Productivity Commission analysis


Analysis of the Top 200 firms and Top 10 Māori businesses

Exploring the characteristics of New Zealand’s largest firms

Deloitte Access Economics was commissioned by the New Zealand Productivity Commission to analyse the characteristics of New Zealand’s Top 200 firms and Top 10 Māori businesses in order to inform the Commission’s inquiry into Frontier Firms. The report looks to understand the location, ownership type, industry and sectoral distribution, size of Top 200 firms, and the characteristics of Māori owned firms over time. It draws on Deloitte’s Top 200 index and Top 10 Māori Business Index, and makes comparisons between these businesses and the general business community using Statistics New Zealand’s Annual Enterprise Survey.

Key findings

Top 200 businesses are concentrated in the major centres of Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, and Christchurch.

Overseas-owned firms are becoming an increasingly common form of ownership in the Top 200, and continue to comprise a growing share of total profit. However, New Zealand listed companies show some of the highest revenues in the Top 200. Each ownership has experienced volatile growth over time.

Top 200 companies are concentrated in the Manufacturing, Retail and Primary sectors unlike the general business community, which is more evenly distributed across a range of sectors. The industry composition of Top 200 firms has remained relatively stable between 2000 and 2019. Health Care, Wholesale Trade, and Financial and Insurance Services have driven revenue growth in the five years to 2019.

Revenues and profits of Top 200 firms are clustered around the lower end, but there are some large firms in the New Zealand market. While revenue and profit has grown steadily between 2000 and 2019, growth in assets and equity has been far more variable. Average return on investment fluctutated between 2000 and 2007 and dipped during the Global Financial Crisis, but has recovered in recent years.

New Zealand’s largest Māori businesses are concentrated in the North Island, and have continually grown in asset value since 2014. These Māori firms hold investments in many other subsidiaries, while the top five ranked Māori businesses are all affiliated with settled iwi.

As part of the report, we undertook a short case study into Fisher & Paykel Healthcare to understand some of the characteristics of a frontier firm. The case study found Fisher & Paykel Healthcare prioritises research and development and is export focused, with 99 percent of its revenue derived offshore. The company’s revenue, profits, assets, and equity have grown steadily over time, as well as Fisher & Paykel Healthcare’s ranking in the Top 200 index.

Productivity Commission Analysis Report

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Additional resources

Helping Kiwi firms reach the productivity frontier

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