Receiver hopes to sell DME businesses, with aim to reopen

The court-appointed receiver of Diversified Metal Engineering (DME) says it plans to sell the business as a going concern with the hope of finding a buyer to reopen the company.

Government made offer of financing, province says

The receiver, Alvarez & Marsal, was called in by the Royal Bank of Canada and was appointed Monday. (Brittany Spencer/CBC)

The court-appointed receiver of Diversified Metal Engineering (DME) says it plans to sell the business as a going concern with the hope of finding a buyer to reopen the company. 

The receiver, Alvarez & Marsal, was called in by the Royal Bank of Canada and was appointed Monday.

The receivership order filed in the Supreme Court of Prince Edward Island includes five businesses:

  • DME Limited Partnership.
  • DME General Partner Inc.
  • Atlantic Systems Manufacturing (2016) Ltd.
  • DME Canada Acquisitions Inc.
  • DME US Holdco Inc.

The receiver said it is currently going through a review and some DME employees will be called back to work to complete some projects and get those to customers. The company did not say how many employees will return to work or for how long.

The receiver also said it will be paying employees owed wages and accrued vacation.

DME creates many different products with most of its completed projects in the craft brewing industry. (Pat Martel/CBC)

Earlier this year the CBC reported DME employed about 165 people in Charlottetown, 150 in Abbotsford, B.C., and about 20 in South Carolina. The South Carolina operation is not included in the receivership.

According to its website, DME creates many different products including bio extractors, marine exhaust scrubbers and cyclone separators, with most of its completed projects in the craft brewing industry. 

The court documents also indicate the deadline to submit bids for the purchase of the company is Jan. 7, 2019, but that could change if the receiver and Royal Bank of Canada agree on a different date.     

Finance offer made, says province

The P.E.I. government made an offer of financing to DME before the company went into receivership, according to the province's executive director of public affairs.

Mary Moszynski told media the offer was not enough to keep the company from going under.

Where were you before these employees needed help when you could've helped a local company?— Steven Myers

But the province's Minister of Economic Development Chris Palmer made no mention of the offer during question period Tuesday, as the Opposition asked repeatedly what government had done to try to prevent the company closing its doors.

"What discussions did your department have with the company about trying to avoid this terrible turn of events?" PC MLA Steven Myers asked Palmer. It was one of five variations on the same question, most of which elicited a similar response.

P.E.I.'s Minister of Economic Development Chris Palmer told the legislative assembly the province is trying to help connect workers with new jobs, or find someone to purchase DME. (P.E.I. Legislative Assembly)

"We're very concerned with the workers in this situation," Palmer answered. "We're doing everything we can to help the affected workers."

"I've asked him several times in this House today why he wasn't there to support a local company when he knew they were going into receivership," Myers said. "Where were you before these employees needed help when you could've helped a local company on Prince Edward Island stay afloat?"

"We became aware of this situation over the weekend," Palmer said.

"We weren't currently in any discussions with the company but we have been very active in the file all weekend and coming into this week, and we're looking at all options. We're there to provide support and the company knows we're there for support for their employees and anything we can do to help — with either an acquisition by somebody coming in to buy the company or to help those employees find new work."

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