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Crisis & Risk

Your organizations reputation is one of your most important assets. We offer hands-on strategic crisis communications management and support that helps you communicate, protect and shape your reputation and stakeholder value. 

 

Case Study Company

CO-OP Atlantic

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Co-op Atlantic provided food, agricultural, energy and social housing/real estate services to consumers, organizations and businesses in communities across the Atlantic region.

 


The Opportunity

In the Winter of 2014, Co-op Atlantic realized that its financial situation would no longer allow the company to operate as it has for the past 88 years. Working with external auditors, it became clear that Co-op Atlantic needed to take dramatic measures to ensure the opportunity of continued sustainability for its member owners. Portfolio was hired to develop and manage a strategic communications approach with key objectives:

  • Manage the communications messaging
  • Ensure the opportunity of long-term sustainability for the member owners
  • Provide member owners with a divestiture deal that secures that future
  • Ensure a continued co-operative movement in Atlantic Canada
  • Provide as much assistance and support to employees affected by the changes
 

 

The Solution

In working with Co-op Atlantic’s management team and external auditors and lawyers, Portfolio developed a multi-phased strategic approach that was designed to allow the company to go through the necessary processes to begin divesting its assets. The complex nature of the dealings, the impact on employees, the company’s requirement to seek protection under the Company Creditors Arrangement Act, several unsecured creditors, provincial government involvement and several purchase and sale processes, meant that communications needed to be fair, honest, factual and strategically managed so the value of assets were not impacted before they were sold.

Portfolio initiated a communications approach that was designed to minimize employee, public and creditor fear so to not de-value the organization while moving through the long divestiture process. This was key to ensure that those employees who would lose their jobs would be able to receive some form of severance and to ensure that the best value possible was realized through the sale of key assets in food and gas, home energy and agriculture.

 

 

The Results

The strategy allowed Co-op Atlantic to proceed through a 7-month process that has ultimately led to the sale of the majority of Co-op Atlantic’s assets. It ensured maximum value for the assets sold and helped to ensure compensation for employees. It has also ensured that over 60 member owned co-op stores across Atlantic Canada remain open for business employing close to 3000 Atlantic Canadians.

 
Portfolio developed a multi-phased strategic communications approach that was designed to allow the company to go through the necessary processes to begin divesting its assets. Portfolio’s Mike Randall, also acted as Co-op’s spokesperson – effectively managing hundreds of media inquiries throughout the process. The strategy also helped to ensure maximum value for the assets sold and helped to ensure compensation for employees.


— Bryan Inglis, Former CEO of Co-Op Atlantic