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Host of North West firms make Fast Track 100 list

The Business Desk

Eleven companies North West companies have staked their place on an elite league table of Britain’s fastest-growing private companies.

The Sunday Times Virgin Fast Track 100 league table ranks Britain’s private companies with the fastest-growing sales.

The 11 companies headquartered in the North West, compared to 13 last year, include five new entrants to the league table.

Their sales have grown by an average of 71% a year over three years to a total of £755m, and together they employ 3,250 people.

The region’s top-ranked company is CarFinance247, which ranks nine nationally.

The online car finance broker’s website receives more than 6m visits a year and allows customers to browse over 125,000 cars from UK dealerships. It posted 2017 sales, which represent commissions, of £38.6m in June, the same month it relocated its 400-strong team to their new Manchester headquarters.

Manchester-based fashion retailer Missguided also features in the list, for a fourth consecutive year. It owns eight international websites and two stores in the UK, helping sales rise to £205.8m in 2017.

The new entrants include Burnley Football Club, whose sales tripled to £120m in 2017 after a return to the Premier League, and Carlisle-based Story Homes, which completed more than 800 new houses in 2017, up 42% on the previous year, boosting sales to £173.8m.

The companies in the North West appear with businesses from around Britain, including restaurant chains Five Guys and Leon, and brewer BrewDog, which was valued at £1bn in April.  Sefton’s Victorian Plumbing are in the top half of the list.

Past stars include mixer drinks maker Fever-Tree, which floated in 2014 and is now worth £2.3bn, and innocent drinks, which sold a majority stake to Coca-Cola in 2013, valuing the company at £440m.

The Fast Track 100 is sponsored by Virgin,  Barclays,  BDO,  BGF and  Virgin Media Business, and is compiled by Fast Track, the Oxford-based research and networking events firm.

Sir Richard Branson of Virgin, the title sponsor for all 21 years, said: “Entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of the economy; driving innovation, creating jobs and challenging industry norms. The achievements of the companies on this year’s Fast Track 100 list are fantastic. It’s clear over the coming years UK business will have to adapt to different conditions and we must do all we can to support our entrepreneurs – who will be the engines of growth for Britain.”