Skip links

Movers and shakers of the East Midlands Top 500 Companies list 2023

Movers and shakers of the East Midlands Top 500 Companies list 2023

The East Midlands Top 500 2023 is a partnership led by Professor David Rae and Adam Brown, at Leicester Castle Business School, De Montfort University.

It’s compiled by researchers from the Business Schools at De Montfort, Derby and Nottingham Trent Universities.

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.

Movers and shakers: businesses to watch

This analysis by Professor David Rae highlights companies which have entered or climbed up the index. Within this group are businesses which grew during the year.

Some demonstrate qualities of exceptional strategic ambition, leadership and innovation. A move into or out of the index may result from registered office moves into or out of the region and be purely administrative.

Within this group is a growing number of international businesses, locating UK operating companies in the region. There are also companies in sectors including manufacturing, healthcare, retail, services and other sectors which move into or up the index.

This reflects the diversity of business activities in the region. It includes family-founded businesses in the region which have been growing for several decades and have now entered the Top 500.

New entrant in the Top 10


“The Home of Homes” is the UK’s market leader in homewares. Dunelm’s turnover for the period under review was £1.3 billion, making it the 10th biggest Company by turnover in the East Midlands, and 5th biggest Company in Leicestershire.

In terms of headcount of over 10,000 staff nationally, it is the 7th largest by employment in the East Midlands and 2nd largest of those headquartered in Leicestershire.

Dunelm has seen turnover grow consistently year on year for the last 20 years, from £239 million (year end 2004) with only one year of checked growth in the year ended 27 June 2020.

Dunelm is firmly on a growth trajectory, with turnover growing by 26% in 2021 over 2020 and growing a further 18% in year ended 2022 compared with 2021.

It becomes the fifth retail business to join the prestigious Top Ten companies in the East Midlands.

Top new entrants overall

All four of the highest new entrants to the Top 500 are companies which have moved their registered office addresses from other locations to the East Midlands. The top two are holding companies.

Highest new entrant: No. 36


C&C Topco owns a growing portfolio of domiciliary care service businesses. Previously registered in London, it has been refinanced and the shareholding is owned by an equity fund based in Jersey.

2nd highest new entrant: No. 60


Healthnet Homecare (UK) Ltd joins as a result of the relocation of their registered office to Derbyshire. The business provides nursing and pharmacy services to home and community care patients in partnership with the NHS, specialising in patient-centred homecare. Turnover grew by £61m (47%) from 2020 to 2021.

Highest climbers:


Ward Group Holdings has risen from 290 in 2022 to 66 in 2023, a rise of 224 places. Ward Group Holdings Limited is the holding company of a fourth-generation family business in the recycling of metal and waste. The primary trading business is Donald Ward Limited. This company achieved 22% growth in turnover in 2020-21 and a further 76% during the following year. The main driver of the increases in turnover have been metal and ferrous materials sales, mainly driven by increased volume rather than the price. Businesses involved in recycling are likely to grow further with the priority given towards sustainability. This Company will be a business to look out for in future East Midland 500 rankings.


W B Power Services Ltd has risen from 480 in 2022 to 278 in 2023, a rise of 202 places. This is an independently owned industrial plant engineering and hire company, based in Heanor Gate, Derbyshire. Turnover in the year ended April 2021 increased by 73% to £44.5m, by attracting large contracts and increasing its power generator hire fleet.

Featured Cases

This section features three businesses in the category of ‘movers and shakers’ which have shown significant growth and future promise.

Top 30 business


Refresco has risen 26 places from 48 to 22. Refresco (Beverages UK and Drinks UK) are based in Derbyshire for manufacture and sale of soft drinks. These include popular brands such as Aquajuice, Del Monte, Just Juice, Mr Freeze, Ocean Spray, Old Jamaica, Sunny D and Sunpride. Refresco has been a mainstay of the EM Top 500, with combined turnovers consistently above £560 million with a peak of £647 million for the year ended 31 December 2018. Refresco is part of an international group headquartered in the Netherlands, resulting from the buyout from a Dutch dairy group. It has made strategic purchases in the UK and globally to become the world’s largest independent bottler for retailers and A-brands with leadership positions across Europe and North America.


Carlin Group Limited is a new entrant at 265. Carlin Group’s entry to the EM Top 500 results from the growth of its award- winning trading subsidiary Superior Wellness Limited. Founder Robert Carlin started Superior Wellness Ltd in 2011, based in Chesterfield. It grew to lead the market as Europe’s largest hot tub, swim spas and related products distributor, with a focus on improving health and well-being. Turnover in 2020-21 rose from £15.1m to £48.4m, a huge rise of 220%. It sold over 18,000 spas for the year under review. Its central location in the UK aids distribution, with investment in showrooms and warehousing. The lockdown period encouraged homeowners to install hot tubs and swim spas, driving a sustained increase in sales.


Geary’s Bakeries Holdings Limited is a new entrant at no 343. Based in Barrow on Soar as a family bakery established in 1985 as C. Geary and Sons Limited, its success results from the growth of its trading subsidiary, Geary’s Bakeries Limited. This has a long track record of growth, with turnover growing from £11.6m in 2014, to £30.6 m in 2020, with average annualised growth of 18%, a great achievement.

Leave a comment

This website uses cookies to improve your web experience.