Overall income

In this report ‘income’ refers to total income as reported in corporations’ audited financial statements or general reports. This may include self-generated income, government grants, philanthropic gifts and other income sources.

In 2014–15 the combined income of the top 500 corporations was $1.882 billion, an increase from $1.739 billion in 2013–14 (nominal increase of 8.2 per cent).

Figure 4: Changes in overall income of the top 500 corporations, 2004–05 to 2014–15

Figure 4 is a line graph plotting the dollar value of overall income for the top 500 corporations by year.

The overall income generated by the top 500 corporations has in the main continued an upward trend over the past decade. In 2009–10 there was a small decline and in 2013–14 a slight flattening off but 2014–15 saw another surge in overall income generation for the sector.

Over the past decade, the overall income generated by the top 500 corporations has increased almost two and a half times—increasing from $767 million in 2004–05 to $1.88 billion in 2014–15 (figure 4). Over this period the average growth rate was 9.4 per cent per annum.

The average income across the top 500 corporations in 2014–15 was $3.76 million, up from $3.48 million in 2013–14.

Geographic share of the overall income

Figure 5: Geographic share of overall income generated by the top 500 corporations, 2014–15

Figure 5 is a pie chart showing the percentage share of overall income by state/territory for the year.

Figure 5 shows in 2014–15 that the Northern Territory and Western Australia accounted for 72.9 per cent of the overall income of the top 500 corporations. This was an increase of 0.6 per cent from 2013–14 (72.3 per cent).

The percentage share of income for each jurisdiction remained steady compared to 2013–14, with the Australian Capital Territory not changing its percentage share and all other states/territories changing each of their shares by less than 1.0 per cent. Northern Territory experienced the greatest increase in its share of the overall income (0.9 per cent) and Queensland the greatest decrease (0.8 per cent).

Variances in income

Table 2: Income and assets of the top 500 corporations ranked highest and lowest, 2014–15
Ranking of corporation Income Assets
Number 1 $88,873,326 $60,762,093
Number 500 $310,716 $96,203

There was a significant difference between the income and assets of the corporation ranked first and the corporation ranked number 500 (table 2). The top ranked corporation generated $88,873,326 during 2014–15, which is 286 times more than the $310,976 earned by the corporation ranked at number 500.

The income of the highest ranked corporation is considerably higher (34.5 per cent higher) in 2014–15 than it was in 2013–14 ($66,089,202). The income of the lowest ranked corporation increased from $291,886 in 2013–14 to $310,716 in 2014–15 (6.5 per cent higher).

In this year’s report the highest ranked corporation jumped from third to first position. Its income has steadily grown in recent years with a significant rise in the past year. (The income history of the corporation ranked highest in 2014–15 is as follows: 2011–12 $44,759,708; 2012–13 $47,081,917; 2013–14 $59,648,789; 2014–15 $88,873,326.)

A total of 150 of the 500 corporations improved their ranking since 2013–14 and 293 decreased their ranking. Eleven corporations did not move while there were 46 new entries onto the list, which means there were also 46 departures—see the appendix for further details.

Of the 46 new entries:

  • 28 increased their income bringing them into the top 500 range
  • six were omitted from the 2013–14 ranking because they lodged their 2013–14 reports after the top 500 report was prepared
  • 12 were new registrations, with seven of these constituting transfers of existing entities from other incorporation legislation.

Of the 46 departures, 13 corporations (28.3 per cent) dropped out because they had not lodged their 2014–15 financial statements by the time this top 500 report was prepared—this was because either the corporations sought an extension of time to report or they were simply late.

Eight of the top 10 corporations for 2013–14 remained in the top 10 for 2014–15. Last year’s highest ranked corporation fell to number 15 on the list (due to the fact that its income fell from $66 million to $18.9 million).