Eleven companies from the East of England have earned a place on the latest Sunday Times HSBC Top Track 250, the league table of Britain’s leading mid-market private companies published this weekend.Despite tough economic conditions, the 11 companies headquartered in the East (compared to 13 on last year’s league table) have made a strong contribution to the local economy. Together they have achieved combined sales of £3 billion and employed 17,200 people.
There are two car dealers in the rankings. The region’s premiership first X1 are as follows with nature of business, HQ location turnover, profit and headcount in brackets:-
33rd BOCM Pauls (Animal feed manufacturer, Sales £428.3 million, Profit £14.3m, 961 staff)
70th Bernard Matthews Farms (Food producer, Norwich, £330.5m, £2.5m, 3,858)
82nd Acteon (Offshore services provider, Norwich, £310.9m, £38.5m, 1,538)
87th BGL Group (Insurance intermediary, Peterborough, £302.2m, £75.2m, 2148)
94th G’s (Salad & veg grower, Ely, £293.4m, £12.6m, 2,971)
132nd Napp Pharmaceuticals (Pharmaceuticals manufacturer, Cambridge, £253.2m, £42.8m, 855)
147th Vindis Group (Car dealer, Huntingdon, £234.3m, £5.6m, 602)
162nd Danwood Group (Officer supplier, Lincoln, £220m, £15.1m, 1,494)
176th Anglian Group (Home improvement products, Norwich, £210.1m, £15.2m, 2006)
181st Midwich (Audio visual products distributor, Norfolk, £201.9m, £7.7m, 286)
236th Robinsons Motor Group (Car dealer, Norwich, £165.7m, £4.9m, 432 staff)
Now in its seventh year, the Top Track 250 represents the next tier down from the Top Track 100 UK private companies with the biggest sales. To be included, companies must have also reported increased sales or operating profit in their latest available accounts.
Family-owned salad and vegetable grower G’s, which is run by second generation management team, John and Peter Shropshire is an interesting business. The Cambridgeshire company supplies 300,000 tonnes of produce a year to British supermarkets.
Sales increased to £293.4m in 2010 following heavy investment in Spain, where the climate allows lettuce, celery and broccoli to be grown through the winter.
Norwich-based Acteon features on the league table for the third time. The firm provides offshore services to oil and gas companies, helping them link the seabed to the surface. It saw sales increase eight per cent to £310.9m in 2010 following acquisitions including a Norwegian mooring equipment company in 2010 and Aberdeen business NCS Survey earlier this year.
The companies headquartered in the East feature on the league table alongside national household names such as Aston Martin, Selfridges, Virgin Active, Manchester United, Nando’s, Dreams and Betfred.
The Top Track 250 is sponsored by HSBC and Grant Thornton. It is compiled by Fast Track, the Oxford-based networking events and research company which champions the UK’s top-performing private companies.
Nationally and collectively, the 250 companies generated combined sales of £71.2 billion and employed 465,000 staff – equivalent to roughly five per cent of GDP and 1.5 per cent of the UK workforce.
Demonstrating resilience in the face of the economic downturn, a majority of companies (160) increased their headcount over their latest financial year, while more than two thirds (170) improved their profit margin.
Companies on the league table are actively pursuing opportunities overseas. Sixty percent generate sales outside the UK, and almost half have foreign subsidiaries. Of these, 53 have at least one subsidiary in an emerging country.
The Top Track 250 companies are predominantly based in London (65) and the Southeast (54). The remainder breaks down as follows: Northwest (32), Midlands (23), Scotland (20), Northeast (19), Southwest (12), East (11), Northern Ireland (10) and Wales (4).
• PHOTOGRAPH: Bernard Matthews Farms ranks 70th in the Top Track 250