The Sunday Times Fast Track 100

2004 - Fast Track 100 League Table

What is the Fast Track 100 – 2004?
The Fast Track 100 league table ranked Britain’s 100 private companies with the fastest-growing sales in 2004 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 2004 Results

RankCompanyActivityLocationYear endAnnual sales rise over 3 yearsLatest sales £000sStaffComment
1Opera TelecomMobile services providerBirmingham2003431.59%44,23742Has launched Britain’s first soap opera streamed to your mobile phone
2The Global DrawBetting terminal supplierWest London2003237.46%12,53647£130m is gambled each week through its betting terminals
3innocentFruit drinks makerWest London2003205.24%10,64532Founders gave up day job after testing their smoothies at music festival
4OctopusTravel.comOnline travel agencyCentral London2003197.54%59,972112Claims to offer hotel bookings for 3,300 cities in 112 countries
5GabemBusiness services providerWest Sussex2003196.98%8,92867Handles accounting, admin and payroll for 25,000 temporary workers
6beCogentCall centre operatorAirdrie2003189.17%13,584849Scottish operators handle trouble-shooting when AOL customers need help
7IngeniousInvestor and adviserCentral London2003174.06%33,99546Funded and co-produced the hit films Wimbledon and Bride and Prejudice
8BargainsoundPetrol retailerCheshire2003171.29%22,19470Sold 34m litres of fuel last year through nine outlets in northwest England
9Redbus Film DistributionFilm distributorCentral London2003170.18%20,43031Distributed shark thriller Open Water and co-produced Bend It Like Beckham
10ExpansysOnline electronics retailerManchester2003165.74%12,57949Sells wireless devices like PDAs in more than 20 countries worldwide
11Boxwood GroupManagement consultancyLeeds2003157.63%18,118264Works with Barclays, BAA and Metronet to improve business performance
12The Somerset Toiletry CompanyToiletry products designerSomerset2003156.89%4,60629Top-selling range of toiletries is scented with pina colada and margarita
13Firebox.comOnline gadget retailerSW London2003156.09%4,40016Founders invented the shot-glass chess set while chatting in a pub
14LimehouseMarketing agencySE London2003154.11%4,65028Helps 100 public-sector organisations communicate with their users
15Data LocatorConsumer data collectorWatford2003151.50%5,190382Founder started company with redundancy payment from previous job
16Auto Union FinanceVehicle finance brokerWarrington2003144.69%23,22258Brokers vehicle-finance deals on behalf of Black Horse and GE Capital
17sit-upHome shopping channelCentral London2003139.08%118,870413Sells 25,000 items a day from its three TV home-shopping channels
18MLS GroupBusiness centre operatorSE London2003138.50%11,40866Rents serviced offices to 800 firms, including Warner Bros and Virgin
19Qdos ConsultingTax consultancyLeicestershire2003132.68%5,21545Former Vat inspector at Customs and Excise founded tax consultancy
20Premier GuaranteeUnderwriting agencyMerseyside2003132.03%3,27915Arranges warranties that cover £5 billion of new homes
21UKOSOffice products supplierHemel Hempstead2003131.96%8,44643Supplies stationery to O2, John Lewis and Associated Newspapers
22Jump GroupProperty retailerLeeds2003130.50%47,668129Founder was 22 years old when he set up the company
23LamvaElectrical engineerIpswich2003129.05%7,148107Connected a Lincolnshire wind farm to the regional electricity network
24Acoustic SolutionsConsumer electronics supplierNorthamptonshire2003121.24%16,03730Designs Pop Idol karaoke machines under licence from the hit TV show
25Iglu.comOnline travel agencySW London2003119.57%16,42063Founder started firm while finishing his MBA at London Business School
26BinomialInsurance underwriterSurrey2003119.33%78,385447Brokers motor insurance for RAC and pet policies for Argos and Homebase
27Northern UnderwritersInsurance brokerMiddlesbrough2003117.62%6,02526Claims to work with more than 1,200 regional brokers and City underwriters
28New HeightsFurniture retailerNW London2003115.60%6,51954Founders met at Oxford University and now run 11 furniture stores
29York MailingCommercial printerYork2003113.78%15,804180Says its machines can print up to 250,000 flyers and mail shots an hour
301927 LondonDesigner clothes distributorSW London2003113.75%5,42512Sells designer clothes to Harvey Nichols and Selfridges
31Veritas ITIT recruitment agencyMilton Keynes2003110.81%4,17525Supplies IT staff to customers such as Abbey, Argos and KPMG
32AllClear FinancePersonal debt adviserCheshire2003109.50%3,73942Manages repayments for 10,000 people struggling with unsecured debt
33Altrix HealthcareDrug testing laboratoryWarrington2003102.36%3,38942Supplies oral testing kits to enforce drug rehabilitation programmes
34Alpha Health CareNursing home operatorRedditch2003100.25%5,705695Former GP and Royal Mail doctor runs 11 care homes in central England
35Credential HoldingsRecycler and developerGlasgow200399.33%15,32376Claims to be Britain's leading tyre recycler, handling 80,000 tons a year
36GladedaleHousebuilderDunfermline200399.14%236,655412Founder builds third business through acquisitions [† Latest sales]
37MNH Vehicle ContractsVehicle contract hirerBlackburn200398.58%4,11212Hires out 3,000 vehicles to 300 businesses on long-term contracts
38ADL HealthcarePharmaceuticals distributorBurton upon Trent200397.61%44,74626Founder's mother cooks breakfast for whole company every Tuesday
39Zen InternetInternet services providerRochdale200395.88%7,80950Supplies Umbro and Sony Europe with broadband connections
40PPFDriver recruitment agencyLuton200395.81%12,920394Finds drivers from Britain and central Europe for J Sainsbury and Safeway
41Teleticket TravelTour operatorBrighton200394.79%16,16718Sells 85,000 airline seats a year to travel agents such as [† Latest sales] brokerWatford200394.36%29,408145Claims to sell more than 1,000 customer loans a month [† Latest sales]
43LatentzeroFinancial software developerCentral London200393.81%8,81769Develops asset-management software for the likes of Morgan Stanley
44CarshockCar supermarketNewcastle200393.15%8,34545Claims to sell cars at up to 35% less than manufacturers’ list prices
45Moneysupermarket.comFinancial website operatorWales200392.34%38,143209Claims website receives 10,000 credit-card and loan applications daily
46Union Square MusicMusic compilations publisherUxbridge200392.29%4,72012Controls the rights to release thousands of back-catalogue music tracks
47Castleway ConstructionBuilding contractorSalisbury200391.19%4,42915Founder’s wife, son and daughter all work in the business
48Carluccio’sRestaurateur and retailerCentral London200390.39%19,655453Claims 50,000 people eat in its restaurants each week
49IPTConsumer data collectorSW London200390.12%6,13984Runs marketing database of 5.4m e-mail addresses
50Isis TelecommunicationsTelecoms services providerWest London200390.11%14,72156Provides telecoms services for 700 companies, including EMI
51HIFXForeign exchange providerWindsor200390.08%9,66266Claims to manage £20bn of foreign exchange for clients like Royal Mail
52Cathedral CapitalInsurer and reinsurerCentral London200389.53%139,93433Reinsures against plane crashes, hurricanes and tornadoes
53Loch Fyne RestaurantsSeafood restaurateurTwickenham200388.77%21,849658Bought 75% of Raymond Blanc’s Le Petit Blanc chain in 2003
5419 EntertainmentMusic and TV producerSW London200388.25%53,37279Produces Pop Idol and manages Will Young and Annie Lennox
55The Car PeopleCar dealerWakefield200387.56%49,56482Sold 6,000 cars last year from its vehicle supermarket in Wakefield
56Activity SuperstoreActivity organiserEssex200387.48%5,28149Offers flights in Mig jets and the world’s highest bungee jump
57West Cornwall Pasty CoCornish pasty retailerCornwall200387.09%7,598121Sells 6m Cornish pasties a year, including a chicken balti variety
58Silver Software ConsultantsTransport software developerWiltshire200385.56%3,11654Develops safety software for the new Airbus A380 super-jumbo
59L&CMortgage brokerBath200385.40%6,902111Founders have appeared on BBC2’s Working Lunch news programme
60LOMBOKFurniture retailerSW London200385.28%3,57442Furniture features in the film Bridget Jones, The Edge of Reason
61Tax Computer SystemsTax software developerStaines200385.21%3,43732Software helps the likes of Orange and British Airways calculate tax returns
62GreenCare EnvironmentalHygiene services providerWorcester200382.18%3,17455Founded by husband and wife with £60,000 in savings
63MultimapOnline map providerCentral London200381.53%3,38140Supplies online mapping for 700 clients, including Tesco, Shell and Ford
64Parador PropertiesOverseas estate agencySurrey200381.48%19,06097Claims its property portfolio covers 1,100km of Spanish coastline
65ComtecTravel software developerSouth Wales200380.70%6,03483Develops travel software for Thomas Cook, Going Places and First Choice
66Source SoftwareFinancial software developerSouth Wales200379.97%7,20546Says 2,500 brokers use its software to compare insurance quotes
67Beaver Management ServicesRecruitment agencyMiddlesbrough200378.45%53,857467Provides 1,800 workers for the construction industry each week
68RAPIDIT component distributorLancashire200377.37%6,69425Founder’s father came out of retirement to work for the company for free
69Worcester CarsalesCar dealerWorcester200377.12%40,461192Managing director started valeting cars at 11 and sold his first car at 13
70Business Management ServicesIT services providerNottingham200376.99%12,64017Founder used to manage women’s football team Notts County
71ClarityBlueCRM software developerLuton200376.77%11,48550Taken private in £10m management buyout from Nasdaq-listed company
72Highline Building PlasticsRoofing products distributorYorkshire200376.63%3,58430Has three-year £650,000 deal to supply roofing products to Wimpey Homes
73MedleyIT consultancyGuildford200376.08%3,74028Founder started consultancy business from his family home
74Provecta Car PlanFleet services providerReading200376.07%5,08543Manages tax-efficient car ownership schemes for 7,000 UK workers
75Riviera ProduceVegetable wholesalerCornwall200375.20%6,79840Supplies Asda with 10m cauliflower heads a year from 40 Cornish farms
76Fasthosts InternetInternet services providerGloucester200374.33%9,54467Hosts more than 1m domain names and delivers 4.5m e-mails each day
77Fresh BouquetsFlower supplierKent200374.33%10,940156Supplies flowers to 5,000 UK retailers and operates in mainland Europe
78Babel MediaGames services providerBrighton200374.12%3,63555Tests all the games that can be played on Vodafone mobile phones
79PaceTimber frame makerMilton Keynes200373.70%9,08358Has £20m deal to provide timber-frame houses to the Home Group
80Morgan BrookesSystems integratorEast London200373.07%4,32718Founder sold his Porsche for £12,500 to start company
81MCM ConstructionBuilding contractorIsle of Wight200372.86%6,92262Does building work at Parkhurst jail, where the Kray twins were held
82Ambition RecruitmentNursing recruitment agencySW London200371.98%59,004133Provides 24-hour emergency nursing cover for hospitals and care homes
83Inweb NetworksTelecoms services providerSurrey200370.98%3,20010Has developed a synthetic voice program that converts e-mails into speech
84Networks By WirelessNetwork developerSheffield200369.77%3,70734Chosen as a supplier for £1billion public services broadband scheme
85Cartel MarketingIndependent mortgage adviserManchester200369.34%4,85487Processes some of its British mortgage applications in India
86Environmental Business ProductsPrinter cartridge recyclerNW London200369.04%20,415141Makes own-brand inkjet cartridges for Tesco, Dixons and WH Smith
87Barhale ConstructionCivil engineering contractorWalsall200368.52%107,2771,023Excavated a fighter plane that had crashed in London during the war
88Suttons HorticulturePlant producerKing's Lynn200368.47%14,614227Grows 16m plants a year for supermarkets such as Morrisons and Waitrose
89Direct TradePVCu window makerDoncaster200368.19%4,34553Founders’ former employer is now their main supplier
90The Holiday PlaceTravel agencyNW London200368.10%15,46640Sells holidays to places like the Maldives, Cuba, and Dominican Republic
91SMS (Southern)Building services contractorBrighton200367.70%3,76437Has five-year deal with Brighton city council to refurbish local schools
92IT Human ResourcesIT recruitment agencyCentral London200366.43%4,70916Celebrated company’s fifth birthday by taking all staff go-karting
93Firoka (Heythrop Park)Luxury hotel operatorOxfordshire200366.02%4,36958Founder owns chain of Holiday Inns and is chairman of Oxford United FC
94OneBill TelecomTelecoms service providerWorthing200365.99%8,92542Claims 35,000 individuals and small businesses use its phone services
95Roadside GroupPetrol station operatorBuckinghamshire200365.30%40,93048Road builder and oil executive now run 10 petrol stations in north England
96Balkan HolidaysTour operatorCentral London200365.24%44,54532Founded by Bulgarian government in 1966 and bought by owners in 1999
97MolarDental products distributorSomerset200364.81%3,35410Supplies oral hygiene products to half of all dental practices in Britain
98Centurion Risk Assessment ServicesConflict survival trainerHampshire200364.61%3,09850Ran terror survival courses for the media before the Athens Olympics
99SunQuest Tanning SystemsTanning equipment makerCheshire200363.82%6,03881Founder started by hiring sunbeds in spare room of his chiropodist practice
100WorldRoamMobile phone hirerEssex200363.49%10,75352American businessmen travelling abroad account for 80% of sales

* Supplied by Company  † Annualised figure

Data Source:

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