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Number Cruncher

On the hunt for Canadian R&D stars Add to ...

What are we looking for?

Canadian public companies that are ramping up investment in their future.

More about today's screen

Today's screen lists the 10 companies among members of the S&P/TSX composite index that have increased spending on research and development the most over the past four quarters. (We performed a similar screen on S&P 500 companies on Thursday.) The screen also shows the percentage of overall revenue that has been allocated to R&D in the period. Share profit growth and revenue growth over the past year are included as performance measurements.

What we found

We found only 10 companies that increased their R&D spending by 13 per cent or more over the past four quarters. They range from consumer goods makers to life sciences firms; the natural resources sector accounts for almost half the list.

Top-ranked Neo Material Technologies has been investing heavily to produce and process rare-earth elements that are used to make smartphones, flat-panel displays and catalytic converters. The Toronto-based company has moved to take advantage of high prices caused by export quotas set by China, the world's dominant producer. The strategy paid off this month in the form of a friendly $1.3-billion takeover offer from Colorado-based rare-earth miner Molycorp Inc.

MEG Energy is developing enhanced oil recovery projects in Alberta's oil sands. Shawcor Ltd. supplies equipment and services to the oil and gas industry. And Pason Systems sells instrumentation systems to land-based and offshore drilling rigs worldwide.

Among the tech-related firms, Ottawa-based WiLAN Inc. manages a portfolio of more than 3,000 patents. Its R&D focuses on commercializing inventions in the field of wireless communications. Open Text, of Waterloo, Ont., is the country's largest software firm. Nordion's products include medical isotopes and sterilization technologies. SXC Health Solutions sells software to the pharmaceutical industry to help it manage the supply chain.

Dorel Industries Inc., which is No. 2 on the screen, makes bicycles and children's products such as car seats and strollers. Part of its spending boost has gone toward increased new product development in Europe.

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