Suffolk Ltd report from Grant Thornton and Birketts reveals strong growth for county’s biggest companies

Ian Thoroughgood, associate director at Grant Thornton in Ipswich, right, with Birketts chief execut

Ian Thoroughgood, associate director at Grant Thornton in Ipswich, right, with Birketts chief executive Jonathan Agar at the Suffolk Ltd 2016 event. - Credit: Archant

Suffolk’s largest companies have achieved strong growth in both sales and profits over the past year, according to the new edition of an annual report.

Suffolk Ltd, compiled by accountants and business advisers Grant Thornton in partnership with law firm Birketts, involves a composite set of results based on the most recent annual reports from the 100 largest companies, ranked by turnover, which are based and managed within the county.

Revenues for this year’s top 100 totalled £4.666bn, a rise of 4.2% compared with 2015, while operating profit grew even more strongly, by 7.3% to £239m, and pre-tax profit by a still more impressive 11.4%, to £220m.

These figures exclude pubs and brewing group Greene King, which alone has annual revenues of £2bn is omitted in order to avoid skewing the results.

The average operating margin for Suffolk Ltd companies edged slightly higher, from 5.0% to 5.1%, and interest cover – the ratio of profits to interest payments – increased from 6.2 to 7.3.

This latter figure was assisted by a 7.5% decrease in debt to £612m which also contributed to a fall in gearing – the ratio of debt to equity – from 46% to 42%.

Ian Thoroughgood from the Ipswich office of Grant Thornton, said: “Inevitably, there is a time delay between the availability of the data used and the presentation of this report.

Most Read

“The findings therefore relate mainly to a period when the UK had moved back to having a majority government and was looking forward to the potential outcome of the EU referendum and the uncertainty that surrounded the lead up to Brexit.”

For a sector-by-sector analysis of this year’s Suffolk Ltd report, see the Business supplement in next Wednesday’s EADT.