During my research on Google Finance over the weekend I was surprised to find a relatively large number of companies with a market capitalisation over $100m that have returned investors over 300% in the last 12 months. A few have been covered by my Motley Fool colleagues, but others are companies that I doubt many have heard about before today. Here are three companies we’ve probably all missed this year:

ResApp Health Ltd (ASX: RAP) has been covered at length by small-cap specialist Claude Walker earlier this year here and here. However Claude’s review was far less spectacular than the company’s 1,416% return over the last 12 months.

Google says this about the business: “The Company’s technology is based on the premise that cough and breathing sounds carry vital information on the state of the respiratory tract. It is based on a machine learning algorithm that uses sound alone without the need for additional hardware to diagnose and measure the severity of a range of chronic and acute respiratory conditions.” Pretty interesting!

Claude wrote “the company booked revenue of just over $82,000. That means if you buy shares at current prices you are paying about $3,000 for every $1 that the company booked in revenue in 2016… talk about growth expectations!” And “the question for shareholders is whether management can take that $13.7 million [in cash], and build up revenues that can produce profits that can justify a valuation of $260 million”.

Ausdrill Limited (ASX: ASL) has been one of the best performers in the resurgent mining services sector. Ausdrill is an exploration and production drilling company and has undertaken an interesting strategy to essentially provide drilling services in exchange for stock in the company they’re drilling for. This has worked well with some investments absolutely taking off, and a resulting 433% share price rise over the last 12 months.

Finally, in the same space as Audrill, is former struggler NRW Holdings Limited (ASX: NWH). The company’s shares are up 450% from their 12-month low following what can only be described as an exceptional turnaround. The Motley Fool covered one day’s 45% rise in August which pretty much sums up why the share price has risen so much:

  • NRW reported a net profit after tax of $21.5 million
  • Debt reduced by $59.3 million to $107.6 million, with a further $37.4 million due to be repaid in FY17
  • $577 million of new work secured during the year, taking order book to ~$1 billion

The task now comes to how do we find next year’s big winners?

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Motley Fool contributor Andrew Mudie has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.