Lending firm Callidus Capital Corp. continues to lose money and take over troubled businesses that have defaulted on loans, posting a $7-million loss in the first quarter and acquiring control of a paving company.
The loss, announced late Tuesday, was double the firm’s $3.5-million loss in the same quarter a year ago. The Toronto-based firm, run by financier Newton Glassman, booked loan losses of $15-million, down $4.4-million from last year’s first quarter, and took over a Minnesota company called Midwest Asphalt Corp.
Callidus now controls six businesses that it originally loaned money to and has a total of 19 loans outstanding. The company values its portfolio at $1.2-billion, including a $414-million valuation on companies it has acquired.
Callidus went public in 2014 at $14 a share, but the stock price has suffered sharp declines as losses have stacked up and the company gets entangled in litigation on a number of fronts. It lost $218.5-million in fiscal 2017 — in large part because it booked losses on a loan to an oil-services company that is believed to be operating in Venezuela.
Mr. Glassman has repeatedly raised the prospect of taking the company private over the past two years, believing the shares to be undervalued. In a conference call Wednesday, Mr. Glassman said Callidus is continuing to work on a privatization and “has no material facts or changes to report.”
Callidus shares declined 14 cents in early trading on Wednesday to $6.77.
Earlier this week, The Globe and Mail reported that an Alberta businessman has filed suit against Callidus for $205-million, alleging that Mr. Glassman’s company drove his water-drilling company into receivership in order to take control of it and deprive him of lucrative international contracts.
The new case was launched by Kevin Baumann, in the name of his former company, Alken Basin Drilling Ltd., which agreed to a $28.5-million credit facility from Callidus in 2014. The following year, Callidus demanded payment of its loan, even though, according to Mr. Baumann, his company was not in default. Alken was put into receivership in 2016 and Callidus subsequently acquired the assets.
The two sides have battled each other in previous actions regarding the loan and acquisition of Alken’s assets. An Alberta court approved the transfer of assets in the receivership case in 2016. In subsequent action, Mr. Baumann was represented in his own name and that of another of his holdings, Pekisko Ranch Ltd.
Callidus has sued to force Mr. Baumann to pay out a personal guarantee, which includes some land, that he made as part of the loan agreement. Earlier this year, Callidus’s application for summary judgment was dismissed. The lender has filed an appeal. The legal fight provides a glimpse into the hardball tactics employed in lending to companies under financial strain.
The new suit, filed in a Calgary court, names Callidus Capital, Scott Sinclair, Altair Water and Drilling Services Ltd. and Sinclair Range Inc. as defendants. Altair is the Callidus-owned company that emerged with the Alken assets following the receivership, and Mr. Sinclair is its CEO as well as head of Sinclair Range, a corporate consulting and turnaround firm.
Among numerous allegations, none of which has been proven in court, Alken says Callidus breached the engagement letter signed with the loan agreement and, just before signing, insisted on a personal guarantee from Mr. Baumann. Alken alleges that, following the signing, Callidus refused several funding requests Mr. Baumann made under the agreement.
The claim also charges that Mr. Sinclair, which Callidus appointed to help restructure Alken, had actually worked to help the lender take control of the company, which provides water-drilling services to the oil and gas industry.
Dan Gagnier, spokesman for Callidus, said Mr. Baumann’s claims had been found to be without merit during the insolvency proceedings for Alken. “The only fact worth knowing here is that Mr. Baumann acted in direct contravention to his loan documents, a fact he has admitted under oath,” he said.