North

Canadian North's owner says airline is now free of NTCL debt

The owner of Canadian North says the Northern airline is now free of any debt amassed by its former sister company - and the now-dissolved - Northern Transportation Company Limited (NTCL).

Edmonton-based company that managed airline (and NTCL) now stripped of control

Two Canadian North planes being emptied of luggage at the Yellowknife airport - just as the airline is now being rid of any exposure to the massive debt amassed by sister company NTCL. (GNWT)

The owner of Canadian North says the airline is now free of any debt amassed by its former sister company — and the now-dissolved — Northern Transportation Company Limited (NTCL).

On Friday, the Inuvialuit Development Corporation (IDC), the business arm of the N.W.T.'s Inuvialuit people, said in a press release that ownership of the airline, as well as Weldco-Beales Manufacturing, has been transferred "directly into IDC."

Like NTCL, Canadian North and Weldco-Beales (which makes heavy equipment attachments in Alberta, B.C. and Ontario) were owned by Norterra, an Edmonton-based management company which was in turn owned by IDC.

This old family tree makes it clearer:

(NTCL)

NTCL amassed $140 million in debt and couldn't repay it, opening other Norterra companies to being tapped to repay.

But according to IDC, the transfer to IDC announced Friday "leaves both companies free from any external debt" related to Norterra.

So what did Norterra do exactly?

Before the N.W.T. government purchased NTCL's assets in December — effectively ending the shipping company's 85-year existence — NTCL shares were held by both IDC and Norterra.

However, the Inuvialuit people had no voting shares in NTCL, putting all of the power of the shipping company in Norterra's hands.

The same was true of Canadian North and Weldco-Beales; Norterra was the sole shareholder of those companies.

Besides having voting power, Norterra oversaw the companies' budgets, investments and senior management recruiting.

With NTCL out of the picture and Canadian North and Weldco-Beales now fully owned by IDC, CBC News asked Mark Fleming, a vice president at IDC, about Norterra's future.

"Norterra is not dissolved and will remain a private holding company," he said.

Norterra's website remained active for a period after NTCL's assets were purchased, listing Canadian North and Weldco Beales as its remaining subsidiaries.

But the website was offline this week. 

Read the full IDC release below. On mobile? Click here

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Guy Quenneville

Reporter at CBC Ottawa, originally from Cornwall, Ont.

Story tips? Email me at guy.quenneville@cbc.ca or DM me @gqinott on Twitter.

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