Solidarity Fund QFL and Its Network Invest $230 Million to Encourage Start-Ups and Growth in the Agrifood Sector



    MONTREAL, Nov. 28 /CNW Telbec/ - On November 29, the Solidarity Fund QFL
(the "Fund") will participate in the "2007 marketing event," a conference
organized by the Conseil de la transformation agroalimentaire et des produits
de consommation (CTAC), where the Fund will appeal to the some 400 industry
stakeholders in attendance to continue to stimulate the industry despite the
current economic context.
    The Fund will capitalize on this gathering to reiterate its financing
offer for businesses at all stages of development. In fact, the Fund and its
network of Regional Solidarity Funds and SOLIDE have invested $230 million to
date in the agrifood sector and will continue to do their part to help it
thrive.
    "Although the current economic context poses a daunting challenge for
many agrifood businesses, they must nevertheless have a long-term vision and
continue investing in order to remain competitive. We offer patient capital,
flexible products and a network that spans Québec. We therefore invite
entrepreneurs to come discuss their long-term plans with us," said Hubert
Carrier, the Fund's director of agrifood investments.
    In fact, the Fund recently introduced the Productivity Loan, offering
business owners capital without a guarantee to help them upgrade their
equipment - a prerequisite to boosting productivity. The Fund also offers the
Trademark Loan, a product especially well suited to the fiercely competitive
agrifood industry that also requires no collateral and that provides
businesses with the capital required to maximize promotion and advertising.
"Few financial institutions would consider financing intangibles such as
advertising campaigns. This is an innovative solution that meets a specific
need in this industry," added Mr. Carrier.
    Beyond that, the Fund and its network also offer venture and development
capital to companies with a promising future and solid market positioning,
criteria that a good number of their partners have fulfilled.

    Some success stories

    The SOLIDE of the Iles-de-la-Madeleine RCM invested $50,000 to help
launch Les cochons tout ronds, a company that transforms pork into cold cuts
and sausages. In fact, Québec's leading chefs and restaurateurs are already
raving about the 30-odd products available on the market.

    Nutrableu is a blueberry grower in Lac-Saint-Jean, which thanks to a
$25,000 investment from the SOLIDE of the Maria-Chapdelaine RCM has been able
to expand its reach across North America. A proud Québec success story.

    Based in Notre-Dame de Lourdes, Fruit d'Or is a leading Canadian
cranberry and blueberry processor that was able to expand its plant and double
output thanks to a $500,000 investment by the Centre-du-Québec Regional
Solidarity Fund. Today, the company exports its products to 25 countries in
Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia.

    Blainville bakery La Petite Bretonne is a partner of the Laurentides
Regional Solidarity Fund, which invested $1.3 million to help the business
expand and modernize. La Petite Bretonne's croissants and brioches are sold in
Canada, the U.S. and the Caribbean.

    As a patient investor, the Fund in 2004 helped Gordon Brothers and EG
Capital refinance Laura Secord by investing $7 million, which was used, among
other things, to update the confectionary's brand image, renovate its stores
and introduce new products.
    More recently, the Fund helped Les Investissements IKE launch its
trademark Kooll Desserts with a $4 million investment. With its $75 million
investment, the Fund also played an important role in the Van Houtte
transaction, encouraging the new owners to keep the company headquartered in
Québec.
    These success stores clearly show that the Fund and its entities are here
to support agrifood businesses all across Québec at all stages of their
development.

    About the Solidarity Fund QFL and its network

    With net assets of over $7.2 billion as at May 31, 2007, the Solidarity
Fund QFL is a development capital company that through its RRSP channels the
savings of Quebecers into investments in all sectors of the economy to help
create and maintain jobs and to further Québec's economic growth. The Fund is
a partner, either directly or through its network members, in 1,696 companies.
It currently has nearly 575,000 shareholders and has helped, on its own or
with other financial partners, to create, maintain and protect over
122,000 jobs.
    Through its network, the Fund is present throughout to Québec to back
business start-ups and growth. The 87 local investment corporations for the
development of employment (SOLIDE) meet the needs of small businesses with
investments of $5,000 to $100,000, while the 16 Regional Solidarity Funds
offer SMEs anywhere from $100,000 to $2 million in capital. Moreover, with
their Growth Loan and Equity Loan products, the regional funds are powerful
economic levers in the regions. When larger companies and amounts over
$2 million are involved, the Solidarity Fund QFL itself steps in. The Fund
also invests in specialty funds operating mainly in the new economy, in such
sectors as information technology, telecommunications and life sciences. For
more information, visit www.fondsftq.com.




For further information:

For further information: The following telephone number is provided for
the exclusive use of journalists and other media representatives. Source: 
Josée Lagacé, Senior Press Relations and Communications Advisor, Solidarity
Fund QFL, (514) 850-4835, jlagace@fondsftq.com


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