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Analysis - New entrants to Top 100 are an encouraging indication of progress

PUBLISHED: 11:36 22 June 2015 | UPDATED: 11:36 22 June 2015

EDP BIZ Naked Wines in Norwich
  Owner of Naked Wines Rowan Gormley who sell their wine in advance from the Vineyards.
Photo: Jerry Daws
Copy: 
©Archant Photographic 2010
01603 772434

EDP BIZ Naked Wines in Norwich Owner of Naked Wines Rowan Gormley who sell their wine in advance from the Vineyards. Photo: Jerry Daws Copy: ©Archant Photographic 2010 01603 772434

©Archant Photographic 2010

Businesses working in food, farming and agriculture now represent the largest sector in the Top 100 leading companies in Norfolk and Suffolk.

Key year for Naked Wines

Naked Wines’ debut in the EDP Top100 comes during a key year for the business.

Not only has the Norwich-based firm mounted substantial growth, enough so to see it qualify as a regional heavyweight, but it has joined forces with Majestic Wines to create a wine-selling powerhouse.

The move was spearheaded by Naked Wines founder Rowan Gormley, who was appointed as chief executive of Majestic Wines in April before immediately popping the cork on a £70m deal to buy his old business.

It is understood that the two companies will remain largely separate. Naked Wines taking advantage of Majestic’s bricks and mortar stores to launch a click and collect service, but not selling its independent wines under the Majestic brand.

The announcement earlier this year saw the company reaffirm its commitment to Norwich. It is pressing ahead with plans to move its headquarters to Norvic House in Chapelfield Road to cope with its ambitious growth.

The company, which has been growing 30pc year-on-year and employs 135 people, is now too big for its offices at The Close.

Its success has been underpinned by its unique crowdfunding model, which drives investment from 300,000 ‘angels’ into independent winemakers in exchange for cheaper prices by the bottle.

It is currently focusing on growing its network of independent winemakers to about 150.

Founded in 2008 by Mr Gormley, a former boss of Virgin Money, the company was a finalist in the business of the year category sponsored by Barclays at the 2014 EDP business awards.

Businesses working in food, farming and agriculture now represent the largest sector in the Top 100 leading companies in Norfolk and Suffolk.

The latest list detailing how our leading businesses have fared both in terms of turnover and profitability reveals that the sector has overtaken financial services

The Top 100 is produced jointly with our sponsor partners Mills & Reeve, PwC, and Roche Chartered Surveyors, without whose support the guide would not be possible.

It shows how ours is a dynamic region and the latest list reveals a significant shift in the region’s economy with businesses in the food, drink, and agricultural sector overtaking those in financial services to become the largest sector represented, with combined sales of £4.568bn, although the combined profits of the latter were still considerably higher at nearly £606m.

Automotive was another sector performing well with improved results for a number of motor dealerships including Robinsons Motor Group, EMG Anglia, and Bussey Sabberton, while Great Yarmouth-based Pertwee and Back was a new entrant.

There are 10 new entries on this year’s list which features businesses with sales ranging from just over £37m to £3.5bn-plus.

Combined sales were more than £18.6bn, and profits were £1.1bn, while the businesses directly employed more than 124,000 people, a fall from the 125,000 people working for Top 100 businesses in the last 2014 listing.

In Norfolk the new entries included Norwich City Football Club, whose continued financial revival in paralleling the on-field success of Alex Neil’s team.

While in Suffolk new entrants inlcuded Easey Holdings, BTS Group, and Toppesfield Ltd.

The list remains almost evenly split between the two counties - with Norfolk home to 51 companies, while 49 are based in Suffolk.

James Allen, from Roche Chartered Surveyors, said infrastructure improvements across both counties such as the full dualling of the A11 were having an impact in helping to boost the bottom line of businesses.

“The number of new entrants in the Top 100 is an encouraging indication of the progress that those companies have made,” he said. “Our discussions with many of the region’s companies regarding their investment proposals and commercial property requirements reflect an improved level of confidence which is no coincidence.”

Andy Grimbly, head of PwC’s Norwich office, said: “The economy is really starting to show some strengths, in terms of oil and gas parts of the business.

“Some of those are seeing some challenge, and some of those are exhibiting some stress, but that’s creating opportunities for others on the acquisition trail.”

James Hunter, partner at Mills & Reeve, said: “We would like to see some more new entrants coming in higher up the list, but what we see is a list that’s stable and maintaining its independence.”


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