South East: 19 private, fast-growing companies included in latest edition of league table

The 24th annual Sunday Times Virgin Atlantic Fast Track 100 league table ranks Britain’s private companies with the fastest-growing sales.

Nineteen companies headquartered in the South East of England (the same as last year) have won places on the table, including 11 new entrants. Their sales have grown by an average of 82% a year over three years to a total of £897 million, all are profitable, and together they employ more than 2,900 people. The figures largely relate to financial periods before Covid-19 struck.

The region’s top-ranked company is a new entrant, Glencar Construction, based in St Albans, which ranks in the top three nationally, having grown sales by an impressive 441% a year to an annualised £96.5m in the year to September. It was set up by Eddie McGillycuddy, 40, and Chris Gleave, 49, in 2016, and its growth has been driven by building warehouses for online giants such as Ocado; and it is currently working on the Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovations Centre in Oxfordshire, which aims to be capable of producing 70m Covid-19 vaccines by the summer.

Another new entrant is Hertfordshire nutrition brand Huel (No 7), founded by Julian Hearn and former NHS dietician James Collier, both 48, in 2015. Huel – short for “human fuel” – produces plant-based food products and powders that can be consumed as a meal. It has sold in excess of 100m meals across 90 countries, with more than half of its £71.6m sales in the year to July generated overseas.

The companies from the South East appear with businesses from around Britain, including BrewDog, the brewers, and fitness clothing brand Gymshark, both valued at more than £1 billion. Past star alumni include chip designer ARM, which featured in 1997 with sales of £16.7m and is in the process of being bought by American technology giant Nvidia for £31b, and drinks maker Fever-Tree, which floated in 2014 at £154m and is now worth £2.9b.

The Fast Track 100 is sponsored by Virgin Atlantic, BDO, DHL Express and N+1 Singer, and is compiled by Fast Track, the Oxford-based research and networking events firm.

Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Group, which has supported Fast Track 100 for all 24 years, said:

“While we are living in extremely uncertain and challenging times, there is one thing I am certain of: entrepreneurs are the dreamers, the doers, and the innovators that have the power to have a positive impact on society. There are so many inspiring examples of this on the Fast Track 100 league table showing this is just as true, if not more so, in 2020 as it ever has been.”

Private companies in the South East with the fastest-growing sales, by county and rank

HQ location

County

Rank

[2019 rank]

Company

Activity

3-year annual sales growth Sales £m Staff Year end Comment
Westham

East Sussex

25

[90]

Identity

Events agency

83% *20.4 75 Aug 20 Gained experience hosting virtual events when Storm Dennis hit the UK in February
Brighton

East Sussex

52

[22]

Boxpark

Retail and leisure developer

58% *15.9 165 Apr 20 Closed its three sites during the national lock-downs, but was open between July and October
Brighton

East Sussex

74

 

Clarity Environmental

Environmental compliance services

45% 35.5 21 Dec 19 Donated £17,000 to charities affected by the pandemic, including the Care Workers Charity
Harlow

Essex

36

 

Lazer Lamps

Automotive LED lights maker

69% *7.9 32 Jun 19 Motorsports teams such as McLaren and Toyota use its range of LED vehicle lights
Colchester

Essex

66

[68]

OMG How Cheap

Online stationery retailer

49% 9.5 37 Feb 20 Has increased staff numbers by 20 since March, to cope with extra demand
Wickford

Essex

70

 

White Stores

Garden furniture retailer

46% *23.3 40 Aug 20 Opened a new warehouse in September and took on an additional 40 people
Brentwood

Essex

93

 

Matchroom Sport

Sporting events promoter

40% 192.9 87 Jun 19 Its Covid-secure “Fight Camp” in August attracted professional boxers such as Dillian Whyte and Katie Taylor
Braintree

Essex

96

[99]

Airline Component Services

Aircraft parts supplier

40% *7.1 13 Mar 20 Saw its main market — supplying aircraft spares to airlines — heavily impacted from the spring
Farnborough

Hampshire

35

 

Ignition Technology

Software distributor

70% 28.7 32 Apr 20 Achieved record sales for its remote-access software when the country was first asked to work from home
Basingstoke

Hampshire

46

[59]

Reassured

Life insurance broker

61% *65.1 564 Jan 20 Has doubled its number of offices, opening four since June, to make a total of eight
St Albans

Hertfordshire

Top 3

 

Glencar Construction

Construction contractor

441% * †96.5 60 Sep 20 Is constructing the UK’s Covid-19 Vaccine Manufacturing and Innovation Centre in Oxfordshire
Tring

Hertfordshire

7

 

Huel

Nutrition brand

131% *71.6 120 Jul 20 Has recruited more than 30 staff since March, and launched its new “Hot & Savoury” range in September
Queenborough

Kent

60

[35]

Revolution Beauty

Beauty products retailer

55% *152.4 205 Dec 19 Online sales have soared by 250% since the coronavirus outbreak began, to £55m
Chipping Norton

Oxfordshire

51

 

Pareto Facilities Management

Facilities maintenance provider

59% *14.1 118 Sep 19 Donated 1,000 food parcels to the staff of London Zoo and Whipsnade Zoo over Easter
Camberley

Surrey

12

[4]

Performance54

Golf marketing agency

111% *12.7 28 Apr 20 Promoted Saudi Arabia’s first-ever ladies professional golf tournament, which took place last month
Farnham

Surrey

68

 

Symprove

Gut-health drinks maker

48% *7.5 32 Dec 19 Reported a record 50% rise in customers in May compared with 2019
Windlesham

Surrey

82

[65]

Nurture Landscapes

Landscape maintenance

43% *79.0 1,170 Mar 20 Set up a zero-interest loan fund during the pandemic for employees in financial difficulty
Ockley

Surrey

92

 

SIAN Wholesale

Consumer goods wholesaler

41% 49.1 34 Dec 19 Chose not to raise the price on hand soap and sanitiser, its most sought-after products
Crawley

West Sussex

33

 

South Cliff Dental Group

Dental practice operator

72% *7.1 150 Mar 20 Four of its practices became urgent care hubs treating emergency dental patients in the spring

‡ Financial year-end of latest available accounts   * Supplied by the company   † Annualised figure

The national picture

This year’s Fast Track 100 achieved, on average, sales growth of 73% a year over three years to a combined total of £4.4b. The companies are all profitable, and together they employ 32,000 staff, having more than tripled their combined workforce over the period.

Geographical spread: The region with the most company HQs is London (31), followed by the South East (19). The third most dominant region is the north of England – 18 companies are based there, with 10 in the North West and eight in Yorkshire and the North East. There are 16 companies based in the midlands, five in Scotland, five in the east of England, three in the South West, two in Wales, and one in Northern Ireland.

The full league table is published on December 6 as an eight-page supplement with the business section of The Sunday Times, both in print and in the digital edition, and on www.fasttrack.co.uk.