Electronics. Owner Ben Manis, an acquaintance, hired him. Miller threw himself into the job and became close with Manis's son, Eli, who also worked at Specialty. But the younger Manis eventually had a disagreement with his father and left the company. Miller suggested he and Eli go into business for themselves. In 1968, they started Future Electronics out of a small rented office in Montreal. They essentially acted as middlemen, buying obscure electronic parts from component manufacturers and selling them to makers of finished products, ranging from consumer goods to industrial equipment. Manis says he came up with the name. "I just sort of said, let's forget the past. Look to the future," he says. The company grew steadily, and Miller proved to be a workaholic. To Manis, who didn't share his partner's devotion, it wasn't evident Miller had any outside interests. "Something came into his head, and he said, 'What do I need him for?'" Manis recalls. In 1976, Miller bought his partner's half of the company for $500,000. Future operated differently nearly from the start. Distributors in this industry are essentially stores for electronic components, but typically try to limit their inventory, reducing costs and risks. Component prices are volatile, and no one wants to sell product at a loss. Instead, Miller bought large quantities of components when they were cheap. He then charged a significant markup selling to equipment manufacturers when demand hit. Put crudely, Miller made his name as a speculator in electronic parts, and he's an exceptionally gifted one. One former vice-president who asked to remain anonymous recalls only one slip-up in his 15 years at the company, and there were consequences. "Some people were demoted," he says. Miller is often credited with having an intuitive sense of the market, but his moves are based on excellent intelligence. He got to know many of the executives at component makers in part to find out where manufacturing would be constrained. "Just through networking, he got a feel for what commodities would be hot," says the former VP. Holding inventory has another major advantage. "We became known for being the one place you could go to and always find product," says Gregg Smith, another former vice-president, adding that was how Future won new customers. The model works because Future is privately held. Building out the infrastructure to hold loads of inventory is expensive and tough to justify to shareholders. So too are speculative bets. But as the sole proprietor, Miller is accountable only to himself. Today, the product marketing department, mostly housed at headquarters, is the heart of the company. The department buys from suppliers and sets resale prices for Future branches across the world. Competitors assign product marketers to work with specific suppliers, but Miller turns the model on its head. His employees focus exclusively on a component group, becoming experts able to see trends in the market for specific parts. The job is demanding. "The phone is ringing non-stop," recalls a former employee. "It would be usual to have three or four lines on hold while taking another call and trying to close a deal." The pace takes its toll on some. One former employee recalls developing migraines, another, stomach pains. (Future has a medical clinic on-site). Lindsay Blackett worked at Future for six years in sales and marketing, and is now Alberta's culture minister. "Politics, people think it's hardball. But it's nothing compared to Future," he says. In the 1990s, when Blackett worked at Future, Miller would call up individual workers on the floor to inquire about particular deals. "That could be very intimidating, or very rewarding," he says. "He knew what everyone was doing in that building." Competition thrives at Future, which not everyone can handle. "Robert Miller sat on a cloud like Zeus and said, 'Go at it, boys,'" recalls the former VP. "He saw that through confrontation, people would excel." Those who do perform rise quickly through the ranks, and salespeople can make hefty commissions. More than 10 years ago, Future bought massive amounts of tantalum capacitors, used in mobile devices, before the wireless boom hit. When it did, supply was scarce — except at Future. The company sold millions of them a month with a markup as high as 2,000%. Gross profits were so large that for a couple of years, Miller held monthly meetings with sales staff in the auditorium. He handed out their commission cheques individually, from smallest to biggest, announcing the sum for all to hear. The largest topped six figures. Those at the bottom were driven, not only by the desire for bigger commissions but out of embarrassment, to make more and bigger sales. Employees who have little interaction with Miller tend to regard him with a mixture of apprehension and awe. Spotting their boss loping through the hallways is akin to a celebrity sighting. Usually the only opportunities for many to lay eyes on their leader are the addresses he gives roughly once a quarter. He'll often speak for well over an hour, sometimes two. "I always say the intellectual property for Future Electronics is Robert's brain," says Lindsley Ruth, a corporate vice-president. Even employees many years removed from the company still respectfully refer to him as Mr. Miller. Those who work more closely with Miller say he offers plenty of encouragement and room to be entrepreneurial. A few years ago, Jamie Singerman, currently a corporate vice-president at the company, was rolling out a new division called Future Lighting Solutions, which is focused on the LED market. Future didn't have expertise in that area, and building it up required lots of investment. "I went in with a presentation," Singerman recalls. Miller didn't look at it and instead asked if it was the right thing to do. "I said yes, and he said, 'Done.'" Miller is sometimes unpredictable, however. A few years ago, some of the product specialists in Montreal were told not to come in for a month to allow their managers to fill in and become more knowledgeable about the parts the company was dealing with. A former product specialist says many of his colleagues felt they would no longer be needed, and started looking for other jobs. The managers, meanwhile, were overworked and started polishing up their resumés, too. "If the exercise was a natural culling exercise," says the former employee, "it worked." The first time people outside the industry heard of Future Electronics or Robert Miller came on May 7, 1999, when some 30 RCMP officers, in the presence of an FBI agent, raided corporate headquarters. They toted away dozens of boxes of material for reasons officials would not disclose. The company's lawyers successfully fought in court to keep investigators from looking at the seized material, arguing the search was unjust. After six months of media lawyers wrangling in court, the search warrant detailing the reason for the raid was unsealed by the Supreme Court of Canada. The U.S. Department of Justice alleged Future was defrauding a handful of U.S.-based suppliers out of approximately US$100 million a year. The company was accused of maintaining two sets of accounting records — one real, one false — and only Miller and select executives, dubbed the A-Team, had access. The false records were allegedly used to take advantage of debits and rebate programs from suppliers so that Future could pad its margins. Miller never spoke to the press, but Future issued statements denying any wrongdoing and calling the allegations "absurd." There were also whispers the whole investigation was sparked by disgruntled ex-employees, and based on a misunderstanding of how the distribution business worked. More than a year later, Future's lawyers succeeded in quashing the search warrant that justified the raid, and the seized material was returned without having been examined. Nearly three years after the initial search, the U.S. Department of Justice dropped its investigation entirely. Neither that investigation nor anything else has kept Miller from expanding his company to become the fourth-largest electronics distributor in the world. Future Lighting Solutions is booming, scaling up from virtually nothing in 2004 to nearly $350 million in revenue today. The division, which doesn't simply distribute parts but works with customers to meet specific lighting needs, could some day rival the size of the components business. The company is also re-launching a division called Future Active Industrial that focuses on the countless smaller customers generally ignored by larger distributors. The beneficiaries of Future's success spill far beyond the company's headquarters. Miller committed years ago to giving away more than half his earnings to charity. Much of it goes to employees and their families. Miller receives many letters from employees seeking help, often for medical issues. Gina Galardo joined Future 17 years ago as an administrative assistant, but over the years, fielding these requests eventually took over her job. Lori-Ann MacDonald was brought on six years ago to assist. In an interview in a Future boardroom, they explain that when a letter comes in, they conduct research to find the best doctors or specialists, book appointments, provide moral support or anything else that needs doing. Miller has a deep interest in medical research with extensive connections in the community, and can usually immediately recommend a doctor or clinic. He has paid for expensive medical procedures for countless employees, and finds time for hospital visits and phone calls. "Should we get the binders?" MacDonald asks. She makes a phone call, and two other assistants enter, each with two five-inch-thick binders in their arms. The binders are brimming with letters and thank-you cards from employees, organized alphabetically by name. Galardo and MacDonald are soon lost recounting the stories on each page. There is even a section on Ben Manis, the man who hired Miller at Specialty Electronics back in 1967. Manis is in his mid-90s today. Miller employed him at Future for a time and set him up with an apartment across from headquarters. He now supports Manis's accommodations in a seniors' residence, and has allotted money for his funeral. The two have lunch plans for Manis's 100th birthday, however. "I think this sums up Mr. Miller," Galardo says, turning the page. The allegations being made in a Florida civil court against Miller by his ex-wife stand in stark contrast to the benevolent man who never says no to a worthy cause. Miller married Margaret Antonier in 1967. They had two sons, and Antonier remained an active businesswoman. She originally worked in radio advertising, and in 1988, Miromar Development Inc. was formed and received financing from Future Electronics. Miller and Antonier each own 50% of the real estate firm, and Antonier serves as chief executive officer. "I have learned the business from the ground up," Antonier wrote in response to e-mailed questions. "I am pretty hard on myself when it comes to succeeding." Miromar built Canada's first outlet mall, in Montreal, and in the mid-1990s, began developing properties in Lee County, Fla., including an 1,800-acre residential resort with a private beach and golf course. Employed at Miromar was Robert Roop, who had worked at Future for 20 years prior. He served as the company's chief financial officer at the time he resigned and moved to Florida to work at Miromar with Antonier. The lawsuit against the firm states Antonier and Roop became "romantically involved," but does not specify when. In 2005, for reasons that remain under seal in a Montreal court, Miller filed for divorce. Antonier's lawyers in Florida say she filed a demand in the divorce proceeding for Miller's stake in Miromar, a company "she created and operated for decades," be transferred to her and that loans owed to Future Electronics by Miromar be forgiven. Miller sought a valuation of Miromar's assets, and in 2008, he filed a lawsuit in Florida to get access to its corporate records that he was allegedly being denied. The case plodded on until February, when Miller voluntarily dismissed it. But in June, Miller filed new lawsuits in Florida and Montreal, including a declaration from Frank Holder, a senior manager at a forensic consulting firm hired to probe Miromar. Holder concluded Antonier and Roop are violating Miller's rights as a shareholder and director in Miromar by excluding him from the company, and refuse to provide full access to corporate documents. He also claims to have discovered Antonier and Roop engaging in "various acts of misconduct, including theft and diversion of corporate funds." Miller is seeking for a receiver to be put in place. Lawyers for Antonier in Florida refute all of the charges and dismiss Holder's account as baseless, arguing criteria for installing a receiver have not been met. They also contend the suit is designed to delay the divorce proceedings, alleging "wrongful acts" on Miller's part and arguing he has a "desperate desire to avoid the consequences of the Canadian divorce proceedings." That case is sealed, and it is unknown what either party is seeking in those proceedings. None of the allegations in the Miromar litigation have been proven in court, and neither side will comment on the cases. But the disputes and the resulting publicity cut very close to the bone for Miller. Not even during the three-year-long ordeal with U.S. authorities did he speak with reporters. But after researching Future Electronics for weeks, this magazine received a call from the company's general counsel with an almost unprecedented invitation: Miller was willing to sit down and talk. Miller is reticent to say too much about himself or the company. He wants to save the best material for the book. But he has agreed to an interview, provided it is not recorded. Similarly, he would not pose for a photograph. He certainly is not afraid of the camera, however. Hanging on the wall opposite his desk are two huge portraits, one of Miller solo in a suit, another of him shaking hands with Quebec Premier Jean Charest. His aversion to published photographs, he explains, stems from his desire for security for himself and his sons. Miller speaks slowly, but has an intense manner. He leans forward when talking, his bushy eyebrows shooting up when he wants to emphasize point, and rarely breaks eye contact. He has a habit of saying whatever pops into his head. While making a point tangentially related to health, he offers that "I have colonoscopies with startling regularity." He also has a knack for numbers. He can remember exactly when Eli Manis phoned him to say he had quit Specialty Electronics: Nov. 20, 1968, at 4:45 p.m. The phone number at Future Electronics' first office? 418-7701. The number of stairs leading up to that office? Thirty-two. He politely deflects most personal questions. He is more comfortable expounding on Future's unique operating model — based on inventory and market research, rather than pipelining product. "It's so basic that it amazes me that our competitors don't recognize the benefit of having inventory," he says. "Inventory drives sales." He attributes much of the company's success to its privately held status. As a sole proprietorship, it can move much more quickly than its competitors. The fact that Miller doesn't have to answer to shareholders or a board of directors also allows Future to offer the longest customer payment terms in the industry, up to 180 days. "Our competitors can't compete with us. They would be clobbered if they did that," he says. The possibility of taking Future public has never seriously crossed his mind. Miller says he had no business mentors. "It all came to me. It's a gift. I just knew what to do," he says. A strange, metaphysical thread runs through some of his other explanations for his success. Take his work ethic. There was a time he worked 765 days in a row, without a day off, and rarely left the office before 11 p.m. He accounts for this drive by telling a story of walking the streets of Montreal once as a teenager and seeing a red Thunderbird convertible. He knew he had to have one some day. "I recall talking to myself. I said, 'Boy, you're really special.' I think that was a real turning point." He pauses. "But I had just been swimming, and I later read swimming releases endorphins. It's a natural high." He reached another turning point in the early-1970s, when his motivation shifted from material wealth to something larger. When one of his acquaintances passed away, Miller was one of only three people to attend his funeral. "I didn't want that to be me," he says. Charity took on a greater importance from that moment. In fact, growing Future's profits in order to have more money to give away is his primary motivation. "I believe you give till it hurts," he says. Talking about specific causes would take hours, he adds, but he does tell a story of a former employee diagnosed with cancer. Miller sent her to a specialist and ultimately paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for her treatment. "Your encouragement ... for treatment gave me the last three years of my life," she wrote to Miller in a letter delivered after her death in 1995. Nearly all of his charity work has been done anonymously. "I'm not seeking attention," he says. The one area to which Miller's name has been attached is cryogenics research. The Alcor Life Extension Foundation in Arizona has even described Future Electronics as its greatest benefactor. "These people are doing so much," he says. "They're pure, pure people." There have long been rumours Miller will have himself cryo-preserved when he dies. "I'll leave it to my sons to decide," he says. He is in good health today, though. In fact, he recommends the line of "life extension" vitamins marketed by the foundation. "They're the finest vitamins known to man," he boasts. "You should take them." After talking for a couple of hours, Miller signals an end to the interview. It's 10:30 p.m., and he's been awake since five in the morning. He walks to the door, again proffering his hand and a smile. There are still many unanswered questions: the backstory to all of the legal proceedings, what he has in store for Future, and whether his new-found openness will last. But he's closed the door. We'll have to wait for the book.
  2. http://www.lapresse.ca/maison/immobilier/201606/02/01-4987626-un-condo-sur-trois-vendu-a-perte.php L'immobilier, un moyen assuré de s'enrichir*? Certainement pas pour les Québécois qui ont acheté un condo au cours des trois dernières années. La firme JLR a analysé toutes les transactions impliquant des copropriétés achetées en 2012 ou 2013 et revendues avant le 31*décembre dernier. Sa conclusion*? Près du tiers des vendeurs ont dû se résoudre à accepter un prix égal ou inférieur à celui qu'ils avaient payé*! Plus de la moitié (56*%) des 7195*condos vendus depuis 2012 ont généré un gain de moins de 5*% pour leur propriétaire, révèle l'étude publiée la semaine dernière par JLR. Une fois les frais de courtage, de notaire, les droits de mutation et l'inflation pris en compte, ce gain « se transforme souvent en perte ». La plus-value médiane lors de la revente a été de 3,9*%, toutes transactions confondues, précise l'étude de JLR.  Beaucoup de pertes à Québec La situation est encore pire dans la ville de Québec, où l'orgie de construction des dernières années a entraîné une surabondance de copropriétés sur le marché. Selon l'analyse de JLR, 37*% des condos ont été vendus à un prix égal ou inférieur au coût d'achat dans la Vieille Capitale. La proportion de propriétaires « perdants » grimpe à 62*% lorsqu'on inclut les appartements revendus avec un profit inférieur à 5*%. « Ces résultats corroborent le rapport de l'évaluation du marché de l'habitation de la SCHL, qui indique que le niveau élevé de l'offre de copropriétés demeure inquiétant dans la RMR de Québec », souligne l'étude. JLR conclut qu'il est « peu probable de sortir gagnant d'une revente après un court délai de possession », à moins d'avoir investi en rénovations pour améliorer la valeur de revente de sa copropriété. De quoi faire réfléchir sur ses besoins à court et à moyen terme avant de déposer une offre sur un condo.
  3. Boat dock inside the house Price: $25 million (sold as is) Living Space: 65,000 sq.ft Acreage: 43 It has an indoor pool and a golf course. No helipad though, which is weird. The place is 500 km from Toronto. Thats a nice commute.
  4. Peut-être pour faire mieux passer son augmentation de tarifs en 2006, Hydro-Québec avait laissé miroiter que le coût de l'électricité baisserait à court terme, soit en 2008 et en 2009, des baisses qui ne sont jamais matérialisées. Pour en lire plus...
  5. Tours à bureaux: le marché avantage les locataires 29 décembre 2008 - 09h28 La Presse Laurier Cloutier Parce que les conditions économiques se détériorent rapidement, le marché des bureaux, tant à Montréal qu'ailleurs au Canada, tourne à l'avantage des locataires. Pourtant, la pénurie de locaux a soulevé l'inquiétude des locataires en 2008 à Montréal. La contrepartie, c'est qu'il faudra faire une croix sur les chantiers attendus de tours à bureaux à Montréal, et pour plusieurs mois. C'est l'évaluation que fait Jean Laurin, président et chef de la direction de GVA Devencore, de Montréal, une société canadienne spécialisée dans l'immobilier commercial. Les compagnies immobilières SITQ, Westcliff, Canderel, Magil-Laurentienne/Desjardins et Sidev n'ont pas encore trouvé le locataire principal pour lancer la construction de leur tour à bureaux respective. Les promoteurs devront patienter encore six mois, sinon jusqu'en 2010, estime Jean Laurin. Pourtant, au printemps de 2008, plusieurs s'attendaient à la construction d'une première de ces tours, en raison du plus faible taux d'inoccupation depuis longtemps à Montréal. Peu favorable à court terme «Le marché n'est plus favorable à court terme pour trouver ce locataire principal et amorcer la construction de cette tour à bureaux», note Jean Laurin. «La tempête économique remet tout en question: le plan d'affaires, l'organisation, la situation financière, déclare le président. Ça force à la réflexion.» Entre-temps, des promoteurs pourront par contre restaurer des immeubles existants, bien situés, dans quelques quartiers. Ils pourront ainsi en rénover au centre-ville, afin d'améliorer leur attrait pour les locataires. D'autres en trouveront le long des lignes de métro. On pourra convertir des immeubles industriels en bureaux. Car pour les locataires, les économies vont prendre la tête des priorités, du moins à court terme, souligne Jean Laurin. «Ils vont mettre au congélateur le prestige et l'image de marque.» «Au cours des six premiers mois de 2009, il ne va rien se passer. Après, on verra d'abord quel type de reprise se dessine», déclare le président de Devencore. Les constructeurs pourront tout de même rénover de cinq à 10 immeubles à Montréal en 2009, avec un nombre de pieds carrés plutôt appréciable, estime Jean Laurin. Il faudra pour cela que des promoteurs aux reins solides découvrent de bons immeubles à restaurer, bien localisés. Place à la négociation Dans ce contexte en évolution rapide, des locataires de Montréal et d'ailleurs au Canada, avec des baux qui approchent de l'échéance, peuvent renégocier avec les propriétaires, ajoute le président. Pour garder un bon locataire, le propriétaire de l'immeuble va accepter de négocier un bail à la baisse. «De gros propriétaires en particulier s'adaptent rapidement à la nouvelle situation du marché. La tendance des prix est à la baisse», note Jean Laurin. Le président de Devencore revient de New York, où «la valeur des immeubles et les loyers ont baissé, pendant que le taux d'inoccupation des bureaux a augmenté au rythme de la dégradation des disponibilités financières des entreprises. Et à Londres, c'est encore pire», dit-il. «Au Canada, le taux d'inoccupation des bureaux devient relativement élevé et les pressions à la hausse sur les loyers se sont évaporées. À Calgary, à Vancouver et à Ottawa, le marché devient plus favorable aux locataires. À Toronto, des constructeurs ont même mis en chantier de nouvelles tours de 2,5 à 3,5 millions de pieds carrés, à livrer sur le marché en 2009 et 2010, ce qui favorisera aussi les locataires», explique Jean Laurin. À Montréal, le taux d'inoccupation a fini par augmenter légèrement, mais on ne trouve toujours pas sur le marché les grands blocs de locaux contigus recherchés, conclut le président de Devencore. LE MARCHÉ DES TOURS À BUREAUX Grands centres urbains (automne 2008) SUPERFICIE (pi2) / INOCCUPATION / TAUX LOCATIF Toronto: 64,8 millions / 6,8% / 45$/pi2 Montréal: 45,2 millions / 5,5% / 33$/pi2 Calgary: 34,5 millions / 3,8% / 50$/pi2 Vancouver: 24,3 millions / 2,4% / 52$/pi2 Ottawa: 16,9 millions / 2,3% / 39$/pi2 Source: GVA Devencore
  6. L'économie américaine «traverse une période particulièrement difficile» et l'activité devrait «se dégrader davantage à court terme», estime l'OCDE. Pour en lire plus...
  7. Démolie depuis peu si on mets les choses en perspective. Pourtant, peu de gens s'en souviennent.
  8. Je n'ai pas trouvé de thread pour ce projet de réno. LaPresse parle de ce projet aujourd'hui Publié le 08 mars 2014 à 09h08 | Mis à jour à 09h09 Conversion d'un monument historique en condos par Karsten Rump L'ordonnance de fermeture du chantier des Appartements Bishop Court, angle Bishop et De Maisonneuve, a pris effet à la fin février, mais elle vient tout juste d'être officiellement enregistrée au palais de justice de Montréal. PHOTO OLIVIER PONTBRIAND, LA PRESSE VINCENT LAROUCHE La Presse La Commission de la construction du Québec ordonne l'arrêt immédiat des travaux de conversion d'un monument historique de grande valeur au centre-ville de Montréal, après avoir constaté que l'ancien «roi des peep-shows» de la métropole tentait d'y aménager des logements en usant de procédés douteux. L'ordonnance de fermeture du chantier des Appartements Bishop Court, angle Bishop et De Maisonneuve, a pris effet à la fin février, mais elle vient tout juste d'être officiellement enregistrée au palais de justice de Montréal. Le bâtiment de style néo-Tudor, classé «monument historique» et «immeuble de valeur patrimoniale exceptionnelle» par le gouvernement du Québec, a été construit en 1904 par les architectes Saxe et Archibald. L'Université Concordia y a longtemps eu des bureaux, puis elle a vendu l'immeuble pour 3,2 millions de dollars en 2010. D'importantes rénovations ont été entreprises pour y aménager des logements de prestige. Après une série de mésaventures financières et de problèmes avec des entrepreneurs en construction qui disaient ne pas avoir été payés, le projet a atterri entre les mains de l'homme d'affaires Karsten Rumpf. Rumpf avait été baptisé «le Roi des peep-shows» par le magazine Affaires Plus au cours des années 1990, car il était le plus important propriétaire de cinémas XXX à Montréal et Hamilton. Aujourd'hui, son adresse correspond à une boîte postale de Nassau, aux Bahamas, et l'homme s'est recyclé dans la gestion d'un imposant parc immobilier. Son représentant à Montréal n'a pas répondu à nos appels hier. La Commission de la construction dit avoir inspecté le chantier des Appartements Bishop Court à plusieurs reprises. Ses inspecteurs étaient mal reçus et avaient du mal à pénétrer sur les lieux et y ont découvert des travailleurs sans cartes de compétence. Pire, les travaux n'étaient même pas supervisés par un entrepreneur accrédité en bonne et due forme, selon eux. «Ils ont aussi constaté des problèmes qui pouvaient porter atteinte à la sécurité à cause des installations électriques», raconte Simon-Pierre Pouliot, porte-parole de l'organisme. Le propriétaire devra maintenant convaincre la Commission qu'il a régularisé la situation avant de pouvoir reprendre les travaux.
  9. Jan. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Smurfit-Stone Container Corp., a maker of cardboard packaging and one of the world’s largest paper recyclers, filed for bankruptcy in the face of falling demand and heavy debt payments. The petition for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, filed today in a U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Delaware, listed $5.6 billion in consolidated debt and $7.5 billion in consolidated assets as of Sept. 30. Twenty-four affiliates also sought protection. Smurfit-Stone, based in Chicago is North America’s second- largest maker of corrugated packaging, and has 22,000 employees in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Asia, according to its Web site. The company joins other pulp- and paper-related bankruptcies as rising Internet use hurts magazines and newspapers. Corp. Durango SAB, Mexico’s largest papermaker, sought U.S. bankruptcy in October. Quebecor World Inc., a magazine printer and Pope & Talbot Inc., a pulp-mill operator, also sought cross-border bankruptcies for their operations in the U.S. and Canada. Smurfit-Stone’s 30 largest consolidated creditors without collateral backing their claims are owed about $4.2 billion, court papers show. The Bank of New York, as agent for bondholders, has an unsecured claim of $2.2 billion, CIT Group Inc. is owed $36.8 million and British Petroleum is owed $22.1 million, according to court papers. Debt Levels Rivals AbitibiBowater Inc., Temple-Inland Inc. and International Paper Co. also have significant debt, according to Mark Wilde, an analyst at Deutsche Bank Securities in New York. In December, Smurfit-Stone said fourth-quarter earnings would be “significantly” lower than the previous period, citing slowing demand for containers for industrial and consumer goods. It said it would reduce production of containerboard and some types of paper. Credit-rating companies Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s downgraded their ratings on Smurfit-Stone’s debt shortly thereafter. Both said the company could be required to get waivers on its debt covenants. Smurfit-Stone has an $800 million revolving credit facility due Nov. 2009. Moody’s also rates an estimated $3.5 billion in debt, and noted in December that the company could need to get waivers on some of its covenants to maintain access to the revolver. Containerboard and corrugated containers are Smurfit-Stone’s main products, and it collects recycled paper as a raw ingredient through 27 recycling plants. Its net sales were $7.4 billion in 2007, and a three-year program designed to make mills more productive is slated to finish in the first half of this year, according to the company’s Web site. The case is Smurfit-Stone Container Corp., 09-10235, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).
  10. Tembec Industries Files Bankruptcy as Foreign Firm (Update1) By Christopher Scinta Sept. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Tembec Industries Inc., a unit of Montreal-based Tembec Inc., filed for protection from U.S. creditors to implement the debt restructuring approved by a Canadian court in February. The company said in papers filed today in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York that its assets and debts exceed $1 billion. Tembec Industries filed under Chapter 15 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, saying it wants the debt restructuring that was approved by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice to govern U.S. creditors. Chapter 15 allows foreign companies to reorganize outside the U.S. while protecting them from U.S. lawsuits and creditor claims. Holders of more than 98 percent of the company's notes and 95 percent of its stock voted earlier this year in favor of the restructuring that swapped debt for new equity, Michel Dumas, the company's chief financial officer, said in a statement to the court. Tembec had to restructure its debt due to the rising value of the Canadian dollar, declining U.S. home construction, a glut of timber because of a beetle infestation in British Columbia and falling newsprint demand, according to court papers. Douglas Bartner, an attorney with Shearman & Sterling in New York that filed the petition, didn't immediately respond to a phone call seeking comment. Tembec produces about 1.7 billion board feet of lumber, 1 million tons of paper and 2.1 million tons of pulp a year, according to court papers. Virtually all of Tembec's assets are in Canada, so the reorganization plan approved by the Canadian court should govern, Dumas said. Tembec joins another Canadian wood-products company, Pope & Talbot Inc., in filing for U.S. Chapter 15 as a foreign entity. The case is In re Tembec Industries Inc., 08-13435, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan). To contact the reporter on this story: Christopher Scinta in New York at [email protected] Last Updated: September 4, 2008 16:37 EDT
  11. Le gouvernement britannique a annoncé mercredi un plan consistant à garantir jusqu'à 20 milliards de livres (35,9 G$ CAN) de prêts à court terme. Pour en lire plus...
  12. Judge nixes bid to halt Montreal renovation LES PERREAUX From Tuesday's Globe and Mail December 16, 2008 at 3:48 AM EST MONTREAL — The owners of a Westmount house with a million-dollar view will have to give up a slice of their panorama. A judge has refused an attempt by the couple in the affluent Montreal enclave to stop a neighbour from adding a fourth storey and cutting into their spectacular view of the city below. Mr. Justice Robert Mongeon of Quebec Superior Court ruled Steven Goldberg is entitled to raise the roof on his house at 27 Bellevue Ave., even if it cuts into the sight line of his neighbours up the hill. Mireille Raymond and her husband, John Keyserlingk, sought an injunction to block an addition they say will also block sunlight and decrease the value of their $1.7-million property on Sunnyside Avenue by about 30 per cent. Those are exaggerations, Judge Mongeon ruled, after taking the unusual step of holding court on the hillside to check out the view. The judge, who was assisted by a wooden frame and yellow police tape set up on the roof of Mr. Goldberg's house to mimic the new addition, found only a small sliver of the view to the east will be blocked. "The loss must be considered in a much more realistic fashion than was initially presented," he ruled in a judgment handed down late Friday. Mr. Goldberg's lawyers pointed out that he had submitted his plans to the City of Westmount in September of 2007 and his permit was granted after an in-depth study over six months. The city argued nothing guaranteed Ms. Raymond and her husband that they would enjoy their view in perpetuity. Ms. Raymond was upset by the verdict, saying the judge, like the city, seemed to discount the importance of the unencumbered view. Ms. Raymond and Dr. Keyserlingk were ordered to
  13. Le papier recyclé suit les autres ressources. Résultat: il s’accumule dans les centres de tri de la planète, une occasion d’affaires à court terme. Pour en lire plus...
  14. ArcelorMittal To Shut Down Montreal Plant On June 30 March 26, 2008 12:21 p.m. EST Montreal, Canada (AHN) - The largest steel manufacturer will shut down its wire factory in Montreal on June 30. Around 100 Canadian workers employed by ArcelorMittal at the Lachine plant are expected to lose their jobs. ArcelorMittal said it had to close the Montreal facility because of high production cost, oversupply of products and the strong Canadian currency. The plant has 153 employees, but only 53 of the workers will be transferred to ArcelorMittal's steel wire mill at Saint Patrick. Alain Robitaille, general manager of ArcelorMittal's wire division, said demand for steel wire among carmakers had declined in the U.S. over the past six years. At the same time, the Canadian dollar had appreciated vis-a-vis the greenback, making it more expensive for American buyers to purchase their steel requirements from Canada. "ArcelorMittal cannot continue operating two wire mills in a context where it is more advisable to operate only one plant," Robitaille told the Associated Press. On March 14, the company petitioned an Ontario court to require its partners in Wabush Mines to sell to the firm their majority share in an iron ore joint venture in Labrador and Quebec. Prior to ArcelorMittal's court petition, U.S. Steel Canada and Cleveland-Cliffs withdrew from negotiations with ArcelorMittal to sell their combined 71 percent share, but did not explain why. http://www.allheadlinenews.com/articles/7010446071
  15. (Courtesy of Ars Technica) I wonder if something like this will happen in Canada or Quebec lol
  16. Quebec Tories swapped ad expenses, Elections Canada alleges TIM NAUMETZ The Canadian Press July 22, 2008 at 9:26 AM EDT OTTAWA — The Conservative Party shifted thousands of dollars in advertising expenses from two of its top Quebec candidates to other Quebec candidates who had more spending room in their 2006 federal election campaigns, the lawyer for Elections Canada has suggested. A former financial officer for the party confirmed last month in a court examination that expenses incurred by Public Works Minister Christian Paradis and former foreign affairs minister Maxime Bernier were assigned to other candidates. But former chief financial officer Ann O'Grady said the expenses were “prorated” to the other candidates because the firm that placed the television and radio ads billed Mr. Paradis and Mr. Bernier for higher amounts than their campaign agents originally committed. Elections Canada lawyer Barbara McIsaac probed Ms. O'Grady over records involving an eventual claim for $20,000 in radio and TV advertising by Mr. Paradis and $5,000 in advertising claimed by Mr. Bernier. The financial statements and invoices – filed in a Federal Court case concerning $1.3-million in questionable Conservative ad expenses – also showed that Mr. Bernier and Mr. Paradis paid a fraction of the ad production costs compared with other Tory candidates. Mr. Bernier and Mr. Paradis are among 67 Conservative candidates whose advertising expenditures are under investigation by the federal elections commissioner. Agents for some of the candidates took Chief Electoral Officer Marc Mayrand to Federal Court after he refused last year to reimburse the expenditures on grounds that they did not qualify as local candidate expenses. The Commons ethics committee is also conducting an inquiry into the bookkeeping, which Elections Canada alleges allowed the Conservative party to exceed its national campaign spending limit by more than $1-million. The Canada Elections Act prohibits candidates from absorbing or sharing the election expenses of other candidates. NDP MP Pat Martin, a member of the ethics committee, said if the party did shift expenses from Mr. Bernier and Mr. Paradis to other candidates it would add an entirely new dimension to the controversy. “I can't get (fellow NDP MP) Judy Wasylycia-Leis to put $5,000 of my expenses into her expenses,” Mr. Martin said. “That's absolutely not allowed.” In a sworn cross-examination last month, the transcript of which was subsequently entered in the Federal Court file, Ms. McIsaac pressed Ms. O'Grady about advertising and ad production costs that were transferred from Mr. Bernier and Mr. Paradis to other candidates. Ms. McIsaac challenged Ms. O'Grady's explanations that the expenditures were reassigned because the candidates had been mistakenly invoiced for more than the amounts their official agents originally committed for the campaign. “I'm going to suggest to you that Mr. Bernier was less than $2,590 from his spending limit and that he couldn't afford to put the additional amount into his return,” Ms. McIsaac said to Ms. O'Grady. “That would be total supposition,” Ms. O'Grady responded. “Who knows what else would have been going on at the time? I can't comment on how Mr. Bernier ran his campaign.” In the case of Mr. Paradis, Ms. O'Grady conceded that the candidate had originally committed his campaign to a media buy totalling $30,000, was eventually invoiced $29,766 and subsequently received a “credit note” of $10,000 that was reallocated to another candidate, Marc Nadeau. “Now, again, the reason for this was that Mr. Paradis had reached his limit with respect to spending as well, is that correct?” Ms. McIsaac asked. “He had to allocate some of his money to Mr. Nadeau, did he not, because he was close to his limit?” “I would not know that,” replied Ms. O'Grady, who replaced former Tory chief financial agent Susan Kehoe several months after the election. Ms. McIsaac also questioned Ms. O'Grady over the fact that Mr. Bernier paid no production costs for his share of the advertising. Mr. Paradis paid only $233.93 for his share, even though Ms. McIsaac said other candidates paid $4,500 each for production costs.
  17. This will surely be appealed, but it's one step closer to perhaps re-establishing a heavy maintenance presence in Montreal, and getting some good people their jobs back. This is a sad story which shouldn't have happened in the first place. http://tvanouvelles.ca/lcn/judiciaire/archives/2015/11/20151103-215554.html
  18. Comment faire pour changer mon nom: p'tit nouveau, a quelquechose de plus court. comme: tinuvo Merci
  19. CJAD This should be an interesting case to watch. We know that we are being screwed.
  20. I contributed this so I reserve the right to delete it. Signed, MTLskyline
  21. La Banque Nationale prend le marché de court 28 août 2008 - 08h38 LaPresseAffaires.com Michel Munger La Banque Nationale (NA) roule à sens inverse sur l'autoroute bancaire car elle annonce des profits records qui sont supérieurs aux attentes à son troisième trimestre. En effet, la banque montréalaise dévoile des profits en hausse de 18% à 286 M$ ou 1,73 $ dilué par action pour la période qui s'est terminée à la fin de juillet. C'est largement supérieur aux prévisions des analystes sondés par l'agence Bloomberg. Ces derniers s'attendaient à un profit net de 1,33 $ par action. La banque précise que la fusion de la Bourse de Montréal avec le Groupe TSX a dopé la rentabilité de son secteur baptisé Marchés financiers. À elle seule, cette transaction a entraîné un gain avant impôt de 88 M$. À l'opposé, le papier commercial adossé à des actifs a causé une perte de 37 M$. Le revenu total de l'institution financière a monté de 5% pour s'établir à 1,06 G$, alors que les analystes prédisaient 997 M$. «La banque a affiché une performance solide ce trimestre, portée notamment par un secteur Marchés financiers fort et une bonne croissance des volumes d'affaires du secteur Particuliers et entreprises, dit Louis Vachon», PDG de la Banque Nationale. Si l'on regarde ces données de plus près, on constate que les services aux particuliers et entreprises dégagent des profits en hausse de 2% à 127 M$. Les volumes de prêts ont compensé la dotation pour pertes sur créances et la réduction de la marge de profit. La gestion de patrimoine rapporte un profit de 37 M$, une diminution de 3 M$. La banque attribue cela au ralentissement des activités de courtage en valeurs mobilières. Les profits du secteur Marchés financiers ont rapporté des profits en hausse de 75% à 163 M$ grâce à la création du Groupe TMX. En date du 31 juillet, l'actif de la Banque Nationale totalisait 121,9 G$, une hausse de 8% depuis le 31 octobre 2007. La Nationale paiera un dividende de 62 cents l'action le 1er novembre. Les actionnaires devront être inscrits aux registres le 25 septembre. L'action de la banque a clôturé à 48,50 $ mercredi à Toronto.
  22. La banque montréalaise circule à sens inverse. Elle déclare une hausse de 18% de ses profits au troisième trimestre, battant les attentes avec un record de 286 M$. Pour en lire plus...
  23. Les deux organismes de financement hypothécaire viennent de vendre pour 3 G$ US de titres de dette de court terme, ce qui donne à penser qu'ils peuvent se financer sans aide du gouvernement. Pour en lire plus...