Press Releases

National Bank and Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec join forces to ensure succession financing for Quebec SMEs

Montreal, 5 October 2005 -

National Bank of Canada and Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec today announced that they are joining forces to finance ownership succession within Quebec SMEs.  The purpose of this agreement is to provide business owners with assistance and advice during all steps of a business transfer, from the planning stage to the final financial transaction. National Bank clients will also benefit from the Caisse’s five years of expertise in succession financing (Accès Relève), primarily in subordinated debt financing and/or capital stock investments.

“With many SME managers in the province retiring in the next few years, the current lack of succession planning is of great concern for the future of Quebec businesses,” explained Tony Meti, Senior Vice-President – Commercial Banking and International at National Bank. “As Quebec’s leading bank for business, we want to help owner-managers successfully transfer their businesses by offering them complete and structured assistance at no cost. Our partnership with the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec means our clients will also have access to a comprehensive financing offer and two solid financial partners with recognized business financing expertise,” he added.

“Over the past five years, we’ve helped numerous Quebec companies with their business transfer projects and have developed sound expertise in this particular area of commercial lending which we intend to continue to build on,” explained Normand Provost, Senior Vice-President, Private Equity at the Caisse.  Financial institutions are at the front line when it comes to identifying companies with succession planning needs.  We feel that this first agreement, which provides National Bank clients with an integrated solution, will give the Caisse the opportunity to share its extensive business succession expertise with a greater number of business owners,” he added.

Through their partnership, National Bank and Caisse de dépôt et de placement du Québec will offer business owners a wide range of financing solutions so they can leverage their business transfers. National Bank and the Caisse will work hand in hand to design a complete and comprehensive service proposal with made-to-measure solutions that will help guarantee a bright future for Quebec SMEs.  “Ensuring a smooth transition not only requires a long-term investment from our organizations, but also a service offering that is both flexible and readily deliverable,” concurred Tony Meti and Normand Provost.

In 2000, the Caisse launched Accès Relève, an innovative product that combines financial assistance with advice through a structured process.  Created to ensure the orderly transfer of ownership to another family member or to a company executive, Accès Relève is designed for small and mid-sized Quebec businesses that are firmly established and have a sound financial structure.  They must also have a proven track record of profitability and attractive growth prospects.  The Caisse has a staff of experts dedicated to analyzing Accès Relève financing applications and ensuring that business owners receive all the assistance they need.

About 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 customers elsewhere in the world. National Bank offers a full array of banking services, including 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 $110 billion in assets and, together with its subsidiaries, employs 17,049 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.

About the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec
The Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec is a financial institution that manages funds primarily for public and private pension and insurance plans. As at December 31, 2004, it held CA$102.4 billion of net assets. The Caisse invests in the main financial markets as well as in private equity and real estate. The institution partners with dynamic companies in various sectors, offering them a full range of debt and equity financing products.As at December 31, 2004, the private equity portfolios held more than 600 investments in funds and companies, for C$10.2 billion of net assets. For more information, visit the Caisse’s website at http://www.lacaisse.com/accesreleve_en

Information (The telephone numbers provided below are for the exclusive use of journalists and other media representatives):

Denis Dubé
Public Relations Director
National Bank of Canada
Tel.: (514) 394-8644

Annie Vallières
Adviser, Information and Media Relations
Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec
Tel.: (514) 847-5493