Four West Midlands companies have been named in a list of the fastest-growing companies in the country, beating off strong competition as the internet boom gathers pace.
The Real Business/LDC Hot 100 league table of Britain ranks growth in sales over the last four years.
The firms were competing for places with large national brands like VUE cinemas and online fashion retailer Net-a-Porter for places on the list. But the list was dominated by small businesses due to their higher rate of growth. Internet-based businesses performed particularly well, as the second "dotcom boom" continued, organisers said.
Burton-on-Trent racecourse owner Northern Racing, which owns nine racecourses, including Uttoxeter and Hereford, was the highest placed Midlands firm, at 25th. It grew by 108 per cent in the last 12 months, to a combined turnover of #30.5 million.
Northern Racing – which is currently in the middle of a #70.5 million takeover bid by the billionaire Reuben brothers – is joined on the list by:
Aviation Resource, of Coventry, in 40th place with 90.2 per cent growth.
Personal Touch Financial Services, of Solihull, in 54th place, with 79 per cent growth.
Transys Projects, of Birmingham, in 94th place, with 60 per cent growth.
Kate Pritchard, managing editor of Real Business magazine, said the diversity of the businesses appearing on the list showed the economy was in good health.
She said: "The sheer diversity of businesses featured in this year’s list shows that companies from all walks of life are benefiting from a period of relative economic stability. It is interesting that both the luxury and economy ends of the market are doing well."
The list was topped by online retailer Expansys, which has bought out two major rivals in recent years, and has up to 400,000 visitors a day on its websites selling electronic accessories like PDAs and mp3 players.
Grant Berry, regional managing director of list sponsors LDC, said the success of companies making up the "second dotcom boom" showed they were likely to have more longevity than the first time round.
He said: "The internet has created a host of fast-growing businesses in this year’s crop of Hot 100 firms. But unlike the first dotcom boom, these companies are generating significant cash profits for their owners and backers.
"This is partly due to the huge growth in broadband availability, internet usage and convergence in the UK in the last few years. It also illustrates how entrepreneurs have applied the lessons learned over the last few years and built more sustainable, profitable business models.
"While the achievements of the Hot 100 should be congratulated, many of these businesses are still relatively young – almost half were set up within the last six years. They‘ve been able to establish their businesses and achieve a high rate of growth due to low start up and operating costs.
"The question for the class of 2007 is how do they maintain this momentum and, more importantly, sustain profit margins while investing more in infrastructure to cope with their ever-expanding customer base? That requires a whole new set of skills and expertise."