Nvidia tops 100 fastest-growing companies list

Tech firms made a poor showing in Fortune's list of the 100 fastest-growing companies this year, but one still managed to take top spot

Graphics chip maker Nvidia has topped the list of the Fortune 100 fastest growing companies. Nvidia is one of only half a dozen tech companies in the list.

To make the list, compiled by Zacks Investment Research, companies had to have at least $50m (£32m) in revenue over the past four quarters, a minimum market capitalisation of $50m, and annual sales and earnings per share growth of at least 25 percent for three straight years.

Nvidia, which has risen to become the No. 1 graphics chip maker in recent years thanks largely to its GeForce products, took the top spot despite an ongoing Securities and Exchange Commission enquiry in the US and a tumbling stock price helped along by falling revenues. Nvidia's stock has slumped from around $70 at the beginning of 2002 to under $15 today.

Earlier this month Nvidia reported net income for the quarter ending 28 July at $5.3m, or 3 cents a share, compared with a net profit of $32.9m, or 19 cents a share, in the year-earlier period. This figure included a £21m write-off charge caused in part by lower than expected sales of Microsoft's Xbox gaming console, which uses Nvidia's graphics chips.

Although revenue for the second quarter was only £427m compared to the $583m reported for the first quarter of 2002, this figure was almost double the $260m from the second quarter a year ago.

Nvidia has enjoyed huge success in the graphics market in recent years, seeing its market climb to 44 percent of the market by the beginning of 2002, according to Jon Peddie Research. The company's success was helped by its purchase of rival 3dfx in December 2000.

The company has faced increased competition from Matrox and ATI this year, with their respective launches of the Parhelia and Radeon 9700 graphics chips. Nvidia is expected to hit back with its NV30 chip shortly.

Alongside Nvidia in the top 100 list were eBay at number 16 and software vendor Siebel Systems at number 19. Memory company Rambus also features on the list, along with Micromuse and Macrovision.

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