Top 100 private Scots firms make £21bn turnover

Grant Thornton’s Scotland Limited report for 2017 shows that Scotland’s largest 100 private limited companies made a combined turnover of £21.4 billion, made combined pre-tax profits of £1.6 billion, employed 119,087 people and paid remuneration of £3.3 billion.

All figures rose slightly on 2016.

While Arnold Clark Automobiles remained Scotland’s biggest private firm measured by turnover, Grant Thornton uses a hybrid of turnover and profits to determine its list.

Using that hybrid method, whisky and spirits firm William Grant & Sons topped the table of Scots private firms, with Arnold Clark in second place and another drinks firm, The Edrington Group, in third place.

Completing the top 12 were The Edinburgh Woollen Mill (Group) Limited, Miller Homes Limited, Alexander Dennis Limited, City Refrigeration Holdings (UK) Limited, Park’s of Hamilton (Holdings) Limited, Robertson Group (Holdings) Limited, D.C. Thomson and Company Limited, Forth Ports Limited and Farmfoods Limited.

“Once again, the food and drink sector dominates our top 100, with 25 companies making this year’s list, up one from last year,” said the report.

“The top food and drink firms include William Grant & Sons Holdings Limited, holding on to its number 1 place, and The Edrington Group Limited which remains at number 3.

“The 25 firms have demonstrated an ability to collaborate on a truly global scale, with combined turnover up from £3.7 billion in 2016 to £4.9 billion.

“They’ve also played a crucial role in driving down unemployment figures to near-record lows, with 24,552 employees, up from 19,239 in 2016.

“This year, we’ve chosen to record new industry categories, including manufacturing and industrial, reflecting the growing importance that Scotland is placing on a ‘new industrial revolution’ driven by technology and new forms of energy.

“The sector’s success is demonstrated in its position as our second placed group in the top 100, with 22 firms employing almost 27,000 people.

“The links between manufacturing and industrial and our energy sector are crucial, but the challenges facing the energy sector remain an area of concern as we enter 2018.

“Seven firms are included in our 2017 rankings, down from nine in 2016. Turnover is also down, from £1.4 billion in 2016 to £1.2 billion.

“However, there are some signs of a slow and steady recovery, with the number of people employed by those firms rising from 6,990 to 7,316.

“Another key industry group is property and construction, which continues to witness a slow, but steady recovery from the 2009 global crash, which left it facing many of the challenges we’re now seeing in the energy sector.

“Twenty one companies make this year’s top 100 – up one from 2016.

“The number of employees has risen from 14,571 to 16,963, demonstrating the rise in orders and a growing demand for large-scale infrastructure projects, but one area of concern is the reduction in combined turnover, which has fallen slightly from £3.3 billion in 2016 to £3.1 billion.”