Indian companies' sales growth has soared past the rest of the world in the past five years, posting annual average rises of 27 per cent, compared to just 5 per cent for firms in developed countries, an Ernst and Young survey found.

Indian sales growth was also far higher than the average of 16 per cent for the developing world as a whole, according to the 2006-2010 study which compared the performance of 150 companies in rapid-growth markets with 80 leading US and European firms.

"Some of these gains (in developing countries) are due to the exceptional growth of their domestic economies. Others have benefited from rising raw materials prices, particularly mining and oil and gas companies," Ernst & Young said.

"Developed market companies suffered more from the financial crisis than those from rapid-growth markets. Except for a knock against exports, the economic downturn was experienced as a distant concern in the rapid-growth markets.

After India, Brazilian companies saw the next fastest growth with a 22 per cent rise on a compounded annual average basis, followed by Russia and China with 17 per cent each.

Malaysian, Polish, Indonesian and South African firms also enjoyed double-digit sales growth, the study showed.

Companies from the developing world also enjoyed better operating margins, posting an average of 24 per cent compared with 18 percent for the developed market companies.

Ernst & Young said that while lower labour costs and lighter regulation were partly behind the better margin performance, it added: "Margins are also increasingly being driven by the fact that many of these companies are now world-class operations that command real intellectual property."

Moreover, the study found that 31 per cent of the world's top 1000 companies by market capitalisation now come from the rapid-growth markets. This is up from 10 per cent in 2000.

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