Top companies in Bristol see revenues soar by a third to £15.5bn

Bristol’s top 200 privately-owned businesses achieved a landmark amount of revenue last year, increasing overall turnover by 33% to reach £15.5bn.

Grant Thornton’s Bristol Limited report analysed private companies in the region and highlighted the city’s top 200 companies* as measured by both annual turnover and EBITDA.

Despite the recent economic conditions, this analysis found that alongside the notable revenue growth, overall profits had also increased. The combined EBITDA of the city’s 200 most profitable privately-owned businesses rose by 7.4% compared to 2022, totalling £712 million.

The energy company Ovo Group Ltd ranked number one in the report out of all 200 businesses by turnover. By profit, the leading business was identified as legal advisors TLT LLP.

Bristol’s business support services sector contributed the highest proportion of overall revenue compared to any other single sector. It achieved a total turnover of £4,081m, which represents a 28% increase on the previous year. This included a significant amount of profit, with EBITDA growing by 18% to hit £372m.

The consumer market followed as the second largest sector by revenue in 2023, with an 18% increase in turnover from 2022 to £2,142m. Dairy company Yeo Valley Production Limited ranked first in this sector and recorded Bristol’s fourth largest overall turnover.

The 200 businesses analysed for the Bristol Limited report employ nearly 60,000 people in the city. Some sectors saw particularly significant increases in their headcount over the past year, including technology, media and telecoms (“TMT”) which saw a 39% growth in employees to 2,852.

One of the top three ranked businesses in the TMT sector includes Aardman Holdings Limited, which is majority owned by its employees following a sale of 75% of the shares to an employee ownership trust in 2018.

Nick Jones, Bristol-based Director at Grant Thornton, said: “As someone living in Bristol and advising the privately-owned companies in the region, it’s fantastic to see the local businesses continuing to perform so strongly despite the challenging economic environment they have had to operate in.

“As a leading economic centre, Bristol has many advantages compared to other regions which will have helped its businesses to thrive. The city is home to a diverse breadth of industries and, thanks to being a highly desirable place to live, these companies can draw upon a rich and skilled talent pool.

“In addition, Bristol is home to several large private equity firms and investors, which is unusual outside London. The impact this has is illustrated by Bristol-based BGF and LDC, who have together invested nearly £800m in the South West economy. Similarly, Maven and FW Capital manage the South West Investment Fund for this region, as launched by the British Business Bank recently, which will see equity investments of up to £5 million and debt finance of up to £2m put into local businesses

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