Ambitious Scottish companies deliver £1.2 billion turnover growth

Around 1600 companies that Scottish Enterprise works with have generated a record combined turnover growth of £1.2 billion in the last year.

With Scottish GDP growing at an annual rate of just 0.2 per cent, these companies are bucking the economic trend. This year’s figures also represent an increase of more than 50 per cent compared to the £790 million turnover growth reported the previous year.

When compared to the UK business landscape, these Scottish-based companies grew their turnover in both 2010/11 and 2011/12, while UK firms as a whole experienced a fall in turnover in 2010.

Companies in the food and drink and oil and gas sectors, as well as those operating in less traditional sectors such as automotive and services companies, have achieved significant increases in turnover. Nine of the top 10 growth companies are manufacturing or engineering businesses.

Linda Hanna, director of Company Growth at Scottish Enterprise said: “The companies we work with most intensively are those which have the ambition and capacity to grow, and that can make the greatest impact on our economic recovery.

“These companies tell us that our account management approach is valuable as it has a significant impact on their performance, regardless of whether a company is looking to achieve top or bottom line improvements or productivity gains. This record turnover growth is a real testament to the tenacity of the companies in reaching their goals and evidence that our approach can make a difference.

“The results are particularly encouraging as we know that trading conditions are tough and that companies are continually having to look at new ways of driving business growth and investment. We want to work with even more companies with ambitious growth plans, and we’ve committed to working with at least 10 per cent more companies over the next three years.”

Scottish Enterprise works with businesses from across Scotland through its account management approach, where an account manager works intensively with the management team to understand key challenges facing their business and identify new growth opportunities.

The account manager ensures support is tailored to each company’s specific needs and brings in specialists from across SE’s wider business to help companies address specific issues such as exporting, innovation, business efficiency and leadership.

Companies which have increased their turnover in the last year, and which have benefitted from SE support, include Renfrewshire-based Peak Scientific Instruments, Alexander Dennis in Falkirk and Fraserburgh-based Brewdog.

Robin MacGeachy, managing director of Peak Scientific Instruments Ltd, which manufactures and services gas generators, said: "Our Scottish Enterprise account manager has brought in a whole team of SE specialists to help us across different areas of the business, such as leadership development, exporting, innovation, and staff training. Without this support we simply wouldn’t have been able to carry out so much development, which has significantly contributed to our 10% increase in turnover, taking our turnover to £20 million this year."

Alexander Dennis Limited is now the UK’s leading bus and coach manufacturer and employs more than 2000 people. Bill Simpson, the company’s group corporate affairs director, said: "Last year, with Scottish Enterprise's help, we increased our turnover by around 30% and our operating profit by more than 50% to over £25 million.

“Over the past 18 months, we've maintained a 50% UK market share during tough trading conditions, but we now need to grow our operations overseas and reduce our domestic market dependency. We've been busy doing just that, with a number of international deals which should result in our sales heading towards £500 million a year and increase export sales from 20% to nearer 40% of our turnover."

James Watt, Captain of Brewdog, said, "We've achieved turnover of around £11 million last year - which is a 110% increase. We now employ 100 staff and operate in 27 countries - so it’s fair to say we've had a great year. We've had amazing support from Scottish Enterprise and Scottish Development International, especially on the exporting side. But it's also our account manager's advice we value, having someone to bounce ideas off of and who cares about the business as passionately as we do."

Finance Secretary John Swinney said: “The Scottish Government and our enterprise agencies are focused on supporting businesses and securing economic recovery. This year Scottish Enterprise has seen record turnover growth amongst its account managed companies of over 50 per cent on the previous year to £1.2bn. This growth is testament to Scotland’s supportive business environment and the wealth of innovative, successful companies that are thriving with the support of Scottish Enterprise.”

Notes to editors

  • Scottish Enterprise works intensively with 2000 companies in Scotland through its account management approach and with an additional 7000 companies through its wider support activities.
  • 1600 of these account managed companies have generated £1.2 billion in turnover last year. The remaining 400 account managed companies are supported in exactly the same way however may be, for example, inward investors or part of a larger global company group and as such require a different growth support strategy. These companies’ turnover growth has not been included in the £1.2 billion.
  • Over the last year, these same companies have invested £46 million in new infrastructure, premises and capital equipment. This investment, supported by £12.8 million from Scottish Enterprise, is expected to help create 882 new jobs and safeguard 360.
  • To help companies compete in the challenging economic climate, Scottish Enterprise has also sharpened its support to help firms access finance to grow. Since April this year, 232 companies have worked with Scottish Enterprise financial readiness experts, providing advisory support to access capital for investment and working with banks and other investors to explore ways to further secure growth funding.

Contact Information