Unexpected Canada - Macleans.ca

Unexpected Canada


From France’s best economic columnist, Eric Le Boucher(DIRE WARNING: Following the link will plunge you into many words of…French!!!):

“Who knew that the number of French businesses ranked in the FT500 (the 500 largest in the world according to the Financial Times) has gone from 18 in 1996 to 31 in 2008? Three quarters of the CAC40 are therefore in the top rank of world champions. Proof, if any were needed, that there is a France that’s winning: that of large business groups. For 12 years they have known how to conquer.

“Of course they’re not alone. The FT500 gives us news from the battlefronts of the economic war. Japan appears as the big loser. It had 110 of its giants ranked in 1996, today only 39 remain (-71). The United States is the second loser, passing from 203 to 169 (-34). Then Great Britain, which falls from 46 to 33 (-13). Among the winners, France is third behind the expected China (which went from 0 to 25) and the unexpected Canada, which rises from 10 to 24.”

There’s much more, but from this side of the Atlantic that’s an interesting start.

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Unexpected Canada

  1. One word: Oil.

  2. I guess this will justify the implementation of our blue ribben panel on foreign take overs.

  3. Two more words: Of Olay.

  4. Banking, life insurance and information technology account for substantially more of Canada’s 24 than oil. Now, does oil account for the growth from 1996? Not altogether: RIM wasn’t on the 1996 list, and I’d be surprised if Rogers was. For the rest, I’ll let you know if anyone can track down the 1996 list for me.

  5. I wonder how much the decline of the US$ in the past 18 months accounts for the American numbers.

  6. I know that Rogers, RIM, Brookfield were new in 2007. This year Potash Corp and Goldcorp were new entries.

  7. jwl, it would seem a significant amount. i only have access to the 2008 and 2007 reports but in the last year the Americans have lost 15 companies (nearly half of the 34 that half of the net decrease of the 12 year loss) and slightly more than 9% of the total market share of the FT500 by my calculation.

  8. Would you PLEASE warn us before you link to a text in Polish?

  9. These “top 500” things are utterly irrelevant in a world where the OPTIMAL SIZE OF BUSINESS ORGANIZATIONS both differs from industry to industry and changes over time.

    Since the 1980’s the optimal size of firms has declined – that France and Japan continue to have many top 500 firms is more a sign of corporate welfare, and their own lack of reform.

    Secondly, this measure is hardly fair to industries that are, by nature, more dispersed. For instance, the United States is ahead in IT, but software is a rather dispersed industry (Microsoft aside). By contrast, France’s key high tech industry, aerospace, is highly concentrated by nature.

    Finally, this is also a product of weaker European anti-combine laws.

  10. I think that big companies get to be big companies because they are not nationalistic by nature. Therefore, I think we should not take too much stock in these sort of statistics.

  11. Jack Mitchell,

    The link in this post is to a FRENCH language source – Le Monde – perhaps you’ve heard of it?

    And generally, what is it with people’s need to be warned about a link to another language? If you don’t read French just hit your back button. Better yet, just mouse over the link and observe that the source is http://www.lemonde.fr. Better still, use it as a learning opportunity and brush up on your other official language. If you’re reading a blog you clearly have some time on your hands.

  12. Dude, I hate to break it to you, but “Le Monde” is the biggest Polish daily. Out of Gdansk, I believe. Have you noticed all the accents? One clue.

  13. Hosertohoosier: The “largest” the FT500 referrs to is ranked by market capitalization, which I don’t think relates to “size” in terms of staff etc. That optimal size has declined across the board doesn’t much matter: even if all firms are shrinking, some of them will be always be larger than others.