Desgagnés completes another step in its investment plan with a fourth acquisition of nearly $40 million



    QUEBEC, Feb. 6 /CNW Telbec/ -It is with great pleasure that Groupe
Desgagnés announced today the completion of another step in its investment
plan as it acquired and took ownership of a new vessel, a Beluga F-360 series,
through its subsidiary Transport Desgagnés Inc. on January 23, 2009. She is a
multipurpose, tweendeck, Lo-Lo cargo ship, with a deadweight of 12,744 mt, and
able to carry heavy payloads. With a length of over 138 meters, the freight
capacity of her holds is 16,000 m3, while her total capacity is 20,000 m3
including the main deck. The vessel is also equipped with two 180 mt cranes,
which may be deployed to lift 360 mt in tandem. Built at the Qingshan shipyard
in China, she is rated Ice Class 1A and is equipped with a 5,400 kW (7,344
BHP) engine, enabling her to achieve a steaming speed of 15.5 knots.
    This acquisition, in the range of $40 million, follows those of the new
cargo ship M/V Rosaire A. Desgagnés in July 2007 ($40 M), the new oil and
chemical tanker M/T Sarah Desgagnés ($50 M) in February 2008, and the three
older oil and chemical tankers M/T Diamond Star, Emerald Star and Jade Star
(totalling $45 M) in December 2008. In addition to the jobs created and the
ensuing economic spin-offs, Mr. Louis-Marie Beaulieu, Chairman of the Board
and CEO of Desgagnés, declared that he was "quite pleased that, despite the
financial crisis and the very difficult economic situation, Groupe Desgagnés
was able to realize this transaction that is in line with our expansion and
fleet renewal plan, with $300 million in investments already engaged by the
company".
    This sister ship to the M/V Rosaire A. Desgagnés, will be named M/V
Zélada Desgagnés in honour of Mr. Zélada Desgagnés, younger brother of captain
Rosaire Desgagnés. Mr. Beaulieu highlighted that "it goes without saying that
two close-knit brothers, industry pioneers who have worked and contributed
together to Desgagnés' success, and recognized by their peers for their
competence, their integrity, their sense of duty, dedication and determination
to succeed, will each see their names sail on the seas and oceans of the
world".
    The M/V Zélada Desgagnés has already begun her journey with charters on
the international market, where she will be used during the winter season,
starting with Korea and then on to Thailand and Singapore. She should arrive
in Québec this spring, where she will be trading mainly in the Eastern
Canadian Arctic during the summer. Mr. Beaulieu also noted that he is "very
pleased with the fact that this new acquisition will improve Sealift services
to the Northern Communities, which we have been serving for more than 40
years".
    It is worth emphasizing that Desgagnés, through its subsidiary Desgagnés
Transarctik, is the leading marine carrier of general cargo to the communities
of Nunavik and Nunavut. Desgagnés also works in partnership with Arctic
Co-operatives Limited by way of Nunavut Sealink and Supply Inc. (NSSI), a
company providing sealift services out of Montreal and Churchill, to
communities in the five Nunavut regions. Arctic Co-operatives (ACL) is an
organization comprising some 19,000 Inuit members. Amongst the activities and
services it provides to its members, ACL undertakes and coordinates
procurement activities and related logistics for the co-op stores located in
the great majority of the Nunavut Communities. Desgagnés is also in
partnership with the Fédération des coopératives du Nouveau-Québec (FCNQ)
through Taqramut Transport Inc. (TTI), a corporation providing sealift
transportation and related services to all the communities in Nunavik. FCNQ
boasts more than 7,500 Inuit members, thus representing the near totality of
Inuit adults in Nunavik. Beyond being very active in different fields of
service activities, FCNQ owns and develops the co-op stores in all of the 14
communities in Nunavik and plays an important role in the region's economic
development.
    Louis-Marie Beaulieu reiterated his pride in these partnerships. "With
their beneficial impact on the Nunavik and Nunavut populations, both
partnerships enable us to be in direct contact with local (Sealift) users who
embody the real marine transportation requirements for these remote regions.
These alliances, with state-of-the-art assets, allow for better services to
users, and contribute to Desgagnés remaining the leader in Northern Sealift
services", concludes Beaulieu.

    With its head office in Quebec, Desgagnés is a conglomerate that has,
since the 19th Century, specialized in marine carriage and transportation of
liquid and solid bulk, general cargo and also passengers. With gross receipts
approximating $180 million and over 850 employees in peak season, its
activities also extend to marine vessel repairs and maintenance, as well as to
rental and operation of heavy machinery. In addition to having two ships under
construction, the company owns and operates a fleet of 17 motor vessels, with
an overall deadweight of almost 180,000 mt; they cover the St. Lawrence River
Network & the Great Lakes, the Canadian Eastern Arctic, the East coasts of
Canada and the United States, as well as the seas worldwide.

    Enclosures: picture of the M/V Zélada Desgagnés

    
    /NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available on
    the CNW Photo Network and archived at http://photos.newswire.ca.
    Additional archived images are also available on the CNW Photo Archive
    website at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited
    members of the media/
    




For further information:

For further information: Ms. Suzanne Laflèche, Assistant to the
president, (418) 692-1000, www.desgagnes.com

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Groupe Desgagnés Inc.

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