Resource-based export businesses have been hit hard by the one-two punch of lower oil prices and global economic slowdown which appeared to worsen starting in 2015.
In the analysis below, we compare the top 10 export businesses based on asset values, sales and profitability. Also specified is the Canadian city where each conglomerate has its headquarters.
Canada’s Top 10 Major Export Companies
Below are Canada’s biggest export companies organized by asset value. Shown within parentheses is the primary industry in which each company operates. Also shown is the change in asset value as of May 2016 compared to 2015.
- Enbridge (oil equipment): US$61 billion up 12.5% from 2015
- Suncor Energy (oil, gas): $55.8 billion, down -24.3%
- Valeant Pharmaceuticals (pharmaceuticals): $49 billion, up 74.9%
- TransCanada (oil equipment): $46.4 billion, down -12.9%
- Canadian Natural Resources (oil, gas): $43.7 billion, down -13.3%
- Barrick Gold (diversified metals & mining): $26.3 billion, down -29.7%
- Teck Resources (diversified metals & mining): $25 billion, down -26.8%
- Husky Energy (oil, gas): $24.6 billion, down -30.8%
- Bombardier (aerospace, defense): $22.9 billion, down -22.1%
- Goldcorp (diversified metals & mining): $21.4 billion, down -27.6%
Manufacturers of a wide range of drugs and medicines that are sold worldwide, Valeant Pharmaceuticals posted the fastest increase in assets with its 74.9% gain from 2015. The only other Canadian conglomerate to grow its asset base was Enbridge with a more moderate 12.5% increase.
The 8 other large Canadian businesses posted decreases in their asset size, ranging from a -12.9% decline for TransCanada to -30.8% for Husky Energy.
Sales is the life blood of all business, but particularly for firms that compete in international trade. Yet only three of Canada’s largest export companies increased their year-over-year sales as of May 2016.
- Enbridge: US$27.4 billion, down -14.8% from 2015
- Suncor Energy: $22.8 billion, down -40.5%
- Bombardier: $18.2 billion, down -0.2%
- Husky Energy: $12.8 billion, down -42.7%
- Valeant Pharmaceuticals: $10.5 billion, up 80.2%
- Canadian Natural Resources: $9.7 billion, down -38.5%
- Barrick Gold: $9.1 billion, down -27.9%
- TransCanada: $8.8 billion, up 3.9%
- Teck Resources: $6.5 billion, down -29%
- Goldcorp: $4.4 billion, up 15%
Valeant Pharmaceuticals posted the fastest increase in sales, up 80.2% from 2015, followed by Goldcorp (up 15%) which benefited from higher prices for precious metals and oil-equipment maker TransCanada (up 3.9%).
Sales decliners ranged from -0.2% for Bombardier to -42.7% for Husky Energy.
Perhaps most ominous is the fact that only Enbridge was able to post a profit as of the latest May 2016 period.
- Enbridge: US$196.2 million, down -67.3% from 2015
- Valeant Pharmaceuticals: -$291.7 million, down -67.6%
- Canadian Natural Resources: -$497.9 million, down -122.6%
- TransCanada: -$895.8 million, down -152.7%
- Suncor Energy: -$1.6 billion, down -141.1%
- Teck Resources: -$1.9 billion, down -314.4%
- Barrick Gold: -$3 billion, down -71.5%
- Husky Energy: -$3 billion, down -267.2%
- Goldcorp: -$4.4 billion, up 63%
- Bombardier: -$5.5 billion, down -1,017%
Even then, Enbridge’s profit dipped by over two-thirds (67.3%) from $600 million during 2015. The other companies experienced significantly deterioration into the red on their bottom lines. Consider Goldcorp, which saw its deficit swell to -$4.4 billion from -$2.7 billion in 2015.
Six of the 10 largest Canadian export companies are based in Calgary, Alberta where unemployment is rising due to falling global oil prices. Two companies are headquartered in the province of Quebec, while the remaining two are in the west coast port city of Vancouver.
- Enbridge: Calgary, Alberta
- Suncor Energy: Calgary, Alberta
- Valeant Pharmaceuticals: Laval, Quebec
- TransCanada: Calgary, Alberta
- Canadian Natural Resources: Calgary, Alberta
- Barrick Gold: Calgary, Alberta
- Teck Resources: Vancouver, BC
- Husky Energy: Calgary, Alberta
- Bombardier: Montreal, Quebec
- Goldcorp: Vancouver, BC
Notably absent from the list is Canada’s most populous province, Ontario which is home to many large banks and other financial services providers.
Note some of the above company offerings may include products other than the principal category shown within parenthesis under the Assets tab.
For example, Bombardier not only manufactures aerospace products including business and commercial aircraft, but also has a transportation segment that designs and produces railway, subway and streetcar vehicles. Similarly, Valeant Pharmaceuticals makes not only drugs and medicines but also medical devices.
See also Canada’s Top 10 Exports, Highest Value Canadian Export Products, Canada’s Top Import Partners and Top Canadian Trade Balances
Forbes 2016 Global 2000 individual company profiles, Example of top Canadian company compiled for this study: Enbridge. Accessed on July 11, 2016
Forbes 2015 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on July 11, 2016
Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on July 11 2016
Wikipedia, List of companies of Canada. Accessed on July 11, 2016
Wikipedia, List of largest companies in Canada by profit. Accessed on July 11, 2016