Finance

Prospering in the pandemic: 2020’s top 100 companies

Even at the moment of maximum uncertainty in March, some companies were prospering. As stock markets plunged, the likes of Moderna, Zoom Video and Peloton rode a wave of enthusiasm for businesses that might help us cope with, or exit, the pandemic.

Those remain the winners of 2020. But a rebound in investor appetite means a broader range of stocks also ended the year higher, in spite of crippling lockdowns and huge death tolls.

Back in June, we ranked companies based on dollars of equity value added. An updated list of those biggest winners appears in a chart below. That method gives outsized importance to companies that were already huge (not to diminish Apple’s extraordinary feat of adding almost $1tn of market capitalisation in the past 12 months). A ranking based on percentage gains in market value, on the other hand, gives too much weight to smaller companies that had big share price rises. So we have adopted a hybrid for our end-of-year rankings: a percentage gain with a floor of $10bn market value at the start of 2020, using data from S&P Global.

Geographically, China outperforms the US, with 36 companies in the list to 30. Sectorally, it is technology heavy but with plenty of variety, from Argentinian ecommerce group MercadoLibre to Swedish private equity firm EQT. Many of the winners are beneficiaries of the pandemic; others look like bubble stocks. Some will turn out to be both. Tom Braithwaite

1. Tesla

Sector: Automotive / HQ: Palo Alto, us


787%


increase in market value


$669bn


end-2020 market value

Some thought Tesla’s $75bn valuation at the start of 2020 was looking bubbly. By the time it entered the S&P 500 in December it was almost nine times higher — more than the next seven carmakers combined. Whether there is any logic to this is hotly debated. Tesla is expected to have produced about 500,000 cars over the year — half the amount Elon Musk projected in 2016. But it has now recorded a profit in five straight quarters, the industry shift to electric vehicles is unquestioned and investors believe its technology is years ahead of the competition. Patrick McGee in San Francisco

2. Sea Group

Sector: home entertainment / HQ: SINGAPORE


446%


increase in market value


$102bn


end-2020 market value

South-east Asia’s most valuable company showed Covid resistance in all three of its core businesses: gaming, ecommerce and digital payments. Its Free Fire mobile game won millions of new players in 2020 while its Shopee platform has become the region’s most downloaded ecommerce app. Sea is now moving deeper into finance after recently obtaining a coveted digital banking licence in Singapore. But the company is still struggling to become profitable, with net losses widening in the third quarter. Mercedes Ruehl in Singapore

© Athit Perawongmetha/Reuters

3. Zoom Video

Sector: video conferencing / HQ: SAN JOSE, us


413%


increase in market value


$96bn


end-2020 market value

Zoom became almost synonymous with communication during the pandemic. In the space of a year, the number of customers with at least 10 employees using the service jumped nearly fivefold. It will be a tough act to follow. Big companies such as Google, Microsoft and Cisco have Zoom in their sights, and the large number of small customers on month-to-month contracts has left it vulnerable to a fall-off when the pandemic eases. Richard Waters in San Francisco

4. Pinduoduo

SECTOR: ECOMMERCE / HQ: SHANGHAI, CHINA


396%


increase in market value


$218bn


end-2020 market value

The ecommerce group’s rise was turbocharged by the pandemic as hundreds of millions of Chinese shoppers turned to their smartphones rather than malls. The economic downturn raised demand for Pinduoduo’s ultra-cheap goods, with revenues up 70 per cent in the first nine months of the year. It also swung closer to profitability as it reined in discounts — and an antitrust investigation into its chief rival Alibaba also helped. Ryan McMorrow in Beijing

© China Daily/Reuters

5. BYD

SECTOR: AUTOMOTIVE / HQ: SHENZHEN, CHINA


359%


increase in market value


$78bn


end-2020 market value

Chinese electric carmaker BYD recovered rapidly from a coronavirus-induced slump in sales after the July release of its sporty Han sedan, a competitor to Tesla’s popular Model 3. It is the first BYD model to use the company’s recently developed “blade” battery, a smaller and more energy-dense power pack. The sales bump has helped the Warren Buffett-backed group, an early frontrunner in the world’s largest electric vehicle market, regain ground lost to Tesla and Chinese start-ups. Christian Shepherd in Beijing.

6. CrowdStrike

Sector: cyber security / HQ: Sunnyvale, us


357%


increase in market value


$47bn


end-2020 market value

Demand for CrowdStrike’s cyber security software has boomed as companies set up remote workforces and accelerated plans to move data to the cloud. The company, which floated in June 2019, made its name after uncovering Russian hackers inside the servers of the US Democratic National Committee around the 2016 election. Another boost came in December with news of a state-backed hacking campaign targeting US federal agencies and the private sector. The hackers attempted to target CrowdStrike but were unsuccessful, while rival FireEye was compromised. Hannah Murphy in San Francisco

7. Shanxi Xinghuacun Fen Wine Factory Co

Sector: BEVERAGES / HQ: SHANXI, china


346%


increase in market value


$50bn


end-2020 market value

A Chinese spirits maker known for its broad product line, Xinghuacun Fen benefited from China’s post-coronavirus recovery. The company, once a regional player in the northern province of Shanxi, has also benefited from expanding nationally. In Shanghai, one of the nation’s most competitive liquor markets, Xinghuacun Fen reported a more than 50 per cent jump in revenue in 2020. Sun Yu in Beijing

8. LONGi Green Energy Technology

Sector: ENERGY / HQ: XI’AN, CHINA


296%


increase in market value


$53bn


end-2020 market value

The world’s largest producer of silicon solar wafers had a strong 2020 on expectations that China will rapidly increase the amount of solar energy installations to meet its climate change commitments. In December, President Xi Jinping said the country would grow the share of non-fossil fuels in its primary energy consumption to 25 per cent by 2030, with a target of more than 1,200 gigawatts of wind and solar capacity — compared with just over 200GW of cumulative solar energy capacity at the end of 2019. Henry Sanderson in London

9. Pinterest

Sector: social media / HQ: San Francisco, us


291%


increase in market value


$41bn


end-2020 market value

The online pinboard service’s popularity has soared during lockdown as entertainment-starved people turned to its platform, drawing advertisers as brands took advantage of the ecommerce boom. Monthly average users were up nearly 40 per cent year on year in the company’s latest quarter; revenues almost 60 per cent. The world’s most wholesome social media network also managed to steer clear of controversies around hate speech that have plagued rivals such as Facebook and Twitter. Hannah Murphy

© Michael Nagle/Bloomberg

10. Twilio

Sector: TECHNOLOGY / HQ: San Francisco, us


279%


increase in market value


$51bn


end-2020 market value

Twilio’s rapid growth has drawn little public fanfare. The San Francisco-based company’s application programming interfaces, or APIs, plug into the computer code behind popular apps such as Instacart and Uber, allowing them to communicate with customers through text and voice. Demand has risen during the pandemic, leading to 51 per cent revenue growth in the first nine months of 2020 compared with the previous year, though it is still losing hundreds of millions of dollars a year. Miles Kruppa in San Francisco

11. CATL

Sector: auto parts / HQ: Ningde, China


271%


increase in market value


$125bn


end-2020 market value

A rebound in sales of electric cars in 2020 helped propel Chinese battery maker Contemporary Amperex Technology into the country’s Nasdaq-style ChiNext exchange. CATL supplies lithium-ion batteries to some of the largest car companies in the world, including Daimler and BMW, and has about half of the Chinese battery market. Its batteries were used in some Tesla electric cars made in Shanghai. CATL has its sights on the European market and is building a battery factory in Germany. But it faces stiff competition from Korea’s LG Chem, which overtook CATL last year to become the world’s largest battery maker. Henry Sanderson

© Square, Inc

12. Square

Sector: DIGITAL PAYMENTS / HQ: SAN FRANCISCO, us


265%


increase in market value


$98bn


end-2020 market value

Square’s core business providing point-of-sale tech to small merchants has taken a back seat during the pandemic, with its side hustle Cash App becoming very much the main event. Like PayPal’s Venmo, the app allows for instantaneous transfer of cash between people and businesses. But its additional features — for banking, trading and crypto — have meant that, while it has only half the users of Venmo, analysts estimate Cash App makes a lot more money from each of them. In the third quarter Cash App generated $2.1bn in revenue, a fivefold increase on the same period the previous year and 70 per cent of Square’s $3bn total. Dave Lee in San Francisco

13. China Tourism Group Duty Free

SECTOR: CONSUMER DISCRETIONARY / HQ: BEIJING, CHINA


239%


increase in market value


$84bn


end-2020 market value

China’s largest operator of duty-free shops has reported a sharp rebound in business since the country’s pandemic was brought under control. It more than doubled net income in the third quarter of 2020 following a loss in the first, as global travel restrictions prompted Chinese tourists to travel domestically. It also profited from a new policy that lifted the buying quota for Chinese duty-free shoppers. Sun Yu

© Imaginechina Limited/Alamy

14. WuXi Biologics

SECTOR: HEALTHCARE / HQ: WUXI, CHINA


230%


increase in market value


$54bn


end-2020 market value

The pharmaceuticals contract research and manufacturing group has benefited from coronavirus-induced shutdowns of competitors outside China and expanded its overseas presence during the pandemic. WuXi Biologics, a unit of the parent group WuXi AppTec, has completed a new manufacturing facility in Ireland and signed leases to operate at least four drug development, testing and manufacturing facilities in Germany and the US. Christian Shepherd in Beijing and Wang Xueqiao in Shanghai

15. Xiaomi Corporation

SECTOR: TECHNOLOGY / HQ: BEIJING, CHINA


227%


increase in market value


$108bn


end-2020 market value

Huawei’s horrible year has been a windfall for China’s other big smartphone maker. With Washington’s Huawei sanctions spurring Android users around the world to turn to Xiaomi’s low-cost devices, it has risen above Apple to take third place in global smartphone market share. Its stock was added to Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index this summer and it crossed the $100bn market cap mark in December. Ryan McMorrow

16. Snap

SECTOR: SOCIAL MEDIA / HQ: SANTA MONICA, US


226%


increase in market value


$75bn


end-2020 market value

Snap was hit by a freeze in the digital advertising market when the pandemic first took hold but the social media group has since recovered to post record revenues as users flocked to the service during lockdowns and marketers returned. The company also benefited from an advertiser boycott of larger rival Facebook. Hannah Murphy

17. Chewy

Sector: ECOMMERCE / HQ: FLORIDA, US


221%


increase in market value


$37bn


end-2020 market value

Surging pet ownership means hungry dogs and cats: more than 70 per cent of Chewy’s sales now come from customers enrolled in automatic replenishment of food and other essentials. Investors see greater opportunity still in the online retailer pushing into the wider pet economy: its tele-health offering, Connect With A Vet, was launched in October. This kind of move, and building out its own delivery logistics, has meant an overall revenue increase — up 45 per cent year on year in the third quarter — was swamped by growing costs. But at 18 per cent market penetration, Chewy still has plenty of pet-loving homes to reach. Dave Lee

Jeff Green, ceo Trade Desk
Jeff Green, chief executive of The Trade Desk © Ann Johansson/FT

18. The Trade Desk

SECTOR: TECHNOLOGY / HQ: VENTURA, US


221%


increase in market value


$38bn


end-2020 market value

A year ago The Trade Desk was a promising adtech business that was smaller than the large advertising groups it serves. By the end of 2020 its market capitalisation exceeded those of WPP, Omnicom and Publicis combined. The company provides software that acts as a brokerage platform for buyers of digital advertising, taking a cut from transactions and earning fees from supplying data. Analysts estimate it generated a relatively modest $807m in revenue in 2020; investors are betting on a boom in automated digital advertising that spreads to televisions, podcasting and billboards. Alex Barker in London

19. Chongqing Zhifei Biological Products

Sector: pharmaceuticals / HQ: Jiangbei, China


211%


increase in market value


$35bn


end-2020 market value

In early December, Chongqing Zhifei Biological Products became China’s fourth pharmaceutical group to start final stage safety and efficacy trials for a Covid-19 vaccine. The vaccine — developed by Anhui Zhifei Longcom Biopharmaceutical, a subsidiary of Chongqing Zhifei, jointly with state-run think-tank the Chinese Academy of Sciences — uses part of a protein on the outside of the virus that causes the disease to prime the immune system. Early-stage trial results published in late December, but not yet peer reviewed, found no or mild adverse reactions in most of the 950 participants and antiviral antibodies in more than 95 per cent. Christian Shepherd

Pandemic winners and losers

20. DocuSign

Sector: INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY / HQ: San Francisco, us


212%


increase in market value


$41bn


end-2020 market value

A few months of working remotely caused organisations to accelerate their digital plans by up to four years, estimated Dan Springer, chief executive of DocuSign. The e-signature company, which enables users to automate contract management, took advantage of the acceleration by expanding its product range. Its artificial intelligence tools sift through documents to flag risks, and the company will soon offer the ability to notarise transactions entirely over video. “When customers go from paper-based processes to digital agreement processes, they do not go back,” Mr Springer said. Patrick McGee

21. M3

SECTOR: technology / HQ: Tokyo, japan


210%


increase in market value


$64bn


end-2020 market value

Sony-backed M3 operates an online portal for medical professionals and is now the 15th most valuable company in Japan, with a $62bn market capitalisation on just $1.3bn in annual revenue. Shares have nearly tripled over the past year as a Covid-19 surge in online healthcare stocks coincided with Japan’s temporary easing of restrictions on remote medical care. M3 started in 2000 with investment from Sony subsidiary So-net. After rejecting calls from activist Daniel Loeb to sell its 34 per cent stake, Sony now has a tie-up with M3 to combat the pandemic. Kana Inagaki in Tokyo

© Bloomberg

22. Shopify

Sector: Ecommerce / HQ: Ottawa, Canada


201%


increase in market value


$139bn


end-2020 market value

Amazon’s stock may be up by almost two-thirds in 2020 but its fast-growing Canadian rival has almost tripled in value to nearly $150bn. More than 1m merchants, from corner shops to Heinz, use Shopify’s technology for online storefronts, checkout systems and connections to Instagram and TikTok. It even managed to show it could make a quarterly profit. Still, investors are encouraging Shopify to keep building its own logistics network and help sellers to match Amazon’s rapid deliveries. Tim Bradshaw in London

23. Meituan

SECTOR: ECOMMERCE / HQ: BEIJING, CHINA


194%


increase in market value


$224bn


end-2020 market value

China’s “everything app” was hit hard by lockdown, as authorities closed restaurants and consumers shied away from food delivery. But Meituan bounced back in the second half of 2020, with growth at its food delivery business making up for sluggish travel sales. Investors are betting better days lie ahead with the end of the pandemic potentially in sight and Meituan continuing to take food delivery share from Alibaba’s Ele.me. It now boasts 477m annual users. Ryan McMorrow

MercadoLibre has rapidly grown to become Latin America’s biggest company © Jonne Roriz/Bloomberg

24. MercadoLibre

Sector: ECOMMERCE / HQ: BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA


194%


increase in market value


$84bn


end-2020 market value

Thanks to the burst in online shopping since the outbreak of Covid-19, MercadoLibre (or “free market” in Spanish), has become the biggest company in Latin America. The region’s answer to China’s Alibaba is now worth $83bn on Nasdaq having more than doubled its value over the past year. Chief executive and founder Marcos Galperín told the FT that his company would keep growing for at least another decade, given that the digital transformation of retail is at an early stage in Latin America. Benedict Mander in Buenos Aires

25. Adyen

SECTOR: PAYMENTS / HQ: AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS


189%


increase in market value


$71bn


end-2020 market value

It would be easy to put Adyen’s 2020 success down to rival Wirecard’s demise. But that would ignore the €55bn Dutch payment processor’s continued rise in one of capitalism’s most hotly contested spaces. Its technology, which allows customers such as Nike to use one payment platform across all their global storefronts, has led to rapid top-line growth and 60 per cent ebitda margins — a rare combination in a world of lossmaking tech hopefuls. Jamie Powell in London

© Imaginechina Limited/Alamy

26. Alibaba Health Information Technology

Sector: healthcare / HQ: Hong Kong, china


186%


increase in market value


$40bn


end-2020 market value

Selling pills online has increased Ali Health’s annual shopper count to 65m and brought year-on-year sales growth of more than 70 per cent for several quarters. In the six months to September 30, revenue grew 74 per cent to Rmb7.1bn. The pharmaceutical arm of Alibaba’s business has also benefited from returning customers buying more frequently and an expansion of its stock of medicines. Ryan McMorrow

27. Samsung SDI

Sector: electronics / HQ: yongin, South Korea


182%


increase in market value


$39bn


end-2020 market value

Booming demand for TVs, tablets and other mobile devices has boosted this specialist maker of electronics for semiconductors and display panels. Samsung SDI also makes batteries for electric vehicles as well as mobile devices and has reported growing orders for EV batteries. Its EV market share rose from 3.7 per cent in 2019 to 6.2 per cent in the first nine months of 2020. Operating profit was up more than 60 per cent in the July-September period on a year earlier. Song Jung-a in Seoul

© SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg

28. Kakao

Sector: technology / HQ: jeju, South Korea


182%


increase in market value


$31bn


end-2020 market value

As operator of South Korea’s most popular chat app, Kakao has done well from surging demand for mobile shopping, games, and other online entertainment during the pandemic. Operating profits rose nearly 50 per cent in the January-September period from a year earlier and its large user base has facilitated expansion into markets including online finance and mobility. Song Jung-a

29. Luzhou Laojiao

Sector: CONSUMER STAPLES / HQ: LUZHOU, CHINA


178%


increase in market value


$51bn


end-2020 market value

Among China’s biggest makers of premium liquor, Luzhou Laojiao’s history stretches back more than four centuries. Helped by the nation’s post-pandemic economic recovery, the company enjoyed a 14.5 per cent rise in revenue in the third quarter of 2020 following a drop in the first. Stronger demand for high-end baijiu, a must-have firewater at business banquets, lifted average prices of the distiller’s flagship Guojiao 1573 brand by almost a fifth. Sun Yu

30. LG Chem

Sector: chemicals / HQ: Seoul, South Korea


174%


$55bn


increase in market value

LG Chem controls about a quarter of the electric vehicle battery market, up from 10 per cent in 2019. It supplies many of the global automakers and has overtaken China’s CATL to become the top EV battery maker by market share. Its stock is trading near a record high, up about 250 per cent from a three-year low in March. Song Jung-a

31. East Money Information

SECTOR: FINANCIAL SERVICES / HQ: SHANGHAI, CHINA


169%


increase in market value


$41bn


end-2020 market value

A surge in online trading following China’s post-pandemic market boom has given a lift to the nation’s leading digital investment platform. East Money Information more than doubled its revenue and tripled its net income in the third quarter of 2020 from a year before, as China’s equity market rally boosted commission income for stock trading and mutual funds. Sun Yu

32. Aier Eye Hospital Group 

SECTOR: HEALTHCARE / HQ: CHANGSHA, CHINA


169%


increase in market value


$47bn


end-2020 market value

Aier Eye Hospital, the operator of China’s largest network of private ophthalmic clinics, has tapped into the country’s growing demand for eye surgery due to an ageing population and a government campaign to reduce short-sightedness in schoolchildren. These trends have brought the group, which mainly provides corrective laser surgery, eye checks and cataract operations from its more than 600 hospitals, steady revenue growth and stable profit margins since 2015. Christian Shepherd in Beijing and Wang Xueqiao in Shanghai

33. Datadog

Sector: technology / HQ: new york, us


168%


increase in market value


$30bn


end-2020 market value

Fast-growing software company Datadog, which offers monitoring and analytics tools for the cloud, emerged from relative obscurity to become one of the top-performing IPOs of 2019. In 2020 it reached new heights, thanks to an investor push into cloud-based software companies. It has touted new partnerships with Google and Microsoft, two of the largest cloud data storage providers. Datadog’s next challenge: showing it can keep up its 61 per cent year-on-year revenue growth while becoming profitable. Miles Kruppa

34. Kingsoft

SECTOR: TECHNOLOGY / HQ: Beijing, china


167%


increase in market value


$29bn


end-2020 market value

While Microsoft and Google have been fighting for share in the overseas office software market, China has strived to create homegrown champions. Under Beijing’s drive to ensure all software used in critical infrastructure is “autonomous and controllable”, Kingsoft has become the default provider for government offices, state-owned enterprises and banks. The company recently launched more online collaboration tools, taking full advantage of Google’s absence from the Chinese market. Yuan Yang in Beijing

35. Roku

Sector: technology / HQ: San Jose, US


167%


increase in market value


$42bn


end-2020 market value

This maker of video dongles and connected TV software was already having a good year as people found themselves at home and looking for entertainment. But November’s results silenced any remaining doubters. Even as Netflix’s growth waned in the third quarter, Roku accelerated, logging 14.8bn streaming hours, up 54 per cent year on year. A deal with AT&T in December to carry HBOMax will bring Wonder Woman into Roku’s 46m living rooms. Investors who bought at March lows of below $60 will have quintupled their money. Tim Bradshaw

© Roy Liu/Bloomberg

36. JD.com

SECTOR: ECOMMERCE / HQ: BEIJING, CHINA 


165%


increase in market value


$136bn


end-2020 market value

When China’s lockdown hit, JD.com was the only ecommerce group reliably delivering packages, bringing hordes of new shoppers to its platform. It has since built on that lead, while expanding into far-flung cities and villages with ultra-cheap shopping app Jingxi. Already listed in the US, the company added a Hong Kong listing this summer and unlocked value by spinning off a number of businesses. JD Health, first to list, is now valued at roughly $60bn in Hong Kong. The coming year may bring the IPOs of JD Digits and JD Logistics. Ryan McMorrow

37. SF Holding

SECTOR: DELIVERY LOGISTICS / HQ: SHENZHEN, CHINA


160%


increase in market value


$61bn


end-2020 market value

China’s second-largest courier company is among the biggest beneficiaries of an online shopping boom that has persisted even after lockdowns lifted. Fierce price wars among the country’s logistics groups have forced it to lower fees and offer more low-cost services but revenues still grew more than a third to Rmb109bn in the first three quarters of 2020. In November, when the country’s “Singles Day” online shopping festival takes place, SF Express delivered more than 900m packages, up almost 60 per cent on the year before. Yuan Yang

38. Rongsheng Petrochemical

Sector: INDUSTRIALS / HQ: HANGZHOU, CHINA


155%


increase in market value


$29bn


end-2020 market value

Rongsheng is the listed arm of Zhejiang Rongsheng Holding Group, one of the biggest players in China’s petrochemical industry. The company is a major buyer in the crude oil market, where prices have collapsed in 2020. It is also the majority owner of Zhejiang Petrochemical, a vast complex that was built in 2019 and combines refining and petrochemicals. In 2019, Saudi Aramco signed an agreement to acquire a stake in the company. The shares of Rongsheng are up 101 per cent year to date. Thomas Hale in Hong Kong

39. Shenzhen Mindray Bio-Medical Electronics

SECTOR: HEALTHCARE / HQ: SHENZHEN, CHINA


150%


increase in market value


$79bn


end-2020 market value

The medical monitors, ventilators and virus reagents that Mindray produces have been in high demand during the pandemic, prompting a steep rise in profit. But after the world returns to normal, will the company keep growing? It has been developing new businesses and in October established an animal-medicine subsidiary to produce veterinary equipment. Qianer Liu in Shenzhen and Nian Liu and Yuan Yang in Beijing

40. T-Mobile US

SECTOR: TELECOMS / HQ: Bellevue, us 


150%


increase in market value


$167bn


end-2020 market value

Despite a turbulent year in which flamboyant chief executive John Legere left after sealing a $59bn merger with rival Sprint, and with SoftBank quickly selling down its large Sprint stake, critics’ predictions that T-Mobile would lose market share were confounded. Third-quarter results in November revealed it had pushed its customer base above 100m and that it was about a year ahead of schedule in integrating Sprint. New chief executive Mike Sievert argued the company was “profitably outpacing” rivals in the 5G race. Nic Fildes in London

41. Vestas Wind Systems

SECTOR: ENERGY / HQ: AARHUS, DENMARK


142%


increase in market value


$48bn


end-2020 market value

Clean energy had a great year in 2020, and Vestas, the world’s largest maker of wind turbines, has seen revenues and profits rise. The Danish manufacturer’s revenues have grown 50 per cent over the past two years as volumes increased, even though the price of wind turbines fell. The growth has put Vestas in expansion mode: the company recently retook control of its offshore wind subsidiary (which had been spun out as a joint venture in 2013), and is expanding its work in project development. Leslie Hook in London

42. Fortescue Metals Group

Sector: mining / HQ: Perth, Australia


141%


increase in market value


$56bn


end-2020 market value

One of the year’s biggest beneficiaries of the soaring iron ore price, which hit a nine-year high in December, has been Fortescue Metals Group — and its founder and chairman Andrew Forrest. Huge Chinese demand for the steelmaking ingredient has turbocharged profits at the Australian miner, allowing it to pay $3.7bn dividends and adding to the already considerable fortune of Mr Forrest, who owns 36 per cent of the company. Neil Hume in London

43. Foshan Haitian Flavouring and Food

SECTOR: CONSUMER STAPLES / HQ: FOSHAN, CHINA


139%


increase in market value


$100bn


end-2020 market value

China’s largest soy sauce maker profited from the nation’s post-lockdown consumption recovery, with net income up more than 20 per cent from the year before in both the second and third quarters of 2020. The strong performance was helped by Haitian’s nationwide distribution network, which covers more than 90 per cent of China’s 2,000 counties. Sun Yu

44. EDP Renewables

SECTOR: ENERGY / HQ: MADRID; SPAIN


138%


increase in market value


$24bn


end-2020 market value

As one of the world’s leading renewable energy companies, EDPR is primed to benefit from both US president-elect Joe Biden’s $2tn climate plan and the EU’s Green Deal. EDPR stands out as a “pure play” renewables group with 11.5 gigawatts of installed wind and solar capacity in the US, Europe and Brazil. Energias de Portugal, its parent company, has invested more than €20bn in renewables since 2006 and plans to lift green energy generation from below 70 per cent of its total capacity to 90 per cent by 2030. Peter Wise in Lisbon

45. Okta

Sector: technology / HQ: San Francisco, US


135%


increase in market value


$33bn


end-2020 market value

The maker of cloud-based security and identity management technology has more than doubled its share price in 2020 and beaten Wall Street forecasts for three quarters in a row since the pandemic began. News this month of one of the biggest and most sophisticated hacking campaigns ever — which exploited widely used software to spy on governments and businesses around the world — will have only reminded IT managers that good access management tools are vital. Tim Bradshaw

46. StoneCo

SECTOR: PAYMENTS / HQ: Sao Paulo, brazil


134%


increase in market value


$26bn


end-2020 market value

As Wirecard collapsed, payments upstart StoneCo was flying as it shrugged off the Covid-19 turmoil to almost double its market capitalisation in 2020 to $26bn. Founded in 2012, the start-up floated on Nasdaq six years later with backing from investors including Warren Buffett. Focusing on small and medium-sized retailers in Brazil, Stone has thrown down the gauntlet to the country’s big banks by expanding into other services such as credit. Michael Pooler in São Paulo

47. Wuliangye Yibin

SECTOR: consumer staples / HQ: yibin, china


134%


increase in market value


$174bn


end-2020 market value

This Chinese liquor maker managed to maintain double-digit revenue growth throughout the pandemic, weathering the external shock by expanding its group buying business and online sales. Wuliangye’s strong brand awareness among China’s business community, the main source of demand for the country’s spirit of choice, baijiu, helped sales recover faster than many of lesser-known rivals following the end of nationwide lockdowns. Sun Yu

48. RingCentral

Sector: technology / HQ: Belmont, us


134%


increase in market value


$34bn


end-2020 market value

Zoom became a verb in 2020 and millennials prefer texting, but RingCentral shows that businesses still need telephones — even if only in the cloud. RingCentral’s main product turns a physical phone into an app, though its video and corporate messaging tools have also been updated. Founded in 1999, RingCentral is now enjoying the latest round of dotcom mania: working from home. Though it remains unprofitable, its shares have doubled this past year, thanks to a $1bn-a-year subscription business that is growing at nearly 30 per cent a year. Beating analyst estimates in November reassured shareholders there would be life after Zoom. Tim Bradshaw

49. BeiGene

SECTOR: PHARMACEUTICALS / HQ: BEIJING, CHINA


132%


increase in market value


$23bn


end-2020 market value

The cancer treatment specialist is likely to become the first Chinese pharmaceutical company with three listings — in New York, Hong Kong and soon, if approved, Shanghai. Established a decade ago, BeiGene achieved total revenue of $209m for the first three quarters of 2020 after two self-developed products hit the market. And despite never reporting a profit, its global development footprint and bounteous research and development lines have made the company a hot stock. Yuan Yang

50. Siemens Gamesa

SECTOR: RENEWABLE ENERGY / HQ: BILBAO, SPAIN


132%


increase in market value


$28bn


end-2020 market value

The world-leading wind turbine manufacturer enjoyed a steady climb during the pandemic, benefiting from governments’ plans to focus economic recovery plans on renewable energy. Following several legal disputes between the main shareholders, Siemens in February cemented control of the business, buying out Iberdrola’s 8.1 per cent stake for €1.1bn to take its own holding to 67 per cent. Daniel Dombey in Madrid

51. Nexon

Sector: technology / HQ: Tokyo, japan


130%


increase in market value


$27bn


end-2020 market value

The South Korean gaming group founded by billionaire Kim Jung-ju has benefited from global lockdowns and school closures. Downloads of KartRider Rush+, the mobile version of its hit racing game, have topped 20m since its mid-May launch. Despite a delay to the mobile launch of another popular title Dungeon & Fighter in China, Nexon churned out record revenues of ¥79.4bn ($766m) for the third quarter. Sales in South Korea increased 114 per cent from a year earlier. The stock has also been supported by plans for a ¥100bn share buyback over the next three years. Kana Inagaki

52. Jiangsu Yanghe Brewery

SECTOR: CONSUMER STAPLES / HQ: Suqian, CHINA


127%


increase in market value


$54bn


end-2020 market value

The Chinese liquor maker has made significant progress in moving up the value chain following its successful launch of several middle- to high-end products in the second half of 2020. The efforts helped raise the company’s revenue 8 per cent in the third quarter of following four consecutive quarters of decline. Sun Yu

53. Zalando

Sector: ECOMMERCE / HQ: BERLIN, GERMANY


125%


increase in market value


$28bn


end-2020 market value

From locked-down fashion mavens to shoppers avoiding crowds, pandemic-era retail was such a boon for Zalando that it raised its profit forecast twice in 2020. Europe’s largest online fashion retailer now expects full-year earnings before interest and tax to be more than double the €166m it reported previously. The Berlin-based group is investing €50m, including waiving commissions until March, in an effort to triple the number of brands that sell across its platform in the coming year. Erika Solomon in Berlin 

54. Nvidia

Sector: technology / HQ: Santa Clara, us


125%


increase in market value


$323bn


end-2020 market value

Nvidia capped a banner year, rising to become the world’s most valuable chipmaker by market value, by agreeing the industry’s biggest-ever takeover. The pandemic provided a tailwind for some of Nvidia’s businesses, though others — such as sales to carmakers — were hit. Demand for high-end video gaming chips held up, while the cloud computing boom touched off by the pandemic led to sustained data centre investments by its customers all year. The acquisition of chip designer Arm Holdings, scheduled to close within a year, was questioned by some on Wall Street but could provide the foundation for Nvidia’s next phase of growth. Richard Waters

55. Spotify

Sector: MEDIA / HQ: STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN


123%


increase in market value


$60bn


end-2020 market value

Instrumental meditation, Michelle Obama and a buzzy year-end marketing campaign. This was the recipe for Spotify’s rip-roaring year on the stock market. As the pandemic took hold, the company said users opted for “wellness” podcasts and instrumental music to counteract the stress of the coronavirus crisis. It added 20m subscribers from the start of the year to the end of September, reaching 144m paying customers globally. It also unveiled exclusive podcast deals with stars including Joe Rogan and Mrs Obama, fuelling optimism about its future. Anna Nicolaou in New York

56. EQT

Sector: FINANCIAL SERVICES / HQ: Stockholm, Sweden


121%


increase in market value


$24bn


end-2020 market value

The private equity group spent 2020 snapping up businesses while many rivals remained cautious. A fall in performance fee revenue as the pandemic hit its companies spooked shareholders in August. But assets under management, which determine steady management-fee income, hit €46.5bn in the third quarter, up €6bn on a year earlier. Investors are betting the fast-paced dealmaking at EQT, which listed in 2019, will lead it to raise larger funds. Kaye Wiggins in London

57. Sany Heavy Industry

SECTOR: INDUSTRIALS / HQ: changsha, CHINA


120%


increase in market value


$45bn


end-2020 market value

China’s infrastructure boom, a product of Beijing’s pandemic relief stimulus, has enriched Sany Heavy Industry. The nation’s leading construction machinery maker reported a 57 per cent jump in profits in the third quarter of 2020 following a 33 per cent slump in the first quarter. It has also benefited from equipment upgrades as a large number of construction machines near the end of their useful life. Sun Yu

58. Zijin Mining

Sector: MINING / HQ: LONGYAN, CHINA


118%


increase in market value


$34bn


end-2020 market value

Rising copper and gold prices have improved the fortunes of China’s Zijin Mining. Both metals are up more than a fifth due to China’s economic recovery and investors seeking a haven. Zijin also resolved a dispute with the government of Papua New Guinea that will allow the Hong Kong and Shanghai-listed company to reopen the Porgera gold mine with its joint venture partner Barrick Gold. It also owns a 40 per cent stake in the Kamoa-Kakula copper project in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which is set to become the world’s second-largest copper mine. Henry Sanderson

59. Viatris

Sector: pharmaceuticals / HQ: Pittsburgh, us


117%


increase in market value


$22bn


end-2020 market value

The drugmaker is a new kid on the block rather than a winner that has been around all year. It was formed in November from a combination of Mylan and Pfizer’s Upjohn unit, creating a large company focused on selling generics, particularly outside the US. The new company intends to cut $1bn of costs in four years, with a restructuring plan that includes closing or divesting up to 15 factories, and cutting the 45,000-strong workforce by 20 per cent. Hannah Kuchler in New York

60. PayPal

Sector: ONLINE PAYMENTS / HQ: SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA


116%


increase in market value


$274bn


end-2020 market value

At risk of being outflanked by Square, PayPal announced in November that it too would allow users to buy, sell and manage bitcoin on its service. The move sent PayPal’s stock to an all-time high and gave bitcoin a huge boost too, given that the volatile currency could now be used to buy things directly from PayPal’s almost 30m merchants. But even before then, PayPal had enjoyed strong growth with record levels of processed payments; the company reported $247bn in total payment volume during the third quarter. Its cash transfer app Venmo continued to be a highlight. Increased competition appears to have reawakened PayPal’s innovative side. Dave Lee

61. Sartorius Stedim Biotech

Sector: Pharmaceuticals / HQ: Aubagne, France


116%


increase in market value


$33bn


end-2020 market value

The French company was born out of a merger of Stedim and Sartorius AG’s biotech division in 2007. Like its parent company, it had a bumper year in 2020. Customers stockpiled the lab equipment it makes and sales were pushed higher by surging demand related to Covid-19 vaccines, treatment and testing. Since March, its share price has more than doubled. Donato Paolo Mancini in Rome

62. Yonyou

sector: technology / HQ: Beijing, china


115%


increase in market value


$22bn


end-2020 market value

China’s answer to Salesforce and SAP is booming thanks to business demand for software during the homeworking era. Despite a 7.8 per cent drop in revenue and a Rmb15m ($2.3m) net loss for the company as a whole, Yonyou’s cloud-based software sales grew 76.4 per cent in the first three quarters of 2020. To further tickle investor excitement, Yonyou also plans to spin off a unit that serves the car industry and list it in Shanghai. Yuan Yang

63. Celltrion

Sector: healthcare / HQ: Incheon, South Korea


115%


increase in market value


$45bn


end-2020 market value

The company is developing an antiviral antibody treatment for Covid-19. South Korea’s health authorities have allowed the CT-P59 treatment to be used for Covid-19 patients with life-threatening complications although the new drug is still undergoing clinical trials. Investors are upbeat about the company’s acquisition of a business previously owned by Japanese rival Takeda, and a touted merger of three Celltrion affiliates. Song Jung-a

64. Luxshare Precision Industry

SECTOR: TECHNOLOGY / HQ: DONGGUAN, CHINA


114%


increase in market value


$60bn


end-2020 market value

Headed by a former factory worker from Taiwanese rival Foxconn, Luxshare has had 60-fold sales growth since listing in 2010 thanks to a string of supply contracts with the likes of Apple. A maker of the US group’s AirPod wireless earbuds since 2017, the company in August became the first Chinese assembler of iPhones. With other clients including Huawei and Tesla, Luxshare is seen as part of China’s “red supply chain” — companies that win orders from big global businesses with government help. Yuan Yang

65. Changchun High & New Technology Industry

SECTOR: Healthcare / HQ: changchun, china


114%


increase in market value


$28bn


end-2020 market value

This state-owned drugmaker based in China’s industrial north-east has recorded steady profit margin growth in 2020, in large part because of the popularity of its growth hormones that help children gain extra inches. The group, whose products range from the latest pharmaceuticals to traditional Chinese medicine, received a boost in March with the approval of its new nasal spray influenza vaccine. Christian Shepherd

66. Advanced Micro Devices

Sector: tech manufacturing / HQ: Santa Clara, US


112%


increase in market value


$110bn


end-2020 market value

The revival of chipmaker AMD is proof that fallen tech stars sometimes have impressive second acts. AMD’s latest generation of personal computer and server chips have given it a clear lead over longtime rival Intel. It is also benefiting from a decision a decade ago to stop making its own chips and focus on design instead. With Intel struggling with its own advanced manufacturing efforts, the decision to outsource to TSMC has left AMD with a further edge. A $35bn all-stock purchase of Xilinx late in the year marked an effort to broaden AMD’s product range and reinforce its newfound position. Richard Waters

67. Nippon Paint Holdings

SECTOR: manufacturing / HQ: osaka, japan


111%


increase in market value


$35bn


end-2020 market value

Masaaki Tanaka, chief executive of Nippon Paint Holdings since early 2020, engineered a complex $12bn deal in the middle of the pandemic with the company’s largest shareholder Wuthelam Holdings, a private business founded by one of Singapore’s richest billionaires. The combined group, which brings together two of Asia’s biggest paints and coatings businesses, considers the crisis as a chance to pursue further acquisitions across the fragmented $150bn industry. Kana Inagaki

68. Worldline

Sector: PAYMENTS / HQ: PARIS, FRANCE


110%


increase in market value


$27bn


end-2020 market value

Worldline’s jump in value since the start of the pandemic could be a little deceiving since the French payment services business bought its rival Ingenico earlier in 2020 in a €7.8bn deal to create a European champion. But it has still prospered in its own right as customers eschewed the use of cash, turning instead to online purchases and contactless payments in shops. Chief executive Gilles Grapinet said there had been “a more permanent shift in the way we do shopping in general in the western world”. David Keohane in Paris

69. Neste

Sector: ENERGY / HQ: ESPOO, FINLAND


110%


increase in market value


$56bn


end-2020 market value

Finnish group Neste was long known as an oil refiner but in recent years has pivoted decisively to renewable fuel. The company, in which the Finnish state still has a 36 per cent stake, is now the world’s largest producer of renewable diesel. Neste is in the process of making its biggest investment ever by expanding its refinery in Singapore, which turns cooking oil and other waste and fat into renewable fuels. Richard Milne in Oslo

70. Offcn Education Technology

SECTOR: consumer discretionary / HQ: BEIJING, CHINA


109%


increase in market value


$33bn


end-2020 market value

A tutoring company known for prepping would-be civil servants for their exams, Offcn’s services have been in high demand as surging unemployment prompted jobseekers to seek secure jobs at government agencies. But it has also made progress in branching into other areas, with its civil service exam preparation business accounting for 53 per cent of its total revenue in the first half of 2020, down from 64 per cent a year earlier. Sun Yu

© Bloomberg

71. Delivery Hero

Sector: FOOD DELIVERY / HQ: BERLIN, GERMANY


109%


increase in market value


$31bn


end-2020 market value

Despite never having made a profit, a surge in takeaway food orders during the pandemic propelled Berlin-based Delivery Hero into the blue-chip Dax index in 2020. Founded just nine years ago, the start-up now operates in almost 50 countries. It has pursued rapid growth via acquisitions and by moving into so called “q-commerce” — the delivery of groceries and household staples. Entry into less-developed markets, such as Iraq and Venezuela, seems to be paying off — in November, the company delivered a record 5m orders in a single day. Joe Miller in Frankfurt

72. Sartorius AG

Sector: Pharmaceuticals / HQ: Gottingen, Germany


107%


increase in market value


$29bn


end-2020 market value

The German company that makes equipment for biopharma and pharmaceutical companies enjoyed a bumper year thanks to demand related to Covid-19 tests, therapeutics and vaccines. For the first nine months of 2020, its sales grew a quarter and its order intake almost 40 per cent. Deutsche Bank analysts say the company “has become a textbook example of how to under-promise and over-deliver on guidance”. Since the pandemic was declared in March, its share price has more than doubled. Donato Paolo Mancini in Rome

73. Samsung Biologics

Sector: healthcare / HQ: Incheon, South Korea


102%


increase in market value


$50bn


end-2020 market value

This subsidiary of Samsung that makes biopharmaceuticals on a contract basis is expanding capacity to meet surging demand from global drugmakers. In 2020, it won orders worth $1.65bn from customers including GSK and AstraZeneca, up from $265m in 2019. It has also signed deals with Vir Biotechnology to produce Covid-19 antibody products and with Eli Lilly and AstraZeneca to produce Covid-19 treatments. Song Jung-a

74. ServiceNow

SECTOR: cloud software / HQ: Santa Clara, us


102%


increase in market value


$107bn


end-2020 market value

A platform for automating backroom processes inside large organisations is not the sort of company to catch the headlines. But Wall Street’s love affair with cloud software companies in 2020 has made ServiceNow a clear winner. A fifth of its customers are in industries that have been badly hit by the pandemic, potentially weighing down on growth. But its technology has played a role in helping workers collaborate remotely during the crisis. ServiceNow is also one of the companies set to benefit from the increasing automation of work. Richard Waters

75. LG Electronics

SECTOR: CONSUMER DISCRETIONARY / HQ: Seoul, SOUTH KOREA


100%


increase in market value


$21bn


end-2020 market value

For much of 2020 LG Electronics benefited from booming consumer and business demand for its appliances and devices. The South Korean tech powerhouse was buoyed further by a decision in December to spin off part of its electric vehicle components business and set up a $1bn joint venture with Canadian group Magna International. The move will help capture the fast-growing global EV parts market. Edward White in Seoul

76. China Feihe

SECTOR: CONSUMER STAPLES / HQ: BEIJING, CHINA


99%


increase in market value


$21bn


end-2020 market value

The pandemic has done little to keep China’s leading infant formula maker from expanding its footprint as domestic consumer brands continue to climb the value chain. While foreign brands still dominate the infant formula market, local players such as Feihe have played catch-up in small cities thanks to effective marketing campaigns and rapid expansions of distribution networks. Sun Yu

77. Orsted

SECTOR: RENEWABLE ENERGY / HQ: Fredericia, Denmark


99%


increase in market value


$86bn


end-2020 market value

Renewables had a record-breaking year while the rest of the energy sector floundered, and the world’s largest developer of offshore wind farms was a standout performer, with steady growth in operating profit. The company, whose ambition is to become the world’s first “green energy supermajor”, is waving goodbye to longtime chief executive Henrik Poulsen, with former Lego executive Mads Nipper taking over from January 1. Leslie Hook

78. Freeport-McMoRan

Sector: mining / HQ: phoenix, us


99%


increase in market value


$38bn


end-2020 market value

Over his long career Richard Adkerson, chief executive of Freeport-McMoRan, the world’s biggest publicly listed copper miner, has seen everything from market crashes to dealmaking booms. But even he must be surprised by the China-driven consumption frenzy that has boosted demand for copper and put a rocket under Freeport’s share price. Production volumes are set to expand next year and the company looks well placed to benefit from surging demand for the copper required to build out the green economy. Swelling profit margins are also likely to lead to a resumption of dividends. Neil Hume

79. Atlassian

Sector: CLOUD SOFTWARE / HQ: Sydney, Australia


98%


increase in market value


$58bn


end-2020 market value

Atlassian was founded in a nation better known for digging up minerals than developing technology. But the Australian software company is emerging as a global leader in its sector during the pandemic. It sells software that enables developers and IT teams to collaborate, manage and share information and it is growing rapidly. Revenues increased by a third to $1.6bn in the year to the end of June 2020, compared with the previous 12 months. Founded on the strength of a A$10,000 credit card debt in 2002 by Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar, it now serves 182,000 customers. Jamie Smyth in Sydney

80. Veeva Systems

SECTOR: cloud software / HQ: pleasanton, us


97%


increase in market value


$41bn


end-2020 market value

As one of the first specialised cloud companies to sell to a single industry — in its case, pharmaceuticals and life sciences — Veeva has become the most visible exponent of one of the software industry’s most promising new trends. Recent acquisitions were hurt by the crisis: both Crossix, a service for holding patients’ data, and Physicians World, a speakers bureau for healthcare professionals, have suffered more than other parts of Veeva’s business. But the company also said the pandemic had accelerated the uptake of its digital communications and remote working tools. Richard Waters

81. Slack Technologies

SECTOR: ENTERPRISE SOFTWARE / HQ: SAN FRANCISCO, US


97%


increase in market value


$24bn


end-2020 market value

The messaging system was at risk of missing the stock market’s work-from-home boom in 2020. Much of the soaring demand for video conferencing and other communication services passed it by, putting Slack’s more complex set of collaboration tools in the shade. But a $27.7bn cash-and-stock takeover offer from Salesforce late in the year, partly buoyed by that company’s surging share price, turned 2020 into a landmark year for Slack investors after all. Richard Waters

82. Cadence Design Systems

SECTOR: semiconductors / HQ: San Jose, us


96%


increase in market value


$38bn


end-2020 market value

A surge in orders from chipmakers in China made it a strong year for Cadence, which, along with Synopsys, dominates the market for the tools used to design chips. It was unclear whether customers were bringing forward purchases to beat tighter export restrictions, as Washington clamps down on a key part of the technology China needs to build a domestic chip industry. But even if sales there slip, Wall Street believes the need for new chip designs to feed the AI and cloud computing boom will continue to lift the company. Richard Waters

83. Ocado Group

SECTOR: retail / HQ: Hatfield, UK


95%


increase in market value


$23bn


end-2020 market value

UK online grocer Ocado has been turning customers away because it will not have enough warehouse capacity to serve them until well into 2021. Its investors are unperturbed; bigger order sizes have boosted the efficiency and profitability of its existing operation, run as a joint venture with Marks and Spencer. Chief executive Tim Steiner thinks the increased popularity of online food shopping will increase demand for the technology and knowhow that Ocado licenses to others, and that is the real driver of its share price. Jonathan Eley in London

84. Haidilao International

Sector: Food & Beverage / HQ: Beijing, china


92%


increase in market value


$41bn


end-2020 market value

China’s Haidilao chain of restaurants sells hot pot, a spicy broth associated with the country’s southern Sichuan province. It closed its venues at the end of January but began reopening in March. Despite the pandemic, the company opened 173 restaurants in the first half, taking its total to 935 and allowing it to win market share from smaller competitors. The majority of its restaurants are in mainland China but it also has an international presence. Thomas Hale in Hong Kong

85. Align Technology

Sector: medical devices / HQ: San Jose, us


92%


increase in market value


$42bn


end-2020 market value

The company behind the “invisalign” teeth-straightening brand is planning global expansion, targeting countries including Brazil, Russia, Turkey, and India. The digital orthodontics pioneer sells the iTero scanner to help clinicians map mouths. While business was knocked by the lockdowns, the stock soared as the company beat expectations in the third quarter. Lured by marketing campaigns including social media influencers to target teens, people returned to the orthodontist. Hannah Kuchler

86. Idexx Laboratories

Sector: animal health / HQ: portland, us


90%


increase in market value


$43bn


end-2020 market value

The animal health company enjoyed strong growth in diagnostics for pets and livestock but it also ventured into tests to detect if humans have Sars-Cov-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. Idexx said in October that the animal health market had experienced a “V-shaped recovery”. People had rescheduled postponed clinic visits for their pets, while tests for swine and poultry soared in Asia-Pacific. Revenue rose 19 per cent to $722m in the third quarter, with Covid-19 tests contributing 1 percentage point of growth. Hannah Kuchler

87. Synopsys

SECTOR: semiconductors / HQ: mountain view, us


89%


increase in market value


$40bn


end-2020 market value

An explosion in new types of chips — from those used in cars and other everyday objects that make up the “internet of things”, to specialised processors for AI and cloud data centres — lifted revenue growth at Synopsys into the double digits. Like rival Cadence, it is facing a possible hangover this year after a one-off jump in sales to China. But the prospect that its chip design tools will still be required to create new processors for a wide range of uses has left investors hopeful for 2021. Richard Waters

88. West Pharmaceutical Services

Sector: pharmaceuticals / HQ: Exton, PA, US


88%


increase in market value


$21bn


end-2020 market value

The almost 100-year-old medical supplies company is a specialist in the equipment that so many Covid-19 drug and vaccine makers need, including vials and syringes. It produces about 40bn devices and components each year at 25 manufacturing sites. In October, it raised its full-year guidance to net sales of about $2.1bn. Hannah Kuchler

89. Geely Automobile

Sector: automotive / HQ: Hong Kong, china


87%


increase in market value


$34bn


end-2020 market value

China has been the sole bright spot on a bleak auto map, with premium sales faring particularly strongly and a sharp rise in electric car demand. Geely, whose parent company owns Volvo, has ridden both waves. It plans to raise extra funds for the electric performance brand Polestar, and to formally merge with Volvo next year. A new listing in Shanghai, bringing the company onto the newly formed Star Market for technology companies, gave shares a late boost. Peter Campbell in London

90. Hengli Petrochemical

SECTOR: CHEMICALS / HQ: DALIAN, CHINA


85%


increase in market value


$30bn


end-2020 market value

Hengli enjoyed a banner year increasing revenue 35 per cent year on year in the first nine months as demand for its petrochemical products rose. Hengli is China’s largest producer of PTA, a chemical that goes into polyester, and brought new production capacity online during the year. The company was also able to maintain high capacity in its refining business while oil prices were low. Still, risks could lie ahead for Hengli — its majority shareholder has pledged about a quarter of its shares as collateral for loans. Ryan McMorrow

91. Delta Electronics

sector: TECHNOLOGY / hq: Taipei, Taiwan


85%


increase in market value


$24bn


end-2020 market value

The maker of power and thermal management products has not had a straightforward year. Forced to delay its factory building in India because of the pandemic, Delta also cited US-China tensions in flagging a further reduction to the 65 per cent share of its manufacturing done in China. But as a big supplier of electric and hybrid vehicle components, including charging systems, the rise of new-energy cars has driven a sales boom. Yuan Yang

92. Genmab

Sector: Biotech / HQ: Copenhagen, Denmark


84%


increase in market value


$27bn


end-2020 market value

Danish biotech Genmab surged in 2020 after advancement in the development of its antibody-based epcoritamab blood cancer treatment showed investors it could replicate initial success in this field. It also agreed a deal worth up to $3.9bn with US company AbbVie to develop that drug and two other molecules. Crucially, the deal gives Genmab access to the US market. Investors have taken notice, with shares more than doubling from lows in March. Donato Paolo Mancini in Rome

93. Midea

sector: electrical appliances / hq: Beijiao, china


82%


increase in market value


$105bn


end-2020 market value

The resilience of Chinese white-goods company Midea’s business model has been credited with enabling it to withstand the pandemic. Stronger online sales and diversification of production helped the group deal with the closure of bricks-and-mortar stores during lockdown. The company also recovered from a more personal crisis, with Chinese police disclosing in July that billionaire founder He Xiangjian had been rescued from a break-in at his home. Ravi Mattu in Hong Kong

94. Polyus

Sector: mining / HQ: Moscow, rUSsia


82%


increase in market value


$28bn


end-2020 market value

As Russia’s biggest gold miner, it is not difficult to increase your value when prices surge on investor fears. But a sharp rise in the share price in 2020 is also thanks to a flow of positive news from its upcoming mega mine, which the company said will be the world’s largest. Sukhoi Log, a remote deposit in eastern Siberia, is estimated to hold 40m ounces of gold, roughly a quarter of Russia’s unmined reserves. Some savvy dealmaking led to Polyus accelerating the buyout of the deposit’s minority shareholder, leaving it sole owner of the $2.5bn project. Henry Foy in Moscow

95. Nidec

Sector: manufacturing / HQ: kyoto, japan


81%


increase in market value


$74bn


end-2020 market value

The world’s largest manufacturer of motors used in everything from Apple iPhones to Sony PlayStation games consoles and automatic sliding doors has a five-year plan to spend up to $9.7bn on development for electric vehicles. The company’s billionaire founder Shigenobu Nagamori has forecast that 2025 will be a “watershed moment” for its ambitions to boost the sale of motors used in electric vehicles. The stock is one of the top brokerage picks for 2021 for its expected role in the transition to EVs. Kana Inagaki

96. Kweichow Moutai

Sector: Beverages / HQ: ZUNYI, CHINA


80%


increase in market value


$384bn


end-2020 market value

The maker of China’s best-known distilled spirit, which is often used to seal business deals, maintained its status as an investor favourite. Revenues grew at their slowest rate in five years in the fourth quarter but the company benefited from the country’s strong economic recovery from coronavirus, with shares ending the year at a record high. Ravi Mattu

97. Henan Shuanghui Investment & Development

Sector: Food & Beverage / HQ: LUOhe, china


80%


increase in market value


$25bn


end-2020 market value

Henan Shuanghui is the China subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed WH Group, the world’s largest pork producer, which owns more than 70 per cent of the business. An outbreak of African swine fever in 2018 led to the culling of millions of animals and rising pork prices; in July, they were up 86 per cent compared with a year earlier. In the nine months to the end of September, net profits were 23 per cent higher year on year. Thomas Hale

98. Marvell Technology

SECTOR: data infrastructure / HQ: Santa Clara, US


79%


increase in market value


$32bn


end-2020 market value

Amid a rapidly consolidating chip sector, Marvell has used deals to carve out a bigger potential market and stake its claim to being one of the survivors. Late in the year, the $10bn purchase of data centre networking company Inphi left it with a broader set of products for cloud-computing customers. That matched an earlier networking acquisition that pushed it deeper into 5G wireless communications infrastructure, and has strengthened its position in two of the biggest growth markets for chips. Richard Waters

99. MediaTek

SECTOR: SEMICONDUCTORS / HQ: HSINCHU, TAIWAN


79%


increase in market value


$42bn


end-2020 market value

MediaTek designs the chips powering smart TVs and smartphones, placing it in a quarter of homes globally and one-third of mobile devices. In 2020 it benefited from the ongoing 5G upgrade and locked down consumers buying TVs and other electronics. Revenue was up 45 per cent in the third quarter and analysts forecast continued growth as shoppers buy low cost 5G smartphones, many of which run on MediaTek’s affordable chips. Ryan McMorrow

100. Amazon

SECTOR: ecommerce / hq: seattle, us


79%


increase in market value


$1.6tn


end-2020 market value

At some point in the year’s third quarter, the number of people working at Amazon surpassed 1m, the result of a series of unprecedented hiring sprees throughout the year, first to handle pandemic panic, then the Christmas rush. By pushing its Prime Day sales event back, from July to October, Amazon was able to lengthen the holiday shopping period, reducing the strain on its delivery network and providing an added sales boost in its fourth quarter. As a result, revenues may exceed $100bn for the first time in the company’s history. But it has been costly. Amazon’s profits have been kept strong by the dependable cloud, and a rapidly growing online advertising business that should give Google and Facebook serious pause for thought in 2021. Dave Lee

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