32 percent average profit growth for East Midlands’ Top 200 companies

Left to right: Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI director-general; Mark Berrisford,-Smith, head of economics at HSBC and Phil Sayers, partner at Grant Thornton

The East Midlands’ best performing businesses have grown profits by an average of nearly 32%, according to an annual report of the region’s top 200 companies by Grant Thornton and the CBI.

The annual East Midlands Top 200 Report, now in its fourth year and produced by Grant Thornton’s East Midlands’ regional office in Leicester in partnership with the CBI, highlights the 200 fastest growing companies run and managed from the East Midlands on the basis of profit growth to deliver a unique snapshot of the health of the region’s economy.

According to the 2016 Report’s findings, collectively, the East Midlands’ Top 200 companies have an operating profit of £736 million, employ 63,045 people, and turnover a total of £12.8 billion – a growth of 58.3% in the last three years. Based on the “typical company” in the Top 200, this equates to an annual compound growth of approximately 12% per year.

This growth in profitability has enabled the East Midlands’ Top 200 companies to generate nearly 17,000 net new jobs over the period of the report, an increase of 36% over the three years, simultaneously increasing average wages and productivity at a higher rate than the national average.

Manufacturing and services continue to be the two fastest growing sectors in the region according to the report’s analysis, and represent 48% of the companies on the 2016 report. However, this is down on the report’s findings in 2015, with other sectors, notably property & construction, grabbing a greater slice of the fastest growth.

78% of the East Midlands’ disclosed exports are from the manufacturing sector.

Lincolnshire’s Chris Eley Produce, based in Spalding, is ranked number one in the report for profit growth this year. The company specialises in growing, preparing and distributing vegetables, fruit and horticultural produce, and is one of two from Lincolnshire to feature in the report’s top 10.

Nottinghamshire has the most companies on the East Midlands Top 200, with 57 of the 200 fastest profit growth companies, including five in the top 10. It also has the largest concentration of companies returning to the list for the second consecutive year.

Leicestershire has 41 of the region’s Top 200 companies, including one – Cobley Transport – in the top 10. The county contributes a total of £1,013 million of the region’s total annual turnover, and employs 6,642 people.

With 39 companies on the report, Derbyshire is the region’s third biggest contributor to the Top 200 this year. Northamptonshire is in fourth place with a total of 33 businesses on the list, which together account for more than half (35,286) of the East Midlands’ total number of employees.

Grant Thornton’s Phil Sayers, partner in the firm’s Leicester office, said: “The 200 companies who have made it onto our list this year have excelled in beating the competition in one of the highest growth parts of one of the fastest growing developed economies in the world. These companies truly showcase the strength of the local economy and are a great snapshot of what the East Midlands has to offer.

“The research and analysis behind the Top 200 Report reinforces that the East Midlands is a great place to do business. For the hundreds of great companies based in the region, including those on the list this year, the benefits of operating in the region are obvious. They each benefit from the East Midlands’ great transport links, large pool of talented and educated workers, many vibrant businesses with which to trade, and a unique mix of available resources and relatively low costs.

“The variety of businesses, both in terms of sectors and size, brings vibrancy to the East Midlands and, when coupled with the many high quality business locations across the region, provides a recipe for even greater future growth”.

CBI director-general Carolyn Fairbairn added: “Scale-up firms are the unsung heroes of the UK economy – creating jobs, increasing investment and driving exports internationally.

“With seven out of ten of these companies located outside London, supporting entrepreneurial and innovative firms to grow can really help drive prosperity across the UK, as shown here in the East Midlands.

“There’s more we can do to back entrepreneurs and support the true potential of scale-ups.  This is why the CBI is calling for more support for quality skills training and entrepreneurs’ relief extended to long-term investors”.