Saturday, January 16, 2021

Six Yorkshire firms included among Britain’s fastest growing private companies

Six Yorkshire companies have won places on a COVID-19 edition of the league table of Britain’s fastest-growing private companies.

Combined, the sales for the six companies – down from eight last year – have grown by an average of 79% a year over three years to a total of £437 million, all are profitable, and together they employ over 5,800 people.

The figures on the 24th annual Sunday Times Virgin Atlantic Fast Track 100 league table largely relate to financial periods before the pandemic struck.

The region’s top-ranked company is Bluefin Trading, based in Hebden Bridge, which has grown sales 102% a year to £10.7 million in 2019. The company was founded in 2013 by managing director Will Vaughan and Charlotte Smith and sells exercise equipment and portable fridges online. It says that orders for its stand-up paddleboards from March to July this year were up by more than 200% on last year.

Another new entrant is York-based VetPartners (No 20), launched in 2015 by chief executive Jo Malone, 45, who is a qualified vet, and led a £720 million buyout backed by private equity firm BC Partners in 2018. The company runs more than 500 practices, and is the largest employer on the league table with 4,422 staff. Its sales have grown 87% a year to reach £349 million in the year to June.

Private companies in Yorkshire with the fastest-growing sales, by county and rank

HQ location

County

Rank

[2019 rank]

Company

Activity

3-year annual sales growth Sales £m Staff Year end Comment
York

North Yorkshire

20 VetPartners

Veterinary practices

87% *349.0 5,422 Jun 20 Temporarily closed a quarter of its 500 clinics at the start of the pandemic
York

North Yorkshire

59 Business Waste

Waste management broker

55% *10.2 61 Dec 19 Has gained more than 3,000 clients for its waste management services since April
Hebden Bridge

West Yorkshire

15

[15]

Bluefin Trading

Sports equipment supplier

102% *13.6 10 Dec 19 Sales have spiked during the pandemic and it has doubled its headcount to 19
Dewsbury

West Yorkshire

62

[18]

Brisant Secure

Lock and handle supplier

53% *12.7 43 Dec 19 Furloughed 95% of staff in the spring, but when they returned in July, the company had its best sales week ever
Keighley

West Yorkshire

63 Harrison Bathrooms

Bathroom wholesaler

50% †18.6 69 Dec 19 Its July sales reached an all-time high as housebound customers invested in home improvements
Batley

West Yorkshire

64 Easy Bathrooms

Bathroom retailer

50% 33.3 217 Nov 19 Opened nearly 20 new showrooms after the initial lockdown restrictions were lifted in June

The Fast Track 100 is sponsored by Virgin Atlantic, BDO, DHL Express and N+1 Singer, and is compiled by Fast Track, the Oxford-based research and networking events firm.

Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Group, which has supported Fast Track 100 for all 24 years, said: “While we are living in extremely uncertain and challenging times, there is one thing I am certain of: entrepreneurs are the dreamers, the doers, and the innovators that have the power to have a positive impact on society.

“There are so many inspiring examples of this on the Fast Track 100 league table showing this is just as true, if not more so, in 2020 as it ever has been.”

The full league table is published on 6 December as an 8-page supplement with the business section of The Sunday Times, both in print and in the digital edition, and by clicking or tapping here.

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