Mining tycoon, Calgary Flames co-owner, also Imperial Metals’ largest shareholder
As Canadian issues go, it is hard to top oil and hockey. And Alberta-based billionaire N. Murray Edwards is at the heart of both.
Edwards, chairman of Canadian Natural Resources (TSX:CNQ) —the country’s largest heavy oil producer— and co-owner of the Calgary Flames, is also the largest shareholder in Imperial Metals (TSX:III), which owns the now ill-famed Mount Polley mine, in B.C.
According to Forbes magazine, Edwards owes most of his fortune to stakes in Canadian oil and mining companies. But his net worth climbed $250 million to $2.2 billion last year in part because of a jump in the value of his estimated 30% stake in the Calgary Flames hockey team. Forbes valued the team at $420 million in 2013, up 70% from the prior year.
And while in terms of hockey Edwards hasn’t done too bad (in 2004 the Calgary Flames was the first team in history to defeat three division champions en route to becoming the first Canadian team to make it to the Stanley Cup Finals since the Vancouver Canucks in 1994), his mining and oil investments have brought him a few headaches.
Canadian Natural Resources made the hit list in July 2013 after suffering oil spills at four sites in northeast Alberta, which are still being investigated by the province’s energy watchdog. Financially, however, the oil and natural gas producer is looking good — it more than doubled its second-quarter net earnings, helped by increased sales and higher prices.
The firm reported Thursday profits of $1.07 billion, or 97 cents per share, versus $476 million, or 44 cents per share a year ago.
Since the news of the tailings pond breach, shares in Imperial Metals have plummeted from over $16.80 on August 1 down to $10.21 at 12:45 pm ET Friday.
Image from WikiMedia Commons.