Stability and success in a tough year

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Stability and success have been the watchwords for Sheffield’s SMEs over the last year.

Only two of the six companies that are no longer counted among Sheffield’s most profitable SMEs have left the rankings because profits have fallen and neither of them recorded losses.

Nine companies retain positions in the table, although the pack has been shuffled.

Meanwhile, the six newcomers have either boosted their profits or eradicated losses.

The table-topper, developer Elmsdale Estates, has turned a loss into a profit, while second-placed Kuusakoski and third-placed Pricecheck Toiletries have both moved up the table.

Elmsdale is the company behind a £20 million scheme to redevelop the site of the former Niche nightclub and derelict industrial buildings in Sheffield and has had its figures boosted by interest and damages totalling almost £3 million following an out-of-court settlement of a legal claim relating to another development.

Recycling specialist Kuusakoski has leaped up from seventh to second place in the Sheffield table after increasing its profits by 77 per cent from £1.4 million to £3.2 million.

Abbey Stainless and Panache Lingerie both saw profits fall, dropping them down the table from last year’s position of third and fourth, respectively, to fourth and sixth.

Beeley Wood Lane-based stockholder, Abbey, was the Sheffield City Region’s most profitable company two years ago, when it made profits of £7.8 million.

Last year that figure fell to £3.0 million and this year it is down by 43 per cent to £1.8 million.

Panache suffered a slight fall in profits last year – down from £3.1 million in 2009 to £2.7 million last year, but has now seen a further £1.2 million lopped off its profits.

The turn around at suspension components, machine knives and fabrications business Tinsley Bridge has put the Shepcote Lane company back in the Top 100 SMEs table and in eighth place in the rankings for Sheffield’s most profitable SMEs.

The company has turned a £160,000 loss into a £1.4 million profit and has gone on to notch up a series of successes this year, winning the praise of the Government and having its skills highlighted by the then Defence Secretary Liam Fox.

Tinsley Bridge used a new steel, called Extralite, which it had developed for high strength leaf springs, to make replacement torsion bars for Warrior, the only tracked infantry vehicle in Afghanistan.

So impressed was the Army with early results that it told lead contractors BAE to get Tinsley Bridge to start production ahead of live testing being completed. Within a short time the new bars had proved their worth, when a vehicle and troops emerged unscathed by a roadside bomb that could have killed them if it had been fitted with the old suspension. “We have had people from the army come up here to thank the whole workforce,” Tinsley Bridge managing director, Mark Webber told Star Business this year.

And the firm recently started supplying torsion bars for the new Foxhound patrol vehicle that will replace the much criticised Snatch Land Rovers the Army has been using.

Mr Webber says the company has never been in a better financial position than it is now.

“We have no debt and we are making money,” says Mr Webber, who adds that the company plans to continue to secure its future by investing, innovating and changing.

While Tinsley Bridge’s turnaround has secured the company eighth place in the rankings of Sheffield’s most profitable SMEs, Evolution Power Tools has increased profits almost five-fold from £269,000 to £1.3 million.

Other major improvers include Hostombe Group, whose subsidiaries include Cathodic Protection in Grantham, Clynder Cables in Manchester and Sheffield-based Kaye-Dee Marking Solutions and Hostombe Properties.