Quebec water heater rental leader HydroSolution is heading to Ontario in a transaction for which the amount has not been disclosed.
“They made us an unsolicited offer and we quickly accepted it. It’s like a big brother who knows his stuff,” says Nicolas Ayotte, President and CEO of HydroSolution, of the acquirer, Ontario-based Enercare.
HydroSolution is growing rapidly and has doubled its workforce in the last eight years. The company belonged to Hydro-Québec until 2005.
Two of the company’s major shareholders were iA Financial Group and Caisse de Depot et Placement du Québec.
“It was a harmonious process with the shareholders. Everyone agreed,” emphasizes Mr. Ayotte.
In an interview, the businessman, most recently managed by Ontario, insisted on the “Quebec clause” included in the sale.
The head office will stay here, he assures. And HydroSolution’s business partners will remain Quebecois, if we’re to believe.
“We are a service company. Water heater installers, we can’t move that to Ontario,” he says.
With kind approval
In addition to water heater rental, Hydro Solution also offers electric charging stations, a rapidly growing area with a future.
Quebecers not allowed
HydroSolution’s water heaters run on electricity, he adds, while those in Ontario run primarily on natural gas, further ensuring operations remain focused on Quebec.
“It will allow us to secure our growth in peace because Enercare believes in us and has given us all the assurances for the future,” emphasizes Mr. Ayotte.
But why not try to find out whether the Caisse, which is already a shareholder, or a fund like the FTQ might have been interested, thus preserving the Quebecois character of the thriving company?
“We didn’t even ask the question. When a leader like Enercare approaches you, the choice is obvious,” says the boss.
HydroSolution sees the future in a bright light, backed by an agreement with Hilo, a subsidiary of Hydro-Québec, which promises Quebecers smarter management of their energy consumption.
“We have tripled the number of our partners in Quebec in recent years, and the goal is to triple this number again,” says the CEO.
▶ The sale of HydroSolution comes less than 12 months after that of water heater maker Giant, based in east Montreal since 1945, to American interests.