Hertfordshire top businesses booming despite Brexit uncertainty

PUBLISHED: 11:28 22 November 2018 | UPDATED: 11:28 22 November 2018

Hertfordshire Limited 2018: L-R Jeremy Read, Keith Thompson, Sally Ann Forsythe and Adrian Hawkins. Picture: supplied by Grant Thornton

Hertfordshire Limited 2018: L-R Jeremy Read, Keith Thompson, Sally Ann Forsythe and Adrian Hawkins. Picture: supplied by Grant Thornton

supplied by Grant Thornton

The top 200 companies in Hertfordshire have “every reason to be confident about the future”- even with Brexit looming, say the authors of a new report.

Accounting company Grant Thornton has revealed their findings of an annual report, ‘Strong performance in an uncertain world’, looking at Hertfordshire’s top 200 privately owned companies.

They looked at how this 200 companies’ turnover, profitability, and employment are faring.

Though the report only looked at the highest-turnover businesses and did not analyse small to medium businesses, they believe the findings could be used as a “yardstick” for the county’s business performance.

Using the EBITDA measure (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization), the company found that turnover had increased by 13.1 per cent, and that profits had risen 16.9 per cent since last year.

The presentation at Hatfield House. Picture: Mia JankowiczThe presentation at Hatfield House. Picture: Mia Jankowicz

Employing 93,871 people between them, the top 200 had increased their hiring by just one per cent, but the average wage has risen by 3.4 per cent to £27,391.

The findings were revealed to the Hertfordshire business community at a breakfast presentation at Hatfield House to company bosses.

The presentation also conducted a snap poll of the guests’ views.

Thirty-six per cent said that the biggest driver of growth in the next year will be hiring new people - despite the slow hiring rate.

If Hertfordshire is going to be more attractive to live and work in, 39 per cent of the voters felt that innovation in technology would be the biggest factor.

Jeremy Read, from Grant Thornton’s St Albans office who presented the findings, said: “This year’s report is particularly noteworthy as it is the final review conducted whilst the UK is still a member of the European Union and so could become a yardstick to determine the impact of Britain’s departure on businesses in Hertfordshire.

“It’s positive to see businesses performing strongly across the board and is a real testament of their resilience and determination to achieve growth even in an uncertain market with ongoing negotiations with the EU.

“It’s evident from the report that Hertfordshire continues to be a fantastic place for business.

“Whilst a lot could change in the lead up to the March 2019 Brexit deadline, businesses in the region are well placed to overcome any challenges which are thrown up and have every reason to be confident about the future.”

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I should probably have taken the hint! Walking out into the garden recently an unprecedented flock of thirty or more crows raucously greeted me from the treetops at the bottom of my garden. Cawing and croaking these big, black birds clung clumsily to the top most branches and twigs, jostling and flapping to stay balanced in a constant flurry of feathers. There is always something ominous about crows – they are after all carrion crows, the vultures of the bird world – always watching for scraps and weakness that might mean their next meal.

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