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The significance of Murrays' Mills
The frauen treffen in verden Industrial Revolution shaped the mann sucht frau für familiengründung modern world. Britain led that revolution, and freunde kennenlernen kostenlos ohne anmeldung Manchester can claim to mann mit 3 kindern sucht frau be its first industrial city. Many factors combined to produce the Industrial Revolution - agricultural reform and a banking system, the centralisation and mechanisation of production, the development of steam power, the establishment of bulk transport facilities and the lack of regulation. All these phenomena were presented in the embryonic city of Manchester. The biggest and most lucrative industry was textiles, specifically cotton manufacture, and that industry was centred in Manchester.

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of Restoration
of Murrays' Mills

Murrays' Mills Manchester became the boom town of the late 18th century. Ancoats was the first suburb to combine industry and housing, and in 1798 George and Adam Murray completed the first phase of what is now Manchester's and the world's oldest surviving steam-powered urban cotton mill. By 1806 the complex was complete. It comprised two separate cotton spinning mills - the extended Old Mill, now known as Old/Decker Mill, and New Mill - connected by two warehouse, preparation and office ranges, to form a large single development grouped around a central quadrangle. Within the quadrangle were two engine houses, each housing a Boulton and Watt steam engine and associated boiler houses. Also in the quadrangle was alarge canal basin, linked to the adjacent Rochdale Canal by a tunnel. This was the route in for coal and raw cotton, and the route out for spun cotton. Pedestrian and vehicular access was through an arched opening in the west face of the quadrangle - the Great Gate. Each day over a thousand operatives would arrive before 7.00am - late arrivals were locked out and lost a day's wages. Apart from controlling operatives, the layout was a defence against theft, vandalism and riot. When completed, Murrays' Mills were a marvel. Visitors came from the rest of Britain, Europe and America to see these vast buildings, housing powered machinery, illuminated by gas light and operated by 1,300 men, women and children. At a time when Napoleon sought one future for Europe, Murrays' Mills showed the way the modern world was really going.

Within 10 years of completion, the Mills were radically re-structured to take larger and more efficient spinning frames. The buildings had originally been constructed to carry light loads and efforts were regularly made to increase carrying capacity as machinery became bigger and heavier. They remained in use for cotton spinning until the late 1950's - an amazing 160 years, following which they were used for a variety of light industrial uses, most of them still related to textiles.


Decline and regeneration


Murrays' Mills

Murrays' Mills interior before renovationAs the commercial value of Murrays' Mills reduced, so did any regular maintenance. The buildings, weak to begin with, were now subjected to water penetration, timber decay, and failing masonry. Their very fragile condition did not lessen their importance, however. The buildings were amongst the most significant survivals of the Industrial Revolution. They had been Grade II* listed in 1989 as buildings of special architectural or historic interest, an accolade awarded to the top 6% of listed buildings in England. They were located within the Ancoats Conservation Area, also known as the Ancoats Urban Village, and within an area shortlisted for designation by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Their repair and re-use was recognised as important for the social and technological history of the country, and for the regeneration of Ancoats.

Ancoats Buildings Preservation Trust first started to explore the possibility for funding the permanent repair and reuse of Murrays' Mills in 1996. Supported by the Ancoats Urban Village Company, Manchester City Council, English Heritage and many other partners, an application to the Heritage Lottery Fund for substantial grant aid was submitted in 1999 and received a 'stage one pass' in 2000. The buildings were included in the Northwest Regional Development Agency's area wide Compulsory Purchase Order and acquired by the NWDA in 2003. This enabled the HLF to confirm its funding of £7.164 million, with further funding being provided by the NWDA. Following archaeological excavations in the courtyard and building recording over the 2003/04 winter, the £10 million repair contact started on site in September 2004. The restoration works, which included the repair and strengthening of all structural elements, provision of new slate roofs, and new windows, cleaning and repairing of brickwork, the rebuilding of the missing storeys of the Murray Street block and the reinstatement of the central courtyard and canal basin, were completed in July 2006.

The project did not seek to preserve the Murrays' Mills buildings in aspic, but rather to repair them as unobtrusively as possible, strengthening them to enable them to be reused for a wide range of purposes. The Heritage Lottery Funded project's objectives were:

  • To complete the permanent repair of the Murrays' Mills complex as part of the wider urban regeneration of the Ancoats area.
  • To enable full appreciation of the significance and architecture of these important mill buildings.
  • To create flexible internal volumes that could be further converted by others for a wide range of possible uses, including residential properties on upper floors and a mix of commercial, cultural and leisure uses at lower and upper ground floors.
  • To encourage sympathetic conversion work of a quality appropriate for such important structures.
  • To encourage cultural and community uses in parts of the buildings and leisure use of the courtyard area, to physical and intellectual access for all.


What the repair project involved

Following a two-stage competitive tendering exercise in Spring 2004, Wates Construction was appointed as main contractor for the permanent repair project on a traditional JCT contract, having submitted a tender price within ABPT's funding budget.

Murrays' Mills during renovation

The project involved:

  • External and internal repairs -repairs to the primary structure (columns, beams, joists, roof trusses etc). Brickwork repairs, re-pointing where necessary, and light, non-abrasive cleaning. Re-roofing in new Welsh slate.
  • Reinstatement of lost elements, particularly two storeys of former office/ warehouse accommodation along Murray Street. (The lost Bengal Street wing, forming the fourth side of the original courtyard, will be rebuilt in a contemporary manner by the acquiring developer.)
  • Provision of new windows to a small-pane design, metal-framed, double-glazed and with a high acoustic performance.
  • Excavation and reinstatement of the canal basin in the internal courtyard, which was originally linked to the Rochdale Canal by a tunnel.
  • The works were completed within budget and on time.

For more information on Murrays' Mills see our.

The shell repair of Murrays' Mills has been documented by a publication - "A & G Murray and the Cotton Mills of Ancoats". Prepared by Ian Miller and Chris Wild of Oxford Archaeology North, the book offers a detailed survey of these buildings, and though it is aimed at academics and specialists in industrial archaeology, it will also be of interest to general readers. Price: £16.95 (plus £2.50 p&p); make cheques payable to "Oxford Archaeology North" and send to Oxford Archaeology North, Storey Institute, Meeting House Lane, Lancaster, LA1 1TF, or visit

Completed Murrays' Mills shell repair

interior new railings
excavated canal basin replacement 'Georgian' staircase
vent
fire escape staircase
mills and chimney
street level windows
Murrays' Mills
Murrays' Mills view from the canal

Ancoats Buildings Preservation Trust received a number of awards for their work on Murrays' Mills:

  • British Archaeological Award 2006, presented by The Association of Industrial Archaeology, for Murrays' Mills Permanent Repair Project
  • Chartered Institute of Building: Project Manager: Silver Award for conservation projects, 2006
  • The Northwest Building Conservation award 2007, awarded by The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)
  • Northwest Insider Regeneration Award in the 2007 Property Awards. More information.
  • In the North West Regional Construction Awards 2007, Ancoats BPT, together with Wates Construction and BDP, won the Northwest Infrastructure Award for Murrays' Mills, jointly with New Islington.
  • BDP won the Institution of Structural Engineers North West Region Award for Best Sustainable Project 2007 for their work on Murrays' Mills.
  • Bernard Talbot, as construction project manager on Murrays' Mills won the silver award in the Chartered Institute of Builders conservation category, national awards, 2006.

A competitive selection process was undertaken in 2004 for the appointment of a fit-out developer for the repaired Murrays' Mills, following an advertisement in the Official Journal of the European Community and widespread UK publicity.

  • The competition was managed by the Ancoats Urban Village Company on behalf of the Northwest Development Agency, which owns the freehold of the Murrays' site. Ancoats Buildings Preservation Trust and the Heritage Lottery Fund were closely involved in the selection process, because of their investment in the complex.
  • The selected 'preferred developer' is a consortium comprising Inpartnership and the Burrell Company, both from Edinburgh. The highly acclaimed practice of Richard Murphy Architects has been appointed by the developer to design the conversion proposals.
  • The competition brief called for a comprehensive conversion scheme, plus reinstatement of the lost fourth side of the Mill courtyard in a contemporary idiom. It set high aspirations for the site, advocating a wide range of end uses including some public access.
  • Burrell Inpartnership's proposals include 130 apartments in the two main mill buildings along with live/work units and a hotel in the new Bengal Street building.
  • The development is expected to start on site in 2007/08 and be completed in phases over three years.
Proposed courtyard view of Murrays' Mills Proposed courtyard view of Murrays' Mills
Proposed interior view of Murrays' Mills Proposed aerial view of Murrays' Mills

Burrell Inpartnership proposals by Richard Murphy Architects

Greater Manchester Business Week has released the definitive list of this year’s.

Produced in partnership with Barclays and Manchester Airports Group, the 2016 North West Top 200 guide celebrates the successes of the biggest and best companies in the region.

The data was compiled by Manchester Metropolitan University, and as in previous years, it looked at a range of measures, which make those firms in the Top 200 the region’s biggest companies.

The firms are ranked in terms of their turnover reported in accounts filed up to a cut-off point of May 31.

And while it’s great to celebrate the best companies in the region, the process means there are many firms that make a major contribution to the economy that do not make the list.

The MMU research is focused only on firms that file their accounts at Companies House. Those not on the list include institutions in the education sector, such as the universities. In Manchester we also have The Co-operative, one of the region’s biggest employers. But as the business is a mutual and does not report to Companies House, and so is not included.

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Prof Chris Pyke, associate dean and head of accounting, finance and economics at MMU business school said: “Our North West Top 200 firms demonstrate the necessary strength and diversity to successfully navigate these potentially turbulent times. We note a strength in manufacturing, in services and crucially in uncertain times, a strength in core materials and products. We also believe that if the political will continues and confirms the Northern Powerhouse, core industries may thrive despite turbulence from the European issue.”

Tony Walsh, head of north corporate Banking, Barclays said: “The north west has a rich and diverse business landscape, with an impressive showcase of successful businesses of all sizes and industries.

“Barclays is delighted to have supported the growth aspirations of many of the regions larger businesses over the past 12-months, including Conviviality Plc’s acquisition of Matthew Clark; and other clients such as: Moneysupermarket Group, Lookers, Radius Payment Solutions, Calvin Capital and GB Group.”

He added: “I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate all of the Top 200 businesses in the report this year. These businesses play a significant part in fuelling the success of this region and Barclays is delighted to be associated with them.”

Here, we run through the top 30 on the final list.

1.BETFRED

Gambling colossus Betfred has again secured its pole position in the Top 200 list of the north west’s best performing companies.

The privately-owned gambling company – headquartered in Warrington – saw turnover rocket by 10.2% in final results for the 12 months period to September 2014.

Owned by Fred Done, pictured, and brother Peter, the bookmaker employs more than 6,000 people.

The chain, which champions responsible gambling, was set up by the duo with a single betting shop in Salford in 1967. It has since evolved into the world’s largest independent bookmaker.

After results saw group turnover reach £8.842bn, John Haddock, chief executive of the Betfred Group, commented: “Although we have faced increased taxation, regulation and a very competitive market place we are delighted to report a positive set of results.

“We are pleased to continue our freunde kennenlernen kostenlos ohne anmeldung support for racing and once again we have over-delivered on our promise to the government when we acquired Tote and delivered £19.1m in direct contributions.

“This together with our levy payments equates to a total payment to racing of £37.7m in the 18-month period, and we are proud to continue to be one of racing’s biggest sponsors.

“Our estate of just under 1,400 betting shops continues to perform well and there’s been major improvement in our online and mobile offerings.”

He continues: “Totepool continues to grow and in this period we had a record breaking Scoop6.

“We have a clear message across the Betfred Group to all our customers to keep gambling fun and gamble responsibly.”

The company bought the Tote from the government in 2011 for £265m after a fierce battle with former British Airways chairman Martin Broughton.

In addition to outlets at racecourses, the Tote also has a monopoly on pool betting on horse races until 2018.

Totepool continues to invest in facilities and new technology.

In May 2014, the Scoop6 achieved a record breaking win and bonus fund of over £16m, and created eight millionaires.

Betfred also launched a major Responsible Gambling campaign during 2015.

2. AMEC FOSTER WHEELER

Amec Foster Wheeler has climbed two places in this year’s Top 200. The company delivers and maintains strategic and complex assets for its customers across the global energy and related sectors.

While its global headquarters are in London, the group’s Clean Energy business, which mainly serves the nuclear industry, has major operations in Birchwood, Warrington, and at Booths Park in Knutsford, which is also the group’s registered office.

The group, which employees 40,000 people in 55 countries, reported 2015 revenues of £5.455bn – up from £3.99bn in the prior year.

Amec Foster Wheeler operates across the oil and gas industry – from production through to refining, processing and distribution of derivative products – and in the mining, clean energy, power generation, pharma, environment and infrastructure markets.

Recent successes include leading a joint venture, which has been appointed on a €174m contract to manage the construction of the ITER nuclear fusion reactor in the south of France, the world’s most ambitious energy research project.

Late last year, Amec Foster Wheeler signed a lifetime enterprise agreement to provide technical support and expertise for EDF Energy’s nuclear power stations in the UK.

The Clean Energy business also supports reactor vendors and project developers involved in nuclear new-build in the UK, and is in place at many of the world’s most complex nuclear sites, including Sellafield, Chernobyl and Fukushima.

In April, the group announced the appointment of a new chief executive.

Dr Jonathan Lewis joined from Halliburton Company Inc, where he was senior vice- president with responsibility for leading its largest division, Completion and Production.

Last month, Amec Foster Wheeler also announced that it has been awarded a continuation of a contract to provide environmental support by NuGeneration (NuGen) for the proposed nuclear power station at Moorside, Cumbria.

This will be the largest nuclear build project currently proposed in the UK and will deliver up to 3.8GW gross capacity on completion.

This builds on the company’s successful delivery of the initial phases of the environmental impact assessment programme, site characterisation, and two major consultation stages.

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3. ESSAR OIL (UK) LTD

The Essar refinery at Stanlow

With seven sites already operational, Essar Oil (UK) has confirmed ambitious plans to grow its retail network within the UK market to 400 sites over the next three years.

Essar Oil (UK) is part of global conglomerate Essar, which has invested significantly in the Ellesmere Port Stanlow Oil Refinery since acquiring it in July 2011.

The Stanlow refinery has been supplying major retail brands for more than half a century and currently produces 15% of all transport fuels used in the UK.

Last year saw its successful entry to the UK market with its own brand, with a further six sites rolled out in 2016.

Speaking about the three-year plan, Essar Oil UK executive chairman, Naresh Nayyar, commented: “This is an ambitious growth target, but one we believe is a realistic proposition within the UK market.

“The initial response from both the dealer community and end consumer has been very positive indeed, and we are looking to build on this initial momentum to drive rapid growth of our network.

“Underpinning all this is a business in a strong financial position that has provided 100% availability of products to its customers for the last 24 months.

Essar has invested heavily in Stanlow since acquiring the site, and that security of supply of quality fuels is absolutely key to building long lasting relationships in the retail space.”

With a turnover of £5.129bn in the year ending March 2015, the company also committed to a significant investment in project Tiger Cub for major improvements to key units at Stanlow, which will “deliver further reduction in crude costs and improved yields across the product slate.”

4. CERTAS ENERGY UK LTD

Certas Energy UK's Gulf petrol station

Annual turnover may have slowed down in 2015 for Warrington-based Certas Energy UK, but it is still the UK’s largest independent fuel distributor.

Certas has fallen from third to fourth place in our Top 200 this year, reflecting a downturn in sales from £4.73bn to £4.309bn in the financial year to March 2015.

However, the company still holds its place as the largest independent fuel and lubricant distributor in the UK, supplying domestic, commercial, agricultural and industrial customers throughout the country.

Over the last few years, Certas Energy says it has identified the most significant businesses in its sector and has gone through a strategic acquisition process to cement itself as the largest independent distributor in the UK.

Until October 2013, Certas Energy traded as GB Oils. The company, which has a network of more than 150 depots, nearly 1,000 tankers, more than 800 retail forecourts and 2,500 employees, grew from strength to strength after a number of acquisitions. It supplies fuel to approximately 1,600 retail forecourts, comprising both own Gulf and Pace brands, plus independent branded retailers. The rebrand in 2013 came after the company reported that it has been previously limited in its ability to promote the GB Oils brand due to trademark restrictions.

In September 2015, it celebrated the launch of a new bunkering facility at Harefield Oil Terminal, Uxbridge. The launch signified the successful conclusion of a £1m investment and redevelopment project to construct this facility. Harefield Oil Terminal is one of the largest development projects commissioned by Certas Energy.

5. LOOKERS

Trafford-based Lookers has achieved an impressive seventh successive year of profit growth and increased turnover of 23.5%.

The vehicle dealership achieved a hike in sales in the financial year ending December 2015 as volumes in the UK new car market reached their highest level ever. Total registrations for the UK new car market in the year were 2.63m, an increase of 6.3% from 2014.

As the figures were published, chairman Phil White said: “Our continued growth in 2015 demonstrates the strength of the group, which is underpinned by strong operational cash flow and a robust balance sheet. We also renewed and extended our banking facilities in September 2015, which provides committed and secure funding until 2020.

“One of the highlights of the year was the acquisition of Benfield Motor Group in September, and I am pleased to report that the integration of Benfield within the group is making very good progress.”

Looking ahead, Lookers has reported “strong performance with continued improvements in all areas of the business” in the first quarter of 2016.

The company produced a positive trading performance in the quarter to March 31, 2016, with impressive results during March.

This strong start is expected to help generate a “significant increase” over its 2015 performance for year-end.

Lookers, which is headed by CEO Andy Bruce, is also looking to grow through further acquisitions and as part of this strategy has offloaded its £218m turnover parts business, which includes brands such as BTN Turbo, FPS and Apec Braking.

It is being sold to Alliance Automotive, a major European distributor of automotive and commercial vehicle parts.

Lookers said the deal, due to complete in October, will enable the group to create greater value for its shareholders, as the proceeds from the transaction will be used to pursue acquisitions opportunities.

It is currently in advanced stages of negotiation on the acquisitions of two premium-branded car dealership businesses, which it hopes to announce shortly. Acquisitions in the last 12 months include the Manchester Skoda dealership on Liverpool Road, which the firm snapped up for an undisclosed sum.

The Skoda franchise, which employs 34 staff, will continue to operate as Lookers continues its expansion plans.

6. ICELAND TOPCO LTD

Deeside-based Iceland remains in a strong position despite stiff competition from budget supermarkets and changing consumer patterns.

Turnover for the financial period ending March 2015 was reported at £2.697bn. This marked a reduction of 0.5% from 2014 for the popular food retailer.

Iceland chairman and chief executive Malcolm Walker CBE explained: “The UK food retail market has remained exceptionally challenging due to the combination of intense competition, food price deflation and changing consumer shopping patterns.”

In response to these challenges, Iceland has developed a changed store format and launched new product ranges, upgrading packaging and rethinking marketing.

And the benefits of these strategies became evident in the form of more encouraging sales and profit performances towards the end of the year.

Walker said that, although Iceland has not been immune to the pressures in its market place, it was strategically well positioned for the new retail environment.

“We are confident that Iceland will remain a highly cash generative business with the capability to deliver long-term profitable growth based on the unique proposition it has developed over the last 45 years.”

Recent highlights for Iceland include its ‘Power of Frozen’ advertising campaign, launched initially through door drops, press and posters, before moving onto national TV from May 2015.

The campaign emphasises the advantages of frozen food in terms of convenience, taste, health, choice and waste reduction.

During the financial period the group also opened 30 new stores in the UK, including six larger stores under The Food Warehouse concept. The company, which counts South African billionaire Christo Wiese as its majority shareholder, said it would not open any new Iceland stores but would focus on the roll-out of The Food Warehouse.

Keeping its ‘cool’ status, Iceland was once again ranked among the Top Ten ‘Best Big Companies to Work For In the UK’ at the Sunday Times Best Companies Awards 2015.

It further received a Lifetime Achievement Award for retaining this position in the top rank for five years, along with a special award in recognition of a commitment to employee wellbeing.

The supermarket is also trialling a larger 15,000sq ft store that sells non-food items.

7. EUROPEAN METAL RECYCLING

Family run business EMR, a global leader in metal recycling, is to be led by a new generation of managers.

The Warrington headquartered business is privately owned with a heritage dating back to the 1940s, and employs around 4,000 people operating at 150 locations around the world.

Following the death of its founder Philip Sheppard in 2011, his son Chris became EMR’s chief executive.

In a further change, after a career with the company that spanned 28 years, Colin Iles stepped down as an executive director and chairman in May 2015. His decision was made as part of the succession process, initiated by Iles and the late Phillip Sheppard, to successfully transfer executive management to a new generation.

Commenting on his decision, Colin Iles said: “The succession of a successful, entrepreneurial company like EMR is a very difficult thing for any business to achieve.

“We have built excellent strength and depth in our executive management team, and having worked with Chris Sheppard now for eight years, I have a high regard for him and his ability to take this business to the next level.

“I have seen this company grow from a small regional company with four sites to a global leader in the recycling industry, with 170.

“Chris and his management team have already taken this platform forward with our industry leading investments.”

EMR recycles ferrous and non-ferrous metals and is involved in all stages of the process – from reclamation and processing to the haulage, freight and delivery to its international customer base.

The business operates processing operations in the UK, US and Europe, including Liverpool docks. The group saw its total turnover fall by 10.2% to £2.522bn in the year to the end of December 2014.

However, the environmental benefits of metal recycling continue to be enormous in helping to conserve the world’s scarce resources.

Using recycled metal to produce new steel, as opposed to it being made from new ore, saves 1.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide for every tonne of steel produced.

8. INOVYN FINANCE (KERLING)

Formed by the merger of two of Europe’s best-established chemical companies, Runcorn-based vinyls producer Inovyn Finance has a legacy of more than 150 years and employs more than 4,300 staff.

Inovyn has manufacturing, sales and marketing operations in ten countries across Europe.

In results published for the financial year ending 31 December 2014, Inovyn had turnover of £1.921bn.

Companies Ineos and Solvay formed Inovyn as a 50/50 joint venture in July 2015, with Solvay’s exit originally planned for July 2018.

However, Solvay’s early withdrawal was announced in March 2016, and completed following receipt of customary regulatory approvals. Solvay received a final exit payment of €335m.

Chemical tycoon Jim Ratcliffe, pictured, chairman of Ineos, said: “We are delighted to have completed the full acquisition of Inovyn, one year since its formation and two years earlier than expected.

“Chlorvinyls businesses are core to large petrochemicals companies such as Ineos and through this acquisition Inovyn has an owner with a long-term vision that provides stability for its business and employees.”

Inovyn’s portfolio consists of an extensive range of class leading products arranged across general purpose vinyls, specialty vinyls, organic chlorine derivatives and chlor alkali. Annual production volumes are in excess of 40- million tonnes. It has won the ‘PVC Polymer Category Award’ at the Best Polymer Producer Awards for Europe 2016.

Ratcliffe, who grew up in Failsworth, started Ineos, an acronym of Inspec Ethylene Oxide and Specialities, from scratch. The business is a complex operation that deals with far more than shale.

The group provides products for many markets including fuels and lubricants, packaging and food, construction and pharmaceuticals.

9. SHOP DIRECT

Notching up £1.783bn in annual sales, Liverpool-based Shop Direct continues its upward course thanks to the launch of its only label, V by Very, along with investment in improving data.

The company, the UK’s second largest online pureplay retailer, reported that group sales were up 2.6% from £1.73bn in the financial year ending June 2014.

Shop Direct boasts an 80-year heritage, with its digital department stores consisting of household name brands including Littlewoods.com and Very.co.uk, the company’s biggest and fastest growing brand with more than £850m in annual sales.

Very.co.uk sales were up 17.4% in 2015, outpacing the online retail market. In June, Very.co.uk targeted further accelerated growth in the UK fashion market by launching its new ‘hero’ own-label clothing brand, V by Very.

Incorporating design-led lines across womenswear, menswear and childrenswear, V by Very is available through Very.co.uk, as well as Littlewoods.com, which is also operated by Shop Direct.

Alex Baldock, chief executive at Shop Direct, said: “V by Very is the natural next step for Very.co.uk.

“We’re building a world-class online department store; now we have an own label fashion brand to match our ambition.

“We’ve created this new collection – and this new brand – alongside our customer.

“She’s told us what she wants and by listening to her, V by Very can become a major force in British fashion. We’re backing it big time.”

Shop Direct also invested in several data-focused senior appointments last year, including recruiting Assi Gol to lead its customer intelligence teams.

Gol, who will take up the position of customer intelligence director in September, will be charged with even further strengthening and accelerating the development of Shop Direct’s data-fuelled approach to ecommerce.

Baldock commented: “Our rich customer data is the core of our business.

“It’s not just helping us create one of the world’s most personalised shopping experiences; it also helps our people make better commercial decisions.

“Assi will help us take our data science and analytics to the next level, giving customers the unique experiences we know they love.”

The business is also focused on staff training and retention and has opened a 12,400 sq ft training, conferencing and wellbeing facility known as the Cube at its Speke headquarters.

10. UNITED UTILITES GROUP PLC

Britain’s largest listed water utility company United Utilities was named the most improved over the 2010–15 regulatory period.

United Utilities provides water and wastewater services to seven-million people in the region. It saw an increase in turnover of 0.9% to £1.720bn in the year end to March 2015.

In a joint statement regarding the 2015 results, Steve Mogford, chief executive, and Dr John McAdam, chairman said: “Customer satisfaction remains a priority and we were the most improved water company over the 2010–15 regulatory period.

“Our improvements have helped reduce further the number of customers who need to contact us about the service they receive by around 75% over the five-year period.

“We continually review the causes of customer dissatisfaction and revise our training, policies, processes and systems to drive improvement. We were pleased that our improved customer satisfaction performance over the period took us out of Ofwat’s service incentive mechanism (SIM) penalty zone, thereby also benefiting shareholders.”

United Utilities manages around 120,000 km of water pipes and sewers, with 567 wastewater treatment works and 93 water treatment works, delivering around 1,700m litres of water to 3.2m customers every day.

The company owns 178 reservoirs and invested around £3.8bn in the renewal and upgrade of assets across the last five years.

Moving forward, new rules from Ofwat, the regulator, will mean all water companies will have to cap customer bills below inflation until 2020, boost customer service and make significant investments to drive innovation and competition in the sector over a five-year period.

United Utilities said it had made a head start on the five-year investment programme demanded by Ofwat and that it was coping with the fallout from lower prices. The company invested £100m in renewable energy projects last year, including Europe’s largest floating solar power project on one of it reservoirs near Manchester. It is also pouring money into biowaste.

Ofwat is encouraging water utilities companies to use sludge to generate cheap electricity, which will in turn help reduce customer water bills and build a more sustainable industry.

Meanwhile, United Utilities is also pressing ahead with plans to launch business supply company Water Plus, a joint venture with Severn Trent.

11. BIBBY LINE GROUP

The Bibby Line Group

Sales have risen at one of the longest established family-owned companies in the UK, Bibby Line Group, thanks to its 200 plus years’ experience in a diverse range of industries.

Liverpool headquartered Bibby Line Group increased revenues eight per cent to a record £1.715bn in the year to December 31, 2014.

The diversified group, has a wide portfolio of interests spanning retail, shipping, marine services, logistics and financial services. It said strong sales and profits growth in its offshore and marine services divisions had helped to offset weaker performance in others, notably its convenience retail business.

Commenting on the group’s performance, Sir Michael Bibby (pictured), managing director of Bibby Line Group, said: “Some outstanding performances helped the group deliver record sales last year, despite challenging conditions in some of our business areas. The benefits of having a diversified group were clear, as record profitability in some areas helped offset losses incurred elsewhere, allowing us to take a long-term view to invest to grow shareholder value.”

He added: “As we look ahead, continuing competitive pressure in our key markets, combined with geopolitical risks in many parts of the world and slowing growth in some of its largest economies, creates an uncertain backdrop.

“Our focus therefore remains on delivering a diversified portfolio of differentiated and market-leading services, while improving productivity and consolidating our position in core markets, as we adapt to the changing external environment. It is this approach which has continued to provide the foundation for success for more than 200 years.”

Bibby Line Group employs 6,700 people.

12. MARLOWE HOLDINGS LIMITED

Sales have grown by 4.9% for Marlowe Holdings, the parent company of Cheshire-based electrical products giant Edmundson Electrical.

The company, which is privately owned by the US-based Blackfriars Corporation, recorded a turnover of £1.631bn for the year ending December 2014.

Edmundson Electrical, incorporated in 1948 and based in Knutsford, was founded in 1801 by Joshua Edmundson.

It is now acknowledged to be the leading distributor of electrical equipment to both trade and industry in the UK.

Edmundson Electrical bought the £130m wholesale chain Electric Center from building and plumbing merchant Wolseley in 2011. It operates from 250 sites nationwide and has more than 3,000 staff.

In 2015, cable specialist VDC Trading announced its partnership with Edmundson Electrical.

VDC Trading will act as a full partner in the business providing technical and sales support, tendering, and the production and supply of audio, video and data cabling from its London headquarters.

Marlowe’s strategy is now focused on the acquisition and development of businesses in the outsourced business service sector with a focus on those that provide critical asset maintenance services.

Marlowe is focused on fire protection, security systems and water treatment services, which are essential to its customers’ operations and invariably governed by regulation, and where customers require a single specialist outsourced provider with nationwide coverage.

As such it recently raised £3m and completed the acquisition of £20m turnover Swift, a leading provider of fire protection and security systems installation and maintenance service.

13. RADIUS PAYMENT SOLUTIONS

Crewe-based fuel card company Radius Payment Solutions is now one of Europe’s leading service providers to the fleet and logistics market.

In 2013, Cheshire-based UK Fuels merged with its other fuel card companies to form Radius, which now operates in 21 countries.

Under founder and chief executive Bill Holmes, the combined group has generated sales of £1.535bn in the year to March 2015. Holmes, a former ESSO Petroleum executive, established UK Fuels as a bunkering company in 1990.

Radius now employs more than 650 staff across Europe. Among other services, It provides a full range of fuel card management programmes ranging from assisting major oil companies and fuelling network owners with managing and marketing their fuel card programmes, to running its own multi-branded fuel payment networks throughout Europe.

Last year, Radius launched Kinesis, a new solution designed to offer the latest innovations and services in telematics for all fleet sizes to improve efficiency.

Customers already using fuel cards can use now the service to link fuel transactions with accurate vehicle mileage, generating 100% accurate mpg figures.

Radius is also expanding its international footprint. It has announced a double office opening in Asia and has increased its international presence beyond Europe for the first time. The leading payments and fleet services provider recently launched a Singapore office, with an additional site to open in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Radius has targeted the rapidly developing economies of Singapore and Malaysia to boost business overseas and to grow the group’s reputation as a leading provider of multinational fleet services.

Business in Asia will be focused on small and medium-sized enterprises mainly across the construction, retail, wholesale and transportation sectors. Radius’ new offices will help to sell and promote its integrated Shell fuel card and Kinesis Telematics service to its customers. CEO Holmes said: “Our ambitious plans to grow business activity across South East Asia shows our intent to not only operate as a market-leading European fleet services provider, but also to expand our global brand and client portfolio.

“Singapore and Malaysia are the first significant steps of our expansion outside of Europe. By launching with a globally recognised brand through Shell, we expect to achieve rapid uptake of Radius’ products and reach a established position within the Asian market.”

14. B&M RETAIL LIMITED

With ambitious plans to double in size, backed up by a sterling performance last year, B&M continues to flourish.

The successful discount retailer, formed in Blackpool in 1978, is now one of the leading variety retailers in the UK.

With 52 new stores opening in 2015, B&M grew its estate by 14% to 425 stores, creating more than 3,500 new jobs.

The group, which employs 18,316 in the UK alone, also reported that turnover had increased to £1.526bn in the financial year ending March 2015.

Sir Terry Leahy, chairman, said: “B&M has delivered strong increases in sales, profits and cash generation whilst pushing on with rapid store rollout and investing in new infrastructure.

“B&M is a business which we believe, with its strong customer appeal and exceptional investment returns, can become multiple times larger.

“It has scope to double the size of its store network in the UK over the medium term and the opportunity to be a leader in the emerging discount general merchandise sector elsewhere in Europe, which at present is just a fraction of the size of this vibrant sector of retailing in the United States.”

In 2014, B&M listed on the London Stock Exchange. The listing was designed to support the company’s ambitious growth plans, both in the UK and Europe.

The listing follows B&M’s acquisition of a majority stake in German discount retailer Jawoll and the opening of an additional 500,000sq ft distribution centre.

Two new additional distribution centres opened in the UK in September last year totalling 800,000 sq ft, supporting continued rapid store growth.

15. JD SPORTS

Leader in sports fashion, JD is continuing its run of growth with record- breaking profits.

In the financial year ending January 2015, Bury-based JD Sports achieved a notable hike in sales and profits.

Pre-tax profit and exceptional items, was recorded as close to £100m, while sales grew by more than 14%.

The company enjoyed exceptional performance in its Sports Fashion department during the period, and there was also encouraging progress in the development of the international Sports Fashion, with new stores added in all existing territories.

The group, which began with one shop in Bury, operates in the UK and internationally.

Executive chairman Peter Cowgill said: “Our continuing operations have delivered a record result for the year with a headline profit before tax and exceptional items in excess of £100m.”

JD has recently opened new, larger spaced flagship style JD stores in London, Glasgow, Newcastle and Amsterdam, and its first store outside of Europe at Sunway Pyramid in Kuala Lumpur, part of a newly formed venture with Stream Enterprise in Malaysia.

A number of operational management changes have also been made in the group’s Outdoor operations.

Blacks and Millets, purchased by JD in 2012, and the newer Ultimate Outdoors brands, are now under common leadership, utilising the merchandising and commercial management expertise in the core JD team.

JD, which has climbed three spots in the Top 200, has been on an upward trajectory for some time.

With the recent European roll out we could see this Greater Manchester company climb even higher.

Its European rollout continues with a net increase of 38 stores for the JD fascia across Europe, while there was encouraging progress in its Outdoors brand with additional operational management changes put in place to drive further improvements in performance in a challenging market.

The retailer acquired Dutch-based Aktiesport and Perry Sport, which has 137 stores, further expanding its presence in the Netherlands.

Chief executive Cowgill said he was encouraged by the traction the company has gained in Europe and is confident of the opportunities that exist for the JD fascia in these markets.

He added that he believes the group is very well positioned for profitable growth as high demand for its products across all its brands continue.

16. PRINCES LIMITED

While turnover is down by 6.4% to £1.514bn, the leading Liverpool grocery supplier has successfully continued its programme of manufacturing investment to increase efficiency.

The company has also increased its assets and net worth, with the number of employees currently up at 4,939 from 4,724 in the financial year ending March 2015.

Princes has invested again in its Bradford soft drinks factory as part of an ongoing commitment to investment in its manufacturing operations.

The move, which has seen Princes install a new Ready To Drink bottling line, follows significant investment over the past two years, including the launch of a new on-site warehouse and state-of-the-art ingredients processing centre.

The new line produces 250ml and 500ml bottles, increasing capacity at the site and giving scope for further growth and development of new products. The site, which employs more than 350 people, is Princes’ largest soft drinks manufacturing site – producing in excess of 400m bottles of soft drinks each year.

Ruth Simpson, corporate relations director for Princes, said: “We are absolutely committed to investing in our manufacturing sites and are continually reviewing our facilities to ensure their efficiency and ability to meet changing consumer needs.”

Princes is also set to invest in its Wisbech food production site, with the introduction of a high speed cooker for baked beans, further advancing Princes position as a leader in baked bean products in the UK.

The new cooker will increase production capacity and operating speed, while also reducing energy use during the manufacturing process.

Simpson said: “With this investment, Princes is demonstrating its commitment to Wisbech and our vision of the site as a central part of our UK manufacturing food business.

“We are constantly seeking new energy efficiencies throughout all our sites, and the opportunity to reduce our energy consumption with this new cooker was a key consideration in the investment.”

17. EXERTIS (UK) LTD

CGI of Exertis warehouse

There’s no stopping Exertis, the UK leader in technology distribution. After 35 years of profitability, Exertis continues to outperform the market with a rise in turnover of 11.5% in the financial year to March 2015.

With sales of £1.493bn, Exertis is one of the leading distributors of IT, communication and home entertainment products in the UK. It’s a wholly-owned subsidiary of parent company DCC PLC, Ireland’s fourth largest company.

Headquartered in Accrington, Exertis represents over 180 manufacturers in the UK alone, offering mobile, computing and accessories, consumer electronics, gaming, print, networking, servers and solutions and more. Different arms of the business traded under diverse names in the UK and Ireland for more than 30 years but last year these were unified and Exertis was coined as the new name for the group.

The Exertis new integrated business is structured upon four main commercial pillars: IT, Mobile, Home and Supplies, each with extensive routes to market within the Business to Business, Retail and Mobile sectors.

DCC is an international sales, marketing, distribution and business support services group, with revenues of £10.6bn.

Exertis, which has recently completed a move to a 550,000sq ft warehouse at Burnley Bridge Business Park.

Tech resellers have also voted Exertis broadline distributor of the year for 2015/2016 as part of the Context ChannelWatch survey.

Paul Bryan, Exertis UK MD for IT and mobile, said: “We are delighted to have received this accolade voted for by resellers that took part in the ChannelWatch survey conducted by Context.

“It’s great testament to the dedication and hard work of our employees right across the business from our sales and commercial teams to our logistics and finance personnel. Our aim is to always deliver more for our customers and we appreciate their support.”

Exertis has also announced a distribution agreement with digital signage software vendor Smartsign, while security information and event management vendor Logpoint has signed Exertis as its sole distributor in the UK as it looks to expand beyond its Scandinavian roots.

The company has also been named as the UK’s exclusive distributor for Airangel’s venue-based WiFi solution.

It is the first time UK resellers will be able to offer Airangel’s solution, which delivers value-added services through the cloud-based MyAirangel platform.

18. TJ MORRIS LTD

The Liverpool firm that owns the fast-growing Home Bargains chain of discount stores has reported a healthy rise in both sales and profits.

TJ Morris, which trades as Home Bargains, saw sales rise 15% to £1.472bn, while pre-tax profit rose 1.8% to £147.1m in the financial year ending June 2015.

The company attributed its strong performance to an on-going store expansion programme.

TJ Morris, owned by entrepreneur Tom Morris, currently operates more than 370 stores and has plans to operate 700 stores within the next five years.

In accounts filed at Companies House, TJ Morris reported: “The company aims to continue its current levels of growth to become the leading sector retailer in the United Kingdom.

“This objective will be achieved by the continued expansion of the company’s retail operation throughout the United Kingdom by opening new stores and the creation of a new distribution centre in the southern part of the UK; continuing to provide its customers with quality products at bargain prices; offering new retail opportunities to customers.”

TJ Morris employs 13,843 staff, up from 11,098 last year. It paid a dividend of £7m, up from £4.4m the previous year. The highest-paid

director received £937,525, down from £1.2m the previous year.

TJ Morris was established more than 40 years ago by Tom Morris. Since opening his first store in Liverpool, Morris has grown the business organically to become one of the biggest privately-owned companies in the UK.

It is the largest employer in Merseyside and the largest independent grocer in the country. TJ Morris remains a family-run and family-owned business.

The retailer has also awarded a £10.2m contract to build a warehouse and sports centre complex in Gillmoss to construction firm Pochin’s.

The company is adding a 67,000 distribution warehouse, a 19,000 sq ft gym and leisure facility for its staff, and a 17,000 sq ft vehicle maintenance unit next to its existing headquarters at Axis Business Park.

Joe Morris, operations director of TJ Morris, said: “We are constantly looking for ways to improve our offering to our clients as well as our staff.

“These new facilities will significantly enhance our distribution capabilities and we’re delighted to be able to provide these new leisure facilities for our staff.” It is due for completion soon.

19. BENTLEY MOTORS LTD.

Despite a small slow-down in turnover, luxury carmaker Bentley is expanding its Cheshire headquarters to develop a new generation of vehicles.

Plans to construct a five-storey Engineering Technical Centre comprising offices and warehouses, and a two-storey Design Centre with offices and a workshop, were given the go ahead earlier this year.

Annual turnover has slowed down for the company, falling by 1.4% in the financial year ending December 2014 following a soar of sales at 21% the previous year.

The company’s full planning application to redevelop an 11.1-acre site immediately to the north of its existing home in Crewe was approved by Cheshire East Council’s planning committee in May.

The proposed new development will have a floor space of approximately 415,401 sq ft and the Engineering Technical Centre would be the largest building.

Wolfgang Dürheimer, chairman and chief executive of the iconic British brand, said: “With Bentley’s new research and development centre we will develop a new generation of Bentleys, which will continue our commitment of luxury, performance, quality and engineering excellence.

“Bentley is the number one luxury car manufacturer in the world and driving more investment into our headquarters and attracting talent is key to continuing our success.”

Bentley, which employees 4,000 staff in Crewe, sold 10,616 vehicles worldwide in the reporting period; that was 2.9% fewer than in the year before. The Continental GT and Mulsanne models were in greater demand than in 2014.

Bentley’s biggest export market is America and China where it has fast gained popularity.

20. REDROW HOMES

Deeside housebuilder Redrow saw revenue rise by 33% to a record level.

The upsurge in the financial year ending June 2015 was driven by a 12% increase in legal completions and a 13% increase in average selling price, from £239,500 to £269,800.

The company, which celebrated its 40th anniversary last year, employs more than 1530 staff.

It built and sold more than 4,000 homes across the UK last year, up 12% on the 2014 figure of 3,597 spurred by the government’s Help to Buy scheme.

Steve Morgan, chairman of Redrow, pictured, said: “I am pleased to announce another set of record results.

“For the first time in our history, we generated turnover in excess of £1bn, up 33% on last year. We built and sold over 4,000 homes across the UK last year, up 12% from the year before and around 42% more than in 2013.

“Pre-tax profits also reached record levels, up 53%, as we saw the benefit from our early site acquisitions post the downturn.

“This strong performance has led the board to propose a dividend of 4p per share, double that paid in the last financial year.

“Looking ahead, we have a strong pipeline of attractive sites in excellent locations and a high quality industry leading product.

“We have entered the year with a record order book and reservations to date are running 5% ahead of last year at 0.68 sales per outlet per week. We have secured 820 private reservations in the first 10 weeks, some 28% ahead of last year. Redrow is in great shape and I am looking forward to another year of significant progress.”

In the north west, Redrow is continuing with a number of new build developments.

In April, the housebuilder announced the launch of Meadow View.

The site was purchased from Oldham-based Grasscroft Homes & Property with the benefit of outline planning permission, having been assembled and promoted through the planning system over the previous five years.

It has also opened an impressive collection of seven show homes in three, four and five-bedroom designs, launching the first phase at Woodford Garden Village, near Stockport.

21. MATALAN RETAIL

Out of town retailer Matalan say its original ethos of value and quality have remained unchanged in its 30-plus years of trading.

Revenue for the Merseyside retailer has further fallen to £1.94bn, down 2.6% from £1.122bn, in its full year audited results for the financial year ending February 2015.

The retail climate has been challenging for many retailers with contributing factors such as mild weather during the winter period and consumers moving towards online shopping.

However the business continues to be resilient.

It launched its own label sports range last year and while it says, its progress has been pleasing, there also remains opportunity to replicate this success in the other departments.

It is also focusing on improving its multi-channel retail offering.

Commenting on performance and outlook, managing director Jason Hargreaves painted an optimistic picture. He said: “These results demonstrate the progress made last year with EBITDA growth of 5.1%.

The recent anniversary of the first store opening in Preston coincides with the opening of our newest store on Oxford Street, London.

“The locations are very different, but the original values on which our first store opened - outstanding value and quality for all the family - remain unchanged and just as relevant to our 12m members today.

“During the year, we made significant progress in our supply chain change programme, which included the successful reconfiguration of our existing distribution centre in the south.

“We were also pleased to open our new distribution centre in Liverpool that services our northern store estate and online business. There have been a number of challenges associated with the transition to this new centre.

“We have been working hard to resolve these.”

Matalan was founded by John Hargreaves, the son of a Liverpool dockworker, who left school at 14 and started selling Marks & Spencer seconds at a market.

He opened the first Matalan store in Preston in 1985 after a visit to America convinced him of the potential of out-of-town retailing.

The business expanded and floated on the London Stock Exchange in 1998 before Hargreaves bought it back in 2006.

Hargreaves has been credited with bringing discount fashion to the UK three decades ago. His son Jason is chief executive.

22. PHOENIX HEALTHCARE & DISTRIBUTION LTD

It’s been a period of significant change and challenge for N Brown Group as the home shopping giant modernises its operations.

The Manchester company has a turnover of £818m, 2% down, in the financial year ending February 2015, from the prior year.

The main emphasis has been modernising the business, as part of the company’s vision to create a digital first company with the business transformation project, Fit 4 the Future.

Angela Spindler, chief executive, said: “This last year was an important one for our company. We are comprehensively modernising the business in terms of organisation, capability, infrastructure and processes to adopt a digital-first mindset and to ensure that we are fit for the future of retail.

“We are improving our product proposition and competitive position by investing in quality and price.

“We have also re-phased our seasonal product and marketing to better reflect consumer spending patterns and to bring the business into line with a modern clothing retail model.

“Step-changing the way the business operates and goes to market in some key areas proved more disruptive than anticipated, and this, combined with a weak autumn trading period across the sector, led to a profit performance below expectations.

“We are, however, improving the sustainability of future profit growth and look to the year ahead with confidence.”

The business has also commenced its extension project at their main warehouse in Shaw.

This proactive approach is already yielding benefits, with positive growth in preliminary results for the 2016 financial year.

23. FIRCROFT ENGINEERING SERVICES HOLDINGS LTD

Fircroft, the global workforce solutions provider to the technical engineering sectors, has strengthened its position with the acquisition of One Key Resources.

Headquartered in Warrington, the move cements the company’s place within the mining, minerals and natural resources industries.

One Key is a specialist provider of labour hire and managed workforce services to the mining, infrastructure, and oil and gas industries.

Established in 2011, One Key has rapidly grown to be a market leader in the Asia-Pacific region, and will reinforce Fircroft’s already strong portfolio of operations.

Commenting on the acquisition, Fircroft chief executive, Johnathan Johnson, pictured, said: “One Key is leading the market in workforce solutions for the mining and natural resources industries. With their continual focus on providing a best-in-class service to clients and contractors alike, One Key are perfectly aligned to the values of the Fircroft Group.”

He added: “At Fircroft we have ambitious expansion plans, and we are pleased that One Key, with their suite of innovative, market-leading training products and workforce solutions will be joining us on this journey as we seek to further strengthen our expertise in providing workforce solutions to the global mining industry.”

One Key joins the Fircroft Group at a time of expansion following the group’s acquisition of global telecommunications recruiter Rygon, and the formation of several joint ventures throughout last year.

Fircroft was founded in 1970 to provide recruitment services to oil and gas companies operating in the North Sea.

24. PZ CUSSONS

PZ Cussons - St Tropez Kate Moss

PZ Cussons has recently enjoyed success in many areas of its UK market despite tough trading conditions.

The Manchester-headquartered consumer products group behind brands including Imperial Leather, Carex and St Tropez saw a dip in turnover of almost 5% to £819.1m in the 12 months to May 2015.

However, in the UK market the Washing & Bathing division performed well, driven by a significant renovation and innovation programme.

There were also good results from Carex’s Fun edition children’s range and its extension into wipes and gels.

The group enjoyed strong initial sales for St Tropez’s new first-to-market in-shower gradual tan.

Despite the challenges of increased costs from weaker exchange rates, reduced consumer disposable income and reduced results on translation to sterling, PZ Cussons has made ‘good progress’ overall across its Asian markets.

The liquidity squeeze and restrictions in foreign exchange availability in Nigeria, caused by the fall in the oil price, created some difficulty trading conditions, but despite that, the group has continued to grow its market share.

Chairman Richard Harvey described the 12 months as a ‘tough trading period’ but said it was in line with expectations.

“As part of our long-term strategy to focus the group’s portfolio on higher growth, value add businesses, a number of strategic initiatives were successfully completed in the year.

“To develop our Food and Nutrition category further and to create a broader portfolio for expansion into South East Asia we acquired the Australian food brand five:am early in the financial year, following the acquisition last year of the Rafferty’s Garden brand.

“In addition, we now own 100% of our Nigerian beverage business after completing the buy-out of Nutricima from our joint venture partner.”

“The strength of our balance sheet gives us the flexibility to further evolve the group’s portfolio into new areas of growth and to take advantage of new investment opportunities as they arise,” he said.

PZ Cussons has a base near Manchester Airport, where around 200 people are employed.

There are an extra 60 workers based at the 4M building who are working to implement the group’s new IT system over the next three years.

25. N BROWN GROUP

It’s been a period of significant change and challenge for N Brown Group as the home shopping giant modernises its operations.

The Manchester company has a turnover of £818m, 2% down, in the financial year ending February 2015, from the prior year.

The main emphasis has been modernising the business, as part of the company’s vision to create a digital first company with the business transformation project, Fit 4 the Future.

Angela Spindler, chief executive, said: “This last year was an important one for our company. We are comprehensively modernising the business in terms of organisation, capability, infrastructure and processes to adopt a digital-first mindset and to ensure that we are fit for the future of retail.

“We are improving our product proposition and competitive position by investing in quality and price.

“We have also re-phased our seasonal product and marketing to better reflect consumer spending patterns and to bring the business into line with a modern clothing retail model.

“Step-changing the way the business operates and goes to market in some key areas proved more disruptive than anticipated, and this, combined with a weak autumn trading period across the sector, led to a profit performance below expectations.

“We are, however, improving the sustainability of future profit growth and look to the year ahead with confidence.”

The business has also commenced its extension project at their main warehouse in Shaw.

This proactive approach is already yielding benefits, with positive growth in preliminary results for the 2016 financial year.

26. INVISTA TEXTILES (UK) LTD

Successful Manchester firm INVISTA, owner of the Lycra brand, attributes success to its philosophy of integrity, humility and a desire to better lives.

The producer and marketer of premium fibres and fabrics for swimwear, activewear, denim, sweaters and legwear is an independently managed, wholly-owned subsidiary of US-based Koch Industries.

Formerly DuPont Textiles and Interiors, it was acquired by Kock Industries in 2004 and operates globally across a portfolio of chemical technologies, differentiated fibers, polymers and products.

Its brands and trademarks include Coolmax, Cordura, Lycra, Polarguard, Solarmax, Supplex, Tactel, and Thermolite.

Sales were up by 2.1% to £815.5m for the company, which bases its business model on the ethical Market-Based Management (MBM).

This business philosophy, developed by Charles Koch, is a management approach that prepares organisations to deal successfully with the challenges of growth and change.

It encourages innovations that ‘create value’ by making people’s lives better and contributing to prosperity in society, while consuming fewer resources.

One of the largest privately held companies in the world, Koch companies have a presence in about 60 countries and employ more than 100,000 people worldwide.

INVISTA, which has a long tradition of innovation, has recently announced the beginning of the roll-out of the next generation of Lycra Sport technology.

The innovative technology is scientifically engineered to deliver comfort, fit and support to stretch activewear.

It combines the stretch of Lycra fiber with testing standards that measure fabric performance descriptors on a scale of one to 10.

27. EURO GARAGES LIMITED

From humble beginnings, Euro Garages was founded in 2001 by brothers Mohsin and Zuber Issa, with the acquisition of a single petrol filing station in Bury.

Since then, the burgeoning Blackburn-based business hasn’t taken its foot off the pedal, establishing itself as one of the UK’s fastest growing forecourt operators, winning numerous awards.

According to its latest set of accounts, Euro Garages posted a total turnover of £815.6m in the year to July 2015, up by 26% on the prior year.

Purchasing under performing sites and redeveloping them, Euro Garages quickly became renowned for its innovative approach to forecourt trading, establishing high-profile partnerships with brands such as Subway, Starbucks, Greggs and Burger King.

The group has an expanding portfolio of 341 freehold-owned sites located throughout the UK, currently operating 53 Starbucks and more than 100 Subway stores.

A £1.3bn deal with TDR Capital has ensured growth for the company.

After a landmark 12 months, Euro Garages secured the M&A Deal of the Year at The Rainmaker Awards (North West). Euro Garages private equity deal with TDR last year was acknowledged as the most strategically important regional transaction.

The deal enabled TDR to take a minority stake in Euro Garages, valuing the business at £1.3bn. Euro Garages has also won accolades from the Sunday Times Fast Track and the Forecourt Trader of the Year, among others. The company has ambitious plans for its international expansion as the business enters an exciting new phase of development.

Boss Mohsin said: “We plan to build on what we have successfully executed at a UK level and take that to a global scale. Nobody does this true branded proposition on an international scale. The international brands will travel and we will bring in local brands to fill in the missing pieces.”

The company has also strengthened its management team to further its ambitions of growth in Europe.

Imraan Patel has become the group’s first general counsel and company secretary. He has joined the executive board and has ultimate responsibility for all legal, regulatory and compliance matters at the group, including the corporate secretariat. Patel brings almost 15 years’ experience of leading and managing complex, frequently high profile transactions in Fortune Global 500 companies.

28. KELLOGG’S

Kellogg’s Manchester factory – the largest cereal factory in Europe - has been producing our favourite breakfast cereals for more than 75 years.

The Trafford Park-headquartered business was recently the subject of BBC Two’s documentary: Inside The Factory: How Our Favourite Foods Are Made, featuring presenters Gregg Wallace and Cherry Healey talking to the Kellogg’s characters responsible for making one-million packs of Corn Flakes, Coco Pops, Rice Krispies and Crunchy Nut every day. More than 400 people are employed at the factory, a local landmark that was built in 1938 in Trafford.

To produce billions of pounds worth of cereal every year, the factory’s machinery runs for 24 hours a day, producing up to 34m kgs of Corn Flakes annually, which is the equivalent weight to around 20,000 cars.

The Kellogg Company was founded in 1906 in the US by William Keith Kellogg, arriving in the UK in 1922. Since 1938, the factory in Manchester has been making family favourite. Revenues for Kellogg’s UK were up 1.2% in the year to January 3 2015.

Roles at the factory include engineering, food safety and maintenance, and technical services.

The firm, headed by vice president and general manager for the UK and Ireland, Jonathan Myers, imports many grains through the Port of Liverpool and along the Manchester Ship Canal. Kellogg’s Manchester factory – the largest cereal factory in Europe - has been producing family favourite food for over 75 years.

Thanks to Rice Krispies, Kellogg’s is the second biggest importer of rice into the UK – only Ambrosia imports more.

Tony O’Brien, pictured, factory director, said: “The Kellogg’s factory has been here 75 years, and I do think it’ll be here in another 75 if we continue doing what we do now: comparing ourselves to greenfield sites and benchmarking ourselves against best in class.

“You hear a lot about cereal sales going up and down, but the volume we make is pretty stable. We make the traditional brands people have bought for generations – Corn Flakes, Coco Pops, Rice Krispies – and we make them for the rest of Europe too.”

29. MANCHESTER AIRPORTS HOLDINGS

Entering into the top 30 this year is Manchester Airports Holdings Ltd, with a sales upsurge of 10%.

Turnover is up from £671.2m to £738.4m in the financial year ending March 2015, while passenger rates were up by 10.7%.

The Manchester Airports Group (MAG) is the largest UK-owned airport operator, serving around 52m passengers and handling 600,000 tonnes of air freight every year, through its ownership and operation of Manchester, London Stansted, East Midlands and Bournemouth airports.

The Manchester Airports Group also includes the commercial property company, MAG Property, which has £571m property assets across the four airports and is leading the £650m major Enterprise Zone development, Airport City.

The group runs thriving businesses in car parking, airport security, fire fighting, engineering, advertising and motor transport. As the largest UK owned airport operator, the group’s four airports and property businesses already contribute £4bn to the UK economy and support more than 130,000 jobs.

Chairman, Sir Adrian Montague CBE, stated: “The group has again exceeded its financial targets, while at

the same time achieving industry-leading rates of growth.”

30. PETS AT HOME

North-west based specialist retailer Pets at Home continued its strong revenue growth last year with turnover reaching £729.1m.

The Cheshire-based chain runs 431 stores across the UK as well as 391 veterinary practice.

It hailed the firm’s growing veterinary and pet grooming services and demand for advanced nutrition products for pets as key drivers behind the sales rise.

Commenting about the results, chief executive Nick Wood said: “Our business has grown significantly in recent years and we are continuing to rollout our stores and services at a fast pace.

“We see significant growth opportunities across the group and have therefore decided to implement a new management structure to drive performance across the business.”

Greater Manchester Business Week has released the definitive list of this year’s.

Produced in partnership with Barclays and Manchester Airports Group, the 2016 North West Top 200 guide celebrates the successes of the biggest and best companies in the region.

The data was compiled by Manchester Metropolitan University, and as in previous years, it looked at a range of measures, which make those firms in the Top 200 the region’s biggest companies.

The firms are ranked in terms of their turnover reported in accounts filed up to a cut-off point of May 31.

And while it’s great to celebrate the best companies in the region, the process means there are many firms that make a major contribution to the economy that do not make the list.

The MMU research is focused only on firms that file their accounts at Companies House. Those not on the list include institutions in the education sector, such as the universities. In Manchester we also have The Co-operative, one of the region’s biggest employers. But as the business is a mutual and does not report to Companies House, and so is not included.

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Prof Chris Pyke, associate dean and head of accounting, finance and economics at MMU business school said: “Our North West Top 200 firms demonstrate the necessary strength and diversity to successfully navigate these potentially turbulent times. We note a strength in manufacturing, in services and crucially in uncertain times, a strength in core materials and products. We also believe that if the political will continues and confirms the Northern Powerhouse, core industries may thrive despite turbulence from the European issue.”

Tony Walsh, head of north corporate Banking, Barclays said: “The north west has a rich and diverse business landscape, with an impressive showcase of successful businesses of all sizes and industries.

“Barclays is delighted to have supported the growth aspirations of many of the regions larger businesses over the past 12-months, including Conviviality Plc’s acquisition of Matthew Clark; and other clients such as: Moneysupermarket Group, Lookers, Radius Payment Solutions, Calvin Capital and GB Group.”

He added: “I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate all of the Top 200 businesses in the report this year. These businesses play a significant part in fuelling the success of this region and Barclays is delighted to be associated with them.”

Here, we run through the top 30 on the final list.

1.BETFRED

Gambling colossus Betfred has again secured its pole position in the Top 200 list of the north west’s best performing companies.

The privately-owned gambling company – headquartered in Warrington – saw turnover rocket by 10.2% in final results for the 12 months period to September 2014.

Owned by Fred Done, pictured, and brother Peter, the bookmaker employs more than 6,000 people.

The chain, which champions responsible gambling, was set up by the duo with a single betting shop in Salford in 1967. It has since evolved into the world’s largest independent bookmaker.

After results saw group turnover reach £8.842bn, John Haddock, chief executive of the Betfred Group, commented: “Although we have faced increased taxation, regulation and a very competitive market place we are delighted to report a positive set of results.

“We are pleased to continue our support for racing and once again we have over-delivered on our promise to the government when we acquired Tote and delivered £19.1m in direct contributions.

“This together with our levy payments equates to a total payment to racing of £37.7m in the 18-month period, and we are proud to continue to be one of racing’s biggest sponsors.

“Our estate of just under 1,400 betting shops continues to perform well and there’s been major improvement in our online and mobile offerings.”

He continues: “Totepool continues to grow and in this period we had a record breaking Scoop6.

“We have a clear message across the Betfred Group to all our customers to keep gambling fun and gamble responsibly.”

The company bought the Tote from the government in 2011 for £265m after a fierce battle with former British Airways chairman Martin Broughton.

In addition to outlets at racecourses, the Tote also has a monopoly on pool betting on horse races until 2018.

Totepool continues to invest in facilities and new technology.

In May 2014, the Scoop6 achieved a record breaking win and bonus fund of over £16m, and created eight millionaires.

Betfred also launched a major Responsible Gambling campaign during 2015.

2. AMEC FOSTER WHEELER

Amec Foster Wheeler has climbed two places in this year’s Top 200. The company delivers and maintains strategic and complex assets for its customers across the global energy and related sectors.

While its global headquarters are in London, the group’s Clean Energy business, which mainly serves the nuclear industry, has major operations in Birchwood, Warrington, and at Booths Park in Knutsford, which is also the group’s registered office.

The group, which employees 40,000 people in 55 countries, reported 2015 revenues of £5.455bn – up from £3.99bn in the prior year.

Amec Foster Wheeler operates across the oil and gas industry – from production through to refining, processing and distribution of derivative products – and in the mining, clean energy, power generation, pharma, environment and infrastructure markets.

Recent successes include leading a joint venture, which has been appointed on a €174m contract to manage the construction of the ITER nuclear fusion reactor in the south of France, the world’s most ambitious energy research project.

Late last year, Amec Foster Wheeler signed a lifetime enterprise agreement to provide technical support and expertise for EDF Energy’s nuclear power stations in the UK.

The Clean Energy business also supports reactor vendors and project developers involved in nuclear new-build in the UK, and is in place at many of the world’s most complex nuclear sites, including Sellafield, Chernobyl and Fukushima.

In April, the group announced the appointment of a new chief executive.

Dr Jonathan Lewis joined from Halliburton Company Inc, where he was senior vice- president with responsibility for leading its largest division, Completion and Production.

Last month, Amec Foster Wheeler also announced that it has been awarded a continuation of a contract to provide environmental support by NuGeneration (NuGen) for the proposed nuclear power station at Moorside, Cumbria.

This will be the largest nuclear build project currently proposed in the UK and will deliver up to 3.8GW gross capacity on completion.

This builds on the company’s successful delivery of the initial phases of the environmental impact assessment programme, site characterisation, and two major consultation stages.

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3. ESSAR OIL (UK) LTD

The Essar refinery at Stanlow

With seven sites already operational, Essar Oil (UK) has confirmed ambitious plans to grow its retail network within the UK market to 400 sites over the next three years.

Essar Oil (UK) is part of global conglomerate Essar, which has invested significantly in the Ellesmere Port Stanlow Oil Refinery since acquiring it in July 2011.

The Stanlow refinery has been supplying major retail brands for more than half a century and currently produces 15% of all transport fuels used in the UK.

Last year saw its successful entry to the UK market with its own brand, with a further six sites rolled out in 2016.

Speaking about the three-year plan, Essar Oil UK executive chairman, Naresh Nayyar, commented: “This is an ambitious growth target, but one we believe is a realistic proposition within the UK market.

“The initial response from both the dealer community and end consumer has been very positive indeed, and we are looking to build on this initial momentum to drive rapid growth of our network.

“Underpinning all this is a business in a strong financial position that has provided 100% availability of products to its customers for the last 24 months.

Essar has invested heavily in Stanlow since acquiring the site, and that security of supply of quality fuels is absolutely key to building long lasting relationships in the retail space.”

With a turnover of £5.129bn in the year ending March 2015, the company also committed to a significant investment in project Tiger Cub for major improvements to key units at Stanlow, which will “deliver further reduction in crude costs and improved yields across the product slate.”

4. CERTAS ENERGY UK LTD

Certas Energy UK's Gulf petrol station

Annual turnover may have slowed down in 2015 for Warrington-based Certas Energy UK, but it is still the UK’s largest independent fuel distributor.

Certas has fallen from third to fourth place in our Top 200 this year, reflecting a downturn in sales from £4.73bn to £4.309bn in the financial year to March 2015.

However, the company still holds its place as the largest independent fuel and lubricant distributor in the UK, supplying domestic, commercial, agricultural and industrial customers throughout the country.

Over the last few years, Certas Energy says it has identified the most significant businesses in its sector and has gone through a strategic acquisition process to cement itself as the largest independent distributor in the UK.

Until October 2013, Certas Energy traded as GB Oils. The company, which has a network of more than 150 depots, nearly 1,000 tankers, more than 800 retail forecourts and 2,500 employees, grew from strength to strength after a number of acquisitions. It supplies fuel to approximately 1,600 retail forecourts, comprising both own Gulf and Pace brands, plus independent branded retailers. The rebrand in 2013 came after the company reported that it has been previously limited in its ability to promote the GB Oils brand due to trademark restrictions.

In September 2015, it celebrated the launch of a new bunkering facility at Harefield Oil Terminal, Uxbridge. The launch signified the successful conclusion of a £1m investment and redevelopment project to construct this facility. Harefield Oil Terminal is one of the largest development projects commissioned by Certas Energy.

5. LOOKERS

Trafford-based Lookers has achieved an impressive seventh successive year of profit growth and increased turnover of 23.5%.

The vehicle dealership achieved a hike in sales in the financial year ending December 2015 as volumes in the UK new car market reached their highest level ever. Total registrations for the UK new car market in the year were 2.63m, an increase of 6.3% from 2014.

As the figures were published, chairman Phil White said: “Our continued growth in 2015 demonstrates the strength of the group, which is underpinned by strong operational cash flow and a robust balance sheet. We also renewed and extended our banking facilities in September 2015, which provides committed and secure funding until 2020.

“One of the highlights of the year was the acquisition of Benfield Motor Group in September, and I am pleased to report that the integration of Benfield within the group is making very good progress.”

Looking ahead, Lookers has reported “strong performance with continued improvements in all areas of the business” in the first quarter of 2016.

The company produced a positive trading performance in the quarter to March 31, 2016, with impressive results during March.

This strong start is expected to help generate a “significant increase” over its 2015 performance for year-end.

Lookers, which is headed by CEO Andy Bruce, is also looking to grow through further acquisitions and as part of this strategy has offloaded its £218m turnover parts business, which includes brands such as BTN Turbo, FPS and Apec Braking.

It is being sold to Alliance Automotive, a major European distributor of automotive and commercial vehicle parts.

Lookers said the deal, due to complete in October, will enable the group to create greater value for its shareholders, as the proceeds from the transaction will be used to pursue acquisitions opportunities.

It is currently in advanced stages of negotiation on the acquisitions of two premium-branded car dealership businesses, which it hopes to announce shortly. Acquisitions in the last 12 months include the Manchester Skoda dealership on Liverpool Road, which the firm snapped up for an undisclosed sum.

The Skoda franchise, which employs 34 staff, will continue to operate as Lookers continues its expansion plans.

6. ICELAND TOPCO LTD

Deeside-based Iceland remains in a strong position despite stiff competition from budget supermarkets and changing consumer patterns.

Turnover for the financial period ending March 2015 was reported at £2.697bn. This marked a reduction of 0.5% from 2014 for the popular food retailer.

Iceland chairman and chief executive Malcolm Walker CBE explained: “The UK food retail market has remained exceptionally challenging due to the combination of intense competition, food price deflation and changing consumer shopping patterns.”

In response to these challenges, Iceland has developed a changed store format and launched new product ranges, upgrading packaging and rethinking marketing.

And the benefits of these strategies became evident in the form of more encouraging sales and profit performances towards the end of the year.

Walker said that, although Iceland has not been immune to the pressures in its market place, it was strategically well positioned for the new retail environment.

“We are confident that Iceland will remain a highly cash generative business with the capability to deliver long-term profitable growth based on the unique proposition it has developed over the last 45 years.”

Recent highlights for Iceland include its ‘Power of Frozen’ advertising campaign, launched initially through door drops, press and posters, before moving onto national TV from May 2015.

The campaign emphasises the advantages of frozen food in terms of convenience, taste, health, choice and waste reduction.

During the financial period the group also opened 30 new stores in the UK, including six larger stores under The Food Warehouse concept. The company, which counts South African billionaire Christo Wiese as its majority shareholder, said it would not open any new Iceland stores but would focus on the roll-out of The Food Warehouse.

Keeping its ‘cool’ status, Iceland was once again ranked among the Top Ten ‘Best Big Companies to Work For In the UK’ at the Sunday Times Best Companies Awards 2015.

It further received a Lifetime Achievement Award for retaining this position in the top rank for five years, along with a special award in recognition of a commitment to employee wellbeing.

The supermarket is also trialling a larger 15,000sq ft store that sells non-food items.

7. EUROPEAN METAL RECYCLING

Family run business EMR, a global leader in metal recycling, is to be led by a new generation of managers.

The Warrington headquartered business is privately owned with a heritage dating back to the 1940s, and employs around 4,000 people operating at 150 locations around the world.

Following the death of its founder Philip Sheppard in 2011, his son Chris became EMR’s chief executive.

In a further change, after a career with the company that spanned 28 years, Colin Iles stepped down as an executive director and chairman in May 2015. His decision was made as part of the succession process, initiated by Iles and the late Phillip Sheppard, to successfully transfer executive management to a new generation.

Commenting on his decision, Colin Iles said: “The succession of a successful, entrepreneurial company like EMR is a very difficult thing for any business to achieve.

“We have built excellent strength and depth in our executive management team, and having worked with Chris Sheppard now for eight years, I have a high regard for him and his ability to take this business to the next level.

“I have seen this company grow from a small regional company with four sites to a global leader in the recycling industry, with 170.

“Chris and his management team have already taken this platform forward with our industry leading investments.”

EMR recycles ferrous and non-ferrous metals and is involved in all stages of the process – from reclamation and processing to the haulage, freight and delivery to its international customer base.

The business operates processing operations in the UK, US and Europe, including Liverpool docks. The group saw its total turnover fall by 10.2% to £2.522bn in the year to the end of December 2014.

However, the environmental benefits of metal recycling continue to be enormous in helping to conserve the world’s scarce resources.

Using recycled metal to produce new steel, as opposed to it being made from new ore, saves 1.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide for every tonne of steel produced.

8. INOVYN FINANCE (KERLING)

Formed by the merger of two of Europe’s best-established chemical companies, Runcorn-based vinyls producer Inovyn Finance has a legacy of more than 150 years and employs more than 4,300 staff.

Inovyn has manufacturing, sales and marketing operations in ten countries across Europe.

In results published for the financial year ending 31 December 2014, Inovyn had turnover of £1.921bn.

Companies Ineos and Solvay formed Inovyn as a 50/50 joint venture in July 2015, with Solvay’s exit originally planned for July 2018.

However, Solvay’s early withdrawal was announced in March 2016, and completed following receipt of customary regulatory approvals. Solvay received a final exit payment of €335m.

Chemical tycoon Jim Ratcliffe, pictured, chairman of Ineos, said: “We are delighted to have completed the full acquisition of Inovyn, one year since its formation and two years earlier than expected.

“Chlorvinyls businesses are core to large petrochemicals companies such as Ineos and through this acquisition Inovyn has an owner with a long-term vision that provides stability for its business and employees.”

Inovyn’s portfolio consists of an extensive range of class leading products arranged across general purpose vinyls, specialty vinyls, organic chlorine derivatives and chlor alkali. Annual production volumes are in excess of 40- million tonnes. It has won the ‘PVC Polymer Category Award’ at the Best Polymer Producer Awards for Europe 2016.

Ratcliffe, who grew up in Failsworth, started Ineos, an acronym of Inspec Ethylene Oxide and Specialities, from scratch. The business is a complex operation that deals with far more than shale.

The group provides products for many markets including fuels and lubricants, packaging and food, construction and pharmaceuticals.

9. SHOP DIRECT

Notching up £1.783bn in annual sales, Liverpool-based Shop Direct continues its upward course thanks to the launch of its only label, V by Very, along with investment in improving data.

The company, the UK’s second largest online pureplay retailer, reported that group sales were up 2.6% from £1.73bn in the financial year ending June 2014.

Shop Direct boasts an 80-year heritage, with its digital department stores consisting of household name brands including Littlewoods.com and Very.co.uk, the company’s biggest and fastest growing brand with more than £850m in annual sales.

Very.co.uk sales were up 17.4% in 2015, outpacing the online retail market. In June, Very.co.uk targeted further accelerated growth in the UK fashion market by launching its new ‘hero’ own-label clothing brand, V by Very.

Incorporating design-led lines across womenswear, menswear and childrenswear, V by Very is available through Very.co.uk, as well as Littlewoods.com, which is also operated by Shop Direct.

Alex Baldock, chief executive at Shop Direct, said: “V by Very is the natural next step for Very.co.uk.

“We’re building a world-class online department store; now we have an own label fashion brand to match our ambition.

“We’ve created this new collection – and this new brand – alongside our customer.

“She’s told us what she wants and by listening to her, V by Very can become a major force in British fashion. We’re backing it big time.”

Shop Direct also invested in several data-focused senior appointments last year, including recruiting Assi Gol to lead its customer intelligence teams.

Gol, who will take up the position of customer intelligence director in September, will be charged with even further strengthening and accelerating the development of Shop Direct’s data-fuelled approach to ecommerce.

Baldock commented: “Our rich customer data is the core of our business.

“It’s not just helping us create one of the world’s most personalised shopping experiences; it also helps our people make better commercial decisions.

“Assi will help us take our data science and analytics to the next level, giving customers the unique experiences we know they love.”

The business is also focused on staff training and retention and has opened a 12,400 sq ft training, conferencing and wellbeing facility known as the Cube at its Speke headquarters.

10. UNITED UTILITES GROUP PLC

Britain’s largest listed water utility company United Utilities was named the most improved over the 2010–15 regulatory period.

United Utilities provides water and wastewater services to seven-million people in the region. It saw an increase in turnover of 0.9% to £1.720bn in the year end to March 2015.

In a joint statement regarding the 2015 results, Steve Mogford, chief executive, and Dr John McAdam, chairman said: “Customer satisfaction remains a priority and we were the most improved water company over the 2010–15 regulatory period.

“Our improvements have helped reduce further the number of customers who need to contact us about the service they receive by around 75% over the five-year period.

“We continually review the causes of customer dissatisfaction and revise our training, policies, processes and systems to drive improvement. We were pleased that our improved customer satisfaction performance over the period took us out of Ofwat’s service incentive mechanism (SIM) penalty zone, thereby also benefiting shareholders.”

United Utilities manages around 120,000 km of water pipes and sewers, with 567 wastewater treatment works and 93 water treatment works, delivering around 1,700m litres of water to 3.2m customers every day.

The company owns 178 reservoirs and invested around £3.8bn in the renewal and upgrade of assets across the last five years.

Moving forward, new rules from Ofwat, the regulator, will mean all water companies will have to cap customer bills below inflation until 2020, boost customer service and make significant investments to drive innovation and competition in the sector over a five-year period.

United Utilities said it had made a head start on the five-year investment programme demanded by Ofwat and that it was coping with the fallout from lower prices. The company invested £100m in renewable energy projects last year, including Europe’s largest floating solar power project on one of it reservoirs near Manchester. It is also pouring money into biowaste.

Ofwat is encouraging water utilities companies to use sludge to generate cheap electricity, which will in turn help reduce customer water bills and build a more sustainable industry.

Meanwhile, United Utilities is also pressing ahead with plans to launch business supply company Water Plus, a joint venture with Severn Trent.

11. BIBBY LINE GROUP

The Bibby Line Group

Sales have risen at one of the longest established family-owned companies in the UK, Bibby Line Group, thanks to its 200 plus years’ experience in a diverse range of industries.

Liverpool headquartered Bibby Line Group increased revenues eight per cent to a record £1.715bn in the year to December 31, 2014.

The diversified group, has a wide portfolio of interests spanning retail, shipping, marine services, logistics and financial services. It said strong sales and profits growth in its offshore and marine services divisions had helped to offset weaker performance in others, notably its convenience retail business.

Commenting on the group’s performance, Sir Michael Bibby (pictured), managing director of Bibby Line Group, said: “Some outstanding performances helped the group deliver record sales last year, despite challenging conditions in some of our business areas. The benefits of having a diversified group were clear, as record profitability in some areas helped offset losses incurred elsewhere, allowing us to take a long-term view to invest to grow shareholder value.”

He added: “As we look ahead, continuing competitive pressure in our key markets, combined with geopolitical risks in many parts of the world and slowing growth in some of its largest economies, creates an uncertain backdrop.

“Our focus therefore remains on delivering a diversified portfolio of differentiated and market-leading services, while improving productivity and consolidating our position in core markets, as we adapt to the changing external environment. It is this approach which has continued to provide the foundation for success for more than 200 years.”

Bibby Line Group employs 6,700 people.

12. MARLOWE HOLDINGS LIMITED

Sales have grown by 4.9% for Marlowe Holdings, the parent company of Cheshire-based electrical products giant Edmundson Electrical.

The company, which is privately owned by the US-based Blackfriars Corporation, recorded a turnover of £1.631bn for the year ending December 2014.

Edmundson Electrical, incorporated in 1948 and based in Knutsford, was founded in 1801 by Joshua Edmundson.

It is now acknowledged to be the leading distributor of electrical equipment to both trade and industry in the UK.

Edmundson Electrical bought the £130m wholesale chain Electric Center from building and plumbing merchant Wolseley in 2011. It operates from 250 sites nationwide and has more than 3,000 staff.

In 2015, cable specialist VDC Trading announced its partnership with Edmundson Electrical.

VDC Trading will act as a full partner in the business providing technical and sales support, tendering, and the production and supply of audio, video and data cabling from its London headquarters.

Marlowe’s strategy is now focused on the acquisition and development of businesses in the outsourced business service sector with a focus on those that provide critical asset maintenance services.

Marlowe is focused on fire protection, security systems and water treatment services, which are essential to its customers’ operations and invariably governed by regulation, and where customers require a single specialist outsourced provider with nationwide coverage.

As such it recently raised £3m and completed the acquisition of £20m turnover Swift, a leading provider of fire protection and security systems installation and maintenance service.

13. RADIUS PAYMENT SOLUTIONS

Crewe-based fuel card company Radius Payment Solutions is now one of Europe’s leading service providers to the fleet and logistics market.

In 2013, Cheshire-based UK Fuels merged with its other fuel card companies to form Radius, which now operates in 21 countries.

Under founder and chief executive Bill Holmes, the combined group has generated sales of £1.535bn in the year to March 2015. Holmes, a former ESSO Petroleum executive, established UK Fuels as a bunkering company in 1990.

Radius now employs more than 650 staff across Europe. Among other services, It provides a full range of fuel card management programmes ranging from assisting major oil companies and fuelling network owners with managing and marketing their fuel card programmes, to running its own multi-branded fuel payment networks throughout Europe.

Last year, Radius launched Kinesis, a new solution designed to offer the latest innovations and services in telematics for all fleet sizes to improve efficiency.

Customers already using fuel cards can use now the service to link fuel transactions with accurate vehicle mileage, generating 100% accurate mpg figures.

Radius is also expanding its international footprint. It has announced a double office opening in Asia and has increased its international presence beyond Europe for the first time. The leading payments and fleet services provider recently launched a Singapore office, with an additional site to open in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Radius has targeted the rapidly developing economies of Singapore and Malaysia to boost business overseas and to grow the group’s reputation as a leading provider of multinational fleet services.

Business in Asia will be focused on small and medium-sized enterprises mainly across the construction, retail, wholesale and transportation sectors. Radius’ new offices will help to sell and promote its integrated Shell fuel card and Kinesis Telematics service to its customers. CEO Holmes said: “Our ambitious plans to grow business activity across South East Asia shows our intent to not only operate as a market-leading European fleet services provider, but also to expand our global brand and client portfolio.

“Singapore and Malaysia are the first significant steps of our expansion outside of Europe. By launching with a globally recognised brand through Shell, we expect to achieve rapid uptake of Radius’ products and reach a established position within the Asian market.”

14. B&M RETAIL LIMITED

With ambitious plans to double in size, backed up by a sterling performance last year, B&M continues to flourish.

The successful discount retailer, formed in Blackpool in 1978, is now one of the leading variety retailers in the UK.

With 52 new stores opening in 2015, B&M grew its estate by 14% to 425 stores, creating more than 3,500 new jobs.

The group, which employs 18,316 in the UK alone, also reported that turnover had increased to £1.526bn in the financial year ending March 2015.

Sir Terry Leahy, chairman, said: “B&M has delivered strong increases in sales, profits and cash generation whilst pushing on with rapid store rollout and investing in new infrastructure.

“B&M is a business which we believe, with its strong customer appeal and exceptional investment returns, can become multiple times larger.

“It has scope to double the size of its store network in the UK over the medium term and the opportunity to be a leader in the emerging discount general merchandise sector elsewhere in Europe, which at present is just a fraction of the size of this vibrant sector of retailing in the United States.”

In 2014, B&M listed on the London Stock Exchange. The listing was designed to support the company’s ambitious growth plans, both in the UK and Europe.

The listing follows B&M’s acquisition of a majority stake in German discount retailer Jawoll and the opening of an additional 500,000sq ft distribution centre.

Two new additional distribution centres opened in the UK in September last year totalling 800,000 sq ft, supporting continued rapid store growth.

15. JD SPORTS

Leader in sports fashion, JD is continuing its run of growth with record- breaking profits.

In the financial year ending January 2015, Bury-based JD Sports achieved a notable hike in sales and profits.

Pre-tax profit and exceptional items, was recorded as close to £100m, while sales grew by more than 14%.

The company enjoyed exceptional performance in its Sports Fashion department during the period, and there was also encouraging progress in the development of the international Sports Fashion, with new stores added in all existing territories.

The group, which began with one shop in Bury, operates in the UK and internationally.

Executive chairman Peter Cowgill said: “Our continuing operations have delivered a record result for the year with a headline profit before tax and exceptional items in excess of £100m.”

JD has recently opened new, larger spaced flagship style JD stores in London, Glasgow, Newcastle and Amsterdam, and its first store outside of Europe at Sunway Pyramid in Kuala Lumpur, part of a newly formed venture with Stream Enterprise in Malaysia.

A number of operational management changes have also been made in the group’s Outdoor operations.

Blacks and Millets, purchased by JD in 2012, and the newer Ultimate Outdoors brands, are now under common leadership, utilising the merchandising and commercial management expertise in the core JD team.

JD, which has climbed three spots in the Top 200, has been on an upward trajectory for some time.

With the recent European roll out we could see this Greater Manchester company climb even higher.

Its European rollout continues with a net increase of 38 stores for the JD fascia across Europe, while there was encouraging progress in its Outdoors brand with additional operational management changes put in place to drive further improvements in performance in a challenging market.

The retailer acquired Dutch-based Aktiesport and Perry Sport, which has 137 stores, further expanding its presence in the Netherlands.

Chief executive Cowgill said he was encouraged by the traction the company has gained in Europe and is confident of the opportunities that exist for the JD fascia in these markets.

He added that he believes the group is very well positioned for profitable growth as high demand for its products across all its brands continue.

16. PRINCES LIMITED

While turnover is down by 6.4% to £1.514bn, the leading Liverpool grocery supplier has successfully continued its programme of manufacturing investment to increase efficiency.

The company has also increased its assets and net worth, with the number of employees currently up at 4,939 from 4,724 in the financial year ending March 2015.

Princes has invested again in its Bradford soft drinks factory as part of an ongoing commitment to investment in its manufacturing operations.

The move, which has seen Princes install a new Ready To Drink bottling line, follows significant investment over the past two years, including the launch of a new on-site warehouse and state-of-the-art ingredients processing centre.

The new line produces 250ml and 500ml bottles, increasing capacity at the site and giving scope for further growth and development of new products. The site, which employs more than 350 people, is Princes’ largest soft drinks manufacturing site – producing in excess of 400m bottles of soft drinks each year.

Ruth Simpson, corporate relations director for Princes, said: “We are absolutely committed to investing in our manufacturing sites and are continually reviewing our facilities to ensure their efficiency and ability to meet changing consumer needs.”

Princes is also set to invest in its Wisbech food production site, with the introduction of a high speed cooker for baked beans, further advancing Princes position as a leader in baked bean products in the UK.

The new cooker will increase production capacity and operating speed, while also reducing energy use during the manufacturing process.

Simpson said: “With this investment, Princes is demonstrating its commitment to Wisbech and our vision of the site as a central part of our UK manufacturing food business.

“We are constantly seeking new energy efficiencies throughout all our sites, and the opportunity to reduce our energy consumption with this new cooker was a key consideration in the investment.”

17. EXERTIS (UK) LTD

CGI of Exertis warehouse

There’s no stopping Exertis, the UK leader in technology distribution. After 35 years of profitability, Exertis continues to outperform the market with a rise in turnover of 11.5% in the financial year to March 2015.

With sales of £1.493bn, Exertis is one of the leading distributors of IT, communication and home entertainment products in the UK. It’s a wholly-owned subsidiary of parent company DCC PLC, Ireland’s fourth largest company.

Headquartered in Accrington, Exertis represents over 180 manufacturers in the UK alone, offering mobile, computing and accessories, consumer electronics, gaming, print, networking, servers and solutions and more. Different arms of the business traded under diverse names in the UK and Ireland for more than 30 years but last year these were unified and Exertis was coined as the new name for the group.

The Exertis new integrated business is structured upon four main commercial pillars: IT, Mobile, Home and Supplies, each with extensive routes to market within the Business to Business, Retail and Mobile sectors.

DCC is an international sales, marketing, distribution and business support services group, with revenues of £10.6bn.

Exertis, which has recently completed a move to a 550,000sq ft warehouse at Burnley Bridge Business Park.

Tech resellers have also voted Exertis broadline distributor of the year for 2015/2016 as part of the Context ChannelWatch survey.

Paul Bryan, Exertis UK MD for IT and mobile, said: “We are delighted to have received this accolade voted for by resellers that took part in the ChannelWatch survey conducted by Context.

“It’s great testament to the dedication and hard work of our employees right across the business from our sales and commercial teams to our logistics and finance personnel. Our aim is to always deliver more for our customers and we appreciate their support.”

Exertis has also announced a distribution agreement with digital signage software vendor Smartsign, while security information and event management vendor Logpoint has signed Exertis as its sole distributor in the UK as it looks to expand beyond its Scandinavian roots.

The company has also been named as the UK’s exclusive distributor for Airangel’s venue-based WiFi solution.

It is the first time UK resellers will be able to offer Airangel’s solution, which delivers value-added services through the cloud-based MyAirangel platform.

18. TJ MORRIS LTD

The Liverpool firm that owns the fast-growing Home Bargains chain of discount stores has reported a healthy rise in both sales and profits.

TJ Morris, which trades as Home Bargains, saw sales rise 15% to £1.472bn, while pre-tax profit rose 1.8% to £147.1m in the financial year ending June 2015.

The company attributed its strong performance to an on-going store expansion programme.

TJ Morris, owned by entrepreneur Tom Morris, currently operates more than 370 stores and has plans to operate 700 stores within the next five years.

In accounts filed at Companies House, TJ Morris reported: “The company aims to continue its current levels of growth to become the leading sector retailer in the United Kingdom.

“This objective will be achieved by the continued expansion of the company’s retail operation throughout the United Kingdom by opening new stores and the creation of a new distribution centre in the southern part of the UK; continuing to provide its customers with quality products at bargain prices; offering new retail opportunities to customers.”

TJ Morris employs 13,843 staff, up from 11,098 last year. It paid a dividend of £7m, up from £4.4m the previous year. The highest-paid

director received £937,525, down from £1.2m the previous year.

TJ Morris was established more than 40 years ago by Tom Morris. Since opening his first store in Liverpool, Morris has grown the business organically to become one of the biggest privately-owned companies in the UK.

It is the largest employer in Merseyside and the largest independent grocer in the country. TJ Morris remains a family-run and family-owned business.

The retailer has also awarded a £10.2m contract to build a warehouse and sports centre complex in Gillmoss to construction firm Pochin’s.

The company is adding a 67,000 distribution warehouse, a 19,000 sq ft gym and leisure facility for its staff, and a 17,000 sq ft vehicle maintenance unit next to its existing headquarters at Axis Business Park.

Joe Morris, operations director of TJ Morris, said: “We are constantly looking for ways to improve our offering to our clients as well as our staff.

“These new facilities will significantly enhance our distribution capabilities and we’re delighted to be able to provide these new leisure facilities for our staff.” It is due for completion soon.

19. BENTLEY MOTORS LTD.

Despite a small slow-down in turnover, luxury carmaker Bentley is expanding its Cheshire headquarters to develop a new generation of vehicles.

Plans to construct a five-storey Engineering Technical Centre comprising offices and warehouses, and a two-storey Design Centre with offices and a workshop, were given the go ahead earlier this year.

Annual turnover has slowed down for the company, falling by 1.4% in the financial year ending December 2014 following a soar of sales at 21% the previous year.

The company’s full planning application to redevelop an 11.1-acre site immediately to the north of its existing home in Crewe was approved by Cheshire East Council’s planning committee in May.

The proposed new development will have a floor space of approximately 415,401 sq ft and the Engineering Technical Centre would be the largest building.

Wolfgang Dürheimer, chairman and chief executive of the iconic British brand, said: “With Bentley’s new research and development centre we will develop a new generation of Bentleys, which will continue our commitment of luxury, performance, quality and engineering excellence.

“Bentley is the number one luxury car manufacturer in the world and driving more investment into our headquarters and attracting talent is key to continuing our success.”

Bentley, which employees 4,000 staff in Crewe, sold 10,616 vehicles worldwide in the reporting period; that was 2.9% fewer than in the year before. The Continental GT and Mulsanne models were in greater demand than in 2014.

Bentley’s biggest export market is America and China where it has fast gained popularity.

20. REDROW HOMES

Deeside housebuilder Redrow saw revenue rise by 33% to a record level.

The upsurge in the financial year ending June 2015 was driven by a 12% increase in legal completions and a 13% increase in average selling price, from £239,500 to £269,800.

The company, which celebrated its 40th anniversary last year, employs more than 1530 staff.

It built and sold more than 4,000 homes across the UK last year, up 12% on the 2014 figure of 3,597 spurred by the government’s Help to Buy scheme.

Steve Morgan, chairman of Redrow, pictured, said: “I am pleased to announce another set of record results.

“For the first time in our history, we generated turnover in excess of £1bn, up 33% on last year. We built and sold over 4,000 homes across the UK last year, up 12% from the year before and around 42% more than in 2013.

“Pre-tax profits also reached record levels, up 53%, as we saw the benefit from our early site acquisitions post the downturn.

“This strong performance has led the board to propose a dividend of 4p per share, double that paid in the last financial year.

“Looking ahead, we have a strong pipeline of attractive sites in excellent locations and a high quality industry leading product.

“We have entered the year with a record order book and reservations to date are running 5% ahead of last year at 0.68 sales per outlet per week. We have secured 820 private reservations in the first 10 weeks, some 28% ahead of last year. Redrow is in great shape and I am looking forward to another year of significant progress.”

In the north west, Redrow is continuing with a number of new build developments.

In April, the housebuilder announced the launch of Meadow View.

The site was purchased from Oldham-based Grasscroft Homes & Property with the benefit of outline planning permission, having been assembled and promoted through the planning system over the previous five years.

It has also opened an impressive collection of seven show homes in three, four and five-bedroom designs, launching the first phase at Woodford Garden Village, near Stockport.

21. MATALAN RETAIL

Out of town retailer Matalan say its original ethos of value and quality have remained unchanged in its 30-plus years of trading.

Revenue for the Merseyside retailer has further fallen to £1.94bn, down 2.6% from £1.122bn, in its full year audited results for the financial year ending February 2015.

The retail climate has been challenging for many retailers with contributing factors such as mild weather during the winter period and consumers moving towards online shopping.

However the business continues to be resilient.

It launched its own label sports range last year and while it says, its progress has been pleasing, there also remains opportunity to replicate this success in the other departments.

It is also focusing on improving its multi-channel retail offering.

Commenting on performance and outlook, managing director Jason Hargreaves painted an optimistic picture. He said: “These results demonstrate the progress made last year with EBITDA growth of 5.1%.

The recent anniversary of the first store opening in Preston coincides with the opening of our newest store on Oxford Street, London.

“The locations are very different, but the original values on which our first store opened - outstanding value and quality for all the family - remain unchanged and just as relevant to our 12m members today.

“During the year, we made significant progress in our supply chain change programme, which included the successful reconfiguration of our existing distribution centre in the south.

“We were also pleased to open our new distribution centre in Liverpool that services our northern store estate and online business. There have been a number of challenges associated with the transition to this new centre.

“We have been working hard to resolve these.”

Matalan was founded by John Hargreaves, the son of a Liverpool dockworker, who left school at 14 and started selling Marks & Spencer seconds at a market.

He opened the first Matalan store in Preston in 1985 after a visit to America convinced him of the potential of out-of-town retailing.

The business expanded and floated on the London Stock Exchange in 1998 before Hargreaves bought it back in 2006.

Hargreaves has been credited with bringing discount fashion to the UK three decades ago. His son Jason is chief executive.

22. PHOENIX HEALTHCARE & DISTRIBUTION LTD

It’s been a period of significant change and challenge for N Brown Group as the home shopping giant modernises its operations.

The Manchester company has a turnover of £818m, 2% down, in the financial year ending February 2015, from the prior year.

The main emphasis has been modernising the business, as part of the company’s vision to create a digital first company with the business transformation project, Fit 4 the Future.

Angela Spindler, chief executive, said: “This last year was an important one for our company. We are comprehensively modernising the business in terms of organisation, capability, infrastructure and processes to adopt a digital-first mindset and to ensure that we are fit for the future of retail.

“We are improving our product proposition and competitive position by investing in quality and price.

“We have also re-phased our seasonal product and marketing to better reflect consumer spending patterns and to bring the business into line with a modern clothing retail model.

“Step-changing the way the business operates and goes to market in some key areas proved more disruptive than anticipated, and this, combined with a weak autumn trading period across the sector, led to a profit performance below expectations.

“We are, however, improving the sustainability of future profit growth and look to the year ahead with confidence.”

The business has also commenced its extension project at their main warehouse in Shaw.

This proactive approach is already yielding benefits, with positive growth in preliminary results for the 2016 financial year.

23. FIRCROFT ENGINEERING SERVICES HOLDINGS LTD

Fircroft, the global workforce solutions provider to the technical engineering sectors, has strengthened its position with the acquisition of One Key Resources.

Headquartered in Warrington, the move cements the company’s place within the mining, minerals and natural resources industries.

One Key is a specialist provider of labour hire and managed workforce services to the mining, infrastructure, and oil and gas industries.

Established in 2011, One Key has rapidly grown to be a market leader in the Asia-Pacific region, and will reinforce Fircroft’s already strong portfolio of operations.

Commenting on the acquisition, Fircroft chief executive, Johnathan Johnson, pictured, said: “One Key is leading the market in workforce solutions for the mining and natural resources industries. With their continual focus on providing a best-in-class service to clients and contractors alike, One Key are perfectly aligned to the values of the Fircroft Group.”

He added: “At Fircroft we have ambitious expansion plans, and we are pleased that One Key, with their suite of innovative, market-leading training products and workforce solutions will be joining us on this journey as we seek to further strengthen our expertise in providing workforce solutions to the global mining industry.”

One Key joins the Fircroft Group at a time of expansion following the group’s acquisition of global telecommunications recruiter Rygon, and the formation of several joint ventures throughout last year.

Fircroft was founded in 1970 to provide recruitment services to oil and gas companies operating in the North Sea.

24. PZ CUSSONS

PZ Cussons - St Tropez Kate Moss

PZ Cussons has recently enjoyed success in many areas of its UK market despite tough trading conditions.

The Manchester-headquartered consumer products group behind brands including Imperial Leather, Carex and St Tropez saw a dip in turnover of almost 5% to £819.1m in the 12 months to May 2015.

However, in the UK market the Washing & Bathing division performed well, driven by a significant renovation and innovation programme.

There were also good results from Carex’s Fun edition children’s range and its extension into wipes and gels.

The group enjoyed strong initial sales for St Tropez’s new first-to-market in-shower gradual tan.

Despite the challenges of increased costs from weaker exchange rates, reduced consumer disposable income and reduced results on translation to sterling, PZ Cussons has made ‘good progress’ overall across its Asian markets.

The liquidity squeeze and restrictions in foreign exchange availability in Nigeria, caused by the fall in the oil price, created some difficulty trading conditions, but despite that, the group has continued to grow its market share.

Chairman Richard Harvey described the 12 months as a ‘tough trading period’ but said it was in line with expectations.

“As part of our long-term strategy to focus the group’s portfolio on higher growth, value add businesses, a number of strategic initiatives were successfully completed in the year.

“To develop our Food and Nutrition category further and to create a broader portfolio for expansion into South East Asia we acquired the Australian food brand five:am early in the financial year, following the acquisition last year of the Rafferty’s Garden brand.

“In addition, we now own 100% of our Nigerian beverage business after completing the buy-out of Nutricima from our joint venture partner.”

“The strength of our balance sheet gives us the flexibility to further evolve the group’s portfolio into new areas of growth and to take advantage of new investment opportunities as they arise,” he said.

PZ Cussons has a base near Manchester Airport, where around 200 people are employed.

There are an extra 60 workers based at the 4M building who are working to implement the group’s new IT system over the next three years.

25. N BROWN GROUP

It’s been a period of significant change and challenge for N Brown Group as the home shopping giant modernises its operations.

The Manchester company has a turnover of £818m, 2% down, in the financial year ending February 2015, from the prior year.

The main emphasis has been modernising the business, as part of the company’s vision to create a digital first company with the business transformation project, Fit 4 the Future.

Angela Spindler, chief executive, said: “This last year was an important one for our company. We are comprehensively modernising the business in terms of organisation, capability, infrastructure and processes to adopt a digital-first mindset and to ensure that we are fit for the future of retail.

“We are improving our product proposition and competitive position by investing in quality and price.

“We have also re-phased our seasonal product and marketing to better reflect consumer spending patterns and to bring the business into line with a modern clothing retail model.

“Step-changing the way the business operates and goes to market in some key areas proved more disruptive than anticipated, and this, combined with a weak autumn trading period across the sector, led to a profit performance below expectations.

“We are, however, improving the sustainability of future profit growth and look to the year ahead with confidence.”

The business has also commenced its extension project at their main warehouse in Shaw.

This proactive approach is already yielding benefits, with positive growth in preliminary results for the 2016 financial year.

26. INVISTA TEXTILES (UK) LTD

Successful Manchester firm INVISTA, owner of the Lycra brand, attributes success to its philosophy of integrity, humility and a desire to better lives.

The producer and marketer of premium fibres and fabrics for swimwear, activewear, denim, sweaters and legwear is an independently managed, wholly-owned subsidiary of US-based Koch Industries.

Formerly DuPont Textiles and Interiors, it was acquired by Kock Industries in 2004 and operates globally across a portfolio of chemical technologies, differentiated fibers, polymers and products.

Its brands and trademarks include Coolmax, Cordura, Lycra, Polarguard, Solarmax, Supplex, Tactel, and Thermolite.

Sales were up by 2.1% to £815.5m for the company, which bases its business model on the ethical Market-Based Management (MBM).

This business philosophy, developed by Charles Koch, is a management approach that prepares organisations to deal successfully with the challenges of growth and change.

It encourages innovations that ‘create value’ by making people’s lives better and contributing to prosperity in society, while consuming fewer resources.

One of the largest privately held companies in the world, Koch companies have a presence in about 60 countries and employ more than 100,000 people worldwide.

INVISTA, which has a long tradition of innovation, has recently announced the beginning of the roll-out of the next generation of Lycra Sport technology.

The innovative technology is scientifically engineered to deliver comfort, fit and support to stretch activewear.

It combines the stretch of Lycra fiber with testing standards that measure fabric performance descriptors on a scale of one to 10.

27. EURO GARAGES LIMITED

From humble beginnings, Euro Garages was founded in 2001 by brothers Mohsin and Zuber Issa, with the acquisition of a single petrol filing station in Bury.

Since then, the burgeoning Blackburn-based business hasn’t taken its foot off the pedal, establishing itself as one of the UK’s fastest growing forecourt operators, winning numerous awards.

According to its latest set of accounts, Euro Garages posted a total turnover of £815.6m in the year to July 2015, up by 26% on the prior year.

Purchasing under performing sites and redeveloping them, Euro Garages quickly became renowned for its innovative approach to forecourt trading, establishing high-profile partnerships with brands such as Subway, Starbucks, Greggs and Burger King.

The group has an expanding portfolio of 341 freehold-owned sites located throughout the UK, currently operating 53 Starbucks and more than 100 Subway stores.

A £1.3bn deal with TDR Capital has ensured growth for the company.

After a landmark 12 months, Euro Garages secured the M&A Deal of the Year at The Rainmaker Awards (North West). Euro Garages private equity deal with TDR last year was acknowledged as the most strategically important regional transaction.

The deal enabled TDR to take a minority stake in Euro Garages, valuing the business at £1.3bn. Euro Garages has also won accolades from the Sunday Times Fast Track and the Forecourt Trader of the Year, among others. The company has ambitious plans for its international expansion as the business enters an exciting new phase of development.

Boss Mohsin said: “We plan to build on what we have successfully executed at a UK level and take that to a global scale. Nobody does this true branded proposition on an international scale. The international brands will travel and we will bring in local brands to fill in the missing pieces.”

The company has also strengthened its management team to further its ambitions of growth in Europe.

Imraan Patel has become the group’s first general counsel and company secretary. He has joined the executive board and has ultimate responsibility for all legal, regulatory and compliance matters at the group, including the corporate secretariat. Patel brings almost 15 years’ experience of leading and managing complex, frequently high profile transactions in Fortune Global 500 companies.

28. KELLOGG’S

Kellogg’s Manchester factory – the largest cereal factory in Europe - has been producing our favourite breakfast cereals for more than 75 years.

The Trafford Park-headquartered business was recently the subject of BBC Two’s documentary: Inside The Factory: How Our Favourite Foods Are Made, featuring presenters Gregg Wallace and Cherry Healey talking to the Kellogg’s characters responsible for making one-million packs of Corn Flakes, Coco Pops, Rice Krispies and Crunchy Nut every day. More than 400 people are employed at the factory, a local landmark that was built in 1938 in Trafford.

To produce billions of pounds worth of cereal every year, the factory’s machinery runs for 24 hours a day, producing up to 34m kgs of Corn Flakes annually, which is the equivalent weight to around 20,000 cars.

The Kellogg Company was founded in 1906 in the US by William Keith Kellogg, arriving in the UK in 1922. Since 1938, the factory in Manchester has been making family favourite. Revenues for Kellogg’s UK were up 1.2% in the year to January 3 2015.

Roles at the factory include engineering, food safety and maintenance, and technical services.

The firm, headed by vice president and general manager for the UK and Ireland, Jonathan Myers, imports many grains through the Port of Liverpool and along the Manchester Ship Canal. Kellogg’s Manchester factory – the largest cereal factory in Europe - has been producing family favourite food for over 75 years.

Thanks to Rice Krispies, Kellogg’s is the second biggest importer of rice into the UK – only Ambrosia imports more.

Tony O’Brien, pictured, factory director, said: “The Kellogg’s factory has been here 75 years, and I do think it’ll be here in another 75 if we continue doing what we do now: comparing ourselves to greenfield sites and benchmarking ourselves against best in class.

“You hear a lot about cereal sales going up and down, but the volume we make is pretty stable. We make the traditional brands people have bought for generations – Corn Flakes, Coco Pops, Rice Krispies – and we make them for the rest of Europe too.”

29. MANCHESTER AIRPORTS HOLDINGS

Entering into the top 30 this year is Manchester Airports Holdings Ltd, with a sales upsurge of 10%.

Turnover is up from £671.2m to £738.4m in the financial year ending March 2015, while passenger rates were up by 10.7%.

The Manchester Airports Group (MAG) is the largest UK-owned airport operator, serving around 52m passengers and handling 600,000 tonnes of air freight every year, through its ownership and operation of Manchester, London Stansted, East Midlands and Bournemouth airports.

The Manchester Airports Group also includes the commercial property company, MAG Property, which has £571m property assets across the four airports and is leading the £650m major Enterprise Zone development, Airport City.

The group runs thriving businesses in car parking, airport security, fire fighting, engineering, advertising and motor transport. As the largest UK owned airport operator, the group’s four airports and property businesses already contribute £4bn to the UK economy and support more than 130,000 jobs.

Chairman, Sir Adrian Montague CBE, stated: “The group has again exceeded its financial targets, while at

the same time achieving industry-leading rates of growth.”

30. PETS AT HOME

North-west based specialist retailer Pets at Home continued its strong revenue growth last year with turnover reaching £729.1m.

The Cheshire-based chain runs 431 stores across the UK as well as 391 veterinary practice.

It hailed the firm’s growing veterinary and pet grooming services and demand for advanced nutrition products for pets as key drivers behind the sales rise.

Commenting about the results, chief executive Nick Wood said: “Our business has grown significantly in recent years and we are continuing to rollout our stores and services at a fast pace.

“We see significant growth opportunities across the group and have therefore decided to implement a new management structure to drive performance across the business.”

Zahra Doe Morbi gravida, sem non egestas ullamcorper, tellus ante laoreet nisl, id iaculis urna eros vel turpis curabitur.

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Zahra Doejune 2, 2017
Morbi gravida, sem non egestas ullamcorper, tellus ante laoreet nisl, id iaculis urna eros vel turpis curabitur.
Zahra Doejune 2, 2017
Morbi gravida, sem non egestas ullamcorper, tellus ante laoreet nisl, id iaculis urna eros vel turpis curabitur.
Zahra Doejune 2, 2017
Morbi gravida, sem non egestas ullamcorper, tellus ante laoreet nisl, id iaculis urna eros vel turpis curabitur.

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