Singapore’s top 1000 companies (S1000) have achieved a significant milestone with their combined revenue hitting the S$3 trillion (US$2.12 trillion) mark.
The record revenue comes just three years after Singapore’s corporate powerhouses crossed the S$2 trillion revenue mark in 2013. The S1000 companies achieved the S$1 trillion milestone in 2007.
In other words the S1000 revenue went from S$2 trillion to S$3 trillion in half the time it took them to go from S$1 trillion to S$2 trillion.
The S1000 ranks the top 1,000 companies in Singapore by revenue and is published with the SME1000 and the Singapore International 100 (SI100). Together these rankings are a comprehensive annual audit of the performance of Singapore's corporate sector. DP Information Group (DP Info) is the ranking body and publisher of the rankings.
Lincoln Teo, Chief Operating Officer of DP Info said the S$3 trillion figure was significant as it showed the contribution large corporations make to the success of the Singapore economy.
“In today's business world the corporations that make up the Singapore 1000 wield enormous power and continue to set the standard for other businesses to aspire to.”
“The strong performance of the Commerce-Wholesale sector shows the vital role played by external trade in Singapore's economic development and progress, with the intensity of trade within ASEAN and Asia-Pacific continuing to dominate."
“There are many factors which contribute to Singapore’s trading success including its open economy, world-class logistics infrastructure and its pro-business regulatory environment.”
“We are also seeing the benefits of Singapore’s network of 20 free trade agreements which have opened up opportunities for Singapore-based firms by eliminating tariffs and making it easier to move goods across international borders,” Teo said.
The new high watermark was driven by the strong performance of the Commerce-Wholesale sector which added an additional S$413 billion in sales since 2013.
Singapore’s role in world trade helped companies in the Transport/Storage sector to increase both the number of companies in the S1000 ranking as well as their percentage contribution to the total revenue. Transport/Storage companies recorded combined sales of S$222.1 billion this year, which represents 7.39 per cent of the total S1000 revenue.
Another strong performer in recent years is Singapore’s Information and Communications (InfoComm) sector, which had S$31.9 billion in revenue in 2007, rising to S$68.2 billion in 2013 and increasing again to S$90.6 billion this year.
Manufacturing contributed 233 companies in 2007, falling to 175 in 2013 and to 146 this year. The sector’s contribution to revenue as a percentage of the total has halved since 2007.
Compared to last year’s rankings, the combined revenue of Singapore’s top 1000 SMEs rose 2.9 per cent to S$29.2 billion.
Combined profits declined by 1.6 per cent to S$3.3 billion. This was accompanied by a rise in loss making companies from 130 in 2015 to 144 this year.
The average profit of the SME1000 companies has fallen 9.1 per cent compared to last year.
Finance companies recorded the largest fall in average profit (-45.9 per cent), followed by Property companies (-40.2 per cent).
Information & Communications companies had the highest increase in average profit per company (+45.1 per cent), followed by Services companies (+33.1 per cent).
Commenting on the performance of the SME1000, Teo said, “Singapore’s SMEs are doing well to capture increased sales, but the real challenge is to lift their level of profitability.”
“SMEs are struggling with the high cost of doing business, in particular wages and rents. They also face growing competition from across the region.”
“In terms of average profits, the most improved group of SMEs are in the InfoComm sector. Many of these companies represent the next generation of innovative high-tech companies that could be a big part of Singapore’s future economy.”
“Disruptive technologies are shaking up the way we live our lives and how we do business, and Singapore’s InfoComm SMEs are at the forefront of this change. So it is encouraging to see their profits on the rise,” Teo said.
The vast majority of S1000 companies are financially strong with excellent credit ratings, showing they are able to achieve growth without taking unnecessary risks and without an over-reliance on debt.
There was an increase in the number of DP1-4 Investment Grade companies from 758 in 2015 to 779 in 2016. A DP1-4 rating indicates there is less than a one per cent chance the company will default on a debt.
The improvement in the S1000’s overall credit standing was caused by a significant jump in the number of companies receiving the highest possible credit rating of DP1 - up from 191 in 2015 to 209 this year. The number of companies with a ‘High Risk’ credit rating remains small with just 30 companies being rated DP7 or DP8.
The credit standing of the SME1000 companies also improved slightly with the number of DP1-4 Investment Grade rated companies increasing from 427 to 443. However, there was also an increase in the number of SMEs with a DP7-8 High Risk credit rating, from 156 last year to 171 this year.
Top 100 internationalized companies
The overseas revenue of the top 100 internationalized companies in Singapore dipped by 8.7 per cent to S$206 billion compared to 2015.
However, when looked at over a five-year time frame, a more positive picture emerges of Singapore companies and their performance in the global market place.
Since 2011, the revenue of the SI100 from China has more than doubled. Revenue from SE Asia has almost doubled. Revenue from the Americas has doubled, while revenue from Africa has nearly tripled.