Solidarity Fund QFL Invests a Record $848 Million in Québec Businesses



    MONTREAL, June 16 /CNW Telbec/ - In these tough economic and financial
times, the Solidarity Fund QFL (the "Fund") forged ahead with its investments
that for the fiscal year ended May 31 reached a record $848 million. Including
investments made by its regional funds and SOLIDE, over 280 companies
benefitted in this regard. In addition to this substantial amount, the Fund
set aside $542 million for three new financing programs introduced in the
Québec government's last budget. The Fund therefore injected $1.3 billion into
the local economy. These figures were provided by the Fund's president and
CEO, Yvon Bolduc, during an appearance today at the Board of Trade of
Metropolitan Montreal.
    "This is an incredible performance that shows just how vital the Fund is
for the development of Québec businesses. During these tough economic times,
which have shaken investor confidence and virtually dried up venture capital
and liquidity, a long-term, complementary source of capital such as the Fund
is essential. Our teams are here to help our partner companies become even
more competitive," said Mr. Bolduc.

    Continuing to finance growth

    Transat A.T. has been a partner company for nearly 20 years. This year,
the Fund continued backing this partner with a new $60 million investment. The
Fund also reaffirmed its commitment to Premier Tech, a partner company for
over 20 years. Located in the Lower Saint Lawrence region, Premier Tech
specializes in various areas, including horticulture and environmental
technologies. A new financing deal of up to $30 million, of which $15 million
has already been closed, will support the company's long-term growth. As part
of a strategy to diversify its capital sources, Transcontinental secured a
$100 million investment from the Fund that will allow this Québec beacon to
continue growing for years to come. Another example is a the $10 million
financing agreement signed with Gestion Juste pour rire to help this company
continue its expansion by taking the "Just for Laughs" brand global, namely,
to the U.S., the Middle East and Asia.
    In its last budget, the Québec government reaffirmed its confidence in
the Fund by announcing three new financing programs involving the Fund and
other partners:

    1. Further the knowledge economy

    The Fund contributed $250 million to the newly created Teralys Capital
    Fund, a joint initiative with the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec.
    Teralys will finance private venture capital funds that invest in
    technology companies in the life sciences, information technology and
    clean technology sectors.

    2. Help businesses recover

    In light of the recent economic situation, the Fund invested $250 million
    to create a new fund to help mid-sized and large companies struggling
    with liquidity problems and therefore unable to grow. This fund is
    managed jointly with Société générale de financement du Québec (SGF).

    3. Backing start-ups

    The Fund has also undertaken to participate in three new seed funds
    created to spur the technology sector. The Fund's investment could reach
    $42 million.

    Ensuring the sustainable development of the forestry sector

    During the last fiscal year, Société de gestion d'actifs forestiers
Solifor s.e.c., a new forestry investment fund created on the Fund's
initiative, expanded its holdings with three forests purchased as a result of
the Abitibi Consolidated sale. Through Solifor, the Fund helps preserve
Québec's natural resources and can ensure sustainable and responsible
development of Québec's forests.

    The Fund creates the SME Confidence Index

    An expert in SME development and growth issues, the Fund partnered with
the research firm Léger Marketing this year to launch the SME Confidence Index
- Solidarity Fund QFL. The index is based on a survey of SME owners'
perception of the current economic situation, expected performance of their
business, capital spending plans over the next 12 months, hiring intentions,
and access to financing. The latest index, published today, shows SME
confidence at 55 out of 100, an increase of 6 points, signalling that business
sentiment is improving.

    Furthering our commitment to Québec's economic development

    "We have to look beyond the current difficulties and think about business
development and opportunities. We must create jobs and niches today that will
sustain the Quebec economy once the economy rebounds. We mustn't be blinded by
short-term returns. The real issue is long-term growth," concluded Mr. Bolduc.

    About the Solidarity Fund QFL

    With net assets of $6.2 billion as at November 30, 2008, 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 1,881 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 126,000
jobs. For more information, visit www.fondsftq.com.




For further information:

For further information: The telephone number provided below is for the
exclusive use of journalists and other media representatives: Josée Lagacé,
Senior Advisor, Press Relations and Communications, Fonds de solidarité FTQ,
(514) 850-4835, jlagace@fondsftq.com


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