Business Today

From the Editor

Data can fascinate or frustrate, depending on whether you are a "numbers person" or not.

Rohit Saran        Print Edition: November 15, 2009

Data can fascinate or frustrate, depending on whether you are a "numbers person" or not. We don't know which of the two categories of readers you belong to, but as India's largest-selling business magazine, we cater to both kinds. BT's oldest annual issue - BT 500 - is all about tables and data. Started in 1992, BT 500 has evolved into a unique annual barometer of corporate performance. In executing this much sought-after issue, our challenge is always how to add more rigour for those who like numbers while retaining its appeal to others. The solution we found is to do more and do differently.

We have the main tables that evaluate and rank 550 companies (including 50 PSUs) on several different parameters and another 500 companies on fewer parameters. Then we sliced and diced over 10,000 sets of data to mine for the hidden gems. We found plenty. Which companies use their capital most efficiently? Which ones actually give most returns on shareholder's equity (no, they are not the same as the ones with maximum growth in stock prices)? Which are India's most profitable companies (they are not the same as the biggest generators of profit)? And even simple factoids like the Top 10 private sector employers in the country. You will find all these and more.

Looking for most valuable companies across different industries? Go no further. So in addition to the master tables, we provide charts and illustrations that give you quick, easy and interesting insights - and hopefully whet your appetite to dig deep into the tables that follow. In the tables itself, we have introduced interesting snapshots around the page. Our hope is that the more you understand the data, the more you will enjoy them. Data tell infinite stories - restricted only by imagination, and, in the case of a magazine, space.

Of course, we didn't leave every story to be told through data. In the set of features that interpret the BT 500 universe, we start with the one that looks at the Road to Recovery - how long and arduous it is and who are best equipped to make the most of this journey. Recovery isn't the only R-word in vogue these days. Restructuring and Risk are the other two Rs that the downturn had forced Indian companies to focus on. We also assess how companies have done on these R factors. Wonder which companies could top the BT 500 charts in 2020? Here it is.

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