Special feature: The Fab 500

The phrase ‘turnover is vanity, profit is sanity’ is not lost on us!
However, when it comes to reckoning the value to Lancashire of its biggest players, there is a solid argument for listing in this fashion.
Regardless of profit, the businesses in our Fab 500 are responsible for significant contributions to direct, indirect and supply-chain employment and to the general economic wellbeing of the county.
Welcome to the 2014 edition of the Fab 500.

Richard Slater, Publisher

fab500slider

Mark SchofieldMark Schofield, Haworths Chartered Accountants

“Welcome to the second edition of the Fab 500 compiled and prepared by Haworths, Chartered Accountants.

With this survey we try to identify the economic drivers of Lancashire. We use the annual sales figure as the indicator and link the pre-tax profit and number of employees with that figure. We believe it is as important to know if a large business is struggling as it is to be reassured it is trading at a good profit. As you can see the number of employees whose own economic wellbeing is directly tied in with these companies is very large, to say nothing of all the people involved in the supply chain.

Any survey of the economic drivers of Lancashire ought to include British Aerospace which dominates the region, but BAe is such a large company we cannot find a specific company which includes only the Lancashire companies. Other companies, which have a Registered Office in Lancashire, operate nationally and so their ranking in this survey, which seeks to identify Lancashire companies, is probably overstated. So, like most surveys of this type it must be used with caution.

All that said we can see the Fab 500 are responsible for total sales of £27bn, (2012 £23bn), generate profit before tax of £1bn, (£1.1bn) and employ in the order of 150,000 people, (143,000). In other words sales seem to have increased by some £4bn, total profit before tax is similar and the number of employees is up by 7,000.  We are told there is still an issue with productivity in the national economy and maybe these figures support that. We can see an increase in sales but total profits remain about the same despite an increase in the number of employees.

Also, when I look down the list of profits and losses before tax, I see some very large individual company losses which are reducing the overall profit figure. Hopefully, as our economy strengthens, we will see less of this.”

Taylor, Sue - Principal, Accrington and Rossendale College - LBV50, 2013Sue Taylor, Accrington and Rossendale College

“Lancashire is home to an array of high quality businesses and the Fab 500 illustrates some of the great local companies that have significant impact on boosting our region’s economy in terms of revenue, profitability and employment.

The Fab 500 is responsible for a turnover of almost £22bn and employs over 134,000 people throughout Lancashire, clearly displaying that they are economic drivers for the county despite the challenging climate.

As a college we have worked in partnership with many of these companies, seeing their enthusiasm, professionalism and dedication first hand.

Companies that invest in staff training and development and lead the way with apprenticeships and work-based learning, are the ones that have the flexibility and innovation to overcome and triumph through testing times.

Working in partnership with companies is a key focus for the college, not just for students but also for the benefit of our community.

We aim to reflect the needs of the community in the courses we offer to individuals and employers, and also build a strong future for our region by encouraging ambition, aspiration and achievement in all of our learners.

We work closely with businesses to understand their needs, so that we can develop students to fulfil their requirements, aspiring to make every student highly employable.

As principal of Accrington and Rossendale College, seeing the dedication of the businesses in the Fab 500 and our future workforce, I feel optimistic and enthusiastic about the future of Lancashire and its economy.”

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