Herts economy in rude health as our big hitters better the market again, says authoritative report

Guest speaker
Tony King-Smith of Imagination Technologies with Jeremy Read, Steve White and Dominic

Guest speaker Tony King-Smith of Imagination Technologies with Jeremy Read, Steve White and Dominic Preston from Grant Thornton at the launch of the report. - Credit: Archant

Hertfordshire’s businesses have achieved a higher rate of growth than the overall UK economy for the third year in a row, according to a detailed report.

And there have been increases in employment and fixed assets signalling investment for future growth, says the authoritative Hertfordshire Limited report conducted by business advisers Grant Thornton in association with Hertfordshire LEP.

The report provides in-depth financial analysis of the performance of the 200 largest companies owned and managed in the county.

It shows that the combined turnover for those companies grew by a hefty 11.4 per cent to £14.1 billion.

Total profits also rose by more than 18 per cent to £937 million.

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Profitability delivered by small and medium sized businesses – those with a turnover of less than £50 million – increased by almost 40 per cent.

The total number of employees in the top 200 companies also passed the 100,000 mark for the first time, following a 4.8 per cent rise in staff levels.

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The biggest rises were in the property and construction sectors, up six per cent.

But the growth in average salaries remained subdued, rising by just 1.7 per cent to £25,290.

The Hertfordshire Limited study was based on the latest company accounts available and so relates mainly to a period which saw consistent signs in the wider UK economy that business confidence was returning.

Speaking about the report, Grant Thornton partner Jeremy Read said: “It has been another fantastic year for businesses in Hertfordshire which have delivered an outstanding performance – posting a significant rise in turnover, profitability and employment.

“However, this growth hasn’t been matched by an increase in average wages. To help bridge the skills gap we are seeing across the UK, local businesses need to ensure that, as well as taking on new employees, they continue to invest in their existing workforce.”

His colleague, corporate finance director Steve White, added: “The Hertfordshire Limited 2015 results paint a positive picture of a robust county performing well across all sectors.

“The strong performance of the top 200 companies reflects the entrepreneurial spirit, drive and determination of local businesses across the region.

“It is also good to see banks starting to lend more money for business growth again which has enabled companies to invest for the future.”

During an event to launch the report, guest speaker Tony King-Smith from technology firm Imagination Technologies shared his business insights and answered questions from delegates. If you’d like a full copy of the report, email eve.more@uk.gt.com.

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