Tech sector plugs export gap left by lower milk prices

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare made the biggest single contribution to the rise in technology sector revenues last year, ...
JOHN SELKIRK/FAIRFAX NZ

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare made the biggest single contribution to the rise in technology sector revenues last year, chipping in an extra $143m.

Booming technology exports have more than compensated for the latest annual drop in dairy exports, according to a report.

The Technology Investment Network (TIN) study tracks the fortunes of information technology firms, pharmaceutical companies and high-tech manufacturers.

The top 100 exporters and top 100 "emerging" firms within the sector grew their combined sales by 12 per cent to $9.4 billion, according to its latest annual figures.

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TIN director Greg Shanahan said the firms covered by the TIN report had reached an "inflection point", taking on 3000 additional staff and upping exports by $1 billion.

The growth looked set to continue this year, he said.

The combined exports of the 200 companies were up by 13.5 per cent to nearly $7b.

In comparison, dairy exports are believed to have fallen from $14b to $13.2b in the year to June 30, according to a Ministry of Primary Industries report that was published late in June.

Those exports were down from a record $17.8b in the year to June 2014.

The periods covered by the TIN data varies depending on the dates that companies close their financial year – usually March 31 or June 30.

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Shanahan said this year's data signalled an inflection point had been passed and marked "a significant closure of the export earnings gap between dairy and tech".

"In no previous year since the launch of the TIN100 report 12 years ago has change been so dramatic or widespread," he said.

The TIN 200 companies grew their staff numbers by 7.9 per cent to employ more than 40,000 workers, the report said.

Revenue growth was fastest among Wellington-based TIN200 businesses which grew their sales 15 per cent, outstripping the 12 per cent growth of Auckland-based firms.

Fisher & Paykel Appliances – now owned by China's Haier – Datacom and Fisher & Paykel Healthcare were by far the largest contributors to the sector in terms of revenues, between them contributing more than $3b.

Xero and Orion Health were tied as the top software firms by sales, each chipping in $207m.

ON THE UP

Fastest-growing technology firms by sales:

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare: up $143m

Datacom: up $123m

Xero: up $83m

Buckley Systems: up $44m

Orion Health: up $43m

 

 - Stuff

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