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The UK’s fastest growing private companies: The Hot 100 2015

For the 17th year, the Real Business Hot 100 returns – bringing with it the centurion club of the most impressive private companies in Britain when it comes to turnover and profit growth.
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We’re very excited to unveil this year’s community of fast-growth companies, it really is a reflection of how diverse the landscape of British business is.

UPDATE: Check out our updated 2016 edition of The Hot 100 – the latest batch of fastest growing private companies

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Using information from Companies House, in partnership with Jordans, The Hot 100 is based on compound growth rates measured over a four-year period. Put simply, this is the single rate at which the starting value would have to grow each year to reach the final value.

To be featured in the ranking, the latest accounts needed to show sales of more than £10m and EBITDA of more than £1m. All were to be in the private sphere and actively trading, accounts had to be filed in the past two years and a credit rating available. We also did not consider, holding companies, property portfolios or investment firms.

Detailed individual features have been created by the Real Business team for each company featured, where you’ll also be able to find out the most recent turnover and EBITDA figures – as well as where it was based, when it was founded and who’s in charge of operations.

Below we’ve got the grand unveil video, giving a snapshot of what this year has revealed. (Video produced by Shoot You Video Production: enabling companies to harness the power of video and animation).

To shed more light on what the figures show, we’ve produced individual pieces analysing sector breakdown, which regions are flourishing and some other takeaway thoughts.

(1) Whitworths

A business now over 125 years-old, Whitworths is a provider of dried fruit, nuts and seeds that has achieved impressive growth though supplying major supermarkets such as Tesco and Sainsbury’s – and is now shaking up the way it handles factory operations to further boost turnover.

Industry/sector: Food and drink

Three-year compound growth rate (%): 235.69

Read the full profile on Whitworths, including complete turnover and profit figures.

(2) ESP Systex

Climbing up the ranks having hit number three in the Hot 100 2014, ESP Systex, which develops smart solutions for the likes of TfL, is in at number two.

Industry/sector: Outsourcing

Three-year compound growth rate (%): 109.77

Read the full profile on ESP Systex, including complete turnover and profit figures.

(3) Hamiltons Galleries

From Irving Penn to Helmut Newton, and from Annie Leibovitz to Herb Ritts, Hamilton Galleries has showcased some of the most important photographers of the 20th and 21st century and is showing that masterpieces can be bought for thousands, rather than millions.

Industry/sector: Retail and related services

Three-year compound growth rate (%): 108.36

Read the full profile on Hamiltons Galleries, including complete turnover and profit figures.

(4) LSE Retail Group

Importing from the Far East as well as buying stock from British lighting companies has created a diverse revenue stream for trade-focused supplier LSE Retail Group – which is dispatching in excess of 500,000 orders a year from its distribution centre.

Industry/sector: Retail and related services

Three-year compound growth rate (%): 88.7

Read the full profile on LSE Retail Group, including complete turnover and profit figures.

(5) Acturis Group

As the first pure technology play in this year’s Hot 100, Acturis is centred on the insurance market and is working to bring greater efficiency in what is a huge global market.

Industry/sector: IT, software and telecoms

Three-year compound growth rate (%): 83.99

Read the full profile on Acturis Group, including complete turnover and profit figures.

(6) Clipper Contracting Group

As a business led by a team with a quarter of a century operating in the recruitment sector, Clipper is tapping into the trend of more temporary workers and provides services relating to wage administration and organisation.

Industry/sector: Outsourcing

Three-year compound growth rate (%): 81.22

Read the full profile on Clipper Contracting Group, including complete turnover and profit figures.

(7) JB Global

While companies such as MADE, Loaf or MyDeco have moved into the furniture ecommerce space in recent years, JB Global has been a resident since 2002 having started life on eBay – and now owns three well-known brands.

Industry/sector: Retail and related services

Three-year compound growth rate (%): 77.75

Read the full profile on JB Global, including complete turnover and profit figures.

(8) Plan B Healthcare

Another recruitment-based business in the top ten of this year’s Hot 100, Plan B Healthcare has carved out a niche in the nursing space and deals with a combination of NHS, private, care home and even prison clients.

Industry/sector: Recruitment

Three-year compound growth rate (%): 69.9

Read the full profile on Plan B Healthcare, including complete turnover and profit figures.

(9) The Design Museum

Nestled on the bank of the River Thames, The Design Museum showcases innovation from decades of world and British history and is showing what kind of business can be built by harnessing local and overseas interest.

Industry/sector: Leisure and travel

Three-year compound growth rate (%): 68.62

Read the full profile on The Design Museum, including complete turnover and profit figures.

(10) E-Act

Under David Cameron’s coalition, and now majority governments, a big focus has been placed on academy schools. This is where E-Act comes in, providing sponsorship, management and maintenance to the growing stock.

Industry/sector: Miscellaneous

Three-year compound growth rate (%): 68.39

Read the full profile on E-Act, including complete turnover and profit figures.

(11) 3FiveTwo Medical

As the highest placed of three Northern Ireland-based businesses in Hot 100, 3FiveTwo Medical has achieved impressive revenue and profit growth by focusing on customer service and providing the full cycle of diagnosis, education and treatment for patients.

Industry/sector: Pharmaceuticals, medical and related services

Three-year compound growth rate (%): 67.24

Read the full profile on 3FiveTwo Medical, including complete turnover and profit figures.

(12) Huntswood CTC

Securing the custom of banks, building societies, insurers and small retail firms, Huntswood CTC takes an entrepreneurial approach to retail conduct risk and was once a portfolio company of major investment firm 3i.

Industry/sector: Outsourcing

Three-year compound growth rate (%): 67.13

Read the full profile on Huntswood CTC, including complete turnover and profit figures.

(13) Luton Engineering Services

From electrical substations to road construction, Luton Engineering Services works with the private sector and government organisations around the world to provide engineering services and has built up a solid track record.

Industry/sector: Manufacturing and engineering

Three-year compound growth rate (%): 67.08

Read the full profile on Luton Engineering Services, including complete turnover and profit figures.

(14) Metapack

As the ecommerce market continues to grow, so does the demand for MetaPack’s services – which sees the business partner with the likes of Marks & Spencer, John Lewis and ASOS to make sure deliveries are made on time.

Industry/sector: IT, software and telecoms

Three-year compound growth rate (%): 64.54

Read the full profile on Metapack, including complete turnover and profit figures.

(15) G&P Group

When you have clients including Aston Martin and BMW, you know things are going in the right direction. West Midlands-based G&P Group provides a range of services including project management and logistics for the manufacturing and components industry.

Industry/sector: Outsourcing

Three-year compound growth rate (%): 62.67

Read the full profile on G&P Group, including complete turnover and profit figures.

(16) Ed’s Easy Diner

Enjoying a bit of a renaissance against a backdrop of growing popularity in American food, Ed’s Easy Diner has been around for a while service burgers and milkshakes but is soon expected to exceed the 50 site count.

Industry/sector: Retail and related services

Three-year compound growth rate (%): 62.43

Read the full profile on Ed’s Easy Diner, including complete turnover and profit figures.

(17) Angus Montgomery

Describing itself as a global events company “with a difference”, Angus Montgomery runs in excess of 50 events in 15 countries and has its own consultancy firm to back up the offering.

Industry/sector: Leisure and travel

Three-year compound growth rate (%): 62.18

Read the full profile on Angus Montgomery, including complete turnover and profit figures.

(18) Verderg Connectors (now renamed AFGlobal’s Connectors & Sealing Technologies)

A specialist in subsea engineering since 1979, VerdErg Connectors achieved renewed growth in 2014 when acquired by AFGlobal and integrated into the Connectors & Sealing Technologies group.

Industry/sector: Manufacturing and engineering

Three-year compound growth rate (%): 59.41

Read the full profile on Verderg Connectors, including complete turnover and profit figures.

(19) Chartway Group

Chartway Group has a dual-track revenue stream pulling together the residential housing market and both housing associations and private developers. With 250 residential units per year being completed, the business is firmly nestled in the Hot 100 top 20.

Industry/sector: Construction, property and related services

Three-year compound growth rate (%): 58.61

Read the full profile on Chartway Group, including complete turnover and profit figures.

(20) Global Merchandising Services

As the brainchild of founder and former worldwide CEO of Bravado International Group Barry Drinkwater, Global Merchandising Services fuses design, product development, manufacturing and sales.

Industry/sector: Retail and related services

Three-year compound growth rate (%): 58.23

Read the full profile on Global Merchandising Services, including complete turnover and profit figures.

See page two for companies 21-40.

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About Author

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter Ruthven is the editor of Real Business. He is also the editor of Business Advice, a title focused solely on a section of the business community currently underserved – micro companies. Alongside this, he is part of the team that hosts the Growing Business Awards, First Women Awards and Future 50 initiative.

Real Business