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SA's top 100 businesses: a sneak peak at the data


The South Australian Business Index – an independent ranking of the state’s top 100 companies – will be announced next week, but here’s an early look at the data which contains some  bright spots and one particular area of concern.

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The 2019 Index, compiled for InDaily by Adelaide financial services firm Taylor Collison, contains some good news and a few gathering clouds.

Based on market capitalisation and revenue, the list of SA-owned or headquartered companies is also an effective measure of the key sectors driving the local economy.

Taylor Collison’s analysis shows that, as has always been the case since the Index began five years ago, the big end of town is dominated by energy, mining, financial services and a single retail operation – the privately-owned Peregrine Corporation.

The energy sector, which was in a tumultuous state when the Index began in 2015, has had a more than solid year.

The state’s biggest company, Santos, is in good shape following its digestion of Quadrant Energy with near to five-year share price highs and underlying net profit after tax up to US$411 million.

The next tier of companies are also in excellent shape with Beach Energy posting a record half EBITDA (underlying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) of $1.375 billion, a net cash balance sheet position afte buying Lattice from Origin (achieved two years ahead of schedule) and another $1.5 billion added in market capitalisation.

In a show of confidence, Beach moved into new headquarters in the city from its long-term suburban location in Glenside and, since the Lattice acquisition in January 2018, has employed an additional 300 people across Australasia.

Cooper Energy is now a $1 billion company, while Vintage Energy listed during the financial year, raising $30 million from an institutional heavy share register.

Mining company Oz Minerals had a mostly flat year, but its new Carrapateena project is coming online in November and it is funding key SA-owned exploration interstate.

Peregrine, the owners of On The Run, increased turnover by 7 per cent and continues to etch out high single-digit top-line growth rates.

On the downside, business, construction and related industries are suffering as the housing market slumps. Adelaide Brighton dropped $2.5 billion in market cap over the year.

A sector with plenty of upside is technology. While it’s a small component of the market, there are numerous bright spots, including aerial imaging company Aerometrex conducting a $6 million pre-raise ahead of an IPO, National Crime Check based in Norwood attracting a foreign buyer, and Uniti Wireless launching a very successful, IPO.

There’s also a big mover in this sector: the highest new entrant in the Index’s history which will be revealed in InDaily and at a business luncheon next Friday.

There are still some tickets available but you will move to move quickly: to book, go here.

This year’s event will feature Simon Kuestenmacher – a rising star demographer and expert number-cruncher – and Premier Steven Marshall on the speakers’ podium.

As well as announcing the top 100 companies for 2019, this year’s Index event at the Convention Centre will examine the last five years of Index data, giving you an insight into where the SA economy has been – and where it’s going.

To be eligible for inclusion in the list, compiled for InDaily by Taylor Collison, companies must:

Companies owned in part or whole by government, government agencies and organisations, and registered charities are not eligible.

While companies don’t have to nominate to be included in the list, which is based on market capitalisation, local businesses are encouraged to put their names forward.

The Index lunch will also announce individual awards for fast-rising companies and new entrants to the list.

Now in its fifth year, the Index has become a key source of data for those with a keen interest in the South Australian economy and business environment.

The full Index will be announced at a luncheon at the Adelaide Convention Centre on September 20. To book your table, go here.

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