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Local SMEs struggle even as bigger firms fare better: DP Info

Revenue of top 1,000 SMEs here is down 8.7% year on year, and the number of loss-making small businesses is up

Singapore's top 1,000 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are facing drops in their revenue, with a growing number even falling into the red.


SINGAPORE'S top 1,000 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are facing drops in their revenue, with a growing number even falling into the red.

The fortunes of the top 1,000 companies, however, have been rosier; they have generally recorded increases in revenue in the last five years.

DP Information Group, an established credit and information bureau, has been doing an annual ranking of these companies by revenue; its 2015 rankings were based on the period between June 1, 2013 and May 31, 2014.

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The top 1,000 Singapore SMEs (the SME1000) generated S$28.3 billion in combined sales in the latest ranking, 8.7 per cent less than in the 2014 ranking.

Their combined profit was down 0.8 per cent to S$3.4 billion.

The number of loss-making SMEs grew from 114 in 2014 to 130 in the current ranking; in the previous one, the number had shrunk 7.3 per cent.

SME sectors hurting the most were construction, where combined revenue dropped by a quarter (25.6 per cent); commerce-wholesale (a 14.9 per cent drop) and commerce-retail (a 13.8 per cent drop).

The best performing sector was information and communications, which recorded a combined sales growth of 29 per cent.

Meanwhile, Singapore's top 1,000 companies (the S1000) pulled in S$2.98 trillion in 2015, 8.28 per cent more than S$2.75 trillion in the preceding ranking. Their net profit dipped 0.01 per cent, however, to S$149.78 billion.

Among the S1000 companies, those in transport/storage grew their combined revenue by 17.9 per cent. Eleven more companies in this sector - 122, up from 111 - made it into the 2015 rankings. The construction sector also did well, with turnover increasing by 11.5 per cent.

In terms of performance since the global financial crisis, these S1000 companies have made an additional S$1.23 trillion in sales over the last five years. They clocked a total revenue of S$1.75 trillion between June 1, 2008 and May 31, 2009, and a total revenue of S$2.98 trillion for the current June 1, 2013-to-May 31, 2014 ranking period.

This worked out to a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.3 per cent in the last five years.

Among the sectors, commerce-wholesale recorded the fastest growth with a five-year CAGR of 13.3 per cent; this was followed by information and communications (12.9 per cent) and the commerce-retail sector (10.2 per cent).

All industries enjoyed growth in the last five years, with the exception of the hospitality and food and beverage sectors, where revenues shrank by an average of 7.7 per cent for each of the last five years.

On the flipside, smaller food and beverage companies reported growing revenues.

Chen Yew Nah, DP Info's managing director, said: "Larger F&B companies now find themselves competing with the SMEs for the same market share. This may reflect the changing tastes of Singaporeans. Where once large chains and franchises dominated the industry, a growing number of Singaporeans are choosing more boutique and independent options for accommodation and dining."

Separately, companies in the Singapore International 100 (SI100) category - the top 100 Singapore companies by their international revenue - generated S$225.8 billion in revenue, up marginally from S$223.9 billion the previous year.

China remained the dominant market, with 36.7 per cent of all international revenue coming from there. South-east Asia (21.5 per cent) was the next largest market.

Among the top 50 SMEs earning international revenue, South-east Asia was the largest revenue source, accounting for just over a third (34.6 per cent) of overseas revenue.

North Asia (Japan and Korea) was the next largest (13.8 per cent), followed by Europe (12.1 per cent), China (10.4 per cent) and India (7.9 per cent).

The 28th S1000 and SME1000 awards ceremony, incorporating the ceremony for the SI100, takes place on Friday at the Ritz Carlton. Teo Ser Luck, Minister of State for Trade and Industry, is the guest of honour.