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FEATURES/FAB 50 | Oct 4, 2012 | 11860 views

The 50 Best Publicly Traded Asia-Pacific Companies

Once again China dominates the list

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slowing economy weeds out the merely good companies from the truly great ones. So this year’s list of the 50 best publicly traded companies in Asia-Pacific is a roll call of outfits that have managed to thrive amid decelerating growth in Asia and all but non-existent growth in their US and European markets.

No company demonstrates this better than Hong Kong’s Noble Group. It’s made the list seven straight years, the longest streak of any company since we started honouring the region’s top performers in 2005. It suffered a rare quarterly loss a year ago, overhauled its management and got back on course.

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Once again China dominates the list. There are 23 mainland entries, the same as a year ago. Those include snack rivals Tingyi and Want Want—perennial Fab 50 companies. Also making the list are three blue-chip property developers that haven’t been stymied by the rocky real estate market: Returnee China Vanke and first-timers Longfor Properties and Poly Real Estate. A noteworthy newcomer is Gold Mantis Construction Decoration, which has taken full advantage of China’s building bonanza by becoming the go-to company for interior design. We profile this well-managed, fast-growing outfit beginning on the next page.


India claims the second-biggest haul—11 companies, up from seven last year. The big IT software services and consulting firms, HCL and Tata Consultancy, return while a drug company, Sun Pharmaceutical, breaks into the elite ranks for the first time.

Fifteen companies are new this year. Another 10 returned after falling off in past years. That large turnover is what you’d expect when markets are unsettled and the economic direction is uncertain. The result: Several leading names that claimed a spot year after year—such as Australia’s Wesfarmers, India’s Mahindra & Mahindra and Taiwan’s HTC (see p. 116)—failed to repeat this time.

The companies are chosen from a pool of 1,295 that had at least $3 billion in annual revenue or market cap. We look at revenue, earnings, return on capital, share-price movements and the outlook. If one had too much debt or the government owned at least half the shares, it was out. We also don’t consider local offshoots that are majority-owned by a multinational (Nestlé India, for example). The result is the region’s best of the best. 

Reporting by Kim Hee-Joung, Anuradha Raghunathan and Heng Shao


Asian Paints
 INDIA

CHEMICALS—COATINGS/PAINT
SALES $1.8 BLN
MARKET VALUE $6.3 BLN
 

Bajaj Auto
 INDIA

CONSUMER DURABLES—VEHICLES
SALES $3.7 BLN
MARKET VALUE $8.8 BLN

Belle International Holdings
 CHINA

RETAILING—APPAREL/FOOTWEAR
SALES $4.6 BLN
MARKET VALUE $16.2 BLN
Controls more than 50% of the midrange to high-end footwear market in China. Retail network of 16,000 stores spans 300 cities. Agreed in March to a $140 million deal for Big Step, a Nike and Adidas distributor with 600 retail outlets. Launched its first low-end fashion brand, ‘:15 mins’, this year.   

Bharti Airtel
 INDIA

TECHNOLOGY—WIRELESS TELECOM
SALES $14 BLN
MARKET VALUE $17.9 BLN

Cheng Shin Rubber Industry
 TAIWAN

CONSUMER DURABLES—AUTO PARTS
SALES $4 BLN
MARKET VALUE $6.9 BLN
World’s largest bicycle-tire manufacturer and leading producer of automobile tires makes Fab 50 debut. Subsidiary Maxxis International supplies Ford, GM, Toyota and other companies, and sponsors sports teams such as the New York Yankees. Operations in 11 countries on 4 continents have not satisfied its appetite—now eager to reclaim the Indian market by setting up an office this year and a factory in 5 years. Earnings down in last 2 years but demand in China and India make for bright prospects.

This article appeared in the Forbes India magazine issue of 12 October, 2012
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