42 member-owned companies make Australian top 500 business list

Two member owned firms, grain co-op CBH and health mutual HCF, made the top 10

Australia’s co-op and mutuals sector has a strong showing in the 2018 IbisWorld Index, with 42 businesses from the sector making the top 500.

The list – which ranks the country’s biggest businesses by revenue – features two member-owned companies in the top 10. The results show the resilience of the model, says Melina Morrison, chief executive of national sector body the Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals, which represents more than 2,000 organisations.

“The co-operative and mutual business structure is the ninja economy, hiding in plain sight, with the top 500 list showing this is the way to do business in the current economic climate,” she said.

“As IbisWorld chairman Phil Ruthven says, private firms are more inclined to invest profits back into the business rather than pay out dividends to shareholders.

“This goes double for member-owned firms, where this increased reinvestment of profits leads to our agriculture businesses like CBH being able to scale up and compete in global markets.”

CBH, the grain-handling co-op based in Western Australia, was ranked fourth overall, with health mutual HCF coming in sixth.

Five of Australia’s top 50 firms are member owned, representing a combined $10.28bn in annual revenue.

The 42 co-op and mutual businesses to make the list are:

  • CBH Group (agriculture)
  • HCF (health)
  • HBF (health)
  • Australian Unity (health, insurance, banking)
  • ME Bank 
  • RACQ (insurance and other motoring services)
  • RAC WA (insurance and other motoring services)
  • CUA (credit union)
  • Teachers Health Fund 
  • GMHBA (health)
  • RACV (insurance and other motoring services)
  • Norco Co-operative (dairy)
  • NRMA (insurance)
  • Defence Health (health)
  • Avant Mutual Group (health)
  • People’s Choice Credit Union
  • Heritage Bank 
  • Newcastle Permanent (banking)
  • Tyrepower (automobile services)
  • RAA (motoring services)
  • Western Australian Meat Marketing Co-operative 
  • Independent Liquor Group (distribution)
  • Independent Liquor Group (suppliers)
  • Geraldton Fishermen’s Co-operative (lobster processing/exports)
  • Teachers Mutual Bank 
  • Greater Bank 
  • CUSCAL (banking tech)
  • Employers Mutual (work injury insurance)
  • Beyond Bank
  • IMB Bank 
  • Associated Retailers Limited
  • Bank Australia
  • Northern Co-operative Meat Company
  • The University Co-operative Bookshop
  • Plumbers’ Supplies Co-operative
  • Qudos Bank
  • Medical Indemnity Protection Society
  • Australian Scholarships Group (education fund)
  • Sunshine Sugar (joint venture of NSW Sugar Milling Co-operative and private company)
  • Bank First
  • Defence Bank
  • MDA National (medical indemnity)