Fastest growing businesses in Surrey, Sussex and Kent revealed

30 June 2019

New research published today by accountancy and business advisory firm, BDO LLP, reveals
the fastest growing businesses in Surrey, Sussex and Kent contributed in excess of £3.7bn
worth of sales and more than 18,000 jobs to the UK economy last year.

BDO’s Best in Business Top 100 league table and Profit Growth report, compiled in association
with leading mid-market private equity firm LDC, ranks companies in the Southern Home
Counties with the fastest growth in profits over the last three years.

Profits at the Top 100 companies, which includes popular restaurant chain Giggling Squid, car
insurer Markerstudy, award winning developer Thakeham Homes and lone worker protection
provider Send for Help, grew by a staggering 76% on average each year over the last three
years, bringing total profits to £623m. Collectively the Top 100 companies employ over 18,000
staff and created an additional 1,598 jobs in the past twelve months alone.

These ambitious, high performing companies represent the rich diversity of business in Surrey,
Sussex and Kent; from well-established family-owned companies in traditional industry
sectors, such as retail, manufacturing and construction, to market disruptors in creative
media technologies. The majority (68%) operate in services, construction, and technology and
media, and 62% are either family owned or owned by the original founders.

Across the region the geographical distribution of the top businesses is fairly even with 35 in
Sussex, 33 in Surrey and 32 in Kent. Growth in profits is also similar in Kent and Surrey where
companies achieved a 119% and 116% rise over the last twelve months compared to 73% in

Taking the top spot within the Top 100 league table is Guildford-based Darton Commodities,
specialists in the finance and distribution of cobalt metal, with an impressive compound
annual growth rate (CAGR) of 988% over the last three years. Founded in 2000, the business is
privately owned and a newcomer to the Top 100 league table.

Surrey’s top performers

Surrey’s top performing businesses reported an impressive combined growth of 116% in profits
on revenues of £1.14bn, employing 7,592 people over the last twelve months. Companies in this county dominate the top of the league table with seven of the top ten located in the
area; three of which have head offices in Guildford.

Sussex’s top performers
The 35 top performing businesses in Sussex achieved a combined profit growth of a 73% in
profits on sales of £1.3m, employing 5,090 people in the last twelve months. Almost half of
these companies have previously been identified in BDO’s Best in Business research. Leading
the way in generating the fastest growing profits in Sussex is Crawley-based P J Brown
Construction with a CAGR of 132%, placing them in 6th position in the Top 100 league table.

Kent’s top performers

Growth in Kent was most significant over the same period with 32 companies generating a
staggering 119% in profits on sales of £1.3bn, employing 5,828 people. Not surprisingly their
directors were the best rewarded financially with 20% taking home over £1m last year
according to accounts filed by April 2019. The highest placed company in the Top 100 league
table is Dartford-based Cooper Estates who took 4th position with a CAGR of 280%.
Catherine Jones, Best in Business partner for BDO’s Gatwick and Guildford offices,
commented: “We have a tremendous base of ambitious and entrepreneurially-spirited
companies to be proud of locally. These companies exemplify everything that is best about
business and are amongst the top performing in the country. The owners and directors are
truly reaching new heights in their strong financial management and visionary leadership in
these uncertain times.

“Since we launched our Best in Business research three years ago we have had the pleasure of
meeting some of the most dynamic businesses in the region, and this year has been no
exception. We will continue to champion their growth to encourage policy makers to do more
to support these powerhouses that make such a significant contribution to the economy.”
Jonathan Caswell, Origination Director at LDC in the South, said: “The fast growth of
businesses across Surrey, Sussex and Kent continues to demonstrate the confidence and
resilience of firms in the region. The common thread in all these firms is a highly ambitious
management team who are committed to growing their businesses and identifying new
potential growth opportunities.

“We continue to pay close attention to ambitious management teams across the region and
are ready to support with our capital and expertise to further amplify their growth.”

The Top 100 league table can be found here


Accountancy and business advisory firm BDO LLP provides integrated
advice and solutions to help businesses navigate a changing world.
Our clients are Britain’s economic engine – ambitious,
entrepreneurially-spirited and high growth businesses that fuel the
We share our clients’ ambitions and their entrepreneurial mind-set. We
have the right combination of global reach, integrity and expertise to
help them succeed.


BDO LLP operates in 17 locations across the UK, employing nearly 5,000
people offering tax, audit and assurance, and a range of advisory
services. BDO LLP has underlying revenues of £590m and is the UK
member firm of the BDO International network.

BDO’s global network

The BDO global network provides business advisory services in 162
countries, with 80,000 people working out of 1,600 offices worldwide. It
has revenues of $9bn. 


LDC is the private equity arm of Lloyds Banking Group and is authorised
and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

LDC backs ambitious management teams from UK-based companies
seeking up to £100m of equity for management buy-outs, institutional
buy-outs or development capital transactions. LDC has a portfolio of 90
businesses across the UK which collectively generates £5bn of revenues
and employs in excess of 32,000 people.

Investing in a broad range of sectors, LDC has particular experience in
Construction & Property, Financial Services, Healthcare, Industrials,
Retail & Consumer, TMT, Travel & Leisure and Support Services.
Over the last three years (2016-18), LDC has invested over £1.1bn of
equity and generated exit proceeds of more than £2.2bn. The firm has
committed to invest £1.2bn in UK mid-market businesses over the next
three years.Recent transactions include investments with Texthelp,
Shield Group International, Amberjack, Littlefish, Evolution Funding and
Zip World.

LDC has a UK regional network with locations in Aberdeen, Birmingham,
Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Newcastle, London,
Manchester, Nottingham and Reading.   
For further information, visit:

BDO contact Tania Fensom

BDM BDO Gatwick & Guildford

Mob: 0758 3014651
Tel: 01293 848905
Email: [email protected]

LDC contact Rebecca Hart

Citypress on behalf of LDC

Mob: 07903 256 182
Tel: 0203 773 9543
Email: [email protected]