2018: Top Track 250

Mon, 08 Oct 2018 | BUSINESS NEWS

It's often difficult for businesses to achieve growth organically, which is why the mergers and acquisition market is often the way forward. In 2018, businesses boomed thanks to numerous M&A deals across international platforms. Profits are at a record-high of £6.4 billion (up 27 percent) with the Top Track 250 companies, a ranking of Britain's private mid-market growth companies by sales.

Produced by Oxford research firm Fast Track, the Top Track 250 list published by The Sunday Times shows sales figures in the range of £110 million to £700 million. Take a look at the success stories of five of the top performers who have made it this year through acquisitions.

NG Bailey
Coming up in 28th place is NG Bailey, a mechanical and electrical engineering service established in West Yorkshire in 1921. Amongst numerous projects to its name is the design and construction of Manchester University's engineering campus, and London Bridge's rail control centre. In April this year, it acquired Freedom Group (which maintains the country's electrical network infrastructure) to continue its strong growth in engineering services, which has allowed the company to see a surge in sales to £481 million.

Turner & Townsend
Leeds-based construction consultancy Turner & Townsend experienced a sales growth of 12 per cent to £548.7 million, allowing the company to settle well into 19th place. Its specialised functions are real estate, infrastructure and the natural resources sector, with projects happening all around the world. Presently, the company is assisting the development of HCL’s IT campus in Lucknow, India and has benefited from acquisitions like Mentor Management in Nairobi, Kenya to boost its portfolio.

Virgin Active
Founder and chief executive Matthew Bucknall leads this London-based business, which falls into 15th place in the Top Track 250 list. In 2015, South African private equity firm Brait purchased an 80 per cent stake in the company from CVC Capital Partners, pushing Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group’s stake down to 20 per cent to value the company at £1.3 billion. With 233 health clubs in four continents and sales at £580.2 million, the business has experienced a 13 per cent growth.

Holland & Barrett
In 6th place is this supplement and health food retailer, which has 1,368 stores in 13 countries and shelves over 9,000 different products. Most recently, Holland & Barrett expanded its market into the Nordic regions with the acquisition of Halsa for Alla, allowing the company to experience sales of £655.5 million and a 7 per cent growth in profits. The company is owned by investment fund L1 Retailer, which purchased it for £1.8 billion in August last year from The Carlyle Group.

The Watches of Switzerland Group
Coming in at Number 1 is The Watches of Switzerland Group, which is most famously known for its Mappin & Webb, Goldsmiths and both online and retail Watches of Switzerland shops. Although the group was only formed in 2006 following the merger of its three largest brands, its claim is that it sells just under 50 per cent of all Rolexes sold in the UK. In recent years the company has grown through a number of acquisitions which have helped boost sales by 21 per cent to £685.2 million, further allowing profits to rise by 36 per cent.

Want to know more about what's happening with UK businesses? Check out our other news stories here.

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