Mon, Jul 28, 2008 - Page 12 News List

Nine local firms make S&P’s list of top companies

By Kevin Chen  /  STAFF REPORTER

Nine Taiwanese companies have joined the Standard & Poor’s annual list of 300 mid-size companies this year, indicating they have significant growth potential to emerge as challengers to the leading blue chip companies.

A total of 76 mid-sized Chinese companies lead in this year’s list, followed by 73 firms from the US and 14 from Hong Kong, a report released by the global index provider on Thursday shows.

S&P said they were picked to reflect their substantial growth in market capitalization, sales, earnings and employee count.

But the list, which was first published five years ago, is by no means a recommendation of stocks to buy, it said.

“Having overcome the growing up pangs of small firms while possessing room for growth and expansion, mid-caps offer the best potential pool of companies, which could indeed be tomorrow’s leaders,” S&P analyst Aye Soe wrote in the report. “Mid-caps are also acquisition targets as larger firms look to them for expansion or industry consolidation.”

Taiwan is among the 33 countries on the S&P Global Challengers list this year. Asia/Pacific contributes 39 percent of the companies, the Americas 29.33 percent, Europe 30 percent and the Middle East/Africa 1.67 percent.

Both Germany and Switzerland ranked fourth in this year’s list with 13 companies each, followed by 10 from Sweden and nine each from Taiwan and the UK. But neither South Korea nor Singapore, two of the four “Asian Tigers,” contributed to this year’s list.

The nine Taiwanese companies include three from the information technology sector, three from the construction and materials sector, and three consumer and retailing-related firms. They are UniMicron Technology Corp (聯耀電子), Macronix International Co (旺宏電子), Catcher Technology Co (可成科技), Asia Cement Corp (亞洲水泥), Taiwan Cement Corp (台灣水泥), Farglory Land Development Co (遠雄建設), Uni-President Enterprises Corp (統一企業), President Chain Store Corp (統一超商) and Formosa Taffeta Co (福懋興業).

S&P said in the report that 268 out of the initial list of 300 in 2003 have not just survived today but also have an even stronger presence in their respective arenas.

“This suggests that our mousetrap does identify, in aggregate, companies that exhibit future growth characteristics,” Soe wrote.

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