Rank Company Location Year end % annual profit growth Latest profits £000 Latest sales £000 Staff Comment
1 The Entertainment GroupFilm distributor Central London 2003 196.85% 61,558 169,422 26 Has exclusive UK distribution rights to The Lord of the Rings blockbusters
2 IngeniousInvestor and adviser Central London 2003 179.01% 19,629 33,995 46 Advised Robbie Williams on his £80m record contract with EMI
3 BinomialInsurance underwriter Surrey 2002 159.61% 11,004 55,634 452 Acts as a ‘behind-the-brand’ broker for the RAC, Halifax and Abbey
4 Central TrustLoan broker Norwich 2002 142.59% 18,915 39,866 273 Claims to field 45,000 customer inquiries a month
5 Loans.co.ukLoan broker Watford 2003 122.99% †8,807 †29,408 145 Sells more than 1,000 customer loans a month
6 Nando’sRestaurant operator Southwest London 2003 117.77% 7,307 53,335 1,487 Has opened 80 restaurants since arriving from South Africa in 1992
7 Langley HoldingsEngineering equipment maker Nottinghamshire 2002 117.33% 8,971 101,554 1,123 Founder was 22 when he set up company that now has 25 subsidiaries
8 Carte Blanche GreetingsGreeting card publisher Chichester 2002 116.20% 9,167 35,208 130 Claims to have sold nearly 10m soft-toy bears worldwide in 2003
9 WA DevelopmentsRail engineering contractor Cumbria 2002 114.21% 5,908 21,015 99 Won £14m contract to help upgrade the West Coast main line
10 Tussauds GroupLeisure attraction operator Southwest London 2002 110.74% 39,439 177,870 3,052 Runs Madame Tussauds and Alton Towers and owns 33% of London Eye
11 Vital ResourcesIndustrial recruitment agency Manchester 2002 109.66% 10,564 82,098 167 Places more than 20,000 workers a year in contract and permanent jobs
12 Maplin ElectronicsElectronic equipment retailer Rotherham 2002 104.98% 12,071 76,424 762 Started out selling computer components and electronics by mail order
13 Lotus GroupTour operator South London 2002 101.71% 8,844 198,273 462 Claims to have booked the last full fare on Concorde's final flight
14 CTC Marine ProjectsUndersea cable layer Darlington 2002 98.99% 4,281 40,573 108 Directors led £6m share repurchase from Alcatel in late 2002
15 DMN InstallationsTelecoms network installer Oxfordshire 2002 95.21% 5,070 19,445 64 More than 300 engineers help build 3G networks in Europe and Australia
16 Ferndale FoodsReady-meals producer Somerset 2003 84.90% 7,473 93,586 1,413 Prepares ready meals such as Sainsbury's best-selling lasagne
17 Towergate InsuranceInsurance underwriter and broker Maidstone 2002 83.11% 9,332 39,393 558 Acquired 33 companies insuring holiday homes, yachts and military kit
18 Strata HomesHousebuilder and developer Doncaster 2003 82.89% 11,433 57,236 252 Housing company started in 1919 now run by founder’s grandson
19 BodenClothing retailer Northwest London 2002 82.53% 5,564 47,901 289 Niche mail-order clothing company eyes American expansion
20 Broadgate HomesHousebuilder Lincolnshire 2003 80.93% 3,183 16,000 84 Runs affordable housing scheme that was promoted by Prince Charles
21 Laing O’RourkeEngineering and construction group Dartford 2003 80.39% 45,721 1,257,706 8,778 Bought Laing Construction for a token £1 in September 2001
22 Cinque Ports LeisureCaravan park operator Hastings 2002 77.17% †10,815 †40,420 336 Operates 21 caravan parks along Britain’s south and east coasts
23 R K HarrisonInsurance broker Central London 2003 75.76% 5,022 15,922 170 Insures luxury homes, antiques and fine art for wealthy customers
24 Urban Splash GroupHousebuilder and developer Manchester 2002 73.75% 5,249 24,615 117 Uses Lord Foster as architect for inner-city renewal projects
25 Woodford GroupBrownfield land developer Lancashire 2003 71.90% 3,780 17,847 23 Cleans up brownfield sites for retail and housing developments
26 Daryl IndustriesShower maker Wirral 2003 71.14% 3,337 16,469 160 New supply-chain management software turned the business around
27 Charles Worthington Hair & BeautyHair stylist Central London 2002 71.01% 3,530 24,399 24 Celebrity clients include Sophie Dahl, Darryl Hannah and Jodie Kidd
28 SynsealPVCu component maker Nottinghamshire 2003 70.50% 11,827 51,930 439 Claims to make parts for 1,000 conservatory roofs every week
29 Parador PropertiesOverseas estate agency Surrey 2003 70.40% 4,408 18,140 97 Founders have over 50 years’ experience in Spanish property market
30 EdotechOutsourced printing provider Gloucestershire 2002 69.69% 7,476 50,962 649 Sends bills and statements to 40m British householders a year
31 Harron HomesHousebuilder North Yorkshire 2003 68.24% 5,021 28,490 111 Builds over 250 family homes in Yorkshire and the northwest each year
32 GardmanGarden products wholesaler Lincolnshire 2003 67.65% 4,653 36,319 196 Started out selling hanging baskets made from coconuts
33 Thomas Hardy HoldingsAlcoholic drinks bottler Berkshire 2002 67.30% 4,519 31,201 277 Brews and bottles beer for Guinness, Coors and Carlsberg
34 AnsonOilfield equipment maker Gateshead 2002 66.79% 4,157 19,696 249 Supplies BP, Shell and Texaco with equipment for their oil rigs
35 Mott MacDonaldManagement and engineering consultancy Croydon 2002 66.76% 15,018 401,065 6,265 Current projects include Wembley Stadium and Heathrow’s Terminal 5
36 Bill KenwrightTheatre producer Central London 2002 66.47% 3,333 23,128 245 Currently producing Cat on a Hot Tin Roof on Broadway
37 TravelexForeign exchange operator Central London 2002 66.45% 39,689 463,108 4,986 Provides foreign-exchange services to 80,000 customers a day
38 DCKJewellery retailer Essex 2003 66.25% 4,739 32,627 700 Provides fashion jewellery to Top Shop, Miss Selfridge and Wallis
39 History & HeraldryGift maker Rotherham 2002 66.17% 3,299 11,228 70 Won a Queen’s Award last year for export to 54 countries
40 Midas GroupBuilder Bristol 2003 65.26% 4,202 138,954 419 Hand-shaped 111,000 Cotswold stones to restore Wiltshire hotel
41 Four Seasons Health CareHealthcare provider Cheshire 2002 64.23% 15,760 154,291 8,339 Looks after 15,000 people in 300 care homes across Britain
42 C A Blackwell GroupCivil engineer Essex 2002 62.55% 9,398 48,707 525 Shifts 15m cubic metres of earth a year for projects like Terminal 5
43 Prentis Donegan & PartnersInsurance broker Central London 2002 62.54% 3,958 14,529 84 Clients outside Britain account for more than 85% of company sales
44 Hit & Run MusicPerforming artist manager Central London 2002 62.54% 4,173 5,789 21 Manages Oscar-winning composer and singer Phil Collins
45 R & SFire protection provider Nottinghamshire 2002 61.47% 3,276 17,465 116 Installed fireproof plasterboard walls for the Tate Modern
46 Premier DecorationsChristmas decorations wholesaler West London 2003 61.06% 4,929 35,471 67 Imports Christmas lights and barbecue equipment from China
47 Grampian Country Food GroupFood producer Livingston 2003 60.93% 38,600 1,470,000 19,032 Processes 4.6m chickens and 60,000 pigs a week for UK supermarkets
48 The RangeDiscount retailer Plymouth 2003 59.83% 4,443 44,596 605 Sells 70,000 different items through chain of 13 discount stores
49 Morris HomesHousebuilder Merseyside 2003 58.86% 20,590 133,221 348 Specialises in building luxury accommodation on brownfield sites
50 Ainscough Crane HireCrane hirer Wigan 2003 58.06% 13,650 66,630 902 Fleet of 600 mobile cranes includes Britain's largest
51 SchuhShoe retailer Livingston 2003 56.83% 7,834 64,501 679 Opens first central London store in Oxford Street in June 2004
52 Besso HoldingsInsurance broker Central London 2002 55.81% 5,504 18,817 141 Management sold company in 1990 but bought it back five years later
53 Freightliner GroupRail haulage operator Central London 2003 55.40% 14,798 185,871 1,432 Company's trains take 120m lorry miles off British roads every year
54 South Lakeland CaravansCaravan park operator Lancashire 2003 55.17% 4,023 14,368 151 Two England footballers own lodges at company's leisure parks
55 European Metal RecyclingMetal recycler Warrington 2002 55.12% 35,024 598,890 1,282 Recycles 1.2m scrapped cars every year, one every 30 seconds
56 T L Dallas GroupInsurance broker Bradford 2002 54.60% 3,169 10,017 102 Company arranges insurance for yachts worth up to £1.5m
57 Cavanna GroupHousebuilder Torquay 2002 53.84% 5,071 20,271 60 Third-generation housebuilder developed disused monastery in Tavistock
58 OfficeShoe retailer Central London 2003 52.73% 3,324 25,719 251 Founders began by selling shoes displayed on office furniture
59 Transrent HoldingsTrailer lessor Stafford 2002 52.17% 7,688 20,977 55 Supplies lorry trailers to Safeway, Sainsbury and Cadbury Schweppes
60 KeepmoatHousing regeneration specialist South Yorkshire 2003 51.43% 10,703 155,566 1,136 Renovated 15,000 local-council homes in 2003
61 Vivid ImaginationsToy marketer Surrey 2002 51.34% 9,921 80,595 68 Markets toys for Ninja Turtles, Spiderman and Lord of the Rings
62 EmpriseOutsourced services supplier Central London 2002 50.16% 4,824 31,311 2,773 Clients include Waitrose and the Savoy Hotel
63 Carole NashMotorcycle insurance broker Cheshire 2002 49.58% 3,474 15,093 257 Claims to insure a third of Britain's motorcycles
64 SHS GroupBrand owner Belfast 2002 49.01% 27,099 234,809 340 Claims to sell 200m bottles a year of the club drink WKD
65 Oyster PropertiesYacht builder Ipswich 2002 48.80% 4,087 39,721 270 Sells 30-40 hand-built yachts a year costing up to £3m each
66 CostcutterConvenience store operator York 2003 47.79% 6,482 383,389 733 Operates 1,200 supermarkets and convenience stores throughout Britain
67 SummerleazeRenewable power generator Maidenhead 2002 47.41% 4,050 19,445 65 Generates enough renewable energy to power 50,000 homes a year
68 Berry Bros & RuddWine and spirit merchant Central London 2003 46.54% 7,772 177,441 280 Stocks 2m bottles of wine and owns Cutty Sark whisky
69 ClearwayMetal recycler Portadown 2002 46.30% 5,701 44,330 142 Recycles metal from 180,000 cars a year in Ireland
70 LGCAnalytical services laboratory Southwest London 2003 45.66% 5,245 52,252 531 Works with Defra to eradicate scrapie from British sheep
71 Howarth Timber GroupTimber products maker Leeds 2003 45.59% 4,357 91,064 862 Imports 180,000 cubic metres of softwood each year
72 Yuill GroupHousebuilder Hartlepool 2003 45.05% 5,905 37,171 192 Helped restore the Queen Mary hospital in Newcastle to listed status
73 Fat FaceClothing retailer Hampshire 2003 44.90% 3,382 30,547 545 Ski fanatics convert lifestyle into outdoor clothing brand with 78 shops
74 Cordant GroupManpower services provider West London 2002 44.87% 4,477 63,431 3,936 Provides 4,000 security guards to clients such as BSkyB and Sainsbury
75 Carter Thermal IndustriesRefrigeration manufacturer Birmingham 2002 44.72% 6,998 89,899 1,030 Founded by man who was a prisoner of war in the second world war
76 Hammersmith Medicines ResearchPharmaceutical tester West London 2003 44.69% 3,859 11,069 125 Conducts about 45 clinical trials a year for pharmaceutical companies
77 Vitacress SaladsWatercress grower Andover 2002 44.11% 4,368 64,046 889 Produces over a million bags of salad for supermarkets each week
78 C G Fry & SonHousebuilder Dorchester 2002 43.72% 5,454 23,614 78 Helped build the Prince of Wales's model village at Poundbury
79 Great Bear DistributionWarehouser and distributor Chester 2002 43.50% 4,929 37,112 450 Stores more than 7m bottles for an American wine producer
80 Story HomesHousebuilder Carlisle 2003 43.47% 5,148 30,040 492 Founder started company with loan from his mother-in-law
81 Stannah LiftsStairlift maker Andover 2002 42.77% 9,400 110,468 1,463 Claims to install a stairlift somewhere in the world every 10 minutes
82 Deloro StelliteAlloy component maker Bicester 2002 42.38% 7,413 81,558 1,198 Produces wear-resistant alloy parts for Rolls-Royce and General Electric
83 Anwyl ConstructionHousebuilder Rhyl 2002 42.02% 5,907 30,511 170 Family construction business now run by fourth-generation members
84 Alfred Franks & BartlettSunglasses supplier St Albans 2002 41.91% 4,896 29,868 56 Imports children's sunglasses featuring Winnie the Pooh and Barbie
85 BaumaticKitchen products supplier Reading 2003 41.88% 3,207 37,820 106 Imports and distributes more than 400,000 kitchen products each year
86 Pets At HomePet products retailer Cheshire 2003 41.79% 10,377 203,135 1,862 Provides free in-store health checks for pets
87 Stoneacre Motor GroupCar dealer Doncaster 2003 41.44% 6,194 99,190 439 Multi-brand dealerships sell about 400 cars each week
88 Millgate HomesHousebuilder Berkshire 2003 41.34% 6,129 22,792 27 Founder sold car and remortgaged house to raise funds
89 Gala GroupBingo and casino operator Nottingham 2002 41.31% 99,822 432,862 9,626 Claims to pay out £18m in prize money each week
90 Drayton GroupCar dealer West Midlands 2002 40.59% 3,583 131,644 348 Sold 4,000 new Mercedes from seven showrooms in 2003
91 J & J OrmerodFitted kitchen manufacturer Lancashire 2003 40.49% 3,250 27,124 356 Sells 2,000 kitchens and bedrooms each month
92 PPEMerchandising display maker Essex 2003 40.41% 3,460 21,587 261 Twin brothers make retail displays for Tesco and Gallaher
93 RFIB HoldingsInsurance and reinsurance broker Central London 2003 40.27% 4,910 25,259 267 Management took control of firm from Robert Fleming Holdings in 2001
94 Lynx ExpressParcel carrier Warwickshire 2002 39.98% 5,670 160,342 3,051 Operates home delivery service for Selfridges and Marks & Spencer
95 InterportPharmaceuticals wholesaler South London 2003 39.59% 3,943 87,821 82 Supplies 85% of Britain's chemists through its wholesale customers
96 Roper RhodesBathroom furniture supplier Bath 2002 39.56% 4,063 23,011 64 Supplies bathroom fittings to more than 2,000 shops nationwide
97 H TempestPortrait photographer St Ives 2002 38.86% 5,252 27,798 1,006 Photographed the Queen with her staff for the Golden Jubilee celebrations
98 Caudwell HoldingsMobile phone retailer Stoke-on-Trent 2002 38.29% 32,252 2,036,344 6,018 Runs 334 Phones4U stores across Britain
99 Metal & Waste RecyclingMetal recycler North London 2002 37.79% 5,053 34,090 148 Handles a tenth of all scrap metal recycled in Britain
100 Phoenix IT GroupIT service provider Northampton 2003 37.64% 7,643 52,730 648 Plans to float on the London Stock Exchange this summer