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Hockey-stick manufacturer ACM ends production run, aims to sell off assets

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price is among the NHL players who use CCM-branded sticks made by ACM.

Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press

One of Canada's last remaining hockey stick manufacturers has ceased production as it struggles financially and searches for a buyer of its production facility that supplies goalie sticks to the National Hockey League.

Industries ACM Canada Inc. of Drummondville, Que., has been trying – so far unsuccessfully – to find a buyer for its ACM Sport division, said Benoît Fontaine, a partner specializing in insolvency and reorganization at accounting firm Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton.

The privately owned company, which also owns a division that supplies composite components to industrial customers, including Bombardier Inc., is a supplier of sticks to CCM-Reebok, owned by German multinational Adidas AG. The company has about 75 employees.

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Among the NHL players who use CCM-branded sticks made by ACM are the Montreal Canadiens' Carey Price and Roberto Luongo of the Florida Panthers.

"I have no idea if there is someone out there who would want [to buy ACM Sport]," Mr. Fontaine said in an interview Thursday.

"Foreign competition is way too tough," he said about the shift of hockey-gear manufacturing to lower-cost countries such as China from North America.

Industries ACM management did not return calls requesting comment on the company's current status.

The composites unit – ACM Composites – has also stopped production and talks continue to find a buyer for it, Mr. Fontaine said. At the same time, a process to place the company in receivership continues, he said.

"The company has yet to file the legal documents," he added.

Graeme Roustan – former chairman of Performance Sports Group Ltd., maker of Bauer hockey equipment – said in an interview Thursday that he had discussions over Thanksgiving weekend with Industries ACM about the possibility of buying the company but that nothing came of them.

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He said he also made "more than one offer" over the weekend to Mr. Fontaine for ACM Sport and that – while no counteroffers were received – those negotiations went nowhere.

Mr. Roustan has been involved in a long-running battle with PSG's current board over its business strategy and he has indicated that he would move to buy PSG if it were ever pushed into receivership.

PSG disclosed in August that it is under investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for unspecified reasons after delaying the filing of its latest annual financial statements.

The permanent shutting of ACM Sport would leave only a few specialty hockey-stick makers in Canada.

Five years ago, storied hockey-stick maker Sher-Wood Hockey Inc. of Sherbrooke, Que., moved the last of its stick production to China in a cost-cutting move.

The company cited competition from larger, more aggressive rivals in the consolidating hockey-equipment industry as a key factor in the shift of production to Asia.

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About the Author
Quebec Business Correspondent

Bertrand has been covering Quebec business and finance since 2000. Before joining The Globe and Mail in 2000, he was the Toronto-based national business correspondent for Southam News. He has a B.A. from McGill University and a Bachelor of Applied Arts from Ryerson. More

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