Attractions Hippiques Granted Another Extension

Published: August 28, 2009 01:36 pm EDT

Quebec racetrack operator Attractions Hippiques has received another extension of creditor protection, this time to October 13, paving the way for a buyout of lenders by another company affiliated with Attractions Hippiques owner Paul Massicotte


A further extension was the only condition of an agreement in principle concluded last week by the lending syndicate and the affiliated company, Attractions Hippiques lawyer Neil Stein said today in Montreal Superior Court. The deal is now due to close today.

Attractions Hippiques' principal lenders were owed $52 million.

Terms of the buyout were not disclosed, but Stein said Massicotte, who has invested $20 million already, is spending "millions more...not to liquidate this enterprise, but to make it survive."

Stein criticized the provincial horsemen's association for "bad faith" in constantly opposing requests for extensions "and trying repeatedly to put the company in bankruptcy, for their own ends."

Horsemen's lawyer Jean-Philippe Gervais said that, because the company has a monopoly on racing in the province, horsemen and breeders with millions invested have been "taken hostage" and had their revenue stream cut off while it tries to sort out its own finances.

The company has been in creditor protection since June of 2008, and is currently presenting live racing at only one of its four tracks, Sulky Quebec in Quebec City, though it continues to generate revenue from simulcast betting and VLTs at the other three, including Hippodrome de Montréal.

For a second time this week, Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency lawyer Pierre Lecavalier told the court the agency is considering revocation of pari-mutuel permits because the company had failed to present live racing in Montreal, Trois-Rivières or Aylmer this year, but said no decision had been made yet.

(A Trot Insider exclusive by Paul Delean)