The East of England has gone back to its roots as an agricultural heartland with agri-businesses named as the two biggest profit-making companies in the region, according to the Sunday Times PwC Profit Track 100 league table publishing this weekend.
It ranks Britain’s 100 private companies with the fastest-growing profits over the last three years of available audited accounts.
The top company in the region is Ipswich-based animal feed producer BOCM PAULS, part of the Agricola Group, which has made it onto the league table for the first time.
The company has 23 sites in Britain producing 2.5m tonnes of feed a year for all main livestock groups, including pigs, cattle, sheep and poultry. Under chief executive Bill Mayne, profits grew an average 50 per cent a year over three years to £15.1m in 2010. It has 961 staff.
Dutch group ForFarmers is poised to buy the company for €85m, although the deal is subject to EU approval.
Making its third consecutive appearance is Hutchinsons, an agronomy adviser based in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire that provides advice and supplies to improve crop production.
Growing demand for its services and acquisitions of complementary businesses helped profits grow an average 46 per cent a year over three years to £9.1m in 2010. The company employs 327 people.
Despite the tough economic climate, the two companies headquartered in the East of England (compared with four last year) have made a significant contribution to the local economy.
Together they employ 1,288 people, having added 107 jobs over the last three years and they generated combined profits of £24.2m.
The companies in the East of England feature on the league table alongside well-known brands such as child car seat manufacturer Britax Childcare, lifestyle retailer Cath Kidston, shoemaker Dr Martens, fashion retailer Jack Wills, café operator Patisserie Valerie and cinema operator Vue Entertainment.
Despite tough economic conditions, the 100 companies on the league table grew their profits over the last three years by an average of 70 per cent a year to combined profits of £1.2bn. Together they employed 60,750 staff, having added 23,600 staff during the period under review – some through acquisitions.