The Sunday Times Fast Track 100

2003 - Fast Track 100 League Table

What is the Fast Track 100 – 2003?
The Fast Track 100 league table ranked Britain’s 100 private companies with the fastest-growing sales in 2003 over their latest three years.  To find out more about the research  and to view all the league tables from 1997 to 2023 click here

Sunday Times Fast Track 100 - Full 2003 Results

RankCompanyActivityLocationYear endAnnual sales rise over 3 yearsLatest sales £000sStaffComment
1Redbus Film DistributionFilm distributorCentral London2002286.06%15,16025Co-produced Bend it Like Beckham, which took £12m at the box office
2ADL HealthcarePharmaceuticals distributorBurton upon Trent2002241.44%33,22114Founder cites the Dalai Lama and Genghis Khan as his role models
3GBL InternationalDrinks supplierChesterfield2002196.34%62,18983Founder was bankrupt six years ago but now drives a Ferrari
4Parador PropertiesOverseas estate agencySurrey2002187.11%11,13430Sells holiday and retirement homes in Spain, Sweden and Dubai
5Cater LinkContract catererKent2002141.63%5,737280Provides 150,000 meals a week to schools, care homes and businesses
6Zig ZagTobacco products supplierManchester2002139.19%5,49914Claims a 20% share of cigarette-paper sales in Britain
7BostonairRecruitment consultancyHull2002133.89%3,69473Supplied engineers to fit terrorist-proof cockpit doors for Lufthansa [† Latest sales]
8Ambition RecruitmentNursing recruitment agencySW London2002130.89%52,58695Provides 24-hour emergency nursing cover for hospitals and care homes
9Activity SuperstoreActivity organiserEssex2002130.06%4,06242Offers flights in Mig jets and bungee jumps of 216 metres
10Loch Fyne RestaurantsSeafood restaurateurTwickenham2002121.42%15,731489Company's shareholders include six castle owners
11Saltire TavernsThemed pub operatorEdinburgh2002119.72%7,290190Runs three Frankenstein pubs and two Espionage nightclubs in Scotland
12House of BathMail-order retailerBath2002117.10%16,39222Catalogues sell everything from wind-up radios to wax jackets for pets
13Brandpath GroupEcommerce technology developerMarlow2002115.82%140,17463Services and distributes phones for partners such as Nokia and Vodafone
14Northern UnderwritersInsurance brokerMiddlesbrough2002114.20%3,89620Founders started out selling insurance door-to-door in London
15EuropcComputer hardware resellerGlasgow2002110.23%10,59937Sells more than 2,000 reconditioned PCs and peripherals every month
16Carluccio’sRestaurateur and retailerCentral London2002109.50%12,668284Pays for employees to attend lessons in Italian
17Wraith AccommodationPortable housing providerLincoln2002108.45%7,48352Rents 4,000 portable accommodation units to schools and building sites
18BluefrogMarketing agencyCentral London2002107.31%7,06135Founder set up company with £30,000 borrowed from his mother
19Allserve SystemsSoftware developerAscot2002107.21%54,085114Designed a billing system for Shell's aviation-fuel division
20Alan Bush InstallationsRefrigeration engineerBath2002106.74%4,581108Installs refrigerated units for Tesco and Sainsbury
214 ComTelecoms systems providerSalisbury2002106.58%7,10575Provides telephone systems for 1,300 small firms in southern England
22Infinite Global SolutionsComputer software resellerNE London2002105.73%10,12215Sells discounted Microsoft software over the phone and internet
23Crown PersonnelRecruitment consultancyCentral London2002104.21%17,943104Places 1,500 workers a day with clients such as Tesco and Barclaycard
24BinomialInsurance underwriterSurrey2002103.82%55,634452Brokers motor insurance for RAC and pet policies for Kennel Club
25ActixTelecoms software developerWest London2002101.76%8,92065Helps Chinese mobile-phone operators cope with new subscribers
26EurocallTelecoms services providerManchester2002100.65%52,32792Management recently bought out Energis, which had been an early investor
27Cable TelecomTelecoms services providerCentral London2002100.57%12,03817Provides telecoms services to the Bank of England and McDonald's
28Customer SystemsIT consultancySurrey2002100.38%5,13644Founder started company with £165,000 of own funds
29HIFXForeign exchange providerWindsor2002100.18%6,81340Provides foreign exchange for clients such as Safeway and Royal Mail
30UltralaseEye surgery providerLeeds200298.68%18,913147Performs more than 1,000 eye operations a month at its 12 clinics
31CarshockCar supermarketNewcastle200297.18%6,43823Claims to sell cars at up to 35% less than manufacturers' list prices
32SabioCall-centre systems integratorSW London200296.22%6,54552Designed a call centre capable of managing 850,000 calls a day
33CoflexFacilities managerSurrey200294.39%32,038209Won contract to manage London's 'Gherkin' building when it opens
34Link ICAMarketing agencyMaidstone200292.59%7,85432Chosen by the Church of England to run campaign to attract worshippers
35GladedaleHousebuilderDunfermline200292.54%61,379137Founder builds business with acquisitions worth more than £100m
36BighamsFood producerNW London200291.80%4,21167Company sells ready-made meals to Waitrose and Selfridges
37RedstorData storage consultancyReading200291.62%4,29827Founders born within a day of each other and went to same primary school
38Flair Leisure ProductsToy marketerSW London200291.29%11,57625Markets retro toys including Play-Doh and Sticklebricks
39Adastra SoftwareHealthcare software developerAshford200290.74%3,82056Claims to deal with 80% of out-of-hours phone calls to doctors' surgeries
40Mistral Internet GroupInternet service providerBrighton200289.91%5,73745Provides internet services for the likes of Microsoft and Sony [† Latest sales]
41Jump GroupProperty retailerLeeds200288.84%17,84534Founder was 22 years old when he set up the company
42WA DevelopmentsRail engineering contractorCumbria200288.69%21,01599Won £14m contract to help upgrade the west coast main line
43Northern & Shell Media GroupPublisher & broadcasterCentral London200288.42%347,5921,050Owns Express Newspapers, OK! and Fantasy TV
44Beaver Management ServicesRecruitment agencyMiddlesbrough200288.32%49,985463Provides 1,800 workers for the construction industry each week
45The Bollington GroupInsurance brokerCheshire200287.55%3,14166Secured insurance to prevent closure of children's care homes
46Paul EarlBuilding services contractorSussex200286.19%10,11641Won £280,000 contract to install energy-monitoring units at Sainsbury
47Fresh BouquetsFlower supplierKent200285.40%10,635143Supplies flowers to 5,000 UK retailers and is expanding into Continent
48Integrated Communications for BusinessTelecoms services providerReading200285.06%10,27554Founded with £150,000 investment from business angel
49AmplefutureMobile software developerCentral London200284.93%16,11985Provides celebrity voice-mail messages from David Beckham
50ServiRailRail industry contractorOxfordshire200284.62%16,244186Helped develop St Pancras station, preparing it for Channel Tunnel Rail link
51InfoMediaMobile payment providerNorthampton200282.61%7,85114Provides down-loadable ring tones and games for mobile-phone users
52Central TrustLoan brokerNorwich200282.36%39,866273Claims to field 35,000 customer inquiries a month
53TroikaManagement consultancyCentral London200282.19%4,96642Founded by three former Accenture consultants
54Langley HoldingsEngineering equipment makerNottinghamshire200281.56%101,5541,123Founder was 22 when he set up company that now has 25 subsidiaries
55ProjectlinkIncentive scheme developerWest London200281.24%27,65218Designs staff motivation schemes for more than 350 British companies
56Ceramic PrintsTile makerYorkshire200281.22%33,157176Sells 50,000 tonnes of tiles a year, covering 3m square metres
57City Invoice FinanceInvoice factorerManchester200279.76%4,59244Received £5m in start-up funding from Altium Capital
58Bridgen EnterprisesRail engineering contractorNW London200279.03%18,076243Recalled 180 employees within 24 hours to help at Hatfield crash [† Latest sales]
59Mortgage Advice ServicesMortgage brokerDerby200278.29%4,28858Claims to provide 2,500 loans a year at an average value of £70,000
60HotelConnectHotel reservation agencyNW London200277.36%15,15352Has raised annual hotel bookings from 12,000 to 120,000 since 1998
61WarmupUnderfloor heating makerWest London200277.02%3,47524Managing director still checks thermostats in customers' homes
62Ground ConstructionBuilding foundation contractorNorth London200276.39%7,48810Co-founder hopes that primary school age sons will take over company
63Sandhurst AutoprintNumber plate supplierBerkshire200275.48%3,24122Claims to sell components for 1.5m number plates a year
64City Refrigeration HoldingsFacilities maintenance providerGlasgow200274.93%176,9428,016Founder set up charitable trust that has raised more than £500,000
65Moneysupermarket.comFinancial website operatorWales200273.74%13,608113Website receives up to 10,000 credit-card and loan applications daily
66CedarstapeAdhesive tape distributorDundee200273.35%5,09432Distributes 1.2m rolls of tape featuring Disney characters each year
67Healthcare Services GroupPharmaceuticals distributorBuckinghamshire200272.65%98,354469Its fleet of 165 vehicles distributes pharmaceuticals throughout Britain [† Latest sales]
68Omitec GroupElectronic equipment makerWiltshire200272.31%18,938180Developed performance monitoring system for MG Rover's new sports car
69Princeton ConsultingIT systems integratorSlough200272.28%9,16493£1.7m investment from 3i and Elderstreet helped fund growth
70Shire LeasingLeasing package providerStaffordshire200271.51%10,80949Provides leasing deals for office equipment to resellers like Panasonic and Toshiba
71ASTRACBusiness software developerWarwick200271.26%7,52619Exports to 19 countries account for 92% of sales
72Carte Blanche GreetingsGreeting card publisherChichester200271.04%35,208130Founder sold his motorbike for £5,000 to fund start up of company
73Iris NationMarketing agencySE London200270.24%7,76836Redeveloped Manchester United 's worldwide membership scheme
74RDF MediaTV programme makerWest London200269.71%24,390155Won Bafta for Faking It and also produces Wife Swap
75ClinPhoneClinical trials processorNottingham200269.28%15,254198Handles 100,000 phone calls a month in 70 languages
76Oakleigh ConsultingIT consultancyManchester200269.27%3,91030Claims to have saved government £700,000 on one IT project
77Secure ValetingCar valeting providerCambridgeshire200269.21%3,90516Cleans up to 5,100 cars a day at garages across southeast England
78MercatumComputer products resellerLeeds200269.00%5,41127Shareholders sold company in 2002 and bought it back a year later
79Ambassador Theatre GroupTheatre operatorWoking200268.74%44,0891,181Operates 21 UK theatres and co-produced Up for Grabs, starring Madonna
80Rolled Gold InternationalMusic distributorSlough200268.29%41,24644Founders named company after their favourite Rolling Stones album
81IE MusicPerforming artist managerWest London200267.62%3,45716Negotiated £80m deal with EMI for Robbie Williams
82Freedom FinanceLoan brokerCheshire200267.52%16,720274Claims that referrals from high-street banks generate 20% of turnover
83Artizian Catering ServicesContract catererBerkshire200267.30%4,894149Uses 12.5 tonnes of coffee and more than 136,000 litres of milk a year
84Planet PVC GroupConservatory makerPreston200267.20%12,85694Installed a conservatory for the snooker star Dennis Taylor
85CaldeiraCushion makerMerseyside200266.99%4,166119Former market trader now produces up to 100,000 cushions a week
86ANS GroupHosting services providerManchester200266.74%5,18544Started with £100,000 of contracts from founder's former employer
87Tradex InsuranceMotor insurance underwriterEast London200266.73%37,42383Insured a Sherman tank for on-road use in an advertising campaign
88Windrush Frozen FoodsFood wholesalerOxfordshire200266.49%8,37832Cooks up sample menus for clients such as Bella Pasta and Café Rouge
89Preferred InternationalIT recruitment consultancySouthampton200266.21%18,18730Rewards new staff with a bottle of champagne when they win first contract
90Hotel ChocolatChocolate mail-orderHertfordshire200266.16%7,34370Claims to have made 2m deliveries of chocolate in past 10 years
91TravelexForeign exchange operatorCentral London200265.79%463,1084,986Processes 29m financial transactions a year
92Runwood HomesResidential homes operatorEssex200265.69%17,949979Founder bought company for £60,000 and now runs 25 care homes
93HedraPublic sector consultancyCentral London200265.21%21,14335Clients include the BBC and the Atomic Weapons Establishment
94Environmental Waste ControlsCompact waste disposerCheshire200265.13%5,60355Handles waste disposal for Blackpool and Blackburn district councils
95A4eOutsourced employment adviserSheffield200264.42%35,854965Helped ethnic minority groups develop bids for lottery funding
96BravissimoLingerie retailerLeamington Spa200263.74%10,89786Stocks more than 50 different styles of bras in sizes above D-cup
97The Great Little Trading CompanyChildren's mail-order retailerCentral London200263.66%11,07939Two American mothers launched children's mail-order catalogue [† Latest sales]
98Oxford InnovationBusiness services providerOxford200263.50%3,92347Advises 250 start-up companies on fundraising and development
99Rocco Forte HotelsLuxury hotel owner and managerCentral London200263.45%63,7131,405Founded by Sir Rocco Forte after hostile takeover of family firm
100Nando’sRestaurant operatorSouthwest London200263.15%34,0251,005Runs 72 restaurants serving spicy chicken to 20,000 customers a day

* Supplied by Company  † Annualised figure

Data Source:

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