Profit Track 100 – Covid-19 edition

11th April 2021

Our 22nd annual Sunday Times BDO Profit Track 100, published in The Sunday Times today and here on our website, ranks the UK’s private companies with the fastest-growing profits – largely before Covid-19 struck.

It highlights their impressive past performance, contribution to the economy and role in paying taxes that help fund vital public services, and finds that they achieved average profit growth of between 33% and 133% p.a. over their last three years to a total of £931m. For detailed findings download our research report.

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Published today, the 22nd annual Sunday Times BDO Profit Track 100 league table identifies Britain’s private companies with the fastest-growing profits – largely before Covid-19 struck.

The average profit growth was 59% a year, and the league table companies together employ 59,400 staff, having added more than 30,700 jobs during their last three years. Despite tough trading conditions more than half (51) have recruited new staff since March 2020, adding 4,700 jobs.


Top of the league

The number one company, Caerphilly-based Direct Healthcare Group, makes equipment for the NHS to aid patient mobility and comfort, such as pressure-relieving mattresses. At the start of the pandemic it secured five months’ worth of orders in just two weeks, supplying the new NHS Nightingale hospitals. Global expansion under chief executive Graham Ewart (pictured above), 44, has been key to its growth. It has a direct presence in the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland, and distributes to 45 countries from its office in Australia. Profits hit £7.1m in 2019, having grown by an average of 133% a year since 2017, on total annualised sales of £61.7m.


Increased demand due to Covid-19

The pandemic has impacted all companies, with some seeing increased demand, others pivoting, and some directly contributing to the health response.

  • Victorian Plumbing (No 24) is investing in a new 50,000 sq ft head office and warehouse in West Lancashire, creating 80 jobs, after it dispatched more than 750,000 orders in 2020. Profits grew an average 74% a year over three years to £26m in the year to September
  • Vernacare (No 41) makes special needles that allow six doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to be extracted from each vial, instead of five, as well as a range of infection control and prevention products. It has seen demand surge during the pandemic, with 95% of NHS hospitals now using its products. Profits hit £4.6m in the year to March 2020, up an average of 61% a year
  • Atlas FM (No 83) cleaned more than 5m sq ft of leisure space every day before the pandemic, including gyms and hotels, employing 6,500 cleaners. Profits rose an average 40% a year to £7.7m in 2019. Last year it moved staff from hospitality to its public sector and manufacturing clients, and added new services, such as disinfection and antimicrobial coatings


Victorian Plumbing managing director, Stephnie Judge

Stephnie Judge, managing director of Victorian Plumbing


10 Profit Track Ones to Watch

The 10 Profit Track Ones to Watch features companies that did not meet the criteria of the league table, but have achieved or forecast good profit growth.

WCCTV, led by David Gilbertson and Tim Williams, raised £30m from private equity last month


They include WCCTV, whose mobile surveillance cameras help protect the police and retail workers. Profits rose 33% to £2.8m in the year to July 2020, and, last month, it raised £30m from private equity firm LDC to fund product development and expansion in America.

Eight of the companies have expanded overseas, including Orean Personal Care, which manufactures private-label cosmetics in West Yorkshire and Illinois for 50 business customers, such as skincare brand The Inkey List. Orean’s profits rose more than 50% to £4.8m in the year to December 2020.

For further details, see the 10 Profit Track Ones to Watch page.


Detailed research findings

Detailed research findings are covered in our 29-page research report – please click to download.


Alumni companies

In the 22 years since its inception, Profit Track 100 has featured around 1,650 companies, many of which are household names, including Dr Martens, which first featured in 2012 with profits of £19m; it floated in January at a valuation of £3.7bn.

Past stars also include Dyson, which featured in 2000 with profits of just £24m, and saw these rise to £711m in 2019; and global technology platform THG, which ranked No 1 in 2014, with profits of £10.9m, and ranked No 1 again in 2015; it floated last year valued at £5.4bn and is now worth at more than £6bn.


National awards event

We look forward to welcoming the founders and directors of the Profit Track 100 companies to June’s invitation-only interactive virtual awards event.

Our keynote speakers are Matthew Moulding, founder and chief executive of THG, and Debbie Bestwick MBE, founder and chief executive of Team17, the games developer which won our 10 Profit Track Ones to Watch in 2017, floated on AIM in 2018 valued at £217m and is now worth almost £1bn.


See last year’s event video


Our sponsors

Recognising the achievements of all these companies is made possible by our sponsors: BDO, our title sponsor for eight years; Santander, our main sponsor for three years; and UBS, our main sponsor for 19 years.



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