Top 200 Company of the Year 2010 : Beca Group

Given this year’s Top 200 Awards “new world” theme, there could hardly be more fitting Company of the Year winner than our own, home grown engineering consultancy global success story, Beca Group. As the award judges said: “Beca is model of what it takes to be successful in the new world order of enterprise.”
More importantly, Beca represents the new generation of intellectual and personal competency export that New Zealand needs to address the nation’s over reliance on commodities-based income. This $366 million enterprise generates 40 percent of its revenue offshore.
As private company, Beca has not previously submitted its financials for inclusion in the Deloitte/Management magazine Top 200 list. It enters this year at number 94. In the five years 2006 to 2010, Beca grew its annual revenue from $180 million to $366 million and doubled its after tax profit to $33 million. It has reported record profits seven years in row, despite back drop of global economic uncertainty, particularly since 2007.
Beca is one of New Zealand’s most impressive commercial success stories. Not just because of the deliberate, strategic and professional way in which it has built the enterprise over almost 100 years, but also because of its consistent commitment to best practice management, customer service, people recruitment and sustainable leadership.
As the Group’s former chairman, now Sir Ron Carter used to say: “Win the work, do the work well, get paid for it, and do it with the best possible people.” In the past year the company has focused on what its first ever externally recruited group chief executive, Keith Reynolds, calls “mainstreaming its business model” by formulating its vision and values, mission statement, strategic framework and balanced scorecard reporting.
Beca may have been historically successful but, according to Reynolds, it is now preparing to be even more effective at serving its clients, providing more opportunities for its people, setting stronger growth course, delivering high performance and becoming “truly great international business”.
With more than 2500 employees operating in nine countries, Beca is the largest employee-owned engineering and related consultancy services group in New Zealand. It works in four key markets: industrial, infrastructure, buildings and the public sector – delivering engineering services, planning, architecture, project and cost management, applied technologies and valuation services. Headquartered in Auckland, it operates from three “hubs” – Australia, New Zealand and Asia.
Beca has been raising its profile, both locally and globally. Earlier this year it was recognised in NZ Management ’s first ever Most Reputable Organisations survey of business leaders as New Zealand’s fourth most reputable business organisation. In the past five years it has been involved with more than 60 “award winning landmark projects around the world”.
The company is also model employer. One third, more than 900, of its employees own shares in the consultancy. Its employee shareholding structure is considered an important business “differentiator”. In his shareholders’ report this year, executive chairman Richard Aitken said that “sharing the rewards with employee shareholders has been one of the main drivers of the extraordinary success of the Beca business, both in New Zealand and internationally”.
How long this structure can be maintained given the pressures of the new world marketplace is difficult to predict. But in the company’s 2010 Annual Review, Aitken also said: “Many of our global competitors, which also operate in our New Zealand, Australian and Asian markets, are active in the merger and acquisition area. Competition is global and relentless whichever country we are in, however, we are fortunate to have the comfort of previous success to help drive the new initiatives Beca is pursuing today.”
Give the new world of knowledge and technology-driven enterprise, Beca is better placed than many New Zealand companies to sustain its undoubtedly successful and award-winning formula. It is, as the Top 200 judges also said, “an outstanding example of the kind of enterprise that New Zealand needs to deliver the (country’s economic) future”. For that reason, too, they chose Beca as the Deloitte/Management magazine Top 200 Company of the Year.

Judges Comments:
Winner
Beca Group

Beca is simply world leader. Its reputation as an outstanding engineering consultancy is reflected both in the scope and scale of the global contracts it wins and in the industry awards and personal accolades bestowed on the company and its people.
The company is, said the judges, an outstanding example of the kind of enterprise that New Zealand needs to deliver the future. It is an exporter of intellect and professional competency rather than commodities. It earns around 40 percent of its total annual revenue offshore.
To be named the Deloitte/Management magazine Top 200 Company of the Year on debut is an outstanding achievement. But, said the judges, Beca is not an overnight success story. Its roots go back almost 100 years. Now, it operates from 20 offices in nine countries. It is the outcome of visionary leadership and years of dedication to world best practice. It has been deliberately, strategically and professionally constructed. It is model of what it takes to be successful in the new world order of enterprise.


Finalist
Ebos Group

Ebos Group’s rise up the Deloitte/Management magazine Top 200 list has been stellar. It ranked 100th just three years ago. Now it is 25th. Its growth strategy holds important lessons for New Zealand. Frankly, said the judges, we need more companies to grow like this. But more important than the growth, is the way in which it has been managed and led.
The company has made excellent decisions and acquisitions and now has them working for the enterprise as whole. Ebos is now one of the leading independent (non-multinational) healthcare supplies companies in Australasia.
It is looking to the world for growth, and that too sets it apart. It turned in another great result this year with profit boost of 18 percent on just two percent revenue increase. Ebos may be 80 something years old but it looks to be just hitting its straps. It was finalist in this category last year and that too speaks volumes about its performance.


Finalist
Ryman Healthcare Group

Ryman is one of New Zealand’s healthiest companies. Its performance in 2010 was once against exceptional. Given the company’s year-on-year performance, Ryman cannot be denied its place as finalist in the Deloitte/Management magazine Company of the Year category, said the judges.
The company’s strong earnings growth is based on providing first-class retirement accommodation and healthcare services for the New Zealand’s aging population. Ryman consistently delivers for its residents and for its shareholders. The company has grown consistently and responsibly with its market opportunity. And it has continued to provide high-quality product despite working through recent tougher times in the property market.
Ryman is New Zealand success story with solid growth profile and excellent management and governance. The combination ensures delivery on the company’s potential. Another great year and company performance.

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