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Earnings up for B.C.’s most profitable companies

Record highs for top performers pushed average profit increase up to 75 per cent

Net Income at B.C.’s most profitable companies spiked in 2021.  Companies on the list that reported profits for the last two years grew an average of 283.3 per cent, according to data collected on Business in Vancouver’s list of the most profitable companies in B.C.

Over the past year, average net income for the 50 most profitable companies in the province grew 74.5 per cent to $464.6 million. Over the four-year period prior to 2021, the average net income for the top 50 hovered between $250 million and $310 million. Average net income hit its most recent high of $313 million in 2018, and then fell 19.8 per cent to $251 million in 2019. (A data discrepancy in 2020 meant that BIV could accurately measure the average and median trends for only the top 50 companies.)

The median growth for the top 50 most profitable companies in B.C. followed a relatively similar trend: It declined slowly over four years to $65 million in 2020 from $85.1 million in 2017. However, in 2021, their median net income nearly tripled, growing 187.2 per cent to $186.7 million. This suggests that companies on the list generally increased their earnings regardless of how high or low they ranked.

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The massive growth in profit was fuelled by some of B.C.’s best performing companies. West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd. (TSX:WFT) (No. 1) and Teck Resources Ltd. (TSX:TECK.B) (No. 2) were the province’s top net-income earners. Teck reported the largest earnings growth on the list: Up $4.1 billion to $3.04 billion in 2021 compared with a loss of $1.1 billion in 2020. With the exception of Telus Corp. (TSX:T) (No. 3), four of the top five most profitable companies on the list more than doubled their earnings in 2021 compared with 2020.

West Fraser had the 11th highest percentage profit growth of companies that reported earnings for the last two years. Its earnings increased 399.3 per cent to $3.86 billion in 2021 from $776 million in 2020. City Office REIT (NYSE:CIO) (No. 12) reported the largest one-year percentage increase in net income of the companies on this year’s list. It grew 8,740.9 per cent to $608.3 million in 2021 from $6.9 million in 2020. City Office REIT had the seventh-largest dollar increase in profit on BIV’s list of the province’s most profitable companies. ■