Page 1




EN H W LD 3 £ S1O

BETFRED ARE PROUD TO BE NAMED THE NORTH WEST’S NO.1 BUSINESS WITH THANKS TO ALL OUR CUSTOMERS AND BUSINESS PARTNERS BETTING LINE: 0800 73 11 210 +MOBILE: TEXT ‘MEN’ TO 89660 WEB: WWW.BETFRED.COM Betfred rules apply. Over 18s only. + Single text message charged at standard network rate. Please gamble responsibly –




Business conditions in the North West




New town punches above its weight


Evolving shape of NW business world


NW manufacturing key to UK economy


Discount stores and home shopping drive retailing


Why we need more women in senior roles


Home to a dynamic business environment

28 KNOWLEDGE ECONOMY North West leading the way

32 TOP 200 TABLES Analysis by MBA students



TOP EARNERS The best-paid CEOs




The growing financial clout




Focus on Top 30 companies




THE Liverpool Daily Post and Manchester Evening News have joined forces to publish this North West Top 200, which hopefully will be the first in a series of similar region wide business publications. The combined editorial, advertising, distribution and marketing clout of the two Trinity Mirror titles means we can offer business readers and advertisers an unbeatable proposition within this region. The North West Top 200’s tables don't merely rank the biggest companies, but also measure the vital signs of the region's economy. Our tables analyse sales growth and decline, profit margins, employment levels,

EDITOR’S NOTE sector representation and a range of other business and social issues. The tables we publish today reveal who the biggest players are in the local market place and the journalism that accompanies them seeks to interpret the data and examines the big issues of the day, such as how well placed the region is to recover from the recent recession. They also show the character of the region and the extent to which

traditional areas of economic activity, such as manufacturing, are still dominant. None of this would have been possible without the huge contribution of the University of Liverpool Management School. Led by Professor Murray Dalziel, a team of MBA students have sourced and organised the data that forms the backbone of the Top 200. We are also very grateful to our sponsor Barclays Bank for its support. The aim is to publish the Top 200 every year. As the years go by, these tables

will provide a valuable record of the evolution of the region's economy. They should also prove to be a very useful tool to anybody seeking to do business in our region. But why have the two newspaper titles chosen to analyse the whole of the North West and not just their usual sub-regional patches? Good road and rail transport connections have been established in our region for many years, meaning that definitions of the

"local" marketplace have broadened. Accountants, lawyers, bankers and other business professionals see their home market place as anywhere they can reach within an hour or two. That, in effect, means the length and breadth of the North West. The advent of social media, means it is as easy to stay in touch with what is happening in the next town as it is by using the old fashioned grape vine in your own town. That's why we are responding by offering a range of publications that can provide you with the news, analysis and information that can help you to do business in our region.



Aregionshapedbythepast by BILL GLEESON Business Editor Liverpool Daily Post THE NORTH West was the cradle of the industrial revolution. But to what extent is the region's present day economy still shaped by this 200-year-old legacy? Most of the old industries of the past, such as the textile mills, are long shutdown, but manufacturing remains a mainstay of the region’s economy. While China and other places now become the workshops (or should that be sweatshops) of the world, producing endless shirts, blouses and bed sheets, the North West has gone some way to establish itself as a thriving knowledge economy location, particularly in the aerospace, nuclear power, chemical and pharmaceutical sectors. These sectors have for decades turned mainstream engineering, physics and chemistry research and development into high value economic output. As our table reflects, manufacturing accounts for the biggest single element of the region's present day economy. Big businesses in the region include the military aerospace activities of BAE Systems and the pharmaceutical research, development and manufacturing activities of AstraZeneca. Ineos Chlor at Runcorn, Bentley at Crewe, the surprisingly resilient regional car factories at Halewood and Ellesmere Port are also leading examples of how the region still earns its living from manufacturing. However, dwelling on manufacturing runs the risk of stereotyping the region's otherwise quite diverse economy. Examples of nonmanufacturing sectors that are thriving in the North West include betting and retail, particularly in the home shopping and discount segments. Had we compiled this table 10 years ago, the region's biggest business would have been global construction and engineering giant Amec, headquartered in Knutsford. Now the North West’s biggest company is betting firm Fred Done, which has just got bigger through the acquisition of the Tote, a business that is itself currently placed 7th in the table. There are several other betting businesses besides, including Stanley International Betting. It could be no coincidence that the traditionally male, working class pass time of betting on the horses has resulted in so many thriving betting firms in the North West. Home shopping firms Shop Direct and N Brown and discount retailers like Matalan, TJ Morris and TJ Hughes represent prominent entries in the list. All of them have the common heritage of owing their origin to thrifty housewives buying clothes for the family out of catalogues that offered them easy repayment terms or who saved on the family


budget by using the bargain stores. Clearly though, the idea that our biggest regional businesses only serve a thrifty working class market is also in danger of stereotyping the region. This, however, would overlook the fact that at least some of these businesses are transforming themselves through huge and highly enterprising investment in their online activities. While high street shops still represent a big channel for Fred Done, the company is growing rapidly online through its aggressively marketed BetFred brand. Similarly, while both Shop Direct and N Brown are seeing a rapid demise in their traditional print catalogue sales, they are busily reconstructing themselves as online shopping businesses. Both retailers now sell more online than through catalogues. As a result, they are reaching new socio-economic and geographical markets and are offering a wider variety of brands and products. One town that doesn't conform to the stereotypical image of the North West is Chester. It is home to three major financial services businesses. There are about 10,000 jobs in the city accounted for by three businesses, MBNA Europe Bank, Lloyds Banking Group and M&S Money. All operate in consumer loans and credit cards. Their staff are relatively well-paid, white collar workers. No sign of cloth caps here. The new Media City development at Salford Quays should also go some way towards modernising the region's economy. The BBC is about to become a big employer in the region and hopefully some other global brands in the digital technologies sector will move in shortly. In any case, the new digital age hub represents a huge transformation in the activities of its landlord, Peel Holdings, which can trace its roots back to mill ownership in Lancashire, making the company an emblem for change. Central Manchester has established itself as a location for modern knowledge-based employment through both its university and the city's professional and financial services sector. As a result, thousands of people are employed in highly paid jobs in accountancy, banking, law and creative industries. The North West as a whole, though, remains a patchwork of strengths and weaknesses, achievements and disappointments. Despite billions in economic aid from Europe and Westminster, Merseyside is still one of the poorest performing sub-regions in the country, with

Fred Done’s company is growing rapidly online through its aggressively marketed BetFred brand output per capita of just £14,698. On the other hand, adjoining Cheshire is one of the best performing sub-regions in Europe, with output per head of £22,139. The county clearly benefits from Chester's financial services, oil refining, petrochemicals, chemicals, car production at Ellesmere Port and Crewe, pharmaceuticals and much else besides. The county's other secret weapon is Warrington, which is home to more than its fair share of head offices causing the nation's statisticians to attribute a great deal of output to it. Indeed Warrington has long claimed to be the fastest growing town in Europe, but cross the M62 and you're in St Helens with the


highest level of incapacity benefit claimants in the country, a factor often attributed to its mining past. With just one Top 200 company headquartered there, it seems to be badly missing out. The North West is trapped between its industrial legacy and the need to compete with the high-technology offering of the Thames Valley, Cambridge, Japan, Massachusetts and California in the future. While Eastern Europe, and other low wage economies continue to provide effective rival locations for large scale manufacturing and industrial processes, the region has yet to generate a home-spun equivalent of Google, IBM or Microsoft, despite the fact that the computer is said to have been invented at The University of Manchester. Weak Sterling is helping the region’s manufacturers at the moment, but in the longer term, the North West economy is going to have to invest in the talents of its people if it is to compete with an growing band of competitors.

Amec refurbishing the runway at for BAE Systems

but looking to the future

Ambitious firms are making their presence known by MICHAEL HARTIG and KARL TRUMPER

PERFORMANCE among many North West businesses has exceeded our expectations over the past 12 months. While there is no doubt that the economic climate remains tough, ambitious companies are definitely making their presence known. Activity levels across the region have been higher than they have been for three years – and this has continued in the first quarter of 2011. The diversity of the sectors based in the region is undoubtedly a major reason for the region's success but it is manufacturing that remains a vital component in this mix, with many companies within this sector flourishing – particularly those in the renewable energy and nuclear sectors. Companies which export to high-growth countries such as China are also thriving. As a result of the spending cuts announced last year, challenges are going to present themselves for many companies, although North West corporates have offered resounding support for this year's budget. In response to a post-budget survey carried out by Barclays Corporate, 85% stated that the businessrelated measures outlined by the Chancellor will have a positive impact on private sector growth. The survey also found that

across the region, on average 76% of North West business leaders think that the UK will be a more favourable place to do business over the long term following the Coalition's budget proposals. The accessibility of finance, rising commodity prices and anticipated interest rate increases, all pose additional challenges to the region's ongoing economic recovery. However, despite these uncertainties, one thing is definite – Barclays Corporate is committed to helping clients accelerate their growth wherever they are based in the North West. In 2010, Barclays advanced £36bn in new term loans to businesses and households in the UK, and continues to seek further opportunities to lend to viable business propositions. Our approval rates for credit applications have also remained consistent with the high levels seen before the recession.

Michael Hartig

Liverpool John Lennon Airport during the night to avoid disruption and (right) an apprentice at work




Former new town punches above its weight in business by BILL GLEESON Business Editor Liverpool Daily Post

WHERE are the North West’s biggest, locally-controlled businesses located? It should come as no surprise that the region’s traditional urban hubs are home to the largest numbers of businesses. What might surprise some, though, is

just how close behind Warrington is. Manchester has 22 head offices, Liverpool 18, while Warrington, with 17 head offices, is the only other town with a similar representation. The other 143 Top 200 head offices are widely dispersed across the region. Warrington’s location at the centre of the region’s, arguably the nation’s, motorway network will help it attract businesses.

The good transport links make Warrington one of the cheapest locations in Britain for distribution firms. The fact that it is a short distance by both rail and road from two big conurbations will also help. And it’s just 20 minutes from both Manchester and Liverpool airports and the region’s docks. Warrington’s former new town status may also have played a part in attracting investment to the

area during the 1960s, though the former Northwest Development Agency and Warrington Borough Council chief executive Steven Broomhead puts Warrington’s relative success down to other factors. Mr Broomhead said: “If you look at Skelmersdale and Winsford, which were also new towns, then the theory doesn’t exactly hold true. “Warrington benefited from

location and good land being available to develop. Enabling local authorities from a planning point of view and the skills agenda would be other factors.” The fact Liverpool is home to so many private companies is in marked contrast to the scarcity of publicly-quoted companies headquartered in the city. Other towns that do relatively well in the region include Chester and Salford.



The evolving shape of the

r ace

day hospitality

book your place FOR THE ULTIMATE

in comfort


chester racecourse 8

01244 304 606


PROFESSOR JOHN WILSON Professor of Strategy University of Liverpool Management School THE data on our region's Top 200 illustrates a highly dynamic business community that is both diverse and well placed in high-growth sectors. Even though we might not be able to claim to be a 'Silicon Valley', or even a 'Silicon Fen', the consumer-related sectors are well represented and will no doubt continue to flourish. Of course, the North West of England has a rich history of business activities, having frequently been referred to as 'the first modern industrial district'. The leading firms in 1914 operated in cotton textiles (Calico Printers, Horrockses, and Tootal, Broadhurst) and engineering (Platt Brothers, Vickers and Beyer, Peacock), which together accounted for over half of the Top 50 employers if one included support industries such as chemicals. While there were also largescale firms in transportation, insurance and distribution (including the Co-operative Wholesale Society, based in Manchester, which employed over 17,000 people), the region had been primarily based on export led industries such as cotton textiles and engineering, with North West products featuring in markets across the globe. This international trade was also driven by the region's two economic engines, Liverpool and Manchester, where large and

John Wilson vibrant mercantile communities lived and worked, especially in, respectively, the International Cotton Association and Manchester Exchange, which linked entrepreneurs with markets in a most effective manner. The Mersey Docks and Harbour Board (ninth largest employer in 1914) and Manchester Ship Canal (11th largest) acted as the conduits channelling this trade, while major shipping companies such as Cunard and Bibby ran their networks from the North West. In spite of the dominance of cotton textiles and engineering, however, the region's business population was extremely diverse and continually adapting to the challenges posed by external forces, whether economic or political. For example, Blackpool

had already developed into a major tourist centre, while the region possessed substantial brewing, gas supply and railway companies. Over the course of the 20th century, as the research of David Jeremy demonstrates (Region and Strategy in Britain and Japan. Business in Lancashire and Kansai, 1890-1990, Routledge 2000), th e dominance of cotton and engineering gave way to distributive trades, fast-moving consumer goods, utilities and other service sector activities. The cotton textile industry had almost disappeared by the 1950s, having been undermined by Japanese and Indian competition, leaving enormous factories that over time were occupied by mail order and other distribution operations. This metamorphosis reflected a continued dynamism within the region, a point further illustrated by how the engineering industry diversified into high-growth sectors such as aerospace (BAe), automobiles (General Motors and Ford) and electronic engineering (Ferranti). Similarly, other high-growth industries, especially petro-chemicals (Shell) and fast-moving consumer goods (Unilever and Boddingtons), provided extensive employment in the Merseyside and south Manchester sub-regions.

At the same time, one should also stress that the North West business community was increasingly dominated by the service and public sectors. In this context, the North West can also lay claim to being “the first de-industrialised industrial district”, with the balance of business activity moving decisively from the secondary to tertiary sectors, especially after the 1950s. Similarly, the locus of power changed dramatically, because by the 1990s most firms operating in the North West had moved their headquarters to London, while in 1907 82% of the Top 50 firms were located entirely in the North West. This reflected the decline of the family-owned/managed firm in the UK generally, with professional managers usurping the roles formerly played by those who had either established or inherited businesses, leading them to locate near the City of London. On the other hand, it is important to note how some businesses retained their North West identity, including one of the world's leading glass-makers, Pilkingtons, the Co-operative Wholesale Society and Boddingtons. Major British firms – ICI, Unilever and British Nuclear Fuels – also continued to operate in the region.


Above all, a key theme of this brief survey is not only the dynamism inherent in the North West business community, but also the region's strong links with international markets. North West firms had engaged in multinational activity from an early stage, with five (CWS, Armstrong Whitworth, Fine Cotton Spinners, Lever Bros [later, Unilever], and Vickers) of the Top 50 employers in 1907 operating overseas subsidiaries. By 1992, 32 of the Top 50 employers were multinationals, only four of which were foreign owned. Moreover, leading employers such as Pilkingtons, ICI, Unilever and British Aerospace were heavily export oriented, continuing the traditions established by their predecessors in cotton textiles and engineering. In charting the decisive changes to the North West's leading firms, it is consequently apparent that the story is replete with dynamism and diversity. These characteristics have been extensively supported by local universities, especially in Manchester and Liverpool, where the earliest business studies programmes were developed, alongside major engineering and other scientific faculties. While the 20th century has witnessed dramatic changes to the composition of the North West business community, the region has consequently been able to respond effectively to these challenges and remain competitive, offering a wide range of employment opportunities to the local and immigrant populations.


Corporate Membership at The Bridgewater Hall In business, success breeds success.

‘Not only does Corporate Membership of The Bridgewater Hall allow us to entertain clients with a unique and highquality product, it also associates our business with some of the city’s cultural icons and the excellence they represent.’ Phil Jones, Brother

Nurture the future of music and invest in the next generation. The support of Corporate Members directly benefits the Education and Outreach activity of the Hallé and The Bridgewater Hall, inspiring and encouraging the next generation of musicians and reaching out to new audiences.

Find out how to align your business with excellence on and off the stage; associate your company with the region’s top artistic institutions and work with companies that bring quality and professionalism to all they do. Contact Kath Russell at or call 0161 237 7023

%=A* ,=?,*(# IGJICGJI#% #IG% %!AA*( 666 %4><B\4$ P E<M$ ]3118 T6[3DL ,4BHS;4M FY >VZ .HSL4M@

#V<B@\4$ ]R E<M$ ]3118 T6[3DL AF;SZ ?SXV>

%<H\4$ [1 E<M$ ]3118 T6[3DL #VZ C4@> ?SXV> FY >VZ I4MMW )BFL@

-S"Z> +3?IUFK $9N;U <E50 %4SH>7%4QH@ +3?FN83J ET ;PU -FNI3J= (4;ZM >E;PU? GEE=UK $9N;U )BFOF/Z; 'EIUE 3FV D9JNU;K =UJU/;NEF

"PU C?ER?3IIU NF/J9VU=K ]3>V ,ZH><B$ KF' K4HY4BZ <U7I3F ?Z9 ^FBO8 ?Z9 ^FBO A3FVU?4)11 +B6 :VS;4XFN C4B4U@ #VZLZ D3??U _Z@> %S\Z %>FB$N =;ZB><BZ ,U?F=;UNF . I4B\ +4$U@ ?SXV>5IZMD& @UFFEF4>/+3?;FU# )SB4>Z@ FY >VZ ,4BS22Z4H ,3VUJ; #VZ )BF\<0ZB@N =;ZB><BZ ,?EEL= -B4@@Z\ =YY 'EV?NRE #VZ JF\Y4>VZB 'E;3 *6#6N .\;ZH><BZ@ =H *4B>V WNJJN3I=

"PU C?ER?3IIU NF/J9VU=K )BFOF/Z; +NFVU?UJJ3K U&/U?C;= A<@@FBX@O$ FB0V6 (4;ZM (N/;9?U= 3; 3F )&PN1N;NEFK U&/U?C;= JZB@V9SH $;?NLU !C "PU ,3FVK :8U?;9?U JZB@V9SH (E?R# 3FV ,U==K $9IIU?;NIU -ZBH@>ZSH :F "PU "E7FK "P?UU *3F/U= -ZBH@>ZSH +3FVNVUK GJN;;U? 3FV ,U G3# _FF\ H3F;3=;N3 EF ,?N;N=P $U3 $EFR= .BHZ 4BB6 %4BXZH> '9JU6 ,?N;3FFN3% )4BB$ FB0V6 *MX4B DU?9=3JUI *MX4B (EIC 3FV +N?/9I=;3F/U >3?/P <E50

,4BM +4;S@ /EFV9/;E?

%>ZDVZH -ZMM /EFV9/;E? X )4LZM4 I4$ =EC?3FE

.H\BZ9 JF<BM4$ /EFV9/;E? %SB A4BO *M\ZB F3??3;E? "N/LU;= T?EI B0S X ,E& :T./U 20Q0 M2O M222 X 7775P3JJU5/E59L =CEF=E?UV 1#


"N/LU;= T?EI B0S X ,E& :T./U 20Q0 M2O M222 X 7775P3JJU5/E59L

"N/LU;= T?EI B0Q5S2 X ,E& :T./U 20Q0 M2O M222 X 7775P3JJU5/E59L

=CEF=E?UV 1#

=CEF=E?UV 1#


The Manchester Science Park in Lloyd Street North

How the revamped Royal Eye Hospital in Manchester will look The Eurofighter – Aerospace remains one of the region’s biggest employers

NW manufacturing key to rebalancing UK economy by JIM PENDRILL Business Correspondent WITH political consensus that the UK got its priorities badly wrong before the crash, today’s mantra is ‘rebalancing the economy’ – shifting the UK away from over dependence on financial services in the City of London and towards manufacturing industry, exports and investment. Against such a backdrop, how does the North West shape up? Is our region capable of playing its full part in this transformation of our economy? Given our strong and existing manufacturing and exporting

credentials, the omens should be good. Indeed, as many economic observers point out, the sectors in which the North West is traditionally strong, such as aerospace, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, were relatively unscathed by the turmoil of the recession. Aerospace remains one of the region’s biggest employers (and in the shape of BAE Systems gives us one of our most important companies) and was largely untroubled because of its long lead-in times. Likewise our chemicals sector benefited – and continues to do so – from the surging demand for

chemical products in the developing world. Even sectors which did fall off a cliff – such as automotive – have recovered strongly over the past 18 months or so, typified by the strong turnaround at Jaguar Land Rover under new owner Tata. That’s not to say major headwinds still don’t confront the North West as they do the wider economy.

Rising inflation could yet trigger unwanted interest rate rises for consumers and producers alike, although the latest glut of disappointing economic statistics suggest that it will take a considerable hike in prices to force rates to rise. However, rising commodity prices are cause for major concern. Despite recent falls, most analysts agree that the oil price


will only head in one direction over the next decade. And then there’s the fact that the region and the wider UK is up against some very strong competitors when it comes to its rebalancing act. The UK has fallen to ninth in the global league table for manufacturing output and the sector now only accounts for 13% of UK economic output. What seems clear, however, is that the North West is gaining a greater share of that slice of the pie. Only a few years ago if you compiled a national league table for the UK regions which export



THE BIG FEATURE CONTINUED FROM P11 the greatest value of goods, then the North West would have come a lowly six or seventh. But by 2010 the region had come second only to the South East, exporting goods worth £25bn. Clive Drinkwater, UK Trade & Investment’s regional director, says one of the key reasons for the region’s success is that it has been through its own restructuring over the past 20 years. “In the present climate the region has actually benefited from the pain it went through in restructuring its industrial base,” he said. “We’ve largely lost the highvolume, low-value manufacturing, but the region remains a heartland for more advanced manufacturing, typified by the tremendous strength of our chemicals sector which accounts for almost 40% of exports.” In total, exports from the region grew by 6% in 2010. Exports to the BRIC countries saw a notable rise, with exports to China rising by 28%, to Brazil by 62%, to India by 43% and to Russia by 29%. Mr Drinkwater said demand in sectors such as environmental technology remain strong too, while there is lots of growth potential in areas such as renewable energy for the region. But he stresses that more businesses in the region need to take advantage of the opportunities offered by international trade. Of 250,000 businesses in the region, only 7,500 export enough to be categorised as exporters. “It’s a two-pronged approach,” he added. “As well as encouraging new exporters we also want to encourage those businesses that are already exporting to export more to emerging and high- growth markets.” Investment back into the region is also on the rise. For instance, the North West attracted its highest level of inward investment for 13 years in 2010 according to accountants Ernst & Young’s recent European Attractiveness Survey. However, it also revealed that a significant share of that investment went to Manchester rather than elsewhere in the region, most notably in sectors such as software and business services. The survey calculated that almost 2,200 jobs were generated in 2010 as a result of direct investment from foreign sources, with the main countries investing in the region being the US, Germany and India. On a wider front, the survey found that the UK remains Europe’s top destination for foreign direct investment with the US still the largest investor into the UK last year. In a similar vein, plenty of North West companies continue to prove acquisition targets for overseas players too. For instance Premex, a Bolton-based provider of medical reports that employs 250, was recently bought by US medical examinations company ExamWorks in a £66m deal. The rising strength of


Business Secretary Vince Cable, left, with Ralf Speth, CEO of Jaguar Land Rover during a visit to the Halewood Operations Plant and, inset left, laboratory work at Liverpool Biomedical Research Centre

Manchester’s software and technological sector is backed up by the latest news on the ground at Manchester Science Park, located near the city’s university. Commercial director Lynne Barlow said she is seeing more confidence among tenants who are taking out longer leases, and also backs up the global nature of the sector by revealing that two thirds of its 85 tenants now deal with overseas markets. Some overseas tenants are actually locating themselves at the park too. Recent relocations include an IT company from Holland which specialises in time and attendance

systems, and a biotech company from India which has set up a sales office. Ms Barlow added that the biomedical sector is growing strongly on the back of the development of Manchester’s Royal Eye Hospital and the strong and growing links between health organisations and the university. “The channels coming to us from the university itself are encouraging too,” she said. “We are seeing companies move across and wanting to make that move from academia to business.” Ms Barlow said when it comes to deciding where to locate a business, people still think greatly


about ‘where the action is’. “In our case it’s about being around the university, near the city, or maybe close to a hospital or the new Media City. “Speaking for Manchester, it is a very integrated and co-ordinated city and we have a great ecosystem for innovation.” Ms Barlow stressed, though, that the region’s other two science parks in Liverpool and Daresbury, Cheshire, each have their own individual strengths too. “Although we are competitors we all work together too,” she said. MSP itself wants to double its floorspace over the next 10 years, adding 250,000 sq ft, a goal Ms Barlow believes is achievable despite the present economic climate. But while the picture in many sectors remains broadly positive for the region, concerns are growing that the momentum the region has seen, for instance in terms of attracting and retaining inward investment, could be lost following the closure of the Northwest Regional Development Agency, which has been replaced by a number of different Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs). Part of the concern stems from the very different LEP picture that is emerging across the region. For instance while Manchester and Liverpool LEPs have hit the ground running and outlined clear strategies to increase job creation, Lancashire has struggled to get any LEP off the ground at all after hitting difficulties in finding consensus for a pan-Lancashire bid. Meantime, in a related move, Manchester and Liverpool have

since been announced as among the first 10 cities in the UK to have new enterprise zones which will have simplified planning rules, fast broadband and tax breaks for businesses. Manchester’s zone is around Manchester Airport and the Manchester Airports Group (MAG) has now launched a public consultation on the first phase of the ‘Airport City’ scheme ahead of work starting on site next year. Airport City is located between the airport and Wythenshawe, to the north of the airport, and will connect the airport with University Hospital of South Manchester’s Medipark initiative. In time the zone is expected to create 7,000 jobs over a 20-year period and generate £514m in GVA (Gross Value Added). A similar zone is to straddle the River Mersey, linking Peel’s £5bn plans to redevelop land around Liverpool and Birkenhead docks. The scheme will see clusters of tall buildings housing businesses and residential apartments. On a wider front concerns have also been raised that the closure of the Northern Way initiative – a programme driven by the North’s three RDAs to influence government policy in the north in sectors such as transport, energy and innovation – could also impact on future economic growth. A recent study by consultancy SQW found that its absence could result in a “vacuum” being created and could adversely affect the development of initiatives



THE BIG FEATURE CONTINUED FROM P12 such as high-speed rail in the region. The report warned that the North could enter a “new period of fragmentation” unless the Northern Way’s collaborative work is taken on by other organisations such as LEPs – presuming of course that every part of the region is covered by a LEP. It would be tempting to dismiss such local politics as having little to do with the wider economy, but the truth is that wider investment in infrastructure, which can only come from central government, matters when it comes to the overall competitiveness of the regional economy. One sector which will certainly continue to require significant government support both in terms of its subsidy arrangements and infrastructure as it matures is the green economy. To that end the government recently announced that its muchtrumpeted green investment bank would start lending money in April next year to sub-sectors such as offshore wind, waste and non-domestic energy efficiency. The bank has a guaranteed £3bn starting fund courtesy of the Treasury. There’s a good chance that a fair share of that cash could end up on North West shores too with a string of significant green schemes now under way. For instance, Cumbria’s Stobart Group – best known for its road distribution business – recently revealed more details of its £90m biomass supply and logistics agreement with Iggesund Paperboard. The contract covers sourcing and transportation of forest residue and recycled wood for use as biomass fuel at Iggesund’s power station at its paper mill in Workington where gas power is being replaced with biomass fuel. Work on the contract starts in 2013. Stobart itself continues to blaze a trail with revenues now topping the £500m mark. Elsewhere, Blackpool green energy business Farmgen, founded by well-known Lancashire entrepreneur Simon Rigby, recently began electricity production at its anaerobic digestion plant on a farm near Preston, while the company is building a second plant in Cumbria too. The plant uses crops from fields to create biogas, which is then used to generate electricity, and the farm will be able to generate 800kW of electricity – the equivalent of powering more than 1,000 homes. A measure of just how seriously green energy is now being taken by big business is exemplified by the fact that Marks & Spencer has signed a five-year contract to buy the energy generated from the plant as part of its own commitment to buying more renewable energy from small-scale energy sources. Talking of retailers, the short term is clearly going to continue to pose significant challenges for the high street as it deals with poor consumer confidence in the wake of public spending cuts. Indeed the latest data would appear to suggest that the pain is


ACCELERATOR: Alice, a particle accelerator at Daresbury Science and Innovation Campus, left

beginning to bite. For instance the region reported its weakest private sector growth for four months during April, according to Lloyds TSB’s North West Business Activity Index, which measures the combined output of the region’s manufacturing and service sectors. However unemployment in the region grew only slightly by 3,000 between January and March to 265,000 or 7.8% of the working population (compared to a national rate of 7.7%). Data between April and June will be eagerly watched. But any ill winds still don’t appear to be buffeting the region’s major retail centres as hard as might be expected. For instance, occupancy at the Trafford Centre is still an extraordinary 97%, and new owner the

Capital Shopping Centres group (which recently bought the centre from Peel Holdings) plans to invest a further £50m in the centre. Latest figures from the St John’s centre in Liverpool have been just as encouraging from owner Land Securities. Even the region’s financial services sector could yet see a broadly positive result following the banking crisis. For instance the state-owned Royal Bank of Scotland, mindful of keeping a very close eye on its cost base, recently announced that it planned to triple the size of its investment banking operation in Manchester as it continues to move jobs out of London.



MESSAGE FROM OUR SPONSOR NOW is the time to back export led investment The latest Purchasing Managers Index and government figures for manufacturing output show that its time to get behind manufacturing exports. The latest PMI fell to a seven month low of 54.6 and output stayed relatively flat at +0.2%, all-in-all a fairly lukewarm month for UK manufacturing. However, the opportunity is there to turn up the heat and tap into exports to developing markets. These gains won't happen by chance. Manufacturers and the government must work together on a blueprint for achieving growth. The industry must do more to drive business confidence around exports. Trade bodies, banks, businesses and the government must push for UK products to be sold in the developing world. Exports to to the emerging BRIC countries

(Brazil, Russia, India and China) make up less than 10% of UK exports yet these countries are the real boom areas for future growth. Increasing exports and reducing trade deficit is the key to success. One barrier smaller firms often encounter on exports is a lack of local knowledge in target countries. The time to act is now. This month's PMI/ONS data proves the stellar growth reported in January is the exception not the norm. Manufacturing is still on the up and the industry should remain positive, although the trajectory is not as steep as hoped. If we want to soar again the focus must be on export-led investment. Barclays Corporate has strong relationships with manufacturing sector businesses across the North West, including many names in the Top 200 listing.

Advice that’s made to measure. Because one size doesn’t fit all. At Grant Thornton, our local team of specialists recognise the importance of understanding the objectives and personal drivers of our clients and their business. No matter what size your business is, we have a team ready to work with you to realise the full potential of your business. We provide viable solutions and advice based on real experience to add value to our clients business, to help them grow.

For further information on our services or to arrange an initial consultation, please contact: David Grundy North West Office Managing Partner T 0161 953 6900 E

We’ve earned our reputation for delivering new and exciting solutions, tailored to the individual needs of our clients. Are you ready for our bespoke approach?

Auditor of the Year (Large Six) 2010 & 2011

Private Client Practitioner’s Top 25 Most Admired Companies 2011

Accountancy Firm of the Year M&A Awards 2010

Best Tax Investigations Team (2010)

AIM Accountant of the Year 2010

© 2011 Grant Thornton UK LLP. All rights reserved. ‘Grant Thornton’ means Grant Thornton UK LLP, a limited liability partnership. Grant Thornton UK LLP is a member firm within Grant Thornton International Ltd (‘Grant Thornton International’). Grant Thornton International and the member firms are not a worldwide partnership. Services are delivered by the member firms independently.



Peel’s Port of Liverpool Docks at Seaforth

Property firm’s towering ambition to rebuild region THERE are few companies that have a wider impact on the North West economy than Peel Holdings. The empire of John Whittaker just keeps on growing, and the canny tycoon shows absolutely no sign of slowing down – in fact, he appears to be speeding up as he steers a string of major developments across the region. Over the past few years most attention has inevitably focused on Peel’s Media City development as the countdown to the relocation of several BBC departments to Salford Quays edges ever closer. Earlier this spring, the longawaited plans finally became reality as the first 120 staff moved to the site in surely one of the most drawn-out staff relocations ever seen – in total it will take 36 weeks. So far, 55% of staff involved are relocating from London, which the BBC insists compares favourably to similar-sized government department relocations. In total around 2,300 staff will be based at Media City and Peel hopes the entire site will


eventually cover a staggering 200 acres at the Quays. As things stand, just 36 acres have been built on including 1.6m sq ft of offices and planning consent for another 3m sq ft. The whole project will also receive a major boost in the public consciousness when Media City hosts this year’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year event in December. But as with so many of Peel’s key developments, the delicate relationship it has with central and local government will be crucial to the ultimate success of the project and talks are ongoing about the extent to which Media City can, for instance, be classed as an Enterprise Zone where tenants could take advantage of tax breaks and simplified planning rules.

The reason behind the campaign is that Peel wants to attract other big names in the media world, besides just the BBC, to the Quays. To this end it has already had considerable success, most notably with ITV announcing plans to build a new home for Coronation Street at Media City. Peel’s wider ambitions in the media sector were also typified by its recent successful bid for the Pinewood Shepperton Group. However it is arguably the extent to which Media City attracts small and medium-sized media, creative and digital companies that will determine its success. And it is the degree to which it attracts these businesses from across the UK that matters too. Indeed many cities which have


successfully built up digital hubs will be nervously looking over their shoulder at Media City’s rise. The likes of Sheffield – and even Birmingham – could see companies emigrate either over the Pennines or up the M6. Closer to home it will be interesting to observe how the relationship between Liverpool, which likewise has built up its own digital industry, and Manchester develops. Companies on Merseyside may think they are near enough to the action to avoid moving along the M62. Talking of enterprise zones, Peel’s other great project in the North West recently benefited from the announcement that the government was setting up such a zone on land straddling both sides of the Mersey, encompassing Peel’s Wirral Waters and Liverpool Waters schemes – the so-called ‘Mersey Waters’ zone. Peel has, literally, towering ambitions for both parcels of land. Earlier this year it unveiled plans for an international trade centre on the Wirral side that would act as a base for up to 1,000 companies from China, India and

other emerging economies from which to launch European operations. At the same time it announced that Stella Shiu, a senior member of the Chinese government and chairman of the Sam Na Minerals company, had invested £25m in the project. Behind the scenes Peel has been busy building up its contacts with China for many years and it was, unsurprisingly, a lead sponsor at Liverpool’s pavilion at the Shanghai Expo last year. Since the Expo a number of Chinese delegations have already visited Liverpool, further cementing the relationship between the company and the Far East. The £25m will go towards funding half of the first phase of the proposed trade centre. Peel is also spending £500m over the next decade to further develop its SuperPort scheme along the River Mersey and Manchester Ship Canal. The biggest element is at Seaforth, with the £200m in-river berth that will be able to handle the world’s biggest ships, each measuring up to 100,000 tonnes.

Northern Way a key initiative REGIONAL development agencies (RDAs) certainly attracted their fair share of criticism, often justified, during their rather short lives. But as far as the northern RDAs were concerned, there were certain projects which did manage to rise above often puerile political jostling and actually deliver beyond their glossy brochures. One such initiative was The Northern Way (TNW), an economic strategy group which was formed to look at the key factors that accentuated the North-South divide, and to look at ways of tackling economic and social inequalities and bridging the £30bn output gap between the North and the average for the rest of England. TNW, which was established in 2004 by the three northern RDAs – One NorthEast, Yorkshire Forward and the Northwest Regional Development Agency – particularly focused on transport, new energy, business investment and innovation. However, with the pending closure of the RDAs the money for TNW dried up and the initiative was wound up at the end of March. In April, consultancy firm SQW produced a report which looked back at the work of TNW.

It concluded that the demise of TNW after only seven years could result in a “vacuum” being created and affect development of many key initiatives, such as high-speed rail in the region. The report concluded that TNW was successful in delivering a set of northern priorities, particularly in areas of transport policy and lobbying for the government’s high-speed rail proposals. Summing up, it says that TNW may have lost the battle but there were many achievements over the programme period. The report concluded: “The initiative reached a peak when it was seen as a credible voice on key pan-northern issues, an important influence on national government and an effective co-ordinator of thinking. “The issues it sought to address still remain for the North and there is a vacuum left in its absence. As a result there is a need for the arguments to continue to be articulated and the case for the North’s potential to be made. It is now collectively up to partners in the North to keep these agendas intelligent and alive.” Precisely who will keep the spirit of TNW flame alive and continue to champion its causes

City leaders in the North West all see the tremendous value of high speed links across the country now remains the focus of much debate. In theory, the work of the RDAs has been replaced by Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), but the very localised nature of the LEPs means momentum on cross-regional issues will inevitably be lost as the North struggles to speak with one voice. Speaking with a clear voice was indeed one of the key strengths of TNW identified by SQW, with the likes of former Yorkshire Forward chairman Sir Graham Hall among those who championed its causes

effectively down in Whitehall. The SQW report concluded that there had been some significant achievements in influencing and improving policy making, leveraging resource and investment. The report said: “The Northern Way demonstrated the importance of getting the strategic framework right. By narrowing down to a small number of priorities it was able to add clear value to economic development in the North. Crucially it was able to think intelligently for the North

in a way which made people listen.” SQW said one area in which TNW had made a particular impact was transport. For instance, today there is real consensus across the North on the importance of further significant investment in high speed rail. City leaders in Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle can all see the tremendous value of high-speed links across the country, rather than just down the country as is the case now. To that end Network Rail’s ‘northern hub’ initiative was recently successful in attracting new funding from the government. The proposals centre around significant new investment in the rail infrastructure of the North to allow for faster and more reliable services, easing up bottlenecks in the process. Attention is now turning towards improving services and cutting congestion across the Pennines, especially between Leeds and Manchester. That said, the bigger picture in terms of government spending remains on more vertical routes, typified by its plans for a high speed line up from London to Birmingham with the line then splitting west up to Manchester and east up to Leeds.



NW’s discount stores and home shopping drive retailing by ALISTAIR HOUGHTON Business Correspondent

THE North West is the home of home shopping and discount retail. From grand old names like JD Williams and TJ Hughes to more recent success stories such as Matalan and B&M Bargains, this region hosts some of the UK’s best-known retail brands. The region’s retail heritage means that firms old and new can benefit from a strong infrastructure and an experienced workforce. The North West’s home shopping giants may not be household names in themselves, but their brands are. Shop Direct, for example, used to be known as Littlewoods – a brand it still owns. Findel, meanwhile, owns brands including Kleeneze and Kitbag. N Brown employs some 3,000 people in the North West, where the majority of its business is based. Its headquarters and call centre are in Manchester, while it has warehouses in Shaw and Hadfield. It dates its history back to 1859, when Manchester-based JD Williams set up his first shop. Today N Brown – which still uses the JD Williams names – also owns home and internet shopping brands including Simply Be, Jacamo and Marisota. Chief executive Alan White said: “Home shopping has always been strong in the M62 corridor. You had Littlewoods in Liverpool, ourselves and Great Universal Stores in Manchester, then you had Empire Stores and Grattan in Bradford. “That corridor from Liverpool to Leeds had about 90% of the UK’s home shopping business at one stage.” And that history has helped to


create a thriving retail ecosystem, where staff can move from one firm to another and rival retailers can benefit from services offered by other companies. Mr White – who is also chairman of the CBI in the North West – said: “What you tend to see is that the employees and the management have moved between one home shopping company and another. I spent three years at Littlewoods myself. “That’s tended to maintain the pool of home shopping expertise in this area. “It’s not just about the people themselves, though that’s very important. It’s also about the services that drive the business along, whether that’s advertising agencies or anything else.” Last month, stock market-listed N Brown announced that it had enjoyed “another robust group performance” in the year to February 26. Revenues rose 4.2% to £718.8m, while pre-tax profits rose 5.5% to £98.2m. Mr White said he expected 2011 would be another “tricky year” for retailers, with high inflation and ongoing fears about public sector job cuts. But he hopes that things will improve in 2012 as inflation eases. “We will start to see some growth,” he said. “While I don’t think there will be a massive bounceback, there should be a steady rise.” For years, N Brown’s focus has been home shopping. But in 2009 the group bought High & Mighty, which boasted a store portfolio. N Brown now plans to take its Simply Be brand to the high street. He said: “We hope to get a

couple of stores open this side of Christmas. We are hoping to conclude on one in the Liverpool One area. That will be our first major store. “We are also negotiating on a store on the north side of Manchester. “We wanted to have our first stores in the North West because all our managers and distributors are in the North West, so we can give the stores a lot of close attention. We want to open two or maybe three stores in September or October this year, then three or four next spring. Then we’ll evaluate it in 2012.” Mr White said the group had chosen to move the Simply Be brand onto the high street because it filled a gap in the fashion market. He said: “This business is for the plus-size customer but it’s the plus-size customer who wants high fashion. That customer’s natural shopping habitat is the high street, but they have a poor shopping experience at the moment. “We have designed a shopping concept which we believe will not only generate sales in these stores but will also, by building the brand, give us an incremental increase in home shopping sales as well.” Like N Brown, Liverpool’s Shop Direct – part of the March UK group – sees online sales as key to future growth. And Shop Direct, which boasts brands including Littlewoods and, has also kept its headquarters in the North West to benefit from the region’s retail heritage. Shop Direct employs some 10,000 people in the North West

Joe Morris wants to open 50 Home Bargains stores a year and North Wales. Its head office is in Speke, south Liverpool, but it has warehouses in Manchester, Oldham and Wrexham, with call centres in Preston, Bolton and Aintree. The Littlewoods department store chain is long gone, but Shop Direct still has 24 clearance stores around the UK. The company still posts out millions of catalogues every year, but some 70% of its sales are now handled online. That makes it the UK’s third-biggest online retailer, beaten only byAmazon and Tesco. Chief executive Mark Newton-Jones said: “Customers still tell us they want catalogues.


We’ll continue to provide them for as long as they want. “But the predominant ordering method is now online. Many customers who have the catalogues would rather order on the website. “We’re at the point where we can say we’re an internet retailer.” In 2009, Shop Direct bought one of British retail’s most famous names – Woolworths – and launched Today Woolworths is just a small part of Shop Direct’s business, but one of the brands owned by the former high street name has been a boon to the Speke group. “The real jewel in the crown has been Ladybird,” said Mr Newton-Jones. “We now sell it across all our retail brands.

CONTRASTING FORTUNES Discount clothing retailer Matalan has proved a huge regional success story with fashion at affordable prices

JJB Sports is hoping to turn its fortunes around WITH its proud sporting heritage, it’s no surprise that the North West boasts two of the biggest names in the sports retail world. Bury-based JD Sports Fashion has recently been on the acquisition trail, but Wigan-based JJB Sports has had a more turbulent time. Last month, fashion-focused JD bought the parent company of menswear brand Peter Werth and Pink Soda womenswear out of administration for an undisclosed sum. It was the latest in a series of JD acquisitions, including the street wear fashion label Fenchurch, which it bought out of administration for just under £1.5m in March. In February, JD acquired a majority stake in Preston manufacturer Kukri Sports, which makes customised sport kits for clubs, universities and schools. A month earlier, the retailer agreed a deal for loss-making Irish clothing and footwear store chain Champion, while in “We’ve extended it out of clothes for 0-8 year olds. We’ve extended it out to wardrobes, nursery furniture, pushchairs and high chairs. “The Ladybird brand has got real potential.” In recent years Shop Direct has successfully developed brands including, which Mr Newton-Jones said saw double-digit sales growth last year, and the Isme brand for older women. The Littlewoods brand is already marketed in the Eurozone, while the and Isme brands may follow. Mr Newton-Jones said the UK retail environment remained “erratic”, but he is convinced Shop Direct’s business mix means it is in a strong position. He said: “The optimist in me says that as we get close to Christmas, people will say ‘it’s not as bad as I thought’. But there’s a little way to go yet. “The economy is stalling, but I’m optimistic about this business. “Firstly, we’ve got a broad range of products, from children’s clothing to iPods. “Secondly, we’re online. It’s the key growth sector for retail, and we’re there. “Thirdly, we offer customers

September it bought Staffordshire’s DR Footwear. In 2009 it bought rugby brands Canterbury and Kooga and men’s fashion label The Duffer of St George. Also last month, JJB Sports warned it could take five years to turn the business around. The group came close to collapse last year but survived after securing a deal with landlords that will allow it to close weaker stores and cut some rent payments. JJB, which has also raised 96.5m pounds to fund its turnaround plan, plans to revamp 150 stores over the course of the year following a big rise in profit and sales at pilot outlets. But, announcing that its full-year loss had ballooned to £181m, JJB said a recovery could take three to five years. It said: “The restructuring of JJB will not be easy or quick. “The retail environment is challenging, will remain so for some time and we face intense competition.”

JD Sports is on the acquisition trail, snapping up well-known fashion brands

B&M Bargains owners Bobby Arora and brother Simon the ability to spread payments.” The North West has also become a hub for discount retailing. The sector boasts some historic names. TJ Hughes, for example, opened his first store in Liverpool

in 1912. Today, the chain has 57 stores and employs 4,000 people. It was recently bought by retail entrepreneur Anthony Solomon and turnaround specialist Endless, who have pledged to turn its fortunes around after a

difficult few months. But other more recent examples have made their presence felt in high streets and retail parks across the country. B&M Retail was founded in 1989 and by 2004, it had become a 21-store chain based in Blackpool. But then it was brought by brothers Simon and Bobby Arora, who launched an ambitious expansion plan.

Today the company, which moved its headquarters to Liverpool last year, has more than 200 B&M Bargains stores. Just last month it was revealed that B&M had bought 11 stores from collapsed DIY retailer Focus. Merseysider John Hargreaves has become one of the region’s wealthiest men thanks to the



RETAIL STRENGTH CONTINUED FROM PAGE 19 success of discount clothing retailer Matalan. Last month the company, based in Skelmersdale, appointed Darren Blackhurst as chief executive to lead its expansion plans. Meanwhile, Liverpool-based TJ Morris is continuing its growth. The group, founded by Tom Morris more than 30 years ago, has more than 250 Home Bargains stores around the UK and employs some 7,000 people. Operations director Joe Morris said: “We want to open 50 stores a year. “We’re currently growing at 20% to 25% per annum. We’ve been growing at that rate for the last 10 years or so. “We trying to continue at that steady rate, not too fast and not too slow, so it’s manageable.” Discount retailers are growing, says Morris, not just because the market is growing but because they are expanding their geographical reach. He said: “If you look at most discount retailers, they started as regional retailers and then expanded across the UK. Compared to the big supermarkets, most discount retailers still only cover a small proportion of the UK geographically. The HQ of Shop Direct on Estuary Business Park, “The big supermarkets have stores Speke everywhere. There’s no point in opening more big supermarkets. So they’re stores – such as Scotland, Northern Ireland and further south. now looking at different sectors, like “Having said that, we’re still opening convenience stores. Morrisons is talking stores in Liverpool. We’re opening in the St about buying Iceland. Tesco is buying John’s Centre, in the city centre, in the garden centres. next couple of months.” “We’re looking at where we haven’t got

MESSAGE FROM OUR SPONSOR RETAILERS and wholesalers continue to face challenging times. Slow growth in the economy is combining with faltering consumer confidence, rising unemployment and sharp increases in prices to create a “perfect storm”. Stability is what businesses in the sector need and although times are tough, some sectors are predicted to enjoy strong growth. A recent report from CB Richard Ellis has stated that the UK has maintained the number one position of the top 20 global retail markets for the fourth consecutive year, attracting 58% of all international retail brands surveyed. The UK was closely followed by the United Arab Emirates with 54% and the US with 50%. The report also showed that international expansion remained a key strategy for retailers around the world, with 40% of new store openings occurring outside of the retailer’s home region. Even though the pace of expansion has slowed, 21 countries saw five or more new retail entrants last year. In the UK, the clothing sector in particular is showing signs of stability and growth. Recent research commissioned by Barclays Corporate, predicts that the premium clothing market will enjoy the strongest growth rate in the clothing sector over the next three years. By 2014 the premium segment is expected to be Karl Trumper


worth an estimated £8.6bn, an increase of £1.9bn (29%) from today’s estimated value of £6.7bn. The sector is expected to benefit from a number of factors, including the ‘Middleton effect’ which has already catapulted key pieces from Reiss and Whistles collections onto the front pages of newspapers around the world. Retailers are also looking to increase sales online. With little new retail space likely to be opening in the high street or shopping centres this year, many retailers are looking to generate new income streams through their online offering. Existing retailers continue to record strong online growth, reflecting the increasing popularity of internet-based shopping. Online retailing is a great opportunity for smaller, niche players to take on larger retail establishments. Additional research, recently conducted by Verdict Consulting for Barclays Corporate, claims that mobile shopping could deliver a £4.5bn boost to the UK economy by 2016 and a further £13bn by 2021, as consumers become more comfortable with shopping through mobile handsets. Barclays Corporate continues to focus strongly on supporting retail and wholesale businesses to fulfil their growth aspirations. Barclays has recently supported The Hut, in its acquisition of, along with B&M Retail Ltd and Williams BMW. ■ Karl Trumper, Corporate Director, Barclays Corporate

Our MSc students have the edge in todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s competitive job market. Find out why. Programmes include: Consumer Marketing MSc e-Business Strategy and Systems MSc Economics and Finance MSc Entrepreneurship MSc Finance MSc Human Resources Management MSc International Business MSc Management MSc Operations and Supply Chain Management MSc Find out more at



Why we need more women by VANDA MURRAY OBE Chairman of AIM-listed VPhase, and non-executive director of Carillion and Manchester Airport Group IN THE North West, only 9% of senior leadership positions in the private sector are held by women. This compares to 30% in the public sector and 45% in the voluntary sector. Why is this? And does it matter? The evidence says that it does matter. Research by management consultancy McKinsey and Catalyst shows that boards which include women outperform their sector on every financial measure you care to look at (42% higher return on sales; 53% higher return on investment and 53% higher return on equity). Boards including women also tend to take a more balanced view on risk. The combination of a group of people with different skills, perspectives and experience is more likely to be able to consider issues in a rounded way. This avoids the dreaded ‘group think’ which often leads to poor decision making. So, if there is such a strong case for more senior women, why are there only 9% in the private sector? After all, women start out with the same levels of skills and ambition as men but they do not progress at the same rate. What is worse, many women leave the workplace for a variety of reasons and losing talented people is both wasteful and expensive. One of the main problems is the lack of flexibility in the workplace. This is a key barrier to the ability of women to progress their careers at the same rate as men. Women’s careers are not linear – if they step off the career ladder for a while for family commitments, it is hard to get back on. The male dominated workplace culture doesn’t help. Women need to be more confident. Research shows that a man will apply for a job if he has three or four skills out of a list of ten. A woman would only apply if she has seven or eight out of ten. So, what can be done? Firstly, recruiters can make sure that they look for and interview a wide range of candidates. And I mean actively look. More jobs should be advertised and in places where a broader group of candidates will see them. Organisations should review their own policies and procedures to make sure that they do not disadvantage women. More thought should be given to managing non-linear careers. For example, women need support


Women who have made it to the top in the North West, clockwise from left, Jennifer Atkinson, CEO of ITC travel; Penny Coates, Chief Operating Officer; Manchester Airports Group, Sue Weir, chief executive of Medicash, and Lorraine Rogers, CEO of Mersey Partnership

when coming back into the organisation after maternity leave. Mentors should be made available for talented individuals (men and women) but their different needs should be understood and addressed. Finally, organisations should set an aspirational target of achieving 30% female leadership across all sectors. This is a key target. Again, all the research shows that once this 30% threshold is achieved workplace culture starts to change, to the benefit of all. In summary, I have no doubt that there is a convincing and compelling economic case for

more women at senior levels. I am not advocating tokenism, rather a range of practical measures which remove the barriers to female progression and create a more even playing field for talented women. I am optimistic. Role models do exist. Exemplar organisations (large and small) also exist across all sectors of the North West economy – but they are the exception rather than the rule. This change is overdue and concerted action is needed, but with encouragement and active support, women will reach more leadership positions and that will be good for business in every sense.


in senior business roles WOMEN AND WORK TASK FORCE

Leading businesses fail to employ female directors DESPITE many decades of sexual equality legislation, it still seems that in the boardrooms of the regions biggest companies, women have yet to gain anything like proportionate representation. Between them, the Top 200 have only 124 women directors. On average, the Top 200 employs only 0.62 women directors per company board. Significantly, of these businesses, 109 of them have no women directors at all. Some of the higherranking Top 200 businesses by revenue that employ no women directors at all are Tote Bookmakers (ranked sixth), GB Oils (ranked seventh) and March UK

(ranked eight). The companies with highest women to men ratio on their boards include food and drink wholesaler AG Parfett and Sons (four out of 10), finance company Catalyst Investment Holdings (three out of six) and motor retailer Graham Bell (two out of three). The company with the highest number of women directors was pharmaceutical distributor Mawdsley-Brooks, which has a total of six women out of 12 board members. None of the businesses within the Top 200 had a majority of women directors apart from Graham Bell, but this company only has a small

number of directors on its board. The gender imbalance in North West boardrooms reflects the picture in the rest of the country. Only 12.5% of directors from FTSE-100 companies are women. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s even worse in the FTSE 250, with only 7.8% of board posts filled by women. Half of all firms have no female business board members at all, according to a nationwide survey by Cranfield School of Management. Based on current trends it is thought that it will take another 70 years before women fill half of all posts at blue-chip companies.

Vanda Murray: Employers need a better understanding that female career paths are not linear In 2010, the North West Development Agency established a Women and Work Task Force with 4NW, chaired by Vanda Murray. It met over a six-month period to examine different topics and hear evidence from a number of organisations. The aim of the Task Force was to examine barriers to women achieving senior leadership positions either on boards or in management generally. Academic research was married with the real experience of business leaders from across the region. It also included the voices of over 300 men and women and 400 organisations who responded to our consultation on the Task Force recommendations. A strong evidence base was put together which allowed the Task Force to make clear recommendations. The conclusion of the Task Force was that there is a compelling economic as well as social case for strong and diverse senior leadership teams and boards.

This will underpin the economic recovery and future development of the NW economy. The Task Force has agreed to issue a 'Call for Action' to all sectors of the regional economy across the public, private and voluntary sectors to reach at least 30% women both on boards and in senior leadership positions. The report also sets out actions which companies and educational institutions can take now to harness and tap into female potential. The aspirations of girls during their school and higher education years need to be raised, especially in maledominated subjects such as science and technology. Better mentoring would help. There needs to be the creation of working environment where female talent is valued and nurtured. Employers need a better understanding that female career paths are not linear. More flexible working patterns would support both men and women to develop to their full potential.


For more information call 0151 530 5300 or visit

New look for the Dixie Dean Suite

As part of the ongoing commitment to live up to our motto, we are pleased to announce a major refurbishment in the premium Executive Lounge at Goodison Park; the Dixie Dean Suite. No effort will be spared to produce a peerless matchday experience for our members. And with package prices reduced for 2011/12, the ‘Dixie’ offers a compelling mix of an optimum venue, the highest levels of service and hospitality, and exceptional value for money. For more information call 0151 530 5300 or visit

“The new Dixie Dean Suite will give us the platform to deliver an unsurpassed matchday hospitality experience.”

Gareth Billington Executive Head Chef



Home to a very dynamic environment for business

by MURRAY DALZIEL Director University of Liverpool Management School FRENCH architect Le Corbusier hated the seeming randomness of the streets of Paris and produced what he considered a perfect blueprint. It was never implemented. Parisians preferred the vitality of well-trodden, haphazard streets. If you compare governmentsponsored economic development plans for the North West over the last few decades and then compare this listing of the top 200 companies, you will see similarities. For example, there are no budding Apples or Microsoft rivals on this list. Nor are there any home spun bioscience firms (although Astra Zeneca still has a base here but is listed from London). But like the Paris that Corbusier hated there are clear signs of business vitality. If you

Murray Dalziel want to be competitive with other regions note that our 200th company would have been among the top 50 in the North East (from a recent and similar survey conducted by Durham Business School). It's also impressive that coming out of a recession nearly 60% of our top companies are still growing and 20% grew by more than 10%.

Growth rates, though, were cut across all sectors. North West-run businesses are particularly good at finding the niche areas that deftly cut around large players. Examples would be Shop Direct, TJ Morris, Iceland and Done Brothers, offering alternatives to large national brands. This is an indicator of entrepreneurial health. In industries such as retailing that are dominated by two or three national brands, it is not sensible to replicate their model. To win in these areas requires finding niches that are attractive and enable good growth. TJ Morris is a clear example of this: exploiting a niche by offering lowest cost on branded products.

Customers do not eschew the dominant players but they are drawn to keep coming back to find something useful at a bargain price. While the North West has clear niche leaders in retailing, this is still an industrial area: 55% of firms are in manufacturing, industrial services, energy or materials. If we want to grow this region what can we learn from this data? A key issue for the new Local Enterprise Partnerships is to understand the role of their geographic segment in this industrial heartland. The Liverpool and Manchester LEP's should note that 66% of these firms are not in Liverpool nor Manchester. The M6 corridor is the main


regional artery generating economic output. Apart from having less of the top 200 we do not see a huge difference between Liverpool City Region, Manchester City Region and the M6 corridor in the types of companies. Both Liverpool and Manchester have about the same number of direct manufacturing companies. Manchester has more direct service businesses and captures holding company addresses. Liverpool has more businesses in food manufacturing and distribution and more in shipping and logistics, reflecting the endurance of the port. So as a port Liverpool makes a distinctive contribution to the rest of the region. Outside of this survey, we also know that Liverpool and Manchester share the professional services (accountants, lawyers and other





CONTINUED FROM P25 advisors) for the whole of the region. Liverpool and Manchester are also creative and cultural hubs for the rest of the region. But it is the shape of industrial growth that we should pay attention to. Industrial growth may be more haphazard than policy planners would like but there are key interdependencies between companies. For example, about 30% are in direct manufacturing, materials or energy production but another 23% are in some form of industrial services (for example, logistics). This relationship is very important. Although these service companies are national and in some cases truly international,

the core seed of their business originates from key relationships in the region (for example, Suttons with the material manufacturers in the region). Supporting the growth of core manufacturing companies actually generates additional service companies. This is hugely important for creating employment. The largest employers in the region are the retail companies. Manufacturing and energy companies employ fewer people. However, this is deceptive. These companies create a network of suppliers to service them. If we attract or develop 10 more we gain not 10 but 17 companies (plus

professional services and financial services to support them). So it is easy to imagine that 100 jobs created in manufacturing generates another 100 jobs in direct support plus more roles in consumer businesses and creative and cultural industries that make working in the region enjoyable. Should the future priority be on attracting more manufacturing companies or in developing the service infrastructure to support them? Looking closely at the diversity of companies available as support manufacturing companies as well as the depth of professional services available in the region

this is no longer a chicken and egg scenario. Building on the strong base of manufacturing industries particularly in the M6 corridor should be the priority across the region. The LEPs might also want to consider how they add value to each other. Does this mean that we should not be supporting companies in high growth industries such as IT or Bioscience just because we do not have companies of scale in this region? The region has a rich collection of universities that can spawn new ideas. So supporting potential growth businesses is


prudent. For example, there is nothing in the fundamental structure of the Seattle region that made it the natural home for Microsoft or Starbucks. Like cities which grow and interconnect randomly so too companies and industries will develop in haphazard ways. Supporting core manufacturing is not as sexy as looking for the next Microsoft. But this is not Silicon Valley. This is the North West, a viable industrial region. When you consider that in compiling the Top 200 we excluded a number of large multinationals operating large employee bases here (for examples, Unilever and Astra Zeneca) as well as a large number of financial service firms (because it's difficult to compare based on turnover) you see a very dynamic business environment.



Media City at Salford Quays and, right, Chris Musson outside the Liverpool Science Park

NW knowledge economy one of most advanced by BEN ROOTH Business Correspondent THE North West has been leading the way with major industrial, scientific and technological discoveries for more than 200 years. The entrepreneurial spirit at the heart of this region has formed the foundation on which our prosperity is based. And this prosperity is closely tied in with the development of our region’s "knowledge economy". In essence, this describes an economy where prosperity is built on ideas and innovation. The North West region is regarded as having one of Britain’s pre-eminent “knowledge economies” because of the business research and development (R&D) undertaken here, the success of the North West’s universities, and the presence of excellent research institutes and science parks. The 12 universities educate one


of the largest academic concentrations in Europe – a total of 235,000 students – which results in there being a constant supply of highly-trained recruits to drive businesses forward. Certainly, the tradition of research and learning continues and thrives in the North West's private sector. The region is home to four of Britain’s top 10 research led businesses. All of them are undertaking large scale R& D activities. Annual private sector R&D investment in the region is around £2.2bn, some 40% higher than the UK average and bigger than that of many European countries. Many of the key players work in close collaboration with our universities, either directly with

academic departments or through the expanding network of university-backed research institutes. The four top 10 research led businesses based in the North West are: Lancashire-based aerospace company BAE Systems; personal product and food manufacturer Unilever, in Wirral; Rolls Royce’s Lancashire aero-technology centre; and Cheshire-based pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca. The research undertaken here is frequently used across each company’s worldwide operations. AstraZeneca's site leader for R&D, Rodger McMillan, sums up the importance of its Cheshire base. He said: “A key site in the AstraZeneca global network, our facility at Alderley Park is home


to some of the world’s most skilled science professionals working at the frontiers of pharmaceutical research." After these top-level investors, a “second-tier” of major international companies make a significant contribution to the region’s R&D output. These include Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Pharmaceutical Research Institute (PRI), in Wirral, and Nuclear Management Partners, which operates the Sellafield site in Cumbria. The North West has become famous around the world for its contribution to major science breakthroughs – and these have subsequently been converted into vibrant businesses. The splitting of the atom and the creation of the world’s first modern computer are both attributed to research programmes at the University of

Manchester. Today, the North West remains at the forefront of high-quality international academic research with hundreds of specialist research groups collaborating with other universities and private sector partners on important scientific projects. Manchester University is Britain’s largest single site campus and has renowned strengths in life sciences, medicine and economics. It has helped to create more than 100 spin-out companies – including Nanoco, which is profiled (right). Professor Michael Luger, director of Manchester Business School, champions Greater Manchester as the region's “knowledge hub”. He explained: "Greater Manchester has one of the densest


The Liverpool MBA, time dedicated to your success. As an MBA student at the University of Liverpool Management School you’ll have access to an unrivalled range of academic expertise, support and guidance from a team of dedicated teaching staff. What’s more, we’ll ensure that you have the relevant skills and acumen to add value to your future employers from day one. To find out more, sign up to one of our upcoming MBA online information sessions by visiting


KNOWLEDGE ECONOMY CONTINUED FROM P 28 concentrations of knowledge resources anywhere, not just in the UK, but globally. “The quality of the knowledge infrastructure and supply of expertise, including over 100,000 university students here, has drawn to, and retained in, the region's knowledge-based companies in all sectors – from Astra-Zeneca to BAE Systems to BNY-Mellon to the BBC and many more. "I believe that Manchester will continue to develop as a recognised knowledge hub, fuelled by the continuing strength of the University of Manchester in particular, but Salford and Manchester Metropolitan University as well. “Playing an important part in this will be the maturation of Media City as a centre for the creative sector, and the recognition by financial and business service companies that the region is an ideal location because of its accessibility to the world, its lower cost of doing business, and its supply of university trained workers and expertise." With almost 5,000 staff – 2,000 of whom are academics or researchers – the University of Liverpool is widely regarded to be leading the city’s commercial knowledge renaissance. It specialises in biosciences, veterinary science and engineering and collaborates with a large group of private sector organisations including Ford, RBS, BAE Systems, AstraZeneca, Rolls Royce, GlaxoSmithKline and Unilever. Lancaster University is acknowledged to have world-class strengths in both business, management and environmental science while Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) is one of the largest providers of science, engineering and technology education in the national system. Liverpool John Moores University’s key strengths include astronomy, astrophysics, sports science and media science and the University of Salford is developing a new higher education centre at the Media City development at Salford. The North West has over 50 research institutes and centres many of which complement research departments within universities by providing facilities which turn research programmes into commercial entities. Some are self-funding research facilities – and revenue generators – which work with businesses of all sizes from large multinationals to SMEs. For example, Lancaster University’s InfoLab21 is a leading facility for research and development in ICT. InfoLab21 is acknowledged to have assisted the university to develop close working partnerships with many leading telecom and innovation specialists including: Microsoft, BT, Orange and Nokia.

Quantum dots maker born in the university CUTTING edge research and pioneering technologies are in the life-blood of the North West. This is as true now as it was when the atom was split by Ernest Rutherford at the University of Manchester back in 1919. The world of the atom and the 'nano' – which literally means 'the one billionth' – is where Manchester still leads. And this is particularly the case in a field known as 'material science'. A Manchester University Incubator Company tenant called Nanoco is continuing this long line of tradition. In 2001, Nanoco was founded and set up within the university's School of Chemistry by two academics – Professor Paul O'Brien and Dr Nigel Pickett. It was established to develop and manufacture quantum dots – particles which emit light and have the potential to be an essential element of the next generation of TV and computer screens. These dots can help provide brighter images, lower power consumption, improved colour purity and longer screen life.

The North West’s five major science parks are also important contributors to the region’s R&D offering. Enjoying close links to universities and research institutes – many of which are stakeholders – they provide a knowledge infrastructure that is helping to shape the growth of both new and existing businesses. Designated by the government as one of only two major national science research facilities, the Daresbury Science and Innovation Campus hosts the Daresbury Laboratory and the Cockcroft Institute which is the UK’s national centre for accelerator science and technology. The laboratory employs around 550 staff, with more than 5,500 scientists and engineers – mostly from the academic research community – using its facilities each year. Manchester Science Park also supports the growth of innovative companies across industries such as digital media, biotechnology and ICT, providing business incubation and facilitating knowledge transfer between the city’s academic base and its thriving enterprise community. Westlakes Science and Technology Park in Cumbria is an important knowledge centre for the North West’s nuclear, healthcare informatics and environmental science sectors. The Heath Business and Technology Park, in Cheshire,

In addition, they are also being used in biotechnology and medicine where they illuminate specific cancer cells, allowing them to be accurately removed. In 2005, the company secured initial finance and was subsequently spun out of Manchester University. One year later, it signed its first major joint development agreement in Asia. It has been growing, signing distribution agreements with major Japanese electronics companies and successfully meeting its research and production targets ever since. In addition to its headquarters and research facilities at Manchester University, it now also has a factory in Runcorn and employs a total of 44 staff. Its Runcorn facility has the capacity to make up to 40kg of dots a month – enough to manufacture four million 40 inch TV screens. The company is currently designing a new £10m factory with the capacity of 200kg a month and this is hoped to be fully operational by 2013. Other applications for quantum dots include solar cells and security printing.

provides serviced office and laboratory space for over 200 science-based and IT businesses. Liverpool Science Park has recently added a second phase of high-specification office and laboratory workspace to enable it to meet demand from the area’s science and technology community. Chris Musson, Liverpool Science Park’s chief executive, said: “The North West is home to world-leading knowledge assets and companies. "Key Liverpool players recognise that maximising the benefit from these assets by creating new companies and attracting leading technology companies into the city will be vital to powering the future growth of the economy. "Here at Liverpool Science Park we are continuously evolving our offering to support their needs. "Already this year 18 new companies, ranging from start ups to SMEs, have moved into Liverpool Science Park and in the summer we will be launching our new commercial laboratories which will provide much-needed accommodation for the life sciences sector. "Liverpool Science Park is uniquely positioned in the heart of Liverpool’s Knowledge Quarter between the two universities and provides first-class, flexible accommodation where like-minded knowledge-based companies can innovate and collaborate.”


Nanoco chief executive Michael Edelman

MESSAGE FROM OUR SPONSOR The education sector is undergoing the biggest shake up for a generation. Funding mechanisms are changing and long established schools, colleges and universities have to adapt to new ways of operating. Considerable savings have to be made. Wage bills, which account for around two-thirds of costs, are being contained by the public sector pay freeze, but institutions are also being forced to look for new revenue streams, share procurement programmes and back office functions to lower costs. Collaboration is now vital in this changing landscape and this can take the form of shared services, outsourcing and partnerships to full-scale mergers or takeovers. There will undoubtedly be winners and losers as the reforms take effect and those taking action now will be best placed to overcome the challenges in this huge sector. Challenges facing higher education (HE) are daunting. HE employs around 355,000 academic staff with nearly half

a million UK students at universities. Overseas student numbers have also soared in recent years and now account for a further 300,000-plus students. The largest increase has been from China, which now provides the majority. International students contribute £5bn a year in tuition fees and off-campus spending. In fact, income from overseas students has increased twice as fast as overall fee income since 2000. The HE sector has received £7.2bn in government grants for 2010-11, the majority (£4.7bn) for teaching with £1.6bn allocated for research. However, following the Comprehensive Spending Review, teaching grants are to be reduced to just £700m over the next four years with more money coming into the sector from increases in tuition fees. In such a fast moving scenario, it is vital that institutions deal with funders who understand and are committed to the sector.



How the Top 200 was put together by MBA students by BILL GLEESON Business Editor Liverpool Daily Post

THE TOP 200 and the other tables published here have been compiled by Professor Murray Dalziel, director of the University of Liverpool Management School, and a team of his MBA students. The management school tapped into a number of databases that contain Companies House data and other published sources such as the London Stock Exchange’s new service to obtain the latest available financial reports from the North West’s biggest companies. In ranking these companies, we were seeking to identify those businesses that not merely have a large presence in our region, but

also have a significant controlling head office presence. Such firms typically that have at least some of their executive board members based in the region. They are the firms most likely to call upon the services of local professional advisers and bankers, making them big players in the local market place. We believe such locally-controlled companies are more likely to provide a source of private sector growth in the North West in the years ahead. They are also the companies most likely to provide jobs growth. The Management School began by listing the biggest companies with a registered office in our region. That information had then to be adjusted for our knowledge about which companies had a genuine controlling base here.

Rank Company Name

Most Recent Accounting Date

Turnover £m Last Year

University of Liverpool Management School team who have put together the Top 200 analysis, from left, Srikanth Bhat, Matthew Latham, Sreedevi Arimbra, Prof Murray Dalziel, Sanjay Bala and Shinjan Bhattacharya Picture: COLIN LANE That is why, for example, Unilever, which still has its registered office at Port Sunlight,

Turnover £m Previous Year

is not included. In practice Unilever’s head office is at Blackfriars in London and Port

Sunlight these days is just one of a score of detergent plants throughout Europe and the rest of the world. As a result, the North West can take credit for only a small fraction of Unilever's multi-billion pound turnover. It would therefore be misleading to show it as the region's biggest company. The same was felt to be true of BAE Systems, albeit a huge employer in our region. Another excluded company is Suncor, with a registered office in Manchester, but in practice it provides services from Aberdeen to oil and gas companies operating in the North Sea. As well as the main Top 200 list, we have produced two more tables that analyse the20 fastest growing companies and the twenty most profitable by return on sale.

Number of Profit (Loss) Profit (Loss) before Tax £m before Tax £m Employees Previous Year Last Year






























Water utility










Financial services










Food retail




















Heating oil distribution










Home shopping










Motor retail










Scrap metal









Electrical wholesaler




















Food production






























Pharmaceutical wholesaler






























Financial services










Soap manufacturer



Rank Company Name

Turnover £m Last Year

Turnover £m Previous Year

21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65

769.79 740.57 690.00 669.25 666.74 662.00 640.93 611.78 600.18 590.32 589.08 584.17 584.01 510.47 499.80 486.90 476.43 469.50 468.37 467.71 461.70 460.74 440.18 436.63 426.66 412.46 410.21 404.90 396.90 379.80 379.07 372.49 371.16 367.60 366.46 362.47 351.10 348.90 337.97 324.52 323.40 321.68 320.29 320.10 318.50

670.86 828.69 662.50 924.53 627.90 26.80 548.10 672.03 617.44 481.58 61.20 654.13 792.08 270.37 435.40 501.90 519.27 829.40 426.09 404.25 473.40 437.96 440.18 431.45 255.86 399.32 399.47 280.63 301.80 380.60 319.67 718.28 356.65 504.14 410.82 399.08 476.10 371.30 366.13 240.05 0.00 302.45 304.92 307.40 267.00

Most Recent Accounting Date JD SPORTS FASHION 31/01/2010 TNT UK 31/12/2009 N BROWN GROUP 28/02/2010 INVISTA TEXTILES (UK) 31/12/2009 KELLOGG MARKETING AND SALES 31/12/2009 TDG 31/12/2009 ODEON AND UCI CINEMAS GROUP 31/12/2009 BROTHER INTERNATIONAL EUROPE 31/03/2010 FINDEL 31/03/2010 T J MORRIS 30/06/2010 NORWEST FOODS INTERNATIONAL 31/07/2010 PILKINGTON AUTOMOTIVE 31/03/2010 INEOS NORWAY SPV 31/12/2009 WARBURTONS HOLDINGS 30/09/2009 BODYCOTE 31/12/2010 FLP2 28/02/2010 ABB 31/12/2009 BENTLEY MOTORS 31/12/2009 BRAMMER 31/12/2010 PETS AT HOME GROUP 31/03/2010 HOLIDAYBREAK 30/09/2010 FOUR SEASONS HEALTH CARE 31/12/2009 URENCO UK 31/12/2009 MORSON GROUP 31/12/2009 B & M RETAIL 31/12/2009 ADIDAS (UK) 31/12/2009 UK FUELS 31/03/2010 FIRCROFT ENGINEERING SERVICES 31/08/2010 REDROW 30/06/2010 NWF GROUP 31/05/2010 EDDIE STOBART 28/02/2010 JJB SPORTS 31/01/2010 BARGAIN BOOZE HOLDINGS 30/04/2010 BASF 31/12/2009 SMURFIT KAPPA UK 31/12/2009 PEEL PORTS S-HOLDER FINANCECO 31/03/2010 SPEEDY HIRE 31/03/2010 THE MANCHESTER AIRPORT GROUP 31/03/2010 PARAGROUP MANAGEMENT 31/03/2010 VEHICLE LEASING (4) 31/12/2009 NWEN GROUP 31/03/2010 MAWDSLEY-BROOKS & COMPANY 31/03/2010 ROBERT MCBRIDE 30/06/2010 SCOTTISHPOWER (DCL) 31/12/2009 STANLEY INTERNATIONAL BETTING 31/12/2009

Profit (Loss) before Tax £m Last Year 61.39 307.73 85.70 -87.59 9.73 13.10 -77.32 3.68 -76.12 47.87 0.43 -31.89 -36.70 32.45 45.20 -21.00 12.70 -282.30 19.31 26.81 26.00 0.93 237.90 9.68 33.85 11.74 1.41 6.31 0.70 7.10 18.45 -68.59 4.28 8.94 17.62 11.57 -22.80 45.60 0.63 24.14 -27.70 5.46 9.94 97.10 2.60

Profit (Loss) before Tax £m Previous Year 38.22 45.48 92.30 -198.51 8.45 -4.10 -55.58 10.21 -51.94 42.62 0.69 -48.63 0.29 9.43 -54.50 -95.30 33.27 -127.60 -1.49 23.10 5.40 2.69 237.90 7.90 14.21 16.22 1.12 3.57 -140.80 6.20 4.45 -189.24 1.01 -35.28 14.39 10.66 -70.60 2.20 1.16 -12.23 0.00 3.61 4.31 98.00 7.24

Number of Employees



6128 10506 3189 912 352 6528 9010 159 3160 4829 15 739 1037 4921 5603 4334 2021 3424 2400 3092 3480 20248 365 533 4831 901 120 311 779 902 4458 8243 226 362 2422 1299 4267 2575 7717

Retailer Mail delivery Home shopping Textiles Food production Logistics Cinemas Office equip Home shopping Retailer Food production Glass manufacturer Chemicals Food production Thermal processing services Retailer Electrical equipment Car manufacturer Mechanical engineering Retailer Travel Healthcare Uranium enrichment Engineering support services Retailers Sportswear manufacturer Fuel wholesaler Recruitment House builder Agricultural foods and fuels Freight transport Retailer Retailer Chemicals Paper manufacturer Port operator Tool and equipment hire Air transport Payroll services Vehicle leasing Intermediate holding Pharmaceutical wholesaler Soap manufacturer Utilities Betting

Bury Bury Manchester Manchester Manchester Manchester Manchester Manchester Hyde Liverpool Knutsford Ormskirk Runcorn Bolton Macclesfield Crewe Warrington Crewe Manchester Handforth Northwich Wilmslow Capenhurst Salford Liverpool Stockport Crewe Crewe Ewloe Wardle???? Warrington Wigan Crewe Cheadle Liverpool Liverpool Newton-le-W Manchester Warrington Chester Warrington Salford Manchester Birkenhead Liverpool

94 770 2268 41 509


THE TOP 200 TABLE Rank Company Name

Turnover £m Last Year

Turnover £m Previous Year

66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110

315.83 315.69 313.35 300.22 295.99 289.89 289.14 286.42 278.49 275.22 271.72 268.90 266.71 264.67 263.19 263.09 262.08 258.40 253.10 248.93 241.93 241.75 241.27 238.91 238.79 238.39 236.30 235.43 233.61 232.10 227.40 223.06 221.42 216.86 215.61 214.64 211.03 209.56 205.82 198.50 194.66 194.16 193.66 193.65 190.88

287.07 600.05 309.69 363.83 268.01 267.47 277.27 278.48 252.90 0.00 235.85 0.00 261.31 333.77 250.54 246.69 245.61 355.15 246.44 491.99 228.36 256.28 270.76 244.48 216.47 215.96 257.70 225.25 255.46 224.50 229.30 244.42 229.44 345.99 218.66 78.43 314.32 230.27 200.73 167.18 248.25 274.28 188.47 178.05 187.49



Profit (Loss) before Tax £m Last Year 51.52 38.93 4.88 -2.75 0.37 34.12 2.77 25.35 20.27 6.24 36.11 -62.70 3.58 5.57 5.27 5.48 8.79 -28.56 8.05 -1.64 -3.52 3.17 -4.17 4.75 41.32 40.92 9.60 16.09 0.88 95.50 4.20 3.64 -8.56 4.84 1.63 2.95 12.26 -0.04 3.31 7.12 2.78 -0.22 5.37 -22.51 8.80

Profit (Loss) before Tax £m Previous Year 42.30 135.30 2.23 1.65 0.37 26.34 2.29 127.65 15.81 0.00 45.27 0.00 2.36 -12.66 6.24 4.15 7.04 17.56 1.27 -75.60 -17.08 -1.74 -9.33 -2.00 27.30 55.63 11.20 -47.85 1.73 86.80 20.60 -0.64 -16.66 -2.36 -0.42 -5.44 21.27 0.06 2.62 2.24 2.84 -0.07 5.58 77.75 6.41

Number of Employees



1007 576 979 2076 32 584 618 592 845 953 4192 3685 4189 655 278 306 1121 244 1742 572 1596 8437 1401 1258 819 990 1440 914 1375 8 5577 492 1317 210 754 106 516 45 437 177 106 176 4215 381 590

Oil and gas services Fertiliser manufacturer Conglomerate Door manufacturer Food distributor Packaging manufacturer Wholesaler Football Chemicals Catering supplies Insurance Engineering consultants Retail Motor retail Christmas savings Food production Drinks production Shipping Construction Metal recycling Fire protection Catering Chemicals Roofing products Chemicals Medical equipment Metal production Paper manufacturer Recruitment Utilities Dry cleaning Motor retailer Mail order Chemicals Food production Wind technology Construction Software Food production Internet services Dairy products Computing Facilities management Petrochemicals Food and agricultural prods

Manchester Chester Salford Handforth Manchester Chester Stockport Manchester Warrington Liverpool Manchester Manchester Liverpool Rochdale Birkenhead Chester Huyton Liverpool Holmes Chapel Warrington Manchester Macclesfield Northwich Wigan Manchester Deeside Salford Bolton Altrincham Birkenhead Runcorn Bolton Hyde Urmston Liverpool Warrington Holywell Knutsford Liverpool Manchester Crewe Warrington Stockport Ellesmere Port Liverpool

Rank Company Name

Turnover £m Last Year

Turnover £m Previous Year

111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155

186.42 186.33 184.78 183.62 180.54 180.44 180.12 176.75 176.70 174.73 172.47 172.16 171.54 169.60 168.27 168.19 166.39 164.41 163.16 162.66 159.72 158.61 158.02 156.10 154.09 153.85 151.91 151.23 150.55 150.27 148.99 148.89 147.76 147.60 146.05 145.53 144.35 144.31 141.65 139.29 139.20 138.15 137.88 137.55 137.50

169.26 172.84 161.79 206.56 140.34 183.71 181.95 159.69 174.00 83.68 150.07 153.18 165.48 154.20 100.64 206.07 177.43 312.71 59.10 155.44 154.84 130.60 138.68 194.70 213.57 80.54 0.00 148.24 141.67 123.45 193.70 136.87 81.02 156.20 229.11 199.92 24.66 95.41 183.16 243.15 135.65 142.74 133.13 134.23 130.98


Profit (Loss) before Tax £m Last Year 35.75 6.67 -54.86 3.03 1.91 0.92 43.02 2.87 -5.20 81.35 8.29 1.53 35.58 -10.00 8.33 7.08 0.22 0.11 0.30 2.57 2.37 24.78 13.44 -13.60 6.24 14.30 6.80 -6.05 1.27 9.55 0.88 11.02 7.84 -4.71 2.85 0.29 10.03 -2.85 1.04 -1.81 -4.93 -0.46 4.79 3.38 6.12

Profit (Loss) before Tax £m Previous Year 33.00 5.92 -40.91 -1.10 4.15 0.95 41.27 2.04 -9.30 21.68 5.35 0.01 1.30 -4.80 3.01 6.83 -0.05 -8.99 -15.77 1.45 2.60 -6.18 10.61 2.90 10.73 0.39 -21.35 -12.30 1.05 2.69 4.70 3.18 6.00 -1.36 4.17 0.45 0.37 0.29 3.36 -0.95 7.71 13.46 6.61 5.02 16.26

Number of Employees



786 905 474 5012 261 2808 597 154 1260 106 624 389 67 1593 216 200 222 1271 385 744 27 645

Floor coverings Disposable wipes Football Airport services Metals manufacturer Travel Insulation manufacturer Computer wholesaler Adhesive tapes/ film Logistics Power generators Motor retailer Food production Consumer products Electrical appliances Advertising Betting Cotton trader Chemicals Kitchens and bathrooms Petrochemicals Property developer Financial services Power transmission products Steel manufacturer Computer parts supplier Academic examinations Kitchens and bathrooms Drinks production Food production Technology retailer Price comparison website Car care products Paints distributor Scrap metal Construction related services Food production Concert promoter Civil engineers Shop fitters Hair care products Pharmaceutical wholesale Metals manufacturer Food production Pumping/valve manufacturer

Manchester Flint Liverpool Runcorn Kirkby Wigan St Helens Warrington Ashton U Lyme Liverpool Liverpool Crewe Liverpool Wilmslow Manchester Manchester Deeside Liverpool Holywell Bolton Crewe Alderley Edge Manchester Manchester Bury Manchester Manchester Manchester Irlam Northwich Bolton Ewloe Bury Altrincham Liverpool Warrington Nantwich Stockport Warrington Altrincham Manchester Rochdale Chester Bromborough Manchester

2156 1573 287 1399 1349 296 336 247 433 1308 1214 115 1667 195 34 1364 263 574 242 557 667 632


THE TOP 200 TABLE Rank Company Name

Turnover £m Last Year

Turnover £m Previous Year

156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176 177 178 179 180 181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 193 194 195 196 197 198 199 200

135.62 134.11 133.29 133.22 133.10 132.66 130.90 129.86 129.23 128.63 126.87 126.59 126.07 125.05 124.83 124.61 124.45 123.44 123.30 122.04 121.58 120.34 119.28 118.62 118.08 117.28 117.18 113.88 113.86 113.86 112.08 111.08 109.74 109.74 108.33 107.22 107.10 106.58 106.49 106.29 105.69 104.47 103.04 102.84 102.26

149.49 131.94 113.75 133.74 180.40 0.00 105.69 96.91 136.28 15.49 141.50 116.21 112.35 87.03 142.55 96.92 127.18 117.45 151.42 120.24 109.34 103.12 144.86 143.99 118.62 89.07 113.40 138.55 112.33 93.66 0.00 86.10 128.65 128.65 110.75 100.50 110.75 112.48 125.44 83.23 100.83 106.14 36.60 86.55 102.87



Profit (Loss) before Tax £m Last Year 44.12 2.96 3.47 7.23 -0.50 4.75 -41.43 4.52 5.92 4.17 5.27 4.06 1.26 -117.79 0.78 10.18 10.10 4.67 0.00 15.45 -1.70 4.14 1.85 13.72 -3.66 1.61 6.75 -4.25 9.69 -5.01 -18.98 1.14 19.41 -13.24 1.05 12.04 0.28 4.51 1.83 -1.50 5.07 9.62 4.91 7.05 4.19

Profit (Loss) before Tax £m Previous Year 69.09 4.98 4.28 -1.63 11.20 0.00 14.33 1.73 -3.88 1.78 3.45 4.09 -11.88 -89.69 -0.77 96.92 9.35 4.14 0.00 -9.39 -8.63 0.28 2.62 23.79 3.24 0.50 5.40 -10.12 10.46 -21.21 -65.47 2.63 30.03 -7.84 3.44 100.50 3.44 6.45 4.82 6.54 5.59 -2.92 1.51 4.54 -1.71

Number of Employees



282 2876 119 1046 484 1950 212 693 623 223 1195 219 233 413 664 2633 1147 2221 2415 224 659 90 267 1091 310 222 128 414 983 584 390 565 984 984 964 1484 1229 612 457 68 621 464 1353 669 154

Financial services Home fashion Recruitment Cooker manufacturer Paper manufacturer Fitness clubs Sportswear manufacturer Energy services Chemicals Marketing consultants Food wholesaler Sale of motor vehicles House builder Football Chemicals Shoe repairing Transport Stationery Law Vehicle leasing Retailer Fuels distributor Construction Engineering Investment holding company Retailer Solvents distributor Travel Tyre distribution Student accommodation Vehicle leasing Foam manufacturer Crane hire Crane hire Retailer Product safety services Furniture manufacturer Construction Hydraulic systems Steel stockholder Transport Plastics manufacturer Engineering services Textile manufacturer Agricultural feeds

Manchester Manchester Prescot Manchester Wigan Cheadle Salford Northwich Cheadle Heywood Winsford Wilmslow Manchester Winsford Manchester Liverpool Crewe Manchester Sale Manchester Bury Salford Stalybridge Manchester Bolton Nantwich Deeside Stockport Manchester Chester Manchester Wigan Wigan Warrington Ellesmere Port Prestwich Bolton Deeside Manchester Widnes Wigan Runcorn Wigan Northwich




Company Name

Return on sale

Turnover th GBP Last avail yr.

Profit (Loss) before Tax th GBP Last avail yr.






































































































Company Name

Turnover change

Turnover th GBP Last avail Yr.

Turnover th GBP previous year







































































































‘The rural economy is not just carrots and cows’ by BILL GLEESON Business Editor Liverpool Daily Post ITS NOT all chimney stacks and gasometers in the “industrial” North West. Even in places like St Helens, there is thriving rural economy woven in and around the disused coal mines and glass factories. John Whaling, economic development manager at St Helens council, believes the region’s rural economy plays an important role. “The rural economy is not just carrots and cows,” he said. “It’s actually any economy activity that takes place in what is the majority of the city region land mass. “There’s a fundamental misperception of what the rural economy is – agriculture is only about 9% of the UK rural economy. “The rural economy is mainstream economic development activity that just happens to be taking place in the non-urban economy.” Mr Whaling acknowledges that the diversity of Liverpool and the surrounding landscape makes it difficult to define. A report by consultants Rural Innovation, setting out an economic strategy for rural Merseyside, Green Zone 2025, took more than 500 words John Whaling

to attempt to do so. In essence, it looks at each council ward and assessed whether its primary land use was rural or urban. This does throw up some apparent anomalies, an example being large employment sites including Daresbury’s Science and Innovation Campus, and the hospitals at Arrowe Park and Clatterbridge, are all categorised as part of the rural economy. However, it is in step with other regions where, for example, the BAE campuses at Salmesbury and Warton, in Lancashire, employ 11,000 people and yet are considered to be rural. Mr Whaling said: “Our definition of rural economy is economic activity taking place in what is defined as a rural area. “We amalgamated a number of factors. A definition by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is very restrictive, so we looked at other definitions and came up with our own definition. “The principle and the facts remain the same – economic activity taking place in a rural environment is a large part of the region’s economy.” The most recent analysis found that 22% of Merseyside’s economic output came from rural areas, generated across the full range of industry sectors. The output per worker is higher in the rural areas than the urban areas.

BAE Systems site in Warton, Lancashire; Daresbury Laboratory, left, and Arrowe Park Hospital, right The rural economy also has direct links to the four areas identified as key drivers for the sub-region’s economy – visitor economy, low-carbon, superport, which includes distribution, and knowledge economy. The Green Zone 2025 report highlights a key, but indirect, economic contribution of rural areas. It attracts and hosts many of the highly-skilled and talented people that drive the private, public and third sector delivering wealth, public services and social justice.” There is an obvious sensitivity around talking up investment in the rural economy, with concerns about taxpayers’ reaction to money being spent on low carbon projects and flood alleviation schemes while frontline public services are being squeezed. The Rural Development

Programme for England (RDPE) is jointly funded by the government and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development. Although the UK spending review hit Defra’s funding, exchange rate movements meant that the money coming from Europe was converted into more than originally expected, which plugged the gap. The North West’s RDPE programme is worth £374m over its five-year life, to 2013. Natural England and the Forestry Commission is delivering the bulk, with £299m allocated for livestock programmes and stewardship, such as woodland creation and management. The remainder is targeted at more general economic development within a rural


setting. As it stands, it’s one of the few areas where there is still public funding from Government and Europe,” said Mr Whaling. “There’s huge untapped potential to unlock more of the great competitiveness and greater economic output from what we take for granted every day. “We recognise that it’s not the top of the agenda, but we feel it has a key and bigger role to potentially play in the wider economy and regenerative impetus of the city region.” He added: “It’s not the be-all and end-all. “It’s significant, but it’s not the key driver. “It has a key role to play but it’s not at the centre. But it requires greater attention and cultivation. It’s a lot more than just farming and agriculture. “We need to work creatively within the legislative and planning boundaries, to be innovative and to maximise the productivity of our land and create new business space, without destroying what makes it appealing.”



Region’sbossesbetterpaid than FTSE-100 directors by BILL GLEESON Business Editor Liverpool Daily Post DIRECTORS of businesses across the North West are receiving salaries far above the national average for their peers at the helm of FTSE 100-listed companies. The average salary for the 10 best-paid directors in the Top 200 was £3.9m last year. This figure falls to an average of £2.6m for the top 20 best-paid directors. By contrast, the average basic salary for directors of FTSE 100-listed companies in 2010 was £625,252, according to the Pensions Investment Research Consultants (PIRC). When bonuses and pension contributions are taken into account, the average total cash remuneration of FTSE-100 directors was £2.2m. Here in the North West, the highest paid director – who received a salary of £6.9m – was identified to be at the helm of Stockport-based concert promoters SJM. While the accounts don’t name the individual receiving this pay, it is likely to be company founder Simon J Moran. A director at Warrington-based European Metal Recycling received £6m, while the highest paid director at insurance giant Swinton (Holdings) received £4.9m. In fifth position is a director of TJ Morris, who was paid £3.2m. Again, the accounts don’t identify the individual, but it is likely to be founder Tom Morris. TJ Morris operates the discount store chain HomeBargains which currently has 200 shops nationwide – a number it intends to increase to 500 stores by 2018. Many of the Top 200 companies are private companies where directors’ pay can often be used as an alternative to dividends as a method to distribute profit. Professor of Leadership at Manchester Business School Chris Bones has advised the coalition government, the Bank of England and a wide variety of blue-chip companies. Prior to becoming an academic, he was director of group organisation with Cadbury Schweppes and spent more than a decade in various senior executive roles with drinks company Diageo. Prof Bones said: “It is difficult, if not impossible, to make judgements about the appropriateness of directors’ pay. "This is partly because we have lost any sense of relative worth between directors and the rest of the workforce.


High rollers: Former United Utilities chief executive Philip Green, left, Simon Moran, above, and Sir Michael Bibby


Company Name

Best-paid directors (£000)































“And it’s partly because the 'talent myth' has made the perceived worth of an individual in the recruitment market a bigger driver of reward than their performance. "Neither of these can be a beneficial influence if you are an owner as they drive neither concern for the well-being of the enterprise as a whole or for maximising the owner's financial returns over the medium-to-long

term. It was Sir Richard Greenbury in his 1995 report who specifically addressed director remuneration. "Along with recommendations on transparency and on limiting service contracts – and therefore pay-offs – to 12 months he made it clear that the pay of those at the top should be set with reference to the pay of those in the rest of the company. "It is a principle that today is


more honoured in the breach than the observance. Today's comparators are more often than not an external peer group, carefully chosen to flatter – as one gets an increase so average remuneration increases as a result, so everyone else gets an increase in order to stay in touch with the average." A director at the North West's only FTSE 100-listed company, Warrington-based United Utilities, does not feature within the list of the region's 20 best paid company directors. A United Utilities' director is ranked 108 on the list with a take-home salary of £250,000 a year. This is likely to be recently

resigned chief executive Philip Green. Prof Bones continued: "Directors take specific and onerous responsibilities and should be rewarded for them. “However, they rely on the hard work and enterprise of many others less well rewarded than themselves. “And it is the relative level of rewards that should be of interest to owners and potential investors alike. "If director rewards head over 20-30 times the average paid to everyone else they should be required to explain, not just in terms of market forces, why their job is more significant."

a brighter place for business The space to develop:



Neighbours in the know!

90 acres of land available now with outline conscent for immediate development for logistics, light industrial or warehouse use.

M56, M62 just 4m via dual carriageway, M6 8m. Linked directly to the WCM via on-site container port. Manchester 24m, Liverpool 10m.

On-site container port and railhead, adjacent to the site of the new Mersey Gateway Bridge, associated port nearby. Biomass energy plant planned for the site.

The UKâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s biggest name in retail and the countryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s best known transport and logistics business have already sited major facilities at Stobart Park.

For further information contact Grant McNab 07977 069 589 or



The growing clout of sport JIM PENDRILL Business Correspondent GIVEN the acres of newsprint devoted to our beloved game, you might think the North West sporting economy simply revolved around the lights of Old Trafford, Eastlands, Goodison or Anfield. To be sure, the collective power of the region’s now seven Premiership teams (sorry Blackpool), not to mention the fact that both Manchester clubs will play Champions League football next season, is not to be sniffed at. Indeed the North West’s top four clubs (the two Manchester plus two Liverpool clubs) were among the world’s top 30 revenue generating clubs in 2009/10 according to the Deloitte Football Money League. But a glance at our ranking in this guide of the largest companies in the North West ranked by turnover shows that not one of our quartet appears in our top 50 – not even the Red Devils. Instead we find a sporting business of a slightly different kind topping our tree, albeit a business run by as big a Reds fan as you'll find anywhere, namely Fred Done. Done's Warrington-based betting empire – which boasts some 840 shops – has been one of the great success stories of North West business in recent times. But given its private ownership it has been a success that until now has been somewhat muted. Not any longer though, not since Done's £285m purchase of the state-owned Tote was completed this summer, another North West-based betting business which is itself one of the biggest companies in the region. The sale of the Wigan-based Tote – which comprises of a racecourse pool betting service, 517 shops plus online and phone betting operations – saw more false starts than a Grand National with efforts by the government to sell the business repeatedly failing in recent years. Now that the sale has gone through, it is almost inevitable that Fred Done will remain top of the pile in this region for many years to come. Business founder Fred Done said: “Yes, it is fair to say we were not everyone’s first choice, but since the announcement was made I have had a load of texts and calls from people in the industry saying ‘OK, now let’s work together’.” Between them Betfred and Tote employ almost 5,000 people in the region, while another North West betting business Stanley International Betting is also one of the region's biggest companies. But even their combined strength is dwarfed by the wider might of the North West sporting industry as a whole. Recent estimates suggest up to 100,000 people are employed in sport-related businesses in the region generating around £6.5bn a year for the economy.


Like elsewhere in the country, sport has become an increasingly significant part of the regional economy, but its rate of growth in the North West has outstripped the rest of the UK. For instance between 1998 and 2006 there was a 60% increase in sport-related employment in the North West compared to a national average of 40%. More recent figures are hard to come by and it is certain that rates of growth across the board will have been dampened by the downturn. But Judith Rasmussen, strategic head for northern England at Sport England, says the North West is now firmly established as one of the top three regions in the UK in terms of the contribution of its sporting economy, with a consumer spend running at around £2bn a year. Rasmussen says the strength of the region is due to an amalgamation of factors. "Obviously the North West has a lot of Premiership football clubs, but it also has a strong history and legacy of sporting events, while it also has its continued strong network of suppliers such as kit manufacturers." Sheldon Phillips, head of major events at the Northwest Development Agency (NWDA), puts it in even starker terms. "There is no doubt that sport is simply more important to the North West than to some other parts of the country. “We are probably only second to the South East in terms of our sporting economy, but we have a great emotional attachment to sport here too which counts for a lot." Rasmussen adds that the NWDA, which like other regional development agencies is now being wound down by the government to be replaced by Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), has played a key role in selling the North West to the wider international market over the past decade or so, a campaign which has seen a host of major international events such as swimming and cycling championships come to the North West for the first time. "The NWDA also played a key role in terms of making sport an anchor to the redevelopments of a specific redevelopment sites such as Sportcity," she adds. Like many involved in grass roots sport, Rasmussen fears that such momentum could now be

Old Trafford, Manchester, will host Champions League football again and this year City captained by Carlos Teves, below, will also be part of the most profitable club tournament

lost with the loss of RDAs. "With the coalition government it is a completely different agenda. As an organisation we are no different and at the moment there is no extra cash on the table. The challenge is to do more with less and look at different models of delivery." Such a mantra is also heard widely in the corridors of local government these days. Adds Rasmussen: "When it comes to its sporting agenda, the likes of Manchester City Council has to decide where it thinks it can have a beneficial impact given its budget constraints. The city has, for instance, used sport as a fantastic driver of development at Eastlands." Phillips believes the city will pull out all the stops to ensure


such development can continue. "Both Manchester and Liverpool recognise the power of major sporting events in terms of driving the economy and regeneration. I am fairly confident that will continue despite the current financial pressures." Part of the answer will naturally come from sporting clubs themselves meeting council and regeneration bodies half way on major projects. Talking of Eastlands, earlier this spring Manchester City signed a £1bn agreement with the city council and New East Manchester to develop more land around the stadium into sporting facilities. Meantime construction work is still continuing at the site with a new £24m national indoor BMX centre the latest piece of the Eastlands sporting jigsaw. Phillips says continued infrastructure projects such as at Eastlands are crucial to the continued success of the region's sporting economy. "Contrary to what some might think, there is

still plenty of development going on with the new rugby stadiums in Salford and St Helens coming along, not to mention a great new indoor space at the Liverpool Echo Arena. In terms of the heritage angle, we also have the national football museum reopening in Manchester this year." Add to that list you can also add the £70m plans of Lancashire County Cricket Club to redevelop their Old Trafford ground. The club is confident the plans will eventually be passed despite a protracted legal challenge by billionaire Albert Gubay, who owns the nearby White Valley

as NW clubs lead the way

Wayne Rooney, John Terry, David Beckham and Glen Johnson model the new Umbro England away kit

Fans queue for tickets at Anfield

retail park, to thwart the development. Phillips adds that another development not to be overlooked is the imminent relocation of BBC Sport to MediaCity at Salford Quays. "There will be businesses that support sports media activity who will move to the region on the back of this and that will create more employment in the sector too." Back to our ranking of the region's top sporting players and another sub sector that has significant value to the regional economy is retail, with the list headed by the giants of the high street JD Sports and JJB Sports.

However like the rest of the retail world, the icy chill of the downturn has severely dented the sports retail bubble. Last month Wigan-based JJB warned investors that its plan to restructure the business could take up to five years as it reported pre-tax losses of more than £181m in the year to January 30, with revenues up just 0.5 per cent to £362.9m. The company is pinning its hopes on new product ranges, a store refurbishment programme and an improved online range to turn things around. The picture is rosier at Bury-based retailer JD Sports Fashion, which makes the top 25

of our overall 200 ranking. The company continues to record strong sales and profits despite what it says are the “multiple economic pressures” facing the business, although it warns that it is “extremely cautious” in its outlook for 2011. The company posted a pre-tax profit of £78.6m in the year to 29 January 2011, up from £61.4m the previous year, while revenues rose to £883.7m. Meanwhile the outlook for the region's top football clubs still looks remarkably strong despite the wider economic pressures. No surprises that the biggest club in our 200 ranking is Manchester United which is now estimated to be worth in the region of £2bn. Perhaps just as startling is the statistic that the club has 14 million subscribers to its Facebook page while its fan base is thought to be around 140 million. So while the defeat to Barcelona in the Champions League final may have hurt the club’s pride, it would have done little to dent the club’s pockets. The same can be said for the city of Manchester in general which will benefit from both of its clubs playing Champions League football next season. Things aren’t quite as rosy down the M62. Liverpool FC recently posted a pre-tax loss of £20m in their last financial year to July 2010, although the club stress that the results are a "footnote" to the reign of former owners Sheldon Phillips

Tom Hicks and George Gillett. During the year revenues increased to £184m but net debt also rose to £123m. However the club say that since the end of the last financial year new owner Fenway has paid off £200m of acquisition debt while the club has also signed its largest ever shirt sponsorship deal with Standard Chartered. Beyond our own ‘big four’ it is worth noting though that the region’s clubs generated more than £900m revenue in the 2009/10 season, while the region’s 20 professional clubs have around 3,000 full-time employees. According to Deloitte’s Sports Business Group, around £800m has also been invested in the region’s stadiums in recent times too. Talking of kit deals, our region is also still home to a string of the world’s best known manufacturers including Adidas, Reebok, New Balance, Asics and Umbro, while many other North West businesses in the design and marketing arena have strong links with the industry. For instance Merseyside digital marketing agency Carpe Diem recently won a pan-European contract to design online advertising campaigns for Asics. Sports management is also a growing industry, typified by Cheshire-based International Sports Management, which

manages the careers of dozens of well-known sportsmen. The business recently stretched its wings across the pond, acquiring Rule 1.02 Marketing, a New Jersey marketing consultancy. Marketing and brand positioning also come into play as the region continues to position itself as global centre for sporting events, typified by the tremendous success Manchester has achieved since the Commonwealth Games in bringing new sports to the city. Today that drive extends to concepts such as the recent ‘Great Weekend of Sport’ which featured the 10k Great Manchester Run, street sprinting on a specially made athletics track down Deansgate, and the Great Manchester Swim at Salford Quays. As Phillips extols: “The whole weekend generated terrific media coverage. It really keeps the city brand out there. Liverpool also has great strengths now with its waterfront offering at the Echo Arena.” And finally, what of 2012? The extent to which regions like the North West will benefit from the London Olympics has been the source of much debate in recent years. What is known is that on the sporting front we will at least see some of the football action, while several of our businesses have also worked on the infrastructure at the Olympic site itself. These companies will now be better placed to bid for other sporting contracts either here or overseas. As Phillips adds: “These companies can tap into contracts for the World Cup and Olympics in Brazil. That’s a real lasting legacy for business.”



Agility is the key to the North West’s success

PwC’s senior partners in Liverpool and Manchester offer advice for regional businesses

THE environment in which UK businesses operate has fundamentally changed, altering the shape of business for many years to come. It has been a testing time for North West businesses. Against a backdrop of public spending cuts, constrained credit conditions and low business and consumer confidence, the last year has been a difficult one for UK plc. PwC’s annual global CEO survey showed that CEOs continue to have major concerns about the ongoing fear of recession, public debt and deficit, and the need to implement greater cost-reduction initiatives than expected. Challenging economic conditions, coupled with decreasing trust in markets, increasing pressures on natural resources and significant changes in customer and employee demographics all mean that we won’t be returning to ‘business as usual’. The economic outlook suggests that the UK is in for a period of relatively low growth. The GDP for the final quarter of 2010 has recently been revised

to -0.6% and the current GDP forecast for the next 12 months is 1.8% – far lower than historic growth rates. At the same time, UK businesses are also likely to experience a range of inflationary pressures, such as fuel and wages – a potential double whammy which will put pressure on margins. We believe that in this climate, businesses need to look at how they will create competitive advantage and continue to deliver shareholder value. Simplifying business process Businesses need to re-think the way they operate. They need to reduce organisational complexity and create more flexible, scalable operating models which are capable of quickly responding to new market opportunities and operating at a lower cost. In short, to maintain competitive advantage and be successful, businesses need to become more agile. Many businesses operate with fragmented and duplicated business processes and sub-optimal use of technology.

Jonathan Main, PwC’s senior partner in Liverpool This can reduce the organisation’s ability to mobilise resources in pursuit of market opportunities, slow down organisational responses and increase operating costs.

to drive change and improve their skills. More successful and stable organisations provide greater long term employment prospects too.

Business benefits An ‘agile enterprise’ is one in which the corporate structure, channels, processes, systems and data are simplified, standardised and aligned in an operating model designed to respond efficiently to market changes. Introducing more agility in business brings many benefits in terms of customer experience, performance and employee satisfaction. A greater understanding of consumer behaviour allows businesses to develop markets, products and services, provide better customer service, and build customer loyalty. Business performance can be improved through simpler, faster and cheaper processes and IT systems. This can lead to significant financial improvements as more efficient organisations are able to grow and deliver without increasing their cost base. In terms of employee satisfaction, stripping away time consuming and repetitive tasks means that staff feel empowered

Agility leads to growth Some companies are making great strides and offer insights into the hallmarks of agility: a common vision and a culture of contribution to constant change. Agile and flexible businesses will be successful and continue to deliver market growth, despite difficult trading conditions. With more than 250,000 businesses in the region, the North West has a considerable role to play in the UK’s economic recovery. The most resilient organisations across the region are flexing their operating models to adapt, and positive news is starting to emerge. For instance, the digital and creative, environmental technology, manufacturing and bio-medicine sectors are reporting strong performance, and fantastic opportunities lie ahead in renewable energy.

‘To be successful, businesses need to become more agile’

Nick Boden, PwC’s senior partner in Manchester


Help is at hand Having worked with many organisations across a variety of industry sectors, PwC has developed an approach to assist

its clients in identifying opportunities for significant improvements in order to help them adapt to change. If you’d like to hear more about how PwC can make your business more agile, its consulting team can help. Just contact our partner, Neil McTiffin, in the consultancy practice via email: This is just one of the topics covered in PwC’s ‘Essentials’ seminar programme, which is run regularly for senior finance professionals across the North West. If you would like to find out more about the sessions, please email: ■ For more information on PwC’s services, or if you would like an informal chat about your business, please contact senior partners Jonathan Main in Liverpool on or Nick Boden in Manchester on


The biggest of the big fight for top spot in the region

by BILL GLEESON Business Editor Liverpool Daily Post

THE 30 largest companies in the region are a dynamic bunch. Even as the Top 200 was being prepared the situation was proving fluid as Fred Done acquired sixth placed Tote.

Another top firm, distribution business TDG, is going through the throes of merging its operations with Norbert Dentressangle after the French firm acquired it in the spring. MBNA Europe Bank, the credit card business owned by Bank of America, has established itself as one of the region’s biggest employers in the almost two

decades it has been in Britain. March UK’s high ranking reflects its ownership of both home shopping group Shop Direct and Home Delivery Network. It also reflects the resilience of the business that used to be Littlewoods. Probably doomed to financial collapse in its former incarnation as a catalogue and high street

retailer, the enterprising investment of its current owners, Sir Freddie and Sir David Barclays, has transformed its fortunes as they have turned it into a modern day online retailer. Another business that marks a relatively recent arrival at the top of the North West’s league of big companies is TalkTalk. It was last year demerged

from Carphone Warehouse to become a major fixed line and broadband competitor to BT with a headquarters at Daresbury. Through what was Opal Telecom, it also offers a business to business service. Making an appearance at number 30 is TJ Morris, reflecting the recent rapid expansion of the discount retailer that didn’t let the

recent recession deter it from its growth plans. If the operator of the HomeBargains store chain continues to achieve its planned growth trajectory, it will certainly move further up future Top 200 rankings. At the same time, established names like Bibby and Princes continue to grow.

Done’s plan to unlock the value of Tote 'AND RIGHT` said Fred! Congratulations are in order to Betfred and its boss Fred Done who celebrates his place at the top of our tree after achieving a lifetime ambition when his £265m bid for the state-owned Tote was approved earlier this month. For Mr Done it was both a business and personal triumph after he saw off not just a string of rival bids but also the racing establishment which had largely made it clear they didn't want to see Mr Done in charge of the historic Tote. Instead, most industry leaders chose to back the Sports Investment Partners’ bid, a consortium led by British Airways chairman Sir Martin Broughton – which if successful would have led to an immediate flotation of the business. The deal also represented the end of a long-running saga in the government's efforts to offload the Tote. In the end the political necessity of selling off a state asset in these hardened times, and particularly one which really didn't need to be in the state's hands at all, forced the pace on a deal with the coalition government announcing


Turnover/profit Done Brothers £3,502m/£0.36m

that the sale process was back on within weeks of taking power 12 months ago. So what now? Well, Mr Done plans to expand the Tote's pool betting operations internationally and in the UK, as well as the number of betting shops. For his money, Mr Done has picked up the famous racecourse pool betting service, a chain of 517 shops, and – of course – the ever more significant online and phone betting operations. For privately-owned Betfred and its owner it is a huge move, not just for the Warrington business but in terms of its wider and now far more public profile. Betfred itself currently has 840 betting shops and Mr Done believes he is perfectly placed to unlock the value of the Tote which is headquartered just down the road in Wigan. Given the proximity of the two businesses there will inevitably be some job cuts to make the combined business as efficient as

possible, but Mr Done has insisted he will keep these to a minimum. The deal will also help him close the gap on the big three in the betting industry – Coral, Ladbrokes and William Hill. For 68-year-old Mr Done, who runs the £3.5bn business with his younger brother Peter, there must inevitably be a feeling that all this expansion (though entirely logical) and more public persona has come a little late in his extraordinary career (he opened his first betting shop when he was 24). Indeed he admitted as much during the hustings to take over the Tote. Things would have been very different if the brothers had decided to float the business back in 2007, but their reluctance to bet at least part of the business on the stock market has proved well-founded given the rollercoaster of the markets in recent times. However if the group gets much bigger there will inevitably be calls for the brothers to look at a listing again.

Fred Done: Saw off string of rival bids



Efficiency the challenge for giant utility

Giant portable floodlight lets Amec construction workers continue through the night and, inset, Chief Executive Samir Brikho

Consultancy serving the power sector GLOBAL engineering specialist AMEC is headquartered in Knutsford, Cheshire, and has sites across the North West in Chester, Birchwood, Barrow-in-Furness and Manchester. Over the last five years the business has moved out of its troubled interests in UK-based PFI projects to refocus as a consultancy serving the oil and gas, water and environmental, nuclear and power generation sectors. Last month the company made one of its most significant ever acquisitions when it paid $280m for US project management company Mactec which was majority owned by Nautic Partners, a US private



Turnover/profit AMEC £2,950.6m/£258.2m

equity firm. Mactec is based in Georgia and employs 2,600 staff. Amec says the deal will enhance its presence "east of the Mississippi" and was consistent with their strategy of increasing exposure to environmental remediation and water resources sectors. Mactec held gross assets of $283m at the end of last year during which it generated earnings before interest and tax of $32m. Chief executive Samir

Brikho hinted that more deals could soon be in the offing too. "We still have markets where we are under-represented," he said. "This acquisition is fully aligned with AMEC's Vision 2015 growth strategy and provides AMEC with the right scale to service this important and growing environmental and infrastructure engineering services market."

EARLIER this summer the UK's largest listed water utility revealed that the regulatory price review in the water industry had hit sales and profits as revenues from continuing operations fell by £60m to £1.5bn in the year to March 31, 2011, while underlying pre-tax profits were 32% lower at £329m. Industry regulator Ofwat had previously ordered the Warrington-based company to cut its prices by 4.3%, while the cost of infrastructure renewals and property rates also impacted on results. Chief executive Steve Mogford, who took the helm of United Utilities in March when he succeeded Philip Green, said the 4% cut in revenues reflected the regulator's price review "translating through". This year the business will have to cut prices by another 0.2%. Mogford's appointment was something of a surprise in the City. He was formerly chief executive of Essex defence electronics company Selex which he had led since it was spun out of BAE Systems and sold to Italy's Finmeccanica three years ago. However it was widely expected that Mr Green would step down after completing the major restructuring of UU over the past four years which has seen it focus on its UK water and wastewater business. In so doing, the company has completed the £600m sale of its non-regulated assets. Mr Mogford told investors that the business was now pushing through a major efficiency programme up until 2015 and pledged to make £50m of operational savings by that date. The company says it is well positioned to hit the target, not least after winning union backing for changes to its pension scheme which will reduce the deficit and future funding costs. Mogford told investors that the company's aim was to become the UK's leading


Turnover/profit UNITED UTILITIES £2,439.1m/ £474.2m

water company. "We are focused on providing the best service, at the lowest sustainable cost and in a responsible manner, for the long-term benefits of our customers, our shareholders and the environment." To that end the company has recently announced a string of related initiatives. For instance it has made a £100m investment in its Davyhulme waste processing plant which generates gas

United Utilities chief executive Steve Mogford, who joined the company in March 2011

power; while its £120m investment in the West East Link pipeline connecting Manchester and Liverpool is scheduled to open this year and will allow the company to transfer water around the region more easily. In a rather more quirky deal, the company also recently teamed up with Direct Tyre Management to convert old tyres into useful products such as playground and sports surfaces.



Innovation in online world INNOVATION remains the name of the game at Bank of America’s European credit card arm, which operates under the MBNA brand. Like all its competitors, MBNA, which remains Chester's largest employer, is busy working out how best to serve its customers in today's online and increasingly virtual world, yet at the same time keep security number one. For instance earlier this spring the bank announced that the first American Express-branded, contactless credit cards in the UK will be issued for use by MBNA's customers. The move is part of a phased initiative by MBNA to issue contactless-enabled cards for new and replacement credit cards for all of its UK customers. To use their new contactless cards, customers simply touch the card at payment terminals that display the contactless symbol and American Express logo without the need to enter their PIN. Naturally alongside the


Turnover/profit MBNA


move MBNA has added layers of security to its customers' credit cards. For example, contactless cards cannot be used until a PIN is entered on first use. Payments are limited to up to £15 per transaction, and customers will occasionally be asked to enter their PIN for security purposes. Meanwhile MBNA has also launched new online banking services under the banner of Online Card Services. These include providing step-by-step guidance on how to get the most from online banking; more concise content; and better navigation of the site. The bank has also launched a new mobile phone service enabling UK customers to text for their credit card information. By using the

new Mobile Banking Text service, customers can use their mobile phone to get credit card account information, including balance, payments and transactions, by simply texting to a dedicated number. As Ian Craig, Sales, Service and Operations executive for Bank of America Europe Card Services, explained: "Our customers' needs and expectations are changing. They want greater control and choice in managing their finances, and they want to do so in a way that fits their lifestyles. Newer technology, including mobile phone functionality, SMS, the Internet and voice recognition systems are transforming the way our customers expect us to interact with them."

Ian O'Doherty, Europe Card Executive for Bank of America

Tasty target for takeover 5

Turnover/profit Iceland Foods £2,264.8m/£110.1m

Malcolm Walker founded the frozen food chain more than 30 years ago and has been back in charge since 2005


WITH failed Icelandic bank Landesbanki poised to sell its 67% stake, the battle for the frozen food specialist could turn out to be one of the tastiest on the high street this autumn. Although the sale process is not expected to begin officially until September, the big guns are already lining up as the guessing game as to who will make the first move builds by the week. While the majority of the high street continues to be hard hit by the post-recession headwinds, food retail has for obvious reasons escaped relatively unscathed. That said, the sector continues to go through serious realignment as the big players rush to ensure they have the right offering and foothold in various parts of the country, whether it be larger stores or convenience offering. For instance Morrisons, under relatively new chief executive Dalton Philips, has aggressively been outbidding rivals to secure new stores, while also opening its first convenience stores next

month along the M62 corridor. No surprises then that it has already been rumoured to have been talking to its bankers over a potential £1.8bn bid for Iceland which has 780 stores. Given their wider plans the Bradford giant must remain one of the favourites to pick up a fair number of the stores. However fellow Yorkshire retailer Asda will also be expected to lodge a bid too. And then there's Malcolm Walker, the founder and chief executive of Iceland, who together with management holds a 23% stake in the business, and will be sure to be putting his own bid together. Mr Walker has been back at the helm of the company since 2005 after heading up a consortium that took the company private. The company, which made a £135m pre-tax profit in the year to March 2010, is expected to be valued between £1.7bn and £2bn. Little surprise that Landesbanki are rumoured to have rejected a £1bn offer from Walker last year.

A part of every racecourse IT SEEMS the gloom and doom surrounding the UK economy has done little to quell our love affair with the flutter as a second bookie appears in our top 10, this time the soon not-to-be state-owned Tote. Its eventual sale to Betfred (see number 1) marks the end of one of the most protracted ever privatisations which was only finally given the much-needed kick it needed after the coalition government decided there was no time to waste in cutting the deficit. Even so, the coalition should be applauded for finally getting the deal to stack up. It was new Labour who made a manifesto pledge to sell the operation, but ever since then a string of bids have either fallen foul of European Commission state-aid rules or haven't matched government expectations.

The Tote at Chester racecourse


Turnover/profit Tote Bookmakers £2,203.9m/£14.7m

Many thought a deal would finally happen when £320m was put on the table from a consortium comprising of racing interests such as the Racecourse Association (RCA), the management of the Tote and LDC, the private-equity arm of Lloyds TSB. Many will look back with irony given the £265m price that was finally paid by Betfred. It was back in 1928 that the Tote was established to distribute profits for "purposes conducive to the improvement of breeds of horses or the sport of horseracing". Fifty years ago when

betting shops were first allowed to open the Tote was restricted from opening shops but a decade later those restrictions were lifted. In 1992 Tote Direct was set up to channel Tote bets from high street betting shops into Tote pools. At the same time betting terminals were installed in more than 4,500 shops across the UK, including all totesport, Ladbrokes and Coral shops. Today the business has more than 3,500 employees, 500 shops, and – of course – a presence on all 60 racecourses in Britain.

Cold winter boosted profits

BIRCHWOOD based GB Oils, a subsidiary of the giant DCC energy group, is the leading distributor of transport and heating fuels to the best part of half a million domestic, commercial, industrial and agricultural customers throughout the country. In the year to March 31, 2010, it sold 4bn litres of oil products, of which almost 20% was kerosene, the heating oil for domestic users. GB Oils has acquired a number of businesses in the oil distribution sector in Britain since entering the market a decade ago, but has continued to sell products under their brand names. However, the oil distribution industry in Britain still remains very fragmented with in excess of 175 distributors. In its latest results DCC Energy’s operating profit was 17.2% ahead of the prior year on a constant currency basis and the business said it benefited from the successful integration of a number of acquisitions completed in prior years and another extremely cold winter overall. In total DCC Energy sold 7.1bn litres of product, an increase of 15.5% on the prior year. The company said the oil distribution business had another "excellent" performance in Britain, benefiting from the "integration, consequent synergies and strong performance of recent acquisitions". DCC further strengthened its position in the British market through the acquisition of Pearts, a 190m litre business in Northern

GB Oils' headquarters at Warrington's Birchwood Business Park

England, completed in May 2010, and from the acquisition of two oil importation and storage terminals in Inverness and Aberdeen in Scotland in June 2010. In February this year DCC Energy reached conditional agreement to acquire the entire issued share

capital of Pace Fuelcare, a British oil distribution business. In its last financial year Pace Fuelcare sold 515m litres of fuel to independent retail petrol stations and a broad range of commercial, industrial, agricultural and domestic customers.


Turnover/profit GB Oils £1992.5m/£19.54m



Set to deliver first profit ALL EYES will be on Companies House data later this summer when March UK, the holding company of Shop Direct – the Speke headquartered retail giant – announces its latest annual results. Last year its chief executive Mark NewtonJones said the company was on course for what is believed to be its first pre-tax profit since the Barclay Brothers bought the former Littlewoods business from the Moores family for £750m in 2002. Now re-positioned as an online retailer, rather than as a traditional catalogues business, the group, which is based on Speke's Estuary Commerce Park, reported a significant reduction in pre-tax losses for the year to April 30 2010, from £114m in 2009 to £21m. Mr Newton-Jones said he expected to deliver profit growth in the year ahead through continued improvements to product



March UK £1,903.7m/£2.7m

Mark Newton-Jones expects profit growth but remains cautious ranges supported by further operational efficiencies. However, like any retailer in the present climate, he is cautious on outlook and it remains to be seen whether

the ill winds blowing through the high street have derailed the group's hoped for return to profit. In the year to April 2010 sales were broadly flat at

£1.7bn although online sales grew by 19% during the year and represented about 70% of group retail turnover. One would surely expect both figures to have

risen again over the past year. It will also be interesting to report on the success of the group's quest for a greater share of the over 50s female market

which, according to various studies, represents the fastest growing demographic using the internet and yet is the least competitive market. Shop Direct's more mature websites, which include Kays, Marshall Ward and Empire, were rebranded this Spring and the over 50s customer represents about 30% of Shop Direct's business. The company was formed in 2004 when the billionaire brothers Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay bought the catalogue retailer Shop Direct and merged it with their Littlewoods business. The company adopted the Shop Direct Group name in 2008 but still uses Littlewoods and a number of other brands, including Kays and Additions Direct. The group trades exclusively through catalogues and the internet, having sold its unprofitable high street stores in 2006. The group remains a significant employer all across the North West and has its national distribution centre in Shaw, Oldham.

Firm an attractive target 9

Turnover/profit LOOKERS £1,883.8m/ £31.1m

ANOTHER of our top 10 businesses that is attracting acquisitive interest is Manchester car dealership Lookers. Last month it rejected a takeover approach from a consortium made up of Trefick, a private investment vehicle for veteran investor Jack Petchey, real estate firm Moor Park and venture capitalist Brett Palos. The offer was "firmly rejected" by the board and the Takeover Panel has now ruled that the consortium must make a firm offer by early June or walk away from the deal. Mr Petchey holds a 17.3% stake in Lookers. It is little wonder that the company makes an attractive target. In May chief executive Peter Jones said the business had made an "excellent start" to the year, with trading in the first quarter ahead of the same period last year, despite the still considerable pressures in the industry. Mr Jones said: "Both the motor and parts divisions have produced


strong trading results in the period which gives us confidence that we will continue to trade successfully this year and be in a position to take advantage of growth opportunities should they arise." Sales of new cars were actually 10.5% lower than last year, but this was better than the overall UK market, which declined by 18%. Margins remained satisfactory and ahead of budget. The firm said the broad base of its franchises and the restructuring of its motor division over the last two years now gave it greater resilience in these challenging times. The group added it has a significant amount of unused bank facilities which enables it to continue to seek acquisition opportunities. Reports suggest the bidding consortium would split the business into an operating company selling and servicing cars and a separate property company controlling its 71 forecourts.

A bid could split the business into an operating company selling and servicing cars and a separate property company controlling its 71 forecourts

Still at No.1 Full service commercial law firm Hill Dickinson has been recognised with a number of industry accolades over the past 12 months, both locally and nationally. From our headquarters at No.1 St. Paul’s Square, Liverpool, we work in partnership with clients across a number of business areas; from health, insurance and the public sector, through to corporate, banking and finance, property, employment, transport, marine and retail; delivering a full complement of award-winning legal services, to first class standards.

Contacts: Peter Jackson Managing Partner David Wareing Senior Partner Bill Doherty Director of Business Development and Marketing



Law firm award (six or more partners)

Commercial award

Online initiative of the year

Liverpool Law Society Awards 2011

Liverpool Law Society Awards 2011

Claims Innovation Awards 2011




National law firm of the year

Corporate law firm of the year

Corporate philanthropy award 2010

Legal Business Awards 2010

Insider North West Dealmakers Awards 2010

Spirit of Merseyside Awards


No.1 St. Paul’s Square, Liverpool, L3 9SJ t: 0151 600 8000



Global leader in recycling WARRINGTON headquartered European Metal Recycling is a global leader in recycled products and environmental services, managing more than 10m tonnes a year of materials from consumers, industry and demolition works. The company was formed back in 1994 by the Manchester based Sheppard Group which has subsequently made a string of acquisitions to turn the business into a major force in recycling.



European Metal Recycling £1,843m/ £91.1m

The company today employs 2,300 people and is a major employer across the North West. It has three sites in Liverpool and

one in St Helens among its 100-plus locations around the world. The business now has extensive

ferrous and non-ferrous operations. It has also been busy developing its processes towards mixed plastics, rubbers, glass and textiles. The latest figures available are for 2009 when group sales came in at £1.93bn. Publishing the results last year, the group admitted that it had been hit by lower commodity prices and reduced volumes because of continued challenging

market conditions in the wake of the financial crisis. However, it said strong margins and strict cost control helped pre-tax profits rise 43% to £91.1m. The Sheppard family's wealth was recently valued at £635m in this year's Sunday Times Rich List. Meanwhile, the group refinanced its UK operations at the start of last year to provide additional liquidity.

The sun sets behind the European Metal Recycling plant at Bootle Docks

Hundreds of sites across the UK MARLOWE Holdings is the holding company of the giant Cheshire based electrical products distributor Edmundson Electrical. Today, the business has some 250 sites across the UK and more than 3,000 staff. The business is privately owned by the Delaware-based Blackfriars Corporation which is controlled by the Chicago-based Colburn family which owns plastics and electrical distribution companies throughout the world. Edmundson supplies every corner



Turnover/profit Marlowe Holdings Investments £1,107m/£25m

of the industry including electrical contractors and engineers, industrial companies, government agencies, local authorities, power generation businesses, utility groups, construction and

petrochemical sectors. For the latest figures available for the year ending 2009, Edmundson Electrical posted an annual turnover of £782m and came in with profits of £45.4m.

Distributor supplies every corner of electronics industry

Number of stores to rocket MATALAN, the Skelmersdale-based retailer, which today boasts 205 stores across the UK, said earlier this spring that it planned to increase the number of its stores after completing a £300m refinancing to simplify its debt structure. The business secured a Lloyds Bank-led syndicated banking package involving a £50m revolving credit facility and a £250m high yield bond to invest in expanding the chain. At the time, Paul Gilbert, acting chief executive and finance director, said: "We are now in a position to focus on the implementation of our growth strategy, which will see continued store roll-outs, significant investment in our brand and development of our multi-channel vision." Paul Foster, deputy head of Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets in Manchester, said that Matalan was highly cash generative and had "strong prospects for the future".


Turnover/profit Matalan Retail £1,104.1m/ £103.2m

Matalan in Wavertree and, right, founder John Hargreaves At the time of the announcement Mr Foster said: "The retail market has been difficult for some time, but the business, largely on account of its strong brand, is well positioned to grow through its planned new store

openings, strengthening online proposition and the continued success of its clothing lines. “We have been working very closely with Matalan for some time and restructuring its balance sheet in this way will give

£40.7m food group profits

IN ITS last available figures, the Liverpool-based food group, which operates a range of household brands including Napolina, Crisp 'n Dry and Jucee, reported that sales had increased marginally to £1.09bn in the year to March 2010, while profits came in at £40.7m. Earlier this year Princes reached agreement to acquire the canning operations of Premier Foods for £177m. As part of the deal Premier Foods' sites at Long Sutton and Wisbech in East Anglia transferred to Princes' ownership. The sites collectively employ over 1,000 people. The Crosse & Blackwell, Fray Bentos and Farrow's brands were acquired by Princes while a number of Premier Foods' brands, including Branston and Batchelors, remained under Premier Foods' ownership but are now licensed to Princes.

The deal expands Princes' branded portfolio in the canned foods sector and increases the company's range of customer own-label and branded products. It also takes annual revenues towards £1.5bn and total headcount to 4,500 employees, of which about 300 are based at its Royal Liver Building headquarters. Princes also operates production sites across the UK in Bradford, Kent, Cardiff, Chichester, Church Stretton, Eden Valley in Cumbria, London, Glasgow and Manchester. Ken Critchley, Princes Managing Director, said at the time the deal was announced: "This proposed acquisition is an excellent strategic fit for our group and will enable us to further grow our business in the UK and continental Europe by offering our customers a broader range of ambient food products

and brands." Princes started life back in the 19th century importing canned fish as the Simpson, Roberts partnership. Its current owners, Japanese giant Mitsubishi Corporation, bought Princes Buitoni from Nestlé in 1989. Mitsubishi has an annual turnover of £150bn and operates in more than 80 countries. The UK generates a significant majority of sales for Princes and the domestic market continues to perform very strongly. The European mainland remains a key market for Princes, which opened a Polish office last year in order to accelerate Continental expansion. The joint venture has been undertaken with its established partner ADM and strengthened Princes' retail and wholesale customer support across central and eastern Europe.

the management team the flexibility it needs to push forward with its plans for the coming years." Matalan is still owned by founder John Hargreaves and other members of his family. Last year he pulled the

plug on talks to sell the chain because he said the offers from private equity firms were not high enough. Bidders, including TPG, Advent and Warburg Pincus, reportedly refused to meet the £1.5bn price tag for the business.


Turnover/profit 13 Princes Limited £1,093.2/£40.6m

Some of the product range of Princes Food and Drink Group



Mobilephone distributor

Sir Michael Bibby at the helm

Growth the best course

LIVERPOOL-based Bibby has global interests ranging from shipping, marine services and logistics through to financial services, offshore services and retailing. This very diverse range of services and products has enabled it to continue to steer a profitable path through the very choppy waters of the downturn. With Sir Michael Bibby at the helm, who has led the family firm since taking over as chief executive in 2000, the group has enjoyed considerable expansion through both organic and acquisitive growth. In its latest available accounts turnover for the whole group increased by 5 % to £1.09bn last year. In particular the group has diversified from owning, operating and managing ships into logistics, financial services and retailing. Today its interests range from woodland burials to deep-sea diving, and from corner shops to Transit vans. Sir Michael said last year that the recession was providing opportunities in most areas in which the group operated, with financial services seeing a large increase in business



Turnover/profit Bibby Line Group £1,089.1m/£21.8m

as banks become more risk averse. Last year the company announced a return to deep-sea cargo carrying, three years after it disposed of most of its former deep sea fleet. In January this year Bibby Group of Factors the UK's largest independent factoring and invoice discounting provider – secured a £340m refinancing with a banking syndicate led by Barclays Corporate. The deal, which saw Bibby refinance an existing facility which was due to expire in 2012 early and secure its funding until 2014, is important given the fact that many businesses are switching to such alternative forms of finance in the current economic climate. Barclays provided £175m, Lloyds £75m, RBS £50m and Credit Agricole £40m. As Mark Hartigan, group risk and finance

director at Bibby Financial Services, said: "As the economy begins its recovery, it's vital that businesses can gain quick access to funding to enable them to capitalise on any potential growth opportunities. Since the amount that can be borrowed grows directly in line with sales, invoice finance is an ideal solution in the current climate." In May this year Bibby Financial Services announced an 84 % growth in pre-tax profits to £34.3m, following a 25 % growth in new business year-on-year in 2010. With a client base of more than 5,000 factoring £5.8bn debts around the world, all of the company's 13 global businesses have been trading profitably. The group's recent acquisitions of Kopparberg Finans based in Sweden and Aston Rothbury in the UK have also supported its growth strategy.

CHICAGO Beta is an affiliate of UK private equity firm Doughty Hanson that, back in 2006, paid £347m for the distribution and logistics arm of the Caudwell telecoms empire which it renamed 20:20 Mobile. Today the business remains one of the largest distributors of mobile phones and mobile accessories through its Dextra Solutions business. Headquartered in Crewe, the business employs 1,300 across the globe, with more than 8,000 customers. It's been a troubled investment for Doughty, which, in 2008, was forced to hand back half its equity stake to the banks behind the original buyout and make a fresh capital injection of £15m. Doughty retained a 45% stake in the business. However Doughty's move to inject cash early in the financial crisis, which hit in earnest later in 2008, appears to have done the trick. Earlier this year, the business won a 12-month contract to exclusively supply a new range of BlackBerry OEM mobile phone accessories to mobile phone retailer The Carphone Warehouse. The supply agreement saw 20:20 Mobile distribute an extended range of


Turnover/profit 20:20


BlackBerry OEM accessories for a wide range of BlackBerry mobile phones, and launch new look BlackBerry packaging within The Carphone Warehouse's 800 stores across the UK. The range of products will continue to develop to ensure new release handsets are matched with the latest accessories. Following a tender process, 20:20 Mobile secured the exclusive supplier contract. Commenting on the deal James Browning, UK Managing Director of 20:20

Mobile, said: "Mobile accessories have always been a major part of the 20:20 portfolio and by continually introducing new accessory ranges and signing exclusive relationships with major retailers, we have ensured our mobile phone accessories division remains at the forefront of the industry. “We have always had a very strong relationship with The Carphone Warehouse with a trading history of over nine years."

20:20 distributes an extended range of BlackBerry OEM accessories for a wide range of BlackBerry mobile phones

Free recruitment 0151 227 1234

Liverpool Chamber Training can help you recruit skilled staff

See some of the apprentices looking to work in your sector log on to: apprenticeships.html or scan the QR code

CIPS Open Enrolment Day Liverpool Chamber of Commerce is an approved CIPS (Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply). The Chamber is hosting a series of CIPS Open Enrolment days 4th July, 4th August and 8th September from 10am at Liverpool Chamber so you can meet the tutors and see how CIPS can help your business. If you would like to chat to the tutors one to one we would also be able to arrange this for you. The Chamber’s study centre delivers procurement and supply chain training to businesses across Merseyside to improve their buying skills. Stephen Sullivan, CIPS Centre Manager explained: “This event is designed for potential students to meet the tutors and see how CIPS can help their business. Purchasing and supply professionals are valuable assets to any company, especially when highly trained and qualified. CIPS qualifications are internationally recognised and help people make the most of their career whether just starting out or have been professional for some time.” The event begins at 10am with registration, refreshments and networking followed by introduction to the Chamber and public sector courses, a run down of course structure and the benefits to a buyer’s role. The event concludes with real life case studies and an interactive learning demonstration. Use Scan this QR code to see the full range of courses for the following year or visit

Steeped in history and culture, the Isla Gladstone Conservatory offers a Unique and Exquisite experience for all of your guests. The conservatory itself is the pinnacle of Stanley Park in Anfield. The renovation has brought life and a sense of tranquillity to the area, offering a taste of Victorian class. The Isla Gladstone Conservatory has been specially adapted to contain all of the conveniences of modern amenities, as well as maintain its Victorian charm and original identity. Set in beautiful landscaped grounds, the unique glass building is not only striking in appearance, but is a fully usable space.

incorporating the following… • Conservatory can comfortably accommodate up to 300 people for a formal dinner or up to 400 for a canapé style reception. • A specialist air conditioning system, making the space completely climate-controlled • Fully integrated sound system • Secure parking for 100 cars • Complete disabled access • Fully equipped and functioning bar with soft seating area

stanley park anfield road liverpool l4 0td telephone: 0151 263 0363



‘The teenage octopus’

The wholesaler supplies pharmacies, GPs and hospitals

Runcorn firm with German parent 16

Turnover/ profit

Phoenix Healthcare Distribution £957.6m/£19.2m

RUNCORN headquartered Phoenix employs 1,500 people at its 15 depots across the UK, and is part of the group that includes pharmacy chains Rowlands and Numark. Its parent company is the huge German Phoenix Pharmahandel Group, which has more than 23,000 employees in 24 countries. The pharmaceutical wholesaler supplies pharmacies, GPs and hospitals, and looking at its last filed accounts for the year to January 2009, sales came in just under the £1bn mark at £962m. Pre-tax profits slipped by £1m to £25.3m in the same period. Phoenix UK was founded in 1998 with


the combined acquisition of L.Rowland based in Wrexham and Philip Harris Medical in Birmingham. The acquisition of a number of further regional wholesalers followed and these were all combined to form one wholesaling company. In the year to January 2008 Phoenix saw sales fall nearly £37m after drug giant Pfizer's decision to switch to a model known as 'direct to pharmacy'. This is where manufacturers enter into contracts for certain select wholesalers to deliver product on their behalf to pharmacies and dispensing doctors for a fee per pack of product.

PHONE group TalkTalk reported good progress this spring in its first year since demerging from Carphone Warehouse. The broadband and voice provider, which employs 1,000 staff at a Warrington call centre, saw revenues rise by 4.7% to £1.76bn and post-tax profits improve by 24.5% to £122m in the year to March 31. Integration of the Italian telecoms group Tiscali – which TalkTalk acquired in 2009 – was also completed, generating £55m of synergies. The new-look Talk Talk is making a big push for the small and medium-sized enterprise (SMEs) market through its TalkTalk Business division. However the Tiscali integration was not without its difficulties. TalkTalk admitted that it lost 25,000 customers to rival broadband providers in the final three months of 2010 amid difficulties in transferring former Tiscali customers to its network. The transition caused some customers to be without internet access for several days and left a third of Tiscali subscribers with higher bills than previously. At the time chief executive Dido Harding said the company's key focus was to improve its offerings and keep hold of existing customers

Demerging from Carphone Warehouse has proved a good move



TalkTalk Communications £867.8m/£-44.7m

rather than expanding its base. She said the business resembled a "teenage octopus". "Like companies that have grown very fast. . . we don't have control of our arms and legs, like a gangly teenager. And we have a lot of arms and legs. The teenage octopus will take a while to grow up."

TalkTalk also tops customer complaint leagues in the sector. Regulator Ofcom received more complaints about the business in the five months to February than about any other fixed line telecoms provider. For fixed line telephony, it received 1.8 complaints for

every 1,000 TalkTalk customers in the period - more than four times the rate for BSkyB, which had the second-worst score. TalkTalk also received the highest rate of complaints for fixed broadband services, at 1.3 per 1,000 customers. Meanwhile chairman Charles Dunstone has pledged to reward shareholders from next year, saying: "From full year 2012 our dividend policy will reflect our progress and the strength of our cash generation and we aim to distribute 50% of our headline earnings per share as regular dividends."

Loyal customer base PART of the Metro group, there Foodservice was launched in are now more than 600 2010 and has now been Metro/Makro cash and carry implemented at more than half stores operating in 30 Makro Self Service of Makro's UK stores, with countries. plans to roll out the initiative Wholesalers Indeed if you feel they've to the remaining stores during £867.8m/£-44.7m been around for a long time 2011. Late last year Makro now, you wouldn't be far introduced an online shop wrong. This year the service, and online offering. For customers' premises. It offers offering customers delivery on wholesaler turned 40 and it instance Makro Foodservice them a one-stop-shop of fresh over 2,000 professional now has 30 stores across the offers access to the full Makro and frozen foods, general catering equipment and UK. range of over 30,000 lines groceries, beer, wines and appliances. At the heart of its success which are delivered direct to spirits and non-food solutions. After identifying areas in the lies a very loyal customer UK where customers base and a model of are not currently being customer loyalty that serviced by a Makro has been much used by store within a one hour rivals in recent times. drive time, the company But like any retailer in is also currently the present climate the piloting Makro Drive company cannot afford to depots at two locations, stand still. York and Milton Keynes. Earlier this year it As Mr Mitchell appointed Peter Mitchell explained: "Our aim is as head of multi-channel to ensure we cater for sales delivery, in a the needs of a full strategic move to push spectrum of customers, forward the company's from pubs and multi-channel operation. restaurants to hotels Mr Mitchell will further and caterers, and the develop the continued roll out of this roll out of its Foodservice multi-channel operation and Drive initiatives, as takes us a step further Customers are offered a one-stop-shop of fresh and frozen foods, general well as supporting its towards doing this." groceries, beer, wines and spirits and non-food solutions Select and Collect



Target of 20 million customers CO-OPERATIVE Financial Services is part of the Manchester-based Co-operative Group, the UK's largest consumer co-operative. CFS is the group of businesses that includes Co-operative Insurance and Co-operative Bank including Smile and Britannia. CFS now has some 6.5m customers offering them a mix of financial products. Within the wider Co-op group, CFS remains a star performer. In the last financial year, CFS increased revenues by 23.6% to £2.5bn, while operating profit grew 17.7% to £208.6m. The group said the growth was despite the continuing

CFS increased revenues by 23.6% to £2.5bn



CFS Management Services £787.9m/£-0.53m

challenges and weakness of the financial services market. On a wider front, Co-op's chief executive Peter Marks said the company's performance in 2010 capped a "truly remarkable and exhilarating period" for the business which revealed another record financial performance, with sales growing 9.1% to £13.7bn in the year to 1 January 2011. Underlying profit before

payments to and on behalf of members leapt 48.3% to £545.7m. The proposed dividend to consumer members was up 55% to £77.4m. Mr Marks said the company had now completed its three-year business plan during which it doubled profits, sales and membership numbers, and had now set its stall on reaching 20m customers by 2020.

"We have achieved our success due to continued investment in our store and branch estates and in our brand, our products and our service," said Mr Marks. "In addition, we made two ambitious and transformative acquisitions – Somerfield in food and Britannia in financial services." The Britannia deal in 2009 added 3m new members to the Co-op. However, Mr Marks admitted that the economic recovery had been slower than the group was expecting and he anticipated challenging trading conditions through to the end of this year and into 2012.

Tough times hit soap star NEW headquarters at Manchester Business Park are proof that PZ Cussons, the soap and shampoo maker, has been one of the star performers of the North West economy in recent times. But with major international operations, it is no surprise that the business has more recently been buffeted somewhat by global ill winds. Last month, the company said that trading remained tough as a result of higher raw material costs and also because of ongoing political issues in Nigeria, its biggest market. In a trading statement covering the period from 26 January to 13 April, it said


Turnover/profit PZ Cussons £771.6m/£101.8m

UK trading conditions remained challenging, with high levels of promotional activity and a continuing squeeze on consumer spending. But the company, which owns such famous brands as Imperial Leather and launches up to 50 new products a year in the UK alone, added that the pressures on its business would be partially offset by the resilience of is more premium brands in the UK and by growth in Asia.

PZ Cussons’ headquarters at Manchester Business Park

Late last year, the company also started selling branded cooking oils and spreads in Nigeria and says it will continue to focus heavily on the food area. In its latest figures the company reported a 1.3% increase in revenue to £374.8m in the six months to 30 November 2010, with profit before tax and exceptional items rising 3.4% to £46.2m. Operating profit was flat in Africa and fell 5% in Europe.

Phil Morris managing director Kukri and Peter Cowgill

A talent to get things right ECONOMIC pressures are doing little to dampen spirits at sportswear retailer JD Sports Fashion, which continues to report impressive rises in sales and profits despite the many pressures facing the retail industry. The Bury-headquartered company admitted it was "extremely cautious" in its outlook when reporting its latest results, but unlike many in its sector it has consistently got things right under the helm of impressive executive chairman Peter Cowgill. In its latest annual results, JD posted a pre-tax profit of £78.6m in the year to 29 January 2011, up from £61.4m, while revenues rose to £883.7m from £769.8m. It was the


Turnover/profit JD Sports £769.7m/£61.3m

seventh straight year of growth. Mr Cowgill said: "Such sustained performance continues to reflect the strength and uniqueness of our brand and fascia offers as well as the strength of our management teams.” Earlier this year, JD bought a majority stake in Lancashire sportswear brand Kukri in a £1m deal. Preston-based Kukri had a turnover of £13m in the year to March 2010. JD took an 80% share in the business, with the

remaining 20% retained by the managing director of Kukri, Phil Morris. JD also said that it had recently negotiated terms on new credit and working capital facilities totalling £75m, a deal which gives it the firepower to look further afield. In early June JD acquired the major assets of Brand Acquisitions, the business behind menswear brand Peter Werth and contemporary womenswear brand Pink Soda, which had gone into administration in May.



Online sales rocket

A TNT electric delivery truck

Set to pounce on the Mail 22

Turnover/ profit TNT UK £740.5m/ £307.7m

LIKE the whole of its industry, TNT will have a very close eye on the Postal Services Bill which is currently going through Parliament and which will bring more privatisation to the industry. The Bill will see state-owned Royal Mail sold off alongside an overhaul of the regulatory regime governing competition in the postal market. The Bill is of interest to TNT because it uses Royal Mail's postal workers for the so-called 'final mile' to deliver bulk and direct mail to homes. Half of all mail that Royal Mail delivers for its competitors comes from TNT Post. The Dutch TNT group has already voiced concerns that


Royal Mail will not be required in future to automatically give it and other rivals access to its delivery network. Taking advantage of the quasi-privatisation that has already existed in the market for some time, TNT Express Services UK and Ireland has grown to become the country's leading businessto-business express delivery company with the largest individual share of the national market. Established in the UK in 1978, it now employs 11,000 people in the UK & Ireland and operates from more than 70 locations.

Phil McCall celebrates the opening of the new High and Mighty store in Liverpool with Paul Worrall, Claire Twiss and Peter Parr HOME shopping increasingly means internet shopping today. No surprise then that N Brown impressed the City with its latest results after revealing a 19% rise in ecommerce sales to £324m in the year to February. In fact, online sales now account for 45% of total revenues at the group compared to 39% a year ago, while online sales have also now overtaken the value of orders taken in N Brown's contact centres. In the coming year, the company expects online sales to account for the majority of


Turnover/profit N Brown Group £690m/£89.7m

all sales. Growth at N Brown is coming from all age groups but in the next few years it says it will be aiming to grow the proportion of online sales from its mid-life customers as younger customers are already largely shopping online. Last year was a particularly

busy year for the group, as it acquired Figleaves, developed its High & Mighty stores and launched its Simply Be brand in the US. Alan White, chief executive, said: "We have been rewarded with record results, both in terms of revenue and profit, for the seventh consecutive

year. Our key focus this year will be to expand our home shopping business, both in the UK and internationally, particularly by further developing our online activities. “While the current year will be challenging, I am confident this strategy will deliver another good result this year." Mr White said the younger brands, targeted at customers aged between 30 and 45, continued to be the fastest growing part of the overall portfolio. Jacamo was the fastest growing brand with total revenue up by 66%.

Global leader in special fabrics INVISTA might not be a household name but the chances are that you'll find its innovations in your home. The company is a global leader in nylon, spandex, polyester and speciality materials industries, and its products are literally inside your clothing, carpets, cars, and computers, to name but a few. A subsidiary of Koch Industries, the US conglomerate, Invista is headquartered in the UK in Manchester, and operates


Turnover/profit Invista Textiles £669.2m/£-87.5m

four global businesses that serve many industries with value-added chemical, polymer and fibre products. The company also offers process technology licences for the polyester, nylon and spandex value chains through Invista Performance Technologies. Lycra is used by the movie industry for such superhero costumes as Superman and Batman

Continuing our success across the North West Our latest offering in Stockport

CHEADLE SK3 0XN The first choice for quality office accommodation in South Manchester. Park Square has been completely transformed by extensive and innovative re-modelling works to the reception and entrance.

9,000 - 110,000 sq ft Fitted, full cabled floor of 22,500sqft IMMEDIATELY AVAILABLE Excellent access to J2 M60 and Manchester Airport Flexible and competitive leasing options Extensive on-site parking On-site restaurant, conferencing facilities and golf experience Flexible Leases Competitive Rates Strategic Locations Leading Specifications

Call us 01625 588200



Cost cutting boosts profits KELLOGG’S is the most successful breakfast cereal manufacturing company in the world producing more than 40 different varieties of cereals in manufacturing plants within 19 countries and marketing its products in more than 160 countries. In its worldwide organisation it employs 26,000 people. Based at Trafford Park in Manchester, it employs around 600 people in a variety of roles including engineering, food safety, maintenance and technical services and it plays a big part in the local economy. It also has a site in Wrexham and imports many thousands of tonnes of cereals and grains through the Port of Liverpool. Kellogg’s began in 1906 when William Keith Kellogg filed the papers that officially incorporated the Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flakes Company. Since then, the company name has been

Kelloggs employs about 600 people


Turnover/profit KELLOGG’S £666.7m/£9.7m

shortened to Kellogg’s. The popularity of Mr Kellogg’s new ‘Corn Flakes’ cereal, discovered almost by accident in 1876, encouraged him to set up the Kellogg company, now the most successful cereal manufacturer in the world. In 1906, Mr Kellogg decided to risk a portion of his capital on his first advertising campaign, with spectacular results. One full-page advert in the Ladies’ Home Journal boosted sales to 2,900 cases per day and by 1909 the small company in Battle Creek was producing and selling one million cases per year.

Kellogg’s was among the first producers to voluntarily list the amounts of sugar in its products. And in more recent years it was one of the first in the food business to print Guideline Daily Amounts (GDAs) on the front of the packs, showing clearly the percentage of the recommended intake of calories, sugar, fat, saturates and salt for each portion of product. Kellogg’s worldwide revenue for 2010 was $12.4bn, a 1% drop from the year before, whereas profits rose by 4% to $1.24bn due to cost savings made within the company.

TDG’s French connection

TRANSPORT group TDG was acquired by French Rival Norbert Dentressangle last March after competition TDG authorities gave the £662m/£13.1m takeover their blessing. The French group paid £196m in cash. with TDG to open up a new including Teesside, Tilbury, Combined, the two containerised logistics base Dagenham, Felixstowe and businesses have a turnover with the aim of developing Bilbao in Spain. of £3bn, and, significantly the port into a significant Talking of foreign for Dentressangle, 57% of container and logistics hub shores, TDG also recently that is from outside France. for the North West. entered into an agreement A total of £1.6bn will come Last year the port with John Keells Holdings from transport, and the secured £4m from Nuclear to cover freight forwarding group will have the largest Management Partners and services between Europe, wholly owned fleet in £1.7m from the Nuclear India and Sri Lanka. Europe: more than 8,000 Decommissioning David Barron, director of tractor units and 11,000 Authority to develop the international services, says trailers. Logistics will plan. the company sees the trade account for £1.4bn with TDG already has a lanes as hugely important nearly 6.5m sq m of history of working at ports to the group. warehousing. In the UK, the combined group will be the third largest transport and logistics company after DHL and Wincanton: Dentressangle's and TDG's combined turnover in 2009 would have been £956.9m. Recently the company agreed a new three-year extension to continue running Argos’ distribution centre in Scotland. TDG has operated the distribution for Argos since 2004. TDG operates freight forwarding offices in the UK, The Cumbrian port of Workington is also working Ireland, Benelux, Hungary and Spain




Rupert Gavin (inset) has converted more than half of Odeon’s screens to digital

£90m switch to digital world THE days of going to the cinema simply to watch a film are long gone. As Odeon & UCI chief executive Rupert Gavin predicts, 3D sales alone could account for 50% of all UK box office sales within three years, while more than half of Odeon’s screens are now digital and all will be by next year as the group invests £90m in converting its cinemas. Mr Gavin recently described the move as a “complete infrastructure change” and says it comes as Hollywood itself changes its whole economic model to embrace the digital world.


Turnover/profit ODEON £640.9m/£-77.3m

Reports earlier this spring suggested owner private equity firm Terra Firma, run by financier Guy Hands, was considering selling Odeon and UCI after rivals expressed interest in the business. Mr Hands bought and merged the Odeon and UCI chains in 2004. The chain, Europe’s largest cinema group, owns around 200 cinemas today

with a total of 1,850 screens, the majority of which are in the UK. The business generated pre-tax earnings of £80m in 2009 and the cinema industry continues to enjoy something of a resurgence, buoyed by the growth of 3D films. Odeon & UCI has 23% of the UK market, just ahead of the other two big players Cineworld and Vue.

Secure and in profit after year of turmoil

UK market includes such essential items as printers, fax machines and inkjet printers

Region HQ for giantof Europe 28

Turnover/ profit Brother International £611.7m/£3.6m

THE Japanese Brother Group is a worldwide electronics and manufacturing company, with sales in over 100 countries. Its UK subsidiary, Brother International Europe, is based in Manchester and provides sales, marketing, technical support, warehousing and distribution, and a customer support call centre for all UK customers. The UK operation moved from London to Manchester when the business took

over the Jones Sewing Machine Company in 1968 as a base for marketing its range of typewriters, knitting and sewing machines. The company still operates out of that office today, which is also the headquarters of Brother Europe. Anyone who works in an office will know that Brother's UK market includes such essential items as printers, fax machines, inkjet printers and the like – not to mention sewing machines too.

IN ITS annual results for the year to April Findel remarked upon its “year of turmoil” and that isn’t far wrong. The financial year started with the discovery of accounting irregularities at its Education Supplies division and was followed by an emergency debt refinancing in July 2010. However, with no irregularities found elsewhere following a review of the business, and with the refinancing successfully raising £75m, the Manchester group says it is now in the full swing of a turnaround and has a secure financial platform from which to grow. It insists all of its businesses – home shopping, education and healthcare – remain profitable despite “significant” challenges. It has new committed debt facilities for a five-year period and the group’s net debt position at the year-end was £227.8m, down some £81.8m during the year. The group has been hit by weak consumer confidence, uncertainty over public sector budgets and inventory shortages arising from cash constraints. It announced a fall in full year revenues from £547m to £533m, and pre-tax profits were down to £7m. It says the “highly visible” challenges faced by the group created difficulties in its supply chain, with a significant reduction or


Turnover/profit Findel £600.1m/£-76.1m

Manchester United striker Michael Owen signs shirts at the Kitbag World Cup store in Manchester withdrawal of credit terms with many of its suppliers. Chief executive Roger Siddle said: “This in turn led to a reduction in stock deliveries, which had a knock-on effect on sales and

service, which then had a negative impact on cash generation. A damaging downward cycle developed.” Despite the wider group’s problems, the company’s replica sportswear division

Kitbag had a strong year, growing operating profits 8% to £1.86m. Teams including Barcelona, Real Madrid, Everton and Manchester United outsource online kit sales to the company.

£1bn sales the target Youth Olympian Tae Kwondo star Sophie Dickson takes on Joe Morris

TJ MORRIS, the discount retailer, has reported consistently high annual sales growth and strong profit margins over the past two decades and now has its eyes on breaking the £1bn sales


mark within the next few years. The business, which trades as Home Bargains, has continued to perform in the downturn. It has continued to invest in

Turnover/profit TJ Morris £590.3m/£47.8m

Merseyside. Its recently expanded £35m distribution centre at Gillmoss’ G-Park, services its 400 stores. The company ultimately has its eyes on seeing the latter

figure reach 600, stretching its tentacles to every corner of the UK. In its latest figures, the company saw turnover up 22% to £590m with an operating profit of £46.6m.




Kieran Maguire, senior lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University, says Manchester can now assert itself as the region's leading city for accountancy firms

Major Auditors 19%





Princes Dock in Liverpool home to KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers who have their Manchester base in Barbirolli Square, right


9% 16%


Which companies audit the North West’s Top 200 PROFESSOR BEN ROOTH Business Correspondent

THE strength and diversity of the north west's economy have long resulted in a strong demand for accountants, auditors and business advisors. All the major firms have offices in the region and the companies which they work for are among the country’s most dynamic. PriceWaterhouseCoopers has the lion's share of the region's business – and it represents four of the region's top 10 performing companies including MBNA Europe Bank, GB Oils, March UK and Marlow Holdings Investments. In total, it accounts for 26% of the North West's total market share – which is seven per cent more than its closest rivals. PWC has major offices in both Liverpool and Manchester and more than 1,900 partners and staff across its six northern offices which also include: Sheffield,

Leeds, Newcastle and Hull. In joint second place – and each of them have 19% of the total market share – are Deloitte and "others". Among the Deloitte's clients are FTSE 100 listed company United Utilities and Lookers Public Limited. Interestingly, the firms included in the "others" category includes Beever and Struthers which works for the region's best performing company – Done Brothers (Cash Betting). Beever and Struthers operates from offices in Manchester, Blackburn and London and has been offering business advice to its clients for over 100 years. Also in the "others" category is

Manchester-based Sadiq Metcalf and Co which works for the top 20-ranked Attock Oil Company. KPMG has a 16% stake of the market share with top 20 clients including Phoenix Healthcare Distribution and Makro Self Service Wholesalers. Ernst and Young has 11 per cent of the region's market share and its clients include Tote Bookmakers [which was sold by the government at the start of June to Done Brothers (Cash Betting)] as well as Amec Plc. Grant Thornton UK has the final nine per cent of the market with two top 10 clients including Iceland Foods Group and European Metal Recycling. The Confederation of British


Industry's north west director Damian Waters said: "Outside London, the north west is the best region in the UK for professional services – it’s as simple as that. "We've got a strong and diverse economy here and this has resulted in us attracting excellent accountants and business advisors. "In many ways, this is a symbiotic relationship – both these firms and their clients help each other to excel. "What also pleases me is that many of these companies are starting to witness an increase in business activity. "They are a good bellwether for what's happening in the wider economy – and that bodes well for the future." Kieran Maguire, principle lecturer in accounting

and finance at Manchester Metropolitan University, expressed his belief that Manchester can now assert itself as the region's leading city for accountancy firms. He said: "All of the major accountancy firms, and a significant number of London firms, have offices in Manchester. "A further advantage is that, whilst by no means being cheap, these businesses normally have lower charge out rates than their London counterparts, and so there are cost savings that can be passed onto clients."

CBI North West director Damian Waters



Banks battle for market share among North West’ leading firms by BEN ROOTH Business Correspondent THE "big four" dominate the North West's banking landscape and work on behalf of the vast majority of the major companies based here. They act for more than 80% of the businesses located in this region and have a strong network of branches. Leading the field is Britain's largest commercial and retail bank, the NatWest – which has been part of Royal Bank of Scotland Group since 2000. It is acknowledged to be the world's largest bank by assets and accounts for 35% of all the business undertaken here. Indeed, this figure is 13% higher than the amount of work undertaken by its closest rival, Barclays. Barclays – which is the world's 10th-largest banking and financial services group – has 22% of the North West's market share. The combined might of various "other" banks are in third position with 17% of the North West's biggest businesses. In fourth position is Lloyds Banking Group – which has included HBOS since Lloyds took it over in January 2009 - with 15% market share. And finally, HSBC – the world's second-largest banking and financial services group and second-largest public company - works on behalf of just 11% of businesses in the region. Graham Holt, head of the accounting and finance division at Manchester Metropolitan University's Business School, expressed his belief that Manchester's importance as a centre for banking within the North West should not be understated. He said: "Greater Manchester is the UK's leading regional centre for financial and professional services. "The region encompasses a wide range of activities including investment and retail banking, insurance, corporate finance – in addition to law and accountancy. "Additionally, Greater Manchester's position is consolidated by regional representation of the London Stock Exchange, the CBI and the Bank of England. "The growth in the region can be attributed to the fact that many multi-national companies have relocated to the area and are consolidating back or


middle office operations into the region. "Because of the lower salary and building costs, these companies can make significant savings by moving to Greater Manchester. "Additionally, the lower cost and abundance of housing makes it attractive for employees to relocate," said Mr Holt. NatWest has an enviable list of clients across the region including Warrington-headquartered Done Brothers (Cash Betting) which has the highest turnover of any company based here. In total, NatWest lists three of the North West's top 10 companies and seven of the region's top 20 companies as its clients. In the top 10 category, it counts GB Oils and Marlow Holdings Investments in addition to Done Brothers (Cash Betting) as customers. In the top 20 category, NatWest also works for Princes, Makro Self Service Wholesalers and Edmundson Electrical. Barclays – the next best performing bank by market share – works on behalf of MBNA Europe Bank which is the European credit card arm of Bank of America and Chester's largest employer. In addition to MBNA Europe Bank, Barclays also lists Lookers – which is ranked in the region's top 10 best performing companies – to be among its clients. In total, it features five times within the top 20 list – with its other clients including Matalan Retail, Bibby Line Group and AMEC. The "other" banks featuring in the top 20 list are Habib Bank Zurich, Standard Chartered Bank and ING Bank. The Swiss-headquartered Habib Bank Zurich was founded in 1967 and now provides trade finance, corporate, consumer, private, retail and other banking products through an international network of 25 branches. Standard Chartered Bank was formed in 1969 through a merger of two banks: the Standard Bank of British South Africa, founded in 1863, and the Chartered Bank of India, Australia and China, founded in

1853. Both companies were keen to capitalise on the huge expansion of trade and to earn the handsome profits to be made from financing the movement of goods between Europe, Asia and Africa. Standard Chartered Bank is today headquartered in Singapore while also maintaining offices in London, Jersey and Guernsey. ING Bank – which works for top 20 company Chicago Beta – serves 85 million private, corporate and institutional clients in over 40 countries. ING Stands for International Netherlands Group and, in 2009, it had a workforce of over 100,000 people and owns ING Direct among other retail banking, insurance, investment management, and investment banking operations. Lloyds Banking Group works for two of the region's top 10 best performing companies: United Utilities and Tote Bookmakers – which was recently purchased by Done Brothers (Cash Betting). In the top 20 list, its clients also include Phoenix Healthcare Distribution. HSBC counts Iceland Foods Group and European Metal Recycling among its clients who are ranked in the top 10. Apart from these two listings, it does not feature elsewhere in the top 20 rankings. Damian Waters, regional director of the CBI North West, acknowledged that it has been a tough few years for the banking sector. Mr Waters said: "In 2009, I had some serious concerns about job losses within the banking sector across the north west. "But they never materialised and the banks now appear to be doing far better.


"They play a vitally important part in the overall mix of professional services within the region." Kieran Maguire, principle lecturer in accounting and finance and Manchester Metropolitan University's Business School, agreed with this sentiment He said: "The north west – and particularly Manchester – has had an integrated professional service provision second only to London because it quickly established many years ago a critical mass in the accounting, legal, banking and other professional services sectors. "This was partially due to Manchester's good infrastructure links with the surrounding areas, meaning it is the first port of call from places as diverse as Cumbria, the Potteries, North Wales and into the Pennines. "Although the industrial makeup of the north has changed over the last few decades away from heavy industry, the legacy of meeting the needs of these businesses has led to Manchester's professional services firms being keen to adapt their skills to the needs of emerging industries. "This allowed individual professional services firms to set up dedicated departments to meet the needs of local businesses requiring corporate finance, consultancy and other forms of advice from specialists rather than all-rounders. "This has given Manchester a competitive advantage over the likes of Leeds and Liverpool – and the city has fully exploited this. "Banks have realised that they can reduce cost bases by offering their services in Manchester. "The willingness of Manchester Council and the Chamber of Commerce to encourage such expansion - as seen by the developments at places such as Spinningfields – have created a virtuous circle for all the professional services who together can offer a full range of skills to meet the needs of leading companies."

Major Bankers 17%


11% 15%

Barclays Bank PLC Bank of Scotland + Lloyds Bank PLC Natwest PLC + The Royal Bank of Scotland


HSBC Others

MESSAGE FROM OUR SPONSOR SHARING industry insight and knowledge has never been more important to the success of professional services firms. Following a highly successful decade, many professional services firms have now been forced to reassess their businesses on the back of the deepest recession in living memory. Whilst the sector has historically been resilient to economic downturns, this time smaller firms reliant on commodity work (such as conveyancing) have been hit hard, and larger firms have suffered similarly by a fall in corporate and M&A activity. In addition, regulatory changes (such as the Legal Services Act) will undoubtedly increase competition even further as non-lawyers enter the market, the so called â&#x20AC;&#x153;Tesco Lawâ&#x20AC;?. Some industry experts speculate that there may well be 4,000 fewer law firms post LSA implementation. However, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not all doom and gloom. Litigation, insolvency and family law sectors are performing well due to the

downturn, and signs of recovery are starting to show in corporate activity and real estate (albeit from a low base). An increasing number of firms are taking the opportunity to re-assess their market positioning with recent research suggesting that a third of firms anticipate a merger in the next five years. This is likely to lead to stronger firms and enhanced services for their clients. The big question for all law firms is whether their own businesses are fully equipped to withstand these challenges and take advantage of the opportunities. Barclays Corporate is helping its clients by providing industry insight and opportunities to discuss and help clients with key issues that include funding of working capital and improving lock-up management, the right business structure post Legal Services Act, merger and consolidation activity, succession planning, particularly for firms with 10 partners or less, and strategy for the future forward thinking strategy.

For more information contact or follow us on twitter @2020mobile



Eversheds Senior Partner Manchester Michael Clavell-Bate

Halliwells office at 3 Hardman Square, Spinningfiled, Manchester

Lawyers that see the Top 200 as their home market

by BEN ROOTH Business Correspondent

THE past three years have been unprecedented in the history of the North West’s law firms. The recent down turn caused a big fall in fees, particularly among those firms that earned commission from corporate transactions, which all but dried up. The last Legal 500 report – which is published each autumn – begins by highlighting how Halliwells, one of the region’s leading law firms, had gone into administration after report’s authors had finished compiling it. Halliwells – which had offices in both Liverpool and Manchester – was subsequently split up, allowing Hill Dickinson, Barlow Lyde and HBJ Gateley Wareing to either entrench their position or establish a new foothold in the region. While Halliwells’ demise raises innumerable questions about how law firms should be financed, the report nevertheless ranks it according to work undertaken over the past year. It is found in the second tier of the ‘regional heavyweights’ category. But while Halliwells might have dropped from the top tier to the second, Addleshaw Goddard, DLA Piper and Eversheds all retained their position in the premier slot. These are the law firms, dominant in the region, that will by and large advise the Top 200 here, or, at the very least, regard Top 200 entries as their indigenous market place. The report describes Addleshaw Goddard to have "strength in depth across

the commercial spectrum" while also "maintaining a steady flow of business despite the recession". DLA Piper's work in the corporate sector is also singled out for praise although it continues to "provide high-calibre advice across the board". David Gray, the managing partner for DLA Piper's Manchester office, said: "Apart from the well publicised demise of Halliwells, the legal sector appears to be fairly strong, although I would still expect to see one or two more casualties over the course of the next 12 months or so and possible defensive mergers of smaller firms in order to acquire critical mass. "The economic climate did cause a number of firms to be a little too introspective. “However, we are through this phase and the focus is now on supporting the region's businesses to help them thrive and share financial risk with them whenever this is possible. "The pressure on cost is everywhere and panel reviews are rife, such that the re-assessment of panel appointments will now become a greater feature of life going forwards so that the purchasers/legal services teams get best value for money and extract as much added value services from their law firms in return for a good stream of business. "DLA Piper has beaten its 2010/2011 budget and we are undoubtedly on an upward curve in terms of our growth and transactional activity, although still patchy, is very much in the ascendancy. "We have made additional senior hires into two of our local specialist sector areas


– namely financial services and energy – both of which will continue to thrive along with our other specialist sectors in manufacturing and retail, amongst others. "The firm's global footprint is now of a size – with 76 offices in 30 countries – that we will continue to provide local business with overseas expertise in a seamless fashion through our own offices overseas." The Legal 500 report states that Eversheds' balance of private and public sector client work "will assist it in riding out the recession". Evershed's senior office partner in Manchester, Michael Clavell-Bate, said: “We are very positive about the economic outlook for the North West. “It’s a fantastic environment for business with its airport and transport infrastructure competing on a global level. "Developing deep long standing relationships and working collaboratively with our clients has been the key to Eversheds success in the region. "There is no doubt that the economic downturn has had an enormous impact on the professional services sector in the region. "But for Eversheds, the fact that we remain committed locally but have grown our business into a global concern that can service the needs of clients in any region around the world, means that we are one of the very few law firms that can deliver locally for our North West clients but can also connect them globally. “For that reason, we anticipate future growth for the firm in the coming years.” Eversheds, Addleshaw Goddard and DLA Piper have

been joined by Pinsent Masons – up from tier two in 2009 – which “excels in construction and projects work” . It is also praised for building up its corporate and banking team in 2009/10 with new recruits including Gregg Davison from Addleshaw Goddard and Matt Morgan from DLA Piper. The Legal 500 report then goes on to highlight the achievements of smaller – yet equally effective firms – in lower tiers. Among the ranks of last year’s second tier is Beachcroft, whose strength in employment and insurance is singled out for praise. The guide states that Cobbetts' property division has suffered in the recession but it has also been buoyed by its professional public sector offering – particularly in employment, health and local government. DWF's work in the insurance sector "had a fantastic 2009" while the firm also caused a stir in the corporate market place, with high profile hires such as Stephen Houston and Nancy Kelsall, both from Addleshaw Goddard. Hammonds is described as "something of a dark horse in the region" because its “profile has not caught up with the quality of work” that it undertakes – particularly in its specialist areas of logistics, energy and chemicals. Hill Dickinson has one of the broadest practices in the region, with the healthcare sector among its particular strengths while Pannone is a "Manchester institution" and one of the few firms to provide a full-service offering. David Gray, Managing Partner at DLA Piper in Manchester

Waste Manag ement Exper tise

Choose R award ecycling-led W winnin g B&M aste Manag Total wa ement Waste ste man with th Servic * agemen Nationa e e s: t solutio ls

n local co ervice provide d by a mpany Compe titive pri ces

Improve d recovery recycling/ rates Reduced waste m anagem Free wa ent cost ste man s agemen t advice

Conta Ct uS: freeph on

www.b e: 0808 100 2 agnallan 434 d m o info@ba r gnalland morris.c om

*Liverpool Daily Post Business Awards - Green Business Award (2010) and Environmental Business of the Year Award (2003, 2005 and 2008)



NW Top 200  

The biggest and best companies in the region, 2011