Indian cos in Forbes' list

Eighteen Indian companies make it to Forbes magazine's list of 200 successful firms.
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Updated on Oct 29, 2003 09:51 PM IST
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PTI | ByPress Trust of India, New York

Eighteen Indian companies, including software and entertainment giants, make it to the Forbes magazine's list of 200 successful companies outside the United States with annual sales of under $1 billion.

The magazine specially takes note of the Indian entrepreneurship in the tight world market, pointing out that the number of Indian companies has gone up to 18 this year from 13 last year and ten a year earlier.

On this year's list are four software innovators — Wipro, Infosys Technologies, Satyam Computers and Rolta India, four pharmaceutical companies — Dr Reddy's Labs, IPCA Laboratories, Nicholas Piramal, Sun Pharmaceutical, three banks — Corporation Bank, HDFC Bank and Oriental Bank of Commerce and two containers and packaging firms — Cosmo Films and Essel Propack.

Zee Films, Asian Paints, Bharat Forge (metal fabricators), Graphite India and Indo Gulf (fertilizers) also find place in the coveted list.

Forbes pays tribute to the initiatives taken by Essel Propack which has a become a major player in the laminated tube markets, selling 3.5 billion tubes a year and is supplying the product to multinationals.

Every third laminated tube sold worldwide is made by Essel and its vice chairman Ashok Geol is quoted as saying that the company plans to make that every second tube. The article profiles the aggressive policies followed by the company to make it a world player despite all odds.

The magazine says India is a special case as it has some "pretty big fish" swimming among the 200. Two software titans, Infosys and Wipro, were earlier this year in the magazine's big-company A-list as their market capitalization is in excess of $5 billion.

Looking beyond these behemoths, Forbes says, are companies like Zee Telefilms, which runs a Bollywood studio and a cable TV operation. Its films may have higher profile internationally but the magazine quotes lead manager of Price International Discovery Fund T Rowe as saying it is other half of the company that needs to be watched.

"It will benefit from an expanding middle class on the subcontinent and is branching out to serve expatriates with its increasingly global brand," Forbes says.

The Indian contingent, it writes, covers a broad industrial range from software and entertainment industries to widget-makers like Bharat Forge, Essel Propack and Graphite India, pharmaceutical that include Dr Reddy's Labs and financials such a HDFC Bank.

The magazine notes that Dr Reddy Labs spent 8 per cent of sales on Research and Development last year and this year, the target is 10 per cent.

The 200 successful companies were drawn from among 19,000 publicly traded concerns with annual sales below $1 billion. The magazine screened out most corporations that did not have operating margins of at least 5 per cent in the latest year and average equity return of at least 5 per cent over the past five years. 

A handful of companies that failed the test, Forbes said, were considered if they had outstanding results otherwise. The remaining four thousand were graded against one another using various dollar-based performance measures.

Among the Indian companies, which made the list, Wipro had maximum sales amounting to $903 million. Infosys had highest market cap at $6,616 million followed by Wipro with $6,361 million.

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