The view from Steel City: The Queen seems to agree AES is top firm in region

AES Engineering,Bradmarsh Business Park,Rotherham,awarded the Queens Award...Chris Rea,right,(Managing Director),with Prof Rod Smith,(President of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers)
AES Engineering,Bradmarsh Business Park,Rotherham,awarded the Queens Award...Chris Rea,right,(Managing Director),with Prof Rod Smith,(President of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers)
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They account for 112,000 jobs in Sheffield City Region and made profits of almost £500m last year – the figures show that business is booming for our 100 biggest companies.

Analysis of the Top 100 companies by turnover reveals the big players are making money and making jobs.

Their most recently filed accounts show total turnover is £17.6bn, pre-tax profits are £454m and they boast 112,682 employees.

It marks a significant improvement in fortunes on 2013 when the Top 100 slipped to a £291m loss and employed 82,086.

And the best company?

AES Engineering must be a strong contender. Certainly, the Queen appears to think so.

The Rotherham seal company won its 13th Queen’s Award last month, for innovation, after it developed a modular approach to seal support systems.

It comes after 12 wins dating back to 1988 – making it the third most royally decorated company in the country.

Only JCB and Marconi have won more times since 1966 when the awards were first awarded.

AES also has the numbers to back it up.

Group turnover rose one per cent after the effect of currency movements to £143m in the year to December 31 2015. It posts regular pre-tax profits of £18m to £19m, making it far and away the most profitable company in Rotherham.

It employs 350 in the borough, 680 in the UK and Ireland and more than 1,650 people worldwide.

Meanwhile, Sheffield City Region’s biggest building firm is in the vanguard of growth.

Henry Boot reported a 14 per cent increase in profit before tax to £32.4m in the year ended December 31 2015.

The firm is expecting to start £500m of commercial activity in 2016, concluding over the next four years, mostly pre-sold and almost all pre-let.

The firm has three divisions, land development, property development and construction.

Chief executive John Sutcliffe, said: “An economy that is confident and feels like it’s on the up is a great place for a property developer.”

The firm was established in 1886 and employs 459. Turnover is set to hit £170m this year.

Other big companies are less well known. The ninth biggest company in the region started out in a garage in Worksop in 1988.

Today Insight Direct is the ninth biggest company in Sheffield City Region, although few have heard of it.

Tim and Eric Crown launched Hard Drives International with a cash advance from a credit card.

That company was bought by US firm Insight Direct in 2000 and it has grown rapidly since. Last year was its best year of trading.

Today it employs more than 800 and UK headquarters are on Terry Street, Attercliffe, Sheffield.

It also has a distribution centre on the Parkway in Sheffield as well as offices in Manchester and Uxbridge.

Its turnover is £470m and pre-tax profits are £4.5m.

Sheffield-born Emma de Sousa is the UK and Ireland managing director.

The firm sells hardware, software and IT systems to businesses and the public sector, including Sheffield City Council.

She said key to their success was the expertise it offers to go with it, including support contracts lasting for years.