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2008 Deloitte/Unlimited Fast 50 Named

2008 Deloitte/Unlimited Fast 50 Named

Wairarapa manuka honey company is #1

New Zealand’s 50 fastest growing companies were celebrated at events around the country tonight, as the 2008 Deloitte/Unlimited Fast 50 ( was revealed. Masterton-based manuka honey company Watson and Son topped the 2008 list and was named the country’s fastest growing business, with outstanding revenue growth of 784% between 2006 and 2008.

Watson and Son was established in 2003 as a response to growing demand for premium manuka honey. The company specialises in producing premium honey from its 20,000 hives and develops the raw product into innovative healthcare products.

Matt McKendry, Deloitte’s Fast 50 leader, said Watson and Son is a brilliant example of a Kiwi company making the most of a relatively scarce local product, securing its supply chain, adding value in an innovative way, and doing extraordinarily well.

“This fascinating company could only operate in New Zealand – they are focused on driving revenue from simple honey right through to creating specialised high value manuka products. To deliver revenue growth of almost 800 per cent is a phenomenal effort.”

Overall, the 2008 Fast 50 companies grew the New Zealand economy by an extraordinary $901 million, the largest contribution since the Index was initiated in New Zealand in 2001 and surpassing last year’s contribution by $146 million. The Fast 50 are responsible for the establishment of almost 1200 jobs in New Zealand in the period from 2006 through to 2008.

Agriculture: a strong presence

Watson and Son is joined in the Fast 50 by six other businesses with strong ties to New Zealand’s primary sector: Rakaia dairy company Synlait (3rd with 644%), Ashburton agritech and feed company Winslow (12th with 371%), Waharoa cheese-maker Open Country Cheese Company (25th with 243%), Morrinsville animal feed business Seales (43rd with 159%), and Hamilton dairy processor Canary Enterprises (49th with 152%).

Matt McKendry said each shared similar traits, despite the diverse nature of their businesses. “They are all innovating within a traditional market sector, delivering increasing value to customers, and securing higher revenue growth in the process – it’s worth noting that their average revenue per employee is north of $1.5 million.”

Fast 50 alumni

An impressive 23 companies return to this year’s Fast 50 from previous years, with Wellington-based Kiwibank and Auckland’s Xytech Technologies both making their fourth appearance this year. Six companies have made the “threepeat”, being named on the list three times: Chillisoft (Auckland), Escea (Dunedin), First Rate NZ (Auckland), NextWindow (Auckland), Torpedo7 (Hamilton) and Trilogy Natural Skincare (Wellington).

Matt McKendry said that given the tightening economic climate, these businesses needed to be celebrated. “There is something of a dearth of good news for New Zealand business at the moment so this is a great opportunity to highlight some of our best enterprises, and recognise the fact that many of the Fast 50 are not booming then busting – they’re securing enduring value and growing in a swift but sustainable way.”

The average 2008 Fast 50 company is six years old, employs 51 staff, records annual sales of $26m (up from $20m for the 2007 Fast 50), and experienced revenue growth of 294% between 2006 and 2008.

Other highlights

Other key findings from the 2008 Fast 50 included:

 Knowledge businesses in this year’s Fast 50 delivered average revenue growth of $850,000 per new employee between 2006 and 2008, compared with a $150,000 average for the others. This highlights the importance of investing in knowledge-based products and services and understanding how to leverage intellectual property to gain a price premium.
o Examples include NextWindow (touch screen technology), Wellington Drive Technologies (energy efficient motors), TrioDent (dental solutions), Particle Systems (software solutions for the creative industry), Futrix (business intelligence software), Straylight Studios (computer game development), FrameCAD (steel rolling machine design and engineering software) and Enztec (medical equipment).

 Total combined export sales by this year’s Fast 50 grew by 257% between 2006 and 2008. Almost two-thirds (62%) of the 2008 Fast 50 export, up from 54% in 2007. The value of those exports has increased to $270 million, more than 60% higher than in 2007.
o Australia continues to be the most popular export market, but in terms of the value of exports, Europe has caught up with each comprising 23% of total export sales.

 Policy advice: When asked what they would like to see the Government offer growing businesses, an overwhelming 42% cited business-friendly tax policies, followed by freedom to operate/less compliance (22%). Greater support from Government agencies (16%) was third, and specific ideas included more funding and grants, as well as greater access to advice and assistance for exporters.

About the Fast 50
The Fast 50 is a Deloitte initiative which operates in more than 32 countries and territories around the world. The index is produced on the basis of revenue growth (not profit). Businesses are ranked by their revenue growth over a 3-year period. This year the minimum revenue requirement in the base year (FY2006) is $250,000 and in the last year (FY2008) is $500,000. The Fast 50 ranks businesses that choose to participate and is firmly established as a key barometer of New Zealand’s emerging business market.

About Deloitte in New Zealand
Deloitte New Zealand brings together more than 900 specialist professionals providing audit, tax, technology and systems, strategy and performance improvement, risk management, corporate finance, business recovery, forensic and accounting services. Our people are based in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin, serving clients that range from New Zealand's largest companies and public sector organisations to smaller businesses with ambition to grow.

Deloitte's local experts draw on best practice and innovative methodologies from around the world as part of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, whose 150,000 people globally serve over 80 percent of the world's largest companies. A long track record and a wealth of international research into the needs of growing organisations has made Deloitte the world's leading advisor to emerging businesses. For more information about Deloitte in New Zealand, look to our website

About Deloitte
Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, a Swiss Verein, its member firms, and their respective subsidiaries and affiliates. As a Swiss Verein (association), neither Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu nor any of its member firms has any liability for each other’s acts or omissions. Each of the member firms is a separate and independent legal entity operating under the names “Deloitte,” “Deloitte & Touche,” “Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu,” or other related names. Services are provided by the member firms or their subsidiaries or affiliates and not by the Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Verein.


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