MANILA, Philippines – A Filipino chemical manufacturer is the country's lone representative in the 2016 edition of Forbes' list of the 200 best performing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Asia.
Listed D&L Industries (PSE: DNL), a producer of food ingredients, plastics, and chemicals, kept its place on the list, which was released Thursday, August 4.
It also appeared in the 2015 edition together with mining firms Nickel Asia and Oriental Peninsula Resources Group (ORE).
D&L is a holding firm that counts Chemrez, Chemrez Technologies, D&L Polymers and Colours, FiC, Aero-Pack, and Oleo-Fats under its umbrella.
Forbes' "Best Under A Billion" list honors the 200 leading public companies in the Asia-Pacific region with annual revenue between $5 million and $1 billion. They must have positive net income and have been publicly traded for at least a year.
The firms on the list were chosen from a total of 17,000 companies across the region, and screened in terms of sales growth and earnings growth in the past 12 months and over 3 years, as well as for the strongest 5-year return on equity.
Forbes noted that D&L has a market cap of $1.5 billion, with a net income of $50 million, operating income at $63 million, and sales of $430 million.
The firm also exhibited a 3-year average growth of 42% and 3-year average return on equity of 25%. The firm employs 1,502 people.
Of the 200 companies on this year's list, 116 are new.
As has been the case in recent years, China and Hong Kong dominated with 98, up from 84 firms in 2015.
"These companies stand out not just because of their record number but because they largely defy those who think that the world's second largest economy is in trouble," Forbes said.
It also noted that China's biopharmaceuticals sector has been a consistent performer in recent years. For 2016, a total of 17 biopharma companies made the list, including those associated with herbal or traditional Chinese medicine.
"Even if the Chinese economy continues to slow, the rest of Asia – if it is to carve out a bigger place on this SME all-star list – is going to find big markets for high-value goods and services. Maybe the ASEAN trade treaties can help," said Forbes Asia editor Tim Ferguson.
Taiwan also had a strong showing with 32 firms, followed by South Korea with 16. Japan also rebounded with 13 companies on this year's list, up from 8 last year.
India, Australia, and Pakistan have 7 companies each, while Sri Lanka improved with 3 from just 1 in 2015.
Among the Philippines' neighbors in Southeast Asia, Malaysia and Vietnam were top with 5 firms each. Singapore has 2, while no Indonesian firm landed on the list this year.
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