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Report reveals another strong year of growth for county firms

Now in its fourth year, the Buckinghamshire Limited study, conducted by financial and business advisers Grant Thornton, analyses the performance of the 100 largest, privately owned companies in the county to provide a recognised barometer of the overall health of Buckinghamshire’s economy.

The report findings, unveiled to local business leaders at a breakfast event hosted by Grant Thornton at the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel, stadiummk, revealed the combined turnover of the 100 companies increased by 13.3% to £7.9 billion while earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation grew by 24.3% to £737 million.

Employment levels for the 100 companies also increased by 11.2% to 52,725 people, while average remuneration rose by 1.2%, reversing the negative trend seen over the previous two years.

Giles Mullins (pictured), partner at Grant Thornton’s Milton Keynes office who presented the findings, said: “Buckinghamshire businesses have had another excellent year and, despite uncertainty since the Brexit vote, they have continued to prosper and demonstrate they can find opportunities in the unknown and are able to overcome the complex challenges they are facing.

“Importantly, the growth we have seen is not confined to a small number of businesses but is spread across the top 100 with four out of five business increasing turnover and nearly 75% increasing profits.”

SMEs have continued the trend of achieving a slightly higher rate of EBITDA than large corporates, 25.6% compared to 23.9%, underlining the major contribution small businesses make to growth in the county, he added.

Buckinghamshire businesses are also well placed to continue on this positive growth trajectory as the report shows significant investment with a 5.8% increase in fixed assets,Mr Mullins said.

As with previous years, the Buckinghamshire Limited report also analyses the performance of the top 100 companies by sector.

All nine sectors increased turnover with seven reporting an increase in EBITDA, demonstrating a strong performance across the board. The stand-out sectors were property and construction, which saw the biggest increase in turnover of 33.7%. Industrial and manufacturing reported the highest growth in EBITDA of 55.6%.

However, freight and logistics saw a huge fall in EBITDA of over 140% as businesses continue to struggle with tighter margins and oversupply from growing international competition.

Mr Mullins said: “It is very positive that growth has been seen across almost every sector, boosted by several stand-out performances and 28 new entrants into the top 100. The outlook for Buckinghamshire remains positive but we must ensure this level of growth is sustainable.

“One area of continuing concern is whether there is a sufficient pool of good-quality talent to fuel this growth going forward. Business leaders and education providers should continue to work together to ensure this skills gap does not halt future progression.

"Businesses must also continue to invest in their staff to retain and attract the best people.” 

For a full copy of the Buckinghamshire Ltd 2016 report, please contact emma.l.hahn@uk.gt.com. 

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