Whenever there is an economic downturn, midsize companies tend to take the hardest hit. As these companies grapple with routine challenges of funding, technology, and market access, a slowing economy is likely to have a telling effect on their fortunes. The current economic environment, then, will test the mettle of these companies like never before.
However, this edition of the Fortune India Next 500 listing, the only comprehensive one of its kind in the country, put together by our lists editor Rajiv Bhuva, looks at how these midsize companies fared in FY19, and the results are not altogether disheartening. The aggregate revenue of the 500 companies on the list grew 10.77%, which is a significant improvement from the year before, when it declined 1.45%.
Not just this. Even though the aggregate profit of the companies declined, the fall was much less steep—at 36%—compared to the 65% decline in the previous year. Clearly, there’s much resilience left in these midsize marvels, and enough entrepreneurial and leadership firepower to negotiate the choppy waters of this year. At least that’s what the hope is. And there’s enough to suggest these midsize companies have the power to grow bigger, with 33 companies from last year’s Next 500 list graduating to the Fortune India 500 list of the country’s largest corporations in 2019. The churn in the list, of course, continues, with 119 companies making their debut, compared to 163 the previous year. Branded spirits maker Radico Khaitan is the new No. 1 on the Next 500 list this year—jumping from No. 28 last year—powered by its bestselling brands and a new policy framework in Uttar Pradesh.
The stories we bring you in this issue are as distinct as they are interesting. While Anshul Dhamija tells you how Radico managing director Abhishek Khaitan put together the winning strategy for the company, Debojyoti Ghosh finds out how innerwear maker Rupa & Co., once the undisputed disruptor in the market, is fighting to reclaim lost ground. Arnika Thakur writes about how Info Edge, one of India’s oldest Internet companies with verticals across sectors like jobs, matrimony, education, and real estate, has managed to survive and grow despite increasing competition. Info Edge has also seen a dramatic jump in ranking this year, shooting up from No. 124 to No. 51. Last, but not the least, is Aveek Datta’s story on Jaydev Mody and the manner in which his company Delta Corp successfully institutionalised Indians’ love for gambling through its casinos. Delta, which jumped 73 places to No. 374 from No. 447 on the 2019 list, is now eyeing the international market, and the online gaming space.
Finally, a word on our new look. As you will see in the pages that follow, Fortune India now comes to you with a fresh, contemporary design, in line with that of our parent Fortune. We hope you enjoy reading this issue as much as we did putting it together.
(This was originally published in the March 15 - June 14 special issue.)