Top 50 private equity-backed businesses boost Midlands economy by almost £1 billion

BDO Midlands Privat Equity

Companies from Solihill, Leamington Spa and Coventry have made it onto the latest BDO Midlands Private Equity Growth Barometer.

Communications company Palmer Hargreaves and 3D design software company Solid Solutions, both from Leamington Spa, Solihull-based telecoms company Wavenet and manufacturer Park Sheet Metal Company from Coventry all appear on the list of 50 companies.

The Midlands Private Equity Growth Barometer, highlights the region’s 50 fastest-growing private equity-backed businesses based on turnover growth in the past three years.

The top 50 PE-backed businesses have made a considerable impact over the last three financial years, adding almost £1 billion to the regional economy, with combined revenues rising from £1.7 billion to £2.7 billion.

Following that trend, the data also reveals that those businesses have contributed positively to employment in the Midlands, adding almost 6,000 jobs since 2016, taking the current numbers employed by the 50 fastest growing PE-backed companies to 21,400 people.

Taking top spot – based on compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of turnover in the last three years – is Wolverhampton-based Pallet Track. The company, which has developed cutting-edge tracking systems with the help of backing from TPA Capital, has achieved 48% CAGR since 2016. It is closely followed by Tramlink Nottingham Limited (40%), Biocomposites Limited (34%), Ballast Phoenix Limited (34%) and Creative Care Options Limited, which completes the top five with 31% CAGR.

Despite private equity funding falling in the region between 2016 and 2018 – from just under £1.5 billion to £629 million – the Midlands continues to attract a significant number of investors, with 101 companies receiving PE backing in 2018, thanks to the region’s expertise in key sectors and a vibrant start-up scene.

Andrew Mair, partner, assurance & business advisory and author of the report, said: “The emergence of sectors, such as tech and media and support services and transport is helping to create a diverse and rich investment scene Midlands-wide, despite the political uncertainty and concerns around Brexit businesses have experienced in recent years. This demonstrates that, although PE funding has fallen in real terms, there is still a positive appetite from investors across the world for new markets, as well as the more traditional sectors, such as manufacturing.

“While official figures show a drop in PE-funding to £629 million in 2018, it’s important to set those figures against a backdrop of investments versus divestments and the natural PE lifecycle of investments being realised. Although we have seen a reduction in mega deals in the last 12 months, the mid-market continues to see high levels of deal activity and, with a diverse range of investors in the top 50, it’s clear there is still plenty of business to be done in the region.”