Top performers

The NZ Dairy Board (NZDB) retained its lofty perch as the
country’s highest earning corporate. In fact, the NZDB’s earnings of $7.65 billion (3.1 percent up on last year) were $3.3 billion higher than the next highest earner Telecom. With few exceptions, every company on the Top 200 group managed to improve on last year’s performance.
The notable exception was INL (which moved out of the Top 20 and into 35th spot) after the tidy-up of former Gordon and Gotch interests in Australia dented an otherwise strong result.
It was the 75.8 percent acquisition of TransAlta that saw Natural Gas Corporation (NGC) move from 61st into 31st spot on the Top 200 ladder. Other merger and acquisition activity within the power sector saw TransAlta and TrustPower move from 46th and 93rd positions into 18th and 49th spots respectively. But the most notable (energy sector) debutantes onto the Top 200 ladder (at 41st and 37th spots respectively) were: Mighty River Power (which reported $41.3 million net profit) and Meridian Energy which acquired ECNZ assets in April last year. And after unveiling $96.3 million net profit to 30 June, the company is looking to balance its NZ hydro-generation systems with other generation assets. Other notable newcomers to the Top 200 ladder include:
? Woolworths into 11th position.
? Since Vodafone’s arrival in November 1998, the company’s 473,000-plus customer-base has nudged it into 58th spot on the Top 200.
? It was (e-commerce forerunner) the Advantage Group’s growth-by-acquisition strategy that put the former EFTPOS hardware seller into the Top 200 ladder (at number 166) for the first time.
? Since listing onto the NZSE earlier this year Frucor Beverages has made the Top 200 for the first time. The former subsidiary of the Apple and Pear Board Marketing Board has become the country’s 94th largest company by revenue.

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