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Shropshire firms helps boost region's economy by almost £1bn

By James Pugh | Business | Published:

Two firms from Shropshire are among the region’s 50 fastest-growing private equity-backed businesses based on turnover growth in the past three years.

Andrew Mair

Bridgnorth-based Swegon Air Management and Shrewsbury-based Guestline are listed in the Midlands Private Equity Growth Barometer.

The top 50 PE-backed businesses have made a considerable impact over the last three financial years, adding almost £1 billion to the regional economy, with combined revenues rising from £1.7 billion to £2.7 billion.

Manufacturer Swegon, which specialises in energy efficient ventilation and indoor climate products and systems, is ranked 12th after achieving 25 per cent growth, thanks to backing from investor Investment AB Latour.

Hotel software specialist developer Guestline, ranked 15th, achieved 22 per cent growth thanks to backing from Riverside Company.

The data also reveals that the 50 businesses have contributed positively to employment in the Midlands, adding almost 6,000 jobs since 2016, taking the current numbers employed by the 50 fastest growing PE-backed companies to 21,400 people.

Despite private equity funding falling in the region between 2016 and 2018 – from just under £1.5 billion to £629 million – the Midlands continues to attract a significant number of investors, with 101 companies receiving PE backing in 2018, thanks to the region’s expertise in key sectors and a vibrant start-up scene.

Andrew Mair, partner, assurance & business advisory and author of the report, said: “The emergence of sectors, such as tech and media and support services and transport is helping to create a diverse and rich investment scene Midlands-wide, despite the political uncertainty and concerns around Brexit businesses have experienced in recent years. This demonstrates that, although PE funding has fallen in real terms, there is still a positive appetite from investors across the world for new markets, as well as the more traditional sectors, such as manufacturing.

“While official figures show a drop in PE-funding to £629 million in 2018, it’s important to set those figures against a backdrop of investments versus divestments and the natural PE lifecycle of investments being realised. Although we have seen a reduction in mega deals in the last 12 months, the mid-market continues to see high levels of deal activity and, with a diverse range of investors in the top 50, it’s clear there is still plenty of business to be done in the region.”

James Pugh

By James Pugh
@JamesP_Star

Shropshire Star Business and Farming Editor.

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