After a few years of relative absence, players in the oil and gas sector surge back onto the Fast Growth 50 list
A Return to Form
Growing your company quickly can be a blessing, a curse, or both at the same time. Tempering the excitement of remarkable revenue and profit numbers will be the nagging knowledge that, particularly here in Alberta, your business is going to have to be on its toes to find enough capital and labour and hours in the day to keep up with demand and keep customers coming back. Add to that the fact that you operate in an economy that experiences more fluctuation than most and you have a set of challenges that can only be managed with a solid backbone.
Be that as it may, companies submit applications to be included on this list because they’re proud of their accomplishments, and what a series of stories there are to tell again this year. This, the 15th iteration of Alberta Venture’s list of this province’s fastest growing companies, includes an electronic-cigarette maker for the first time, a pizzeria, five high-tech companies and 12 in the business-services sector. The companies on the list grew their revenue by an average annualized rate of 131 per cent over the last three years, their assets by 188 per cent and their work-forces by 78 per cent.
We also see something of a return to form. After a few years of relative absence, the oil and gas sector – reflecting the uptick in drilling and completion activity – make up the largest portion of companies on the list. There are 14 such businesses represented, up from seven last year, and that includes the top performer, Western Energy Services Corp.
The drilling company increased its revenue from $4 million two years ago to $263 million this year, expanded its employee complement from 24 to more than 1,000 and grew its assets by a similar degree.
On the macro-scale, 2012 surprised us. “The early promise of an economic recovery and what was briefly a strong rally in energy stocks in the first two months of the year evaporated,” wrote Eric Nuttall, a portfolio manager with Sprott Asset Management, in Alberta Oil last month. This gave way to “persistent concerns about Europe, a Chinese slowdown, elections in the United States and now the so-called fiscal cliff.”
Every business must ride the waves of the economy. It’s clear that those on this list have done so with aplomb.