Bradford Telegraph and ArgusBradford home to some big hitters (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)

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Sixteen of region’s biggest companies here in the city with sales of £23.8 billion

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Terry Jones, partner and head of BDO in Yorkshire Terry Jones, partner and head of BDO in Yorkshire

A new economic report shows that Bradford is home to 16 of the region’s biggest 150 companies, generating combined sales of £23.8 billion.

The analysis by accountancy and business advisory firm BDO reveals that the 16 companies achieved operating profits of £1.7 billion in 2013 and have boosted future growth prospects by investing a total of £1.3 billion.

BDO says the figures are skewed by the dominance of Morrisons – the city’s largest private-sector employer – which represents more than 75 per cent of Bradford’s share of the revenues generated by the 150 businesses analysed and nearly 55 per cent of operating profits.

Excluding Morrisons, which reported an annual loss of £176 million in the year to February 2, 2014, the other 15 Bradford-based companies had a successful year, recording combined revenues of £5.7 billion and almost £800 million in profit. These firms employ nearly 20,000 people.

The analysis comes from the BDO Yorkshire Report 2014, now in its eighth year, which compiles the latest published accounts from Yorkshire’s largest 150 businesses based on revenue, analysing trends and acting as a barometer of health for the region.

Terry Jones, partner and head of BDO in Yorkshire, said: “There is an overwhelming feeling of confidence across the region and the figures in this year’s report show that, even excluding Morrisons’ results, Bradford-based businesses have continued their fight for growth and are now reaping the rewards.”

Having battened down the hatches since the recession started, Yorkshire’s largest 150 companies have amassed more than £10.4 billion cash in the bank, according to the report.

Companies’ war chests have increased sharply by 22 per cent on the previous year’s figures, signalling that merger and acquisition activity could flourish over the next few years.

Mr Jones added: “Having built up cash reserves during the last few years, the challenge now is for management teams – many of which may not have the experience in dealing with a ‘positive’ cash crisis – to have the confidence and expertise to choose where to invest.

“It’s a challenging prospect having spent the last four to five years heads down firefighting, but businesses must look forward and seize the opportunities a recovering market presents. This year’s success stories will come from those brave enough to invest three-fold; in talent, technology and international markets.”

Redfern Travel has entered this year’s top 150 list, having increased turnover to more than £112 million in the reporting period. Other companies include Barrett Steel, Safestyle UK, Hallmark Cards and agrochemical supplier Nufarm UK.

The Bradford list also includes motors group JCT600, Yorkshire Water owner Kelda Eurobond, Provident Financial,Yorkshire Building Society, automotive services company Group Auto Union, print supplies group UFP, turobcharger manufacturer BorgWarner, chemicals group Univar, International Fibres Group and compressors and pumps maker Gardner Denver.

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