Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney has been complaining recently that Canadian businesses are not doing their fair share to boost the economy. He is demanding that they spend some of their cash hoards, or return it to shareholders in the form of dividends so that they can spend it.
About 70 percent of all economic growth is from personal consumption, so the governor's words are warranted in the sense that cash sitting in corporate bank accounts cannot exactly help you and I go buy more stuff to boost national GDP. But what is the other alternative? Raise corporate taxes and use the increased government revenue to pay for infrastructure development and other government programs... Most business leaders, however, would protest at the prospect of tax increases so loudly that any common sense would be quickly thrown aside.
So who are the cash-rich Canadian companies referred to so much by Mark Carney? Below I have listed some of the biggest:
George Weston Ltd. ($3.6 Billion)
Air Canada ($2.38 Billion)
Research in Motion ($1.9 Billion)
Suncor ($5.1 Billion)
Teck Resources ($3.64 Billion)
Bombardier ($2.47 Billion)
For the Intelligent Investor, try to always keep a nice portion of your portfolio concentrated in cash-rich enterprises. As a shareholder, their bank account is your bank account, and you want to make sure to avoid businesses with a poor record of accumulating and saving cash on the side for emergencies.
Cheers, and Happy Investing!