Photo by Garth Lenz.

ATCO is a diversified corporation with strong roots in Canadian energy sectors. Its global subsidiaries provide a variety of energy-related services, including prefabricated housing and logistics, pipelines and distribution, and retail energy.

Why the top 50?

With a complex, networked corporate structure filled with fossil-fuel-laden assets such as coal and fracked gas, ATCO—one of Canada’s largest energy infrastructure companies—makes our Top 50 as an emitter.

Key Stats

Head office: Calgary, Alberta

Countries of operation: Canada, US, Mexico, Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, Portugal, Australia and Chile 12

Revenue: C$4.5 billion 13

Assets: C$21.8 billion14

Employees: approximately 7,00015

Memberships: Canadian Energy Pipeline Association, Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business, Alberta Energy Efficiency Alliance

In Depth

ATCO was created in 1947 to provide transportation services for Alberta’s fledgling oil industry. The company was founded by Ronald Southern and remains a family business; daughter Nancy Southern now runs the ATCO empire from her position as board chair and chief executive officer.1


Shareholder Country Ownership
Share (%)
Sentgraf Enterprises Ltd. CA 85.92
Royal Bank of Canada CA 5.75
Bank of Montreal CA 2.54
QVGD Investors Inc. CA 2.21
Toronto Dominion Bank CA 1.73
Franklin Resources US 1.71
Vanguard Group US 1.64
The Province of Alberta CA 1.02

Included are all shareholdings of 1% and greater. Source: Orbis Database, October 2018.


In Canada, ATCO’s operations include ATCO Power, which operates two coal-fired power plants in Alberta (one shared with TransAlta), and Canadian Utilities Limited, an energy distribution company specializing in electricity and natural gas. Abroad, ATCO Mexico and ATCO Australia provide similar gas and electricity services.2


Energy generation and retail provision are major components of ATCO’s business profile, especially in Western Canada. The firm owns a controlling stake in 13 facilities spanning British Columbia to Ontario, and the majority (10) use natural gas to produce electricity. 3 Considering this portfolio, ATCO is well positioned to capitalize on the changing landscape of energy generation in Alberta, following the NDP’s 2016 call for the phase-out of coal-powered energy generation by 2030. According to Nancy Southern, ATCO plans to “green” their two coal-fired plants in advance of this deadline, by converting them to natural gas4—even though natural gas produces similar total emissions levels to coal.5

Despite this solid footing in domestic energy provision and distribution, ATCO is looking outside Canada for investment opportunities. As a recent annual report states, “Our long-term success depends on our ability expand into new markets and lines of business”.6 Chile and Mexico are two sites of this recent diversified expansion.

In early 2016, ATCO bought a 50 per cent stake in Sabinco Soluciones Modulares S.A., a Chilean modular structures company. Sabinco manufactures and rents modular accommodations for mining operations, and for other industrial purposes in the region. ATCO intends to expand into other countries in South America,7  perhaps to accommodate Canadian mining interests. As of 2014, Latin America and the Caribbean accounted for over half of Canadian mining assets abroad, valued at $72.4 billion.8

ATCO’s presence in Mexico has been building since the establishment of ATCO Mexico in 2014. In 2016 it finalized the construction of two natural gas power distribution units in San Luis Potosí,9 and in 2017, ATCO purchased Electricidad del Golfo (EGO) Hydro, which owns a 35 megawatt hydroelectric power station in Veracruz, Mexico.10 ATCO has also been commissioned to build and operate a natural gas pipeline in the Mexican state of Hidalgo.11


Network Map

Learn more about ATCO at


See more content related to...

About the database

The intent of the Corporate Mapping Project database is to engage Canadians in a conversation about the role of the fossil fuel sector in our democracy, by “mapping” how power and influence play out in the oil, gas and coal industries of BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Learn More Create & Contribute

  1. “Leadership Team,” ATCO, accessed March 1, 2019,
  2. ATCO website,
  3. Our Facilities Facts,” ATCO Power, updated January 4, 2019,
  4. Geoffrey Morgan, “Alberta Could Be Coal-Free Years Ahead of Deadline as ATCO Plans Natural Gas Transition by 2020,” Calgary Herald, May 11, 2017,
  5. Patrick T. Greiner et al., “Snakes in the Greenhouse: Does Increased Natural Gas Use Reduce Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Coal Consumption?,” Energy Research & Social Science 38 (April 2018): 53–57,
  6. ATCO, Annual Report, 2017.
  7. Geoffrey Morgan, “ATCO’s $450M Port Acquisition Could Signal More Deals in Latin America,” Financial Post, September 12, 2018,
  8. Jen Moore, “More Than a Few Bad Apples: ‘Militarized Neoliberalism’ and the Canadian State in Latin America,” The Monitor, November 1, 2016,
  9. ATCO, Annual Report, 2016,
  10. ATCO, Annual Report, 2017.
  11. Jim Bentein, “ATCO Entering Mexico’s Wholesale Electricity Market,” JWN, October 11, 2018,
  12. “ATCO Regions,” ATCO, updated February 28, 2019,
  13. ATCO Ltd., Annual Report, 2017,
  14. ATCO, Annual Report, 2017.
  15. ATCO, Annual Report, 2017.