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Business picking up for Canadian companies

Published by Steve Coleman on February 23, 2012

Most Canadian businesses became a little more lucrative in the final quarter of 2011.

Statistics Canada says operating profits increased nine per cent during the final three months of 2011 to $71.4 billion, total, across the country.

The news was good for good 15 of the 22 business sectors the agency tracks.

While the percentage increase wasn't as large for companies not in the financial sector, the overall profits were larger. Fourth-quarter profits increased 5.3 per cent to $53.5 billion after a 3.2 per cent increase in profits the previous quarter. Manufacturing companies accounted for a large percentage of the overall total.

Canada's manufacturing sector boasted a 19.9 per cent increase in profits during the fourth quarter, rising to $14.2 billion country-wide.

As for individual manufacturing industries, the news was very good for auto sector where profits more than doubled to $1.7 billion for the final three months of the year. Petroleum and coal products makers say their numbers increased 25.8 per cent to $3.4 billion.

The numbers were also reported to be up for chemicals, plastics and rubber products makers as well as for companies doing fabricated metal work and those making machinery.

However, profits did fall 3.6 per cent to $3.7 billion for Canada's retailers.

In the financial sector, operating profits increased 21.8% to $17.9 billion, following a 10.9% decline in the third quarter. The insurance industry generated most of that fourth-quarter growth.

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