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EXCLUSIVE: Skeena Sawmills and affiliates face bankruptcy with debts over $143 million

Financial woes deepen as creditor petitions for receivership amid growing liabilities and shutdowns
Skeena Sawmills in 2019. Skeena Sawmills now stands idle, a stark symbol of the company’s escalating financial challenges that have led to bankruptcy petitions and mounting debts. (Black Press Media file photo)

A numbered company is petitioning the B.C. Supreme Court to force Skeena Sawmills and its affiliated entities into bankruptcy.

According to a Sept. 8 court filing exclusively obtained by The Terrace Standard, 1392752 B.C. Ltd., seeks to appoint a receiver and manager of all properties associated with Skeena Sawmills, Skeena Bioenergy and ROC Holdings to sell them and distribute the proceedings. Alvarez & Marsal Canada was named as a potential receiver.

The numbered company — registered in late 2022 by Xiao Peng Cui and Shenwei Wu, the same individuals who own the other three companies — is the major creditor of the Skeena entities and referred to as “the lender” in court documents.

Due to increasing concerns over debt load and continuous financial deficits, the lender made formal demands for payments to the companies on Jan. 26, 2023. Subsequent negotiations culminated in further loans and advances and a forbearance agreement, which is basically a payment plan.

Despite the agreement, financial challenges persisted. As of Sept. 8, the combined debt and advances reached approximately $143 million.

Both Skeena Sawmills and Skeena Bioenergy are now shut down with staffing levels drastically reduced from 190 in 2021 to just 15 following recent layoffs. Financial troubles persist, with Skeena Sawmills’ bank account going into overdraft as of Sept. 7 and minimal expected account receivables.

Several other entities, including Deuce Creek Contracting Ltd., Infinity West Enterprises Inc., and Antler Creek Contracting Ltd., have also pursued legal avenues in the form of contractor liens, to secure their interests against the companies.

Additionally, the Crown has registered stumpage charges against Skeena Sawmill’s assets, amounting to approximately $1.1 million.

Various civil claims have also been launched against the companies. Timber Baron Contracting and Canzus Consulting are alleging unpaid bills and seeking substantial damages.

ROC Holdings is also in arrears with the City of Terrace, resulting in a tax sale threat for unpaid 2023 property taxes.

Furthermore, Skeena Bioenergy faces service disconnection threats from Pacific Northern Gas Ltd. as a result of unpaid bills.

Viktor Elias joined the Terrace Standard in April 2023.

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