Canadian Plastics

Quebec bath product maker purchased by senior creditor

Plastic bathroom fixture manufacturer Maax Corp., of Ste-Marie, Que., has been taken over by Brookfield Bridge Lend...

June 23, 2008   Canadian Plastics

Plastic bathroom fixture manufacturer Maax Corp., of Ste-Marie, Que., has been taken over by Brookfield Bridge Lending Fund Inc., its senior lender, in a debt-forgiveness deal worth more than $275 million.

According to Maax Corp., which was taken private four years ago in a leveraged buyout, the sale to the Brookfield fund ”preserves the Maax business and ensures its continuance as a successful competitor in the marketplace.”

”We are securing the future of Maax through this transaction and quite frankly are improving the future of Maax with this transaction,” said CEO Paul Golden.

Under the proposed agreement, which is subject to the Quebec court’s approval, none of the equity owners — which include one of Ontario’s largest public-sector pension plans — will receive any payments. Brookfield’s debt will be converted into a 100 per cent ownership of the company.

Maax Corp. had been put up for sale due to the slump in U.S. home construction, which damaged its business and made its total debt of about $500 million unmanageable. The company, which manufactures tubs, spas and showers, lost $180 million on revenue of $411 million in 2007. Its workforce has been reduced by about half since the 2004 buyout.

Maax Corp. currently employs approximately 2,100 workers at 15 plants in North America and Europe including about 1,000 in Canada. The transaction is not expected to have any impact on employees, suppliers or customers, Golden said.

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