A $40 million gift from Quebec to a French multinational

Quebec is preparing to give French multinational Saint-Gobain — in which Caisse de dépôt et Placement du Québec (CDPQ) has a stake — a $40 million grant to help it complete the Reduced carbon footprint of its Montérégie facilities The newspaper.

The Company today announced a $91 million investment to expand and modernize the plasterboard manufacturing facility of its CertainTeed Canada subsidiary. The latter, in Sainte-Catherine, a Montreal suburb, has already been identified as one of the most polluting in the province.

Of the total, nearly half (44%) of the future investment will come from a provincial government grant awarded under the Transition Énergie Québec (TEQ) program. The Minister for Energy and Natural Resources (MERN) responsible for this program, Jonatan Julien, did not respond to our interview request.

CertainTeed in Sainte Catherine

Photo archive, Chantal Poirier

The Caisse is a shareholder

The Caisse de dépôt et Placement du Québec (CDPQ) is a long-standing shareholder of this major European manufacturer and distributor of building materials, listed on the Paris Stock Exchange. In its most recent report, the Caisse announced that it held 416,000 shares of Saint-Gobain worth $37 million.

The French company is considered a giant in the construction industry. At the end of 2021, the company had almost 170,000 employees and 800 production units in 75 countries, including Canada. Three quarters of the turnover of 59.44 billion dollars (or 44.2 billion euros) are now generated outside of France.

Last week, Saint-Gobain also announced it had acquired Montreal-based Kaycan, a major manufacturer and distributor of outdoor building materials, for $1.17 billion (or $928 million). It was his third major acquisition on North American soil since 2019.

No more fossil fuels

According to our information, the work that it will announce in the presence of ministers from the Legault government and the leadership of Hydro-Québec will allow it to turn its back on the use of fossil fuels and become 100% electric.

Ultimately, the company says, the move would reduce its carbon emissions by 44,000 tons a year, the equivalent of removing 9,500 cars from the roads.

CertainTeed’s Sainte-Catherine facility, which has been in operation since 1973, could become “the first zero-carbon wall panel manufacturing facility in North America.”

In the stock market, Saint-Gobain’s share price has fallen 7.56% since the beginning of 2022. Yesterday, when the Paris public prosecutor’s office closed, the share was trading at 54.73 euros.

  • Foundation: 1665
  • Revenue (in 2021): €44.2 billion ($59.44 billion)
  • Workforce: 167,000 employees in 75 countries

Its main shareholders:

  • Group savings plan fund (8.3%)
  • BlackRock Inc (5.87%)
  • Custody and consignment funds (3.62%).

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