SNC-Lavalin subsidiaries barred from public contracts in Quebec for five years

A man walks past the headquarters of SNC-Lavalin in Montreal on Nov. 6, 2014. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson)

A Quebec oversight body has blacklisted four subsidiaries of SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. from bidding on public contracts in the province for five years.

The ban by the Autorite des marches publics was triggered after the engineering giant's construction subsidiary pleaded guilty in December to one count of fraud in connection with business dealings in Libya.

The plea deal with federal prosecutors included a $280-million fine and capped off a scandal that tarnished the Montreal-based company's reputation and ensnared the highest office of the Canadian government. It also freed SNC-Lavalin from the damaging prospect of a ban on federal contract bidding.

Under Quebec's Anti-Corruption Act, however, a fraud conviction automatically results in a five-year banishment from bids in the public realm.

SNC-Lavalin suggested the company's shift away from large construction contracts toward its engineering roots minimizes the potential damage of a bidding ban.

``While it is possible that the guilty plea by the subsidiary may present risks in the near-term, the company believes these risks will be manageable and does not anticipate that the plea will have any long-term material adverse impact on the company's overall business,'' spokesman Nicolas Ryan said in an email.