Top 100 Scottish firms ‘in robust shape’
Scotland’s top private businesses have shown resilience to the downturn and have increased their payrolls, sales and profits in the last 12 months, according to a report published today.
The country’s top private firms are in sufficiently robust shape that they have been able to cut debt and increase cash balances.
The Scotland Ltd review of 100 of the biggest private companies by accountancy firm Grant Thornton reflected growing productivity and confidence, said Kevin Engel, the firm’s Scottish managing partner.
“The Top 100 limited companies may operate across a variety of sectors but they have achieved growth in some of the toughest trading conditions. The overall picture is of increased demand, productivity and confidence. A dynamic, agile and entrepreneurial spirit has created robust, hungry and confident businesses,” He said.
Business Minister Fergus Ewing said: “This survey underlines the confidence that exists amongst Scottish businesses, and builds on recent surveys from the Office for National Statistics and Bank of Scotland which highlight a strengthening labour market and strong economic growth.
“Scotland has the highest employment rate, lowest unemployment rate and lowest inactivity rate of all four UK nations. Economic output has now surpassed pre-recession levels, with the Scottish economy showing the fastest annual growth since late 2007. In addition, recent figures have shown that Scotland has the highest number of registered businesses on record.”
The report’s publication will be marked by a celebratory dinner in Edinburgh tonight.
Key findings of the Top 100 report:
– Combined turnover of £20.6bn, up 9%
– Combined employee numbers grew from 92,467 to 103,807, an increase of 12%
– Long term debt has decreased by 38% in the past 12 months from £2.8bn to £1.7bn
– The Top 100 companies collectively hold £1.2bn of cash
– 68% have a turnover of greater than £100m (15 have a turnover in excess of £300m)
– 51% saw their operating profit grow in the past year with 40% seeing double digit profit growth
– Arnold Clark Automobile Ltd recorded the highest turnover of the Top 100 businesses at £2.5bn
– 38 firms based in Glasgow, 24 in Edinburgh, 11 in Aberdeen, eight in Stirling and six in Inverness
– Oil & gas is the fastest growing sector by turnover and has the highest profit margin
The sector breakdown of the Top 100 Ltd companies reveals than while there remains a place for heavy industry, Retail & wholesale and Food, beverage and leisure are the areas that dominate Scotland’s private sector, accounting for 42 of the Top 100 companies.