Press Releases

National Bank Announces Winners of the 11th Annual “SMEs of the National Bank” Recognition Program

Montreal, 1 November 2004 -

National Bank announced the provincial winners in the 11th edition of its “SMEs of the National Bank” recognition program.

The prizes were awarded at a gala on Friday, October 29 at Montreal's Sheraton Centre, attended by more than 200 guests including the regional finalists in all categories, members of National Bank's senior management and business leaders from across Quebec.

Réal Raymond, President and Chief Executive Officer of National Bank, took advantage of the occasion to point out that the Bank has long recognized the vital role played by small and medium-sized businesses in Quebec's development. “By creating a special program to acknowledge the achievements of those at the helm of the province's SMEs,” Mr. Raymond noted, “National Bank is speaking on behalf of all Quebecers since everyone benefits from the hard work and innovative spirit shown by these entrepreneurs.”

More specifically, this program is also a way for the Bank to pay tribute to its small and medium-size business clients who have distinguished themselves through their achievements and performance over the past year.

Mr. Raymond presided the event and unveiled the names of the four provincial winners in the Small Business, Agricultural SME, Export SME and SME categories.

The winner in the Small Business category was J.M. Massé & Fils, a Victoriaville-based company headed by Michel Massé. Since it was founded in 1947, J.M. Massé & Fils has drilled over 10,000 artesian wells in Quebec, Ontario and New Brunswick, making it one of the leaders in its field.  The company also offers water analysis and treatment services.

Operated by Yvan Pettigrew, Ferme Côte d'Or of Isle‑Verte took top honours in the Agricultural SME category.  This family farm owes its success to its broad-based operations, which include strawberries, milk production as well as cereal and other field crops. The pride that everyone takes in working at Ferme Côte d'Or is also part of the farm's winning recipe.

In the Export SME category, the winner was Stove Builder International of Quebec City.  Headed by Marc-Antoine Cantin, this company specializes in the manufacture of stoves and fireplaces. Despite the surge in heating oil prices, the company has succeeded in growing its market share and boosting its sales outside Quebec from 15% to 75%.

In the SME category, the winner was Société des Technologies de l'Aluminium du Saguenay. This Chicoutimi-based company, under the direction of Pierre Bouchard, specializes in designing and manufacturing equipment for aluminium smelters. It also offers internationally-renowned engineering consultation services.

The four provincial winners of the “SMEs of the National Bank” recognition program will be rewarded in a number of ways.  All will appear in a visibility campaign in major Quebec dailies belonging to the Réseau Probec. A profile of each winner will also be televised as part of the Salut, Bonjour! morning show on the TVA network, during the weeks of November 30 through December 23, 2004 (Tuesday and Thursday).

The winners in the Agricultural SME, Small Business and SME categories each received two airline tickets to Paris while the winner in the Export SME category received $5,000 in airfare for the destination of his choice, courtesy of National Bank Financial.   The Electronic Payment Solutions sector of the Bank also issued each of the winners a PREMIA MasterCard Business Card with a $1,500 credit for their travel expenses.

Selection process and partnerships

The winners in the Small Business, SME and Agricultural SME categories were selected from among the regional finalists based on a number of criteria, such as their competence, their drive and the excellence of their human resources management. The Export SME winner was chosen from a list of provincial finalists who were selected for their recent export success. All the winners were selected by a panel made up of individuals from the business community who followed a rigorous selection process overseen by the professional services firm Samson Bélair/Deloitte & Touche.

Once again this year, the National Bank's recognition program was widely supported by the business community and sponsorships from prestigious companies such as IBM, Coopérative fédérée du Québec, TVA, Samson Bélair/Deloitte & Touche, the French-language newspapers La Presse, Le Soleil, Le Droit, Le Nouvelliste, La Tribune, Le Quotidien and La Voix de l'Est, National Bank Financial and National Bank MasterCard.

About the National Bank of Canada 
National Bank of Canada is an integrated group which 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. The 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. The National Bank has assets of $84 billion and, together with its subsidiaries, employs close to 17,000 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):

Johanne Bissonnette
Public Relations
National Bank of Canada
Tel.: (514) 394-6500