Region's top firms outstrip the Footsie

THE top 50 companies in the East of England are outperforming the FTSE 100, according to a new regional share index launched yesterday. The EESI-50 (East of England Share Index) is a new forward-looking indicator of the region's economy produced by the East of England Development Agency to provide an insight into the prospects of the region's economy as a whole.

THE top 50 companies in the East of England are outperforming the FTSE 100, according to a new regional share index launched yesterday.

The EESI-50 (East of England Share Index) is a new forward-looking indicator of the region's economy produced by the East of England Development Agency to provide an insight into the prospects of the region's economy as a whole.

Launch data shows that between November 2005 and March 2006, the EESI-50 has outperformed the FTSE 100 index by 3%.

The regional index is dominated by technology and engineering companies from Cambridgeshire and a mix of retail and service orientated firms from Essex and Hertfordshire. Local companies on the list include Bury St Edmunds pubs and brewing group Greene King and electronic components and sub-systems company E2V Technologies from Chelmsford.


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David Marlow, chief executive of EEDA, said: “What the EESI-50 shows us is how strong some parts of our economy have become and also that some of the world's leading companies have set up in our region. Interestingly, engineering and technology companies come up as both the strongest and weakest performers, while retail and services cluster around the average.

“I believe the EESI-50 will become an important indicator showing what is happening in the region and will show where the East of England lies in comparison with the rest of the UK. I will be watching with interest over the coming months to see who enters the index and how it continues to perform given the continued growth of our region.”

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The EESI-50 combines the shares of 50 of the largest companies based in the East of England. The movements in prices are weighted according to each company's market value: the greater the value, the larger the contribution to the index.

Allowing the weights to be freely determined by the market could mean that a few large firms come to dominate the index. But, in line with the approach used to calculate the FTSE-100 and others, the weighting of each share is capped to a maximum of 15%.

The top five companies on the rise in the debut index are given as Paypoint (Hertfordshire), Itm Power (Cambridgeshire), Alizyme (Cambridgeshire), Amstrad (Essex), and Computacenter (Hertfordshire).

The EESI-50 is part of a biannual report produced in conjunction with the Government Office of the East of England and will be updated at www.eastofenglandobservatory.org.uk at the start of each month.

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