Dowland Construction: The Final Chapter

In a fitting footnote to a year of dismal financial news, the bankruptcy trustee for the once-proud Dowland construction group has quietly filed its seventh and likely final report on the company’s collapse.

The report held no good news for secured creditors, who have been waiting since May 2013, when the Royal Bank forced Dowland into bankruptcy over loans that piled up while the company juggled 30 projects scattered across Canada.

Dowland was Inuvik’s home-grown success story, and its fall was felt across the North, from Iqaluit, where it was rebuilding the igloo-shaped St. Jude’s for the Arctic Diocese, to hospital projects in Whitehorse.

The company had liabilities of $135 million against an estimated $75 million in assets – $55 million of those in receivables from projects that were incomplete when the Royal Bank called in $21 million in loans. Bonding companies that backed Dowland projects were owed as much as $60 million.

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The $55 million in receivables evaporated in claims for damages from the stalled and abandoned projects, and the sale of Dowland equipment and property produced just a little more than $16 million.

After subtracting fees and expenses – $3 million for the receiver, and its team of legal advisors, plus another million for other receivership costs, the bank and bonding companies were left with $10.74 million. RBC took $7 million, and the bonding companies shared the rest, leaving about $1.5 million for the Canada Revenue Agency and the Wage Earners Protection Program.

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