High potential SMEs in the north-east generate £105m of turnover growth since 2015

Mike Sibson
Mike Sibson

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A high potential group of 163 SMEs in Aberdeenshire has generated £105m of combined turnover growth – an increase of 3 percent – in the last three years, according to new research from BGF, the UK and Ireland’s most active investor in growing businesses.

The research calculates growth through changes in turnover and employee size among Britain’s private companies with revenues between £3m and £150m, a category of 13,286 businesses nationwide, 892 of which are based in Scotland.

Over half of the Aberdeenshire businesses in this group have grown their turnover over the last three years (52 percent). Employing over 25,000 people, 48 percent of the companies are actively hiring, with 1,267 jobs created since 2015.

Mike Sibson, an investor in BGF’s Aberdeen office, said: “It’s encouraging to see growth like this across a significant proportion of the businesses based here in Aberdeen City and Shire. The economies are closely aligned with the fortunes of the oil and gas industry, which is currently recovering from arguably the worst downturn in its history, so these positive signs of growth are very welcome.

“Today’s research gives us unique insight into the performance and potential of the high potential businesses that exist in the region. As a local investor with a strong team in Aberdeen, BGF is passionate about helping these companies grow here. It’s more important than ever to recognise the major and genuine impact that unlocking capital to fast-track growth among businesses like these can have on industry, the economy and society.”

Steven Gray, CEO of BGF portfolio company ROVOP based in Aberdeen, said: “ROVOP has evolved into one of the leading operators in the remotely operated vehicle (ROV) and subsea robotics market. The financial commitment and support we have received has been vital in enabling us to achieve this growth. We recently further expanded our ROV fleet, which means we are now even better placed to support our customers as greater confidence returns to the subsea sector due to increased oil price stability.”

The research has been released as part of BGF’s ‘Ready for Business’ campaign, which will see the investor confidently advocate for continued growth, committing to entrepreneurs and investing in the age of uncertainty.

BGF’s ‘Ready for Business’ report is available to download here. The research looks at publicly-reported data. Given current reporting thresholds, this group of companies is likely to be much larger – BGF’s proprietary database indicates that there could be an additional 4,000 companies, increasing the size of this group by 30%.

BGF, the UK and Ireland’s most active investor, was founded in 2011 specifically to address a long-standing gap in equity funding directed into companies that have outgrown friends, family or angel funding but are not typically large enough to be courted by traditional private equity. BGF has invested £1.9bn in more than 270 companies since 2011, three quarters of which are based outside London and the South East.

BGF’s recent investments in the North-east include Entier, Scotland’s largest independent privately-owned catering company, oil and gas service companies Aubin, FrontRow, SPEX, STATS Group and Task Fronterra Group and local bus operator MET.


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