An umbrella group for 15 Canadian construction unions has issued a statement in support of Chinese firm CCCI’s acquisition of Aecon Group, arguing that many opponents are claiming nationalist concern in what’s really an effort to block business competition. The deal, which pledges Aecon will retain its name, management team and Canadian headquarters, has attained most of the required regulatory approvals, but must still be okayed under the Investment Canada Act before it can close.
Canada’s Building Trades Unions (CBTU) cites the 2015 acquisition of the Australian construction company, John Holland, as an example of the potential benefits for Canadian skilled trades. “CCCI’s capital strength allowed John Holland to bid more, do more and put more Australian tradespeople to work,” the CBTU statement asserts.
It suggests other major Canadian construction companies “are worried about the pressure a much stronger Aecon can bring into the bidding process.” It also notes that off-shore or non-Canadian partners are common in the joint venture projects that almost all major construction companies undertake.
“Aecon will remain a Canadian firm albeit with shareholders from away,” the CBTU submits. ” A bigger, stronger Aecon that will continue to follow Canadian labour laws and safety standards is in the interests of the members of Canada’s Building Trades Unions. It will employ more people and give better value.”