Fastest 50 2012: Fastest-growing businesses in the North East unveiled

THE waiting is over, the list of the fastest growing companies in the North East has been unveiled and we can see which businesses are helping the North East to beat the downturn.

The Fastest 50 businesses 2012 are revealed today
The Fastest 50 businesses 2012 are revealed today

TODAY is the day when we reveal the businesses which have made it into the Ward Hadaway Fastest 50 for 2012 – the comprehensive list of the North East’s fastest-growing private businesses.

Sponsored by Newcastle-based law firm Ward Hadaway and backed by The Journal, the list highlights and celebrates private companies and organisations in the region showing the strongest growth as a way of rewarding high achieving companies and encouraging others.

The 2012 Fastest 50 contains businesses from a wide range of sectors from engineering and offshore industries to retailing and food.

Damien Charlton, partner in the commercial law team at Ward Hadaway, said: “Once again, the Fastest 50 has delivered a fascinating snapshot of the North East economy.

“The sheer variety of companies represented in the list demonstrates the continuing strength and vibrancy of the region’s business world and gives us all something to feel proud about – all the more important in view of the current economic climate.

“All the businesses listed here are forging ahead and seeing their turnover grow – they are real trailblazers who deserve our support, encouragement and our applause.”

Experts from St Chad’s College/Durham Business School were drafted in to help compile the list, making it even more authoritative.

Following today’s publication of the Fastest 50, an awards ceremony will take place at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead on Friday, October 12, when the winners of the Fastest 50 will be revealed.

There, awards will be given to the fastest-growing small, medium and large business, as well as an overall award for the fastest-growing business of the year.

Here is the Fastest 50 for 2012 in alphabetical order:

Advanced Electronics Limited, Cramlington, Northumberland Established in 1999, Advanced Electronics Ltd has grown to become a leading UK manufacturer of analogue addressable fire and emergency lighting control panels, exporting products to more than 60 countries around the world.

Bannatyne Hotels Limited, Darlington Bannatyne Hotels offers luxury accommodation in four locations – Darlington, Durham, Hastings and the Charlton House Spa Hotel at Shepton Mallet in Somerset. Part of Dragons’ Den star Duncan Bannatyne’s Bannatyne Group, the company is a regular in the Fastest 50, appearing in each of the last three years and winning the overall Fastest 50 award in 2006.

Benfield Motor Group Ltd, Newcastle This independent family-owned motor dealership was established in 1957 and is now one of the best-known motor retailers in the North East. It has also grown to encompass dealerships across Yorkshire and recently opened the UK’s first stand-alone Maserati showroom.

Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (UK) Limited, Newcastle This international maritime and ship management services company opened its UK office in Newcastle in 2007. The centre was established to improve access to vessels trading for established clients in the North Sea area and to attract new business.

Bertschi UK Limited, South Bank, Teesside Part of the Swiss-based Bertschi group, Bertschi UK specialises in the international transport of bulk liquids, powders and granules.

BOB Alexander Limited, Thornaby-on-Tees Trading as Alexanders Saab, this motor dealership has represented the Saab make in the UK for 40 years and has been Saab’s National Dealer of the Year on three occasions.

Bonds Foundry Company Limited, Bishop Auckland, Co Durham Bonds Foundry produces finished valve, pump and general engineering castings up to 12 tonnes for a wide range of industries. It supplies some of the leading companies in the valves, pumps, crushing and marine sectors in the UK and internationally.

CJ Leonard & Sons Limited, Guisborough Working across a broad spectrum of industries, this family-owned company was established in 1964 and sells a wide range of used commercial vehicles and machinery as well as offering plant hire and spare parts.

Clarkes of Stillington Plate & Profiles Limited, Stockton Clarkes is an independent steel stockholder and processor which supplies steel plates and profiles of various grades to a wide range of customers throughout the UK.

Con Mech Group Limited, Darlington This group has four major operating companies whose activities cover everything from making ground engaging tools for construction and earthmoving machinery to forging and sheet metal for the railways and agricultural engineering industries.

CMR UK Limited, New York, North Tyneside A regular to Fastest 50 lists over the years and a winner in the 2007 and 2009 awards, Controle Mesure Regulation specialises in the design, manufacture and supply of temperature and pressure sensors including associated cabling systems, monitoring and control systems.

Cowie Technology Group Limited, Middlesbrough This company designs, develops and manufactures products supplying a diverse range of industries worldwide including laboratory, pharmaceutical, process chemistry, bio-chem, electrical, flow, temperature measurement, aerospace, general engineering, cryogenics and level sensing.

Crabco Limited, Gateshead Based in the Team Valley area of Gateshead, Crabco specialises in manufacturing special purpose machinery.

Culpitt Ltd, Ashington Culpitt is the UK’s leading supplier of cake and food decorating products and the UK’s largest wholesaler of sugarcrafting edibles and equipment. Its Ashington plant hosts a manufacturing facility and a warehouse.

Eden Farm Ltd, Peterlee This family-run frozen food and ice cream wholesale and distribution company operates from a base in Peterlee with a sister site in Bradford and sells major brand products to over 5,000 customers. It started in 1964 as a door to door seller of farm produce.

Elring Klinger (Great Britain) Limited, Redcar The UK operation of this international company has operations in both Redcar and Gateshead. Elring Klinger specialises in making and selling components for all drive systems, from conventional combustion engines to hybrid and electric motors or fuel cells.

Eurojag Limited, Darlington Eurojag is a leading supplier of new, used and reconditioned parts for Jaguar cars. The company supplies parts and components for models from 1969 to the present day and has been in business for over 20 years.

Fine Organics Limited, Middlesbrough Founded in 1977, Fine Organics has been making fine chemicals for a range of industry sectors for 35 years. A Management Buy-Out completed in 2008, led by Keith Hanson, brought the company back from multi-national into private ownership.

Fox Head Europe Limited, Gateshead Originally founded in 1974 as a motocross brand, Fox Head has become a leader in surf, BMX, wake, motocross and mountain biking and one of the most recognised action sport brands in the world.

G O’Brien & Sons (Nationwide Demolition Contractors) Limited, East Boldon A leading demolition and dismantling contractor, this company’s vehicles are a familiar site at many regeneration sites across the North East. O’Brien & Sons undertakes work nationwide.

Gainford Care Homes Limited, Chester-le-Street Established in 1995, Gainford Care Homes operates 13 care homes across the North East catering for young and elderly residents, as well as those with physical or learning disabilities.

Goodall Bates & Todd Limited, Gateshead Now trading as GB Lubricants & Fuels, this family-owned Tyneside company can trace its roots back to 1877. It blends and supplies lubricants, oils, greases and sprays for commercial vehicle, plant, agricultural, forestry, industrial and passenger car applications as well as petrol, diesel, heating oil and red diesel.

Holme Dodsworth Metals Limited, Newcastle Holme Dodsworth Metals are a leading UK stockist and a major manufacturer’s agent for non-ferrous metals in all forms. The company’s roots can be traced to 1879, although its modern incarnation was established on Newcastle’s Quayside in the mid-1950s.

Hutton Chemicals Limited, Guisborough Founded in 1991, this petrochemical specialist has close links with companies in Russia and the Baltic States. Its products find their way into many industry sectors including textiles, oilfield chemicals, plasticisers, plastics, fuels, lighting, solvents and detergents.

Hydram Engineering Limited, Ferryhill, Co Durham Hydram is a leading supplier of sheet metal components, assemblies and light fabrications to customers throughout the UK. Its work can be seen on projects including the Royal Opera House, Heathrow Terminal 5 and Boeing 737 aircraft.

IKM Testing UK Limited, Cramlington, Northumberland The UK operation of Norway’s IKM Group, this company operates in the offshore and subsea sector where it provides a range of specialist products and services including nitrogen and helium leak testing, pressure testing and pipeline commissioning.

J Barbour & Sons Limited, South Shields Outdoor clothing maker Barbour is known across the world for its iconic wax jackets, famously worn by the Royal Family, and a range of celebrities. The family-owned business currently holds three Royal Warrants and launched its own training academy this year.

Kids 1st, Gateshead Operating a total of nine nurseries across the North East, Kids 1st was named the highest quality provider of childcare in the UK by industry publication Nursery World in 2011.

LJJ Ltd, Stockton LJJ specialises in the design, installation and commissioning of mechanical and electrical services in all types of commercial, industrial, public sector and communal housing projects. Its projects include Durham University student accommodation.

Mecaplast Peterlee Limited, Peterlee Mecaplast manufactures plastic mouldings and other components for the automotive sector. Its Peterlee operation is part of an international group which encompasses 5,500 staff in 15 countries.

Messer Griesheim Limited, Cramlington, Northumberland Messer has been providing gas flame, plasma and laser cutting equipment to industry for over 40 years in the UK. Its worldwide customer base includes clients in over 120 countries.

MH Southern (Holdings) Limited, Jarrow Founded in 1913, MH Southern & Co Ltd is now a fourth generation family company specialising in timber importing and sawmilling and providing services to all construction and allied industries. It has operations in Jarrow and in Berwick.

Pacifica Group Limited, Chester-le-Street Winner of the fastest growing overall company award last year, Pacifica is a major supplier to the domestic appliance industry throughout the UK and Europe. The company employs more than 400 staff and operates services including warranties, replacements and 0800 Repair.

Pearson Engineering Limited, Newcastle Pearson Engineering develops combat engineer systems and equipment to meet the needs of both British and foreign armed forces. The Newcastle-based company specialises in the development and supply of specialised countermine and combat engineer equipment for armoured fighting vehicles.

Potts Print (UK) Limited, Cramlington, Northumberland Based in Cramlington, Potts Print provides a range of services including digital printing, design and print services to packaging manufacturers and direct mail services. Clients include international corporations, retail and pharmaceutical companies, the NHS and public sector organisations, creative agencies and charities.

Prima Cheese Limited, Seaham One of the biggest suppliers of cheese blends within the UK, Prima Cheese specialises in cheese for pizza toppings, as well as selling its own brand cheese in supermarkets. The company slices and grates 200 tonnes of cheese every week and now exports to the Middle East and South America.

Pyeroy Group Limited, Gateshead Since its foundation in 1973, industrial coatings specialist Pyeroy has grown to become one of the foremost industrial services groups in the UK with an annual turnover of around £60m and employing 1,000 people. Major contracts include work for the MoD and painting the Forth Bridge.

Renown Group Limited, Cramlington, Northumberland The Renown Group is made up by seven divisions covering a wide range of engineering disciplines including defence, access systems, materials handling, oil & gas, marine and offshore.

RTH Lubbers UK (International) Limited, Cramlington, Northumberland Lubbers provides specialized international transport services for the oil and gas industry. Jointly headquartered in Cramlington and in Schoonebeek in Holland, the company also has operations in Denmark, Germany, Italy, Romania and Poland.

Ron Perry & Son Limited, Hartlepool Ron Perry & Son run service stations on both the northbound and southbond carriageways of the A19 as well as the A19 Test & Tune workshops, a breakdown recovery service, the OK Diner and the A19 Café.

SG Petch Limited, Darlington Started in 1977 from a single garage and used car site, SG Petch has grown to an organisation which employs over 200 people with dealerships across County Durham, Teesside and North Yorkshire selling a range of new and used cars.

STR Enterprises Limited, Newcastle Family-owned leisure group STR Enterprises owns and operates a number of well-known venues in the North-East including Newcastle’s Centurion Bar, Sunderland’s Quayside Exchange and the Victoria Hotel in Bamburgh, Northumberland. It also operates the Centurion Park golf club in Wallsend and is a regular in the Fastest 50.

TDR Training Limited, Gateshead This company provides a range of training opportunities, predominantly in the engineering and science sectors. It provides apprenticeships and adult learning packages, as well as working with schools and employers to promote engineering and science as exciting careers.

Tombola Limited, Sunderland Online gaming specialist Tombola is one of the leading players in the UK online bingo market. Tombola and its associated companies have been involved in bingo for 50 years, initially supplying tickets to bingo halls. Its UK operation is based in Sunderland.

Tyne Electro Diesel Limited, Newcastle Based in Newcastle, this company specialises in the overhaul, repair and test of all makes of diesel fuel injection equipment, and related components for the marine and power generation industries.

Tynetec Limited, Blyth Tynetec has over 30 years’ experience in the design and manufacture of Warden Call Systems, Telecare & Telehealth Solutions, Access Control Systems and Wireless Nurse Call Products for care homes, hospitals and other healthcare providers.

Unipres (UK) Limited, Sunderland Since beginning its operations in 1987, Unipres has been manufacturing components for the automotive industry including car body parts. It expects to create up to 200 more jobs in the next few years as demand from clients including Honda and Nissan increases.

Walker Filtration Limited, Washington Walker Filtration specialise in the design and manufacture of a wide range of industrial air filtration and drying technologies from compressed air filters, vacuum pump filtration and medical sterile filters to laser smoke evacuators.

Ward Bros Holdings (North East) Limited, Darlington Established in 1974, this company specialising in the processing and recycling of ferrous and non ferrous scrap metals across the North East from its base in Darlington and depots in Newcastle and Sunderland.

Wilton Engineering Services Limited, Middlesbrough Part of offshore and petrochemical industry specialist the Wilton Group, this company provides high quality bespoke fabrications and associated services to blue chip clients in the subsea, marine, offshore and renewable energy industries. It was named Fastest Growing Large Business and Fastest Growing Overall Business in the 2010 Fastest 50 Awards and Fastest Growing Large Business in 2011.

The companies in this list have been selected from the table of fastest growing profit-making, private, regional companies, based on turnover growth.

Information has been compiled by researchers at St. Chad’s College/Durham Business School using data which is publicly available at Companies House of UK listed companies.

The average turnover growth has been assessed on a percentage increase based on the difference between turnover figures filed for the last three years. To qualify, companies must be trading entities and have turnover in excess of £1,000,000 in the last three years of filed accounts, which are up to date as at 31 July 2012. Companies must also have made profits in each of the past three years’ accounts.

Private limited companies which are subsidiaries of listed companies do not qualify. Subsidiaries of foreign-controlled companies have been accepted if they have headquarters or a decision-making function in the region.

Ward Hadaway and The Journal do not accept any responsibility for any errors or omissions.


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer