South East: Companies feature in International Track 200

Published this weekend, the 11th annual Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200 league table ranks Britain’s mid-market private companies with the fastest-growing international sales.

The 36 companies headquartered in the South East include 10 new entrants to the league table. These regional stars have grown their international sales by an average of 58% a year over the last two years to a total of £1.4 billion. Together they employ more than 20,000 people.

The region’s top-ranked company is Kingsbury (No.9), which supplies the manufacturing sector with cleaning equipment and machine tools. Its international sales grew an average of 173% per year over two years to £5.4m in 2018, on total sales of £86.8m.

Havant, in Hampshire, is home to clothing retailer FatFace – which features for the first time with international sales of £15.7m in 2019, growing an average of 44% over two years, on total sales of £241.5m. The company has more than 240 shops across Britain, and is expanding in America where it now has 22 stores.

West Sussex-based books and media reseller World of Books features on the league table for the fourth time. The circular economy company recycles or resells more than 85m used books bought from charities or consumers every year. Its international sales grew an average of 41% per year over its last two years.

The companies in the Southeast appear alongside well-known British brands based across the UK including Mountain Warehouse, which opened 21 shops abroad last year; BrewDog, which was valued at £1b in 2017 and now has nearly 100 bars worldwide; and Charlotte Tilbury Beauty, the London-based cosmetics and skincare brand, which ships to 76 markets.

International Track 200 star alumni include Skyscanner, Specsavers, Lush and Endava – which first featured on the league table in 2012 with exports of £3.6m, floated on the NYSE in 2018 and is now valued at more than $2.5b.

The league table programme is sponsored by HSBC, DHL Express and Oracle NetSuite, and compiled by Fast Track, the Oxford-based research and networking events firm.

Amanda Murphy, head of commercial banking, HSBC UK, commented: The Sunday Times International Track 200 shows the strength, ambition and resilience of companies across the UK and we are delighted to be sponsoring again this year. At HSBC UK, we take great pride in recognising the contribution these businesses are making to driving growth across the UK. The 10 new entrants in Southeast are making a significant contribution to employment, driving prosperity and growth and are the sort of businesses we are pleased to support every day.” 

Private companies in the Southeast with the fastest-growing international sales – ordered by county then rank

HQ location and county Rank

[2019 rank]

Company

Activity

Average annual int’l sales growth over 2 yrs Int’l sales (£m) Total sales (£m) Staff Year end Comment
Marston Moretaine, Bedfordshire 77

[100]

AC Group

Construction services provider

54% 41.0 54.1 76 Mar 19 Working on data centres and office fit-outs across Europe
Wokingham, Berkshire 29 Invenio Business Solutions

IT consultancy

96% 20.4 33.0 727 Mar 19 Winning contracts with tax authorities in Fiji and the Middle East boosted overseas sales
Hurley, Berkshire 49

[101]

Wireless Logic

Technology platform provider

70% *18.8 *67.4 154 Apr 19 Acquired one French and two Dutch ‘Internet of Things’ connectivity providers last year
Bracknell, Berkshire 74 Redwood Technologies Group

Communications technology provider

56% 8.3 31.3 198 Dec 18 Its communication platform is used by hundreds of Japanese call centres
Reading, Berkshire 84

[56]

Austin Fraser

Recruitment consultancy

52% 25.2 64.9 179 Feb 19 Opened offices in Hamburg and San Diego last year
High Wycombe, Bucks 66 Slush Puppie UK

Frozen drinks distributor

60% 10.2 33.8 142 Dec 18 Says it has sold more than 175bn Slush Puppie cups in Europe since 1974
Milton Keynes, Bucks 68

[51]

Niftylift

Lift manufacturer

59% 93.8 117.4 512 Dec 18 Sells through a dealer network spanning more than 60 countries
High Wycombe, Bucks 76

[47]

Origin

Door and window manufacturer

55% 3.9 38.7 272 Dec 18 Manufactures hurricane-resistant doors and windows at its facility in Florida
Uckfield,

East Sussex

69 Pureprint Group

Printing services provider

59% 9.7 56.0 421 Dec 18 Printed 350,000 tickets and 45,000 programmes for the 2018 Ryder Cup in France
Brighton,

East Sussex

192

[61]

Capital Hair and Beauty

Hair products wholesaler

31% 4.0 53.9 516 Dec 18 Has made two acquisitions in Ireland, where it has five stores
Witham,

Essex

24

[142]

Beta Pharmaceuticals

Pharmaceuticals wholesaler

105% 5.7 40.2 83 Sep 18 Tanzania, the founder’s native country, is a key export market
Harwich,

Essex

43

[52]

Flying Trade Group

Conglomerate

76% 19.6 152.6 815 Dec 18 Its world food products cater to Asian, Caribbean, African and Polish communities
Colchester, Essex 113

[80]

BULK POWDERS

Sports nutrition brand

45% 22.5 43.1 164 Dec 18 Opened a distribution centre in Poland last year to supply customers in mainland Europe
Witham,

Essex

136 Simarco

Logistics services provider

41% 6.2 57.1 310 Dec 18 Delivers 250,000 consignments to 40 destinations across Europe every year
Gosport, Hampshire 9 Kingsbury

Machine tools wholesaler

173% 5.4 86.8 308 Dec 18 Set up a subsidiary in Dubai in 2018 to supply the Gulf region with machine tools
Hamble, Hampshire 53 Ancasta Group

Boat retailer

67% 13.5 30.8 76 Aug 18 Sells yachts and powerboats from locations in Marseille, Mallorca, Andalucia and Barcelona
Basingstoke, Hampshire 83 Adare International

Marketing services provider

52% 143.8 191.4 588 Dec 18 Has expanded across Latin America and now has operations in 65 locations worldwide
Eastleigh, Hampshire 90 Selwood

Pump manufacturer

51% 8.2 83.7 573 Dec 18 Its pumps have been supplied to the Paris Métro expansion project
Havant, Hampshire 118 FatFace

Clothing retailer

44% *15.7 *241.5 2,830 Jun 19 Its founders sold T-shirts to skiers in the French Alps before opening a London shop
Segensworth, Hampshire 128 Vohkus

Technology provider

42% *†9.3 *†97.7 141 Jun 19 Norwegian cruise ship operator Fred. Olsen is among its international clients
Portsmouth, Hampshire 200

[175]

CT Automotive

Automotive parts supplier

29% 58.6 86.9 2,668 Dec 18 Supplies parts for 70% of electric vehicles produced for the global market
Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire 65

[31]

Brogan GroupScaffolding contractor 60% 12.6 34.0 532 Dec 18 Has provided scaffolding to help build the 2020 World Expo in Dubai and ESB’s HQ in Dublin
Hertford, Hertfordshire 92

[54]

Smyle

Creative agency

50% 16.6 26.6 74 Mar 19 Created a brand experience for Facebook at the World Economic Forum
Queenborough, Kent 51

[34]

Revolution Beauty

Beauty products retailer

69% 76.3 112.6 180 Dec 18 Fans queued up for hours to buy its beauty products when it launched in Australia last year
Dartford,

Kent

73 Dormole

Tool distributor

57% 26.0 232.9 990 Dec 18 Acquired two Irish distributors for an undisclosed sum in 2018
Lenham,

Kent

143 Simms International

IT distributor

40% 10.5 34.4 30 Dec 18 Ships more than 3m products a year all over the world
Dover,

Kent

161

[198]

Priority Freight

Logistics services provider

36% *56.6 *80.1 197 Dec 18 Delivered 600kg of aircraft landing equipment from Toronto to Athens in just two days
Witney, Oxfordshire 58 Audley Travel

Tour operator

66% 74.8 291.2 800 Dec 18 Demand from American travellers has grown after it opened an office in Boston in 2014
Oxford, Oxfordshire 59

[93]

Oxford EconomicsEconomic research consultancy 65% 18.8 39.2 247 Jul 18 Compiles economic forecasts for more than 7,000 cities and regions worldwide
Banbury, Oxfordshire 91

[116]

Silbury

Food ingredients supplier

50% 6.2 58.9 35 Oct 18 Has a stake in Portuguese tomato processor HIT Group
Wantage, Oxfordshire 132 Purdicom

Wireless network provider

41% 3.2 31.2 57 Dec 18 Says it is the largest distributor in the EMEA region for California firm Ruckus Wireless
Ockley,

Surrey

48

[158]

SIAN WholesaleConsumer goods supplier 71% 23.5 40.7 28 Dec 18 Exports more than 4,000 products to 65 countries
Reigate,

Surrey

82

[127]

ACC Aviation

Aviation services provider

53% 129.8 135.3 41 Dec 18 Helped fly hundreds of fans to Madrid for the UEFA Champions League final last year
Woking,

Surrey

157

[88]

Ambassador Theatre Group

Live entertainment operator

36% 235.2 443.2 5,414 Mar 19 Operates more than 10 venues in America and five in Germany
Guildford, Surrey 188 Solventis

Solvent distributor

31% 165.7 219.5 45 Dec 18 Operates a state-of-the-art storage, blending and distribution facility in Antwerp
Goring by Sea,West Sussex 131 World of Books

Books and media reseller

41% 22.9 64.0 568 Oct 18 Recycles or resells more than 85m books a year and exports to over 190 countries

*Supplied by company            † Annualised figure

The national picture

The average international sales growth for the 200 companies was 64% a year, to a total of £10.3b on combined total sales of £22.1b. Together they employ 124,000 staff, having added 38,000 employees to their workforce over the period.

London is the most popular location for company headquarters with 79, followed by the southeast (36). There are 19 companies in the northwest, and 18 in the northeast (including Yorkshire). Of the remainder, 15 companies are based in the Midlands, 11 in the southwest, eight in Scotland, seven in the East of England, four in Northern Ireland and three in Wales.