The Boss report: 2006 | 2005
Flatt's strategy to turn this Toronto-based conglomerate into a lean, mean, cash-returning machine by shedding volatile assets in favour of real estate, power and infrastructure plays has shareholders grinning. Although the stock climbed more than 60% over the past year, some analysts are taking a wait-and-see approach until Brascan seals the deal on a partial sell-off of its 41% stake in mining giant Noranda Inc.
CHC Helicopter Corp.
Allard took the pilot's seat from company founder and longtime CEO Craig Dobbin last November, in a governance move designed to relinquish some of Dobbin's powerful hold on Richmond, B.C.-based CHC. As the world's largest provider of helicopter services to the offshore oil-and-gas industry, the company saw its shares soar to new heights amid a flurry of oilpatch activity in 2004. Allard has promising plans to expand into the military sector. But a drop in oil prices could send the stock into a nosedive.
Manitoba Telecom Services Inc.
Fraser gave shareholders something to talk about last year after his $1.6-billion acquisition of Toronto-based telecom-services firm Allstream. Instead of giving in to investors' income-trust lust, the accountant and former civil servant held course in a bid to recast the Winnipeg-based phone company as a national carrier. Now he'll have to prove that MTS can compete with the big guys–Telus and Bell–for a larger piece of the lucrative and tumultuous telecom market.
The glass has been half-empty for Sheppard this year, as shares in the Toronto-based soft-drink bottler went flat, thanks to a costly outsourcing program to keep up with demand from thirsty U.S. customers. Raw materials, higher energy costs and increased capital spending also hammered profit margins. Sheppard has vowed to increase efficiencies in his plants, introduce new products and sweeten sales by 10% in 2005.
Sun Life Financial Inc.
Nearly two years after Sun Life's U.S. mutual fund subsidiary was forced to pay more than $270 million in settlement fees to securities regulators because of a commissions scandal, Stewart is finally beginning to turn around Canada's second-largest insurance company. The Toronto-based Sun Life posted record profit of $1.68 billion in 2004, up 28% from a year earlier. His sites are now set on Asia, where the Scotsman CEO hopes to tap into this developing market.
Maple Leaf Foods Inc.
McCain's executive bonus skyrocketed to nearly $1 million in 2004 from a paltry $52,000 a year earlier as shares in the Toronto-based meat and bakery giant rebounded on his decision to gobble up rival pork processor Schneider Foods. But the $500-million deal leaves Maple Leaf with little room to expand domestically. Instead, the company will have to add to its roster of 120 operating plants around the world another way–and that means McCain could be hungry for even meatier acquisitions in the United States and abroad. E.P.