Cambridgeshire's top 100 companies revealed - and profits, turnover and wages are on the rise
Cambridgeshire Ltd study by Grant Thornton shows county's growth is outstripping national performance
Cambridgeshire’s biggest companies are growing at a pace that far outstrips the national average, according to the leading annual barometer of its top 100 businesses.
Grant Thornton’s much-anticipated Cambridgeshire Ltd report was unveiled on Monday at The Belfry in Cambourne, where more than 100 business and community leaders gathered to hear analysis of how the county is performing.
The combined profits of those in the report soared by 18.3 per cent last year to £749million, the report showed, as previous investment began to reap rewards.
Turnover for the top 100 also rose significantly, by 15.8 per cent to £10.25billion, with 80 per cent of businesses reporting sales increases.
Employment increased by 6 per cent at the top 100, and average wages also grew, by 4.4%, to £28,000.
Cambridge companies in the list paid by far the most, however, with an average of £47,400, while Ely had the lowest average wage, at £24,800.
Darren Bear, practice leader of Grant Thornton – the financial and business advisers with a base at Cambridge Science Park – said: “We have seen business leaders display confidence and achieve great success. Last year, we saw evidence of strategic decision-making as companies restructured for long-term, sustainable growth.
“Wherever I go in the county, it is clear to see the investment in the wider infrastructure that is now taking pace.”
The study, delivered this year in partnership with leading law firm Mills & Reeve, uses public accounts from September 2017 to assess the 100 biggest companies, based on turnover. To qualify, the companies must have their principal place of business and management in Cambridgeshire.
Companies that are owned by overseas firms are excluded, meaning chip giant Arm, which was acquired by Japanese firm SoftBank, digital radio company Sepura, bought by China-based Hytera, and games developer Jagex, now owned by Chinese investment firm Zhongji Holding, are not eligible for inclusion.
AstraZeneca, which is building its global HQ and R&D centre on Cambridge Biomedical Campus, would top the list but is excluded because it is a global organisation with $23bn turnover and $17bn in net assets, so would have a disproportionate impact on the analysis.
The biggest sector in the report was automotive, with a turnover of £2,765million. The sector delivered the highest turnover increase of 32.4 per cent. Much of this strong performance arose from a major acquisition by Marshall, which topped the Cambridgeshire Ltd chart with its £2.3billion turnover.
The technology, consumer and wholesale markets and food and beverage sectors delivered the largest profits – but 60 companies in the list reported a profits rise on the previous year. Some 92 were profitable, while 80 increased turnover.
The report featured 22 new entrants, including Radical Sportscars, BWP (Cambridge), 1spatial PLC, Abzena PLC and Escape Fitness Ltd.
Another new entrant, the Raspberry Pi Foundation, the Cambridge organisation behind the cheap as chips computers, made it to the foot of the list with turnover of £18million.
Geographically, the top 100 was reasonably well spread, with 39 in Cambridge – including 17 in its surrounding villages – 31 in Peterborough, 13 in Huntingdon, 10 in Wisbech and seven in Ely. But Cambridge city generates by far the highest turnover, at £3.8billion, with Huntingdon next, on £2.1billion.
Report author Paul Brown, director at Grant Thornton’s Cambridge office, said: “The 2017 study shows the investments made last year in people, capacity and operations are already generating returns and opportunities for businesses and people. Growth for Cambridgeshire’s 100 largest businesses is far outstripping the UK national growth rate of 0.4 per cent and this once again demonstrates what a vibrant economy Cambridgeshire offers.
“This vibrancy is reflected by the substantial changes to the top 100 companies, with 22 new entrants across a range of sectors. This is a natural and healthy regeneration of Cambridgeshire Ltd – mature businesses change ownership and a new generation of high growth companies push their way through.
“Investment amongst the 100 largest firms is also continuing with fixed assets up 19 per cent to £1,280m and employment rising considerably. This underwrites the confidence levels our county’s businesses are reporting despite the uncertainty of Brexit negotiations.”
A growth index was also published, featuring the 25 companies reporting the highest profit growth. It was headed up by tech firm Telensa Holdings, which delivered an astonishing 13,638 per cent rise in earnings (measured by EBITDA). Cambridge Commodities, in Ely, was next with a 2,806 per cent rise.
Together these 25 companies reported a 25 per cent increase in turnover to £328million and an impressive 250 per cent rise in profits, up to £215m.
Ian Mather, partner and head of Mills & Reeve’s Cambridge office, said: “These businesses have achieved outstanding rates of growth and there is a real spread in terms of size, sector and location, once again reflecting the diversity and vibrancy of Cambridgeshire.”
Among those in the ‘Ones to Watch’ list were law firm Hewitsons, property and construction firm Z-Tech Control Systems and technology firm DF Broadcast Holdings.
James Palmer, mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, Neil Hammill, vice president of sales at Cambridge Commodities, Anne Bailey, founder of Form the Future, and Faye Holland, founder of Cofinitive, took to the stage on Monday to offer their analysis and answer questions from the audience.
Look out for more analysis in the Cambridge Independent on Wednesday November 22.
Cambridgeshire’s Top 100 Companies
Astrazeneca PLC (excluded)*
2 Hilton Food Group PLC
3 BHL (UK) Holdings
4 G’s Group Holdings Limited
5 Vindis Group Limited
6 Napp Pharmaceutical Holdings Limited
7 PRO CAM Europe Limited
8 George Thurlow And Sons (Holdings) Limited
9 Hutchinson Group Limited
10 Aveva Group PLC
11 Russell Burgess Limited
12 Produce Investments PLC
13 Abcam PLC
14 Ridgeon Group Limited
15 Ideal Shopping Limited
16 Mundipharma Research Limited
17 Camelot Topco Limited
18 Macxchange Limited
19 Lawrence David Limited
20 Xaar PLC
22 Vital Recruitment Limited
23 Amino Technologies PLC
24 Quixant PLC
25 Welding Institute (The)
26 Hexagon Investment Holdings Limited
27 AK Retail Holdings Limited
28 Brookgate Limited
29 JB Shropshire & Sons Limited
30 Gardeden Topco Limited
31 F P Smith(Holdings)Limited
32 John Henry And Sons (Developments) Limited
33 Roe Bros & Co Limited
34 Anglia Components Limited
35 Princebuild Holdings Limited
36 BWP (Cambridge) Limited
37 Baker Perkins Holdings Limited
38 J E & V M Dalton Limited
39 Friar’s Pride Limited
40 Bidwells LLP
41 Chivgate Limited
43 G & J Peck Limited
44 Comtec Group (International) Limited
45 Murkett Brothers (Holdings) Limited
46 Cashflows Europe Limited
47 Science Group PLC
48 Alan Bartlett & Sons (Chatteris) Limited
49 Adcock Refrigeration And Air Conditioning Limited
50 Cambridge Commodities Limited
51 TOY Brokers Holdings Limited
52 Elektron Technology PLC
53 Secure Home Purchase (2015) Limited
55 Kershaw Group Limited
56 Creightons PLC
57 Brady PLC
58 Frederic Smart & Son Limited
59 E - Leather Limited
60 One Call Recruitment Limited
61 M J S Construction (March) Limited
62 Munro Building Services Holdings Limited
63 Secure Group Limited
64 RGE Engineering Limited
65 Business Control Solutions Group Limited
66 Clarksteel Holdings Limited
67 Ubisense Group PLC
68 Fenmarc Holdings Limited
69 Hales Group Limited
71 Cambridge Broadband Networks Limited
72 Anglia Home Furnishings Holdings Limited
73 Car World (Cambs) Limited
74 Quartix Holdings PLC
75 Knowles (Transport) Limited
76 Telensa Holdings Limited
77 1spatial PLC
78 Chiltern Cold Storage Group Holdings Limited
79 Frontier Developments PLC
80 Avingtrans PLC
81 Askew & Barrett (Pulses) Limited
82 The Lettuce Company Limited
83 International Direct Packaging Limited
84 Scotsdale Nursery And Garden Centre Limited
85 Hid Estates Limited
86 P C Howard Limited
87 G S Shropshire Holdings Limited
88 Wilcox Holdings Limited
89 Escape Fitness Limited
90 Alpha CRC Limited
91 Abzena PLC
92 Four Seasons Harvest Limited
93 Miers Construction Products Limited
94 Rapidrop Global Limited
95 Radical Sportscars Limited
96 Firstan Holdings Limited
97 Masteroast Holdings Limited
98 I Go 4 Limited
99 Ellgia Holdings Limited
*AstraZeneca is excluded because it is a global organistion with $23bn turnover and $17bn in net assets, so would have a disproportionate impact on the analysis.