Irish firms shine in EMEA Fast 500


13 Dec 2005

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Workers at Dublin-based data centre firm Data Electronics have plenty to be smiling about. Not only has the company ranked No 1 in Deloitte’s Fast 50 growth firms in Ireland with a staggering 4,375.5pc rate of growth over the past five years but the company has also ranked a very credible 14th place in the 2005 Deloitte Technology Fast 500 EMEA Awards. No mean achievement.

Data Electronics was joined by a whopping 35 other Irish companies, underlying the growth potential for Irish technology companies.
The Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu (DTT) Technology Fast 500 EMEA programme is the region’s most objective industry-ranking standard to focus on the technology field. It was created to recognise the effort and dedication of the 500 fastest-growing technology companies in EMEA and includes all areas of technology, from internet to biotechnology, from medical and scientific to computers/hardware.

It includes both public and private companies. The awards, which have been running in EMEA for five years, are based on five-year average percentage revenue growth.

But what does it take to be a Fast 500 player? The total five-year revenue for the 500 ranked companies as a whole grew by an average 935pc. Some 47pc of the companies in the Fast 500 were software companies. Communications and networking firms this year are generally better represented than last year at 16pc of all firms listed.

Northern Europe and Eastern Europe increased their share of ranked firms this year with 25pc (up 8pc on last year) and 7pc (up 3pc on last year) respectively. But in order to get an appreciation of the dizzy heights you can achieve look no further than the No 1 ranked Norwegian broadband provider Catch Communications ASA, which achieved an average five-year revenue growth of 77,682pc.

A survey of the 500 companies revealed a commonality of fears, concerns and expectations of high-growth firms. Confidence in sustaining future growth has reached an all-time high in Europe, with 82pc of CEOs either extremely or very confident that their company will sustain its growth over the next year.

Some 66pc of CEOs agreed that the quality of employees is the key to successful growth and recruitment and personnel development are the key operational and personal challenges of CEOs. This has also been revealed to be true in Asia-Pacific and North America this year.

The survey also revealed that 62pc of European Fast 500 firms offer flexible working hours (far higher than any other global region) and 46pc offer a stake in the company in the form of stock options in order to enhance motivation.

Some 42pc of CEOs see more than 50pc of their planned business revenues coming via internet protocol-based (IP) applications, while 16pc see between 30pc and 50pc of their revenues coming from IP. CEOs say the greatest potential for growth over the next three years is in internet and IP-related segments.

Irish companies included in the Fast 500 include firms such as Alltracel Pharmaceuticals, Digiweb, Meridio, Bard na Gleann, Directski.com, Sabeo Technologies and Book Assist.

Commenting on the participation of Irish companies in this Europe-wide barometer, David O’Flanagan, partner with Deloitte in Dublin, commented: “We are extremely pleased with Ireland’s performance as this programme has become a benchmark for the recognition of high-growth technology companies.”

By John Kennedy