Revealed: Lancashire’s most profitable SMEs

By Holly_LBV

18 Jul 2018

The independent business magazine’s much anticipated Hot 100 list of the county’s most profitable SMEs was revealed before an invited audience at a special breakfast at Barton Grange, near Preston.

The Hot 100 audience gathered to celebrate the achievements of the county’s top SMEs heard Clive Hurt explain how he started his plant hire business 46 years ago with a “very second-hand” bulldozer he bought for £840.

Total pre-tax profit of these businesses has also moved in the right direction – from £172,536,502 in 2017 to £188,311,938.

Since 2014 the total number of jobs generated by companies on Lancashire Business view’s Hot 100 list has risen by 867 – however compared with 2016, the peak year for employee numbers, the figure has fallen by 587.

Since 2014 the Hot 100 has seen total sales increase by £283m, and total profit before tax rise by an impressive £53m.

The research shows that of the companies in the Hot 100 that have disclosed their exports the total turnover from overseas sales is £228,752,258. This equates to 14 per cent of total sales.

The issue of women in key positions looks to remain a challenge. Our research reveals that of the 341 directors represented in the list, just 53 are women.

Lancashire Business View publisher Richard Slater said: “Once again the Hot 100 puts the focus firmly on the many success stories we have here in the county and underlines the resilience and determination of our vitally important SMEs.

Mark Schofield, director at Haworths Chartered Accountants, said continuing confidence within Lancashire was principally being driven by engineering centred on aerospace.

Prof Simon Bolton, associate dean for enterprise and employability at Edge Hill University, added: “The Northern Powerhouse needs to deliver on its promises if SMEs are going to achieve economic growth.

And Chris Mackenzie, HSBC deputy head of corporate banking in Lancashire and Cumbria, said: “The final figures for 2017 aren’t yet in, but anecdotal reports suggest that it was a good year for Lancashire’s manufacturers and exporters, who were able to take advantage of sterling’s depreciation and the strengthening of demand in major overseas markets.”

Hot 100 rules of engagement

Haworths Chartered Accountants compiled a league table of the top 100 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Lancashire, ranked by pre-tax profit. Figures were compiled using the latest data publicly available from Tracker with additional research based on accounts filed at Companies House. The criteria used for identifying an SME were based on the Companies Act 2006. To qualify as an SME the company must satisfy two or more of the following: turnover of not more than £25.9m, balance sheet total of not more than £12.9m and not more than 250 employees.

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