Saskatchewan's Top 100 Companies.

Author:Martin, Paul
Position::Company rankings
 
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AND THEN THERE WERE TWO ...

In more than two dozen years of compiling this annual listing of Saskatchewan's commercial prowess, only four companies have ever vied for the top spot. Now only two remain.

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The perennial contenders have been PotashCorp, Federated Co-operatives and Viterra along with its forerunner Saskatchewan Wheat Pool. Periodically IPSCO made a showing but, in broad terms, it was always the first three that bumped against each other for the title of Saskatchewan's Top Company in revenue terms.

This year, however, Viterra, target of a takeover launched by the European giant Glencore, is not part of the ranking, the first time a grain handler has not grabbed one of the principal positions. This follows the path previously traversed by IPSCO, the venerable prairie steel and pipe maker that grew into a major North American producer that took out high profile competitors including Bethlehem Steel before being bought up by a Scandanavian company and subsequently broken up.

Such is the world of commerce - players come and players go. A few stalwarts - such as FCL - remain largely in their original form but, almost by definition, the best businesses a community has to offer can often find themselves being predator and prey at the same time. This, it seems, is especially true of publicly traded firms.

Saskatchewan, in general terms, has not produced all that many companies with the size and willingness to obtain a stock exchange listing (although we've historically had more than Manitoba for some reason). And while this is a signal of a company's ability - successful enough to attract outside investors and with the bulk to warrant the cost and effort associated with a stock exchange listing - it also opens the door to takeovers as well as having the capital-raising capacity to be an acquisition. But it is not, as the uninitiated might believe, a protective shield that keeps predators at bay.

Saskatchewan's current Top 100 ranking includes only a handful of publically-listed Saskatchewan headquartered firms including PotashCorp, Cameco, Alliance Grain Traders, Vecima Networks, Claude Resources and International Road Dynamics. There are a few reporting issuers - quasi-publics, but not carried on an exchange so they are often out of the spotlight.

These companies publish their financial information for all to see so analysts and equity buyers can easily calculate a valuation and weigh the possibilities of launching a takeover bid. Such was the case with Viterra.

The company's strong economic performance - rapid growth based on a focused strategy - moved the firm from an ailing grain handler more at ease in the political arena than the business world and placed shareholder interests ahead of customer needs to a resurgent player in an equally resurgent market sector. The transformation - with the acquisition of the bulk of Western Canada's grain gathering system as well as Australia's, diversification of processing and input supply capacity and a remarkably acute business nose caught the attention of bigger fish. And that is one of the things about a public listing: there are fairly definitive rules regarding takeovers which seem to encourage, not deter, buyers.

SASKATCHEWAN'S TOP 100 COMPANIES OF 2012 2011 2012 Company CEO/Pres SK Employees 3 1 PotashCorp William J. Doyle 2,341 2 2 Federated Co-operatives Scott Banda 1,575 Ltd. 4 3 Canpotex Ltd. Steve Dechka 90 5 4 The Mosaic Company Jim Prokopanko 2,300 6 5 Cameco Corporation Tim Gitzel 2,320 7 6 SaskPower Robert Watson 3,290 8 7 SGI Canada Andrew Cartmell 1,745 14 8 Brandt Group of Gavin Sempfe 808 Companies 9 9 Co-operators Life Kevin Daniel 718 Insurance Company 10 10 SaskTel Ron Styles 3,814 15 11 Farm Credit Canada (FCC) Greg Stewart 874 11 12 Saskatchewan Liquor & Barry Lacey 1,002 Gaming Authority 13 13 Mega Group Inc. BenoitSimard 52 12 14 SaskEnergy Doug Kellen 1,084 16 15 Alliance Grain Murad Al-Katib 260 Traders/Saskcan Pulse Trading 13 16 Yara Belle Plaine Inc. Michael Schlang 150 17 17 Graham Group Ltd. Grant Beck 304 (sfconly-Hiei) 24 18 PCL Construction Paul Douglas 180 Management Inc. (SKonly sales) 22 19 Redhead Group of Gary L. Redhead 387 Companies 19 20 Dundee Developments/Homes Michael Cooper 60 by Dundee 23 21 Saskatchewan Indian Zane Hansen 1,938 Gaming Authority (SfGA) 28 22 Saskatchewan Housing Don Allen N/A* Corporation 20 23 AREVA Resources Canada Vincent Martin 320 Inc. 21 24 Sask. Worker's Peter Federko 450 Compensation Board 26 25 Vaughn Wyant Automotive Vaughn Wyant 266 Group (VWAG) 31 26 Concorde Group Corp. L. David Ditbe 450 34 27 Legumex Walker Canada Joe! Horn 700 Inc. 25 28 Siemens Transportation Erwen Siemens 890 Group Inc. 33...

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