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Quarterly financial statistics for enterprises

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Fourth quarter 2009 (preliminary) (Previous release)

Canadian corporations earned $60.1 billion in operating profits in the fourth quarter, an increase of $4.4 billion, or 7.9%, from the previous quarter. This is still below the $77.3 billion high reached in the third quarter of 2008 as the economy headed into the downturn. This marked the second quarter of growth since the recent low of $50.2 billion reported in the second quarter of 2009.

 Quarterly operating profits

Profits in the non-financial industries increased 4.4% from the third quarter to $44.8 billion in the fourth quarter, while profits in the financial industries reached $15.2 billion, up 19.7%. Overall, gains were widespread as 15 of 22 industries reported higher profits in the fourth quarter.

 Quarterly change in operating profits

Note to readers

Quarterly profit numbers referred to in the text are seasonally adjusted and are in current dollars. The estimates for the first three quarters of 2009 have been revised.

Quarterly financial statistics for enterprises are based upon a sample survey and represent the activities of all corporations in Canada, except those that are government controlled or not-for-profit. An enterprise can be a single corporation or a family of corporations under common ownership and control, for which consolidated financial statements are produced.

Profits referred to in this analysis are operating profits earned from normal business activities. For non-financial industries, operating profits exclude interest and dividend revenue and capital gains/losses, whereas for financial industries, these are included along with interest paid on deposits.

Operating profits differ from net profits, which represent the after-tax profits earned by corporations.

Energy profits up in the fourth quarter

Combined profits for the oil and gas, and petroleum and coal industries were up 8.6%, totalling $7.0 billion in the fourth quarter. Much of this gain came from rising oil prices and greater sales volumes. This marked the second straight quarter of growth, although profits were still below their peak of $16.7 billion reported in the third quarter of 2008.

Manufacturing profits continue to rise

Manufacturers reported a third consecutive quarter of increased profits. At $11.2 billion, fourth quarter profits reflected a 4.4% growth over the previous quarter. The top contributors were chemicals, plastics and rubber manufacturers, wood and paper manufacturers and primary metal manufacturers. However, motor vehicle and parts manufacturers tempered these gains with a decline in profits of $583 million.

Wholesale and retail profits up

Profits in the wholesale industry grew by 12.1% to $4.3 billion in the fourth quarter. Automotive product wholesalers and building materials and supplies wholesalers together accounted for almost half of that growth. Profits for retailers also grew, up 3.9%, to $3.4 billion.

Operating profits for financial industries on the rise

The 19.7% increase in profits for financial industries in the fourth quarter marked the second consecutive quarter of increase. Most of this growth came from the banks and insurance companies as their expenses declined.

Aggregate balance sheet and income statement data for Canadian corporations are now available in CANSIM. They are available at the national level for 22 industry groups.

Available on CANSIM: tables 187-0001 and 187-0002.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number 2501.

The fourth quarter 2009 issue of the Quarterly Financial Statistics for Enterprises (61-008-X, free) will be available soon.

Financial statistics for enterprises for the first quarter of 2010 will be released on May 27.

For more information, or to order data, contact Client Services (toll-free 1-888-811-6235; enquire about the concepts, methods, or data quality of this release, contact DanielleLafontaine-Sorgo (613-951-2634; or Philippe Marceau (613-951-4390;, Industrial Organization and Finance Division.

Table 1

Quarterly financial statistics for enterprises
  Fourth quarter 2008r Third quarter 2009r Fourth quarter 2009p Third quarter to fourth quarter 2009 Fourth quarter 2008 to fourth quarter 2009
  Seasonally adjusted
  $ billions % change
All Industries          
Operating revenue 788.8 752.1 762.0 1.3 -3.4
Operating profit 62.4 55.7 60.1 7.9 -3.8
Net profit 31.8 45.1 46.9 4.0 47.6
Operating revenue 713.2 674.0 686.8 1.9 -3.7
Operating profit 46.9 42.9 44.8 4.4 -4.4
Net profit 24.3 34.8 35.8 2.8 47.6
Operating revenue 75.6 78.0 75.2 -3.6 -0.5
Operating profit 15.5 12.7 15.2 19.7 -2.0
Net profit 7.5 10.3 11.1 8.1 47.6
Figures may not add up to totals because of rounding.