On its 25th anniversary, the Solidarity Fund QFL sets a new record, investing $730 millions for the benefit of Québec businesses

    MONTREAL, June 11 /CNW Telbec/ - For the fiscal year ended May 31, the
Solidarity Fund QFL ("Fund") announced a new investment record - $730 million.
One hundred forty partner companies benefited from investments by the Fund or
its network of regional Funds.
    "We are very proud of how much we invested this past year, which marks
the Fund's 25-year anniversary. This performance is a testimony to the
expertise of our teams and to our reputation in Québec's business community.
Over the past fiscal year, we met the needs of businesses in all sectors of
activity and at various stages of growth as well as maintained a presence
across Québec through our network of regional Funds and SOLIDES," said Gaétan
Morin, the Fund's Executive Vice-President, Investments.

    Backing promising sectors

    The Fund continued to play a major role across all the sectors of the
economy, a number of which have a promising outlook. The mining sector, which
has been buoyed by the increase in metal prices, is a case in point. As such,
the Fund invested $20 million in each of the following two mining companies:
Osisko Exploration, to support the company's development of the Canadian
Malartic gold-bearing deposit in Abibiti, and Canadian Royalties for its
nickel mining project in Ungava Bay, which will create some 270 jobs in 2010.
    In the financial services sector, where the Fund provides strategic
support, Addenda Capital secured a $45 million investment, used to take the
company private and keep its head office in Montréal. By merging with
Co-Operator's Group, Addenda Capital will have the benefit of a pan-Canadian
network that should fuel its growth in Canada
    The aerospace sector continues to thrive in Québec. The Fund plays a
major role as a patient investor in this industry, where a long-term strategy
is the most suitable course of action. Over the past fiscal year, the Fund
continued to support the development of Québec integrator Mecachrome
International, with funding of $20 million. Mecachrome is a supplier of
Bombardier and Boeing and has the necessary expertise to participate in the
development of the Airbus A350. The Fund also reinvested $6 million in Sonaca
NMF Canada, which was used to enlarge the company's Mirabel plant and to
purchase cutting-edge equipment. Sonaca is the subsidiary of a Belgian group
specializing in the manufacture and assembly of wing panels for such companies
as Bombardier and Embraer.

    Contributing to business growth

    The Fund also made substantial investments in larger companies. For
example, TFI Holdings Limited Partnership, a company belonging to
transportation leader TransForce group, received an unsecured loan of
$100 million for its acquisition projects. The Fund also boosted its
investment in Stella Jones - a manufacturer of industrial wood structures for
the telecom and railway ties industries - by $25 million. The proceeds were
used to make an important acquisition in the U.S. The Fund injected $15
million in GLV, a global provider of processes and technologies designed for
the treatment of wastewater and pulp and paper production to help the company
with its international expansion and development projects.

    Supporting businesses of the new economy

    The Fund continued to uphold its commitment to Québec enterprises
operating in the new economy, investing $235 million in IT, telecom and life
sciences firms. For example, Atrium Innovations, which develops and markets
value-added products for the cosmetic and nutrition industries, secured $37
million from the Fund to back its growth, which it plans to achieve through
acquisitions, among other things.

    Building a strong venture capital industry

    The Fund continued with the investment strategy developed in 2004, which
seeks to structure the venture capital industry by investing in local
specialized funds that back businesses at the seed and start-up stage, and
that attract foreign capital to Québec. Accordingly, this past year, the Fund
invested $109 million in five funds, bringing its investment in specialized
funds to $495 million since 2004. Today, the Fund is a partner in 32 private
VC funds, including four specializing in start-up. Of the 14 private funds
located outside Québec, eight now have a business office in Montréal and
invest in Québec SMEs.

    Ensuring the continuity of Québec businesses

    Because it understands that Québec enterprises need help with the
succession issue, the Fund recently appointed a vice-president for business
succession matters and updated its offer in this regard. As such, in May, the
Fund and its network of regional Funds launched the SME Transfer Solution
aimed at providing buyers with financial and strategic support and coaching
owners selling their business. The Fund also teamed with the Chair of SMB
Development and Succession at HEC Montréal to create a Web site
(www.fromsuccesstosuccession.com) geared to entrepreneurs contemplating buying
or selling a business.
    "The current economic context poses major challenges for Québec
businesses, particularly in the manufacturing industry. We do our utmost to
meet the needs of partner companies that have successfully responded to these
challenges, for example, by investing in equipment to boost productivity and
competitiveness. A great example is Trimag, a subsidiary of Spectra Premium,
which services the auto industry. This company purchased modern equipment that
helped it increase production capacity. I'm always impressed to see how
resilient Québec entrepreneurs are and how quickly they adapt. We believe that
many opportunities will open up for them next year, such as expansion into new
markets, mergers and acquisitions. In keeping with our mission, we will
therefore continue offering patient capital to help them grow and by
extension, create and maintain quality jobs in Québec," concluded Mr. Morin.

    Highlights (as at May 31, 2008)

    Annual investment volume:  2008 = $730 million
                               2007 = $668 million
                               2006 = $643 million
                               2005 = $492 million
                               2004 = $405 million (11 months)

    Start-up and seed investments (2004 to 2008)
        - $768 million

    Attracting foreign capital to technology funds in Québec (2004 to 2008)
        - $314 million

    Economic training since 2000

        - 11,773 workers trained as a result of the initiatives of the
          Fondation de la formation économique

    About the Solidarity Fund QFL

    With net assets of over $7.4 billion as at November 30, 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 more than 575,000 shareholders and has
helped, on its own or with other financial partners, to create, maintain and
protect over 122,000 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. Source: Josée
Lagacé Senior Advisor, Press Relations and Communications, Fonds de solidarité
FTQ, (514) 850-4835, jlagace@fondsftq.com

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