The Journal Top 200: How to make sure your company is in the running

Breaking into the Top 200 list, or staying in it, enables smaller firms, by such associations to impress potential clients with the sort of company they can keep

John Hays, managing director of Hays Travel
John Hays, managing director of Hays Travel

Success breeds success in the North East Top 200. How, otherwise, would a modest company turning over less than £31m be mentioned on the same breath as national giants of the region like Northumbrian Water, Greggs and Virgin Money?

Breaking into the list, or staying in it, enables smaller firms, by such associations to impress potential clients with the sort of company they can keep.

The Top 200 embraces the little and large among outstanding companies in our region. Their remarkable performances combine also to present a snapshot of the progress in our region’s economy. Firms doing consistently well can look forward to their progress being widely evident publicly each year.

Hays Travel, the Sunderland based national holiday organisation, was a new entry at the turn of the millennium, employing 300 staff and turning over £75.7m. Last year it appeared well up the list employing 573 staff and turning over £141.6m.

John Hays, the firm’s entrepreneurial creator, says: “Hays Travel is delighted to be regularly recognised in The Journal Top 200. It enhances the status of the company to be shown alongside giants such as Nissan, Arriva and Sage.”

And he says that, despite a niggle that if sales rather than turnover were the criterion under rules of engagement, his firm’s crucial figure would be £600m, lifting it from 48th to 15th place.

Executives of export driven companies agree that, like the Queen’s Awards in business, being able to mention you’re in your home region’s Top 200 can assist towards securing an order. It helps position a company during considerations.

It’s even like a swing. Once you get on there’s no knowing how high you’ll go. In 2007, as 30 years of the list was celebrated with a temporary extension of the rankings to 250, a young company called Aesica Pharmaceuticals, based wholly at Cramlington then, came in at 241 employing 156 and turning over £23.6m. Six years later it was standing 41st, employing 1,188 staff and turning over £163.2m.

And what about Tyneside builder Bellway, 15th in 1987 on £65.8m turnover? Today it stands sixth on £1bn turnover and a workforce nationwide of 1,555.

The North East Top 200 has been noted, in short, as “prime prestige costing not a penny” and there are always places for newcomers. Last year, for example, there were 23 new entries. There will certainly be new names in this year’s list too when it is published in October.


See the top 200 companies in the North East in 2013.

Whether on the list now or aspiring to it, companies are asked to get their latest full year results into Companies House by Wednesday, August 13, to be considered for the 2014 listing.

* The Top 200 Business Breakfast is taking place on Tuesday 21st October 2014. The event will take place at The Biscuit Factory in a new state-of-the-art hospitality suite, The Biscuit Room. A Biscuit Factory spokesman said: “We are delighted to be hosting The Journal Top 200 business Breakfast later this year. It’s a fantastic opportunity for The Biscuit Factory to reach out to other business in Newcastle, introduce them to our unrivalled service, sing the praises of Ouseburn and ultimately offer our support.’’ Tickets are on sale now. For more information, and to purchase tickets, please contact Rebecca Luckley on or call 0191 201 6092.

* For advertising opportunities, please contact David Coburn, Business Advertising Manager, Tel 0191 201 6390 email


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