Fastest 50 businesses for 2014 revealed

The 2014 Ward Hadaway Fastest 50 contains businesses from a wide range of sectors, from construction and engineering to care homes and retail

Fastest 50, 2014
Fastest 50, 2014

Today is the day when we reveal the businesses which have made it into the Ward Hadaway Fastest 50 for 2014 – the comprehensive list of the North East’s fastest-growing private businesses.

Sponsored and organised by leading law firm Ward Hadaway and backed by The Journal, the list highlights and celebrates the achievements of the profitable, privately owned companies in the region who have grown their turnover by the largest amount in recent years.

The 2014 Ward Hadaway Fastest 50 contains businesses from a wide range of sectors, from construction and engineering to care homes and retail.

Colin Hewitt, partner and head of commercial at Ward Hadaway, said: “As it has done since its foundation in 1998, the Fastest 50 has once again 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.

“Here are 50 reasons to feel optimistic about the future of the North East economy as we look to build on the region’s recovery.

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

The list has been compiled with the assistance of researchers from St Chad’s College/Durham Business School, making it even more authoritative.

Following today’s publication of the Ward Hadaway Fastest 50, an awards ceremony will take place at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead on October 10, when the winners of the Fastest 50 2014 will be revealed by BBC Breakfast business presenter Steph McGovern.

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

Here is the Fastest 50 for 2014 in alphabetical order:

A T & P Rentals, Guisborough

Part of the family-run group C J Leonard & Sons, which has previously featured in the Fastest 50, A T & P Rentals operates a construction equipment self-drive rental fleet which supplies a wide range of vehicles to the building industry, from excavators to bulldozers.

A-Belco, Ashington

This group operates a diverse range of businesses offering electrical and mechanical engineering services including specialist lighting, explosion-proof electrical products, prefabricated systems, industrial connectors and engineering solutions for the rail industry.

ADM Pressings Limited, Newcastle

ADM Pressings can trace its roots to a press tools-making division of Vickers Armstrong in 1956. The present company was established via a management buy-out in 2009 and provides components, fabricating services and after-market solutions to customers in the automotive and construction industries.

Banks Group, Durham

From its headquarters in Durham, Banks Group develops land for a variety of uses including residential and commercial property, surface mining, renewable energy and energy from waste. The company also developed and constructed the giant Northumberlandia earth sculpture near Cramlington in Northumberland.

Barbour, South Shields

A regular in the Fastest 50, 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 chairman Dame Margaret Barbour was given an outstanding achievement award this year for her services to the UK fashion industry.

Benfield Motors, Newcastle

This independent family-owned motor dealership was established in 1957 and is one of the best-known motor retailers in the North East and a familiar name in the Fastest 50. Benfield operates 30 dealerships across the region, Yorkshire, Cumbria and south-west Scotland, selling new and used cars from manufacturers including Audi, Ford, Volkswagen and Nissan.

Careline Lifestyles, Newcastle

Careline Lifestyles specialises in providing nursing and residential care for people with acquired brain injuries and neurological and mental health needs as well as learning and physical disabilities. It also provides nursing, residential and social care for the elderly. Established in 1986, it now operates 10 care homes across the North East.

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, including mining and construction companies. The company’s current incarnation was created following a management buy-out in 1999.

Close Engineering, Newcastle

Established in 1982, this company provides a complete service in the supply of fabrications to the offshore, subsea, power generation and general engineering industries throughout the UK. Close Engineering has worked on projects including offshore handling and pipe-laying fabrications and onshore carousels and reels.

CMR (UK) Limited, Wallsend

CMR – or Controle Mesure Regulation – was established in 1984 and specialises in wiring systems, harnesses, sensors, panel wiring, controls and instrumentation. In 2014, the company helped to supply electrical wiring services for the monorail system in Sao Paolo, Brazil, in time for the FIFA World Cup.

Crown Care, North Tyneside

Formerly Ladhar Healthcare, Crown Care was established in 1989 and operates 12 care homes across the country, with more being planned. Its homes provide residential care for the elderly, including nursing and dementia care as well as shorter-term, respite or convalescence care services.

DNR Limited, Newcastle

From its base in Newcastle, DNR provides a series of printing and packaging services for applications in a wide range of different industries.

eMerchantPay, North Shields

Founded in 2002, this company now provides online payment processing services for customers in more than 40 countries involving transactions in more than 150 different currencies around the world.

Falck Nutec UK, Stockton

Falck is a leading provider of safety training for workers in the offshore industry. Operating at training centres on Teesside and Aberdeen, it has equipment and simulators to replicate conditions and situations found in the industry as well as experienced trainers to coach workers on how to deal with them.

Fendor Limited, Washington

Fendor has designed, manufactured and installed commercial glazing systems for more than 30 years. It provides speciality glazing products such as blast-resistant glass and glass used in sectors including healthcare, security and the custodial system.

Fine Industries Limited, Middlesbrough

This is the holding company for four subsidiaries – Fine Organics, Fine Contract Research, Fine Environmental Services and Fine Facilities Management – which provide services ranging from the manufacture of chemicals used in pharmaceutical and agro-chemical applications to performance improvement for manufacturers.

Gainford Care Homes, 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 suffering from physical or learning disabilities.

Greencroft Bottling, Consett

Part of the Lanchester Group, Greencroft Bottling has grown since its foundation in 2003 to become one of the largest wine bottlers in Europe, operating five lines at its factory in Consett, capable of filling more than 50,000 bottles an hour. The company is also the world’s largest filler of 187ml ‘quarter bottles’.

Hadrian Healthcare Group, Gateshead

This family-owned company operates 14 care homes at locations across the North. Hadrian provides a range of care including residential and nursing care, respite care and specialist care for people with dementia and related conditions.

Hanover Dairies, Blaydon

Established by Trevor Hanover in 1976 with a single milk round, this company has grown to supply thousands of households, shops, business, factories and schools with doorstep milk deliveries. As well as its North East heartland, Hanover has created jobs for milkmen in the Blackpool and Preston areas.

Hitachi Construction Machinery Limited, Hebburn

Formerly known as HM Plant, Hitachi Construction Machinery (UK) Limited is a key player in the UK excavator market. The company supplies mini, medium, large and wheeled excavators, wheeled loaders, crawler carriers, dump trucks, parts, servicing and support to the UK and Irish construction industry from 11 depots and appointed sub-dealers in Ireland.

HMC Group, Gateshead

HMC Group is made up of six companies specialising in the care of the elderly, young children and older adults. The companies provide a range of services including home care, day centres, retirement communities, care homes and nurseries.

Hodgson Sayers, Stanley

Established in 1979, as Hodgson & Allon, this company began primarily as a roofing contractor. Over the years the business has developed and diversified considerably to include building works, fencing and metalwork fabrication, with clients across the North East.

I Love Wallpaper, Hartlepool

Winner of the fastest-growing small business in the 2013 Fastest 50, I Love Wallpaper is a family-run business which has been running for 20 years and has an extensive online wallpaper retail operation, as well as a dedicated store in Hartlepool.

Imprint Group, Newcastle

This company provides a range of printing, packaging and promotional services including flyers, direct mail campaigns, banners, posters and display units.

Jomast Developments Limited, Stockton

Founded in 1971, Jomast is a property development, investment and regeneration specialist with commercial and residential real estate assets in excess of £250m. The company’s property portfolio and development pipeline covers all market sectors, with particular emphasis on retail, leisure, offices, residential and mixed-use schemes.

Kans & Kandy (Holdings) Ltd, South Shields

Formed in 2000, this company provides consumer goods producers with ways to sell remnant or residual stocks within the health and beauty, food and household products marketplace. It has over 1,900 independent retail customers across Europe, America, the Middle East and India and makes another appearance in the Fastest 50.

Kids 1st, Gateshead

Kids 1st operates a total of 10 purpose-built nurseries across the North East providing childcare services and is a regular in the Fastest 50. As well as care staff, the company also employs teachers to provide children with extra-curricular modern language and music and movement lessons.

Kookaburra Ltd, Peterlee

Kookaburra started out in 1988 as a company supplying chilled and frozen chicken products to major UK food manufacturers. It has since broadened its range to include other meat products and also operates a special new product development kitchen at its Peterlee factory.

Lanchester Wine Cellars Limited, Consett

Part of the Lanchester Group, Lanchester Wine Cellars provides a complete wine service beginning in the purchase from vineyards, to bottling, warehousing, bonding, distribution and branding. The company supplies wine and gifts to airlines, supermarkets, retailers, bars, restaurants and pubs and prides itself on generating all its own power via wind and solar energy.

M.J. Hickey – Plant Hire & Contracts Ltd, Linton, Northumberland

M.J. Hickey was established in 1972 and provides bulk earth moving, site restoration, plant hire, site clearance and survey services to clients across the UK. Recent contracts include work for E.ON UK, Sita UK and Scottish Borders Council.

Mecaplast Peterlee Limited, Peterlee

Part of the global Mecaplast group, this company is an automotive components supplier. Earlier this year, Mecaplast Peterlee invested in a £6m expansion of its site and equipment after securing major contracts to supply components to Nissan.

Motherdale Limited, Castle Eden

Based in Castle Eden near Hartlepool, Motherdale provides a range of care home services.

MSB (Motoring’s Suddenly Better) Skoda, Darlington

This car dealership is based in Darlington and claims to offer the largest selection of used Skoda vehicles for sale in the North East as well as a range of new Skoda models and servicing.

Nifco UK Ltd, Eaglescliffe

Nifco designs, manufactures and supplies of precision injection moulded functional plastics parts, mainly for the automotive industry. The company supplies parts to Honda, Nissan and Toyota in the UK and exports to Ford in the United States and other markets in East Asia. Director Mike Matthews was North East Business Executive of the Year 2013.

Niramax Holdings Limited, Hartlepool

This Hartlepool-based company specialises in recycling commercial, industrial, local authority and household waste. It is one of the largest and longest established ‘closed loop’ service providers of its type in the North of England, meaning it is able to collect, transport, process, pre-treat, recycle and dispose of a wide variety of waste materials in an environmentally conscious way.

Nixon Hire, Newcastle

Founded in 1967, Nixon Hire has grown to become a major provider of plant, tools, accommodation units, portable toilets and site equipment to hire with an expanding network of depots throughout England, Scotland and more recently the Middle East.

North East Convenience Stores, Blyth

This business runs a total of 24 convenience stores, off-licences and post offices across the North East, from Northumberland to Teesside. It has won a number of awards in recent years, including Best Regional Convenience Chain of the Year 2012 at the Retail Industry Awards.

Owen Pugh, Dudley

Civil engineering and construction company Owen Pugh is a familiar sight on projects across the North East. The company has expanded its operations and provides everything from demolition and drainage to plant hire and specialist training.

Pacifica Group, Peterlee

Overall Fastest 50 winner in 2011, and a regular in the Fastest 50, Pacifica Group is a major supplier to the domestic appliance industry throughout the UK and Europe. The company provides services including repairs, warranties, warehousing and product replacement from its headquarters in Peterlee.

px group, Stockton

Winner of the fastest-growing large business in 2013, px group was formed in 2002 following a management buyout of Enron’s power operations business on Teesside. It has since expanded to provide engineering and design services, plant operation and maintenance and energy trading and commercial management services to clients across the UK and internationally.

R Manners & Sons, Ponteland

This catering butcher supplies the ready meals industry, the hospitality & leisure industry and industrial caterers from the Scottish Borders to the North Midlands. R Manners & Sons is also a main supplier to the NHS, the private healthcare sector and to local authorities.

Ringtons, Newcastle

Ringtons delivery vans have been a familiar sight on the North East’s roads for decades. The tea and coffee supplier has more than 200 van drivers supplying more than 280,000 customers in an area stretching from Edinburgh to Northampton, in addition to franchisee operations and online sales. It also supplies retailers and major tourist attractions and operates a specialist training facility for baristas.

R-Tek Ltd, Washington

R-Tek supplies interior automotive components for Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK and Honda Manufacturing UK and employs more than 320 staff at its Washington site just three miles away from the Nissan plant.

SMH Products Ltd, South Shields

Overall Fastest 50 winner in 2013, SMH Products specialises in the manufacture and sale of decontamination equipment for the asbestos removal, fire and safety industries. It has a manufacturing base in South Shields with branch offices in Newcastle, London, Birmingham, Glasgow and Southampton.

Techflow Flexibles Ltd, Cramlington

Techflow Flexibles specialises in the design, manufacture and supply of hoses to the oil and gas exploration and production industries. The company moved into a new £3m factory in 2013 with plans to double its turnover and workforce.

Tombola, Sunderland

Online gaming specialist Tombola is a Fastest 50 regular and one of the leading players in the UK online bingo market, also launching online sites in Spain and Italy. Tombola and its associated companies have been involved in bingo for 50 years, initially supplying tickets to bingo halls.

Tustain Motors, Berwick

Formed in 2010 by John Tustain, Brian Baxter and David Storey, the company first bought three Vauxhall dealerships within Northumberland then added a fourth in East Lothian in 2013. Tustain Motors has won a customer service excellence award from Vauxhall and has been named as one of the 1,000 companies to inspire Britain.

W & M Wholesale Limited, Cramlington

This company sells a wide range of sporting and fitness products via three main trading entities – Start Fitness, Start Football and Start Cycles – operating online and retail sites. It also manufactures its own More Mile range of sportswear.

Workwear Express Limited, Durham

Beginning life in 1990 with founder Andrew Ward selling work clothing from the back of a van, Workwear Express has grown to become a major supplier of more than 6,000 workwear and related products to more than 50,000 customers across the country.


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