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What does a German company that builds power plants able to run on organic waste have in common with a Russian maker of generic drugs? They and eight other diverse companies are among the fastest-growing small companies in Europe, according to the 2008 BusinessWeek European Hot Growth list. This year's annual ranking tracks the fastest-growing publicly traded companies in Europe with sales of €1 billion ($1.3 billion) or less, based on data provided by Standard & Poor's Compustat. The survey tracks companies' sales, profits, and return on invested capital over the past three years.

This year's winners come from a broad range of industries. While traditional fields such as manufacturing, industrial equipment, and mining make a strong showing, so do a number of high-tech firms such as Sweden's Axis, which makes video surveillance systems, and a gaggle of companies from Europe's thriving green energy sector.

Click on to meet the top 10 companies on this year's list. Sales and profits are represented in euros for easier comparison, regardless of the company's headquarters location and the currency used in its financial reports.