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The Fastest 50 2015 revealed

THE waiting is over as we reveal the businesses which have made it into the Ward Hadaway Fastest 50 for 2015 – the comprehensive list of the North-East’s fastest-growing private businesses.

Organised by leading law firm Ward Hadaway and backed by The Journal, the list highlights and celebrates the achievements of the profitable, privately-owned companies in the region who have grown their turnover by the largest amount in recent years.

This year’s Ward Hadaway Fastest 50 contains businesses from a wide range of sectors from manufacturing and engineering to e-commerce, commercial development to travel and hospitality.

Colin Hewitt, Partner and Head of Commercial at Ward Hadaway, said: “Once again, the Ward Hadaway Fastest 50 has delivered a fascinating insight into the breadth and range of companies which are succeeding in growing their businesses.

“The sheer variety of companies represented in the list demonstrates the continuing strength and vibrancy of the region’s business world and provides further fuel to the North East’s key role in the Northern Powerhouse agenda.

“In this list are 50 reasons to feel optimistic about the future of the North East economy and its importance to the UK and to global markets.

“All the businesses listed here are forging ahead and seeing their turnover grow whilst remaining profitable – they are real trailblazers who deserve our support, encouragement and our applause.”

As in previous years, the 2015 Ward Hadaway Fastest 50 has been compiled by independent researchers from St Chad’s College/Durham Business School using publicly available information from Companies House.

Following today’s publication of the full A to Z list, the Fastest 50 Awards will take place at BALTIC, the Centre for Contemporary Art, in Gateshead on Friday October 9 when the winners of the Fastest 50 2015 will be revealed.

Awards will be given to the fastest growing small, medium and large business with one of these three winners going on to be named the overall fastest growing North East business for 2015.

Here is the Fastest 50 for 2015 in alphabetical order:

A-Belco Property Limited, Ashington
This group operates a diverse range of businesses offering electrical and mechanical engineering services including specialist lighting, explosion-proof electrical products, prefabricated systems, industrial connectors and engineering solutions for the rail industry. A-Belco was also listed in the 2014 Fastest 50.

ADM Pressings, Newcastle
ADM Pressings can trace its roots to a press tools-making division of Vickers Armstrong in 1956. The present company was established via a management buy-out in 2009 and provides components, fabricating services and after-market solutions to customers in the automotive and construction industries. It also appeared in the 2014 Fastest 50.

British Engines, Newcastle
While it is based in Newcastle, leading engineering group British Engines works across the globe. Comprising six businesses with factories from Cramlington to Durham, the group designs and manufactures products for a wide range of industries including the oil and gas, chemical, marine, construction and agriculture sectors.

CA Group Limited, Evenwood, Co Durham
Founded in 1983, CA Group is one of the UK’s leading metal roofing and cladding systems manufacturers and contractors for the industrial, commercial and public sectors, and refurbishment markets. It works on developments across the country with previous projects including the American Express Community Stadium in Brighton.

CDM Recruitment Ltd, Hebburn
Established in 2001, CDM Recruitment are specialist recruiters to the Built Environment and Engineering industries. Providing temporary, permanent and executive search services, CDM Recruitment cover the whole recruitment spectrum from Director Level to Specialist Trades and Site Labour.

CF Motoring Services, Blaydon
Based in Blaydon and with operations in Newcastle, Sunderland and Stockton, CF Motoring Services is a familiar sight on the North East’s roads with its fleet of breakdown rescue vehicles. The company also provides accident repair services as well as salvage and spares and commercial vehicle sales.

Clayton Glass, Stanley, Co Durham
Over the past decade, Clayton Glass has grown into one of the largest independent insulated glass unit (IGU) manufacturers in the UK. The combined group operates across 200,000 sq feet of manufacturing space with a workforce of over 200 people.

Cool Designs Limited, Sunderland
This company is an air conditioning specialist offering support at all stages of a project from conception through to design, product selection and then after-sales support. As well as its Sunderland HQ, it also has operations in Warrington and Glasgow.

Crosbys, Newcastle
Crosbys Kitchen Equipment, established in 1990, is a supplier to the restaurant, bar and catering industry. The company specialises in supplying food preparation and food presentation equipment and also stocks a range of glassware, barware and chefs clothing.

DC Handrails and Ironwork Parts Limited, Swalwell
Originally founded in 1997 from a small storage unit, this company has grown to become a leading UK supplier of wrought iron and handrail components. Founder and MD Dave Collins started the business after spotting the demand for wrought iron components when fitting plastic handrails.

eMerchantPay, North Shields
Making a return appearance after being listed in the 2014 Fastest 50, eMerchantPay provides online payment processing services for customers in over 40 countries involving transactions in more than 150 different currencies around the world.

Eurodrive Motor Finance, Cramlington, Northumberland
Established in 2004, this independent car finance specialist provides motor dealers with access to a range of car finance solutions from a series of lenders. It is based in Cramlington with field representation across the country.

Falck Safety Services, Stockton
Falck was in the Fastest 50 for 2014 and is a leading provider of safety training for workers in the offshore, energy, maritime, military and aviation industries. Operating at training centres on Teesside and Aberdeen, it has equipment and simulators to replicate conditions and situations found in the sectors as well as experienced trainers to coach workers on how to deal with them.

Greencroft Bottling Company Limited, Consett
Also listed in the 2014 Fastest 50 Greencroft Bottling is part of the Lanchester Group and has grown since its foundation in 2003 to become one of the largest wine bottlers in Europe, operating five lines at its factory in Consett, capable of filling over 50,000 bottles an hour. The company is also the world’s largest filler of 187ml ‘quarter bottles’.

Greencroft Milk Supplies Ltd, Middlesbrough
This independent milk distributor has over 80 operators supplying more than 75,000 gallons of milk a week to homes and businesses across the North of England, covering an area from Tyneside to West Yorkshire and across to Cumbria.

Hadrian Healthcare Group, Gateshead
Another company which appeared in the 2014 Fastest 50, Hadrian Healthcare operates 14 care homes at locations across the North. The company provides a range of care including residential and nursing care, respite care and specialist care for people with dementia and related conditions.

Hays Travel, Sunderland
A familiar name in the North East, Hays Travel is now the largest independent travel agent in the UK. The company was set up by MD John Hays in a single shop in 1980 and now operates more than 100 branches across the UK, employing over 1,000 people. It appeared in the 2013 Fastest 50.

Hitachi Construction Machinery Limited, Hebburn
Hitachi Construction Machinery (UK) Limited is a key player in the UK excavator market. The company, which also appeared in the 2014 Fastest 50, supplies mini, medium, large and wheeled excavators, wheeled loaders, crawler carriers, dump trucks, parts, servicing and support to the UK and Irish construction industry from 11 depots and appointed sub-dealers in Ireland.

Hodgson Fish, Hartlepool
Operating from three shops, this fishmonger supplies fresh-caught fish to top hotels and restaurants across the North East as well as catching a lot of its own fish. The business celebrates its centenary next year and appeared in the Fastest 50 in 2010 and 2011.

Hodgson Sayers, Stanley
Beginning mainly as a roofing contractor, this company has developed and diversified considerably to include building works, fencing and metalwork fabrication with clients across the North East. Hodgson Sayers was also listed in the 2014 Fastest 50.

Hydram Engineering Ltd, Ferryhill, Co Durham
Established in 1977 and employing over 200 people in its 100,000 sq ft facility, Hydram Sheet Metalwork is one of the largest sheet metal fabrication companies in Europe. The company supplies precision sheet metal products, components and precision fabrications to sectors including transport, defence, retail and earth moving.

Jomast Developments Limited, Stockton
Also listed in the 2014 Fastest 50, Jomast is a property development, investment and regeneration specialist with commercial and residential real estate assets in excess of £250 million. The company’s property portfolio and development pipeline covers all market sectors with particular emphasis on retail, leisure, offices, residential and mixed use schemes.

Kans & Kandy (Holdings) Ltd, South Shields
Formed in 2000, this company provides consumer goods producers with ways to sell remnant or residual stocks within the health and beauty, food and household products marketplace. It has over 1,900 independent retail customers across Europe, America, the Middle East and India and was also listed in last year’s Fastest 50.

Kookaburra Ltd, Peterlee
Kookaburra started out in 1988 as a company supplying chilled and frozen chicken products to major UK food manufacturers. The company, which also appeared in the 2014 Fastest 50, has broadened its range to include other meat products and also operates a special new product development kitchen at its Peterlee factory.

Lanchester Wine Cellars Limited, Consett
Part of the Lanchester Group, Lanchester Wine Cellars provides a complete wine service from vineyards, to bottling, warehousing, bonding, distribution and branding. The company, which appeared in the 2014 Fastest 50, supplies wine and gifts to airlines, supermarkets, retailers, bars, restaurants and pubs and generates all its own power via wind and solar energy.

LJJ Ltd, Stockton
Formed in 2001, LJJ is a multi-disciplined contractor which works on major mechanical, electrical and public health service contracts. In addition to its headquarters in Stockton the company also has regional offices in High Wycombe and Birmingham. It appeared in the 2012 Fastest 50.

Lucion Environmental, Blaydon
Lucion Environmental is an independent asbestos consultancy that specialises in the surveying, identification and analysis of asbestos-containing materials. The company was formed in 2003 and has offices in seven different locations across the country in addition to its Blaydon centre.

Marine Fabricators Limited, Stockton
This Teesside company specialises in medium/heavy fabrication for structures and equipment used in the renewables energy, marine and offshore oil and gas industries, in addition to the fabrication and installation of more conventional structures. Clients include CTC Marine Projects Limited, Technip Offshore Ltd and BAE Systems (Operations) Ltd.

Mech-Tool Engineering Limited, Darlington
Established over 40 years ago, Mech-Tool Engineering is a key player in the design and manufacture of products that protect people and plant from blast, fire and heat hazards. The company’s products are used in a range of different industries from offshore and onshore oil & gas, nuclear, renewable, to chemical and petrochemical.

Mediaworks UK Limited, Gateshead
Founded in 2007 this company it has grown from a small search marketing agency into a multi-site online marketing firm offering integrated services at an international level with clients including GlaxoSmithKline, Scottish Power and House of Fraser. In addition to its headquarters in Gateshead, the company also has an operation in London.

M.J. Hickey Plant Hire & Contracts Ltd, Linton, Northumberland
M.J. Hickey was established in 1972 and provides bulk earth moving, site restoration, plant hire, site clearance and survey services to clients across the UK. The company, which was also listed in the 2014 Fastest 50, has carried out work for clients including E.ON UK, Sita UK and Scottish Borders Council.

Motherdale Limited, Castle Eden
Motherdale Limited makes a return appearance in the Fastest 50 after its listing in the 2014 run-down. Based in Castle Eden near Hartlepool, the company provides a range of care home services.

Nifco UK Ltd, Eaglescliffe
Nifco designs, manufactures and supplies of precision injection moulded functional plastics parts, mainly for the automotive industry. The company, which was also in the 2014 Fastest 50, supplies parts to Honda, Nissan and Toyota in the UK and exports to Ford in the United States and other markets in East Asia. Nifco UK director Mike Matthews is president of the North East Chamber of Commerce.

Niramax Holdings Limited, Hartlepool
This Hartlepool-based company, ranked in the 2014 Fastest 50, recycles commercial, industrial, local authority and household waste. It is one of the largest and longest established ‘closed loop’ service providers of its type in the North of England, collecting, transport, process, pre-treat, recycle and dispose of a wide variety of waste materials in an environmentally-conscious way.

Oil Consultants Ltd, Washington
Oil Consultants is a specialist recruitment agency providing teams and individuals with niche technical skills to clients for their jobs in the global upstream oil and gas industry. The company was formed in 1999 by a group of offshore workers and has won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade on three occasions.

Owen Pugh, Dudley, Northumberland
Civil engineering and construction company Owen Pugh is a familiar sight on projects across the North East and returns to the Fastest 50 after being ranked in the 2014 run-down. The company has expanded its operations and provides everything from demolition and drainage to plant hire and specialist training.

Pacifica Group, Peterlee
Overall Fastest 50 winner in 2011 and listed in the 2014 Fastest 50, Pacifica Group is a major supplier to the domestic appliance industry throughout the UK and Europe. The company provides services including repairs, warranties, warehousing and product replacement from its headquarters in Peterlee.

Popular Care Ltd, Newcastle
Based on Tyneside, this company operates a series of care homes across the North East. In 2014 Popular Care Ltd added Peterlee Care Home to its growing portfolio of operations.

Prima Cheese, Seaham
This family-run business specialises shredding and blending cheese used primarily in pizza toppings. Prima Cheese supplies clients in the foodservice and food manufacturing sectors in the UK, Europe and worldwide from its operation in Seaham.

Prince Bishops Homes, Stanley, Co Durham
Prince Bishops Homes provides a wide range of properties to rent across County Durham and is a subsidiary of Derwentside Homes. The group owns around 7,000 properties for rent and employs around 200 people, including its own tradesmen who provide a 24/7 repair service and specialists in all aspects of housing.

Ryder Architecture, Newcastle
Ryder works across the UK from offices in Newcastle, Glasgow, Liverpool and London. The architectural practice is commissioned on projects ranging in value from £50,000 to £300m in the office, education, industrial, healthcare, leisure, residential and infrastructure sectors.

Shepherd Offshore Group Limited, Newcastle
Shepherd Offshore has over 30 years’ experience in providing logistics support for mobilisations and demobilisations for the offshore industries. From its base on the banks of the Tyne, the company provides bespoke manufacturing, design & build, R&D and training facilities for global organisations.

SITS Group, Cramlington
This company provides all aspects of cloud computing, from virtual desktops and server consolidation, to cloud management and disaster recovery solutions. Its clients include around 20 per cent of the North East’s Top 200 companies.

T Manners & Sons, Bishop Auckland
Formed in 1860, T Manners & Sons is one of the oldest family-owned construction companies in the North East and is currently managed by founder Thomas Manners’ great grandson Robert. The company has three divisions – construction, small works and specialist joinery – and carries out work in a range of sectors.

Techflow Marine Limited, Cramlington
Techflow Marine provides a range of specialist products to the global offshore oil & gas and marine industries. Operating from the company’s Cramlington head office, manufacturing activities are coordinated and scheduled to its principle manufacturing locations in the UK and Singapore as well as sub-contractors in China, Korea and the USA. Sister company Techflow Flexibles was named Fastest Growing Large Business in 2014.

The Banks Group Limited, Durham
Founded in 1976, The Banks Group is a family-owned property and energy business which is active across northern England and Scotland and appeared in the 2014 Fastest 50. It employs around 400 people and operates under a long-standing ‘Development with Care’ ethos, working in a responsible manner with consideration for the environment, local communities, and its customers, employees and suppliers.

The Feel Good Group, Yarm
Incorporating three trading divisions – Blue Tanning & Beauty, Tanning Shop and Sunless UK – The Feel Good Group offers a wide range of tanning products and equipment as well as training seminars and equipment maintenance for salons. It appeared in the 2014 Fastest 50.

The Mailing House Group Limited, Cramlington
Established in 1985, The Mailing House Group provides a wide variety of services from direct mail, poly-wrapping and warehousing, to a contact centre and SMS text messaging services. The company mails over 150 million prepared items every year.

Tyne Insulation Supplies Ltd, North Shields
Tyne Insulation Supplies Ltd was founded in 1989 and is a leading independent stockist of insulation materials and associated products. The company’s clients include major national and regional contractors, specialist subcontractors, builders and roofing merchants to local builders and self-builders.

Workwear Express Limited, Durham
Beginning life in 1990 with founder Andrew Ward selling work clothing from the back of a van, Workwear Express has grown to become a major supplier of more than 6,000 workwear and related products to over 50,000 customers across the country. The company also featured in the 2014 Fastest 50.


The companies in this list have been selected from the table of fastest growing profit-making, private, regional companies, based on turnover growth.
Information has been compiled by researchers at St. Chad’s College/Durham Business School using data which is publicly available at Companies House of UK listed companies.
The average turnover growth has been assessed on a percentage increase based on the difference between turnover figures filed for the last three years.
To qualify, companies must be trading entities and have turnover in excess of £1,000,000 in the last three years of filed accounts, which are up to date as at 31 July 2015. Companies must also have made profits in each of the past three years’ accounts and must have filed new accounts since last year’s Fastest 50.
Private limited companies which are subsidiaries of listed companies do not qualify.
Subsidiaries of foreign-controlled companies have been accepted if they have headquarters or a decision-making function in the region.
Ward Hadaway and The Journal do not accept any responsibility for any errors or omissions.

* Find out more about the Fastest 50 Awards.

Please note that this briefing is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.

This page may contain links that direct you to third party websites. We have no control over and are not responsible for the content, use by you or availability of those third party websites, for any products or services you buy through those sites or for the treatment of any personal information you provide to the third party.

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