Ebos wins company of the year award

Ebos has transformed from an endangered minnow to one of the nation's largest companies over the past two decades.

Pharmaceuticals distributor Ebos [NZX: EBO] has won company of the year in the latest Deloitte Top 200 awards.

Ebos had been up against other finalists Z Energy [NZX: ZEL] and Fisher & Paykel Healthcare [NZX: FPH] for the top award.

Air New Zealand’s [NZX: AIR] Christopher Luxon won chief executive of the year and Mighty River Power’s [NZX: MRP] Joan Withers won chairperson of the year.

Deloitte chief executive Thomas Pippos says he continues to be impressed with the level of leadership and vision, as well as resilience, in New Zealand’s largest organisations.

“Over the 26 years of the Deloitte Top 200, perhaps the most notable trait of some of our largest companies has been their resilience and ability to adapt and reinvent themselves to stay ahead of the competition.”

Ebos has certainly reinvented itself over the past two decades.

Back in 1996, the company’s future was threatened after a global takeover that resulted in Ebos losing the rights to distribute products that were then the mainstay of its business.

Then managing director and now chairman, Mark Waller, has said he learned the hard way that multinational brand owners call the shots.

“We just get dealt to in a way we have no control over.”

Since then, he set out to transform the company into a much more robust business model, reducing its dependence on any single brand or collection of brands.

Through a serious of audacious takeovers, most recently the $1.1 billion purchase of Australian distributor, Symbion, in mid-2013 (not counting a number of smaller purchases since), he has turned Ebos from an often ignored minnow to one of the largest listed companies with a market capitalisation of $2.1 billion.

Other award winners included Refining NZ for most improved performance, Tourism Holdings for best growth strategy and the NZ Superannuation Fund for excellence in governance.

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