Northamptonshire's mid-sized growth stars breach £2 billion barrier

13 June 2019 Consultancy.uk

Professional services firm BDO has revealed that Northamptonshire’s leading mid-sized businesses enjoyed revenues of over £2 billion in 2018. The 50 fastest growing companies analysed achieved combined growth of £200 million each year for the two years previous.

Northamptonshire is a county in the East Midlands of England, with a population of around 723,000 people. The county has keen ambitions when it comes to growing its economy, and is a member of England's Economic Heartland alliance alongside Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire. The alliance seeks to build growth by a further £9 billion each year, creating at least 135,000 new jobs by 2020.

According to a new study from BDO, an international accounting and consulting network, Northamptonshire’s fastest-growing mid-sized businesses are more than doing their part to push for that target. The report found that the 50 best-performing small and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs) generated a total of £2.1 billion in the past year.

AVERAGE GROWTH BY TURNOVER

The firms have now achieved growth of £200 million for two consecutive years. The top performer was Motorvogue Group – a car dealership business – which topped the list with a 58% revenue increase over the past three years. Other companies making the top five were the RML Group, Sloane Helicopters, Barwood Homes and Panther Warehousing.

Many of the best-performing companies were in the transport & logistics and retail sectors, with 20% and 14% of total businesses, respectively. Overall, however, it was manufacturing companies leading the charge for the county, making up 38% of the top 50. This may prove problematic in the not-too-distant future, as this is one of the sectors where Brexit’s impact threatens to be most keenly felt. Indeed, manufacturing in the UK has already seen negative growth for the end of 2018, followed by three months at the start of 2019 which saw continued softening in orders.

Despite this, Chris Bond, a Partner at BDO in the East Midlands, remains upbeat. The report found that manufacturing is the area with the highest levels of business innovation in the country, bringing vast growth potential. This is buoyed by the county’s cluster of high-tech businesses around the Silverstone area, which offer future growth away from manufacturing.

Bond commented, “The Northamptonshire Growth Barometer tells an impressive story in its first year of publication. As a local resident, it’s great to see this group of businesses clearly demonstrating the importance of mid-sized companies to our regional economy. From freight-forwarding and footwear to retail and healthcare, these fast-growth, entrepreneurial businesses are innovating, creating jobs and setting new standards.”

AVERAGE EMPLOYMENT GROWTH

Employment has seen a major boost as a result of the bullish economic performance in Northamptonshire. The primary activities and utilities sector (agriculture, mining and quarrying, electricity, gas and water supply, sewerage and waste management) led the charge, with more than 18% average employment growth.

Talent acquisition and retention, however, is likely to become increasingly challenging for firms, who will need to be aware of the shifting environment. If they fail to do so, they risk missing out on top talent, and on the revenue growth it can help generate.

Andy Offer, founder of 2Excel Aviation, which appeared in the top ten of BDO’s study with three-year revenue growth of 24%, remarked, “A major challenge for many businesses today is finding the right people. Being in Northamptonshire helps as labour costs are lower than in London. The skills gap isn’t a problem restricted to the shires. People are willing to move to Northamptonshire because it’s a great place to live.”

Related: Auditor questions Northamptonshire council consultant's role.


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