Capital Report


C.$5.5 billion additional cash “locked up”

McGrathNicol Advisory profiled the working capital performance of 137 ASX listed companies across seven working capital intensive sectors, with a combined market capitalisation of $1 trillion.

2021 saw an uplift in activity across the economy following the flatter conditions associated with the first wave of COVID in 2020. Average revenues increased by 8.6% across our sample of companies in 2021, with 69% of operators reporting revenue growth. The three sectors with the largest uptick in revenues were Mining & Resources, Agriculture and Retail, driven by a mix of higher commodity prices and offshore demand, higher production yields, and consumers directing spending away from travel and recreational activities to retail.

Our sample includes 137 ASX listed companies in the Agriculture, Building Products, Construction & Engineering, Food & Beverage, Mining & Resources, Retail and Transport & Logistics sectors. The report also incorporates international benchmarks for each sector based on 445 companies across Asia, the EU and the US. The information is based on the most recent full year results for 2021 and 2020, as well as analysis on the half year (H1 and H2) performance to assess the ongoing COVID impact.

Days Working Capital (DWC) increased by 3.1 days in 2021, tying up an additional $5.5 billion in cash. Average DWC increased in six of the seven sectors, and in 56% of all sampled companies. The DWC increase was driven by operators collecting cash from their customers more slowly (higher Days Sales Outstanding or DSO) and holding more inventory (higher Days Inventory Outstanding or DIO). To partly offset this, our sampled companies paid their suppliers more slowly (higher Days Payables Outstanding or DPO).

Industry Change

DSO 3.0 ⇑

DIO 2.6 ⇑

DPO 1.9 ⇑

DWC 3.1 ⇑



DWC at 30 June (or latest available)