The top 100 businesses in Kirklees for 2021 have been unveiled at an online event. Seven companies are new to this year’s top 10, with only three maintaining their top 10 space from last year’s list.

Thornton & Ross and Buy It Direct hold the top two spots with Tandem 1987 Limited and PPG Architectural Coatings joint third. Seven new entries made it to the Top 10, with 33 companies new to the overall list, demonstrating business growth across the district even before the full effects of the pandemic have fed through into company accounts

The Kirklees Top 100 Companies is a partnership between the University of Huddersfield, Kirklees Council, the Huddersfield Examiner, and 3M Buckley Innovation Centre (3M BIC), that has renewed its commitment to celebrating the top firms in the district for the second year running.

The 2021 list was unveiled at a virtual event, sponsored by CityFibre, with some of the top 100 businesses and partner representatives in attendance.

Thornton & Ross was named the most successful company in Kirklees, having moved to number one from seven in last year’s list. Thornton & Ross, part of the STADA Group, is headquartered in Linthwaite and is one of the largest OTC pharmaceutical manufacturers in the UK, most notable for its household brands Zoflora, Covonia, Cetraben and Hedrin. It experienced an accelerated period of growth when the pandemic hit due to an increase in demand for cough and cold medicines and disinfectant.

The top 10 businesses for 2021 are:

  • Thornton & Ross - one of the largest OTC pharmaceutical manufacturers in the UK, exporting to over 80 countries worldwide and creating household names such as Zoflora, Covonia, Cetraben and Hedrin.
  • Buy It Direct Group – one of the UK’s largest online retailers based in Huddersfield, incorporating several other brands including Appliances Direct, Laptops Direct and Furniture 123.
  • Tandem 1987 Limited – a global brand and implementation consultancy, trading under the name Principle Global. Starting out in 1987 as sign experts on the Tandem Industrial Estate at Waterloo, it now has 22 offices across the globe and works with big names such as BMW, Debenhams, Sky and HSBC.
  • PPG Architectural Coatings - Europe’s largest paint manufacturing complex, which makes paint brands Johnstone’s and Leyland, based at a 65-acre site in Birstall where it has been since 1983.
  • Hoyer Petrolog UK Limited - a global leader in providing specialist bulk logistics for the chemical, petroleum, food and gas industries. Established in 1946 as an independent family run business, it now employs 1,300 people throughout the country and globally over 6,000 people in over 115 countries, turning over €1.2bn.
  • Dr. Reddy's Laboratories (EU) Limited – a pharmaceutical company with a major manufacturing site in Mirfield. The company was set up in 1984 to make medicines more affordable. Established in the UK in 2002, it is committed to saving the NHS money through its prescription medicines for gastrointestinal, neurology, cardiovascular, pain management, oncology and anti-infection.
  • PCSpecialist Limited - Europe’s leading system integrator, specialising in build to order PCs, Laptops, AIOs and Servers, with a focus on building high-performance systems for enthusiasts, gamers & professionals.
  • Aflex Hose Limited – the world’s leading manufacturer of hoses for the automotive and pharmaceutical industries. It has been inventing, developing and manufacturing the widest, most technically advanced range of PTFE lined flexible hose products in the world for more than 40 years.
  • Camira Group Holdings Limited – one of the biggest producers of commercial textiles in the UK, providing upholstery for buses, coaches and trains, as well as business premises, the hospitality industry and universities. Its HQ is in Mirfield and also has sites in Birkby and Meltham.
  • Valli Forecourts Limited - a family run business currently operating a portfolio of 15 petrol forecourts and convenience stores throughout England from Birmingham to Stockton-on-Tees and in between.

The Kirklees Top 100 Companies list was established using a set of consistent metrics, through a combination of turnover, profit, employee numbers and growth, all derived from published company accounts of locally registered firms drawn from the FAME database.

Those in attendance included Jacqui Gedman, chief executive of Kirklees Council; Professor Bob Cryan, CBE, vice-chancellor of the University of Huddersfield; Sue Cooke, CEO of 3M Buckley Innovation Centre, with Professor Jill Johnes, dean of Huddersfield Business School announcing the top 100 list. West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin also contributed virtually to the event, congratulating the initiative on supporting innovation, sustainability and education in the district.

Event sponsor CityFibre’s city manager, Steve Moore, announced special awards for the list’s Highest Climber, Highest Placed SME, and Highest New Entrant, awarded to Adare SEC, Wooltex UK and Dr. Reddy's Laboratories (EU) Limited respectively.

Jacqui Gedman said: “Highlighting how businesses across the district are excelling in business growth, sustainability, innovation and nurturing local talent is a key aim of the Kirklees Top 100 Companies. I am incredibly proud of our business community, particularly over the last 18 months, and how it is contributing to regional growth and the future of our local economy and look forward to seeing what the future holds for our top 100 businesses.”

Professor Bob Cryan, CBE, said: “Driving innovation is a core priority for University of Huddersfield, in particular in health and med tech, which is why we are currently investing in new facilities in this area, as well as space for businesses and research activity. There is a lot of support and funding out there for companies with research and innovation projects across the district and it’s important that we highlight these opportunities through this initiative.”

Sue Cooke, said: “This year we put a spotlight on growing innovation in Kirklees. We have an amazing selection of innovative companies across a range of sectors from traditional engineering to state-of-the-art software, all developing their businesses in Kirklees. There are undoubtedly many more examples of business innovation out there and we’d love to showcase some more next year.”

L-R Head of Business Support, Kirklees Council, Chris Duffill; 3M BIC CEO, Sue Cooke; West Yorkshire Mayor, Tracy Brabin; Dean of Huddersfield Business School, Prof Jill Johnes