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.
(71) Fishpools
  • Sector: Retail
  • Date founded: 2005
  • The boss: John and Simon Fishpool
  • Location: Hertfordshire
  • Latest turnover: £29.8m
  • Three-year compound growth rate (%):12.28
  • Latest EBITDA: £1.1m

Fishpools is one of the largest furniture stores in the South East of England, with over 200 room sets and a choice of sofas, dining and bedrooms, beds and much more available in store.

The business offers furnishings for all aspects of the home, including the living room, dining room, bedroom, office, flooring and accessories and even the garden.

As well as home furnishings, Fishpools also offers a design service, providing advice in kitting out a home in any style, from period updates to urban cool. The business has specially trained interior designers on hand to help, and can also visit customers’ homes to offer a more bespoke service.

(72) Freightroute
  • Sector: Logistics
  • Date founded: 1989
  • The boss: Gavin Grant
  • Location: Northamptonshire
  • Latest turnover: £28.5m
  • Three-year compound growth rate (%): 12.04
  • Latest EBITDA: £2.6m

Freightroute is a pallet distribution company founded by the Grant family. It was established in 1989 in Northants, and by 1996 volumes had grown to the point where new depots were needed to develop a UK network.

The company opened facilities in Bradford, West Yorkshire, and Falkirk, Scotland. In 1998 the company began operations in Gloucester, followed shortly after with the addition of a new depot in Newport, Shropshire. In 2002, a new depot was opened in Thetford, enabling the original Northants facility to cater more to London and the Midlands. In 2004, it set up in Wigan, and in 2007 in Durham – at this time it also invested in its fleet to bring it up to 165 vehicles and 110 trailers.

Last year, the company looked to expand by acquiring the assets of H Young Transport Eastleigh depot, the tenth depot in the Freightroute family.


(73) Arrow Business Communications
  • Sector: Telcoms
  • Date founded: 2005
  • The boss: Chris Russel
  • Location: Surrey
  • Latest turnover: £24.6m
  • Three-year compound growth rate (%): 11.99
  • Latest EBITDA: £2.1m

Arrow Business Communications provides business communication services and has been active in the telecoms industry for 20 years. The company now has a nationwide presence with locations in Godalming, Worcester, Newton-le Willows, Cambridge and Aberdeen.

Its offering includes PBX and hosted telephony systems through to mobile voice, data, IT services, mobile device management and managed services.

Earlier this year, Arrow announced the completion of a strategic investment by Growth Capital Partners (GCP) in order to fast track growth and secure future mergers and acquisitions activity.

Recent strategy has seen Arrow completing seven acquisitions in the last six years which has seen the business nearly treble in size. Going forward, the Arrow team is focused on complementing organic growth with larger acquisition opportunities which will strengthen the hosted, data and IT services portfolio.

(74) RJ McLeod
  • Sector: Civil engineering
  • Date founded: 1951
  • The boss: Bruce Clark
  • Location: Lanarkshire
  • Latest turnover: £116.3m
  • Three-year compound growth rate (%): 11.75
  • Latest EBITDA: £5.8m

RJ McLeod is one of Scotland’s largest privately owned civil engineering and building contractors based in Glasgow. The company covers a range of industries, including roads and structures, marine, infrastructure, energy, street-scaping, waste facility and flood prevention.

The businesses’ in-house resources include plant and transport valued in excess of £13m, around 400 employees and its own Quality, Safety, Environmental and Training (QSET) Department.

In addition, the company is a member of the Civil Engineering Contractors’ Association (Scotland). Other memberships include the Scottish Construction Safety Group, Grampian Occupational Safety and Health Group, the Scottish Plant Owners’ Association, the Scottish Renewables Forum and Highland Renewable Energy Group.

(75) Maurice Lay
  • Sector: Manufacturing
  • Date founded: 1986
  • The boss: Maurice Lay
  • Location: Avon
  • Latest turnover: £28.6m
  • Three-year compound growth rate (%): 11.23
  • Latest EBITDA: £1.4m

Maurice Lay is a manufacturer and distributor of sinks, taps, appliances, heating, kitchens and bedrooms with over 30 years’ experience. The company’s brands include Caple, Miele, Villeroy & Boch and Shaws.

Caple was established almost two decades ago and offers products across a variety of categories, including furniture, appliances, sinks and taps. Caple aims to suit a wide range of consumer budgets and is always launching new designs, from traditional wooden kitchens through to contemporary high glass doors.

Miele is a German manufacturer of domestic appliances with a focus on quality and longevity.


(76) Nylacast
  • Sector: Plactics
  • Date founded: 1967
  • The boss: Mussa Mahomed
  • Location: West Midlands
  • Latest turnover: £33.5m
  • Three-year compound growth rate (%):10.78
  • Latest EBITDA: £1.5m

Nylacast is an expert in engineering polymers, and delivers related products to a wide range of industries. According to the business, it is committed to bridging the engineering skills gap and outlines its succession plan through training and development offered at the Nylacast Academy.

Recently, the business was selected to appear in the 2015/16 edition of The Parliamentary Review. Nylacast featured alongside the chancellor Philip Hammond and a small number of organisations in the Engineering edition. The main aim of The Review is to showcase best practice as a learning tool to the public and private sector.

Nylacast has been recognised with several awards. Most recently it was ranked 146th from the city’s Top 200 companies, amongst brands like Next, Walkers, Caterpillar and 3M. In addition, it recently made the seventh annual Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200 league tables, which ranks Britain’s mid-market companies by the fastest-growing international sales.

(77) A.McLay and Company
  • Sector: Communications
  • Date founded: 1902
  • The boss: Kenneth Vaughan, Jonathan Thomas
  • Location: South Glamorgan
  • Latest turnover: £22m
  • Three-year compound growth rate (%):10.52
  • Latest EBITDA: £1.4m

McLays are a print, mail and digital communications provider for UK brands across a broad range of business sectors, including financial services, education, healthcare, retail, government and utilities.

Its experience of print and packaging dates back to 1801, where it has its original roots in letterpress book printing and bag manufacturing. The company adapted and progressed into litho printing for large corporate customers in the middle of the 20th century.

The evolution of digital technologies saw the business expand to encompass digital print, IT and data related techniques, and it was recently recognised in the London Stock Exchange’s list of 1,000 companies to inspire Britain 2016. McLays was one of the 25 Welsh companies to be featured.

(78) The Waterside Holiday Group
  • Sector: Leisure
  • Date founded: 1988
  • The boss: Graham Frampton
  • Location: Dorset
  • Latest turnover: £15.5m
  • Three-year compound growth rate (%): 10.44
  • Latest EBITDA: £2.3m

The Waterside Holiday Group has 50 years of experience in providing holiday accommodation and entertainment. It offers a range of holiday lets, as well as holiday lodges and static caravans for sale.

The parks are situated near Weymouth beach and harbour, offering visitors an opportunity to explore the attractions of Dorset and further afield to the Jurassic coast and the Channel Islands. The group operates three parks, namely the Waterside Holiday Park and Spa, the Chesil Vista Holiday Park and Osmington Holiday Park.

Earlier this year the group expanded its accommodation offering to include the Capri and Harmony caravans at the Waterside Holiday Park. In addition, this year saw the launch of the group’s Safari tent project.

(79) Geo Kingsbury
  • Sector: Manufacturing
  • Date founded: 1956
  • The boss: Richard Kingsbury
  • Location: Surrey
  • Latest turnover: £58.4m
  • Three-year compound growth rate (%): 10.22
  • Latest EBITDA: £2.8m

Geo Kingsbury supplies the UK’s manufacturing sector with German machine tools. It operates a nationwide service from its facilities in Gosport, Hampshire and has worked with several big household names. Geo Kingsbury’s brands are always adding new machines and capabilities to its offering.

The business offers machinery to a wide variety of industries, including aerospace, energy, industrial, medical and transport.

Geo Kingsbury also offers its clients a nationwide network of mobile service engineers that can be onsite with clients within 24 hours.

(80) Arthur McKay
  • Sector: Mechanical contracting
  • Date founded: 1958
  • The boss: Paul McKay
  • Location: Midlothian
  • Latest turnover: £110.8m
  • Three-year compound growth rate (%): 10.18
  • Latest EBITDA: £2.3m

Arthur McKay is a building support services company, delivering services ranging from mechanical and electrical to networks and FM services. Many of its customers are blue chip national and international organisations.

Arthur McKay, an electrician, established the company in 1958. There have been many changes since then – but the McKay family is involved in the running of the business to this day.

In the future, the company is committed to look for new applications, new technologies and new ways of working that will improve its customers’ experiences.

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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