Canada's 50 Best Managed Companies Announced

Companies grew by 12 per cent amidst challenging economic times

TORONTO, Feb. 21, 2012 /CNW/ - The 2011 winners of Canada's Best Managed Companies didn't miss a beat. They stuck to what they do best: improving efficiencies, looking for new opportunities, innovating and growing.

These leading private organizations, demonstrate business excellence through a rigorous and independent process that evaluates their management capabilities and practices. Winners will be awarded with the distinction of Canada's Best Managed Companies at the annual gala and symposium on March 27, 2012 in Toronto.

"While Best Managed Companies recognize uncertainty on the economic horizon their focus has been squarely on growing their businesses and identifying new income streams," said John Hughes, Deloitte partner, Private Company Services, and national leader of Canada's 50 Best Managed Companies Program. "They grew through targeted spending in the form of acquisitions, enhancing their infrastructure and on product and service innovation."

Despite economic uncertainty, the 2011 Canada's 50 Best Managed Companies grew by 12 per cent last year, generated over $5 billion in combined revenue and employed over 20,000 Canadians.

"These companies have proved that, even in an uncertain economy, if you are nimble enough, innovative enough and have a growth-oriented focus, there are opportunities to be found." says Dino Medves, senior vice-president, CIBC Commercial Banking. "These companies, their executives and their employees serve as inspiring examples of what can be accomplished with a well thought out business plan, a strong team and a disciplined management approach."

With the backdrop of a stable Canadian economy, strong Canadian dollar, solid banking and housing sectors, Canadian companies performed well over last year. And here is how they did it.

Best Managed Companies search for good growth
Growth remained at the top of the C-suite agenda this year. While mergers and acquisition activity softened over the last eight months given the uncertainty in Europe and the US, there is still significant cash reserves on the sidelines waiting to be put into the market and many market insiders expect M&A activity to increase over the next 12 to 36 months.

As many Canadian businesses see flat or negative growth, margin enhancement has been a significant strategy to maintaining income levels. An off-shoot of this, evidenced in this year's Best Managed Companies is increased instances of vertical integration as companies' look, not only to increase margins, but to gain more control over their supply chain.

Best Managed Companies invest significantly in product and service innovation
While this might seem like an obvious strategy, it is not. This year's winners have invested significantly in product and service innovation to increase margins and to build attractive value propositions for their customers. This is another way Canada's Best Managed Companies have been able to drive additional margins in excess of revenue growth, innovative and cost effective building materials to support infrastructure spending, particularly in the architecture, engineering and construction space. There were many examples of the implementation of technologies that lowered cost of products or services or increased the utilization or useful life of assets.

Best Managed Companies know that private equity has changed the game
A significant number of Best Managed Companies have joined with a private equity partner in recent years. In many cases the private equity partner's network, its management team, its insights on other business, whether it is pricing or cost reduction strategies, can ultimately help private companies become more successful. In addition, private equity brings a disciplined governance approach to entrepreneurial businesses and adds another management dimension that will support future growth.

Best Managed Companies understand that succession planning is an ongoing process
We know that a significant number of owners plan to exit their business in the next five years. Best Managed Companies addressing this challenge recognize that succession/transition planning is an ongoing process and requires a holistic view of the business and their owners, particularly where family enterprises are involved. Best Managed Companies view this business transition as an opportunity to build a foundation for a sustainable business by focusing on creating and protecting the value of their business.

Best Managed Companies continue to assess their exposure to the U.S. 
Many Canadian companies are seeking revenue streams globally and buying US companies as the valuations are reasonable, but more importantly they provide additional growth opportunities, not only in the US but can become platforms to Mexico and South America.

2011 Best Managed Winners

Company Name City Prov Website
Airline Hotels Ltd.  Saskatoon SK www.airlinehotels.ca
ALPHA Assurances auto et habitation Drummondville QC www.alphaassurances.com
Avison Young Toronto ON www.avisonyoung.com
Blackjack Investments Ltd. Sherwood Park AB www.bj-investments.com
Burnbrae Farms Limited Lyn ON www.burnbraefarms.com
CarProof London ON www.carproof.com
CARSTAR Automotive Canada Inc. Hamilton ON www.carstar.ca
Cruickshank Construction Limited Kingston ON www.cruickshankgroup.com
Da-Lee Dust Control Stoney Creek ON www.daleedustcontrol.com
David Aplin Group Edmonton AB www.aplin.com
Delcan Corporation Markham ON www.delcan.com
DIRTT Environmental Solutions Calgary AB www.dirtt.net
DynaLIFEDx Edmonton AB www.dynalifedx.com
E.C.S. Electrical Cable Supply Ltd. Richmond BC www.ecswire.com
ELRUS Calgary AB www.elrus.com
Equipment Sales & Service Limited Toronto ON www.essltd.com
FLOFORM Countertops Winnipeg MB www.floform.com
Fresh Direct Produce Vancouver BC www.freshdirectproduce.com
Genumark Toronto ON www.genumark.com
Giftcraft Ltd. Brampton ON www.giftcraft.com
Groupe Trans-West Lachine QC www.groupetranswest.com
Hendrix Restaurant Equipment & Supplies Brockville ON www.hendrixequip.com
HTS Toronto ON www.htseng.com
Hunter Amenities International Ltd Burlington ON www.hunteramenities.com.
Joe Johnson Equipment Inc. Innisfil ON www.jjei.com
KUBRA Mississauga ON www.kubra.com
LMS Reinforcing Steel Group Surrey BC www.lmsgroup.ca
Long View Systems Calgary AB www.longviewsystems.com
Magna Electric Corporation Regina SK www.magnaelectric.com
Manderley Turf Products Inc. Ottawa ON www.manderley.com
Mayhew Thornhill ON www.mayhew.ca
McDougall Energy Inc. Sault Ste. Marie ON www.mcdougallcorp.com
Milgram & Company Ltd. Montreal QC www.milgram.com
New York Fries and South St. Burger Co. Toronto ON www.newyorkfries.com
www.southstburger.com
Oceanex Inc. St. John's NL www.oceanex.com
Pennecon Limited St. John's NL www.pennecon.com
Polycorp Ltd Elora ON www.poly-corp.com
Questrade Toronto ON www.questrade.com
Real Matters Markham ON www.realmatters.com
Rex Power Magnetics Concord ON www.rexpowermagnetics.com
Rotobec Ste-Justine QC www.rotobec.com
Seacore Seafood Inc. Vaughan ON www.seacoreseafood.com
SOLMAX INTERNATIONAL INC Varennes QC www.solmax.com
Solvera Solutions Regina SK www.solvera.ca
Southwest Properties Halifax NS www.southwest.ca
Spence Diamonds Ltd Vancouver BC www.spencediamonds.com
STRIKE Group Inc. Calgary AB www.strikeenergy.com
Studon Electric & Controls Inc. Red Deer AB www.studon.com
The Central Group Mississauga ON www.centralgrp.com
Vector Construction Group Winnipeg MB www.vectorgroup.com                              
www.vector-corrosion.com

About Canada's 50 Best Managed Companies
Canada's 50 Best Managed Companies continues to be the mark of excellence for Canadian-owned and managed private companies with revenues over $10 million. Every year, since the launch of the program in 1993, hundreds of entrepreneurial companies have competed for this designation in a rigorous and independent process that evaluates their management skills and practices. The awards are granted on four levels: 1) Best Managed winner (one of the 50 new winners selected each year); 2) Requalified member (repeat winners retain the Best Managed designation for two additional years, subject to annual operational and financial review); 3) Gold Standard member (winners that retain the Best Managed designation for 4-6 consecutive years); 4) Platinum Club member (winners that maintain Best Managed status for a minimum of six consecutive years). Program sponsors are Deloitte, CIBC, National Post and Queen's School of Business.

Best Managed has launched an online community for private companies: a new Best Managed channel on the Financial Post (FP) Executive site. A collaborative effort by Deloitte, CIBC and FP Executive, the new micro-site is aimed at showcasing Best Managed insights and celebrating the stars of Canada's private company stage. For further information, visit www.canadas50best.com

For further information:

Linda North
Venture Communications
linda@venturecommunications.ca
416-849-1874