Despite its troubled finances, BlackBerry was still the number one ICT company in Canada last year by revenue, according to a consulting company’s calculations.
In its annual listing of public and private information and communications technology companies in the country, Branham Group said the Waterloo, Ont. smart phone maker topped the 2013 list with $11.7 billion in revenue. Montreal-based services company CGI Group was second with just over $10 billion, followed by carrier and media company BCI Inc. with $9.4 billion.
However, note that the figures are from their 12 month fiscal financial year ending in any month in 2013 and aren’t directly comparable. For example, BlackBerry’s fiscal year ended in March, whereas CGI’s ended in September. Nevertheless Andrew Bisson, vice-president of Braham’s consulting services, said it’s a fair comparison.
The real news is the fast rise of services companies like CGI, he said, which grew 50 per cent compared to 2012 and may take over number one this year. The category includes systems integrators, consulting companies and staffing firms.
CGI’s 111 per cent growth in revenue over 2012 came in part through its $2.8 billion acquisition of British-based international services provider Logica plc.
BlackBerry’s revenue dropped 40 per cent over the previous year. Excluding BlackBerry, revenues in the technology sector as a whole here grew about 13 per cent last year, Bison said.
“Tech’s back again,” he said. “The industry saw some really positive growth.”
After BCE, the top 10 revenue list is rounded out by carriers Telus Corp. and Rogers Communications; electronics manufacturer Celestica; Western Canadian cableco Shaw Communications; simulator manufacturer CAE; satellite maker MacDonald, Dettwiler and Assoc.; and information management software maker OpenText (revenue $1.36 billion).
Past OpenText there were only three ITC firms last year that had revenues over $1 billion for their fiscal years: Toronto’s Constellation Software ($1.2 b), which makes a solutions for a number of verticals; software reseller and services provider Softchoice ($1.12 b); and Quebec cableco Videotron (just over $1 b).
The top 250 ICT companies had combined revenues of $85 billion, up 2.4 per cent over 2012.
To give an idea of how titled the industry is, BlackBerry accounted for 22.1 per cent of the top 250’s revenues in 2012. Last year the company represented only 13.9 per cent per cent.
As mentioned earlier, companies in the services sector had a 50 per cent leap in revenue last year over 2012. The software sector was up 20.1 per cent, a rebound from the anemic 0.31 per cent growth the year before. On the other hand service providers as a group saw revenue drop to a 3.8 per cent increase over 2012. By comparison that year revenues were up almost eight per cent over 2011.
Overall though, as a group service providers (lead Bell) were the top sector with a combined $35.4 billion in revenue in 2013. BlackBerry’s tumble dropped ICT hardware and infrastructure makers to $25.1 billion, followed by professional services companies with $18. 4 billion and software companies with just over $8 billion.
BlackBerry’s revenue drop affects the numbers in other ways, making the combined revenue for Ontario ICT companies drop by 12 per cent. By contrast CGI’s revenue leap help push the combined revenue of Quebec-based ITC firms up. The combined revenues of B.C. and Alberta-based ICT firms also rose last year.
“The Canadian ICT industry continued to move forward at a stable pace in 2013 and this is expected to continue well into 2014,” Branham said.