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Shropshire's fastest-growing firms rake in £1.6 billion sales

By Thom Kennedy | Shrewsbury | Business | Published:

The 50 fastest-growing businesses in Shropshire raked in sales of more than £1.6 billion in the last year, a major new report into the county's economy showed today.

The Shropshire Growth Barometer

Accountancy giant BDO has compiled a Growth Barometer for Shropshire, a study which tracks the growth of the leading performers in the county, and released the results today.

It shows that the fastest-growing company in Shropshire, based on three years' turnover figures, is Telford toy distributor Golden Bear, whose figures have grown by 139.99 per cent to leave it with turnover of more than £19 million.

Dave Mapp, Christine Nicholls and Emily Nicholls of Golden Bear with some of the company's Thomas toys

The company makes toys under licence for a number of big-name brands, including CBeebies shows In The Night Garden and Twirlywoos, and soft toys for Thomas and Friends.

Familiar names including car dealer Greenhous, pressings manufacturer Salop Design & Engineering, and even Shrewsbury Town FC are also represented in the top 10 of a list of companies whose cumulative sales clock in at more than £1.6 billion.

The figures show the diversity in the Shropshire economy. While the largest number of individual businesses in the top 50 are manufacturers, of which 11 are in the top 50, food and drink, construction and civil engineering, technology and media and social care are all represented.

Shrewsbury Town can celebrate a place among the county's fastest-growing businesses

Shrewsbury Town FC represents the hospitality and leisure sector having experienced growth in turnover of 39 per cent over the last three years, taking sales to £6.86 million in its most recent year.

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David Pooler, a partner at BDO and author of the Shropshire Growth Barometer said he was pleased to see the county’s businesses being recognised for their achievements.

He said: “For those of us who live and work in Shropshire, it is fantastic to see the business achievements of the county recognised.

"Fast-growth businesses in Shropshire are extremely diverse and geographically spread out, ranging from football clubs to technology companies to manufacturers of toys.

"It has been very interesting for us to analyse our data to get a deeper understanding of where the growth in the region lies and in which areas there may be challenges.”

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The report notes that the economy is, in some ways, staying relatively unchanged despite big differences in technology across the globe.

It remains spread across a large rural area, with pockets of innovation and success in what are sometimes little-noted corners of the county.

Mr Pooler also noted the demands being placed on the county's economy, and what needs to be done to support further growth.

He said: "In my view there are three specific challenges for Shropshire in this new world, and I take great heart that these are now being recognised by busienss, as well as local and national political entities.

"Our infrastructure is a challenge. Shropshire is large and empty so it's absolutely key that improvements continue to be made to road, rail and broadband.

"Our businesses are only as good as the people that work for them so the attraction of an energetic, educated and skilled workforce is key.

"So investment in skills and training and housing remains an absolute priority.

"Our business might not need the colossal premises of the past but they do need up-to-date modern l;ocations to trade from so old sites need redeveloping and new ones opened close to where people want to live."

The fastest-growing industrial sector in terms of employment numbers among the fast-50 is environmental services, which is represented on the list by Reconomy in Telford and Select Holdings in Shrewsbury.

Perhaps inevitably for a county in love with its gastronomy, food and drink companies also loom large over the figures.

Evolution Foods, which produces packs of dried fruits and nuts, and Telford-based fresh food importer Allfresch Group ranked fourth and eleventh respectively in the top 50 fastest-growing businesses.

Those businesses' sales grew by 56 per cent to £41 million and 35 per cent to £38.4 million respectively.

The figures are not a comprehensive who's-who of the county's biggest businesses, because some major employers are already huge entities and their growth is more steady than skyrocketing.

Muller, for example, is not on the list despite being Shropshire-based and enjoying huge sales, because its sales are not accelerating so much as growing steadily from an already high base.

The company with the largest sales figure on the list was Greenhous, whose turnover is listed as £239 million for last year, after a 61.15 per cent increase over the three years.

Other familiar names in the top 50 are hotel software specialist developer Guestline, at 15th after growing sales by 29.25 per cent to £11.2 million, and car dealership Shukers, whose sales have grown by 17 per cent to £55 million.

The 15 fastest-growing businesses:

  1. Golden Bear Products Limited, Telford – Manufacturing
  2. J-Ross Developments Limited, Oswestry – Real Estate, Construction and Civil
  3. Greenhous Limited, Telford – Automotive
  4. Evolution Foods Ltd, Telford – Food and Drink
  5. Skyjack UK Limited, Oswestry – Retail and Wholesale
  6. Haulotte UK Limited, Telford – Retail and Wholesale
  7. Shrewsbury Town Football Club Limited, Shrewsbury – Hospitality and Leisure
  8. Bespoke Construction Services Limited, Telford – Real Estate, Construction and Civil
  9. J.P. Arthur & Sons Limited, Oswestry – Automotive
  10. Salop Design & Engineering Limited, Shrewsbury – Manufacturing
  11. Allfresch Group Ltd, Shifnal – Food and Drink
  12. 'Travel Cruiser' Concessionaires Limited, Telford – Automotive
  13. Reconomy (UK) Limited, Telford – Environmental Services
  14. Nasstar PLC, Telford – Technology and Media
  15. Guestline Limited, Shrewsbury – Technology and Media
Thom Kennedy

By Thom Kennedy
Business Editor - @tkennedy_star

Shropshire Star Business Editor

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