"It's terrible," says Peter van Schaik, CEO of Van-Rob Inc. His Aurora, Ontario, company exports nearly one-fifth of its $562.3 million in annual sales, mostly from Canada to the United States. Van-Rob builds complex body and interior stamped and welded parts.
Van Schaik is combating the loo-nie's rise by boosting his company's productivity.
He's investing in production and automation equipment he can import from the United States at today's cheaper prices.
Not everyone will make it. Investment banker Scott Eisenberg says he was visited recently by the owner of a Canadian plastic parts company who planned to sell the business. Says Eisenberg: "They could no longer compete, and believed the U.S. dollar would remain weak."
Mark Hogan, president of Magna International Inc., says the company has shifted some production, though "not a large percentage," from its Canadian plants to its U.S. and Mexican factories. "Some of our plants are challenged," he says.
He declined to say which parts or which plants. The Aurora, Ontario, company decided to act, he says, because the currency issue "is not going away."
Says Linamar Corp. CEO Linda Hasenfratz,"We expect changes in currency."
Her Guelph, Ontario, powertrain parts supplier posted sales of $1.52 billion last year. Hasenfratz says: "The game is to mitigate risk by hedging."