Essex Auto Group has again been included in the Essex Limited Top 100 survey as unveiled by finance and business advisers Grant Thornton and law firm Birkett Long LLP. The annual study, first compiled in 2011, supplies a detailed analysis of the county’s 100 biggest businesses by turnover and has become a recognised measure of Essex’s economic health.
The Essex Limited 2015 results were revealed at a briefing event hosted by Grant Thornton and Birkett Long at Stock Brook Country Club in Stock. The Essex Limited analysis investigated key performance indicators for the top 100 businesses, including operating profit and employment, and also examined their financial statistics by sector. The top 100 businesses were then chosen based on the postcode of their trading address and their levels of turnover.
The combined turnover for Essex Limited’s 100 members grew by 5.3% to £7.7bn, while operating profits increased by 1.4% to £322m and profit before tax rose by a substantial 22.4% to £296m. Employment levels across the 100 went up by 2.5% to 46,909, representing 1,114 new jobs, and the average salary of those employed increased by 8.1% to £26,463, well above all measures of inflation. Despite the increased wage bill, total debt had fallen by 19% to £1.1bn and gearing shifted from 87% to 65%.
Combined turnover for this year’s 100 leading firms was 5.3% up year-on-year at £7.7bn, with the Motor Retail sector itself delivering a 12.9% increase in turnover. Four of the seven sectors boosted their operating profit with Motor Retail leading the way with a 54% increase.
Paul Dearsley of Grant Thornton’s Chelmsford office, said: “It’s exciting to again report such promising growth. Last year, aggregate turnover remained broadly flat but this year we have seen significant growth, above that of the national economy, along with a continued rise in profits.
"This shows the county’s largest companies have worked hard to grow turnover, but not at the detriment of final profits, providing further testimony of the quality businesses the Essex attracts and retains. This is supported by increased employee numbers and wages rising at an above inflation average, demonstrating Essex businesses are investing in staff for future growth.”
Tracey Dickens, head of Commercial & Corporate Finance at Birkett Long LLP, said: “Last year’s Essex Limited findings showed another solid performance from the top 100 businesses with a substantial rise in operating profit and a significant increase in employment.
“One factor that remains consistent in Essex is the healthy competition, evidenced by those companies just outside the top 100 which are displaying strong financial performance this year. As these companies continue to increase operations, we look forward to welcoming them into the Essex Limited Top 100.”