Down, but not out

The fall in market capitalisation hasn’t been brutal and across the board. And a few sectors that were expected to be in the dumps have bucked the slowdown in style. Performance of companies The industry leaders Most valuable pvt sector companies - 1 to 500 Most valuable pvt sector companies - 501 to 1,000 India's most valuable companies - public sector Index of companies ranked Methodology

Performance of companies
How companies fared in markets, sales and profits
The industry leaders
Top companies across various sectors
Most valuable pvt sector companies - 1 to 500
Most valuable pvt sector companies - 501 to 1,000
India's most valuable companies - public sector
Index of companies ranked

The trials of the past year have been captured well in the 18th listing of India’s Most Valuable Companies, with the top 500 showing a 7.32 per cent decline in average market capitalisation between April 1 and September 30, 2009 over the previous year’s corresponding period. For the bottom half—companies ranked between 501 and 1,000—the going has been rougher, with average market value dipping by almost 30 per cent.

Clearly, the smaller companies found themselves more vulnerable to the global meltdown and, more specifically, more adversely impacted by the crisis of liquidity. In sharp contrast, the big—the elite businesses at the top of the heap—continued to get bigger: The market value of the top 10 in this year’s BT 500 actually climbed up, by 4.3 per cent. Within this big league, Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) continued to enjoy top dog status in the private sector, for the seventh year in a row. This year, it succeeded in widening the gap between itself and the rest of the pack by merging group refining company Reliance Petroleum Ltd (RPL),

The biggest, and pleasant, surprise is the performance of the public sector pack, with the market value of the top 50 public sector undertakings value rising by 12.4 per cent. Now that showing won’t be lost on Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee at a time when he is getting ready to offer shares to investors in some of the most valuable state-run companies.

As far as sector-wise performance goes, there were surprises galore. Those that were expected to be dragged down by the downturn succeeded in bucking the slowdown in style. A case in point: Automobiles. The biggest surprise came from the world’s largest motorcycle maker Hero Honda, whose market cap jumped by 83 per cent (or Rs 12,877 crore). Its rival Bajaj Auto, too, had a jump in market cap by 91 per cent (or Rs 7,129 crore) and car maker Maruti Suzuki was up 69 per cent (by Rs 13,753 crore). Another sector which was almost written off by the analyst community in the first quarter of 2009 was software, but companies like Infosys Technologies, TCS and Wipro subsequently came out with better-than-expected results. As a result, value erosion was minimal in the top tier of Indian IT services.

The sector that was hit the hardest was real estate, thanks to the double whammy of falling property prices and ballooning debt. All the leading realty companies like DLF, Unitech, and Indiabulls Real Estate were down from their previous year’s high. Some smaller property companies, however, emerged from the wreck—Jay Bharat Textile & Real Estate, for instance, became the third-most valuable real estate company after DLF and Unitech in the BT 500 list. Now that's one benefit of a downturn: A shakeout that brings new leaders to the fore.

Leaders through the years
Companies ranked 1st Companies ranked 2nd Companies ranked 3rd Companies ranked 4th Companies ranked 5th
1992 Tata Steel 1992 ITC 1992 Telco 1992 Century Textiles 1992 HLL
1994 RIL 1994 HLL 1994 ITC 1994 Colgate-Palmolive 1994 TISCO
1996 Telco 1996 HLL 1996 RIL 1996 IDBI 1996 TISCO
1998 HLL 1998 RIL 1998 ITC 1998 Tata Motors 1998 Bajaj Auto
2000 HLL 2000 Wipro 2000 HCL Tech 2000 Infosys 2000 ITC
2002 HLL 2002 Wipro 2002 RIL 2002 Infosys 2002 ITC
2004 RIL 2004 TCS 2004 Infosys 2004 Wipro 2004 HLL
2006 RIL 2006 TCS 2006 Infosys 2006 Bharti 2006 Wipro
2008 RIL 2008 Bharti Airtel 2008 Infosys 2008 Reliance Comm 2008 DLF
2009 RIL 2009 Bharti Airtel 2009 Infosys 2009 TCS 2009 L&T