OTTAWA: The fortunes of Canadian corporations are looking up. Statistics Canada reports they earned $60.1 billion in operating profits in 2009’s fourth quarter, an increase of $4.4 billion or 7.9% from the previous quarter.
Although still below the $77.3 billion high reached in the third quarter of 2008 before the beginning of the downturn, Statistics Canada said this is the second quarter of growth since a low of $50.2 billion reported in the second quarter of 2009.
Manufacturers reported a third consecutive quarter of increased profits. They were up 4.4% at $11.2 billion. Top contributors were chemicals, plastics and rubber, wood and paper and primary metal manufacturers. Motor vehicle and parts manufacturers were on the downside with a decline in profits of $583 million.
Overall, gains were widespread as 15 of 22 industries reported higher profits (see Table 1). Here are some highlights from other industries:
• Non-financial industries increased 4.4% to $44.8 billion.
• Financial industries were up a whopping 19.7% to $15.2 billion.
• Combined profits for the oil and gas, and petroleum and coal industries were up 8.6%, totalling $7 billion. Much of this gain came from rising oil prices and greater sales volumes.
• Wholesale saw a 12.1% increase to $4.3 billion. Automotive product wholesalers and building materials and supplies wholesalers together accounted for almost half of that growth.
• Retail profits were up 3.9% to $3.4 billion.