MONTREAL – SNC-Lavalin has appointed an executive from French nuclear giant Areva as its new chief financial officer.
Alain-Pierre Raynaud, who also has experience in the automotive, energy and banking sectors in Europe and Asia, begins his duties June 1 and will be based at the engineering company’s Montreal headquarters.
He replaces Gilles Laramee, who was appointed in December as executive vice-president of infrastructure, concessions and investments at SNC-Lavalin and entrusted with the company’s concession portfolio which includes Highway 407 and AltaLink.
Raynaud holds a doctorate in economics and has spent 32 years working with global companies specializing in project management.
After beginning his career as a financial analyst, he joined Renault and later moved to Japan to lead Nissan’s financial operations. Raynaud later became CFO of Areva, where he oversaw a restructuring, before being named to head its UK division.
Analyst Pierre Lacroix of Desjardins Capital Markets said some investors will take “comfort” from Raynaud’s strong background in power development, especially within the nuclear space where SNC-Lavalin’s focus has grown since its acquisition of Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd.
But the analyst said the stock reaction could be mixed in light of SNC-Lavalin’s (TSX:SNC) expected confirmation that it doesn’t expect to complete its contract on the Cobre Panama copper project following a recent $5.1-billion takeover of Inmet Mining Corp. by First Quantum Minerals (TSX:FM).
The value of the work SNC-Lavalin was contracted to do was estimated to be worth approximately $120 million, which the company said will be debooked from its backlog in the first quarter of 2013.
On the Toronto Stock Exchange, SNC-Lavalin shares closed down 40 cents to $42 in Wednesday morning trading.
SNC-Lavalin has been hiring a series of new executives since the departure of former chief executive Pierre Duhaime last year after an independent review showed he signed off on $56 million in payments to undisclosed agents.
Duhaime and another former SNC top executive, Riadh Ben Aissa, are facing fraud charges stemming from a contract involving the building of the multibillion-dollar McGill University Health Centre in Montreal.
SNC-Lavalin has said a review of its financial reporting has found that problems in the system identified last year have been eliminated.
A former executive of German industrial conglomerate Siemens has been hired as chief compliance officer, responsible for guiding the company on ethics and matters of corporate governance.
Meanwhile, the Quebec government announced Wednesday that a consortium led by SNC-Lavalin is one of five groups that have qualified to bid on a $3.7-billion road construction project in Montreal that is scheduled to be completed by 2020.
Each of the groups must receive certification from the provincial securities regulator, the AMF, that they haven’t violated any laws before submitting formal bids in the spring of 2014. A winner is expected to be selected that summer.
SNC-Lavalin’s group includes controversial construction magnate Tony Accurso’s Louisbourg SBC. The companies are among the Quebec firms mentioned at the province’s corruption inquiry.
Several other leading companies, including Genivar (TSX:GNV), Group Aecon (TSX:ARE) and Dessau are involved in the other consortia.