Peel Ports sails into Top Track top 3

PEEL Ports is the highest-placed of 30 North West companies which have been ranked in a league table of the country’s 250 top mid-market growth firms.

It has grabbed a top three place in the 11th annual Sunday Times Grant Thornton Top Track 250, which ranks the UK’s private mid-market growth companies with the biggest sales. 

The company, which has revenues of more than £600m, is owned by Peel Group founder John Whittaker and German infrastructure investor RREEF, operates ports at Liverpool, Manchester, Dublin, Glasgow, Heysham and
Sheerness in Kent.

Handling more than 70m tonnes of cargo a year at its ports, the business, generated the highest profits (£137m) of the regional companies featured in the report.

In total the 30 companies headquartered in this region (compared to 27 last year) increased combined sales 17% to £8.7bn and operating profits 46% to £417m over the last year, and they employ more than 50,000 people.

There are 16 entrants from the region that were not on the league table last year, including Liverpool Football Club, Byrom, the Cheshire sporting events manager, and Chester-based Meadow Foods, which sells milk and cream and other dairy products, and grew its sales 23% to £421m in 2014.

Burnley-based The Original Factory Shop achieved the highest profit growth in the region , up 243% to £7m. The discount retailer opened 11 new stores in its last financial year, and plans to open a further 15 by next March.

The league table and awards programme is sponsored by Grant Thornton and Barclays, and compiled for the 11th year by Fast Track, the Oxford-based research and networking events company.

Karen Campbell-Williams, Manchester-based tax partner at Grant Thornton said: “It’s inspiring to see such a diverse range of businesses creating growth opportunities both at home and abroad and positively contributing to the UK economy.

“The fact that over half of the Top Track 250 businesses are headquartered outside of London and the South East speaks to the growing influence of the UK’s regional business hubs and the opportunity these present in the creation of a more vibrant UK economy, where business and people can thrive.”

The other North West members of the top 50 are: Bolton-based mydentist (15th), Knutsford company Brookfield Rose (18th), grocery wholesaler James Hall (27th), Warrington-based Betfred and Cumbria-based film manufacturer Innovia (50th).

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