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Investment group and government program help Louis Garneau relaunch

Published December 8, 2020

SAINT-AUGUSTIN-de-DESMAURES, Québec (BRAIN) — Louis Garneau Sports Group, which requested creditor protection in March, plans to relaunch following an investment from a Montréal investment firm and support from a program created to help attract and retain businesses in Québec. Company founder Louis Garneau remains the majority shareholder.

Champlain Financial Corporation's other major investments include Kanuk (a Montréal apparel manufacturer and retailer), La Canadienne (a footwear brand), and G2MC (a high-end furniture retailer). Louis Garneau Sports and Champlain have been working for several months on a new strategic plan to relaunch the Garneau, Sugoi and Sombrio brands, the company said.

According to Le Journal de Québec, the relaunch program has a price tag of CA$25 million ($19.5 million), including a CA$5 million loan from Investissement Quebec. When it filed for protection, Louis Garneau Sports listed debts of CA$28.1 million and Sugoi, which filed separately, had debt of CA$8 million.

"We sincerely believe that Louis and his team of seasoned leaders have all the assets required to reinforce the positioning of the Louis Garneau Sports Group as a world leader of cycling apparel, accessories and bikes," said Pierre Simard, the president of Champlain Financial Corporation.

The company's head office remains in St-Augustin-de-Desmaures. "'Never Give Up' has been my motto during my whole cycling career," said Garneau, a former top cyclist. "Even if this race has been the most difficult one of my life, I never gave up. Champlain Financial Corporation believed in our team from the very beginning. I want to thank them for trusting and believing in us."

Investissement Quebec is a corporation set up by the National Assembly of Québec to support businesses in the province.

"This relaunch plan will allow Louis Garneau Sports Group to exploit new technologies and to place greater emphasis on e-commerce, two essential conditions of competitiveness in today’s world," said Pierre Fitzgibbon, Québec's Minister of the Economy and Innovation. 

"Thanks to its trademarks recognized throughout the world, Louis Garneau Sports Group is a strategic company for the Québec economy. It is above all an international benchmark in the world of sport and a strong symbol for Québec entrepreneurship. In these times of economic recovery, I encourage all of Québec to continue to favor local purchasing, " Fitzgibbon added. 

In September a majority of Garneau's creditors approved the relaunch plan. Champlain's involvement was not publicly disclosed at the time.

Louis Garneau at an event announcing the new partnership Tuesday.

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