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County businesses outperform UK economy, new study reveals

All sectors have enjoyed a strong year, with turnover 7% up on 2014’s report and earnings before interest tax and depreciation higher by 13%.

The figures, revealed in the third Northamptonshire Limited report by financial and business advisers Grant Thornton, also show that employment levels in the county have risen by 5.7%.

Presenting the report to an audience of more than 100 business leaders at Northampton Saints Rugby Club, Grant Thornton director Mike Hughes said: “The real focus this year has been on profitability and businesses now have a robust platform to use the cash generated to expand and develop over the next few years.”

Grant Thornton have prepared this year’s report based on an in depth financial analysis of the largest 100 businesses on turnover that are owned and run in the county. Combined turnover now stands at £5.55 billion, with EBITDA at £324 million.

Mr Hughes said: “We are seeing some really strong increases in profitability and the strength is not just one or two start performers – it is right across the board. For the first time all the sectors have grown in terms of revenue and profit.”

The figures are above the UK average and the county’s economy is well placed to grow as a result, he added. “This could be achieved either through acquisition, which we have seen strong evidence of this year propelling some new businesses into the top 100, or organic growth delivered through investment which has also been apparent.

“The significant growth delivered in turnover and employment shows a strong, local economy which is outperforming the UK economy as a whole.”

The Northamptonshire Limited report also breaks down the performance of the county’s top 100 businesses by nine key sectors.

All saw an increase in turnover with Food, Drink & Leisure having the biggest turnover of £1,583,223 followed by the Automotive & Motor Retail sector with £1,202,215 and Retail & Wholesale with £786,407. The largest sector for employment was the Food, Drink & Leisure sector with 8,151 employees followed by Retail & Wholesale with 6,074.

Grant Thornton director John Corbishley said “The Northamptonshire Limited 2015 results paint a positive picture of a robust county which is continuing to perform extremely well across all sectors. Profitability has increased significantly which has been used to support investment and employment growth.

“This year, only two of the top 100 companies were lossmaking which highlights a real consistency in the performance of businesses across the county.”

Guests at the Northamptonshire Limited breakfast event also heard from guest speaker Giles Turrell, chief executive of food giant Weetabix, whose headquarters are at Burton Latimer and which has a strong history in Northamptonshire. 

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