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Canada is falling behind: Linamar's Hasenfratz

Tags: Linamar
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Canada’s competitiveness on the global stage is being hurt by low productivity and high corporate taxes, according to Linamar (LNR-T)  founder and chairman Frank Hasenfratz.

“Why should we be in Canada if we don’t get treated equally like the United States?” Hasenfratz says in an interview on BNN.

Hasenfratz says Canadian corporate tax levels are fairly competitive but companies like his auto parts business tend to take a hit in other areas, including high property taxes and premiums for workers’ compensation and employment insurance.

He has no plans to move his Guelph, Ontario-based company, but hinted that future expansion will happen outside of Canada unless conditions change.

One key area of focus for Hasenfratz, who handed day-to-day control of Linamar to his daughter Linda in 2002, is improving productivity -- a measure of output per hours worked. He says the impact of the high dollar on Canadian manufacturers pales in comparison to low productivity rates.

“People say the high dollar is bad. I don’t think so. What is most important is productivity,” he said, adding that Linamar’s factories in Germany are more productive than its Canadian plants.

Hasenfratz is the subject of a new book, Driven to Succeed: How Frank Hasenfratz Grew Linamar from Guelph to Global by Rod McQueen and Susan M. Papp. Hasenfratz was part of the revolutionary leadership during the Hungarian uprising against Communist rule in 1956. When the revolution failed, he was forced to flee over the Austrian border on foot to escape a likely death. Eventually, he found himself on a ship to Canada where he built a company that he started into his basement into a multi-billion-dollar success story.

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