ACE Aviation shareholders approve dissolution
By The Canadian Press
April 25, 2012, Montreal - Air Canada's former parent company won shareholder approval to wind down its operations Wednesday as hundreds of protesters blocked a downtown Montreal street where the meeting was
By The Canadian Press
The protesters, many of them aerospace workers who just recently lost their jobs, were joined by a number of students outside the meeting of ACE Aviation.
The frustrated employees of insolvent aircraft maintenance company Aveos denounced both Air Canada and the federal government for letting their former employer die.
They accused the Harper Conservatives of being in a conspiracy with Air Canada by not enforcing a law they say requires heavy maintenance work to be done in Canada.
The also vented their anger at former airline CEO Robert Milton who earned millions of dollars by spinning off Air Canada into pieces, including Aveos.
Union leader Maxime Dolci denounced the government and a succession of Air Canada leaders, including current CEO Calin Rovinescu.
"They are responsible for the nightmare we are living right now,'' said the former Aveos employee and local union vice-president.
The protesters were supported by the NDP and Bloc Quebecois Leader Daniel Paille, who denounced the federal government's hands-off attitude towards Aveos.
ACE barred reporters from its annual meeting. In a statement, it confirmed that shareholders approved the wind up of the company and plans to distribute between $250 million and $300 million in the coming weeks.
"The final distribution to shareholders will not occur earlier than mid-year 2013 in order to allow that any remaining contingent liabilities be settled or otherwise provided for,'' it said in a statement.
ACE's main assets are $351 million of cash and equivalents, 31 million Class B voting shares in Air Canada and warrants to purchase Air Canada shares.
Shareholders will also vote on proposals to convert ACE class A shares, which are reserved for non-Canadian residents, and class B shares into one voting class.
Since ACE no longer holds a significant interest in any holder of a license under the Canada Transportation Act, the company said the dual class structure is no longer necessary to meet Canadian rules for foreign ownership of airlines.
ACE Aviation Holdings Inc. was formed in 2004 to be the airline's parent company after Air Canada sought court protection in April 2003.
ACE has sold most of its assets, including the companies now known as Chorus Aviation and loyalty card operator Aeroplan operating as Aimia.