Resources may drive the Canadian economy, but when it comes to profit in dollars, the winners are predominantly from the financial sector. Royal Bank reclaims bragging rights this year as Canada’s most profitable company, followed by the Toronto-Dominion Bank and the Bank of Nova Scotia. Banks aren’t just profitable—they’re efficient. Only two cracked our list of largest revenue generators, suggesting they didn’t need massive revenues to generate bucketloads of profit for shareholders.
The sector isn’t devoid of challenges: Canada’s banks are contending with an ongoing low-interest-rate environment, slower consumer lending growth and weakness in the securities business. But they look particularly strong compared to the suddenly anemic resource sector.
It has been a rough year for commodities of any variety. Oil prices flattened out, and base metals like copper have been on a downward trajectory since January. But the real story is gold. After a decade-long run, it has now tumbled to below $1,500, well back from its high of $1,900 in September 2011. As a result, not a single gold company this year cracked our top 15 largest companies by market cap. That hasn’t happened since 2007, back when bullion was trading around $700.
TOP OF THE CHARTS
MOST PROFITABLE BY SECTOR
* Gains or losses on assets may be included in revenues due to mark-to-market accounting rules