The 2023 Top 100: Winners + Losers

Science and health-tech companies and oil and gas purveyors saw revenues balloon, while the price of certain minerals tanked some miners.

Credit: iStock

Science and health-tech companies and oil and gas purveyors saw revenues balloon, while the price of certain minerals tanked some miners

Winner: Zymeworks

Revenue change: 1,505%  
Net income: $161 million c
Net income change: N/A

It’s been a tough couple of years for Vancouver-based biotech firm Zymeworks, which has seen a barrage of layoffs and executive turnovers since CEO Kenneth Galbraith took over from co-founder Ali Tehrani in January 2022. Soon after taking the reins, Galbraith laid off some 25 percent of the company’s 455 staff. “We did that as fairly, as quickly and as accurately as we could to get to the size I thought we should have, which is around 300 employees,” Galbraith told BCBusiness last year. So far, the bloodshed seems to be working, as Zymeworks’ year-over-year results far outpace that of any other Top 100 company. Of course, a $375-million deal for the exclusive licence to develop and commercialize the antibody zanidatamab throughout most of the world hasn’t hurt either.

Winner: Ivanhoe Mines

Revenue change: 149.5%  
Net income: $563 million c
Net income change: 2,521.6%

In 2022, the Kamoa-Kakula complex—a joint venture that Vancouver-based Ivanhoe Mines shares with Zijin Mining Group, Crystal River Global Limited and the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo—went boom. The project, which started production in 2021, was ready to hit the bank last year and did so in a massive way. Its output became one for the his- tory books as the company sold 323,733 tonnes of copper from the mine and recognized record revenue of $2.15 billion.

Winner: BC Lottery Corp.

Revenue change: 144.5%  
Net income: $1.3 billion
Net income change: 205.6%

This shouldn’t be a huge surprise. Last year was the first in which BC Lottery Corp. was able to bask in the full glow of the federal government giving the province power to regulate single-game betting. The result? A net income growth of over 200 percent. As sports gambling becomes more and more integrated with everyday life, there might be no slowing down for the BCLC.

Winner: Teekay Tankers

Revenue change: 98.9%  
Net income: $298 million c
Net income change: N/A

Last year, when Teekay appeared in the losers column, we remarked that the marine energy transporter—which has its Canadian base in Vancouver— probably wasn’t sweating the results too hard as there were a few one-time factors that had anchored the company. The shipping industry, as Teekay notes in its year-end financials, has always been cyclical and in 2022 the company beat analyst estimates. The cycle is clearly on an upswing as Teekay’s 2023 first-quarter results were even more impressive than its 2022 numbers.

Winner: International Petroleum Corp.

Revenue change: 92.1%  
Net income: $493 million
Net income change: 140.1%

The folks at the helm of IPC must be wondering if everything that goes up really does have to come down. The Vancouver-based oil and gas producer is the only company to make the winners list two years in a row (it came in at No. 4 last time around). And yes, once again, the easy explanation is that gas prices were very high. It didn’t hurt that production also hit a record high for the company. The stock (TSX: IPCO) has recently hit a small dip, but some analysts are still advising a buy.

Winner: Well Health Technologies Corp.

Revenue change: 88.3%  
Net income: $18.6 million
Net income change: N/A

The pandemic has been a huge boon for Well Health‘s bottom line. The Vancouver-based health-tech firm supplies software, tools and solutions to help clinics and doctors keep up with a digitizing industry. It may have taken physicians some time to come around, but, as CEO Hamed Shahbazi noted to BCBusiness last year, “What we saw during the pandemic was that they needed us. And they were very appreciative of the work that we did for them.”

Winner: Vancouver International Airport Authority

Revenue change: 85.5%  
Net income: -$25.9 million
Net income change: N/A

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to piece together why YVR revenue saw a boost in 2022 as compared to 2021, when the pandemic was still very much a factor in limiting travel. But it hasn’t all been sunny skies for CEO Tamara Vrooman, as the airport still saw a loss in net income and took major heat over cancelled flights and long waits thanks to December storms. YVR has since promised improvements, so it’ll be worth keeping an eye on the sky.

Winner: Aritzia

Revenue change: 74.3%  
Net income: $156.9 million
Net income change: 716.1%

It’s hard to explain exactly why Aritzia‘s focus on the U.S. retail market—which is largely dying—is working so well. In November of last year, the Toronto Star asked whether the strategy was crazy enough to succeed. So far, the answer has been a resounding yes. The Star quoted Aritzia founder and executive director Brian Hill as saying the company’s core demographic—women aged 15 to 35—are the least affected by the economy. That 66-percent growth rate in the U.S. would seem to agree.

Winner: Capstone Copper Corp.

Revenue change: 69.3%  
Net income: $177.1 million c
Net income change: -44.1%

The merger of Vancouver-based Capstone with Chilean miner Mantos Copper was officially integrated in early 2022. That, combined with progress at Capstone’s Mantoverde mine in Chile, meant a huge boost in revenue. It’s not over, either, as the company expects this to be just the beginning for Mantoverde.

Winner: Anthem Group of Companies

Revenue change: 57.5%  
Net income: NP
Net income change: NP

The only real estate firm on our list of gainers, Anthem seems to have come out of the pandemic even stronger. The Vancouver-based company has an abundance of commercial and residential properties in Alberta, California and B.C., many of which are currently being leased—like the 379-home Wynwood Green in Coquitlam, the Maker and Envoy projects in Sacramento, and Calgary shopping centre High- street at Cornerstone.

Loser: WorkSafeBC

Revenue change: -65.5%  
Net income: -$2.6 billion
Net income change: NA

WorkSafeBC saw a 24-percent increase in revenue last year, only to come crashing back to earth this time around (we hope they’re insured…). Legislative changes in the form of Bill 41—which brought “over- due” changes to the worker compensation system, according to provincial Labour Minister Harry Bains—required a one-time payment of more than a billion dollars, while the organization, which relied on a robust investment portfolio to hit large gains in previous years, likely took a loss with the stock market as well.

Loser: Copper Mountain Mining Corp.

Revenue change: -47.9%  
Net income: $22.9 million
Net income change: -84.5%

The Vancouver-based miner saw major dips in both its copper and silver production. CEO Gil Clausen, who acknowledged that 2022 was a challenging year, cited damage to mining crushers, quality problems with its supplier and a ransomware attack, among other issues that capped the company’s potential. While Clausen was upbeat about the company’s 2023 outlook in March, about a month later came the announcement that Toronto-based Hudbay is set to acquire Copper Mountain for US$439 million. That deal will go to a shareholder vote in June.

Loser: Polygon Family of Companies

Revenue change: -42.9%  
Net income: NP
Net income change: NP

Our Polygon graph has taken on the habits of a yo-yo in recent years: the Vancouver real estate firm appeared in our 2018 winners, 2019 losers, 2021 winners and, to complete the cycle, 2023 losers. Polygon is a private company, so it’s hard to see exactly where the cash drop occurred. We’ll see next year whether the shift was due to regression, the pressure of government efforts on the housing market, or something else entirely.

Loser: Insurance Corporation of British Columbia

Revenue change: -17.9%  
Net income: $2.2 billion
Net income change: 44.1%

Everyone’s favourite insurance corporation fell a few spots in terms of revenue, but don’t worry—net income was positive. The move to Enhanced Care—and its change to first-party coverage—has meant both lower revenues and lower costs for the Crown corporation. The lower claims costs, along with high investment income, have ICBC driving all the way to the bank.

Loser: BBTV Holdings

Revenue change: -15.6%  
Net income: -$197.2 million
Net income change: N/A

Last year, Broadband TV was the biggest winner in terms of revenue change percentage in our Top 100. But we noted that CEO Shahrzad Rafati probably wasn’t popping too many bottles of champagne. That’s because the entertainment network posted a (fairly big) net income loss. Things were better this year in the latter but worse in the former. The company is still confident; it’s waiting for YouTube Shorts—and the 32 percent of its viewership that sits on the platform—to become monetized. That process started in February 2023.

Loser: Westshore Terminals Investment Corp.

Revenue change: -14.2%  
Net income: $104 million
Net income change: -$24.1%

Westshore, which operates North America’s biggest coal export terminal out of Roberts Bank in Delta, admitted in its year-end letter to shareholders that it had a challenging 2022. Extreme cold and heavy snow at both the start and end of the year were factors in decreased production, as was a 23-day workers’ strike in the fall and the below-expectations second-half performance of rail carrier BNSF.

Loser: Vancity Credit Union

Revenue change: -10.2%  
Net income: $73.5 million
Net income change: -30.9%

Coming off a lucrative 2021, a slide was probably always in the cards for Vancity. And with economic and market conditions driving a sharp slowdown in housing activity and business investments, it was likely worse than anticipated. Investor confidence in the market understandably hit a low in the second-half of 2022. The good news for Vancity is that, even in a down year, the financial institution made some nice profits. Now comes the hard part: the bank is expecting unfavourable market conditions and unpredictability to persist in 2023.

Loser: Ero Copper Corp.

Revenue change: -9.6%  
Net income: $173 million c
Net income change: -31.9%

Vancouver-based Ero Copper, which focuses its efforts mainly on Brazil, attributes its drop in revenue to a number of factors, including global supply chain disruptions, geopolitical conflicts and inflationary pressures. But the main reason was the price of copper, which, after reaching an all-time high in early 2022, quickly hit lows not seen since the height of the pandemic.

Loser: Taseko Mines

Revenue change: -9.6%  
Net income: -$29.5 million
Net income change: N/A

Taseko, the Vancouver-headquartered operator of Canada’s second-largest open-pit mine—McLeese Lake’s Gibraltar—ran into many of the same problems that other mineral producers hit. The copper price drop hurt, of course, and the extreme weather in December caused a site-wide power outage. Surging diesel prices (55 percent higher than 2021) didn’t help either.

Loser: Teekay Corporation

Revenue change: -9.4%  
Net income: $102 million
Net income change: 311%

It may seem a bit strange to see Teekay Tankers in the gainers list while the parent company wades in loser waters, but the numbers really don’t tell the whole story here. With a massive net income gain (its highest ever), the company’s revenue loss is entirely attributable to common share repurchases.

NA=not applicable/available
NP=not provided

BCBusiness prepares the Top 100 list using various sources, but it makes no representation regarding the completeness, accuracy or timeliness of any information presented.