Australia’s top 100 manufacturing companies for 2019 revealed

Caltex Australia tops the list of the best manufacturer in Australia for 2019, followed by Fonterra Co-Op group in this year’s list compiled by IBISworld.

In April, Australia’s Top 100 Manufacturers 2019, powered by National Manufacturing Week.

Coming in third as a leading Australian manufacturer was Perth Mint followed by BP Australia and Viva Energy.

The release of this year’s Top 100 Manufacturers comes as a $383.2 billion industry, which employs more than 791,000 Australians.

It is projected to achieve a growth rate of 1.2 per cent over the next five years to $405.8b in 2023-24, according to IBISWorld.

IBISWorld’s compilation of Australia’s Top 100 Manufacturers is based on data gathered through primary research of ASIC-lodged company reports for the previous financial year, submitted by manufacturers operating in Australia.

The leading industry categories of the top manufacturers for 2019 include companies operating within food product manufacturing (17), pharmaceuticals (7), basic chemical and chemical product manufacturing (5), beverage and tobacco product manufacturing (5) and non-metallic mineral manufacturing (5).

IBISWorld senior industry analyst Liam Harrison said the leading industries of this year’s Top 100 are reflective of Australia’s largest contributors to trade and exports.

“It’s certainly no surprise to see the Top 100 Manufacturers for 2019 dominated by companies operating within food production and non-metallic mineral production.

“Australia is renowned for its strong agricultural exports and mining, energy and resources industry. Locally, our strict medical standards and regulations create strong opportunities for pharmaceuticals companies operating in Australia,” said Harrison.


Despite the immense opportunities that exist for Australia’s food product manufacturers, this year’s list demonstrates the challenge that volatility poses for food producers in having continued success. Natural disasters and extreme weather events have had significant impacts on their ability to maintain production or revenue streams, in recent times.

“Food product manufacturers, while the leading group of manufacturers in this year’s Top 100, also made up a strong proportion of the companies that fell the most or completely dropped off the list.

“This correlates to the level of exposure that food producers have when Australia suffers periods of natural disaster such as drought or flooding, which we all know have occurred over the past twelve to eighteen months. This problem is often compounded, with most food producers are unwilling or unable to pass these increased costs onto consumers due to their contractual agreements with the major supermarket chains,’ said Harrison.

This year’s list provides insight and guidance for manufacturers looking to develop strategies for long-term success, with investment into vertical integration, automation, including robotics, and the Internet of Things offering the ability to compete with global companies and minimise the impact of current costs of production.

“Vertical integration is a major factor for many of these leading manufacturers in generating revenue or stabilising the impacts of volatility to their manufacturing division. For example, this is evident with companies like Caltex Australia and BP Australia, where not only are they drilling and refining petroleum, but they’re also present at the bowser when consumers need fuel for their vehicles,’ said Harrison.

“For the majority of Australia’s manufacturers, the major challenges that exist are the threat of global competitors with well-resourced and integrated supply chains, substantial energy costs and high wage costs.

“Many manufacturers are having success through automating their operational processes to improve productivity and efficiency or reduce these high wage costs,” he said.

In forecasting where the largest changes to Australia’s leading manufacturers could occur over the next 12 months, Harrison labelled the ongoing trade uncertainty globally, China’s demand for Australian agricultural produce and commodity prices as having the largest impacts for our manufacturing companies.

“Australia is a large exporter of commodities, with the nation benefiting from coal and iron ore prices staying relatively high year-on-year. Whilst there is a large propensity for volatility amongst Australia food product manufacturers, the demand from China for products such as infant formula does provide opportunities for Australian manufacturers, who are able to capitalise on this demand and expand their international offering.

“Despite the ongoing uncertainty of global trade partnerships and relations, manufacturers who respond quickly and export their products to new markets will do well if they open up to markets, where tariffs on other nations’ products exist or are introduced,” said Harrison.

The full list can be found on the National Manufacturing Week website.