Atcon in receivership

The Atcon Group was placed into receivership Monday in a New Brunswick courtroom.

The Atcon Group was placed into receivership Monday in a New Brunswick courtroom.

Miramichi Court of Queen's Bench Justice Thomas Riordon agreed to place several Atcon companies in receivership meaning their assets are put under the control of bankruptcy professionals.

Scotiabank, the company's biggest creditor, called in its loans last week and applied for The Acton Group to be placed in receivership.

Riordon placed Atcon Group Inc., Atcon Holdings Inc., Atcon Property Holdings Inc., Atcon Veneer Products Inc. and Atcon Logistics Inc. into receivership using the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act.

Five other Atcon companies were granted 30 days protection from creditors, under the Companies Creditors Arrangement Act.

A court-appointed monitor will oversee those companies while they continue to operate, and try to come up with a plan to save them.

The matter will be back in court on March 15 so the judge can assess the plan's progress, and decide how to proceed.

Justice Riordon said the exercise seemed futile and expensive to him, but he believed it needed be considered.

If all the Atcon companies fold, as much as $70-million in taxpayers' money and hundreds of jobs could be lost.

Last year, the New Brunswick government extended three different loan guarantees to Miramichi-based Atcon worth a combined $50 million. Those were on top of earlier loan guarantees and loans, which elevated the provincial government's exposure to roughly $70 million.

The Atcon Group has faced a series of troubles since last fall.

Several former contractors and employees have launched legal action, or threatened it, for alleged unpaid bills.

in January, Atcon was removed from the $165-million Deh Cho Bridge contract in the Northwest Territories because it couldn't agree on terms for the second phase of construction with the bridge's developer