OTTAWA – Canadian suppliers will benefit from the sale of Rona Inc. (TSX:RON) to U.S. retailer Lowe’s Companies Inc., Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains said Friday as he announced the federal government has signed off on the deal.
The approval under the Investment Canada Act was the final hurdle Lowe’s needed to clear to become owner of Canada’s largest collection of home-improvement stores.
The Competition Bureau had given the acquisition its blessing on Thursday after Rona shareholders agreed to the deal in March.
Lowe’s says the sale is expected to close May 20.
Bains said he’s confident the sale will benefit Canadian product suppliers in the long run.
“We know that a more innovative Canada needs to include competitive Canadian companies that are connected to global value chains,” the minister said.
Lowe’s has committed to maintaining a business headquarters for Rona in Boucherville, Que., ensuring Canadians play a significant role in senior management and to maintain “a significant level of employment” in its Canadian operations, he said.
However, Bains would not say whether the agreement would mean an overall reduction in employee numbers at Rona, citing commercial confidentiality.
“I’ve been assured by Lowe’s, through this net-benefit analysis, that they’re very committed to Canada,” said Bains.
“They’re very committed to jobs here in Canada, they’re very committed to having senior management here in Canada.”
Lowe’s Canada president Sylvain Prud’homme said the company has made significant promises.
“We believe these commitments will serve customers, employees, dealer owners and our partners well on a long-term basis,” Prud’homme said in a statement.
Lowe’s came to Canada in 2007 and had 42 stores in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario when the $3.2-billion deal was announced in February.
Rona has 496 corporate and dealer-owned stores across Canada, including 238 in Quebec.