Vicwest Corporation CCAA Proceeding and Restructuring

In this transaction, which closed in mid-September, 2003, the unsecured creditors of Vicwest Corporation, primarily noteholders, became the owners of virtually all of the equity in this parent of a group of companies in the steel and related industries. Previously, Vicwest Corporation and its subsidiaries had been part of a larger group of companies ultimately owned by Onex Corporation. The American entities, most notably including Magnatrax Corporation, filed for protection under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code and only recently had a Plan confirmed.

Contested issues in the Creditors’ Companies Arrangement Act (CCAA) process included the fairness of the plan/plan process and in particular, various pension and retiree benefits claimants sought to be classified separately from the general unsecured creditors and debentures, certain objections of the Chapter 11 Unsecured Creditors Committee of Magnatrax to the extent of shareholder participation in the plan, and issues between the shareholders and debentures holders. After a contested three-day CCAA plan sanction hearing, the court approved the Vicwest plan. Appeals were launched, but were resolved in advance of being heard, permitting the CCAA plan, which restructured the company by converting debt to equity, to be implemented on September 30, 2003, effectively transferring majority control of the company to its debenture holders.

Approximately C$120 million of debt was included in the debt for equity exchange effected pursuant to the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (Canada). The former noteholders and various other creditors are now the owner of Vicwest Corporation, which is proceeding to list its shares on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

The Informal Noteholders Committee was represented throughout by Bennett Jones LLP (Toronto) with a team that included S. Richard Orzy, Kevin Zych, and Raj Sahni (Restructuring), Paul Blundy, Mark Bain, Nick Fader and Matthew Howorth (Corporate, Securities and Finance) and Robert Staley (Litigation).

Vicwest Corporation was represented by Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP (Toronto), with a team which included Ross Walker, Ron Matheson, Shayne Kuklowicz and Stephen Gillespie (Restructuring, Finance and Corporate), Christopher Steeves and Patrick Boyle (Tax), Mary Picard (Employment and Pensions) and Richard Scott (Securities).

The Jaico pension claimants, Howard Batten, Peter Wood, Leonard Beach and Stanley Knowles, were represented by Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP (Toronto), with a team that included Christopher Besant, David Ward, Marco Filice and Joseph Bellissimo (Financial Services). The retiree benefits claimants were represented by Andrew Hatnay of Koskie Minskie LLP. The Magnatrax Chapter 11 Unsecured Creditors Committee was represented by Ken Kallishof Minden Gross.

Deloitte & Touche Inc. (Toronto), with a team that included Karen Cramm and Robert Biehler, acted as Monitor and was represented by McCarthy Tetrault LLP (Toronto), with a team that included James Gage and Lori Kay (Restructuring) and Geoff Hall (Litigation).