Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Plcs Will Be in Spotlight on 2015's Top 200 List

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Plcs Will Be in Spotlight on 2015's Top 200 List

Article excerpt

Byline: EVENT BRIAN NICHOLLS business@ncjmedia.co.uk

THE past year has been good indeed for many of the region's plcs.

Go-Ahead, Vertu and Bellway have all improved sales over their previous financial year. Indeed, Bellway may seriously challenge Sage for fifth place when the new North East Top 200 list is published exclusively in The Journal on October 21.

Inevitably our attentions are drawn to the big guns at this time. Bellway's PS1.48bn latest turnover marks a 33.83% rise.

The Newcastle housebuilder's home sales have been at record level and it has no fears about any effects likely if interest rates should rise.

Vertu's acquisition of dealerships across the nation goes on relentlessly, and the motor dealer's 19.13% hike in sales should stand the Gateshead group in good stead as it defends fourth place on the table.

Northern Bear rose eight places last year to 164 in the rankings. Its further 13.44% jump in revenues this year looks certain to take the Newcastle group higher again. Its strength lies in a diversification of construction skills. It is actually 12 businesses in one, most having traded for more than 20 years.

They have been enjoying repeat business to an extent of 85% of workload. Main customers are local and health authorities, NHS trusts and universities, other construction firms and national housebuilders.

Tolent is another builder of strength, its turnover being more than 16% up. This Gateshead group with operations also in Thornaby, Leeds and London, delisted in 2010 and dropped seven places last year but may have reversed that fall this time round.

There's clearly money to be made on the service side of housing too, given LSL Property Services' 11.17% jump in turnover. That could take it a few places up-table from 28th spot last year.

LSL is a leading provider of residential property services to two kinds of customers, supplying the services through companies within the group. Services to consumers include: residential sales, lettings, surveying, conveyancing and advice on mortgages and non-investment insurance products. Services to mortgage lenders include: valuations and panel management services, asset management and property management services.

Operating across the residential property services value chain, LSL is the Newcastle based parent company of e.surv Chartered Surveyors, Your Move and Reeds Rains, and forms the UK's secondlargest estate agent chain.

Three companies whose names are familiar on the list have floated since the last Top 200 was published a year ago.

They are Virgin Money Holdings (floated last November), Quantum Pharma (floated last December) and ScS (floated last January).

Virgin Money, which bought the "good part" of Northern Rock and burst into the FTSE-250 following its flotation, is predicted to be one of the more successful among the challenger banks being set up to rival the High Street banking establishment. …

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