20 Famous Companies in Adelaide
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On our country-wide journey across Australia to explore companies and businesses in major cities of Australia, this blog summarises the research on the top companies based out of Adelaide.
Adelaide is the capital city and face of South Australia. The city was named after Queen Adelaide, wife of King William IV. (Source: economy.id)
It is Australia’s 5th most populous city and is rightly known as the engine room of Australia.
Adelaide has a diverse economic outlook with defense, manufacturing, health sector, and social assistance being the largest contributor to employment and economic activity.
The city also has a huge role in the South Australian region’s economy through manufacturing, defence technology, high-tech electronic systems, and commodity exports among others.
The city is known for its many festivals, coastline and hills, food and wine and sporting events.
With a massive GRP of $20.87 billion, the city contributes to almost 80% of the South Australian economy.
In this blog, we are going to cover the top 20 businesses of the city as we have covered top companies from some of the other Australian cities.
Let’s head to the list
CEO: Kevin Gallagher
Year of Establishment: 1954
Market Cap: US$16.74 billion (2022)
Topping the list of Adelaide-based companies is an energy company, Santos Ltd – short for South Australia Northern Territory Oil Search.
Founded in 1954, the company produces oil and gas and owns assets in liquified natural gas (LNG), pipeline gas, and oil.
It is one of the biggest suppliers of natural gas in Australia.
Starting its operation in the Cooper Basin, South Australia, Santos has now expanded its operations even beyond Australia. Within Australia, the company has grown out of South Australia and now has operations and plants in Western Australia and the Northern Territory as well.
Outside, Santos has exploration and energy activities spread across Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Papua New Guinea. But the company’s foreign operation strides are not just limited to these neighboring pacific countries.
It has also gone and bought stakes in both the USA and UK petroleum industries, becoming one of the major Australian oil and gas companies at a global scale.
CEO: Andrew Cole
Year of Establishment: 2008
Market Cap: A$8.39 billion (2022)
Formed by the merger between Oxiana and Zinifex in 2008, OZ Minerals is an Australian mining company based out of Adelaide.
The company was originally founded in Melbourne but moved its headquarters to Adelaide in 2015.
It is for this reason that we’ve included this “Melbourne-born” company in our Adelaide list. 😉
In 2009, OZ Minerals was acquired by a Chinese firm MMG (previously called China Minmetals).
The takeover, albeit, was not a smooth one. The involvement of the Chinese company in the purchase of OZ minerals was one of the three high-profile moves of acquiring stakes in Australian mineral sectors.
The public outcry got the Australian government involved which blocked the move, citing security concerns due to the proximity of Prominent Hill Mine to the RAAF Woomera Range Complex.
In 2009, however, the takeover was allowed to be completed.
The company claims to explore minerals with a vision to create a low-carbon future and bring economic well-being, in the process.
CEO: Robert Keogh
Year of Establishment: 2006
Market Cap: US$7.8 billion
Beyond Bank was formed in 2006 as a result of a merger between Commonwealth Public Servants Credit Union – CPS Credit Union (SA) Ltd, and CPS Credit Union Co-operative (ACT) Ltd.
It is a customer-owned bank that operates in South Australia, the Australian Capital Territory, Western Australia, and New South Wales.
Because the customers are its shareholders, they are also the receivers of the profits earned by the bank, making it one of the most customer-friendly banks.
The bank claims to have a multi-award-winning internet banking and mobile app.
CEO: Jason Beddow
Year of Establishment:
Market Cap: A$6.66 billion (2022)
Industry: Diversified Investment
The Adelaide-based diversified investment company, Argo Investments is one of Australia’s top 100 ASX-listed investment companies (LIC). (Source: Argo Investments)
Established in 1964, Argo Investment was founded by two gentlemen; a solicitor, Mr. Kevin Ward QC, and a chartered accountant, Mr. Alf Adamson.
Today, Argo invests approximately $7 billion on behalf of more than 96,000 shareholders from across Australia and around the world.
It is owned and operated by its shareholders for their mutual benefit.
The investment company has also been involved in major acquisitions and creating sub-divisions for various businesses.
Like back in the 1990s, it acquired two investment companies, Schroder Dual Fund and Stoddart’s Holdings.
CEO: Morné Engelbrecht
Year of Establishment: 1961
Market Cap/ Revenue: A$3.73 billion
Industry: Oil & gas
Formerly known as Beach Petroleum, Beach Energy is an Australian oil and gas exploration company established in 1961.
It went on to be listed in ASX in the same year. Although, the current name was adopted quite recently, i.e., in 2009.
The 61-year-old company is listed in both ASX-200 and S&P indices, making it one of the major companies in Australia and worldwide.
The company drilled its first well for oil and gas exploration at the present site of Grange Golf course. The well was named Grange-1 at the time.
In 2016, Beach Energy merged with Drillsearch to expand its footprint in the Cooper Basin. The expansion of business outreach was further strengthened in 2018 when it acquired Lattice Energy.
Beach Energy has five oil and gas-producing basins (operated and non-operated) across Australia and New Zealand.
Uniti Group Limited
CEO: Michael Simmons
Year of Establishment: 2014
Market Cap: US$3.4 billion
Uniti Group Limited is an Adelaide-based digital infrastructure and solution provider owned by a consortium of digital investors.
This consortium includes names such as HRL Morrison & Co, Brookfield Asset Management and Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation.
Uniti Group Limited claims to be the No. 1 independent provider of fibre network infrastructure for greenfield housing development in Australia.
Not restricting itself to a singular business model or market access level, the company has multi-tier and niche-based business divisions.
Optimcomm Networks, one of the company’s brands, offers wholesale fibre infrastructure and claims to be Australia’s fastest access network.
On an enterprise level, Uniti Group has multiple brands under its umbrella to offer various communication solutions as per the market’s needs.
The Uniti Group is bidding on this level with FoneDynamics, 1300Australia, CallDynamics, and EasyInbound.
Also, the company offers a more user-friendly retail end.
CEO: Steve B. Masters
Year of Establishment: 2000
Assets owned: A$2.5 billion
ElectrNet is an electricity transmission company in South Australia that operates electricity communication assets worth A$2.5 billion.
Founded after the privatization of the Electricity Trust of South Australia (ETSA) in 1998, the company handles the transmission end of the electricity network.
In order to transfer large amounts of electricity over long distances, an electricity transmission network comes into play. And this is where ElectraNet champions its services.
Over 5,500 kilometers of high-powered electricity transmission lines are owned and operated by the company.
Not just mere transmission from a generation source to the end user, ElectraNet has a transmission network that picks up electricity from both traditional and renewable energy generators and carries them locally as well as interstate.
In the process, it claims to facilitate healthy competition among producers to deliver the cheapest electrical supplies.
Three companies co-own ElectraNet: Chinese, Malaysian, and Australian. The names and distribution of these companies’ shares are as under
- State Grid Corporation of China (46.56%)
- Malaysian-based YTL Power International Berhad (33.5%)
- Australian Utilities Pty Ltd (19.94%)
CEO: Mark Charles Allison
Year of Establishment: 1839
Market Cap: A$2.08 billion
Elders Limited is a 180 years-old Australian company that deals in agricultural goods and services business in Australia and internationally.
Initially formed as an agribusiness company, Elders is now a multi-business venture.
It offers services in multiple industries, including finance, banking, and real estate services.
The expansion of Elders from a simple agribusiness to a multi-subsidiary business empire followed through a long list of hefty acquisitions.
These acquisitions began in 1976 with the first acquisition of Pitt Son & Badgery.
From then on, the company acquired multiple businesses, including jam makers and brewing companies, finance companies, and automakers.
Elders also launched a joint venture in wool handling and dumping that went on to produce more than 60% of the national production.
In 2013, however, Elders returned to pure agribusiness and sold its various business divisions.
However, the company still deals in multiple business areas, including real estate, financial services, feed and processing services, and retail and agency services.
This expansion into diverse yet linked areas allows the company to support producers’ needs throughout the production cycle.
The operations of the business of Elders limited include
Rural products –
Real estate services
Australia Independent Rural Retailers (AIRR), and
Thomas Elders Market
Year of Establishment: 1934
Revenue: US$2 billion
Founded in 1934, the CMV group is an automotive dealership with an annual turnover of more than US$1 billion. (Source: CMV Group)
The company began as a dealership for sales and services of commercial transport vehicles.
At the time, Sidney Crawford, the dealership’s founder, focused on British Leyland Trucks and the Diamond T brand.
A year later, however, the company began distributing Case tractors and Commer products after that.
In 1962, CMV Group started selling Toyota commercial vehicles, followed by a further expansion of the company into various special categories of vehicles.
Later on, the company followed a steady process of diversifying its business portfolio, resulting in its three different business divisions: CMV Automotive, CMV Trucks, and CMV Farms.
With its consistent growth and intelligent diversifications, CMV group is one of the oldest privately-owned family businesses with fourth-generation family ownership.
CEO: Mark Irwin
Year of Establishment: 1882
Revenue: A$1.5 billion
Previously known as Adelaide Brighton Cement, Adbri is an Australian manufacturer of cement, lime, and dry blended products.
Established in 1880, Adbri is one of the oldest cement manufacturers in Australia that started as a lime kiln.
What started as only a local lime kiln, has now grown into a multi-billion dollars annual turnover business with its presence in South Australia, the Northern Territory, and New South Wales.
Its predecessor, Adelaide Brighton, was formed after a merger of Brighton Cement and Adelaide Cement Company in the 1970s.
The company boasts 13 fully owned reputable brands within its portfolio. The portfolio is complemented by seven joint ventures, scaling the company to a greater footprint.
(Sources: adbri, Wikipedia)
Credit Union SA
CEO: Todd Roberts
Year of Establishment: 1958
Total Assets: A$1.30 billion
Number 11 on our list of top Adelaide-based companies is a company that offers credit services to its customers with a unique business model.
Credit Union SA is a South Australian Credit Union based out of Adelaide.
The union was formed by a merger between former South Australian credit unions Satisfac and Powerstate.
Credit Union SA offers financial services, including different types of accounts, fixed-term investments, home, and personal loans, credit cards, and insurance.
Championing a non-traditional business model, the union claims to offer a more humane alternative to traditional banking by offering a fairer, smarter credit union run by its members for its members. (Sources: Credit Union SA Website, Wikipedia, Credit Union SA Report)
CEO: Clint Feueherdt
Year of Establishment: 1989
Market Cap: A$1.08 billion
Industry: Tourism & Travel
With a market cap of more than a billion dollars, Keslian Group is the only tourism and travel company that made it to our list.
Kelsian Group is a transport company with a transport business in Australia, the UK, and Singapore.
The company adopted the name Kelsian Group only in 2021.
Earlier, it was known as SeaLink Travel Group, which was founded with the purchase of Kangaroo Island SeaLink business in 1989.
In its journey to becoming Kelsian, SeaLink saw multiple acquisitions, including a specialist travel company in 2004 and two cruise companies in 2011.
As a specialist transport company, SeaLink has also run and managed the Adelaide bus station, the airport shuttle service, and a ferry operation in Darwin.
Kelsian Group claims to be Australia’s largest marine transport service provider and tour operator.
Kelsian provides travel and tourism services through its continuously expanding network of buses, ferries, and light rail both in Australia and internationally.
The group owns the following entities:
- SeaLink Marine & Tourism
- Transit Systems Group
- Tower Transit
CEO: Alf Ianniello
Year of Establishment: 1959
Market Cap: A$715.61 million
Industry: Communications, metal detection, mining
Number 13 on the list is a tech manufacturing company with a diverse range of products.
Founded in 1959 by three friends from the University of Adelaide, Codan Limited is a manufacturer and supplier of communications, metal detection, and mining technology.
Codan has support facilities for engineering and technical services in Canada, the USA, the UK, Ireland, and UAE.
However, the business operation of Codan Limited is not just limited to these countries alone. Codan operates and offers services in more than 150 countries.
Venturing into military communication technology, Codan has established Codan Defence
Electronics is a dedicated subsidiary of military communication technology.
Royal Automobile Association of South Australia
CEO: Nick Reade
Year of Establishment: 1903
Revenue: A$385 million
Industry: Roadside Assistance, Vehicle Inspection, Insurance
The next company on the list is rather unique as compared to the rest of the list.
Founded more than a hundred years ago, the Royal Automobile Association of South Australia (RAA) is an automobile club that provides many vehicle support services.
The company had a beginning in cycling and was formed as a cycling club. The club later expanded its services to include various kinds of motoring and automobile recreational activities.
The original name of the club was the Automobile and Motor Cycling Club of South Australia. It later dropped Automobile and Motorcycling to become RAA in 1904.
In its early days, the club was a support group of automobilists who fixed each other’s automobile problems.
However, the local club of enthusiasts soon became a representative organization for South Australian motorists at the regional and national levels.
Cobham Aviation Services
CEO: David Lockwood
Year of Establishment: 1989
Revenue: A$368 million
Industry: Aviation services
As you might have observed by now, Adelaide has one of the most diverse ranges of top businesses operating on its soil.
The number 15 Adelaide-based company on our list is an aviation company, formerly National Jet System.
Cobham Aviation Services offers scheduled and charter airline and aviation services across Australia.
The company was established in 1989 and soon started operating on behalf of Australian Airlines for tourist destinations across the country.
After almost three decades of operation, Cobham Aviation and its parent company, plc, were acquired by Advent International in January 2020.
Six months after the acquisition of the company by Advent International, the Qantas Group purchased the National Jet System division for an undisclosed amount.
This division acquired by Qantas was operating Boeing 717 on its behalf.
The other division of Cobham Aviation, National Jet Express, remained under Advent International and operated freight and charter services.
Cobham Aviation Services provides aerial intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance services for the Australian Government.
The company advertises to offer fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) services in support of mining, oil & gas projects, critical freight, and VIP charter flights.
CEO: Alister Haigh
Year of Establishment: 1915
Revenue: A$274 million
Yes, next on the list is a confectionary company known for its chocolate products.
Haigh’s Chocolate is a family-owned “bean-to-bar” chocolate-producing company based out of Adelaide.
With more than a hundred years of the rich history of producing confectionery, Haigh’s
Chocolate boasts to delight its customers’ sweet tooth with only the best ingredients the world has to offer.
The cocoa beans sourced by the company are of premium quality.
The old hand of Haigh’s chocolate boasts specialized chocolate-making skills perfected by artisans’ skills.
Leigh Creek Energy Limited
CEO: Phil Staveley
Year of Establishment: unknown
Revenue: A$157 million
Time for another oil and gas company to be included in the list. 🙂
But not just for the sake of it.
These companies have only made it to the list due to the strength of their business operation displayed through the market cap or revenue strength.
Leigh Creek Energy is an oil and gas exploration company, formerly Marathon Resources. The company adopted its present name in 2015.
The company is currently developing an in-situ coal gasification (ISG) project at Leigh Creek, South Australia.
Year of Establishment: 1848
Revenue: A$3 billion
Industry: Finance and Insurance
A subsidiary of Westpac, BankSA is the largest bank in South Australia with an annual turnover of more than A$3 billion.
The bank was formerly known as the Bank of South Australia, the State Bank of South Australia, and the Savings Bank of South Australia.
The bank was initially established as a savings deposit bank in 1848 and mostly served in rural areas of South Australia and Victoria fringes.
BankSA is a wholly owned entity of St George Bank, which is owned by Westpac Banking Corporation.
CEO: Robert Mencel
Year of Establishment: 2001
Revenue: US$85.61 million
Industry: Agriculture, Mining
Founded in 2001, Centrex Metals Limited is an Australian exploration and mining company.
The company was listed on ASX in 2006 with a vision to develop iron projects on the Eyre Peninsula, South Australia.
Later, however, the company liquidated its South Australian assets and repositioned itself as an organic fertilizer producer, dissolving its joint ventures in the process.
Flinders Port Holdings
CEO: Stewart Lammin
Year of Establishment: 2001
Revenue: A$200 million
Industry: Port operations
Flinders Port Holdings is a port management company that manages seven out of ten ports in South Australia.
The company employs 700 people and claims to support 6000 indirect jobs.
With expertise in port management and a successful track record to show for it, the company boasts of facilitating $25 billion in international trade annually.
Apart from its business operations, Flinders Ports funds several sponsorships and support for local organizations, events, and sporting clubs.
This concludes the list of the top 20 famous companies in Adelaide.
Stay tuned for more such lists in the coming days.
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