North West’s listed firms hit all-time value high, latest research reveals

Andy Westbrook
X The Business Desk

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The North West’s listed companies continued to grow in the second quarter of the year, adding £1.28bn to their total market capitalisation to reach record levels, according to Deloitte.

Findings from the business advisory firm’s latest North West Share Index show that the total value of the region’s listed businesses included in the the FTSE 100, FTSE 250, and FTSE Small-Cap indexes and quoted on AIM increased by three per cent to £48.4bn, an all-time high for North West companies.

North West firms once again outperformed the national average, growing their combined market capitalisation by three per cent compared with under two per cent for firms across the country.

Following a strong start to the year, 40 of the 65 listed companies saw their values grow, comparable with the total of 43 in the previous quarter.

The continued growth in value of a number of companies in the region – notably AJ Bell, Plc, and JD Sports, adding £322m, £263m, and £813m, respectively, in Q2 – has been a driving factor behind the overall increase in total value.

The growth in share value was underpinned by another strong quarter in the retail sector, with the 11 companies in the region adding a combined £1.1bn.

Amidst difficult conditions for retailers across the country, the continued growth in value of the North West’s retail sector underlines the region’s resilience to national trends.

An impressive performance by Auto Trader Group saw its value increase by £243m to more than £5bn, while JD Sports’ increase of £815m saw it become the region’s largest firm by market cap, overtaking United Utilities.

JD Sports’ notable increase was driven by the opening of 29 new stores in the quarter, primarily across Europe, Australia, and Asia-Pacific.

Elsewhere, the North West’s manufacturing sector bucked the national trend, growing by 10% over the course of the three months.

This comes on the back of the news that the IHS Markit/CIPS manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) fell to 48 in June – the lowest reading in six-and-a-half years.

Of the 11 listed manufacturing businesses in the region, 10 increased their value: PZ Cussons Plc and Coral Products Plc had notable increases, growing by £76m, and 39%, respectively.

Andy Westbrook, practice senior partner for Deloitte in the North West, said: “Firms in the North West have once again had a strong quarter in comparison to the rest of the UK.

“We have witnessed the continued growth in value of the retail sector – which now accounts for over £21bn of the total value – following a tough Christmas period.

“As we enter the second half of the year, uncertainties in Westminster could undermine strong performances of the region’s firms.

“However, the strong Q2 shows that the larger sectors in the North West achieved positive results despite political developments, which shows the underlying strength and resilience of the North West markets.”

Bod Buckby, head of UK primary markets–North, London Stock Exchange, said: “These findings underline the significant economic contribution of companies from the North West of England and their ability to grow using patient equity capital.

“London Stock Exchange Group is pleased to support companies of all sizes and sectors in the North West – including on AIM and the main market, via the ELITE initiative supporting the growth of private companies, and through our 1000 Companies to Inspire Britain reports.”