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The UK’s fastest growing private companies: The Hot 100 2016

The 2016 edition of the Real Business Hot 100 reveals the UK's fastest growing private companies, highlighting the variety British business has to offer.
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(41) Sherwood Stainless Steel
  • Sector: Mechanical engineering
  • Date founded: 1989
  • The boss: Paul Thurston, Terrence Franklin
  • Location: West Midlands
  • Latest turnover: £20.6m
  • Three-year compound growth rate (%): 19.08
  • Latest EBITDA: £1.5m

Sherwood Stainless Steel and Aluminium has been operating since 1990, offering stainless steel products to industries including automotive, building, domestic appliance, lighting/energy and more.

Its head office, process and distribution centre sits on a combined 75,000 sq ft service centre located on the Science Park in Wolverhampton.

Over the years the business has been committed to keeping up to date with the latest machinery to increase its product range, for example it recently installed a new cam sitter to increase its in-house coil sitting capabilities.

The business has focused on the aluminium extrusion market and expanded its facilities as and when required to keep up with growth. The company now employs over 90 staff with further plans of expansion to its new premises. Sherwood has further diversified its services by introducing welding and the full assembly of aluminium extruded components.

(42) Blue Skies
  • Sector: Food production
  • Date founded: 1997
  • The boss: George Hutton
  • Location: Northants
  • Latest turnover: £72.8m
  • Three-year compound growth rate (%): 18.96
  • Latest EBITDA: £5.5m

Blue Skies has been producing fresh-cut fruit and freshly squeezed juice since 1998 when it was founded by Anthony Pile. The company believes in “adding value at the source”, which means the majority of Blue Skies products are cut and packed in the country of origin, rather than shipped overseas and processed elsewhere.

Blue Skies supplies a variety of retailers throughout the world with exceptional quality fresh from harvest fruit. It employs over 4,000 people at its factories in Ghana, Egypt, South Africa, Brazil and the UK.

Sustainability is important to the company, and to that end it started the Joint Effort Enterprise (JEE) – its model for sustainable business. The JEE is a set of principles formed in 1998 and is primarily made up of three strands: a diverse society, a culture of respect and a drive for profit but not at the expense of the other strands.

In addition to the company’s efforts to remain sustainable, it has also launched the Blue Skies Foundation, which is a charity run in partnership with two of the retailers it supplies in Europe – Waitrose in the UK and Albert Heijn in the Netherlands.

(43) Talley Group
  • Sector: Medical manufacturing
  • Date founded: 1954
  • The boss: Chris Evans
  • Location: Hertfordshire
  • Latest turnover: £23.8m
  • Three-year compound growth rate (%):18.94
  • Latest EBITDA: £2.4m

The Talley Group are specialists in the design and manufacture of medical devices including pressure relieving mattress products, negative pressure wound therapy (NWPT) systems and compression therapy systems including both lymphedema, and DVT prevention.

Its headquarters feature a research and development facility and extensive engineering suite focused on the company’s passion for developing new and innovative technologies within its field of expertise: pressure area care, intermittent compression and negative pressure wound therapy.

Talley is looks to increase its product offering, and most recently launched the FUSION Hybrid and Response to its range of pressure area care support surfaces. These hybrid systems help bridge the gap between high specification foam mattresses offering reactive therapy and electrically powered, active therapy mattress replacement systems.

(44) Banner Contracts
  • Sector: Civil engineering
  • Date founded: 1993
  • The boss: Michael Banner
  • Location: County Durham
  • Latest turnover: £10.9m
  • Three-year compound growth rate (%): 18.92
  • Latest EBITDA: £3.2m

Banner Contracts is a family-run contract crushing and screenings specialist based in Yorkshire and operating throughout the mainline UK.

The company employs over 75 full-time employees, eight of whom are based at its head office, and the remainder being site based operators, mechanics and foremen.

The services offered by Banner Contracts include: contract crushing and screening, aggregate recycling and washing operations, earthmoving, load and haul operations, plant hire, conveyor belt repairs and health and safety training.

The company has been identified for the second year running as one of the London Stock Exchange’s 1,000 Companies to Inspire Britain – a report in celebration of the UK’s fasted-growing and most dynamic small and medium-sized businesses.

(45) Linecross Group
  • Sector: Plastics manufacturing
  • Date founded: 2003
  • The boss: Stuart Fry
  • Location: Leicestershire
  • Latest turnover: £27.0m
  • Three-year compound growth rate (%): 18.85
  • Latest EBITDA: £1.5m

The Linecross Group, made up of Linecross and Linecross Composites, has a team composed of 280 skilled professionals.

The group creates engineered polymer solutions for a diverse range of international industries. For nearly 50 years the company has been developing bespoke engineered thermoplastic and polyurethane (PU) components for all kinds of interior and exterior environments.

In December 2012, it acquired BI Composites, now known as Linecross Composites, enabling it to provide an even greater range of technologies, including injection moulding. It has also recently invested a great deal in its buildings and machinery.

(46) Harvey Shopfitters
  • Sector: Construction
  • Date founded: 1981
  • The boss: Paul Nolan, Paul Jenkins, Maurice Lodge
  • Location: Avon
  • Latest turnover: £48.5m
  • Three-year compound growth rate (%):18.51
  • Latest EBITDA: £1m

Founded in 1981, Harvey Shopfitters provides commercial fit-out and refurbishment services to a broad range of sectors. Its clients span the hospitality, restaurant, pubs and bar, offices, retail, food and clothing industries.

The company now employs more than 100 people and sees an annual turnover in excess of £40m. It ranks among the top 20 retail, leisure and office fit-out contractors operating in the UK.

The firm has headquarters in Bristol, plus a locally-staffed Glasgow branch office that coordinates the increasing number of contracts it has been winning in recent years in Scotland.

This fastest growing private companies member has worked with the likes of M&S Simply Food, The Cooperative, Greene King and Mitchells & Butlers.

(47) Charles Ransford & Son
  • Sector: Timber merchant
  • Date founded: 1974
  • The boss: Alistair Evans
  • Location: Shropshire
  • Latest turnover: £12.8m
  • Three-year compound growth rate (%):18.50
  • Latest EBITDA: £1.8m

Charles Ransford & Son is a British sawmill supplying fencing and other timber products into the UK market.

Ransford processes around 70,000 tonnes of logs each year at its facility in Bishop’s Castle, Shropshire which is partly powered by an array of over 2000 solar panels installed on its mill and ancillary buildings.

The main species of trees used by Charles Ransford & Son are Douglas fir, larch and spruce, sourced from sustainably managed UK forests. The company produces 42,000m³ per annum of sawn timber.

The company has invested more than £10m in its facility in recent years, so that it now features state-of-the-art German sawing equipment, incorporating 3D laser scanning and optimising technology, combined with sophisticated re-sawing, board recovery and product handling systems.

 

(48) Kerax
  • Sector: Oil and energy
  • Date founded: 1962
  • The boss: David and Carol Appleton
  • Location: Lancashire
  • Latest turnover: £28.5m
  • Three-year compound growth rate (%): 18.36
  • Latest EBITDA: £1.6m

Kerax is a manufacturer and supplier of wax for a wide variety of industries – from wax for wax candle makers and surface protection waxes all the way through to large scale production of petroleum jellies for pharmaceutical, cosmetic, industrial and commercial use.

Kerax is the UK’s largest blender of wax, and as such the company has recognised the growing demand for paraffin wax alternatives. In response to this, the company has launched the GMO free Kerax natural wax range, which is responsibly sourced from the US and European countries.

With both the natural wax and the paraffin wax products, Kerax is able to blend to exact specifications, ensuring a bespoke service for each individual client.

(49) Voicevale
  • Sector: Food production
  • Date founded: 1981
  • The boss: Robert Danon
  • Location: London
  • Latest turnover: £261.4m
  • Three-year compound growth rate (%): 18.29
  • Latest EBITDA: £1.2m

Voicevale is an international nut, dried fruits and seeds trading company, which manages a supply chain from origin countries to an array of industries around the world.

The busines opened in London in 1981, Paris in 1994, Hamburg in 1999 and Istanbul in 2012. The Beijing office was opened in 1996 as a rep office and became a fully-fledged subsidiary, selling to local industries in 2008.

Voicevale also advises its suppliers on hygiene requirements, quality assurance standards and appropriate technology to achieve the required standards. In addition to this, one of the company’s most important roles is to give impartial advice to its customers on the expected price movements in individual markets.

The group currently moves more than 2,500 containers a year – which works out at about ten containers every working day of the year.

(50) Hydes Brewery
  • Sector: Brewing
  • Date founded: 1863
  • The boss: Chris Hopkins
  • Location: Lancashire
  • Latest turnover: £27.7m
  • Three-year compound growth rate (%): 19.81
  • Latest EBITDA: £2m

Hydes’ Brewery is a brewer and pub operator based in Salford and has a 150-year history. The brewery is entirely dedicated to the production of cask ales. It has four beers available on a permanent basis and a range of seasonal craft ales.

The beers are distributed through its managed and tenanted houses, free trade customers, wholesalers and pub groups. It operates around 60 pubs, split between managed houses fully operated by the company itself, and tenancies which are let to independent operators. The pubs are located throughout the North West of England and North Wales.

Two of the sites won the Best Managed House category in the Great British Pub Awards in 2011 and 2012. The Joshua Bradley at Gee Cross was the first winner, followed by the John Millington in Cheadie Hulme a year later.

The brewery is always actively seeking to grow its estate through refurbishment and acquisition – to help achieve this, it offers a bounty of £1,000 to anyone who highlights an acquisition opportunity that it goes on to purchase.

Keep reading to find which other companies made our Hot 100 2016 ranking of the fastest growing private companies.

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About Author

Letitia Booty

Letitia Booty is a special projects journalist for Real Business. She has a BA in english literature from the University of East Anglia, and since graduating she has written for a variety of trade titles. Most recently, she was a reporter at SME magazine.

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