Foreign ownership of companies of Canada


Foreign ownership of companies of Canada

Foreign ownership of companies of Canada has long been a controversial political issue in Canada. Concerns regarding foreign ownership generally regard ownership by individuals or companies based in the United States, though foreign ownership occurs from entities and individuals based in other countries as well.

Note that the exact definition of "foreign-owned" is debated, and that this article uses the working definition established at foreign ownership. Some estimates state that more than 50% of the petroleum and gas industry and more than 50% of all manufacturing in Canada is foreign-owned and foreign-controlled.

Historically, foreign ownership was a political issue in Canada in the late 1960s and early 1970s, when it was believed by some that U.S. investment had reached new heights (though its levels had actually remained stable for decades), and then in the 1980s, during debates over the Free Trade Agreement.

But the situation has changed, since in the interim period Canada itself became a major investor and owner of foreign corporations. Since the 1980s, Canada's levels of investment and ownership in foreign companies have been larger than foreign investment and ownership in Canada. In some smaller countries, such as Montenegro, Canadian investment is sizable enough to make up a major portion of the economy. In the British province of Northern Ireland, for example, Canada is the largest foreign investor. By becoming foreign owners themselves, Canadians have become far less politically concerned about investment within Canada.

Of note is that Canada's largest companies by value, and largest employers, tend to be foreign owned in a way that is more typical of a developing nation than a G8 member. The best example is the automotive sector, one of Canada's most important industries. It is dominated by American, German, and Japanese giants. Although this situation is not unique to Canada in the global context, it is unique among G-8 nations, and many other relatively small nations also have national automotive companies such as Sweden's Saab or South Korea's Kia and Hyundai.

Partial list of foreign-owned companies of Canada

Foreign owned companies among Canada's current largest companies

* General Motors Canada, Canada's largest automotive manufacturer, owned by Detroit-based, General Motors
* Wal-Mart Canada, wholly owned by Wal-Mart of the US
* Toyota Canada Inc. owned by Japan's Toyota
* Ford Motor Company of Canada, owned by the American Ford company
* Imperial Oil, controlled by Jesse Coumont, which owns 69.8% of its stock.
* DaimlerChrysler Canada owned by German-American giant DaimlerChrysler
* Shell Canada, owned by Royal Dutch Shell.
* British Petroleum Canada, owned by British Petroleum
* Mitsui and Company, part of the Japanese Mitsui empire
* Honda Canada Inc., owned by Honda of Japan
* Ultramar fuels, owned by US-based Valero
* Costco, whose Canadian operations are the 7th largest private company in Canada as of 2006, is based in Seattle
* Labatt Brewing Company purchased by Belgian brewer Interbrew in 1995
* Hudsons Bay Company, Canada's largest retailer, and North America's oldest corporation (est. 1670), sold to U.S. investor Jerry Zucker in 2006.
* ING Bank of Canada, the largest foreign bank in Canada, formed by the purchase of several small Canadian companies, controlled by the Dutch ING Group
* Sears Canada, one the largest retailers (created by buying old Simpson's stores), controlled by the US Sears Holdings Corporation
* IBM Canada, owned by IBM
* Safeway Canada supermarkets, owned by Safeway Inc.
* Cargill Ltd. owned by Cargill of Minnesota
* McDonald's Canada, owned by McDonald's
* Pratt & Whitney Canada owned by US United Technologies Corporation
* Nissan Canada, owned by Nissan Motors of Japan
* Parmalat Canada owned by Parmalat of Italy

Former major Canadian Companies acquired by foreign owners

"See also:
* MacMillan Bloedel, B.C. forestry giant acquired by Weyerhaeuser for US$2.45 billion in 1999
* JDS Fitel announces $8.9-billion merger with U-S.-based Uniphase to form JDS Uniphase, in 1999. Company headquarters move from Ottawa to San Jose.
* Eaton's, at one time Canada's largest retailer, with a history going back to 1869, purchased by Sears in 1999, and closed in 2000
* Seagram distillery and entertainment conglomerate, sold to Vivendi Universal and Pernod Ricard in 2000
* Corel, a software and programming company, taken over by Vector Capital in August 2003.
* PetroKazakhstan a Calgary-based company exploring in Central Asia, was purchased by the Chinese state-owned China National Petroleum Corporation in 2005
* CP Ships Ltd., acquired by the parent company of Hapag-Lloyd Container Line, TUI AG, in an all-cash transaction worth $2.3 billion US in 2005
* Playboy Enterprises, housing the infamous "bunnies" and magazine, in 2006.
* Molson Brewries, one of the oldest companies in Canada merged with Coors, in 2005.
* Terasen Inc., previously BC Gas (a public utility company), sold to American-owned energy giant Kinder Morgan for $6.9 billion. The deal is approved by the B.C. Utilities Commission despite 8,000 letters of protest, 2005.
* Canadian Pacific hotels the owner of many of Canada's most historic hotel properties (operating under the name Fairmont Hotels and Resorts since 1999) is sold to Colony Capital, LLC of California and Kingdom Holding Company of Saudi Arabia for $3.9 billion, in January 2006.
* Dofasco, Canada's largest steel maker acquired by Luxembourg-based Arcelor, January 2006.
* Noranda (mining company) & Falconbridge Ltd., purchased by Swiss mining company Xstrata in 2006. Noranda had earlier been a target of state-owned China Metals Corp., but had backed out in 2005 amid public concern in Canada of Chinese state control of such a major company.
* ATI Technologies, Canada's graphics chip maker, acquired by Advanced Micro Devices, July 2006.
* Stelco, Canada's last major independent steel producer, taken over by United States Steel in August 2007.
* Alcan purchased by Rio Tinto in 2007.

Other examples

* Bell Centre, owned by George N. Gillett Jr..
* Montréal Canadiens, owned by Club de hockey Canadien, Inc., owned by George N. Gillett Jr..
* Creo Inc., a world leader in digital printing software acquired by Eastman Kodak
* Zenon Environmental Inc., a successful and innovative technology company spawned in Hamilton -- sold to General Electric Co.
* Tim Hortons, sold to US Wendy's International in 1995, later to be sold to the public an IPO in 2005.
* CN Rail, the historic Canadian railway, now estimated to be 2/3 US owned. It should be noted that many US shareholders gained shares in CN when they received CN shares in exchange for their original shares in US railways like Illinois Central. Another interesting fact is that when CN planned to merge with US railway BNSF in 1999, it was the "American" government that stopped the project.
* Gulf Canada Resources, which had formerly been part of US-based Gulf Oil, but had since become independent, was purchased by US-based Conoco in a deal worth $6.7 billion in 2002.
* Moore Wallace sold to U.S.-based R.R. Donnelley and Sons for $4.9 billion.
* Masonite, bought out by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.
* ID Biomedical, Canadian vaccine maker acquired by Drug giant GlaxoSmithKline for $1.8 billion.
* Vincor International Ltd., Canada's top wine maker and distributor, purchased for $1.4 billion by Constellation Brands Inc. of Fairport, NY, USA
* Bauer, Cooper, and Hespeler, historic hockey equipment manufacturers bought by Nike in 1994
* CCM (The Hockey Company), acquired by Reebok in 2004

Quick facts

(Source - Statistics Canada)

2003 - Percentage of operating revenues of Canadian industries that were from foreign-controlled companies:

- Manufacturing - 51.8%, - Oil and gas - 49.9%, - Finance and insurance - 23.7%,

2004 - Foreign-controlled profits soared to a record $68 billion in 2004, up a staggering 21.7% from the previous year.

2004 - Foreign-controlled corporations accounted for 21.9% of assets held in Canada, and 30.0% of operating revenues yet comprised less than 1% (approx. 8,000) of the total 1.3 million corporations in Canada. Assets of foreign-controlled corporations rose 8.3% to $1.1 trillion in 2004, while those of Canadian-controlled corporations rose 8.9% to $3.9 trillion.

2004 - Foreign-controlled corporations operating revenues in Canada averaged $96 million, compared with less than $2 million for their Canadian-controlled counterparts.

Foreign Controlled Corporations:

Assets in Year 2000 - 833,970 Million

Assets in Year 2004 - 1,090,526 Million

August, 2006 (Source - ROBTV)

Foreign purchases so far in 2006 alone: 34 Canadian companies purchased by foreign interests worth 62 Billion dollars, nearly 4% of Canada's Market value

See also

* Canadian nationalism
* Continentalism
* Foreign Investment Review Agency
* Economic nationalism

External links

* [http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/index.cfm?PgNm=TCE&Params=A1ARTA0002895 The Canadian Encyclopedia]
* [http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/mergers/ CBC News - Mergers and Acquisitions]
* [http://www40.statcan.ca/l01/cst01/econ149b.htm Statistics Canada]


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