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DMU researchers shine spotlight on the region's top businesses


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The contribution businesses across the region make to UK plc has been spelled out in detail in this year’s East Midlands Top 500.

The full list – which ranks the region’s top businesses by turnover – was published today compiled using data from Companies House and can be read here. Combined, the companies have a turnover of £94bn and employ more than 455,000 people.

Top 500 front cover

Business website Business Live has been counting down the companies from 500 to the top number one spot and hosted an online webinar at which business leaders discussed the trends and opportunities captured by the list.

The research, compiled by academics from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU), the University of Derby and Nottingham Trent University and sponsored by Bradgate Estates, allows us to see the range and strength of firms across the three counties.

The top 20 firms are national and international players, which support tens of thousands of jobs and pump billions into the economy. For the first time this year, all 20 have turnovers of more than £1 billion.

Just like last year Nottingham-based Boots UK remains in the number one position with annual revenues of £6.8 billion. Next comes Leicester-based luxury car dealer group Sytner, following by Barratt Developments in Coalville, the Notts-based Pendragon car dealer group and Leicestershire retailer Next PLC.

Next Fosse Park

This year Sports Direct and Toyota both jump one place to six and seven respectively, while Derby’s Rolls-Royce drops from sixth to 17

As well as the Top 500, the research team looks at the changes that have been made in the region’s biggest sectors such as manufacturing, logistics, technology and retail, as well as emerging niches.

Professor David Rae of DMU’s Leicester Castle Business School, who leads the project, said: “There are a few changes at the top of the list, but 55 new firms have joined it and the same number dropped out. It is interesting to see who these growing firms are. We also look at changes in the major business sectors in the region, compared with the first East Midlands Top 500 published in 2020. The index is becoming a valuable baseline for economic recovery from the pandemic.”

Following publication of last year’s inaugural Top 500, DMU collaborated with East Midlands Chamber to improve available intelligence about the region’s businesses, which could ultimately promote investment opportunities.

Anthony Parker, finance director of sponsor Bradgate Estate, said: “Local universities are creating business leaders of tomorrow and this initiative shines a light on some of your region’s success stories... ‘from little acorns great oak trees can grow’.

"This is our way of encouraging inter-regional and company dialogue, and closing the gaps between the region’s businesses with our excellent academic sector, local councils, and the East Midlands Chamber of Commerce to enhance the economic prospects for all in the region.”

Scott Knowles, chief executive of East Midlands Chamber said: “The East Midlands is the engine room of the UK’s economy. The East Midlands Top 500 Businesses Index sets this out in vivid detail, showcasing the huge contribution our region makes to UK Plc and the strength and depth of our business community. It’s the second listing of its kind and while many of the top positions remain stable, it’s interesting to observe which companies have climbed the table and those that have fallen.”

As the index is based on company accounts, it inevitably lags current company performance by around two years, since companies have up to nine months after their year-end to file their accounts.

It covers the period from June 2018 to June 2019, just six months before the first case of coronavirus was reported in Wuhan, China and before Article 50 triggered the UK’s official withdrawal from the European Union.

It excludes public sector organisations and businesses with operations in the East Midlands that are subsidiaries, or have their registered offices elsewhere.

The East Midlands Top 500 team are: DMU: Dr Rachel English, Professor David Rae and doctoral researchers Deji Olagboye and Zenas Azuma; University of Derby: Alexandra Charles; Nottingham Trent University: Dr Will Rossiter.

Posted on Thursday 1st July 2021

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