Engineering companies boost presence on LSE’s ‘Inspiring’ list

Jason Ford - News Editor, The EngineerJason Ford, news editor

Today marks the publication of London Stock Exchange’s 1000 Companies to Inspire Report, with 130 engineering companies making this year’s list.

A broader stroke from the results reveals that almost 25 per cent of the companies are from construction, manufacturing, and engineering sectors.

All of the companies on the list are expanding at an average of 50% a year and most (78%) are headquartered outside of London, particularly in Greater Manchester with 36 companies, followed by Leeds and Aberdeen, which are home to 16 companies each.

Companies are fastest growing in Scotland with 83% in annual average revenue growth, whilst SMEs in Wales and Northern Ireland have added 25 more companies to the list compared with 2015.

Included among the engineering success stories are: KSW Engineering, specialists in medium to heavy precision machining and welding; Gilbert Gilkes & Gordon, hydroelectric turbine specialists; Lancashire-based Erlson Precision Components, which manufacturers highly engineered components and assemblies for automotive and specialist engineering applications; and Nottingham’s Rock Civil Engineering.

Writing in the report, George Osborne MP said: “These companies are the backbone of the British economy. They create high-quality, well paid jobs, innovate and drive economic growth.

“This government fully understands the need to support ambitious entrepreneurs and ensure they can access the finance they need to grow.

“Our measures to increase access to finance for business and encourage more investment have had a transformative effect on our economy.”

A full database of companies on the list can be found at www.1000companies.com, and amongst them will be the 17 per cent more food and drink companies that made the cut for this year’s report.

The increase in food and drink companies making it onto the Stock Exchange’s list coincides with an upbeat report from BDO, which has released its annual survey on this vital but often overlooked sector of the manufacturing industry.

Conducted in association with IMechE, BDO’s report found that 79% of respondents are positive about the future of the industry, with 86% of firms expecting revenue growth of up to 20% in the next year.

Pricing pressures, the volatility of raw materials costs and skills shortages remain major challenges but, as the report shows, the sector has adapted – such as arranging fixed price agreements with energy suppliers – and is looking forward by prioritizing organic growth and investing in automation.

In a statement, Paul Davies, head of Food & Drink manufacturing at BDO said: “Pressures on pricing and margins remain hugely challenging, but the overall sentiment of the sector is a positive one. It’s been a tough few years for food and drink companies, but it seems they are finally stepping out of the shadows and focusing on future growth.

“We all know that the manufacturing sector plays a critical role in rebalancing our economy and driving long-term sustainable growth for the UK, yet little action is being taken to support the food and drink industry, the single largest manufacturing sector in the UK.

“The proposed tax on sugar will have a huge impact on food and drink manufacturers and could set many firms back. We would urge [George Osborne] support the sector in his Budget next month. Increasing the annual investment allowance to £5m for five years in support of automation investment and introducing a temporary reduction in employers’ National insurance for manufacturers to recruit the talent they need, would be a great step in the right direction.”

More information about careers in food and drink can be found at Appetite for success: food and drink industry careers for engineering graduates