James Richardson & Sons Ltd. has a long history of counterintuitive business moves. In the face of weak oil prices last year, the company expanded its energy infrastructure holdings with the $1-billion purchase of a pipeline system in Saskatchewan through one of its subsidiaries.
The pattern stretches back 159 years. The Manitoba-headquartered family firm ventured into financial services during the Great Depression. When its original line of business (grain handling and trading) looked threatened by drought a decade ago, the company bought more grain depots and loading facilities. Fifth-generation president and CEO Hartley Richardson bulked up its Tundra Oil & Gas subsidiary last year, buying 550 wells in Manitoba from a retreating American operator, EOG Resources.
The company isn’t solely focused on commodities. In partnership with True North Sports and Entertainment (in which David Thomson has a stake), the Richardsons are undertaking a $400-million mixed-use development in downtown Winnipeg.
Updated Thursday, November 9, 2017
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