Published: 05:00, 24 November 2021
The Sustainable Growth 100 - a rundown of the county’s fastest growing companies - has been revealed today for the first time.
It replaces our annual MegaGrowth 50 list - with all those included earning their place on the list not just by success over a 12-month period, but through sustainable, gradual growth.
Compiled by accountants and business consultants Kreston Reeves, in association with KM Media Group, it provides a snapshot of how firms have built on their success over successive years to deliver prosperity to both themselves and the communities in which they serve.
What it reveals is that despite all the challenges businesses have experienced over recent years, the county’s economic backbone is being built upon sound financial footing.
Explains Rob Sellers, partner, audit and assurance, at Kreston Reeves, which has offices in Canterbury, Sandwich and Chatham: “The purpose of the list is to identify the most financially sustainable 100 fastest growing companies in Kent.
“It is a list of those companies that have generated growth in profits which have been retained in the business to ensure they remain financially sustainable in an uncertain economic environment protecting their business and their employees.”
The figures used are based upon the latest accounts, up to March 23, 2021, filed at Companies House. All those listed required profit for four consecutive years from their trading activities.
It showcases a diversity of industry and all listed deserve both congratulations and admiration for their efforts.
Profiles for the top five firms are:
1. Wood Finishes Direct
Sometimes, the good old fashioned business practices of specialist knowledge, customer care and competitive pricing can pay big dividends.
So if you are in the market for a wood finishing product, chances are you'll have heard of the ever expanding Wood Finishes Direct which has established itself as the UK's number one supplier.
Operating for more than 15 years, the firm, which operates a shop, along with administrative and warehouse space in Folkestone, now employs around 150 staff. Its impressive online store caters for customers nationwide.
It is a hub for a whole range of specially selected goods - selecting them on quality rather than margins - and prides itself in the knowledge and expertise of its staff to be able to provide customers with the right tools for the job. In addition, it also provides 'how-to' guides on social media platforms to further assist customers.
Like many in the DIY trade, it benefited from the surge in demand during 2020 as many used the lockdown to invest in their homes. It saw its retained profits quadruple to almost £2.7m during that most turbulent of years.
It capped a steady retained profit increase which has seen it deliver a rise of 1,605% over the last four years.
2. Gallagher Group
One of the South East's leading building, civil engineering, aggregates and property development companies, the Gallagher Group, headquartered in Aylesford, needs little introduction.
With more than 300 staff, it has built up an enviable reputation over 45 years and shows little signs of slowing down as its growth continues to under pin its success.
Its groundworks and civil engineering business works across the South East, while its property and building contracts are predominantly in Kent, Surrey, Sussex and Essex. Its aggregates business supplies a wide range of aggregates and ready mix concrete across Kent.
It's growth over the last four years has been remarkable - seeing a 1,422.7% rise, culminating in retained profits of £7.3m last year.
3. Inspire Contract Services
Experts in the field of roofing, Bromley-based Inspire Contract Services has developed an enviable reputation for its range of services.
With a management team with more than 35 years' experience, it provides traditional and innovative roofing solutions with associated building and construction services for commercial and industrial premises.
The company operates primarily in the South East - focusing on Kent and the Home Counties, but has experience of working throughout the UK.
Recent growth has seen impressive year-on-year growth with its last financial figures showing retained profit of £4.3m - a rise of some 1,395%.
4. The Stockroom (Kent)
For those in the world of professional nail care, The Stockroom (Kent)'s main business - Pure Nails - will be familiar.
Based in Gillingham, the firm searches the world for formulas and then get nail technicians to put them through their paces for three to six months before choosing from their recommendations of brands to stock.
And thanks - mostly in part due to the runaway success of Halo Gel Polish - its retained profits have soared since it started stocking it five years ago. Over the last four years they have risen a 1,395% to £1.7m.
The firm was created over 20 years ago by Tony Palmer and his son, Nathan, is now managing director.
5. WJ Blake
WJ Blake has had an exceptional last four years - adding close to £1m in retained profit to its bottom line year-on-year.
The company, which describes itself as being involved in the renting and leasing of construction and civil engineering machinery and equipment, has a number of strings to its bow.
A key part is its wholly-owned subsidiary, the Romney Marsh-based Davey Civils. It has grown to become a well-respected South East regional contracting business, providing below-ground civil engineering solutions to highways, water and commercial sector clients. With its specialist knowledge, it prides itself on delivering projects on time and to budget.