BDO study reveals export success story for East Anglia’s mid-market firms

Keith Ferguson of BDO.

Keith Ferguson of BDO. - Credit: Archant

East Anglia’s mid-market companies are among the most successful in the UK when it comes to exporting, according to research by accountants and business advisers firm BDO LLP.

The region’s mid-market companies (those with annual turnover of £10million to £300m) generate overseas sales of £6.3billion a year, accounting for 25% of the region’s exports despite representing less than 1% of firms in the region.

By value, East Anglia’s mid-market firms are the second best performers outside of London and the South East, with their export total beaten only by that of the North West, on £6.4bn.

Consumer markets, which include retail, wholesale and leisure companies, export goods and services more than any other sector (£2.1bn), accounting for more than a third (34%) of all mid-market exports out of the region. Manufacturers are next (£1.2bn), followed closely by professional services (£1bn).

However, Keith Ferguson, partner at BDO in East Anglia, says medium-sized firms are still under-valued when it comes to their contribution to UK growth and economic recovery.

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“Approximately 75% of all mid-market exports take place outside London and South East, yet the Government’s focus still lies heavily with the City of London,” he said.

“As policy makers strive to rebalance the economy, it’s important to recognise that regional mid-market firms contribute significantly. What’s exciting, yet equally frustrating, is that they’d have even more growth potential if the right support was in place.

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“The appetite for international expansion is there – we saw that in spades at the Export Week roadshow that took place across the region last week. It’s now up to the Government to put the right policies in place and give East Anglian companies the tools to thrive.”

As part of its “Mid-Market Manifesto”, BDO is calling on the Government to consider three policy recommendations to help mid-sized businesses make the decision to export more confidently.

These are to introduce a VAT zero rating for companies that supply to qualifying exporters (something that is already in place in Ireland); agree an exemption from local taxes up to £1million when businesses open a new branch or subsidiary overseas; and a review ofthe Bribery Act which, BDO says, is acting as a barrier for new exporters.

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