Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

There's Pepper in the Big-List Pot

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

There's Pepper in the Big-List Pot

Article excerpt


BIG climbers and new entries are the pepper in the Top 200 stew. They give the North East list of leading firms a piquancy that's irresistible to anyone keen to see firms of our region progress - and who doesn't? Notable climbers such as Redcar steelmaker SSI (up 33 places to 10th) and Sunderland security group Opsec (up 45 places to 117th) were among 19 companies that added flavour to last year's North East Top 200. And new entries like Stocksfield's IHC Engineering, which (significantly) has just completed two pipe-lay contracts, and CJ Leonard & Sons, the Guisborough supplier of commercial vehicles and plant (in at 116th and 158th respectively), also contributed to last year's tang.

Sometimes new entries are a reappearance of firms that had been out of the list for some time and therefore signal a major pick-up in business - again something the region can appreciate.

This year's Top 200, exclusive to The Journal on October 22 - the day following a launch breakfast - will certainly have big climbers and new entries. Compilation of this year's list by Newcastle University Business School and PwC in the North East - The Journal's partners in this enterprise - is still under way. But we already know of companies whose recent performances may gain them prestige this year.

Kitwave One, the North Shields wholesale and distribution group heavily into serial acquisition, rose 20 places to 46th last year, and has now acquired the entire issued share capital of Teatime Tasties and TG Foods, a Manchester cash and carry. Teatime Tasties, selling tobacco, alcohol, confectionery and soft drinks from warehouses across the North and the Midlands, was bought with backing from NVM Private Equity.

Huddersfield-based Teatime Tasties was founded in 2000, and had a smaller cash and carry operation in Manchester. Paul Young, group managing director at Kitwave, has completed seven other buy-ups, including Eden Farm at Peterlee earlier this year.

In construction and infrastructure, watch out for further advances by Metnor and Banks Groups. Metnor, the Killingworth property and construction services operation, has completed two property developments recently, a care home and student accommodation. It had already jumped 33 places to 162 last year.

Banks, the Durham mining and development company (91st last year, 21 places up) is now mining in West Lothian and has planning consent for a Northumbrian project, and it will be one to watch this time round.

A notable performer this year may also be DE Group of Prudhoe, one of the UK's biggest pharmaceutical wholesalers. It is targeting PS196m turnover in three years following a management buy-out by two of its directors in one of the biggest deals of the North East healthcare sector for some years last October. …

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