Profits soar for Scotland’s leading private sector firms

“Our research suggests food and drink is clearly the top sector,” – Kevin Engel, Grant Thornton 

Profits soared by 65% amongst Scotland’s leading private firms in the last 12 months, according to an annual review of the country’s top 100 private firms by Edinburgh-based legal firm Grant Thornton.
The annual Scotland Ltd report assesses the commercial performance over the past 12 months of Scotland’s top 100 privately owned limited companies. This year’s report reveals that Scottish private firms more than doubled their profit margin to 9.4%, increased EBITDA by 53% and employed more people by 12% for the second year running.
The overall financial statements of the country’s leading 100 limited businesses show that operating profit broke the billion pound barrier, increasing from £882 million in 2014 to £1.5 billion last year, from total revenues of £22.3 billion. These figures were achieved with a workforce of 116,284 people.
Grant Thornton UK’s Scotland Ltd 2015 report is compiled using the most recent publicly available accounts of Scotland’s top performing private businesses, using a measure of turnover and profits.
Kevin Engel, managing partner, Scotland at Grant Thornton, said: “The top 100 limited companies featured this year all possess certain common traits. They all appear to be achieving growth by innovating, collaborating with others and taking a resilient long-term approach to success. Despite challenging trading conditions caused by the global Oil and Gas downturn, which has contributed to a drop in exports, Scotland’s limited businesses have shown remarkable entrepreneurship and resilience, and helped generate a dynamic and vibrant economy.
“Our research suggests Food and Drink is clearly the top sector in Scotland Ltd 2015, with strong results in all areas from operating profit to employee numbers. Another industry that faced similar challenges to that of the Oil and Gas industry is Property and Construction. Following a year in recovery mode, our research shows the sector performing strongly.”
Key Scotland Ltd findings of the Top 100 private Scottish businesses:
  • Collective overall profit amongst firms increased by 65%
  • Profit margin more than doubled, rising from 4% to 9.4%
  • EBITDA increased by 53%, from £1.3bn to £2bn
  • Combined turnover up by more than £1.5bn to £22.3bn, a growth of 8.4%
  • Combined employee numbers grew from 103,807 to 116,284, an increase of 12%
  • Long-term debt increased by 90% from £1.7bn to £3.2bn
  • 21 Food & Drink businesses represented on the list, the largest of any sector
  • Number of Property & Construction firms represented grew from 11 to 17
  • The Top 100 companies collectively hold £1.5bn of cash
  • 69 firms have a turnover greater than £100m with 18 firms having a turnover greater than £300m
  • Retail and Wholesale sector employs highest percentage of (24%) total employment amongst the Top 100
  • Over half of firms based in Scotland’s major cities: 25 in Glasgow, 17 in Edinburgh, 9 in Aberdeen, four in Stirling and three in Inverness20151005 Oswalds Formations banner NEW LOGO
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