Profits rise for top firms

Innovation and collaboration key to growth

Kevin EngelScotland’s top 100 private firms grew profits, turnover and employment in the last 12 months by innovating and collaborating with others, according to a review.

The Grant Thornton Scotland Ltd annual review reveals that profits rose 65% and that operating profit broke the billion pound barrier, increasing from £882m in 2014 to £1.5bn last year.

Kevin Engel (pictured), managing partner, Scotland, said: “The top 100 limited companies featured this year all possess certain common traits. They all appear to be achieving growth by innovating, collaborating with others and taking a resilient long-term approach to success.

“Despite challenging trading conditions caused by the global oil and gas downturn, which has contributed to a drop in exports, Scotland’s limited businesses have shown remarkable entrepreneurship and resilience, and helped generate a dynamic and vibrant economy”

The research suggests food and drink is the top sector, with strong results in all areas from operating profit to employee numbers.

Another industry that faced similar challenges to that of the oil and gas industry is property and construction. Following a year in recovery mode, the research shows the sector performing strongly.

The latest Scotland Ltd report reveals the top firms  more than doubled their profit margin to 9.4%, increased EBITDA by 53% and employed more people for the second year running.

The Scotland Ltd 2015 report is compiled using the most recent publicly available accounts of private businesses.

Key findings:

          Collective overall profit amongst firms increased by 65%

          Profit margin more than doubled, rising from 4% to 9.4%

          EBITDA increased by 53%, from £1.3bn to £2bn

          Combined turnover up by more than £1.5bn to £22.3bn, a growth of 8.4%

          Combined employee numbers grew from 103,807 to 116,284, an increase of 12%

          Long-term debt increased by 90% from £1.7bn to £3.2bn

          21 Food & Drink businesses represented on the list, the largest of any sector

          Number of Property & Construction firms represented grew from 11 to 17

          The top 100 companies collectively hold £1.5bn of cash

          69 firms have a turnover greater than £100m with 18 firms having a turnover greater than £300m

          Retail and Wholesale sector employs highest percentage of (24%) total employment amongst the Top 100

          Over half of firms based in Scotland’s major cities: 25 in Glasgow, 17 in Edinburgh, 9 in Aberdeen, four in Stirling and three in Inverness

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