By Ben Simmons
Deloitte have announced the UK’s fastest growing privately-backed companies, with Hunter Welington Boots, Agent Provocateur and London’s Ambassador Theatre Group averaging more than 100% growth in the past year.
Now in its sixth year, the annual league table ranks companies by growth in profits (ebitda) over the last two years of available accounts. This year’s league table features well-known brands including lingerie retailer Agent Provocateur (No 8, owned by 3i); fashion retailer Jack Wills (No 43, backed by Inflexion); and restaurant operator Yo! Sushi (No 89, owned by Quilvest).
Life assurance specialist Partnership, owned by Cinven, takes the top spot. Its profits grew an average of 346% a year, from £1.9m in 2008 to £36.9m in 2010, the highest growth figure seen on any Buyout Track 100 table. The company sells long-term care plans, life assurance and equity release schemes as well as annuities exclusively to people whose life expectancy is significantly shortened due to medical conditions.
Despite the tough economic climate, the 100 companies have grown their combined profits by an average of 51% a year over two years to £1.3bn. Together they employ 91,577 staff, having added 22,731 employees to their workforce over the last two years.
The Buyout Track 100 is sponsored by Deloitte, Lloyds Bank Wholesale Banking & Markets and Skillcapital. It is compiled by Fast Track, the Oxford-based networking events and research company, which champions the UK’s top-performing private companies and entrepreneurs.
Despite the focus on cost-cutting in the economic downturn, the Buyout Track 100 research shows that these private-equity-backed companies have performed well. Mark Pacitti, head of London corporate finance advisory at Deloitte, title sponsor of the league table, commented:
“Despite the many challenges facing the UK economy, it is very pleasing to see so many successful private-equity-backed businesses. It is clear that strong management teams supported by private equity investors can deliver above average performance which in turn makes them attractive M&A candidates.”
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