Rank Company Location Year end % annual profit growth Latest profits £000 Latest sales £000 Staff Comment
1 BinomialInsurance underwriter Surrey 2003 159.30% 13,556 78,385 447 Administers 10,000 high-risk driver policies a year for Norwich Union
2 EVO Business SuppliesBusiness supplies distributor Sheffield 2003 156.52% 9,875 211,733 1,084 Management bought out founding family for £85m last December
3 Loans.co.ukLoan broker Watford 2004 146.60% 13,750 46,082 192 Staff enjoy visits from celebrities such as Jordan
4 Freedom FinanceLoan broker Cheshire 2004 139.60% 8,379 36,628 425 Has offices in Sweden and Spain and is launching in Ireland this year
5 William Jackson Food GroupFood producer North Humberside 2004 130.90% 7,448 206,720 3,234 Claims to produce 2m Aunt Bessie's Yorkshire puddings a day
6 19 EntertainmentMusic and TV producer SW London 2004 128.32% 10,593 48,285 111 Created the Pop Idol TV show and sold for £100m last month
7 BodenClothing retailer Northwest London 2003 113.29% 8,101 60,421 359 Upmarket mail-order firm opened first store in London last year
8 Harron HomesHousebuilder North Yorkshire 2004 109.27% 11,297 55,517 144 Builds more than 350 homes in the Midlands and north of England each year
9 Gordon Ramsay HoldingsRestaurateur Central London 2004 102.98% 4,314 30,952 668 Michelin-starred chef turns TV celebrity with Hell's Kitchen
10 Laing O’RourkeEngineering and construction group Dartford 2004 101.99% 57,301 1,509,655 11,903 Current projects include Heathrow airport Terminal 5 and Dubai airport
11 dabs.comOnline IT retailer Lancashire 2004 90.47% 6,682 196,999 381 Claims to process 100,000 customer orders a month
12 Carte Blanche GreetingsGreeting card publisher Chichester 2003 88.36% 11,693 45,560 172 Has launched a range of gifts and toys based on Eeyore
13 Woodford GroupBrownfield land developer Lancashire 2004 86.75% †7,605 †33,096 63 Decontaminates brownfield sites in north England for development
14 Marlow FoodsFood maker North Yorkshire 2003 86.20% 6,946 75,213 335 Makes Quorn, claimed to be the world's best-selling meat alternative
15 Economy PowerElectricity reseller Cardiff 2004 86.14% *6,079 *83,720 245 Was sold to Powergen’s parent last month for a reported £40m
16 IngeniousInvestor and adviser Central London 2004 85.69% 26,757 43,098 62 Funded and co-produced the Oscar-nominated films Vera Drake and Closer
17 British SeafoodSeafood wholesaler Central London 2003 84.76% 8,213 175,399 326 Has acquired 10 distribution companies to supply customers direct
18 Arun EstatesEstate agency West Sussex 2004 83.09% 11,225 47,521 826 Founder bought chain of 100 estate agencies from Prudential in 1991
19 NG BaileyMechanical, electrical contractor West Yorkshire 2004 81.06% 7,804 382,281 3,995 Is helping to convert old Safeway stores to Morrisons across Britain
20 Daryl IndustriesShower maker Wirral 2004 80.72% 3,930 18,463 186 Says it makes 50,000 shower doors, screens and cubicles a year
21 Steel Plate & SectionsSteel processor West Midlands 2004 80.30% 3,736 37,961 82 Supplies steel to Shell for big oil exploration project in Russia
22 Lucite InternationalPlastics maker Southampton 2003 79.37% 70,222 694,000 1,995 Made 150 tons of acrylic panels for the world’s largest cylinder aquarium
23 SPIPlumbing and heating contractor Staffordshire 2003 79.07% 3,018 26,183 251 Installs 8,000 central-heating systems a year in the Midlands
24 Cordant GroupManpower services provider West London 2003 78.63% 5,597 62,756 3,693 Provides 4,000 security guards for clients such as BSkyB and Sainsbury
25 Strata HomesHousebuilder and developer Doncaster 2004 78.35% *15,260 *66,918 247 Housing company started in 1919 is now run by founder's grandson
26 Bennett HomesHousebuilder Suffolk 2003 75.85% 5,251 14,583 69 Builds on ‘problem land’ bought at a 10%-20% discount
27 WDTClothing designer West London 2004 75.54% 8,347 60,723 194 Makes Firetrap, Sonneti and Full Circle clothes sold at House of Fraser
28 INEOSChemicals manufacturer UK/Switzerland 2004 75.50% 156,103 1,780,893 2,459 Management buyout from Inspec division now has 14 plants in 9 countries
29 The Global Travel GroupTravel agency Chester 2003 75.42% 6,874 40,504 184 Former RAF fighter pilot built up group of 1,100 travel companies
30 Central TrustLoan broker Norwich 2003 75.17% 20,700 50,423 354 Claims to have brokered 50,000 new loans last year
31 Carisbrooke ShippingSea vessel operator Isle of Wight 2003 73.31% 3,940 12,220 80 Has doubled its fleet of cargo ships to 36 since delisting from AIM in 1999
32 Helix AssociatesInvestment fund adviser Central London 2004 70.97% 8,258 10,205 13 Advises private-equity firms like Bridgepoint Capital on fundraising
33 Stead & SimpsonShoe retailer Leicester 2003 70.03% 5,904 130,051 3,508 Sold 9m pairs of shoes last year from its 400 shoe shops across Britain
34 Churchill Retirement LivingHousebuilder Hampshire 2003 69.81% 5,309 17,154 64 Profits boosted by switch from building thatched cottages to retirement flats
35 Balkan HolidaysTour operator Central London 2004 69.74% 3,486 56,793 37 Claims to sell 125,000 holidays a year to countries like Bulgaria
36 PerrysCar dealer Northampton 2003 69.26% 7,773 317,643 1,237 Bought out of quoted firm in 2001 for £27m, now has 28 car dealerships
37 Yuill GroupHousebuilder Hartlepool 2004 69.12% †10,465 †46,125 214 Housebuilder founded in 1927 by former chimneysweep
38 History & HeraldryGift maker Rotherham 2003 68.66% 5,321 20,059 90 Founders started business in their kitchen making coats-of-arms keyrings
39 Broadgate HomesHousebuilder Lincolnshire 2004 68.66% 4,521 12,880 82 Runs shared-equity scheme that helps buyers get on property ladder
40 Tradex InsuranceMotor insurance underwriter East London 2003 68.45% 4,408 67,016 121 Claims to insure 20% of London's black cabs
41 LWCDrinks distributor Manchester 2003 67.71% 3,242 59,166 224 Supplies Carlsberg, Britvic and Coca-Cola to Asda and Somerfield
42 GladedaleHousebuilder Dunfermline 2003 67.69% †32,246 †236,655 412 Recently completed a £120m development at London's City airport
43 MalthurstPetrol station operator Essex 2004 65.33% †4,912 †274036 53 Owner of 120 service stations acquired Q8 chain last December
44 Smart & CookInsurance broker Harrogate 2004 64.57% 3,217 16,665 332 Founded by two former Norwich Union colleagues to service small firms
45 KeepmoatHousing regeneration specialist South Yorkshire 2004 63.35% 19,706 241,838 1,515 Builds homes for first-time buyers that sell for less than £100,000
46 SBJ GroupInsurance broker East London 2003 63.23% 8,315 56,284 663 Provides advice on insurance and pensions to clients like Arsenal and BAA
47 ArcadiaFashion retailer Central London 2004 63.21% 283,881 1,657,382 27,907 Owns Topshop, Dorothy Perkins, Miss Selfridge and Burton
48 American GolfGolf equipment retailer Warrington 2004 62.32% 7,212 63,773 376 Says its 67 shops staffed by golfers with an average handicap of seven
49 RDF MediaTV programme maker West London 2004 61.40% 4,010 45,404 263 Produces TV show Wife Swap, which runs in 20 countries, including US
50 Rowland HomesHousebuilder Lancashire 2004 61.15% 7,408 25,010 44 Sold its first £1m penthouse in Lancashire last year
51 AlcontrolEnvironmental tester Rotherham 2004 60.30% 8,219 83,776 1,531 Environmental testing firm sold to Candover last December for £240m
52 WatesConstruction contractor Surrey 2003 60.16% 11,338 580,879 1,601 Won £20m contract to fit out Simply Food stores for Marks & Spencer
53 SchuhShoe retailer Livingston 2004 59.99% 10,176 80,813 892 Opened flagship store on London's Oxford Street last June
54 Phase EightFashion retailer West London 2004 59.33% 3,397 24,184 349 Underwent a £28m MBO in January backed by Barclays Private Equity
55 Esh GroupConstruction contractor Durham 2003 58.64% 9,153 65,487 596 Construction group runs work training scheme with Durham schools
56 Salon ServicesBeauty products supplier Glasgow 2003 58.25% 5,315 40,739 441 Supplies 9,000 hairdressers with everything from curling tongs to shampoo
57 Northern & Shell Media GroupPublisher & broadcaster Central London 2003 56.82% 47,672 370,784 1,114 Owns and publishes Express Newspapers, OK! and Daily Star
58 C G Fry & SonHousebuilder Dorchester 2003 56.25% 6,620 24,962 80 Is helping to build the Prince of Wales’s model village at Poundbury
59 Caledonian Building SystemsModular builder Nottinghamshire 2004 55.56% 6,994 62,494 249 Makes modular buildings for prisons, hotels and the Ministry of Defence
60 May GurneyCivil engineering contractor Norwich 2004 55.40% 8,560 238,294 1,783 Expanded into water utility sector with £16.5m acquisition last June
61 Towergate InsuranceInsurance underwriter and broker Maidstone 2003 55.36% 11,887 40,743 517 Acquired more than 30 niche insurers covering holiday homes and yachts
62 TechnocoverSteel product maker Wales 2003 54.93% 3,191 12,100 158 Founders acquired company they had left 10 years earlier
63 McDermott DevelopmentsHousebuilder Lancashire 2003 54.14% 5,303 17,303 36 Founder says he made first property investment at age of 21
64 Ainscough Crane HireCrane hirer Wigan 2004 54.04% 15,902 78,293 949 Hires out fleet of 520 cranes to customers such as Network Rail and Shell
65 Canterbury TravelTour operator Middlesex 2003 53.91% 3,337 13,640 77 Sells Santa Claus and husky-dog safari holidays in Lapland
66 WagamamaNoodle bar operator Central London 2004 53.07% 4,554 32,538 837 Runs chain of 30 noodle bars and has published a bestselling cookbook
67 Cavanna GroupHousebuilder Torquay 2003 52.86% †8,183 †23,512 68 Third-generation housebuilder developed disused monastery in Devon
68 United Foods InternationalFruit juice maker Surrey 2003 52.63% 3,246 52,307 179 Claims to produce more than 100m litres of fruit juice a year
69 Maplin ElectronicsElectronic equipment retailer Rotherham 2003 52.31% 17,366 99,146 952 Started as a mail-order business, now has 100 retail outlets
70 Robert DyasHousehold goods retailer Surrey 2004 52.25% 6,490 86,354 1,027 Acquired last year by Change Capital Partners for £60m
71 HotterFootwear manufacturer and retailer Lancashire 2003 52.19% 4,276 21,512 219 Family business founded by former shoe factory worker
72 Bowey GroupHousebuilder Gateshead 2004 52.11% 5,308 30,327 189 Has 15-year contract to maintain horse stables for Northumbria police
73 Drayton GroupCar dealer West Midlands 2003 51.99% 5,550 170,274 347 Claims to be Britain's largest independent Mercedes dealer
74 Story HomesHousebuilder Carlisle 2004 51.93% 8,779 46,801 383 Founder bought struggling local football club Carlisle United
75 Arnold Clark AutomobilesCar dealer Glasgow 2003 51.91% 57,551 1,450,321 6,410 77-year-old father of 10 runs chain of 100 car dealerships
76 Endsleigh InsuranceInsurance broker Cheltenham 2003 51.83% 8,649 52,306 1,073 Founded by student union to service the student market
77 Hyperion Insurance GroupInsurance broker and underwriter Central London 2003 51.65% 3,953 14,438 163 Three European acquisitions have helped to triple client base since 2000
78 The RangeDiscount retailer Plymouth 2004 51.34% 5,984 65,649 927 Operates 16 The Range discount stores in England and Wales
79 SynsealPVCu component maker Nottinghamshire 2004 51.12% 12,752 65,883 563 Founder switched focus from retail to manufacturing, selling off 15 stores
80 Lotus GroupTour operator South London 2003 50.93% 11,489 201,338 490 Claims it is giving staff 10% of profits to mark 25th anniversary this year
81 PalletwaysPalletised distribution franchiser Lichfield 2004 50.70% 4,607 65,986 198 Says it moves 15,000 freight pallets around Britain each night
82 TIS GroupEndowment policy reseller Edgware 2004 50.59% 4,411 90,754 73 Claims to resell around 7,500 unwanted endowment policies a year
83 Morris HomesHousebuilder Merseyside 2004 50.51% 26,661 141,556 327 Underwent its third management buyout last year worth £175m
84 Friends ReunitedContact website operator Surrey 2004 50.15% *5,440 *8,817 41 Acquired recruitment website for a reported £2m last month to diversify brand
85 Midas GroupBuilder Bristol 2004 50.03% 5,505 148,839 434 Converted listed buildings in Plymouth to luxury flats worth up to £1m
86 Arnold Laver Timber WorldTimber merchant Sheffield 2003 49.85% 3,302 79,226 746 First world war veteran founded company that now supplies timber to MoD
87 Newland HomesHousebuilder Cheltenham 2003 49.83% 5,672 20,527 96 Transforms derelict industrial sites into housing developments
88 SydenhamsBuilders' merchant Bournemouth 2004 49.09% 4,385 41,533 313 130-year-old family firm sells bricks and timber to big housebuilders
89 DSM DemolitionDemolition contractor Birmingham 2003 48.88% 4,288 14,883 105 Demolished eight 835ft radio masts near Rugby for BT
90 Mott MacDonaldManagement and engineering consultancy Croydon 2003 48.88% 16,046 469,360 6,858 Won £10m contract for managing health system to combat Aids in Zambia
91 SymphonyFurniture supplier Barnsley 2003 48.68% 6,202 105,335 1,259 Sells kitchens and bathrooms to customers, including expatriates in Spain
92 CastlemoreConstruction contractor Midlands 2003 48.02% 38,697 146,446 38 Founder sold his first business, a chain of newsagents, to Dillon’s at age 23
93 Direct GroupInsurance outsourcer Doncaster 2004 47.72% 4,149 7,187 66 Handles insurance claims on behalf of clients such as Norwich Union
94 South Lakeland CaravansCaravan park operator Lancashire 2004 47.38% 8,274 25,254 210 Has expanded operations with £53m purchase of luxury resort in Barbados
95 Planet PVC GroupConservatory maker Preston 2004 47.01% 3,906 26,299 192 Makes conservatories at five factories in northwest England
96 Matki ShoweringShower maker Bristol 2003 46.96% 6,095 18,362 131 Manufactures £400 shower doors sold in Britain, France and Russia
97 RamesysBusiness software developer Nottingham 2004 46.04% 7,849 58,541 662 Management bought out firm from quoted software company in £29m deal
98 Benfield Motor GroupCar dealer Newcastle upon Tyne 2003 45.73% 6,617 278,936 1,098 Car dealer group began with single site, and now has 26
99 Scot-LadPoultry supplier Scotland 2003 45.42% 3,670 35,517 250 Claims to process 25,000 tonnes of chicken a year at its Angus plant
100 MKM Building SuppliesBuilders' merchant Hull 2003 44.96% 4,033 56,150 252 Offers managers up to 25% ownership of their stores as incentive