A closer look at B.C.’s top five most profitable firms

Resource and telecom companies lead corporate earnings parade in the province

West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd.


Stock symbol: TSX:WFG

Industry: Forestry

CEO: Ray Ferris

B.C. employees: 2,772

Revenue: US$10.52 billion

Market cap: US$7 billion

Net income: US$3.09 billion

The Vancouver-headquartered forestry company West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd. has been a main- stay of B.C.’s resources sector since it was founded in 1955. The company is one of the province’s top 20 largest employers, with 2,772 employees based in B.C. West Fraser topped BIV’s list of the top 100 most profitable com- panies in B.C. after posting rec- ord earnings in 2021.

In a press release, president and CEO Ray Ferris credited his team’s hard work, and the com- pany’s US$3.1 billion acquisition in early 2021 of Norbord, a wood panel manufacturer with annual revenue of roughly US$2 billion. This horizontal integration al- lowed West Fraser to broaden its product offering. When the merger was announced, Ferris said Norbord’s product line was the perfect complement to West Fraser’s portfolio. Earnings one year after the acquisition support Ferris’s strategy, which led West Fraser to its most profitable year in the firm’s 67-year history.


Teck Resources Ltd.


Stock symbol: TSX:TECK.B

Industry: Mining

CEO: Jonathan Price

B.C. employees: 5,000

Revenue: $13.48 billion

Market cap: $23.45 billion

Net income: $3.04 billion


Teck Resources Ltd. is a global mining leader and one of Can- ada’s oldest companies. It was founded in 1906 to develop a gold discovery near Kirkland Lake in Ontario. With 5,000 employ- ees in B.C., Teck has regularly been one of the province’s lar- gest employers. It is also one of B.C.’s largest revenue-generating companies with over $13 billion in sales. This year, Teck reported the second-highest earnings among B.C.-based companies, with record profits of $3 billion in 2021 – the highest annual profits in the company’s history.

The company credited record earnings to ongoing positive commodity prices. The com- pany’s copper business posted a 20 per cent increase in profits, while its zinc business recorded a 48 per cent increase. Though commodity prices undoubted- ly boosted Teck’s bottom line, then-CEO Donald Lindsay also credited the resilience of Teck employees, who persevered through floods, a heat wave and a global pandemic.


Telus Corp.


Stock symbol: TSX:T

Industry: Telecommunications, telehealth

CEO: Darren Entwistle

B.C. employees: 8,000

Revenue: $17.3 billion

Market cap: $41.6 billion

Net income: $1.7 billion


Unlike the two companies that ranked higher on BIV’s list, Vancouver-headquartered Tel- us Corp. did not have its most profitable year in 2021, despite reporting year-over-year net income growth of 34 per cent. B.C.’s largest telecommunica- tions company was, however, able to achieve an industry-lead- ing and record-setting number of new customer sign-ups in 2021’s fourth quarter, adding more than a quarter-million new users.

In a press release, company president and CEO Darren En- twistle credited higher profit to higher demand for the company’s bundled products. Telus’s rev- enue has increased 29.7 per cent over the past five years, up from $13.3 billion in 2017. In May, the company announced plans to spend $17.5 billion in B.C. over the next four years to roll out 5G infrastructure across the prov- ince. As a result, Telus will add 5,500 jobs in B.C., which would make it the second-largest na- tional or global employer in the province.


Canfor Corp.


Stock symbol: TSX:CFP

Industry: Forestry

CEO: Don Kayne

B.C. employees: 3,696

Revenue: $7.64 billion

Market cap: $2.89 billion

Net income: $1.46 billion


The Vancouver-based forestry company Canfor Corp., which is nearly 51-per-cent-owned by billionaire Jim Pattison’s pri- vately held conglomerate, has had two consecutive record-set- ting years. In 2020, Canfor generated a net income of $544 million – a record, according to the company. In an earnings release, Canfor credited its then- peak profits and rapid growth to an unexpected increase in de- mand for lumber products and record-high lumber prices.

The following year, Canfor nearly tripled the record earn- ings it generated in 2020. De- spite difficulties with extreme weather, a global pandemic and some operational challenges, the company noted it was able to increase production and take advantage of strong global lum- ber markets.


Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd.


Stock symbol: TSX:TRQ

Industry: Mining

CEO: Steve Thibeault

B.C. employees: Not provided

Revenue: US$1.97 billion

Market cap: US$6.27 billion

Net income: US$997 million


Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd., one of the younger companies on BIV’s list of the top 100 most profitable companies in the province, was able to trumpet profits of $1.25 billion in 2021.

Interim CEO Steve Thibeau- lt said in an earnings call that bringing the company’s Oyo Tol- goi mine – a high-grade under- ground mine in the South Gobi desert in Mongolia – into pro- duction bolstered the company’s success last year.

The mining company reported an 82 per cent year-over-year increase in revenue to nearly US$2 billion, along with a record net income of US$781 million. Thibeault described the two years of negotiations with the Mongolian government that led to the Oyo Tolgoi mine’s pro- duction start as the company’s key achievement in 2021.