Saskatchewan’s Crown corporation sector continued to provide quality services in 2001 at rates that are among the lowest in Canada.
The Crowns also declared a dividend of $200 million to the province’s General Revenue Fund, money that will be used for programs including health, education, highways and infrastructure.
2001 Annual Reports for the Crowns and subsidiary Crown Corporations were tabled in the Legislature. Annual financial statements for pension plans and wholly-owned subsidiaries were also tabled.
Consolidated revenues increased by more than $185 million over 2000, to $3.4 billion, due mostly to an increase in operating revenues from higher utility and insurance sales. However, consolidated earnings were down almost $140 million, to $132 million, due mainly to a substantial reduction in SaskPower earnings and the write-off of SaskEnergy’s Gas Cost Variance Account.
“We were pleased to help cushion home heating costs for Saskatchewan families last year by asking SaskEnergy to absorb the entire deficit in its Gas Cost Variance Account,” Crown Investments Corporation Minister Maynard Sonntag said. “We were able to do this because SaskEnergy is a Crown corporation. This measure saved the average residential customer $180 a year.
“We are also proud to contribute another $200 million to the province’s General Revenue Fund on behalf of the Crown sector. Since 1995, the Crown sector has provided more than $1.1 billion in dividends and equity repayments to the GRF to be used for programs and services that benefit all Saskatchewan people.”
Other financial details for 2001, as compared with 2000 unless otherwise stated, include:
Consolidated debt increased by $476 million, to $3.62 billion, due to higher debt at several Crowns. The bulk of the debt includes a $364 million investment in capital projects at SaskPower, and $76 million at SaskEnergy to cushion homeowners from higher natural gas bills. However, there has been an overall reduction of $604 million in this debt since 1996, and of close to $1.76 billion since 1991 when consolidated debt stood at $5.4 billion;
SaskPower’s earnings dropped to $29.1 million from $108.1 million due mainly to lower hydro generation which was replaced by higher cost supply sources. The corporation spent close to $364 million on new generation, customer connections, and extending the life of existing infrastructure;
SaskTel’s earnings rose to $101.5 million from $93.3 million, due mainly to the solid performance of its core business lines. The corporation spent $125.9 million on capital projects such as expansion of its digital cellular network, high speed Internet, CommunityNet and Digital Interactive Video. SaskTel also retained about 91 per cent of the Saskatchewan long distance market;
SaskEnergy lost $15.4 million due to cushioning home heating increases for customers by absorbing $76 million of natural gas costs. The corporation’s provincial rates were among the lowest in Canada in 2001. SaskEnergy also invested $51 million in 2001 to connect new customers and maintain a safe infrastructure;
SGI CANADA's earnings were $10.2 million, down from $21.7 million, due mainly to lower investment earnings caused by weak equity markets. The Saskatchewan Auto Fund, a stand-alone, compulsory auto insurance program administered by SGI, is not included in SGI CANADA’s or CIC’s consolidated financial statements. The auto fund eliminated a long-standing deficit that reached $127.9 million in 1997 and now has $2 million in its rate stabilization reserve. It did so with no general rate increase in 2001;
ISC lost $6.3 million after receiving a $4 million operating grant from CIC and paying $11.7 million to the GRF for land title and personal property registry revenues. ISC is continuing to implement its automated land titles system throughout the province and expects to complete that implementation in 2002;
STC continued its efforts to contain costs while meeting the challenge of providing passenger and freight service to Saskatchewan people. The provincial bus company’s loss before grant was $3.4 million, up slightly from $2.9 million. STC spent $2 million to purchase new passenger buses and trailers, and to replace older equipment;
Sask Water lost $4.2 million, compared with $2 million the previous year, due mainly to lower grant revenues and lower Water Power Act revenues resulting from lower water runoff levels;
SOCO lost $2.2 million, compared with earnings of $100,000 in 2000. This was due mainly to higher expenses from interest costs, expenses related to new buildings at Innovation Place in Saskatoon and the Regina Research Park, and lower revenues due to a smaller investment portfolio;
SGGF Management Corporation had revenues of $4 million, up from $2.7 million, but posted a loss of $2.7 million due mainly to a provision of $3.4 million for investment losses. Through its fund companies, SGGF has invested more than $218 million in 66 new or expanding businesses in Saskatchewan.
For more information, contact:
Crown Investments Corporation
Phone: (306) 787-9039