July/August 2020 – Facing the Music

With a mission to inform, empower, celebrate and advocate for British Columbia's current and aspiring business leaders, BCBusiness go behind the headlines and bring readers face to face with the key issues and people driving business in B.C.

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JULY/AUGUST 2020 BCBUSINESS 63 BCBUSINESS.CA to grow its business with government clients. Some of the province's fastest-growing compa- nies in 2019 also showed an innovative streak. Despite the forest industry down- turn, Paper Excellence Canada Holdings Corp.'s acquisition of Catalyst Paper Corp. delivered a significant boost to its revenue (based on industry estimates). The acqui- sition in 2018 of Bombardier's Q400 tur- boprop business and de Havilland brand was set to lift Victoria-based Longview Aviation Capital Corp.'s revenue to the billion-dollar mark, also earning it a spot among the fastest-growing businesses last year. Meanwhile, the BC Housing Manage- ment Commission received a $500-mil- lion boost to its budget as the province set about tackling the housing crisis—now overshadowed as markets reel from the impact of COVID-19. But perhaps the standout when it comes to quick growth is Mark Anthony Group, which undertook a rapid expan- sion of U.S. manufacturing capacity in 2019 as sales of its White Claw brand of hard seltzers took off, with retail sales estimated to top US$2 billion by the end of last year. The drinks powerhouse carved out a new segment just like it did with Mike's Hard Lemonade 20 years ago. When non-compete agreements it signed after the sale of the Mike's brand in 2015 expired on March 1, Mark Anthony began rolling out White Claw in Canada. Then COVID-19 hit. How the brand weathers the social and economic disease associated with the pandemic will tell the story, as it will for many other companies. Although the top end of the list may not look that much different a year from now, the current moment is a watershed for those busi- nesses that depend on consumer spend- ing and exports. "You're going to see sectors like retail taking a large hit in the next year," Yu says. "What does that mean for…a Lululemon or Aritzia, or those types of companies that have made some major expansions in the U.S. or abroad in recent years?" While diversification will favour conglomerates like Jim Pattison Group, smaller companies drawing revenue from goods or services that consumers may not consider essential could face

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