Caisse says supports SNC-Lavalin despite recent charges

Wed Feb 25, 2015 12:28pm EST
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TORONTO Feb 25 (Reuters) - SNC-Lavalin Group's largest shareholder, the Caisse de depot et Placement du Quebec, said on Wednesday that it remains confident in the engineering company's prospects despite its recent troubles.

"We haven't changed our position in SNC," said Caisse Chief Executive Michael Sabia, speaking with media after the pension fund manager reported results on Wednesday.

Canadian police laid corruption charges against SNC-Lavalin last week, the first time the engineering company has been directly charged with alleged bribery while it conducted business in Libya over a ten year period until 2011.

"The (SNC) board has done a lot of things in and around the issues the company has had," he said. "As a shareholder we have been supportive of those changes. And the fact that we haven't changed our position speaks volumes."

Caisse owns a stake of over 10 percent in SNC, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Reports of scandals involving alleged corruption and bribery at SNC's Libyan operations emerged three years ago and led to the ouster of SNC's former chief executive, Pierre Duhaime, in 2012, after the discovery that millions of dollars were missing. Other former SNC executives stand accused of fraud and criminal offenses by law enforcement authorities in different countries. (Reporting by Allison Lampert; Writing by Euan Rocha; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)