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With the overwhelming success of the 2006 Exporter of the Year Awards still in memory, Dynamic Export takes a closer look at the winners and how they can draw on their awards to drive more export sales

Some of Australia’s top exporters were honoured for their success at the 2006 Exporter of the Year awards held last November.

At the event, Warren Truss, Australia’s Minister for Trade, praised the range of exporters in the country. “From the city to the bush, from large corporations to small businesses, the enterprises honoured here tonight provided a vivid snapshot of the expanding number and diversity of companies that are driving Australia’s export performance. Exports rose 17 percent to reach a record $196 billion in 2005-–06.”

He went on to explain the 83 finalists in the 2006 Australian Export Awards generated export earnings of more than $12.5 billion in 2005–06, and directly employ more than 36,000 Australians.

In total, 12 companies were acknowledged for their success, ranging in size and experience, from a total of 83 finalists. “While established exporters continue to be well represented in the Awards program, we are increasingly seeing strong entries form a wide range of new enterprises, service providers and small to medium companies” says Peter O’Byrne, CEO of Austrade. “They are leading examples of business talent that are taking Australian products and services to the world.”
The winners of the 2006 Export Awards are:

2006 DHL Exporter of the Year


ResMed was established in 1989 to develop and commercialise products to treat patients suffering from with sleep disordered breathing conditions, including obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a condition now as prevalent in the population as diabetes.

While there were plenty of nay-sayers regarding the technology in the early days, the company has gone on to huge success, with 2,500 staff worldwide selling into 68 countries. Listed on both the New York and Australian Stock Exchange, ResMed’s revenue recently topped US$600 million in 2006.

Paul Eisen, senior vice president for the Asia Pacific region, says the company now handles around 65 percent of the worldwide market in this area, and what they’re seeing is only the tip of the iceberg, as the market increases.

“One of the real issues we’re dealing with is awareness,” he explains. “Probably three percent of people that should be diagnosed or treated for OSA are diagnosed or treated—97 percent are not—so there’s a big opportunity.”

For this reason, ResMed invests in several awareness campaigns, particularly in the US. A percentage of revenue is also invested into research and development to stay ahead of the competition.

The company launched into export in the second half of the 90s, after quickly succeeding in the local market. “We thought this was a big market. But very quickly realised it’s not,” Eisen says. Moving into the US and European markets occurred almost simultaneously, and the company has developed firm presences in many European countries by acquiring their original distributors. Their foothold in the Asia Pacific region includes offices in countries including Hong Kong, India, China, New Zealand, as well as a network of distributors in other regions.

And although the Australian market makes up just three percent of the company’s revenue now, the homeland is still very important.

Eisen says winning Australian Exporter of the Year (as well as the Large Advanced Manufacturer category) rates very highly, with pride felt by all 2,500 employees. “Every single one of them is delighted,” he says. “It adds additional motivation within the organisation. People come to work knowing that they’ve won the Australian Exporter of the Year award.”

Externally, the company will certainly be including this latest award in promotional material, Eisen explains, because the Australian name is highly regarded for quality around the globe. “We don’t walk into any country in the world where they say ‘I don’t want to buy an Australian product’,” he points out, urging fellow exporters to not be shy about flying the Aussie flag high when selling themselves on the global market.

And while the ResMed trophy room is filling up (including an Exporter of the Year gong in 2002), there’s a prime position reserved for this latest accolade. “We’re very fortunate, we’ve won a lot but I must say Australian Exporter of the Year rates as one of the highlights for ResMed.”

ACCI Agribusiness Award

Botanical Food Company (Qld)

Botanical’s Gourmet Garden range of herbs and spices packaged in their distinctive tubes, using technology designed to keep them far longer than their dried or cooked counterparts, is now available in over 13,000 supermarkets in Australia, the US, UK, Canada, Europe and New Zealand.

Austrade Arts, Entertainment & Design Award

Rising Sun Pictures (SA)

A big name in the visual effects community, Rising Sun Pictures has collaborated on recent international projects, including Charlotte’s Web, Superman Returns and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

Microsoft Education Award

Box Hill Institute (Vic)

Over 1,000 students are enrolled in Box Hill Institute campuses located in Fiji, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, China and the Middle East, as well as an increasing number of international students coming into Victoria to study at the institute.

AusIndustry Emerging Exporter Award

Aconex (Vic)

Providing document management and collaboration systems, Aconex products help over 30,000 companies in the construction industry, across 40 countries including Asia, the Middle East, Africa and North America.

Ernst & Young ICT Award

Mincom Limited (Qld)

Software developer Mincom earns almost half its revenue from clients overseas. It has offices in 13 countries, including North and South America, Africa, Russia and China. In 2006, the company deliver its best results in its 27-year history.

Caterpillar/Australian Made Large Advanced Manufacturer Award

ResMed (NSW)—See Exporter of the Year

Minerals Council of Australia Minerals and Energy Award

Rio Tinto Iron Ore (WA)

One of the largest product groups from the Rio Tinto stable, this company is a big player in mineral exports (it earned over $5 billion in export revenue in 2005) and directly employs 4,000 staff. The company has committed almost US$4 billion to increase the export capacity of the Pilbara Region in Western Australia.

Australian Business Limited Regional Exporter Award

Barrier Reef Pools (Qld)

Claiming to be the largest manufacturer of fibreglass pools in the southern hemisphere, Barrier Reef Pools now sells into the Middle East, US, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines from its base in Cairns.

Export Finance and Insurance Corporation Services Award

Ausenco (Qld)

Ausenco provides engineering and project management services to the mining industry, and has worked within Australia and on every continent on the globe. The company listed on the Australian Stock Exchange earlier this year, and has offices in China, North America and the Philippines, as well as Australia.

Commonwealth Bank Small to Medium Manufacturer Award

aussieBum (NSW)

A previous winner of the Emerging Exporter category, 90 percent of sales for aussieBum’s swimwear, underwear and leisure range are made to foreign markets. aussieBum now sells into around 75 countries worldwide.

CPA Australia Small to Micro Business Award

Wild Child (WA)

Launching into the huge UK chain of Boots Chemists in 2004 was an export coup for Wild Child and its range of head lice treatment and health care products. Markets now include New Zealand,
Taiwan, the Middle East and Europe.

Accor Sports, Events and Tourism Award

Victoria Racing Club (Vic)

As home to the Melbourne Cup Carnival, the VRC is responsible for a huge amount of tourist dollars coming into the Garden State, with a recent study indicating the carnival contributes over 50 percent more than the state’s next biggest event, the Australian Tennis Open.

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