Special feature: The BIG 50

Welcome to Lancashire Business View's BIG 50, a unique snapshot of the county's leading businesses, ranked by turnover, expertly compiled by Haworths Chartered Accountants. Mindful of the turnover/profit/cash maxim, this is, however, no vanity parade. These businesses generate jobs, and wealth, within the county, and their activities cascade to create and support a myriad of supply chain activities. They are a key component of the county's economy, and these are the BIG 50.
BIG 50 with logos

Jason Gledhill , area director, HSBC


We are proud to be involved in the sponsorship of the Lancashire Business View Big 50, and in recognising the important role these businesses in Lancashire play. They are not just doing business in this fine County; these are firms with links across the UK, throughout Europe and around the world. They are ambitious, keen to grow and driven to reach and even surpass their potential. Their activities feedback to bring custom, wealth and income to the region, and the importance of that can't be overstated.

Lancashire may well be a small area geographically, but we are certainly more than that economically. Lancashire PLC continues to grow. We continue to perform in this low-rate environment – we are balanced from a technology, industrial and service perspective, evolving to ever increasing international demands.

They are looking beyond the borders of Europe, into the Far East, and while it is disappointing that the recent statistics show exports from the North West have fallen it is vital that companies in the North West continue to look for opportunities in these emerging markets, where HSBC is forecasting much stronger growth in UK exports over the coming decades. This includes China, where the value of British exports will increase fivefold in the years out to 2030.

Recent times have brought challenges from within the UK, from Europe and across the world, but Lancashire businesses are facing any perceived adversity head-on. Many Lancashire businesses tell us that they like their suppliers to be local and reflecting this HSBC has invested in now offering Corporate Banking services from Preston to support corporates seeking out financing.

Borrowing costs are low. Lancashire businesses are more confident / cautiously optimistic and the consensus is they expect to see a rate rise in 12 months’ time rather than 3 months’ time. They are seizing opportunities and are expertly managed, many learning from the recent years’ challenges. 2015 could be a great year for Lancashire business.


Simon Jordan, director, Themis

3 Simon Jordan (1)

As a national award winning Apprenticeship and training provider, Themis are delighted to sponsor this year's BIG 50. This sponsorship reflects the common thread between this network of leading organisations and our aspiration to help clients embed excellence within their business operations.

It is important to recognise the businesses that are really making waves in the region in terms of growth and the impact they have on the region's economic wellbeing. These businesses set the standard for those aiming to be at the forefront of innovation in the future, whether that's an Apprentice just out of school, an aspiring business leader or someone looking to further develop their career.

We are an Apprenticeship and training partner to many of the businesses featured in this year's list, and work with such clients to provide the relevant training for growth and innovation, propelling them forward through best practice approaches.

The BIG 50 (and indeed those inspiring to follow in their footsteps) are the engines of job creation and innovation and hold a significant impact on our region's economic wellbeing.

We look forward to being part of this network and celebrating the successes of these leading organisations.


Mark Schofield, director, Haworths Chartered Accountants

mark schofieldLancashire is a manufacturing county and this increasing level of business confidence is principally caused by the huge demand for engineering linked with aerospace and automotive and the increasing trend for work to come back from India and China, known as re-shoring.

When we look at the BIG 50 we see total sales and employment for the BIG 50 are more or less the same but profitability is significantly up. Perhaps most telling when we reviewed the key risks section of the directors reports we repeatedly see the directors expressing their increasing confidence in the future of their business.

All of this is bringing a substantial skills shortage. This shortage is across the board and will become worse before it gets better. On the other side of Morecambe Bay we find Sellafield, BAE Systems at Barrow and GSK at Ulverston.  At Sellafield there is to be built three nuclear reactors, BAE Systems are currently engaged in a £300m project top prepare for the Vanguard replacement programme and GSK are already underway with their new chemical plant at Ulverston.

The result will be increasing salaries which will be substantially spent in the North West which will in turn improve prospects of every business.

The future is looking bright but we need to deal with the skills crisis.

[protected message="REGISTER FOR LBV HUB BELOW TO DOWNLOAD THE BIG 50"][cta link="http://www.lancashirebusinessview.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/BIG-50-listing.pdf"]DOWNLOAD THE BIG 50[/cta][/protected] Amendments: In issue 60 of Lancashire Business View, January/February 2015, there were two errors on the printed BIG 50 table. Danbro Holdings at 21 in fact posted a pre-tax profit of £3,395,000, NOT a loss, with Daniel Thwaites a place below at 22 in fact posting a loss of £3,800,000, NOT a profit. Bugle Inn Motor Company at 34 in fact posted a pre-tax profit of £700,000, NOT a loss, with Bachy Soletanche a place above at 33 in fact posting a loss of £9,847,000, NOT a profit.