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Capital régional et coopératif Desjardins and the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec support the SME growth in Québec’s regions

Montréal, December 1, 2010 – Capital régional et coopératif Desjardins (CRCD) and the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (the “Caisse”) announced seven investments as a result of their partnership, which was concluded earlier this year. These investments were made through a specially designed fund for small businesses in Québec with financing needs of less than $3 million.

Since the fund was created on July 1, 2010, $10 million have been invested in seven businesses. This money will enable these businesses—located in Abitibi, Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean, Côte-Nord, Centre-du-Québec, Mauricie, Montérégie and Montréal—to continue their growth over the coming years.

For Marie-Claude Boisvert, Chief Operating Officer of Desjardins Venture Capital and Vice-President of Development Capital and Business Ownership Transfers at Desjardins Group, the success of these initial investments are a confirmation of the value of this development tool for Québec businesses: “The agreement is an effective tool for supporting SMEs as they carry out their growth, acquisition, business transfer or productivity projects. Entrepreneurs have the ideas and the talent; we have the money and the means to support them. The combination of these elements is providing excellent results—and we’re just getting started.”

“We are pleased that seven businesses have been able to benefit from our partnership with Desjardins and that it is allowing them to continue to grow and contribute to economic activity in their respective regions,” noted Luc Houle, Senior Vice-President of Investments at the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec. “This partnership enables the Caisse, which already has a solid presence among medium and large businesses, to take its offer a step further and support promising small businesses throughout Québec.”

7 companies, 7 regions, $10 million

Lucien Mirault Inc., Val d’Or

Val d’Or business Lucien Mirault Inc. in Abitibi specializes in the sale of non-standard bolts to the mining and forestry industry. Lucien Mirault Inc. rounds out its business activities by leasing specialized equipment. The investment will mainly be used to diversify the business activities.

Groupe Loiselle, Salaberry-de-Valleyfield

Loiselle & Frères Inc., headquartered in Montérégie, operates in the excavation and civil engineering industry. In addition to its experience in public works, the company, which has more than 200 employees and an office in Gatineau, has developed a promising niche in the market: environmental protection and coastal engineering. This loan will enable the company to complete its investment in its succession plan.

Can-Lak, Daveluyville

Located in the Centre-du-Québec region, Can-Lak produces lacquers, paints and varnishes for cabinet- and furniture-makers. The financial support will be a tool for the company’s new administrators, who are acquiring nearly all of Can-Lak’s activities, thereby ensuring the long-term continuity of the business, which employs more than 100 people in Québec.

Sid Lee advertising agency, Montréal

Sid Lee is one of the most widely recognized advertising and brand consulting agencies in the country. The company employs close to 300 people in its offices in Montréal, Toronto, Amsterdam and Paris, and boasts clients like Red Bull, Adidas, Heineken, Ubisoft and Cirque du soleil. Through this investment, this creative agency and its branches can set their sights on new markets.

Ambulance Médilac Inc., Métabetchouan

This company provides ambulance services across the Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean region. The investment will enable a new management team to take over the reins and continue the work started by the Desbiens family, who founded the company nearly 40 years ago. The company has about 50 employees.

Progi-Pac, Trois-Rivières

Progi-Pac is a computer science business specializing in auto industry business solutions development and sales, and in auto recycling center management. This investment is not only an effective tool for the new administration, who have now taken on all company activities, but will also help sustain close to 20 jobs in Trois-Rivières.

Location Paul Boudreau, Havre-Saint-Pierre

With strong roots in the Côte-Nord region, this family business specializes in civil engineering work and heavy machinery leasing. The growth of the business, which now has 75 employees, has taken off as a result of strong economic activity in this region.

About the agreement between Desjardins and the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec

At the beginning of the year, Desjardins Group and the Caisse announced an agreement designed to support the growth of SMEs in Québec. The agreement comprises two distinct components: one for small businesses and one for medium businesses.

The first part of the agreement involves a $200 million fund to meet the financing needs of small Québec businesses, primarily in the form of subordinated loans of less than $3 million. Desjardins Venture Capital, a subsidiary of Desjardins Group, is the exclusive manager of this fund and an equal partner alongside the Caisse and Capital régional et coopératif Desjardins.

The second part of the agreement involves $400 million for the financing of mid-sized companies that have demonstrated solid performance and have good prospects for growth and profitability.

About the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec

The Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec is a financial institution that manages funds primarily for public and private pension and insurance plans. At December 31, 2009, it held $131.6 billion of net assets. As one of the leading institutional fund managers in Canada, the Caisse invests in the main financial markets as well as in private equity and real estate. For more information: www.lacaisse.com.

About Capital régional et coopératif Desjardins

Founded in 2001, Capital régional et coopératif Desjardins is a publicly traded company managed by Desjardins Venture Capital. With over 112,000 shareholders, the Company contributes to Québec’s economic development while driving the growth of cooperatives and the resource regions. Capital régional et coopératif Desjardins currently supports more than 230 companies and cooperatives in various industries spanning all Québec regions. (www.capitalregional.com)

About Desjardins Group

Desjardins Group is the leading cooperative financial group in Canada and the sixth largest in the world, with assets of over $175 billion. Drawing on the strength of its caisse network in Québec and Ontario, and its subsidiaries across Canada, it offers a full range of financial products and services to its 5.8 million members and clients. Desjardins specializes in Wealth Management and Life and Health Insurance, in Property and Casualty Insurance, in Personal Services, in Business and Institutional Services. As one of the largest employers in the country and one of Canada’s 10 Most Admired Corporate CulturesTM of 2010, Desjardins is supported by the skills of its 42,200 employees and the commitment of near 6,000 elected officers. For more information, visit www.desjardins.com.

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Information (for journalists only):

Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec
Mylène Bélanger, Media Relations Advisor
514 847-5493
mbelanger@lacaisse.com

Desjardins Group
Nathalie Genest
Media Relations Advisor
514-281-7275 or 1-866-866-7000, ext. 7275
nathalie.genest@desjardins.com