Originally called Telecon, the company was founded in Trois-Rivières in 1967, in the wake of the first telecommunications and cable television networks implemented by Québec Tel in Rimouski and Cogeco in Trois-Rivières.
Over time, the group broadened its field of activity by opening offices in Montréal and Québec City.
In 2011, the two founders of the 1,100-employee company decided to sell to Capital régional et coopératif Desjardins and the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, which invested $60 million in the company.
In December 2012, Telecon recruited André Héroux as its new President and CEO and the group’s new shareholders gave him the mandate of developing the company’s full growth potential, which he accepted readily. André Héroux had plenty of practical experience. He was President and CEO of the Québec bath and shower manufacturer Maax from 1998 to 2006, and in 2004 the Beauce group was sold to the J.W. Childs, Borealis and OMERS investment fund. After having led an environmental services firm for five years, he joined Telecon with the commitment of maximizing its Canadian presence. “When I came on board, we had only one network construction activity. I wanted to give the company more depth and visibility in the design sector, which is why we acquired the Engineering Services division of Netricom, a company that had offices in Ontario and Western Canada. We positioned ourselves to better serve our major customers like Bell, Telus, Rogers, Videotron, Cogeco… across the Canadian territory,” explains André Héroux.
After spending 2013 cutting costs and reorganizing activities at Telecon, in April 2014 the company acquired the Engineering Services division of Netricom, a struggling company in which Guy Laliberté had once been a shareholder. “Capital régional et coopératif Desjardins invested some $20 million as part of this acquisition and we took advantage of it to restructure the company, now called Telecon Group. CRCD and the Caisse now respectively own 60% and 30% of the group’s shares, and management owns 10%. We went from 8 to 22 shareholders executives,” explains André Héroux.
RESULTS AND PROJECTS
Last year, Telecon Group completed two small acquisitions that reinforced its presence in new markets.
Today, it has 2,500 employees, more than half of whom work in the Engineering, Design and Location division, in some 40 offices across the country. Last year, the company made $350 million in revenue—double what it made three years ago—and its profits also more than doubled over the same period. The President and CEO explains that Telecon Group is in a growing market and it will be for years to come. That is why he first wanted to build a strong management team, by associating himself with experienced partners such as Christian Paupe as Vice-President – Finance, who was formerly Chief Financial Officer at Quebecor World, Transcontinental, Southam and Yellow Media. “We now have a strong national presence and we bid on major new infrastructure projects.” — André Héroux, President and CEO of Telecon Group “Bell announced that it will invest $1.1 billion to replace its copper wire network with fibre optics in Toronto. We obtained $100 million from that contract and Bell will have to carry out the same conversion work in Montréal. We will be there to bid on it,” assures André Héroux. Telecon Group also recently bid on the $1-billion Telus contract to convert copper to fibre optics in Edmonton and Vancouver. “Three years ago, we were not present in these markets. Today, we are present and very competitive in every Canadian market,” explains the President and CEO. Within three years, Telecon Group plans to increase its revenues to $500 million and, within five years, the Group expects to make its entrance on the American market through targeted acquisitions. “Many owners of companies in the telecom sector are baby boomers reaching their retirement age, and they have no other option but to sell their companies,” observes André Héroux. Telecon Group’s President and CEO is there to hear them out… “Capital régional et coopératif Desjardins and the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec have not set a deadline to continue their capital participation in Telecon Group,” says André Héroux.
Its shareholders may be pleased with the value appreciation of the company’s accounts, but André Héroux does not rule out that going public could be the way for the company’s two main shareholders to eventually exit Telecon Group’s capital.
Post from de La Presse+, 2016, march 1st