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SA’s top companies weather COVID storm with confidence

South Australia’s top companies are weathering the global impacts of supply chain hold-ups, rising prices and volatile markets well, with few recording lower revenue, according to an analysis of InDaily’s South Australian Business Index. Read on to discover this year’s top 100 local companies and industry sectors.

Sep 29, 2022, updated Oct 26, 2022
Image by Tom Aldahn/Solstice Media

Image by Tom Aldahn/Solstice Media

Analysis by Adelaide financial services firm Taylor Collison for InDaily’s South Australian Business Index of the state’s top 100 companies over the 2021-22 financial year, showed the top end of town fared well.

Energy companies, commercial construction and the likes of SILK laser clinics are among those benefiting from changing demand, along with minerals miners targeting the fertiliser industry.

Scroll down to explore this year’s top 100 companies and also see the industry make-up of the Index, and how our Index compares against national and international benchmarks.

READ MORE: SA’s top 100 companies in 2022: The final 25 and award winners

InDaily revealed the index’s top performers today at the Adelaide Convention Centre with a keynote speaker from number one ranked company Santos, the oil and gas producer’s midstream infrastructure and clean fuels division president Brett Woods.

World-wide rising demand saw escalating energy prices benefit companies like Santos while increasing demand for other resources also kept mining companies like OZ Minerals high on the list.

Other COVID-related issues had mixed effects on other sectors. Online retailers initially benefited from huge demand during COVID lockdowns but then faced supply issues.

Energy remains the biggest industry segment, thanks largely to the dominance of Santos, with mining the next largest. The graph below shows how all sectors fared.

 

Drilling down, the shadow of COVID remains.

Companies like SILK Laser Australia Ltd grew significantly in this environment.

Analysis from Taylor Collison showed the company delivered a 38 per cent increase in revenue to $81.3 million as it provided non-surgical aesthetic products and services across laser hair removal, cosmetic injectables, skin treatments, body contouring and skincare products.

But on the flip side, SILK Laser was juggling its ability to meet increased demand with COVID-related staff shortages.

Overall, says Taylor Collison analyst Campbell Rawson, the biggest South Australian companies fared well.

“The relative lack of COVID-related lockdowns has been of benefit and there are only about 15 per cent of the companies in the top 100 where revenue has gone backwards compared to last year,” Rawson said.

He said the local talent pool also has benefited from people returning to SA from Sydney and Melbourne as they see strong opportunities in this state.

“However, there is an element of nervousness Australia-wide looking forward to the next six months in relation to global economies and the appetite for spending. The state is in a relatively healthy position but there are external factors out of our companies’ control,” Rawson said.

Analysis of the state’s top companies showed some of our best-known construction companies are among the best performers as they managed to balance growing demand for building works with issues around supply, rising construction costs and interest rates.

Civil construction companies including McMahon Services, Ahrens Group, Badge and Doneilyn Pty Ltd, better known as the Sarah Group, have all fared well. The main beneficiaries of demand in this sector were those construction companies focused on infrastructure and commercial buildings as they had the greatest ability to pass on costs.

Other companies performed strongly on the back of growing international and domestic demand from both the impact of the COVID pandemic and also war in the Ukraine that pushed up global prices in sectors ranging from energy, agriculture, food and mining.

Some agriculture and mining companies saw strong results as markets responded to the gap left by Ukraine, a leading global exporter of wheat and fertiliser.

Our Rising Star Award winner NeuRizer, formerly known as Leigh Creek Energy, is working on a urea project in SA. It plans to be the world’s first carbon-neutral urea production facility targeting domestic markets and exports with high-quality nitrogen-based fertiliser for the agriculture sector.

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While Centrex reached production and shipment at its Ardmore Phosphate mine to capture elevated fertiliser and agricultural minerals prices as global demand increased.

So too is the global transition to more sustainable cars and renewable energy, benefiting some of our mining companies.

Renascor Resources targets mineral prospects with plans to become a leading producer for the lithium-ion battery for the electric vehicle industry.

Andromeda Metals targets industrial minerals that can be used in hydrogen storage, water purification, carbon capture, soil remediation and renewable energy.

Sparc Technologies is in a joint venture with Adelaide University and focuses on researching and developing next generation hydrogen technology with the commercial backing of Fortescue Future Industries.

A high-yielding season for farmers coupled with strong livestock demand from international and domestic markets contributed to strong performances from Elders with a 38 per cent uplift in group sales. Family pastoralists AJ and PA McBride, wool exporters Michell Group, Duxton Water and AlmondCo all delivered strong results.

Thomas Foods International made it into the top 10 on the business index for the first time as the family-owned business continues its impressive growth trajectory supplying meat and seafood domestically and internationally.

Drake Supermarkets performed strongly and Maggie Beer Holdings delivered an extraordinary 170 per cent revenue growth boosted by the acquisition of Hampers and Gifts Australia.

Meanwhile, the automotive sector saw unprecedented demand for new and second-hand cars, particularly four-wheel-drives and utilities, driven by increased domestic spend and tourism.

Supply issues frustrated some car dealers but the surge in pricing power led to revenue growth across the sector.

Methodology

To be eligible for the Index, businesses must be a South Australian entity incorporated in SA, have a head office in SA, or be an SA-operated entity, majority owned by South Australians.

Each company is ranked by Taylor Collison by market capitalisation using the following formula:

  • ASX – market cap (share price plus the number of ordinary shares on issue).
  • Private entities – estimate market cap considering company revenue, industry standard profit margins and applying earnings multiple.
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