9 Thai firms on Forbes 'best' list

Skytrain advertising firm VGI Global Media was voted Thailand’s best small company in this year’s Forbes Asia’s “200 Best Under a Billion” survey.

With a market cap of $1.3 billion, $36 million in net income and an estimated sale value of $100, the public-transport and retail ad firm joins eight other Thai companies on the annual list of what Forbes considers the "best" small- and medium-sized traded companies.

Thailand also is represented by Asian Indulators, Chularat Hospital, Dcon Products, Dhipaya Insurance, Pylon, Southern Concrete Pile, STP&I and Vibhavadi Medical Center. The country had only eight firms on last year's list.

VGI has 20,000 screens or panels of advertising across Thailand. According to the Stock Exchange of Thailand, its two major shareholders are skytrain operator Bangkok Mass Transit System Plc and BTS Group Holding Plc. The BMTS completed its acquisition of VGI Global Media in September 2009.

For Asia-Pacific overall, Chinese firms once again dominate this year's list, which ranks firms with between $5 million and $1 billion in sales. From 17,000 companies, the candidates are screened on sales growth, earnings growth and return on equity in the past 12 months and over three years.

Of the 200 firms listed and grouped by country, 85 are in China and Hong Kong, up from 63 a year ago.  Hardware- and software-technology companies played the largest part in this rise. Beijing Shiji Information Technology, the hotel-software provider, made a record sixth consecutive appearance on the list. Security specialist Zhejiang Dahua Technology also made the list for the fourth time.

The number of companies from Taiwan also showed a healthy jump to 31 on this year's list, compared with last year's 26. The largest firm on the list, Largan Precision, is back for its fifth and, most likely, last time. The cameraphone lens maker posted sales of $924 million for 2013 and has been growing at a 30% clip for the past three years, likely making it too large for next year's survey.

Australia and Malaysia both have 14 companies on the list. They include Australia's G8 Education, which runs childcare centres across Australia and Singapore, and Malaysia's George Kent, which makes water meters as well as nonferrous valves for water tanks.

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