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Australian companies amongst global R&D big spenders

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An international study of the R&Dperformance of 1,000 large companies in 2008includes six Australian firms that increased their total investment in R&D by 37.9% during the year, despite the economic downturn.

The study by Booz & Company is the fifth annual study of the world’s biggest corporate R&D spenders. It concludes that “most companies have stuck with their innovation programs despite the recession – and many are boosting spending to compete more effectively in the upturn.”

Overall, the top 1000 companies increased their innovation spend by 5.7%, compared with 10% in the previous year. The group’s overall sales increased by 6.5%, while operating income fell by 8.6% and net income fell by 34%.

Australia’s largest R&D spender, BHP Billiton, was ranked 341 on the list, increasing its investment during 2008 from $US169 million to $US244 million. Other Australian companies that appeared in the list and their R&D spends were:

  • CSL – $US201 million, up from US$171 million;
  • OneSteel, $US130 million;
  • Aristocrat Leisure, $US98 million, up from $US87 million;
  • Cochlear – $US72 million, up from $US59 million;
  • Computershare – $US65 million, up from $US43 million.