Britain’s mid-market export stars celebrated

29th April 2021

The founders and directors of Britain’s 200 mid-market private companies with the fastest-growing international sales were recognised at our 12th annual Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200 awards, held yesterday as an interactive virtual event, with keynotes from economist and former Treasury minister Lord O’Neill and Rosaleen Blair CBE, founder and chair of AMS. All companies received league table certificates and five companies won special awards.

The annual Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200 awards event brought together the founders and directors of the UK’s mid-market private companies with the fastest-growing international sales over the past two years. The companies grew their overseas sales by between 18% and 255% pa over their last two years to a combined £8.7bn.

Special awards were sponsored by HSBC UK, DHL Express and The Sunday Times (see below).

Guests & sponsor welcome

275 guests attended the interactive virtual event, including founders and senior directors from star alumni, such as Boden, Fever-Tree, Monica Vinader, Princess Yachts, The White Company and THG.

Guests were welcomed by Jane Galvin, managing director and head of corporate banking at title sponsor HSBC UK, who said:

“It’s fantastic to see so many brilliant UK businesses here at the International Track 2021 ceremony – my goodness me, what a year it’s been, with Brexit, and the global volatility the pandemic has caused – I think it’s superb to be able to take time to celebrate.”

Keynote speeches

Guests heard from the renowned economist Lord O’Neill and Rosaleen Blair, founder and chair of AMS.

Lord O’Neill, vice-chair of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership and a former HM Treasury minister, spoke about economic recovery post-pandemic, and said: “The cyclical bounce in the world economy that we are in the early days of seeing is probably going to be… one of the strongest economic recoveries I’ve ever witnessed.”  He also underlined the importance of profit with purpose.

They then heard from Rosaleen Blair, founder and chair of talent acquisition specialist AMS, which employs 5,000 people across 100 countries. In 2018, it was acquired by Canadian pension fund Omers for £820m. International sales hit £125m in 2019 on total sales of £291m, with operating profits of £38.5m. She told guests: “What we’re seeing across every sector is this pent-up demand to bring new people in and refresh the organisation. My expectation is that will continue into the autumn.”

Both speakers joined Oliver Shah, business editor of The Sunday Times, for a Q&A.

Virtual roundtables & 1:1 networking

Guests joined small virtual breakout discussion groups to share their thoughts on the challenges and opportunities for mid-market exporters post-pandemic, with sponsor representatives chairing the groups; and also had the opportunity to participate in 1:1 video networking.

Award winners

The five companies singled out to receive special recognition for their achievements were:

  • Ian Macleod Distillers, which produces 15 million bottles of spirits a year and sells to 60 countries, won the International Track Ones to Recognise award, sponsored by HSBC UK
  • Oh Polly, which boasts 4.3 million Instagram followers and expects international sales of its clothing to rise from £14.3m to £20m this year, won the Excellence in international e-commerce award, sponsored by DHL Express
  • HH Global, which provides marketing services to Walmart China, and PepsiCo in South and Central America, and generated international sales of £380m last year, won the Excellence in emerging markets award, also sponsored by HSBC UK
  • Spectrum Medical, the Gloucester-based medical device developer, which makes life support machines used to treat critically ill Covid-19 patients in America and Germany, won the Manufacturing excellence award, sponsored by The Sunday Times
  • ExcelRedstone, the IT infrastructure specialist, which grew international sales by 254% a year to an annualised £36m in 2019 and is targeting total sales of £500m by 2030, won the Fastest-growing company award, sponsored by HSBC UK

League table award certificates

All companies on this year’s International Track 200 league table received a league table award certificate to recognise their success.

These were shipped in a goodie box, with gifts from our sponsors and our alumni companies: BrewDog beer, Laithwaite’s wine, and Fentimans soft drinks.

Our sponsors

Recognising the achievements of all these companies was made possible by support from our sponsors HSBC UK and DHL Express, and media partner, The Sunday Times.

More information on the league table

The 2021 Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200 league table was published on 21 February. To view the supplement, please click here.


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