Key findings of Top 100 mid-sized firms’ survey The Top 100 Mid-Sized Companies Survey is an initiative of KPMG Kenya and the Nation Media Group that seeks to identify Kenya’s fastest growing mediumsized companies in order to showcase business excellence and highlight some of the country’s most successful entrepreneurship stories. The main goal of this initiative is to identify new role models and business heroes, recognise them and most importantly connect them to peers, key stakeholders and mentors within East Africa, as similar surveys are carried out in Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda.

The survey presents an opportunity for participating companies to benchmark themselves against their peers, contribute to the development of industry databases, and enjoy recognition as top performers at both national and industry level, and as members of a prestigious club of ‘prosperity’ creators. The survey takes a self-nominating aspect and hence universal coverage is not expected.

Every year we interact with the participants and what has always stuck out is the energy, enthusiasm and the unique war stories. Entrants in the survey must have had revenues ranging from Sh70 million to Sh1 billion for the last three years, should not be a bank, insurance company, Sacco, a legal or audit firm. For any past participants who exceed the 1 billion mark, they automatically graduate to the esteemed elite Club 101.

Participants are required to submit ten key ratios through a Financial Questionnaire. Those with the best revenue growth rates, return to shareholders and liquidity rates will rank high as these are considered the key insights on the companies’ performance. The ratios are also weighted to take into account revenue range and growth trends with key emphasis on the current year’s performance. Key to note is that a company performing well on these parameters fits the profile of the fastest growing mid-sized companies that are also financially stable. Some key findings this year;

• Companies in the consumer and industrial were by far the most prevalent, with manufacturing, retail, transport, construction and ICT accounting for close to two-thirds of the sample.

• 67% of the participants were in the growth phase of their cycle with 26% falling in the mature phase. 7% of the participants, mostly in the tourism, advertising and creative industries indicated that they were re-emerging from a decline.

• Slightly over 40% of the firms surveyed had over KES 300M in revenues in 2015. Like in prior years, we noted that most companies tended to stagnate at the KES 300M level with the challenges of scaling up being the main obstacle to growth.

SECTOR DISTRIBUTION

Manufacturing companies are by far the most prevalent sector in the sample.

Manufacturing, Retail, Transport, Construction and ICT account for close to two-thirds of the sample.

Manufacturing 15%
Wholesale 12%
Retail 11%
Transport 9%
Infrastructure/Construction 8%
ICT 8%
Tourism 4%
Agriculture 4%

A majority of the participants (80%) registered a revenue growth. Mining, Gas (Downstream), Infrastructure & Construction, Telecoms and Finance reported a decline in revenues mainly due to reduced sales/loss of clients, security concerns, reduced production/closing of major outlets and high operational costs.

• Aggressive marketing/good marketing strategies and increased demand for products and services were noted as key growth drivers accounting for 75% of the participants.

• Competition (both fair and unfair) and the volatility of currencies were noted as the two major obstacles to continuing growth at 46% and 34% respectively.

• On employment, a majority of the participants had at least 15 employees and in overall had increased their workforce by 28% since 2011. 83% of espondents indicated they were likely or very likely to increase staff in the next year. A slight increase from the 2013/14 results.

• Roughly 5 in every 8 (63 per cent) of the surveyed firms have an international foot print, a slight decline from the 2013/14 results. The aspiration to expand into East Africa rose by an 8% margin between 2013/14 and 2014/15.

4 out of 5 founders set up their businesses with some of their own money while 1 out of 4 covered at least some of the start-up costs with a bank facility.
Friends and family remain a significant source of capital with business expansions being largely financed by bank loans, followed by founder’s savings.

Venture capital was significantly mentioned in the Telco and Financial Services sectors where it was ranked 2nd or 3rd source of capital.

On listing at the NSE, we noted increased interest with 30 per cent of the participants indicating willingness to list within the next 2-3 years. Challenges to listing included the fear of losing control of business, lack of knowledge on listing requirements, the rigorous listing requirements and bureaucracies that go with it.

• 4 out of 10 respondents experienced challenges in working capital with customer delays in settlement of their bills being the main obstacle.

Overall, based on the survey, small and medium-sized companies’ current outlook towards performance of economy is moderate, with 45 per cent of the
respondents stating that the economy is “substantially” or “moderately better” than 6 months ago.

The outlook towards individual industry’s performance is more positive, with 61 per cent declaring the current status to be “substantially” or “moderately better”.

Interestingly, future outlook (next six months) is more positive with 79 per cent expecting an improvement in their own industries. I take this opportunity thank all participants and look forward to the next year’s survey.