29 Scottish companies feature in new Sunday Times Grant Thornton Top Track 250

Published this weekend, the 12th annual Sunday Times Grant Thornton Top Track 250 league table ranks Britain’s private mid-market growth companies with the biggest sales.

The 29 companies headquartered in Scotland (compared to 23 last year) have made a strong contribution to the local economy. The companies increased combined sales 17% to £7.2bn and operating profits 49% to £562m, and they employ more than 41,000 people.

The biggest mid-market growth company in Scotland is bus and coach manufacturer Alexander Dennis, based in Larbert in Stirlingshire, whose fuel-efficient, environmentally-friendly buses are used across Asia, Australasia and North America. Sales have grown 20% to over £600m, helped by orders from Hong Kong.

There are 17 entrants in Scotland that were not on the league table last year, including Edinburgh-based travel search engine Skyscanner, food producer Baxters, based in Fochabers in Moray, and Edinburgh Airport, which is celebrating its centenary this year and whose sales grew 11% to reach £145m.

Langholm-based clothing retailer Edinburgh Woollen Mill achieved the biggest profits in Scotland with £83m, up 17%. The company operates more than 1,000 outlets with brands such Austin Reed, Country Casuals and Jane Norman, and recorded sales of £563m in 2015.

The companies in Scotland appear with businesses from around the UK, including Arsenal, Barbour, Dr Martens, Nando’s, Virgin Active and Wagamama.

The league table and awards programme is sponsored by Grant Thornton, and compiled for the 12th year by Fast Track, the Oxford-based research and networking events company.

Vishal Chopra, Partner at Grant Thornton UK LLP, the title sponsor of the league table, praised the companies for their performance:

“In the wake of the EU referendum it is more important than ever that businesses, and the public and the third sectors work together to help the UK to build on its strengths and ensure that the economy continues to grow. I am heartened to see how these businesses are embracing a collaborative approach to drive prosperity throughout the UK and wider society.”

Ordered by county: Mid-market private growth companies in Scotland

HQ location and county Rank

[2015 rank]

Company

Activity

Sales £m Profit £m Staff Year end Main shareholders
Aberdeen
Aberdeenshire
68 Stewart Milne Group
Housebuilder & timber systems maker
253 12 793 Jun 15 Stewart Milne and family (100%)
Aberdeen
Aberdeenshire
203 Balmoral Group
Polymer engineer and manufacturer
137 31 557 Mar 15 Jim Milne & family (100%)
Aberdeen
Aberdeenshire
204 Dingbro
Automotive component distributor
136 9 1,281 Sep 15 James Dingwall (51%), Kenneth Dingwall (49%)
Earlston
Berwickshire
110
[170]
BSW Timber
Timber supplier
210 10 1,042 Mar 15 Brownlie family (93%), other (7%)
Langholm
Dumfriesshire
9
[12]
The Edinburgh Woollen Mill
Clothing retailer
563 83 10,205 Feb 15 Philip Day (100%)
Markinch
Fife
220 James Donaldson Group
Timber merchants
127 6 680 Mar 16 Donaldson family (85%), employees (15%)
Dunfermline
Fife
246 Scott Group
Industrial supplier
117 4 878 Dec 14 John Scott (76%), Norman Scott (24%)
Fraserburgh
Grampian
226 Gray & Adams
Trailer & vehicle manufacturer
*125 *8 700 Apr 16 James Gray Jnr (43%), Peter Gray (43%), Marie Gray (14%)
Bellshill
Lanarkshire
165
[226]
Dalziel
Butchers’ supplier
163 14 542 Oct 15 Stuart Dalziel (43%), John Darroch (21%), EBT (15%), other (21%)
Edinburgh
Midlothian
13
[2]
The Miller Homes Group
Housebuilder
*526 *76 722 Dec 15 GSO Capital Partners (Blackstone) (56%), Lloyds Banking Group & Shackleton Capital Partners (31%), Miller family and employees (13%)
Edinburgh
Midlothian
15
[21]
CALA Group
Housebuilder
512 73 655 Jun 15 Legal & General & Patron Haut LP (95.3%), management (4.7%)
Edinburgh
Midlothian
187 Edinburgh Airport
Airport operator
145 45 552 Dec 15 Global Infrastructure Partners (>50%), management (<50%)
Edinburgh
Midlothian
240 Skyscanner
Travel search engine
120 13 674 Dec 15 Venture capital, including Sequoia Capital & Scottish Equity Partners (>50%), founders & management (<50%)
Fochabers
Moray
93 Baxters
Food producer
226 10 1,600 May 15 Audrey Baxter (38%), Baxter family trust (36%), Andrew Baxter (25%), James Baxter (1%)
Airdrie
North Lanarkshire
106
[247]
T.O.M. Vehicle Rental
Rental vehicle provider
*213 *14 575 Mar 16 Rafferty family (50%), Hugh Stewart (25%), Grier family (25%)
Bellshill
North Lanarkshire
209 Advance Construction Group
Construction services
133 8 1,047 Mar 15 Seamus Shields (50%), Daniella Shields (50%)
Linwood
Renfrewshire
101
[162]
Malcolm Group
Logistics and construction services
216 8 1,921 Jan 15 Malcolm family (78%), Caird Capital (19%), other (3%)
Selkirk
Scottish Borders
244 Spark Energy
Energy supplier
119 5 246 Jun 15 Numerous minority shareholders (100%)
Hamilton
South Lanarkshire
20
[39]
Park’s Motor Group
Car dealer
448 17 1,267 Mar 15 Douglas Park and family (100%)
Larbert
Stirlingshire
4 Alexander Dennis
Bus and coach manufacturer
602 26 2,314 Dec 15 Highland Global Transport fund (55%),
Noble Grossart Investments (33%), Colin Robertson (6%), Deborah Robertson (5%)
Stirling
Stirlingshire
21
[84]
Robertson
Construction services
*438 *19 1,637 Mar 16 Robertson family (100%)
Falkirk
Stirlingshire
67
[115]
Peoples
Car dealer
*255 *7 397 Jul 16 Brian Gilda (85%), Stewart Ramsay (15%)
Stirling
Stirlingshire
117 FES
Construction support services
204 7 1,905 Aug 15 Duncan S Fletcher & family (98%), other (2%)
Stirling
Stirlingshire
239 Castle View
Leisure services manager
120 6 5,171 Mar 15 Martin Bell (95%), Caroline Bell (5%)
Glasgow
Strathclyde
22
[53]
Peter Vardy
Car dealer
437 10 777 Dec 15 Sir Peter Vardy (55%), Peter Vardy (40%), Lady Margaret Vardy (5%)
Glasgow
Strathclyde
150
[222]
Search Consultancy
Recruitment consultancy
174 6 625 Jan 16 Saints Capital (65%), management (35%)
Glasgow
Strathclyde
170 Gap Group
Plant and tool hire
158 18 1,454 Mar 16 Douglas Anderson (37.5%), Iain Anderson (37.5%), Maureen Smith (20%), other family and management (5%)
Glasgow
Strathclyde
224 CCG
Building contractor
125 7 609 Mar 15 Alastair Wylie (67%), Bernie Rooney (33%)
Bo’ness
West Lothian
181 James Walker
Timber merchant
*151 *11 600 Mar 16 Walker family (70%), John Campbell (24%), employees (6%)

‡ Profits = operating profits  * Supplied by the company