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Australia's Top 100 Manufacturers Powered by NMW

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by Liam Harrison
Apr 04 2019

IBISWorld, in collaboration with National Manufacturing Week, has released a list of Australia’s Top 100 Manufacturers. Among the top performing industries represented in the list were Milk and Cream Processing; Gold and Other Non-Ferrous Metal Processing; Glass Wool, Stone and Non-Metallic Mineral Product Manufacturing; Medical and Surgical Equipment Manufacturing; and Meat Processing. All of these industries are expected to record annualised growth rates exceeding 4.0% over the five years through 2018-19.

‘It is certainly no surprise to see the Top 100 Manufacturers list for 2019 dominated by food production and non-metallic mineral production companies. Australia is renowned for its strong agricultural exports, and its mining, energy and resources sector.

‘Australia’s strict manufacturing standards offer considerable opportunities for numerous manufacturers, particularly manufacturers of products such as medical equipment, which has very stringent manufacturing standard requirements,’ said IBISWorld Senior Industry Analyst, Liam Harrison.


Top 10 Manufacturing Companies






$21.7 billion


Fonterra Co-op Group

$18.9 billion


Perth Mint

$18.8 billion


BP Australia

$16.7 billion


Viva Energy

$15.7 billion



$12.7 billion


BlueScope Steel

$11.6 billion



$10.7 billion



$10.5 billion



$6.7 billion


Export opportunities

According to IBISWorld, the manufacturing sector in Australia has declined over the past five years. Sector revenue is expected to decline at an annualised 0.4% over the five years through 2018-19. However, manufacturers that have been able to capitalise on growing export markets have seen greater success compared with their peers.

‘Australia is a large exporter of commodities, with the nation benefiting from coal and iron ore prices remaining relatively high year-on-year. On the other hand, Australian food product manufacturers have recorded volatile performances over the past five years. However, demand from China and other export markets for products such as infant formula provides opportunities for Australian manufacturers that can capitalise on this demand and expand their international offering.

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


Challenges for the sector

Manufacturers have faced significant cost challenges over the past five years. Volatile commodity prices, fluctuations in the value of the Australian dollar and natural disasters have affected raw input prices, creating instability in manufacturers’ purchase costs. Combined with rising utility costs due to LNG shortages on the east coast, these economic conditions have made it difficult for some manufacturers to generate steady revenue streams.

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

‘This correlates to food producers’ exposure to natural disasters such as drought or flooding, which have occurred over the past twelve to eighteen months. This problem is often compounded, as 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 Mr Harrison.

Manufacturers have been unable to remain complacent in an ever-changing economy. Pressure to achieve greater productivity and reduce costs has led to some manufacturers changing the way they operate their business. For example, some larger manufacturers have sought to increase their vertical integration to control their supply chain and minimise cost fluctuations. Manufacturers with a global portfolio of businesses are also less exposed to an economic downturn in any particular country, allowing them a steadier income.

‘Vertical integration is a major factor for many of these leading manufacturers in generating revenue or reducing volatility in their manufacturing division. For example, companies such as Caltex Australia and BP Australia not only drill and refine petroleum, but also operate their own networks of retail fuel outlets,’ said Mr Harrison.

According to IBISWorld, the major challenges facing Australia’s manufacturing firms include the sector’s substantial energy and wage costs, and the threat of global competitors with well-resourced and integrated supply chains. Some manufacturers have attempted to address these challenges by automating their operational processes to improve productivity and efficiency while reducing wage costs.

‘Many manufacturers are also investing in renewable energy solutions for their operations, which are designed to reduce energy costs and mitigate the potential changes to existing energy policy by the next Federal Government,’ said Mr Harrison.


The future of Australian manufacturing

IBISWorld projects that manufacturing will decline as a share of Australia’s GDP over the next five years, as Australia continues becoming an increasingly service-based economy. Automated manufacturing processes contribute a smaller amount to GDP compared with labour-intensive processes, which partially accounts for the sector’s forecast decline. However, manufacturers with strong domestic vertical integration, such as food production, are anticipated to grow over the next five years.

‘While manufacturing certainly has a future in Australia, the sector will look different to what most people might expect,’ said Mr Harrison.


IBISWorld Industry Reports used in this release:

Milk and Cream Processing

Gold and Other Non-Ferrous Metal Processing

Glass Wool, Stone and Non-Metallic Mineral Product Manufacturing

Medical and Surgical Equipment Manufacturing

Meat Processing


For more information, to obtain industry reports, or arrange an interview with an analyst, please contact:

Kim Do

Strategic Media Advisor – IBISWorld Pty Ltd
Tel: (03) 9906 3641 Mobile: 0422 773 995