The Top Australian Enterprises in 2021

August 2022

Phil Ruthven AM and Nicholas Chalmers

Australia’s 100 Best Enterprises

Despite challenging conditions, Australia’s 100 Best Enterprises managed to meet the challenges with all achieving World’s Best Practice (WBP) +22.0% profitability. 31 enterprises averaged a ROSF above 50% for the three years, with 90 enterprises achieving profitability of above 30%.

And the Winners Are…
So who are this year’s standout performers? Rounding out the top 10 of the 100 Best Enterprises from the exhibit below, in ROSF the order was: Virtual Gaming Worlds (204.2%); Southern Cross Support Services (168.5%); Pepperstone Group (153.0%); BVN Architecture (147.8%); Resolution Capital (116.1); Hassel (105.6%); Werribee Mazda (102.3%); Northcape Capital (101.3%); McCabes (92.9%) and WTP Australia (91.5%).


At the tail end of the Top 100 were home entertainment retailer JB Hi-Fi (30.0%), furniture and manchester retailer Adairs (29.6%), and online furniture retailer – Temple & Webster (29.2%).

Notably amongst the top 100 list were 14 companies in the finance sector with 10 investment managers being: Resolution Capital (116.2%), Northcape Capital (101.3%), Cooper Investors (82.4%), Vinva Investment Management (67.8%), Platinum Asset Management (48.5%), Australian Ethical Investment (43.4%), QIC (42.5%), Magellan Financial Group (38.7%), TCorp (30.3%) and Treasury Corporation Victoria (30.0%).


Characteristics of 2021’s high performers

Consistency is obviously key when it comes to performance, with 44 of this year’s top 100 performers also appearing on last year’s list, but focus is another significant factor.

Of this year’s top 100, 99 were focused, conducting business in just one of the nation’s 500+ classes of industry, an ongoing theme of the top 100 enterprises which further reinforces rule number one of Ruthven Institute’s 12 Golden Rules of Business Success: focus on one business at a time.

Local ownership was also a notable characteristic among the outperformers, with 81 out of the top 100 locally owned, as well locally owned enterprises had a marginally higher three-year average ROSF.

Private ownership was also a factor, with 59 out of this year’s top 100 privately owned, where Privately owned companies also had a marginally higher three-year average ROSF as well.

Looking at the nation’s 100 Best Listed Public Enterprises based on ROSF the top performers were furniture retailer Nick Scali with an impressive 59.7% ROSF, followed by mineral sand producer Iluka Resources (56.7%), Netwealth Group (56.4%), Platinum Asset Management (48.5%) and Lovisa Holdings (47.5%).

It’s interesting to note that of the Top 100 Listed Enterprises only 52% achieved World’s Best Practice ROSF of over 22%, which is in stark contrast with the Best 100 Enterprises where all 100 achieved ROSF of over 22% – a result which reinforces the outperformance of propriety enterprises over their listed counterparts.

Not all companies faired as well as those on our ‘best performers’ list with others amongst the Largest Loss Makers.

Amongst the companies, and the industry divisions to which they belong, represented on this list were some of those hardest hit by the pandemic. Here, we see the travel agents – a part of the Administration Support Services division – where borders were shut, as well as Arts & Recreation that were affected by stay-at-home orders.  Also amongst the loss-makers list were international companies with locally domiciled distribution networks that provided the Professional & Technical Services that we relied on to navigate our largely online lives.

As companies continue to face new challenges (post-COVID-19) in 2022 and beyond, the road ahead will be rocky for many, however, this may be an opportunity for underperforming corporations to bring new blood to their boards with people who understand the importance of WBP success strategies.

Sign up here - register for free insights

Latest Insights Subscribe