Ivaco extends creditor protection; reports losses

MONTREAL, (March 24, 2004) — Quebec steelmaker Ivaco, which recently won a ruling forcing its protesting trucking providers back to work, announced it has had its court protection from creditors extended until May 21. The protection was set to end on April 2.

Two weeks ago, a group of Ontario and Quebec truckers refused to show up for regular pick-up duties at Ivaco, citing millions owed for transportation services. Later Justice James Farley of the Ontario Superior Court ordered three of those carriers — reportedly Groupe Robert, the Cooney Group, and Best Transfer — to continue supplying services to Ivaco since the debt owed to the them pre-date Sept. 16, 2003, when the steelmaker filed for bankruptcy. Ivaco has been extended protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act twice since then.

The OTA protested the decision, claiming that the three companies targeted by the court order were not under any formal agreement or even commitment to provide services to Ivaco. The three carriers have complied with the order, but have instructed counsel to look at the most appropriate course of action, the OTA says.

Meanwhile, Ivaco reported it suffered a net loss of $199.8 million, and an operating loss of $70.2 million in 2003, as sales slumped 10.5 per cent in “very difficult circumstances.” The company said the stronger Canadian dollar was the biggest factor in last year’s sales decline.

— with files From Canadian Press

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