THREE Philippine corporations – one engaged in chemical manufacturing and two in the mining sector – landed on Forbes Magazine’s “Best Under A Billion (BUB)” list, which honors 200 leading public companies in Asia- Pacific.

D&L Industries, Nickel Asia and Oriental Peninsula Resources Group (ORE) made it to the 2015 BUB roster, which is once again dominated by companies from mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

In a press statement on Thursday, Forbes Asia said the latest BUB roster consisted of leading companies in the region with annual revenue of less than $1 billion (but over $5 million) with a positive net income and have been publicly traded for at least a year.

From a universe of 17,000 companies, the magazine said candidates had been screened based on sales growth and earnings growth in the past 12 months and over three years, and for the strongest five-year return on equity.

Tim Ferguson, editor of Forbes Asia, said: “The secret to making the BUB is consistent growth in the measured performance metrics. One off year and you’re out. Companies in sustained strong-growth economies, or in Taiwan’s case, exporting to them, have a decided advantage. It is also important to have a good, liquid channel for public stock offerings.”

D&L, which is led by the Lao family, is a leading manufacturer of ingredient and specialty plastic additive. It has an increasing stock market following on the back of a consumer proxy play. The company, which earlier gobbled up its affiliate Chemrez Technologies Inc., has a market capitalization of $1.55 billion.

Nickel Asia, with a market cap of $2.08 billion, is a mining firm led by the Zamora family. It is the Philippines’ largest producer of lateritic nickel ore and one of the largest in the world. Starting from the sale of ore in 1977 from its first mine in Palawan, Rio Tuba, it has since then expanded to four operating mines.

ORE is focused on the mining operations of its sole subsidiary Citinickel Mines and Development Corp. (CMDC), which is the sole claim owner of the Pulot Mine and the Toronto Mine in the municipalities of Sofronio Espanola and Narra in Palawan. It is valued by the stock market at $139 million.

On the BUB list, companies from mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan accounted for 60 percent of the top 200 publicly-traded companies in the Asia-Pacific region, the full list of which can be found at and in the latest issue of Forbes Asia.

Of the latest roster, 123 are new to the list, which Forbes Asia said underscored the dynamism of the region’s small and medium-sized sector.

Pharmaceutical and other healthcare companies from China featured strongly on the list, as was the case last year, the magazine said. The list included Da An Gene, which sells biomedicine, gene diagnostic products and conducts research on MERS virus testing kits, and By-health, China’s largest retailer of dietary supplements. Another China listee Shanghai RAAS Blood Products, which runs blood banks and offers blood products, commands a market value of $14.2 billion on sales of $214 million.

Other mainland and Hong Kong companies span a wide range of industries including printing, software, financial trusts, real estate, apparel, toys, movies and semiconductors.

The second largest group of companies on the list comes from Taiwan. This year, five more made it to the list, bringing the total number from Taiwan to 36.

South Korea has the third most representatives on the list with 17 companies, up from 12 last year. India and Malaysia both have 11 companies on the list while Australia has nine companies. This year, Japan dropped out of the top five countries, with only eight companies compared to 15 last year.

Singapore is represented by six companies, up from three last year. One of them is Cordlife Group that operates cord-blood banks. Thailand is also represented by six companies, down from nine last year. Sri Lanka had a rare entry – Vallibel Power Erathna, which generates hydropower electricity.


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