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East Midlands Top 500 Companies: how it’s compiled and who’s included

East Midlands Top 500 Companies: how it’s compiled and who’s included

Real Entrepreneurs’ Club is the official media partner of the East Midlands Top 500 Companies, exclusively printing the list in its bi-annual magazine.

The Top 500 team brings together leading researchers from the Business Schools at De Montfort, Derby and Nottingham Trent Universities. The list has been investigated and analysed by Professor David Rae.

The East Midlands Top 500 Companies index (EM Top 500) aims to highlight the largest businesses based in the region, and to track the changes in the composition and performance of this group of companies.

The index shows the range and strength of the leading businesses in the East Midlands, across the ‘Three Counties’ of Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire areas covered by the East Midlands Chamber.

These businesses are at the heart of the East Midlands’ economy and are high on the list of those most likely to drive growth and create jobs in the future. Their prosperity affects not only the workforces, supply chains and the communities around them, but ultimately everyone in the region.

How the East Midlands Top 500 Companies list is complied

The EM Top 500 index lists private and public limited companies with their registered offices located in Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire.

It does not include large employers who have their registered offices elsewhere; nor does it include public organisations, mutually owned, co-operatives and Educational and Health Trusts which derive most of their income from Government.

The 2023 index uses historical data from Companies House accounts filed for the period between 1 July 2020 and 30 June 2021.

It ranks companies by their annual turnover and also includes the number of employees and the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) recorded.

This is accessed via the FAME database published by Bureau van Dijk. The approach builds on and integrates the ‘Top 200’ indices for each County.

This time period includes the first full year of the COVID-19 Pandemic and lockdown periods, which means that all companies will show some effects resulting from this period.

Because the index is based on company accounts, it inevitably lags current company performance by around two years, since companies have up to 9 months after their year-end to file their accounts.

The datasets for the county-level indices were compiled, checked, standardised and then combined into the East Midlands dataset.

There are rigorous checks to eliminate duplicates, to remove companies which have become insolvent or in liquidation, and to ensure that groups of companies and subsidiaries are shown accurately.

The gap between the company year-ends and publication of the index means the information is historic rather than current, but it is not ‘out of date’.

The availability of the three previous years means that comparisons over a four-year timespan from 2020-23 are now possible.

The index is increasingly recognised as a valuable baseline for economic recovery and the resurgence of businesses and the wider economy, and we hope to accelerate release of the Top 500 data for the next period, 1 July 2021-June 2022.

Business resilience and future prospects

It is hard to predict the future from looking at the past performance of EM Top 500 companies.
However, having followed the fortunes of this group of businesses over the past four years, several observations can be made.

Firstly, all businesses experienced the impact of the prolonged COVID lockdowns and eventual recovery during the year. Some businesses were able to benefit but most experienced disruption, additional costs and loss of sales.

They have also experienced and adapted to, the lengthy Brexit separation and changes in trading, imports and exports from the European Union, and the associated effects on workforce, regulation, market access which continue to become more stringent and costly.

Having endured and risen stronger from adapting to these challenges, for over a year businesses have been confronting massive price rises in all energy costs as well as most raw materials, from foodstuffs to timber, cement, steel and plastics.

These started to rise steeply during 2021 as the war in Ukraine and its effects accelerated these increases dramatically. As a result, inflation has risen, accompanied by continuing interest rate rises aimed by the Bank of England to reduce inflation, but which increase costs to businesses.

Recent economic data, such as the East Midlands Chamber Quarterly Economic Survey (Q1 2023) showed an increase in business confidence from Q4 2022, following over 12 months of decline.

Optimism for growth in sales turnover and investment has increased, with price increases by firms slowing.
There is continuing uncertainty on many fronts, both economic, but also political, and environmental, as we see in the effects of climate change.

For these reasons, there has to be caution over the short-medium term economic outlook for the East Midlands region. But as the expectation of a recession in 2022 was avoided, this is less likely in the near future.

The successes of the East Midlands

The East Midlands hosts a large and successful group of businesses which are generally very well-managed.
In many cases, they are world-leading and continue to ride out and recover from the many challenges they encounter.

They are also very diverse in the range of industry sectors and both UK and international markets which they service.

International trade continues to be a growth area, enabled by the supply chain and logistics infrastructure the region has attracted. The combined effectiveness of leadership and management, and diversity of the business base, are enduring strengths.

In the 2022 report, the lack of regional political and civic leadership and its limiting effects for the profile of the East Midlands received comment.

Since then, the proposal for an East Midlands unified authority has progressed, with the Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire areas included, and this looks likely to become reality, though the Leicestershire area chose not to participate.

Also, the East Midlands gained the first inland Freeport, which is now operational and building its profile. It aims to drive economic regeneration across the region, based on an economic partnership seeking to deliver decarbonisation and Net Zero through low-carbon energy investments, new jobs and skills.

This is probably the most significant policy initiative the region has yet seen, building on the economic foundations of the East Midlands EMAGIC Airport, Gateway and industry hub and other sites, and creating the potential to deliver global impact.

See the East Midlands Top 500 Companies here.

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