SNC-Lavalin Group, Inc. history, profile and history video

 SNC-Lavalin Group, Inc. provides engineering, procurement, construction, project management, project financing services to industry sectors, including agrifood, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, hydrocarbons and chemicals, environment, heavy construction, mass transit, mining and metallurgy, power and water management. The company operates through four segments, Services, Packages, Operations and Maintenance and Infrastructure Concession Investments. The Services segment includes contracts wherein it provides engineering services, feasibility studies, planning, detailed design, contractor evaluation and selection, project and construction management, and commissioning. The Packages segment includes contracts wherein it is responsible not only for providing one or more services activities, but also undertakes the responsibility for providing materials and equipment, and usually also include construction activities. The Operations and Maintenance segment includes contracts under, which provides operations, maintenance and logistics solutions for buildings, power plants, water supply and treatment systems, desalination plants, postal services, broadcasting facilities, telecommunications infrastructure, highways, bridges, light rail transit systems, airports, ships, oil and gas facilities, and camps for construction operations and the military. The Infrastructure Concession Investments segment includes equity investments in infrastructure concessions for public services, such as airports, bridges, cultural and public service buildings, power, mass transit systems, roads and water. SNC-Lavalin Group was founded in 1911 and is headquartered in Montreal, Canada.

“SNC-Lavalin Group History

Early Years

In the spring of 1911, 32-year-old French Canadian hydraulics engineer Arthur Surveyor left the Canadian Department of Public Works and opened his own consulting firm in Montreal, Canada. He quickly earned a reputation for preparing quality engineering reports and his firm won contracts with Montreal Hydro-Electric, the Shipping Federation of Canada and several municipalities in Quebec and Ontario.

By 1918, Surveyor had become a spokesman for the Canadian engineering profession. He sat on the boards of the École Polytechnique de Montréal, the Canadian Society of Civil Engineers, and the National Research Council of Canada. He was also writing articles for the Revue Trimestrielle Canadienne, Quebec’s first true engineering journal.

1920s and 1930s

In 1922, Surveyor was awarded his first international contract—a profitability study for a proposed pulp mill in Aberdeen, Washington.

Also in the early 1920s, Surveyor had relocated to the Drummond Building on Sainte-Catherine Street, where he began working with architect Henri Labelle on building projects. With more work than he could handle alone, Surveyor hired Georges Chênevert and Emil Nenniger, both of whom quickly proved to be top talents. In recognition of their contributions, Surveyor made them partners in the firm in 1927.

1940s and 1950s

A second partnership agreement was signed in 1946, and the firm’s name was changed to Surveyer, Nenniger and Chênevert. The name would eventually be abbreviated to SNC.

Meanwhile, the firm was starting work on Manic-5 in northern Quebec, the largest multiple-arch dam in the world at the time. For Manic-5, SNC made use of a revolutionary new technology to accelerate its calculations: an IBM 1620 computer.

1960s and 1970s

In the early 1960s, SNC took its success on Manic-5 all the way to India for the Idukki arch dam. The project was the firm’s first contract outside North America and a major profile raiser. A double curvature, parabolic concrete arch rising 170 metres above lowest bedrock level, Idukki power station was at the time the highest of its type in mainland Asia.

As the 1960s drew to a close, Camille Dagenais was named President and CEO of SNC Enterprises, an incorporated company with employees as its shareholders. In 1974, Jean-Paul Gourdeau was named President, with Dagenais retaining the CEO role.

By the late 1970s, Dagenais felt the time had come to invite outsiders from the larger business community onto SNC’s board to improve risk management and transparency. At the Shareholders’ Meeting in 1977, four new members were named to the firm’s board. They were Guy Godbout, the President and CEO of Valcartier Industries, a munitions manufacturer; Frederick Jones, a financial consultant; Frederick Peacock, President of Peacock Holding Company, a Calgary real estate firm; and Stephen Jarislowsky, President of the investment firm Jarislowsky, Fraser & Company.


During the mid-1980s, in an attempt to protect the company from the swings inherent in the engineering sector, SNC began acquiring manufacturing companies. Valcartier Industries and Canadian Arsenals, two Canadian munitions manufacturers, were purchased. To secure the capital for the latter, SNC went public in 1986. A total of 4,100,000 Class A shares were issued with an initial value of $30 million. By June 10, SNC had raised $53.3 million from its IPO.

In the spring of 1989, Guy Saint-Pierre officially replaced Gourdeau as CEO of SNC. Saint-Pierre, who was a member of SNC’s board, had been a Provincial Liberal Minister of Industry and Commerce and had recently been the Senior Vice-President of John Labatt.

In 1990, SNC won a breakthrough contract for the Hibernia platform on the Grand Banks of Newfoundland and Labrador. The shallow-water platform included a concrete gravity base structure with a crude oil loading system, subsea installations, and topsides for the drilling, production, processing, and shipment of 110,000 barrels a day of crude.


1930s and 1940s

In 1936, two young engineers, Jean-Paul Lalonde and Roméo Valois, opened an engineering consulting office in Montreal. Lalonde & Valois, as the firm was known, immediately won a series of design and construction engineering mandates for Route 11 north of Montreal. Other contracts followed in these early years, including a number of assignments for overpasses and bridges.

In December 1943, Canadian National Railway Head Engineer, H. A. Dixon, asked Lalonde & Valois to design all 15 overpasses for a new rail line it wanted to run through Montreal between its Eastern Junction and the start of the Bout-de-l’Île line, a distance of 24 kilometres.

1950s and 1960s

Lalonde & Valois had more work than it could handle by the early 1950s. The Baby Boom brought with it many new contracts for schools and hospitals. New recruits arrived, including Bernard Lamarre, Marcel Dufour, Jean-Paul Dionne and André Denis. They joined the firm just in time to help it carry out a contract to raise the Honoré-Mercier Bridge, and then another to twin the structure. These jobs established Lalonde & Valois as a leading bridge design firm in the province, and lay the groundwork for the large infrastructure jobs it would go on to win in the 1960s.

Bernard Lamarre was named President and CEO in 1962, and led the company for the next 29 years.

Among the most high-profile contracts won during these years are the Louis-Hippolyte-La Fontaine Bridge-Tunnel project in Montreal. In 1962, Lalonde & Valois and the Montreal engineering firm Brett & Ouelette were retained to design and supervise construction of the project, which included a 457-metre bridge and a 1,368-metre segmented tunnel under the Saint-Lawrence River.

In 1963, the consulting engineering company Lalonde, Valois, Lamarre, Valois and Associates (LVLVA) was created, along with Lamarre, Valois International Ltd.

That same year, as the city of Montreal was gearing up to host Expo 67, LVLVA, was awarded a contract to design Place Bonaventure, an 23,105-square metre exhibition hall in the heart of the downtown core. At the time of its completion in 1967, it was officially the largest concrete building in the world.

1970s and 1980s

At the start of the 1970s, the Quebec engineering world was abuzz with talk of a gigantic hydropower development around James Bay. On September 22, 1972, Lavalin signed a contract with Hydro-Québec to supply 70 percent of the personnel for Phase I of the James Bay Hydroelectric Development project, with Bechtel Quebec and the utility itself furnishing the remainder. Known as the Project of the Century, Phase I would add 5,000 MW to Quebec’s energy grid and include 5,000 kilometres of transmission lines.

In 1976, Lavalin acquired Fenco, the industrial engineering arm of Janin Construction. The new expertise brought the company several offices throughout Canada with strong industrial capabilities. The expertise acquired with Fenco led to an engineering, procurement and construction management contract for the first phase Alcan’s Grande Baie aluminum smelter in Quebec in 1977. Two years later, Fenco’s industrial know-how would help Lavalin win an important project to enlarge Noranda’s CEZinc smelter at Valleyfield.

The 1980s saw Lavalin continue with acquisitions. Several new companies were purchased, including Shawinigan, an engineering firm in the power sector. Specializing in hydropower and resource management, Shawinigan had six main operating units across Canada staffed by over 1,000 employees. Shawinigan instantly made Lavalin one of Canada’s leading hydropower engineering firms. During that time Lavalin grew to become SNC’s main rival in Canada.

In 1988, Lavalin launched The Weather Network and MétéoMédia, Canada’s first all-weather cable television channel. The idea originated from the meteorological team at one of its divisions in Halifax, Nova Scotia, which provided the station with data. From its first day on the air in September, the network was reaching 5 million households across Canada.

Like its rival SNC, Lavalin also moved into the manufacturing sector in the 1980s. It acquired Kemtec, a refinery in the east end of Montreal, followed by the Urban Transport Development Corporation (UTDC), a maker of heavy vehicles and trains in Ontario. UTDC failed to meet expectations, and Kemtec began to drain profits when the price of its main feedstock rose above the cost of its principal product. By the end of the decade, Lavalin found itself struggling.

SNC-Lavalin (1991-2000)

Lavalin’s debts brought it face-to-face with SNC to negotiate a merger of the two companies in 1991. The merger created the largest Canadian engineering company, and one of the top firms in the world. The following year, three major contracts were signed: the Ankara mass transit system in Turkey, the Richards Bay aluminum smelter project in South Africa and the Maritime Coastal Defence Vessel project in Canada.

Guy Saint-Pierre decided to retire in late 1995 and recommended that Jacques Lamarre replace him as CEO. Lamarre became President and CEO of SNC-Lavalin in 1996.

There were several acquisitions during this time. In January 1996, SNC-Lavalin acquired a top Canadian mining firm called Kilborn. The acquisition had grown out of a feasibility study for Inco’s massive Goro Nickel project in New Caledonia, on which the two companies were collaborating. SNC-Lavalin also saw potential synergies between Kilborn and ByR, its new operating unit in Santiago, Chile. Kilborn had a small office in Chile, and close ties to many of the big names in the business who were now launching projects there. In March, SNC‑Lavalin acquired the remaining 50 percent of ByR, merged it with Kilborn’s Chilean operations, and enfolded both into its existing marketing office in the country.

In early 1998, the government of Ontario announced that it was putting Ontario’s Highway 407 in Toronto up for sale. The private sector was invited to bid on what was going to be one of the largest privatizations in Canadian history. The winner would expand the highway in both directions and operate it as a toll road for 99 years. SNC-Lavalin formed a consortium with Cintra of Spain and bid for the project. The consortium’s winning bid came in at $3.107 billion, SNC-Lavalin’s share of whicch was almost equivalent to the entire value of its shareholders’ equity.

During the 1990s, SNC-Lavalin’s growth strategy involved building on its expertise in its core sectors (agrifood, aluminum, biopharmaceuticals, chemicals and petroleum, the environment, facilities and operations management, infrastructure, mass transit, mining and metallurgy and power), developing its international network, and increasing its project financing capabilities to enhance competitiveness when bidding for major projects and infrastructure concessions.

SNC-Lavalin (2000-present)

In early 2004, SNC-Lavalin formed a joint venture with Tabreed in Abu Dhabi, called SNC-Lavalin Gulf Contractors, to carry out district cooling projects in the emirate. The joint venture completed more than 15 fixed-price contracts in the sector over the next three years.

In August 2005, SNC-Lavalin consortium signed a 35-year concession agreement with Richmond-Airport-Vancouver Project Management Ltd. (RAVCO) and the Greater Vancouver Transportation Authority (GVTA) to design, build, partially finance, operate and maintain the Canada Line. SNC-Lavalin provided engineering, procurement, and construction for the line, which links Waterfront Station in downtown Vancouver to the airport and Richmond city centre. The project was delivered early and on-budget in 2009.

In August 2007, SNC-Lavalin gathered its Quebec-based expertise in materials engineering and geotechnical studies under one roof. The newly created Qualitas Division—a merger of Group Qualitas, Terratech, and three recent acquisitions, Laboratoire Sol et Béton, Techmat, and Quéformat–created a division with nearly 800 employees at more than 20 offices and testing laboratories throughout the province.

In May of 2009, SNC-Lavalin and its partners were awarded a PPP project to design, build, operate, and maintain the new concert hall for the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, a mere stone’s throw from SNC-Lavalin’s headquarters. The concert hall was designed to be almost completely independent from the surrounding building to eliminate sound transmission from outside. The only points of contact are 300 precisely engineered rubber isolators that prevent the transmission of vibrations from all of the surrounding urban activity. This “box-within-a-box” design helped earn the Maison symphonique a noise rating of N1, which means background noise is inaudible to the human ear. A special design also had to be developed to make the ventilation as quite as possible. SNC-Lavalin and the project’s acoustic experts devised a “digestive tract” ventilation corridor that conducts air noiselessly down the side of the hall and up through small openings located beneath each of the 2,100 seats. Thanks to innovations like these, patrons can enjoy music the way the composer intended it to be heard.

By the second quarter of 2010, the company had won an iron ore processing facility in Brazil and a contract to design and build the Waneta Expansion, a 335-megawatt hydroelectric power facility in British Columbia, Canada.

In May 2011, SNC-Lavalin was one of five international firms selected by oil and gas giant Saudi Aramco for its General Engineering Services Plus (GES+) program. The goal of GES+ is to pair local engineering consultants with the systems, procedures and worldwide best practices of international companies to foster local capabilities. The majority of the engineering services must be performed in Saudi Arabia and in a way that will enhance the development of training and domestic employment opportunities.

In June 2011, SNC-Lavalin agreed to purchase the commercial reactor division of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) from the Government of Canada for C$15 million. SNC-Lavalin established a subsidiary company named Candu Energy Inc. to market the design and supply of CANDU reactors.

Not long afterwards, SNC-Lavalin was awarded Embalse Life Extension Project in Argentina. The project is expected to allow the plant to produce a reliable supply of power for up to another 30 years. SNC-Lavalin’s wholly owned subsidiary, Candu Energy, is delivering tools, equipment, and engineering packages. Candu is also working with Nucleoeléctrica Argentina SA staff at their mock-up facility to test tooling systems and pre-train workers to maximize safety and efficiency on the project. The company also won work at the Cernavodă nuclear station in Romania, another CANDU plant. SNC-Lavalin is installing reactor containment filtered venting systems. The project is part of an industry-wide strategy to upgrade nuclear plant safety following events at Fukushima in Japan.

On October 1, 2012, following the departure of former President and CEO Pierre Duhaime, Robert G. Card became SNC-Lavalin’s new President and CEO, and a member of the company’s Board of Directors. Card has almost 40 years of experience in the operations and management of infrastructure and energy projects in the industry, including the CH2M Hill Companies Ltd. group. At CH2M Hill, he held a variety of positions, including President and Group Chief Executive of the International division; President of the Government, Environment & Nuclear division; President of the Facilities & Infrastructure division; and President of the Energy, Water & Facilities division, as well as having been on the Board of Directors. Between 2001 and 2004, he acted as Under Secretary to the U.S. Department of Energy, a Senate-approved presidential appointment in which he oversaw 65,000 federal and contract employees, and a budget in excess of $14 billion.

In January 2013, SNC-Lavalin’s consortium, EGRT Construction, signed a design, build and finance agreement with the Province of British Columbia for the Evergreen Line rapid transit project in Metro Vancouver. The Evergreen Line will link the Tri-Cities area to the existing Millennium Line for the first time through rapid transit. The largest transit project currently underway in the Metro Vancouver, Evergreen includes elevated and at-grade guideways, a two-kilometre bored tunnel, seven stations, power substations, train operating systems, parking facilities and a vehicle storage and light maintenance facility. Evergreen Line will also be automated and driverless, and run primarily along an elevated guideway, thus avoiding any potential for conflict with vehicular traffic.

One month later SNC-Lavalin announced that its consortium had finalized an agreement with the City of Ottawa to design, build, finance and maintain the Confederation Line, the city’s first-ever light rail transit system. In the initial phase of the project, the Rideau Transit Group Partnership will be responsible for the construction of 12.5 km of guideway, 10 above-ground stations, three underground stations and a 2.5 km tunnel beneath the downtown core. The consortium will also widen Highway 417 between Nicholas Street to the Highway 174 split, supply the light rail transit vehicles, build a maintenance and storage facility, and provide ongoing maintenance of the system for a 30-year period.

In September 2013, SNC-Lavalin announced that Phase II of the Emirates Aluminium Smelter Complex (EMAL II) project in Abu Dhabi, for which it provided complete EPCM services, had achieved first hot metal nearly three months ahead of schedule. The Emirates Aluminum Smelter Complex is one of the largest single-site aluminium smelters in the world with an annual production of 1.35 million tonnes per year. The facility has the longest potline and largest gas treatment centre in the aluminum sector, a 2,000-volt rectifier/transformer and the biggest captive gas-fired power plant in the world.

In early 2014, SNC-Lavalin won the John Hart Generating Station Replacement Project in British Columbia. Built in 1947 on the Campbell River, the current facility represents approximately 17 percent of the total generating capacity on Vancouver Island. SNC-Lavalain will design, build, finance and maintain a new power station that will provide more generation capacity for the island’s inhabitants.

Also in early 2014, SNC-Lavalin signed a contract with Ma’aden in Saudi Arabia to provide engineering, procurement, construction, commissioning and start-up services for a three-line 15,150-metric-tonne-per-day sulphuric acid plant. Also included in the agreement are two 75-MW power plants that will recover heat generated by the acid plant operations.

Proposed acquisition of Kentz (2014)

On 23 June 2014, SNC-Lavalin agreed to acquire Kentz for about C$2.1 billion ($1.95 billion). Kentz is an engineering and construction business serving clients primarily in the oil and gas, petrochemical and mining and metals sectors. It is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.”

*Information from Forbes.com and Wikipedia.org

**Video published on YouTube by “SNC Lavalin