July 21, 2017 8:03 pm
Updated: July 22, 2017 1:24 pm

Sask.’s Crown corporations double earnings

Crown Investments Minister Joe Hargrave called it a successful year for Crown Investments Corporation. The Crown sector increased net earning by $225 million.

Derek Putz / Global News

A week of Crown reports ended on a golden note.

The Crown sector earned $399 million in consolidated net earnings in 2016-17, which is $225 million more than the same period in 2015-16, according to Crown Investments Corporation’s (CIC) annual report.

“Factors that contributed to the strong earnings in 2016-17 include customer growth, cost restraint and efficiency measures, investment earning and non-cash market value adjustments all contributed to the growth,” Crown Investments Minister Joe Hargrave said

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Crown corporations contributed $157 million in dividends to CIC last year.

In turn, CIC gave the government’s general revenue fund $219 million, which was $15 million more than the budgeted goal.

Bill 40, which was passed in April, allows for the sale of up to 49 per cent of Crown corporations.

READ MORE: Sask. government passes Bill 40, allows for up to 49 per cent sale of Crown corporations

Preliminary discussions have been held for SGI and SaskTel but no other Crown corporations, Hargrave said.

“I think just the general announcement since Bill 40, that runs through the industries pretty dramatically. They’re all big industries and it’s a small community basically of industries, and they get on the phones regularly and meet at conferences regularly, and that sort of discussion does take place as to ‘what does it mean’,” Hargrave said.

READ MORE: SGI Canada in talks about partial sale

However, the opposition expressed concern that a potential sale would jeopardize future dividends.

“To sell off Crown corporations does seem very short-sighted for a one-time payout, which would impact announcements like today when we’re seeing $200 million dollars returned to the people of Saskatchewan,” CIC critic Carla Beck said.

“Not only that, the ability of those Crown corporations to make sure there is an equitable level of coverage around the province, I think if you change the structure of the Crown corporations, it puts that in peril,” she said.

Crown corporations have contributed $1.4 billion to the general revenue fund in the last five years.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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