Express & Star

Black Country’s fast-growth businesses top £2.3bn in revenues

The Black Country’s top 50 fastest-growing businesses have increased their combined turnover from £1.5 billion to £2.3bn over the last three years.

The BDO Black Country team, from left, Kuljit Singh, Teresa Darby, Paul Townson, Nicola Cooper, Marvin Reynolds, Tim Lynch and Richard Law

This comes from research by accountants and business advisers BDO.

The BDO Black Country Growth Barometer, ranks the top 50 fastest-growing companies in the region.

Coming out on top of the list for the second year running is Wolverhampton-based transport and logistics company Palman, which trades as Pallet-Track at Millfields Road, Ettingshall.

The winner of the Express & Star Business Awards business of the year last year reported an average turnover increase of 75 per cent.

Wolverhampton's Angel Springs and Task Consumer Products follow in second and third places respectively.

Combined, the 50 fastest-growing companies in the Black Country employ more than 8,500 people – an increase of 23 per cent on last year’s employment levels.

Manufacturing is the most prominent sector in the region’s top 50 fastest-growing companies, with 23 companies featured in the list.

Combined, these manufacturers have grown revenues by 44 per cent in the last three years. This growth is almost twice the size of construction and civil engineering, the next largest industry group on the list, highlighting the continued importance of manufacturing in the local economy.

The highest performing district in the Black Country is Wolverhampton. There are 13 of Wolverhampton-based businesses in BDO’s top 50, which have increased revenues by 80 per cent in the last three years.

Nicola Cooper, senior manager at BDO and leader of its Black Country team, was pleased to see the continued growth across the region.

“The Black Country is home to many impressive, high-growth businesses that should be celebrated. Manufacturing continues to be the region’s strongest card for economic growth and employment. This is evident in the fact that the top 20 manufacturing businesses in the region now employ almost 3,500 workers. A 32 per cent increase over the last three years," she explained.

Despite a positive growth story overall, businesses have voiced concerns around recruitment with many firms focusing on training and development to help bridge the skills gap.

Manufacturing firm Clamason Industries in Kingswinford (number 20 in the top 50) has embarked on an apprentice scheme and training programmes with Dudley College.

Clamason chief executive Neil Geoghegan said: “We have made a big investment in our training programmes, with almost 10 per cent of our UK staff taking part in these schemes. Training and development is important to us but it’s also important that we work together to secure the talent the Black Country needs for the future.”

The Black Country Skills Factory has engaged 800 businesses, with a focus on in manufacturers, and supported the expansion of high-value engineering apprenticeships across the Black Country, which have doubled in the last five years.

Another example of progress in the region is The Elite Centre for Manufacturing Skills, which launched in October last year. Its aim is to provide specialist skills to the manufacturing industry, providing training that in many cases, is more advanced than in any other in the country.

In the report, BDO has also spoken to Corin Crane, chief executive of the Black Country’s Chamber of Commerce about the strategic and operational issues of the Apprenticeship Levy implemented by the Government in April 2017.