India in second place in Forbes Asia’s “Best Under A Billion” list

Thursday, September 2, 2010

SINGAPORE - Indian animated movie maker Compact Disc India and software company Micro Technologies continue to members of Forbes Asia’s “Best Under A Billion” list, even as 151 new companies have made their maiden appearance on the list this year.

This year, China and Hong Kong have once again outdone the rest of Asia Pacific with the most number of small and midsize firms represented on the list. This is the third consecutive year that both economies have dominated the list with seventy one firms making the cut, down from 78 last year.

India is in second place with 39 entries, 19 more than last year, thus making it the biggest gainer. More Indian companies made the list this year as the country is less open than many other Asian economies, and was therefore, less affected by the global downturn.

In all, 151 firms are new on the list, compared with 136 last year, while 49 are returnees. Firms in information technology, healthcare and electronics sectors accounted for close to half of the 200 companies on the list.

The annual “Best Under A Billion” list picks the top-performing 200 firms from close to 13,000 publicly listed Asia-Pacific companies with actively traded shares and sales between five million dollars and one billion dollars.

Selection of the final 200 was based on earnings growth, sales growth, and shareholders’ return on equity in the past twelve months and over three years.

Among the new companies this year is Vinamilk from Vietnam, the first time that a firm from the Southeast Asian state has made the list. The company holds a one-third share of Vietnam’s dairy products market.

It recently started work on a 120 million dollar dairy plant near Ho Chi Minh City, that is expected to be the biggest in Southeast Asia.

The other new faces from South East Asia are glove maker Hartalega Holdings from Malaysia and MCS Steel from Thailand.

Asia’s other economic giant-China-has also contributed to the list in the form of real estate brokerage firm E-house. Chinese internet search engine Baidu also returned to the list from last year with its revenue up from 462 million dollars in 2009 to 651 million dollarsthis year, while net earnings also increased from 151 million dollars to 217 million dollars.

Another notable returnee is Thailand’s Dynasty Ceramic. During the political protests in May that brought central Bangkok to a standstill, sales of tiles at the company’s 170 outlets increased 15 percent from the year before. Also, the firm’s stock price is up 90 percent over the past twelve months. Its CEO, Roongroj Saengsastra, is featured in a profile story in the latest issue of Forbes Asia.

South Korea is in third position with 20 companies, followed by Taiwan with 19, and Australia with 13. Japan, which produced 24 entries last year, has only two companies represented this year because of domestic economic woes. It ties with Pakistan and Sri Lanka, each with also two firms on the list.

The 200 winning companies will be honored at the Forbes Asia “Best Under A Billion” award ceremony and dinner in Hong Kong on November 23, 2010. The event’s host sponsor is Invest Hong Kong and presenting sponsor is SAP.

The “Best Under A Billion” list appears in the September issue of Forbes Asia. (ANI)

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