Winners of the 16th edition of the SMEs of the National Bank

Montreal, 9 November 2009 - 

Last Friday, National Bank Financial Group unveiled the names of the winners of the 16th edition of the SMEs of the National Bank recognition program. The 2009 SMEs of the National Bank are also part of the celebrations of the Financial Group's 150th anniversary, which focus on continued long-term success.

"Through their hard work and excellent results, the finalists have carved a place for themselves in a very competitive environment. In a context where resources are sometimes limited, meeting the significant requirements of a market that is in constant flux is a feat. For all these reasons, I would like to congratulate this year's finalists for their remarkable work," stated Réjean Lévesque, Executive Vice-President – Personal and Commercial Banking, National Bank Financial Group.

The awards ceremony took place in Montreal and was attended by more than 200 people, including the finalists, National Bank Financial Group representatives and leaders of the business community. The Gold winners in each category are:  

Small Business  Category: Laboratoires Bug-Tracker inc. This company tests video games for the electronic entertainment industry. With more than 10 years of expertise in new technologies, Bug-Tracker helps editors and developers of video games and multimedia content market quality products. Its main fields of proficiency include functionality testing, compliance testing, compatibility testing, localization testing, load testing, network testing and simulation testing. With its highly skilled linguistic testers and its strong presence in Canada, France and China, the company supports 14 major languages.

SME  Category: Mecfor inc. A designer and manufacturer of highly specialized equipment for the heavy industry, in particular the aluminum industry, this company has been proudly promoting Saguenay's expertise to the world since 1987.  Mecfor specializes in various fields of expertise including metallurgy, the environment, oil and gas, and mining. Its ability to adapt itself enables the company to offer its clients made-to-measure products and cutting-edge technology.

Agribusiness SME Category:Ferme Desmartin inc.This family-run farm in St-Denis-sur-Richelieu specializes in crop and animal production. A jewel in Quebec's agricultural tradition since 1823, it sets itself apart with its passion for cultivating land that has never wavered in six generations. With its 100 pure breed dairy cows, 188 hectares dedicated to large-scale farming and 2,500 sugar taps, the entire Martin family shares this passion for agriculture.

Export SME  Category: Mecfor inc. This company, which also won the top prize in the SME Category, specializes in heavy equipment.

Benefits and prizes for the winners
A company's reputation is a key factor in growing its business. Consequently, the winning companies will benefit from an exposure campaign in the major dailies, as well as Quebec weeklies and the French-language magazine Les Affaires. Stories about these companies will be shown on the French-language television networks TVA, LCN and Canal Argent. In addition, all winners will receive a work of art by artists Michel Guyon and Gisèle Mailhiot of the Ateliers Guyon+Mailhiot.

The Gold winners in the four categories mentioned above will receive a laptop courtesy of IBM Canada Ltd., a BlackberryTM smartphone offered by Bell Canada, a National Bank PREMIA MasterCard business card with a $1,000 credit balance, a $7,500 financial planning mandate offered by Private Wealth 1859, a $1,500 prize to organize a recognition activity, underscoring their employees’ contribution given jointly by National Bank Financial and the Payroll Marketing Department of National Bank Financial Group, as well as a surprise activity offered by Export and Development Canada. 

The Silver and Bronze winners in these four categories received a $1,000 prize to organize a recognition activity underscoring their employees’ contribution given jointly by National Bank Financial and the Payroll Marketing Department of National Bank Financial Group, and a $5,000 financial planning mandate offered by Private Wealth 1859.

National Bank Financial Group: serving SMEs
Canada’s economic growth depends, in large part, on the financial health and drive of SMEs. National Bank Financial Group is known as one of the most engaged financial institutions in the SME market, particularly in Quebec. Its business clients can call upon the Financial Group's departments to support them in every step of their development, from start-up to transfer.

In order to meet their evolving needs and ensure their continued success, National Bank Financial Group has established teams of experts who work with clients to satisfy all their financial requirements. The Financial Group also has specialized advisors in specific sectors of activity, including television and film production, high technology, agriculture and agrifood, energy, forestry and health and life sciences.

Selection process and partnerships
In each of the three categories, Small Business, SME and Agribusiness SME, National Bank Financial Group carried out a financial analysis of the companies selected by the Commercial Banking Managers and nominated six per region. The winners in the three categories were selected from among the Gold regional finalists based on a number of criteria, such as their competence, their drive and the excellence of their human resources management. The winners in the Export SME category were preselected from among the finalists by the professional services firm Samson Bélair/Deloitte & Touche for their recent export success. All the winners were selected by a panel made up of five individuals from the business community, who were guided by a member of National Bank Financial Group's management team, according to a rigorous selection process.

Photos of the event are available on request. Please contact Marie-Joëlle Lebeau at 514-394-5000, ext. 2393.

About National Bank of Canada
National Bank of   Canada, which is celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2009, is an integrated group that provides comprehensive financial services to consumers, small and medium-sized enterprises and large corporations in its core market, while offering specialized services to its clients elsewhere in the world. National Bank offers a full array of banking services, including retail, corporate and investment banking. It is an active player on international capital markets and, through its subsidiaries, is involved in securities brokerage, insurance and wealth management as well as mutual fund and retirement plan management. National Bank has close to $135 billion in assets and, together with its subsidiaries, employs 17,772 people. The Bank’s securities are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (NA:TSX). For more information, visit the Bank’s website at
www.nbc.ca.

Information (The telephone number provided below is for the exclusive use of journalists and other media representatives.):

Denis Dubé
Director – Public Relations
National Bank Financial Group
Tel.: 514-394-8644