A big player in the cinema industry on the brink

A big player in the movie industry on the brink< /p> UPDATE DAY

The Montreal-based Solution Highpoint, a major player in the film and event industry in Quebec, is going through one of the worst crises in its history behind the scenes, Le Journal has learned.

Following a request from the National Bank (BN), the court urgently ordered the appointment of a receiver, who has since taken control of the company, transferred its CEO, and put all of its assets up for sale. 

This is how the company, founded in 2007 by entrepreneur Jean-François Dubé, could be liquidated in whole or in part within a few weeks by Raymond Chabot, the firm retained in this file to act as receiver. . 

Located in the borough of Anjou, Montreal, Highpoint specializes in the rental and installation of rigging equipment for film and television studios in the Montreal area. . 

The film and series crews (X-Men, Transformers, Three Pines, etc.) produced by Netflix, Sony and Amazon frequently require its services.

More recently, it has expanded its range of offerings by renting stages and infrastructure for major events, such as the F1 Grand Prix, the Montreal Jazz Festival, or the Quebec City Summer Festival. 

Debts and erroneous accounting

In March 2021, Highpoint announced the introduction into its shareholding of the Culture and Communications Investment Fund (FICC) – a rare venture capital fund dedicated exclusively to cultural industries –, as well as financing of 4.35 million from the NL.

This injection, it was written, was to enable it “to acquire new equipment and offer a wider range of services to local and foreign productions”. Obviously, the sequel did not go as planned. Eighteen months later, the company would be struggling with liabilities of some $15 million, including more than $11 million in debts to the BN.

Worried, the financial institution argued in Superior Court having also noted unjustified disbursements – nearly $900,000 – made without its knowledge, leading to a major and rapid deterioration in the company's liquidities. 

Thus, during the first three months of 2022, the company's working capital has shrunk by $2.3 million, explains the receiver's report, consulted by Le Journal.

The latter bluntly suggests, moreover, that the management of “erroneous accounting”, with the consequence of misleading its lender with regard to its true financial performance. 

< p>From shareholder to creditor

“I find it all very unfortunate. […] Sometimes, there are things that you learn after the fact, ”reacted the general manager of the FICC, Robert Chartier, claiming to have recently withdrawn from the shareholding. 

“We are now part of the creditors,” he says, refusing to disclose the extent of the losses envisaged.

Jean-François Dubé, dismissed president (with his v.-p. finance, Claude Dubé), did not respond to our interview request yesterday. The same applies to representatives of Raymond Chabot.

Investors interested in all or part of Highpoint's assets have until September 12 to come forward. If all goes as planned, all of these assets – including the contracts – will have found takers by October.

HIGHPOINT SOLUTION

  • Founded in 2007
  • Founder: Jean-François Dubé
  • Turnover: $12 M in 2022
  • Among the assets: $19 M in rental equipment, $3 M in trailers, trailers and rolling stock
  • < li>Warehouses in Montreal, Laval and Quebec