Vietnam Report has released the first FAST500 - a list of 500 companies with the fastest growth rate in Vietnam .

FAST500 is aimed at highlighting effectively run companies with a fast growth rate.

"These companies are the new stars of the Vietnamese economy. They operate in a variety of fields and are located across the whole country," said Vietnam Report's vice chairman Phung Hoang Co.

"FAST500 was compiled from a database of about 200,000 companies that have been registered with Vietnam Report and other sources for the past five years," Co added.

Vietnam Report rates companies according to independent criteria including total assets, benefits and number of employees.

Researchers found that the average growth rate of the top 500 companies from 2006-09 was 54 percent. That figure reached 160 percent for the top 50 and 112 percent for the top 10.

With a growth rate of 675.3 percent, Nguyen Kim Trading Joint Stock Company topped the FAST500.

"FAST500 has many meanings. We believe that it will help foreign investors and banks," said Co.

Private companies accounted for 78 percent of the list.

"This is a good sign. It shows that the private sector is developing dynamically," Co said.

Vietnam Report also released a list of the 500 fastest growing small and medium enterprises (SMEs), topped by Thanh Dat Steel Joint Stock Company.

Vietnam Report said that 45 percent of companies in the FAST500 were located in the northern region and 50.4 percent of them were in southern provinces.

The top 10 companies in the FAST500 list are Sabeco Song Hau Joint Stock Co, Dong A Joint Stock Co, Mobile World Joint Stock Co, Thien Quang Corporation, Thai Hoa Manufacture and Trading Co, Mai Son Joint Stock Co., Furniture 190 Joint Stock Co, Viet Phap Paper Ltd Co and Masan Industrial Corporation.

The FAST500 awards ceremony will be held in Hanoi at the end of March./.