Chief Secretary to the Treasury will be keynote speaker at Excellence in Business Awards

ONE of the Cabinet's rising stars will be the keynote speaker at the region's most prestigious business awards ceremony.

Greg Hands

The Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Greg Hands, will provide an insight into the Government’s economic strategy when he addresses The Yorkshire Post’s Excellence in Business Awards this autumn.

In doing so, he will join illustrious company; previous speakers have included David Cameron, William Hague, George Osborne, Nick Clegg, Vince Cable, Iain Duncan Smith and Dr John Sentamu, Archbishop of York.

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14 October 2015....... Paul Bailey and Gary Scott of Linbrooke Services receive the companies with a £10m-50m turnover award from Gordon Singer of PWC, left and Justin Webb at the Yorkshire Post Excellence in Business awards at The Queens Hotel in Leeds. Picture Tony Johnson

Mr Hands said: “I am delighted to be speaking at The Yorkshire Post’s Excellence in Business Awards later this year.

“Backing northern businesses and celebrating their successes is key to building a strong Northern Powerhouse.

“The Government’s long-term economic plan is already delivering for Yorkshire, with record employment levels and 50,000 more business than in 2010,” he said.

Guests at the awards dinner, which honours the brightest and best companies in our region, will gain an insider’s perspective on Government when Mr Hands delivers his speech on November 4.

14 October 2015....... Paul Bailey and Gary Scott of Linbrooke Services receive the companies with a £10m-50m turnover award from Gordon Singer of PWC, left and Justin Webb at the Yorkshire Post Excellence in Business awards at The Queens Hotel in Leeds. Picture Tony Johnson

The Yorkshire Post Excellence in Business Awards have benefited over the last decade from support from some high-profile partners, and none better-known than global professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

The audit and accountancy giant has been a top-level backer of the awards since their inception in 2006, and has sponsored the award for Companies with Turnover of £10m to £50m since 2007.

Gordon Singer, PwC partner and Yorkshire Private Business leader, said the awards are a great platform to shout about what is great in our region.

“We have businesses of all shapes and sizes that are worthy of recognition. PwC is proud to sponsor the £10m-£50m turnover category because these businesses form the backbone of our local economy and are so often those where there is market-leading innovation and growth.”

The £10m-£50m turnover category has seen some remarkable winners, many of which have seized the opportunity provided by the awards to capitalise on their heightened profile and continue on their growth trajectory.

One of the first was Pressure Technologies, a Sheffield-based engineering company that manufactures large, high-strength, high-pressure cylinders, mainly for use in the offshore oil and gas industry.

When it won the award in 2007 it had just floated on the AIM with a market capitalisation of £17m and was keen to pursue acquisition opportunities in the UK and, possibly, abroad.

Since then, the oil and gas industry has contracted severely, and the defence industry, another key market, has also shrunk.

Yet Pressure Technologies has avoided the worst of it through diversification into precision components and biogas, and, according to plan, has expanded through the acquisition of several companies. It now has a market capitalisation of well over £25m, and turnover has soared from £15.1m in 2007 to £55.6m last year.

Another stellar success story is Leeds-based thebigword Group, which is now one of the world’s biggest translation and interpreting companies. When it won the award in 2009, it was – unsurprisingly – already doing rather well. It employed 300 permanent staff, had a global network of more than 7,500 linguists and had increased turnover from £1m eight years previously to £40m.

Since then, its growth hasn’t been quite so rapid – there has, after all, been a considerable downturn in global trade in the interim – but turnover is nevertheless up, to £47.5m.

And it has positioned itself well for better times, doubling its permanent headcount to 600 and expanding its network of linguists to more than 12,000. When interviewed by The Yorkshire Post last year, chief financial officer Matthew Toynton said the firm aimed to increase turnover to £175m by 2019.

Castleford-based PTSG has also done well since winning the award in 2013. The firm, a niche specialist in areas such as high-level cleaning, lightning protection and fall-arrest equipment services, was turning over around £16m in 2013, but aimed to break the £100m turnover barrier by 2018. The company floated on the AIM with a value of £45.1m in February 2015, and revenues have since soared. The performance was boosted by six acquisitions..

The closing date for entries is Tuesday May 17.

Which company will win this year is anyone’s guess, but PwC’s Gordon Singer is in no doubt about the value of entering the fray.

“Judging these awards is one of my highlights of the year,” he said, “and as someone who is passionate about business, I encourage any business with a story to tell to get involved.”

Other winners of the £10m-£50m turnover award have included mobile software company Masternaut Three X (2008), manufacturer Seabrook Crisps (2010), liquid medicine maker Rosemont Pharmaceuticals (2011), law firm Gordons (2012), door and window supplier Polyframe (2014) and Sheffield telecoms and signalling specialist Linbrooke Services (2015).