Whether it’s building the forecourt, installing or dismantling the fuel tanks, or maintenance of the pumps, The Premier Group covers pretty much every petrol station need. MD Ken Owen joined the company in 1989 before buying the business in 1994. Since then, he has been on an acquisition spree, with five key trading companies having now been amalgamated under one banner. A mix of organic and acquisitional growth has seen sales shoot up from £2.3m to £10.1m.
42. Anglo European
Anglo European’s ten staff provide large planes for thousands of people. It effectively acts as a brokerage, buying aircraft exclusivity, which is then sold onto tour operators. Ninety per cent of turnover reportedly comes from airline charter, with the remainder from the executive jet market, providing aircraft for business groups and celebrities. The vast majority of work is conducted in mainland Europe, and operations are being moved to Switzerland in the near future for “operational and administrative reasons”. Under the direction of Mark Everts, turnover has flown from £2m to £9.7m, although this year looks set to be tougher, it is anticipated, because of a recession lag in Italy and other European markets.
43. Roselands Investments
This family-run business primarily helps companies claim VAT refunds. Run by Brian McGillivray it claims to have more than 5,000 clients, across the pharmaceuticals, IT, retail, telecommunications, insurance and banking sectors, and was the first to offer the service back in 1980. Sales stand at £26.7m with pre-tax profit at 68.3 per cent.
44. Bordeaux Index
Unimpressed with the treatment he was receiving as a customer, MD Gary Boom set up his own wine merchants, Bordeaux Index, with two partners. “He saw room for a company that would give better service, be happy to deal with newcomers to the market and take a more modern, non-stuffy approach,” explains director Colin West. At Bordeaux Index, every customer has a relationship manager, tuned into their clients’ likes and dislikes, which has helped boost sales to over £1m a week.
Other innovations have included a wine tourism business, a partnership with Michael Schuster – in which courses and tastings are run from the top floor of Bordeaux Index’s premises – and the establishment of a two-way trading system called LiveTrade. The company has a dedicated wine investment team, to meet growing interest in wine as a valuable commodity. Take a case of 1982 Chateau Lafite, which would probably fetch £30,000, says West. “Unlike shares in a company, the supply is going down every day, which provides a solid underpinning to the price.” Turnover has risen to £56.7m, growing at 68.2 per cent, while pre-tax profit is £1.8m.
Jens Grede and Erik Torstensson left Wallpaper in 2003 to set up their own advertising agency. Now with around 100 clients under their belt, including the likes of Kurt Geiger, H&M and Monsoon, they see their role as agents for their clients’ brands. Their aim, according to Grede, is “to become the IMG of fashion marketing”. They are consequently involved in advertising, PR and entertainment brokering, explains Grede, and help clients close deals with celebrities for endorsement deals, sponsorships and licensing agreements. Saturday has acquired three other companies, and would have added to the list had recession not hit and banks stopped lending – “I’m praying for that to change,” says Grede. There are offices in London, Paris and LA, with a fourth scheduled to open in New York in September. Turnover has grown to £7.2m, and is on target to grow 30 per cent this year. One thing not on the cards is an exit plan. “I am 32. This is the beginning of my career, not the end,” says Grede.
46. Zaha Hadid
Tune into the 2012 Olympics and chances are you’ll see one of Zaha Hadid’s more renowned pieces of work – the wave-shaped Aquatics Centre. Hadid is an acclaimed architect and the first woman to win the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize, often dubbed the Nobel Prize of architecture. Her work is diverse and includes the National Museum of XXI Century Arts, (the Maxxi) in Rome, the Guangzhou Opera House, in China, a ski jump in Innsbruck and the stage set for The Pet Shop Boys World Tour. She set up her own practice in 1980, which is clearly benefiting from her high profile – turnover has risen to £26.2m while pre-tax profits have grown from £294,000 to £5.6m.
Michael Parkinson set up this Yorkshire construction company five years ago, with the equity he had amassed as a director at his previous company. Taking 30 employees with him meant that he had a ready-made highly skilled team. “We have the experience and systems of a £200m company with the best of the personnel, but with the hands-on approach you would expect of a smaller company,” he says. Clients include Next, Aldi and British Oxygen, while 70 per cent of work comes from the public sector. Parkinson is bullish about prospects going forward, believing that the predicted public-sector cuts should not affect the type of projects Triton undertakes. He anticipates growth of around 50 per cent this financial year. “Our forward-order book has £12m in it, at the start of year. That’s more than we turned over in total last year,” he says. Turnover last financial year was £10.7m, while pre-tax profits were £424,000.
48. MPI Holdings
This company trades in natural rubber and frozen fish. Not the most obvious fit, but “there are two partners in the business, one started in one, and one in the other,” says co-owner Mark Pratt. Simple, then. The company has six staff and turnover has grown 65.6 per cent to £9.6m.
Whether you’re a dentist, jeweller, or in the industrial sector, Landale can recover precious metal from your waste material. Based in London, the company is run by Lilly and Yossi Meshulam. Sales have grown impressively to £5.4m from £1.2m, with compound growth at 65.2 per cent.
Founded in 1950 by Lord Plymouth, the Earl of Plymouth Estates is a family-owned group making the most of its 8,000 acre Oakly Park Estate, near Ludlow. Lord Plymouth’s successor, Viscount Windsor, and the family board run a food centre selling fresh farm produce, an estate café, and a conference centre. The estate also hosts an arable farm and a sand and gravel pit. Sales have increased from £1.6m to £7.2m over four years.
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