Z Energy takes out top honour at prestigious business awards

2016 is a banner year for the Deloitte Top 200 -- New Zealand's most prestigious business awards.

Several Kiwi success stories have been honoured, along with a record number of women in the awards.

The successes goes beyond the winners.

Chief Financial Officer of the Year - Jolie Hodson
Chairperson of the Year - Christopher Moller


The total profits for the Top 200 companies measured on the Deloitte Index are also up nearly 19 per cent.

The top honour was presented to Z Energy which progressed from a finalist in the 2015 awards to the standout winner in 2016 among the Top 200 companies.

The judges said Z Energy was a deserving winner of Company of the Year, citing its huge acquisition of Caltex which has delivered integration benefits which have exceeded expectations.

Importantly, the company had successfully evolved a Kiwi success story around the Z brand.

"This has resonated with New Zealanders and they have delivered on their promise to the community," the judges added.

No surprise, then, that Z Energy CEO Mike Bennetts also takes the crown of Chief Executive of the Year for 2016.

Bennetts' "inclusive" leadership has seen Z Energy develop a respected and well known brand in a short period of time while, again, delivering commendable financial results for shareholders.

Spark was also a finalist for Company of the Year, while their managing director Simon Moutter was runner-up to Bennetts in the chief executive category.


A year of successfully countering disruption, increasing market share against competitors, and, like Z Energy, bedding in a rebranding success after initial scepticism, was well-recognised.

The combination of company transformation and financial success also warranted recognition of Spark's Jolie Hodson as Chief Financial Officer of the Year.

At the governance end of town, the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) was well represented.

Watch: Chief Executive of the Year winner - Mike Bennetts:

Z Energy chief executive Mike Bennetts is the winner of this year's Deloitte Top 200 Chief Executive of the Year Award. Bennetts describes the biggest challenge he has faced this year.

ACC's turnaround in financial performance and public perception over recent years earned it the Excellence in Governance award; while deputy chair, Trevor Janes, was a finalist in Chairperson of the Year.

Christopher Moller, lauded for recent successes as chair of SkyCity Entertainment, Meridian Energy, and NZTA, won that category for his "courageous leadership".

Zespri Group had impressive revenue growth of 27.5 per cent -- the highest in the top 50 ranked companies, and enough to pip Trade Me and Kathmandu to the Most Improved Performance award.

The David to Fonterra's Goliath, Synlait Milk, won Best Growth Strategy.

After a successful IPO in 2013, increased competitiveness internationally, and industry-leading profitability figures, the dairy 2016 a banner year for Deloitte Top 200 processing company beat one of their competitors -- and fellow finalists -- to this award.

ASB's important initiatives with respect to inclusiveness (such as female representation on all interviewing panels and the introduction of a faith room at head office) were recognised with the bank's win in the Diversity Leadership category.

Watch: Young Executive of the Year winner - James Bergin:

ASB chief architect James Bergin is the winner of this year's Deloitte Top 200 Young Executive of the Year Award. Bergins describes his leadership style.

The Visionary Leader category is one that recognises the synthesis of business acumen and community mindedness.

Ranjna Patel, the category winner, embodied this spirit -- providing low-cost healthcare in South Auckland through the Nirvana Health Group -- along with domestic violence prevention in the Indian community.

Inspiring and motivating leader, James Bergin was the foremost "up-and-comer" in this year's awards. Bergin, the Chief Architect in IT for ASB, was recognised among a strong pool of young business leaders as Young Executive of the Year.

In contrast to the glitz and glamour of the Top 200 awards event are the underlying numbers which the judging panel -- NZME's Fran O'Sullivan (convenor), Neil Paviour-Smith, Sandy Maier, Jonathan Mason, Dame Alison Paterson and Cathy Quinn -- pored over to assess the financial performance of our top companies.

The Top 200 list includes publicly listed and private companies, New Zealand subsidiaries of multinational companies, co-operatives, societies and state-owned enterprises.

Watch: Most Improved Performance - Zespri:

O'Sullivan said the awards set a benchmark and are seen as a badge of honour in the business community. "Year on year we see an incredibly high level of top performing businesses and worthy individuals entering into the Deloitte Top 200."

The primary financial figures from our largest companies have been produced in full at the rear of this Dynamic Business 2016 report -- showing revenue, profitability, efficiency and more.

These numbers offer an insight into how the biggest companies in New Zealand operate and are accompanied with explanations and insight from the Herald's team of business reporters.

The high level story for the Top 200 this year is consolidation. While total revenues fell by 0.7 per cent compared with the 2015 figure, underlying earnings (EBITDA) rose by 11.1 per cent. This indicates that Top 200 companies have done an impressive job of reducing costs by a far greater degree than the fall in revenue.

Thirteen companies made their debut on the Top 200. Most notable was New Zealand's largest poultry producer, Tegel Foods. Having gone public in the first IPO of 2016 it debuted at 59th place with revenue at $582.6 million.

The A2 Milk company also entered the Top 200 ranked 97th, following a revenue of 127.5 per cent to $353 million -- the largest increase among all Top 200 companies.

Revenue for the Top 30 finance companies grew by 11.7 per cent -- a noted improvement on last year's 8.5 per cent growth figure. Year on year asset growth for the Top 30 finance companies again outpaced last year's figures, growing 9.2 per cent to $488.6 billion.

Despite continued competition among the big four banks, there has been no change in the rankings for another year.

With $147.5 billion assets, ANZ continues to lead the way with its enormous asset base, holding $58.7 billion more than Westpac, its closest competitor.