South East: 41 companies feature in Top Track 250

Published this weekend, the 15th annual Sunday Times Grant Thornton Top Track 250 league table ranks Britain’s private mid-market growth companies with the biggest sales.

The 41 companies headquartered in the South East (compared to 38 in 2018) have made a strong contribution to the regional economy. These companies increased combined sales 15% to £9.1 billion and operating profits 39% to £769 million, and employ more than 58,000 people.

The company to have appeared most frequently on the league table is budget hotel operator Travelodge, with 14 appearances. Based in Thame, Oxfordshire, it operates more than 580 hotels and employs 7,200 people across the UK, Ireland and Spain. Its sales rose 9% to £693m in 2018.

There are 23 entrants in the southeast that were not on the league table last year, including sporting events promoter Matchroom Sport; Sussex-based Brighton & Hove Albion FC; and waste management services firm Grundon, headquartered in Oxfordshire.

The companies in the South East appear with businesses from around the UK, including Mountain Warehouse, Princess Yachts, PureGym and David Lloyd Leisure.

The Top Track 250 is sponsored by Grant Thornton and Lloyds Banking Group, and compiled by Fast Track, the Oxford-based research and networking events firm.

Jim Rogers, partner at Grant Thornton UK LLP, the title sponsor of the league table, praised the companies for their performance: Whilst the headwinds of political and economic uncertainty have been a consistent feature of the UK economy over the past year, mid-market firms have continued to prove their resilience. They’ve demonstrated their adaptability to uncertain times and found opportunities for growth, both at home and abroad.”

Ordered by county and rank: Mid-market private growth companies in the southeast

 

HQ location County Rank

[2018 rank]

Company

Activity

Sales £m Profit £m^ Staff Year end Main shareholders
Reading
Berkshire
73 CH&Co Group
Catering group
286 9 6,211 Dec 18 Management (>50%), Equistone Partners (<50%)
Reading
Berkshire
112 Huntswood
Customer services provider
221 28 226 Sep 18 David Brownlow (69%), management (31%)
Slough
Berkshire
172
[227]
IRIS Software Group
Business software developer
*162 *79 1,388 Apr 19 HgCapital (c50%), Intermediate Capital Group (c50%)
Milton Keynes
Buckinghamshire
31 Steven Eagell
Car dealer
427 10 830 Dec 18 Steven Eagell (85%), management (15%)
Little Chalfont
Buckinghamshire
127
[183]
The Entertainer
Toy retailer
*204 *15 1,937 Jan 19 Grant family (100%)
High Wycombe
Buckinghamshire
167
[205]
InHealth
Diagnostic services provider
165 4 1,797 Sep 18 The Damask Trust (100%)
Eastbourne
East Sussex
52
[59]
The Little Group
Media wholesaler
338 17 1,218 Feb 18 Jonathan Little (30%), Andrew Little (30%), Yvette Stafford (30%), Alan & Jean Little (10%)
Brighton
East Sussex
206 Brighton and Hove Albion FC
Football club
139 31 305 Jun 18 Anthony Bloom (94%), others (6%)
Waltham Abbey
Essex
22
[38]
Hill
Housebuilder
502 48 503 Dec 18 Hill family (95.5%), employee trust and management (4.5%)
Basildon
Essex
148 Toomey Group
Car dealer
183 8 448 Dec 18 Michael Toomey (100%)
Romford
Essex
160
[230]
Readie Construction
Construction contractor
173 7 142 Mar 19 Stuart Read (49%), Paul Stephens (35%), management (16%)
Dagenham
Essex
164
[176]
APP Wholesale
Plumbing wholesaler
167 6 159 Jul 18 Allan Pierce (100%)
Harwich
Essex
188
[241]
Flying Trade Group
Conglomerate
153 11 815 Dec 18 Suki Dulai (42.5%), Chandan Dulai (32.4%), Kewal Dulai (25.1%)
Brentwood
Essex
200 Matchroom Sport
Sporting events promoter
*145 *30 90 Jun 19 Hearn family (100%)
Chelmsford
Essex
208 Saxton 4X4
Car dealer
*138 *7 109 Jun 19 Alan Austin (50%), Janice Austin (50%)
Billericay
Essex
238 Ground Control
Grounds maintenance services
120 10 782 Mar 19 Simon Morrish (64%), Chris Bawtree (8%), Philip Trehern (8%), management (20%)
Havant
Hampshire
98
[107]
Fat Face
Clothing retailer
238 30 2,705 Jun 18 Bridgepoint & syndicates (89%), current and previous management (11%)
Farnborough
Hampshire
192 EBB Paper
Paper and board merchant
149 4 284 Dec 18 Jeremy Elliott (36%), Tim Elliott (36%), Elliott family (28%)
Totton
Hampshire
205 Millbrook Group
Furniture manufacturer
141 7 1,085 Jun 18 Croll family (100%)
Tadley
Hampshire
218 Bewley Homes
Housebuilder
133 17 136 Sep 18 The Patricia Settlement Trust (100%)
Southampton
Hampshire
207 CLC Group
Painting and maintenance contractor
139 11 1,021 Dec 18 Hilbre Holdings Limited
Hatfield
Hertfordshire
24
[42]
David Lloyd Leisure
Health club operator
483 65 5,620 Dec 18 TDR Capital (>50%), management (<50%)
Harpenden
Hertfordshire
137
[190]
Churchill Contract Services
Facilities services provider
*192 *9 11,407 Jun 19 Joel Briggs (29%), Philip Moxom (29%), Caroline Briggs (18%), Sarah Moxom (18%), employee benefit trust (6%)
Borehamwood
Hertfordshire
169
[225]
Durkan
Building developer and contractor
165 11 182 Nov 18 The Camden K Trust (52.52%), The Hadley Trust (47.48%)
Hitchin
Hertfordshire
189 HG Construction
Construction services
153 13 75 Dec 18 Chris Benham (50%), Kevin Quinn (50%)
Borehamwood
Hertfordshire
193 Masterson Holdings
Building contractor
149 11 285 Aug 18 Michael Masterson (47%), Mona Masterson (27%), Michael Masterson Trust (26%)
Royston
Hertfordshire
211 Welding Alloys
Alloy Welder
137 6 956 Dec 18 Catherine Stekly & Derek Fray (55.4%), Catherine Stekly (25.4%), BIM Invest (19.2%)
Watford
Hertfordshire
226 Medivet
Veterinary practices
128 5 1,967 Apr 18 Richard Leonard (16%), Arnold Levy (16%), Guy Carter (9%), Inflexion (<50%), management and employees (<50%)
Canterbury
Kent
33
[44]
Thor Group
Chemicals manufacturer
423 61 1,454 Dec 18 Eurotrust (62%), 3i (27%), other (11%)
Dover
Kent
116 Megger
Electrical products manufacturer
218 23 1,328 Nov 18 TBG AG (100%)
Addington
Kent
126 Big Motoring World
Car dealer
206 8 230 Dec 18 Pete Waddell (68%), Trustees of Jack Waddell estate (20%), John Bailey (12%)
Dartford
Kent
153
[218]
Europa Worldwide
Logistics provider
*180 *5 663 Dec 18 Andrew Baxter (85%), management (15%)
Borough Green
Kent
156 Richard Hochfeld
Fruit importer and farmer
179 4 64 Jun 18 Alan Guindi (67%), Christian Guindi (33%)
Yiewsley
Middlesex
235 Shorterm Group
Recruitment consultancy
124 5 112 Dec 17 Growth Capital Partners (100%)
Thame
Oxfordshire
Top 3
[8]
Travelodge
Budget hotel operator
693 61 7,210 Dec 18 Institutional investors (>50%), management (<50%)
Witney
Oxfordshire
70
[141]
Audley Travel
Tour operator
*291 *‡34 574 Dec 18 3i (>50%), management (<50%)
Benson
Oxfordshire
245 Grundon
Waste management services
118 6 858 Sep 18 Grundon Family & trust (100%)
Leatherhead
Surrey
44
[74]
HH Global
Marketing services provider
*377 *16 1,051 Mar 19 Robert MacMillan (54%), Sanne Trust (45%), others (1%)
Guildford
Surrey
113
[140]
Solventis
Solvent distributor
220 6 45 Dec 18 David Lubbock (100%)
Woking
Surrey
132 James Walker Group
Sealing and railway systems
*199 *8 2,020 Mar 19 Management (12.5%), other shareholders (87.5%)
Caterham
Surrey
140 Croudace Homes
Housebuilder
189 23 284 Dec 18 Brotherton-Ratcliffe family (100%)

 

^ Profit = operating profit  * Supplied by the company ‡ Profit = EBITDA

The national picture

The Sunday Times Grant Thornton Top Track 250 complements the Top Track 100, published in July, which features Britain’s private companies with the biggest sales. It ranks the next 250-biggest companies by sales, provided they meet our growth and profitability criteria (see below). The 250 companies grew combined sales by 16% to £63.4b, operating profits by 22% to £6b and employees by 11% to 373,000.

The 250 companies are headquartered across the country. London is home to 68 companies and the southeast 41. The Northeast and Yorkshire has 35, Northwest 29, West Midlands 22, Scotland 16, East Midlands 12, Southwest 9, East 8, Wales 7 and Northern Ireland has 3.

www.fasttrack.co.uk