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Ipswich/ Mildenhall: Fork Rent and JEB Engineering Design make Profit Track 100 listing

16:09 11 April 2014

Marilyn Martin of BDO LLP.

Marilyn Martin of BDO LLP.


Two Suffolk firms have been named in a listing of the UK’s 100 fastest-growing private companies.

JEB Engineering Design from Mildenhall and Ipswich-based Fork Rent are among the businesses included in the 15th annual Sunday Times BDO Profit Track 100 league table which is published this weekend.

Precesion engineering firm JEB, which specialises in mouldings, components and multi-piece assemblies for the electrical, medical and munitions industries, is ranked in 27th place, with its latest annual profit figure of £3.05million representing annual profit growth of 69.52% over the past three years.

The company, led by chairman Barry Littlewood and based in Hampstead Avenue, Mildenhall, has a workforce of 174 and saw international sales within its training munitions business triple to £30m in 2012 alone.

Construction equipment hire company Fork Rent, based in Felixstowe Road, Ipswich, is ranked in 77th position, with its latest annual profit of £6.82m representing average annual growth of 48.61% over the past three years.

The company, which has a workforce of 59 and is run by chairman Guy Nicholls, director Trudi Nicholls, his sister, and managing director Elaine Miller, continued to invest and expand throughout the economic downturn and last year placed a £53m order for 900 new JCB machines − among the biggest orders in JCB’s history.

This year’s Profit Track 100 includes four companies from the eastern region compared with one last year.

Completing the line-up are Cambridge-based Napp Pharmaceutical Holdings, in 60th place with annual profits of £64.69m, representing average growth of 51.64%, and Peterborough-based home shopping company Ideal Shopping, ranked 69th with annual profits of £8.59m, representing average growth of 49.52%.

Between them, the four companies employ 1,680 staff and have added 130 new jobs over the past three years.

The Profit Track 100 is compiled by Oxford-based research and networking events company Fast Track and sponsored by BDO, Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking and UBS Wealth Management,

Marilyn Martin, regional head at BDO and a partner based at its Ipswich office, said: “Britain endured the longest recession within the G7, yet entrepreneurial businesses in the region and across the UK are bouncing back more strongly than their international counterparts.

“The east of England’s most profitable companies have remained focused, positioning their businesses for − and helping to create − the economic recovery we are now witnessing.”

Nationally, this year’s Profit Track 100 companies have grown their profits over the last three years by an average of 66% a year, with the profits reported in their most recent available accounts totalling £1.6bn.

Together they employed 93,800 staff, having added 31,200 employees to their workforce during the past three years, a figure which includes acquisitions as well as organic growth.

Among the best-known brands represented on the list are television chef Jamie Oliver’s restaurant operator Jamie’s Italian, shirtmaker Charles Tyrwhitt, biscuit and cake maker Tunnock’s and sandwich shop operator Pret A Manger.

Exactly half of the companies in the league table are based in London (33) and the Southeast (17).

Of the rest, 14 are based in the Northwest, seven each in the West Midlands and in Scotland, six in Yorkshire, five in the South-West, four in the East, three in the North-East and two each in the East Midlands and Wales.

To be eligible, companies have to be registered in the UK and be independent, unquoted and ultimate holding companies. They are ranked according to the compound annual growth in their profits over three years, based on their latest available figures, either from 2009 to 2012 or 2010 to 2013.

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