The fast-growing Scottish companies to inspire Britain

Nearly 60 top Scottish businesses feature on a prestigious list of 1,000 companies to inspire Britain – with a key role in helping rebuild the economy in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

From left: McLaren Packaging directors and brothers Michael and Donald McLaren - the firm is eyeing further growth and reinvestment. Picture: Paul Hampton.
From left: McLaren Packaging directors and brothers Michael and Donald McLaren - the firm is eyeing further growth and reinvestment. Picture: Paul Hampton.

Scotland was in the top three areas to show the biggest increase in number of companies from the 2019 report – at 58 – according to the latest edition of the list published by London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG).

It has identified the UK’s "most dynamic and fastest-growing” small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), and said they show the regional and sector diversity as well as strong innovation.

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Altogether, the 1,000 companies have recorded an annual average revenue growth rate of 41.2 per cent and generated more than 42,000 jobs in the two years to December 2019.

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More than a quarter come from across Scotland and north England, and firms from north of the Border singled out in the featured companies spotlight comprise telecoms firm Commsworld and Smart Metering Systems, known as SMS.

Ricky Nicol, chief executive of Commsworld, told The Scotsman that the firm is thrilled with the accolade. “Our inclusion as a featured company recognises Commsworld’s amazing journey from Edinburgh-based disruptor to one of the UK’s biggest telecommunications network providers, offering cloud, security and voice solutions, and managing the largest privately-funded optical core network in the country.”

He added that it delivers “innovative and highly-complex” digital infrastructures and unified communications to major organisations across the UK, spurring “significant” revenue growth. “We now look forward to continuing this upward growth trajectory and opening up new and exciting avenues of opportunity for Commsworld in the months and years to come.”

Alan Foy, chief executive of Glasgow-based SMS, said being recognised on the list is “testament to the energy, commitment and sheer hard work of all at SMS”. He added: “We are wholly focused on delivering the smart metering program whilst also accelerating the adoption of carbon reduction assets, which are critical to achieving the UK government’s net-zero carbon ambition.”

Troubled backdrop

And as he noted, the included firms’ achievements come amid the unprecedented challenges of 2020. LSEG chief executive David Schwimmer said: “This report highlights the vital role of SMEs in driving economic growth, leading innovation and providing jobs across the UK.”

He also stated that it is more important than ever to highlight such stories of resilience and entrepreneurship. “The success of UK SMEs is crucial as we rebuild a post Covid-19 economy.”

One Scottish firm on the list that was classed as an essential business after the outbreak of coronavirus due to its role in the food and drink supply chain is Inverclyde-based McLaren Packaging.

It was established by James McLaren, the father of the current directors, to supply corrugated cases to the whisky industry, and has grown to turn over more than £30 million, with 230-plus staff and five sites in central Scotland.

MD Donald McLaren said the recognition by LSEG comes after his firm marked its 40th anniversary last year with record turnover and sizeable investment in new capital equipment.

He added that over the last five years, 100 per cent of profits have been reinvested in the business to future-proof it, and it is “here for the long term with our focus fixed firmly on further growth and reinvestment”.

Also stressing its bullish outlook is Ideagen, the Aim-quoted software group with a major presence in East Kilbride. Chief executive Ben Dorks said the firm is “proud and honoured” to be included on LSEG’s list, and has been able to adapt and continue to grow. "Our inclusion in this report is a fantastic recognition of our hard work and an endorsement of our belief that our business is well-positioned to face the future with confidence.”

The report said the full list of Scottish firms and their respective sectors is as follows:

A C Whyte & Co – engineering and construction

A&D Logistics – logistics

Adarma – professional services

Agritrac Exports – agriculture

Algo – engineering and construction

Astrak – industry services

Bennett's Group – automotive

BrewDog – food and beverages

Bruce Taverns – hospitality

Campion Homes – engineering and construction

Ceramic Import and Manufacturing Company – wholesale

City Technical Services – energy

Commsworld – telecommunications

Community Windpower – energy

Cyclops Electronics – wholesale

D. R. Collin (Fish) – food and beverages

Dem-Master – engineering and construction

Edwin James Holdings – engineering and construction

Emergency One – manufacturing

Empteezy – manufacturing

Exceed Energy – energy

Exterity – technology

Gordan & Macphail – food and beverages

Greig Engineering – engineering and construction

Henbury – retail

Ian Macleod – food and beverages

Innis & Gunn – food and beverages

J & S Montgomery – agriculture

Kiltane Retail – retail

Lindemann Healthcare – healthcare

Loch Duart – food and beverages

Lorimer Care Homes – healthcare

McLaren Packaging – packaging

Morris Leslie – engineering and construction

Motive Offshore Group – manufacturing

MV Commercial – transport services

NWH Group – waste management

Odfjell Drilling Shetland – oil and gas

Oilfast – logistics

RAM Tubulars Scotland – engineering and construction

Richard Austin Alloys – wholesale

Richmond Group – financial services

Scotia Double Glazing – manufacturing

Scott Group – industry services

Smart Metering Systems – energy

Startline Motor Finance – automotive services

Sulaire – food and beverages

Summit Platforms – engineering and construction

T P Niven – transport services

Tarak International (Quiz Clothing) – retail

The Artisanal Spirits Company – food and beverages

The Signature Pub Group – hospitality

Thomas Sherriff & Co – agriculture

Tough Construction – engineering and construction

Weir & Mcquiston (Scotland) – engineering and construction

West Coast Motors – transport services

WGM Engineering – engineering and construction

Windhoist – engineering and construction

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