Next Business Energy tops future-facing list

Next Business Energy has topped the 2018 Australian Financial Review Fast 100. Annette is very proud to be the second largest investor.

Next Business Energy has topped the 2018 Australian Financial Review Fast 100 with a strategy rarely heard in the halls of power.

"Our mantra is to only serve the mid-sized business sector. So no consumer, no corporate, and if they call us we answer immediately," said Ryan O'Hare, a telco entrepreneur who in early 2014 saw the opportunity for a "simple and quick" energy offer to appeal to busy owners of multi-site businesses. Alongside chairman David Hayes, he took it to $75.7 million turnover in 2017-18 for an impressive average annual growth of 859 per cent.

Now in its 29th year, entrants to 2018's Fast 100 must have commenced trading before July 1, 2014, and provide four years of turnover data, with a minimum of $500,000 in the first reporting period (2014-15). 

The Australian Financial Review seeks verification from external auditors or accountants if the entrant is not publicly listed – only seven of the 2018 list are on the ASX – and calculates the average annual growth rate over the four periods, which determines its ranking in the Fast 100.

Calls from medium-sized businesses might be jumped on at Next Business Energy, but get short shrift elsewhere. Lacking the sexiness of a pre-revenue start-up, the voting bloc of 2.1 million businesses turning over less than $2 million a year, or the lobbying heft of a Business Council of Australia, the mid-market companies that dominate the Fast 100 and Fast Starters list get policy outcomes like what will apply from 2021-22, when those with revenue above $50 million will pay a 5 per cent higher corporate tax rate than everyone else.

The Fast 100 is not a definitive list of Australia's fastest-growing companies. In 2018 it received only hundreds of entries from the pool of 150,000-odd businesses with turnover of more than $2 million, where the most ambitious tend to reside.

Next Business Energy also had the distinct advantage of commencing trading just before the July 1, 2014, cut-off that would otherwise have seen it placed in the Fast Starters list.

However the Fast 100 is a rich snapshot of where growth in the Australian economy has come from, and is going to.

Presley PA