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Making the Profit Track 100 The Sunday Times BDO Profit Track 100

Thames Valley With Rolls-Royce, the NHS, Samsung and Oxford University among its 15,000 clients, a Bracknell-based training provider surely had to be one of the best bets to survive last year’s pandemic.

And it did that with the bonus of topping the charts in the Thames Valley when it came to measuring the fastest- growing profits of the UK’s private companies.

The Knowledge Academy has taught more than three million people and offers 30,000 courses across 1,000 locations in 190 countries. Courses are taken online, either with an instructor or self-paced.

Husband-and-wife team Dilshad and Barinder Hothi set up the business in 2009 and now employ some 200 staff. Profits rose to almost £9.6 million in the year to March 2020, giving a three-year average of 105% to earn fourth place in the UK Profit Track 100 table.

This year’s Covid-19 special edition recognises the impressive past performance of the featured companies, their contribution to the economy and role in paying the taxes that help fund vital public services, such as the NHS, as well as their responses to the pandemic.

The only other company from the region to make the top 50 was the Reading catering concern CH & Co Group, which provides services to schools, workplaces, events and the hospitality sector. It made 22nd spot in the UK table with profits of £22.7m for a three-year average of 76%.

Equistone Partners purchased a minority stake for an undisclosed sum in 2019, and annualised profits reached £22.8m later that year. It has expanded through a string of acquisitions, most recently of London-based Vacherin in February 2020.

To help it survive Covid curbs, it completed a refinancing in May 2020 and raised £15m from its existing shareholders. Led by Bill Toner, it now employs over 10,000 staff.

Seven other Thames Valley groups featured in the lower half of the table, led by Hungerford-based Ticketer, the bus ticketing and software specialist.

The company’s electronic ticketing devices are used by passengers on more than 25,000 buses across the UK, being deployed by more than 500 transport operators.

It acquired Fara, a Norwegian bus ticketing company, in 2019 and last year Andy Monshaw took over as chief executive from co-founder John Clarfelt. With a staff of 80, profits hit £4.6m in 2019 for an annual growth of 52%, placing it 53rd in the UK.

The High Wycombe aircraft furnishings manufacturer Sabeti Wain Aerospace gained 60th place with £5.8m profit in 2019 for an average growth of 48%. With production facilities in the UK, Dubai and America, it is led by Paymen Sabeti, Mahnoush Sabeti-Wain and Nick Wain, who have been boosted by contracts with British Airways and Emirates. In the first UK lockdown, it made 5,000 sets of scrubs for local NHS trusts.

Beaconsfield-based property developer Kebbell Homes gained 65th place with £10.8m profits for an avaerage growth of 46%. Building upmarket homes across London, the home counties and North Yorkshire, it completed the sale of 64 across six sites in 2019, up 121% on the previous year.

The royal household and the prime minister’s office are among more than 75 million people in 150 countries using the software of Farnborough-based Exclaimer, which helps to manage signatures and legal disclaimers on corporate emails. Profits of £5.7m last year gave it an average of 45% and 68th place.

Smart Garden Products at Abingdon earned 74th spot with £4.9m profit for an average of 42%. Its products range from solar lighting and water features to hanging baskets, watering cans and pet products.

Close behind in 76th place was TMC Pharma, which supports the development of medicines and medical devices from its base at Hartley Wintney. Profits of £3m gave an average growth of 42%.

Canagan, the Wooburn Green pet food supplier, squeezed into its position of 88th with profits of £7m (average 39%).


Just one company from the Solent area managed to make the latest Profit Track 100 table. Dorchester- based housebuilder CG Fry & Son continued its success with 91st place following 21st last year and 31st in 2018.

Founded by Charlie Fry in 1935, this construction contractor is now run by his grandson Philip Fry. As one of the principal builders of Poundbury, the urban extension to Dorchester championed by the Prince of Wales, it uses building designs and materials that fit the local area.

Focused on south-west England, it grew profits to £11.1m in 2019 (annual average growth 36%) after completing 217 home sales. It is planning to build about 600 homes and a school in Gillingham, Dorset, with other developments in Wellington and Shepton Mallet in the next 10 years.

* The Sunday Times BDO Profit Track 100 table is compiled by Oxford-based Fast Track MAY/JUNE 2021


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