Power retailer NZ's fastest-growing firm

CLAIRE ROGERS
Last updated 20:00 24/10/2012
Dene Biddlecombe
Supplied
FAST GROWTH: Pulse Utilities chief executive Dene Biddlecombe, who Deloitte said had helped turn the company around.

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Auckland electricity retailer Pulse Utilities is the country's fastest growing company, taking top spot in the 2012 Deloitte Fast 50.

Power retailers are again dominant in the Fast 50 Index which ranks businesses, usually start-ups, according to their revenue growth over the past three years and sets the benchmark for high-growth businesses in New Zealand.

Pulse Utilities operates under the Just Energy brand and recorded 2637 per cent revenue growth in three years.

Wellington's PowerKiwi, an independent "green" electricity retailer selling through last year's Fast 50 winner, took out second place with growth of 1916 per cent.

Nelson's McCashin's Brewery came in third with growth of 1836 per cent.

Pulse was founded as a smart metering company but has been selling electricity since 2010. It is listed on the junior, less-regulated NZAX market, and has increased its customer base from 400 to 34,000 in the last few years.    

The company recapitalised last year to stave off a cash crisis, bringing in West Coast lines company Buller Electricity as a controlling shareholder. Chief executive Dene Biddlecombe - who Deloitte said had helped turn the company around - announced his resignation last week.

Deloitte partner Stephen Nicholas said Pulse had picked up where last year's winner Powershop left off, challenging the status quo of the electricity industry. 

"By focusing on the combination of customer service and a low price in areas of New Zealand that may not seem like a priority for the bigger players in the industry, Pulse has differentiated itself from the pack."

To make the Fast 50, companies had to achieve growth of 154 per cent. Companies in the top 10 all recorded growth of at least 480 per cent. 

The group of Fast 50 companies grew the New Zealand economy by $637 million in the past three years and created 1376 jobs, Deloitte said.

Other companies to make the list included jewellery maker Kagi which was named fastest growing exporter, mobile provider 2degrees coming in as the fastest growing technology business, and Wellington's Global Horticulture New Zealand which took out fastest growing primary sector business for the second year running.

The Deloitte Fast 50 Top 10

(Revenue growth over three years)

1. Pulse Utilities (2637 per cent)

2. PowerKiwi (1916 per cent)

3. McCashin's Brewery 1836 per cent)

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4. Night 'n Day Foodstores (952 per cent)

5. Konnect Net (906 per cent)

6. 2degrees Mobile (538 per cent)

7. Powershop NZ (529 per cent)

8. Xero (513.5 per cent)

9. Mediacom (488 per cent)

10. Ecoya (480 per cent)

- BusinessDay.co.nz

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