Suffolk’s top businesses are surpassing pre-pandemic trading levels

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In 2022, Suffolk’s 100 biggest businesses have recovered from the COVID-19 lockdown and are already surpassing pre-pandemic levels, according to new figures from Grant Thornton UK LLP.

The annual report by leading business and financial adviser Suffolk Limited found that the top 100 companies* in the county achieved a 60% increase in combined operating profits this year compared to 2019.

The Suffolk Limited Report, produced in association with law firm Birketts, provides an annual overview of Suffolk’s most successful businesses, measured by annual turnover levels.

Several other key metrics showed the county’s top businesses surpassing or at least leveling off where they were before the start of the COVID-19 lockdown. Total headcount in the top 100 is 2.4% higher than in 2019, and combined turnover is just 0.1% lower than in 2019.

Although modest, the difference in turnover was achieved despite several large companies included in the 2019 figures dropping out of the report following acquisitions by companies outside the county. The true increase in Suffolk’s turnover is therefore likely to be even higher.

Another important indicator of the county’s economic landscape is that the average pay among the top 100 companies is now close to £32,000, an increase of almost 6% over the past year and up just over 11% on pre-pandemic levels .

The total turnover of the county’s 100 largest companies reached £5.6bn in 2022, up 10% on 2021, with Turners of Soham Ltd reporting the highest total turnover of over £519 million Maritime Group reported the biggest absolute increase in turnover from £111m to £416m, while Turners of Soham also reported the biggest increase in operating profit of just over £29m.

The three sectors that employ the most staff in the county remain identical to pre-pandemic, namely transport and automotive retail, retail and wholesale and services. Since 2019, transport and automotive retail and services have switched positions as the first and third largest employers.

Tim Taylor, partner and head of practice at Grant Thornton UK LLP, said: “The Suffolk Limited report gives us a great opportunity to assess how the Suffolk economy has performed over the past year, providing a real measure of the wealth created, retained and reinvested by key business decision makers in the county.

“We can see that not only are Suffolk’s leading companies doing well compared to last year, but we can officially say that the top 100 businesses are now moving forward from where they were before the start of the COVID- 19. This is despite another turbulent 12 months, which is a real testament to the resilience and drive of these companies.

Rob Thomson, director of Grant Thornton UK LLP and head of the tax business in Suffolk, said: “Not only did turnover reach an impressive £5.6bn, but our analysis shows that there is growth in both fixed and current assets, while liabilities and total debt decreased. Coupled with the fact that businesses continue to invest in infrastructure while increasing cash levels, Suffolk companies look well placed to meet the current cost of living challenges and inflationary pressures.”

Jonathan Agar, chief executive of Birketts, said: “While the last few years have been incredibly challenging for businesses, it is encouraging to see that Suffolk’s leading companies have not just returned to where they were before the pandemic, but achieved even more. great growth. Exceeding pre-pandemic trading levels demonstrates how resilient and resilient the county’s businesses have become. There is no doubt that the next 12-24 months will be equally testing, but these latest findings give confidence that Suffolk businesses can meet these challenges and still prosper.”

This was posted in the Bdaily Member News section by John Robson.

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