Bedfordshire Ltd: top 100 firms results

A pioneering survey has revealed Bedfordshire’s biggest businesses are recording slow but steady growth.

Tuesday, 11th June 2013, 7:50 am
Jeremy Read, partner at Grant Thornton, launches the first ever Bedfordshire Ltd

Accountants Grant Thornton today (Tuesday) released Bedfordshire Ltd - a detailed analysis offering a snapshot of the county’s economic performance.

The survey delves into the financial figures of the county’s 100 leading privately owned companies - and revealed overall turnover was slightly up on the previous year.

Speaking ahead of the survey launch on Tuesday morning, reporter author Jeremy Read said: “The good thing is that turnover over the whole year has gone up by three per cent.

Jeremy Read, partner at Grant Thornton, launches the first ever Bedfordshire Ltd

“Headline figures suggest a decrease in earnings. However, when we have dug deeper and gone through it, three large companies have had one off results in the prior year distorting the figures. Take these out and you have got underlying growth in earnings of two per cent.

“The county is heading in the right direction. We are expecting results next year to be ever better.”

Sectors including technology (up 21.2%), freight, logistics and aviation (up 14.4%) and automotive and motor retail (up 9.9%) all perfomed extremely well.

Consumer-led areas such as food, drink and leisure (-2.9%) and retail and wholesale (-9.5%) have fared less well.

The report also discovered businesses had been bringing down their debt, and the amount of borrowing had dropped, particularly at larger companies. The number of loss-making firms increased slightly, from seven to 10.

Bedfordshire Limited is the latest in a series of county surveys initiated by Grant Thornton.

Mr Read said: “We are often asked by our clients how they are doing compared to other people - and business communities want to know how they are doing.

“It involved a big data trawl, then filtering the number of businesses. The biggest one has a turnover of £200m, the 100th placed one a turnover £4 million.

“It you can give it enough time and attention you can get the real picture.”

The survey reveals Bedfordshire has a comparatively high number of small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) - 84 of the top 100 fell into this categories.

The privately-owned company with the highest turnover was Polestar UK Print Ltd with head offices in Dunstable. The largest employer was Town & City Pub Group in Luton, while the oldest was Charles Wells Ltd of Bedford.