BRADFORD has improved its standing as a location for corporate headquarters with an increased number of businesses represented in the BDO Yorkshire Report 2018.

The city accounts for 14 of the region’s top-250 companies in the annual bellwether of corporate Yorkshire, up from 12 the previous year.

Bradford’s medium-sized corporates performed “excellently” last year, according to BDO LLP, the accountancy and business advisory firm.

Mark Langford, partner at BDO Yorkshire, said: “These mid-market firms demonstrated real growth and improved performance.

“This was due to operational performance, commercial management and favourable currency conditions for exporters.

“Lean is the buzzword among our clients. Companies aren’t going for growth for the sake it. They have concentrated on operations instead.”

He added: “The weak pound has also helped companies in Bradford to become more competitive abroad. It has supported those corporates with overseas operations when they exchange foreign currencies.”

The BDO Yorkshire Report features analysis of the financial performance of the region’s top 250 companies.

As well as highlighting sharp rises in profits and dividends, the report also reveals a big increase in the amount of cash on balance sheets.

Analysis shows the corporates are sitting on £7.2bn in cash reserves, an increase of 51 per cent on the previous year.

Mr Langford said: “This is a sign of strength, but it is also a sign of uncertainty.

“There is lots of ‘dry powder’ money out there, in private equity funds, institutions and banks, waiting to be invested.

“We believe that uncertainty in the national and international landscape is delaying decisions in boardrooms.”

Business investment is seen as key for increasing productivity and ensuring long-term prosperity.

Mr Langford pointed to the 15 per cent fall in mergers and acquisitions activity over the last year as another sign of the cautious outlook.

The volume of deals fell from 547 to 467, according to the report.

The cautious outlook is also reflected in overall revenue figures, which remain broadly flat at £107bn for the top-250 list.

Manufacturing was the standout sector last year, according to the report. Retail was surprisingly robust with more sector winners than losers.