A major turnaround in fortunes has hit Rotherham’s leading SMEs with no fewer than 10 of last year’s top profit makers losing their places in the Top 100 rankings.
Topping the Rotherham table for the second year running is History and Heraldry, the Hellaby-based firm, which started out in the early 1990s, selling framed posters detailing the origins of family names through department stores.
The company now designs and markets a range of impulse purchase products, small and comparatively cheap gifts such as fridge magnets, key rings, cuff links, pens, personalised mugs and the like.
Customers include visitor attractions, garden centres and gift shops and the company now makes products with messages in 25 different languages that are sold in 50 countries around the world.
History & Heraldry was the Sheffield City Region’s most profitable SME in 2004 and 2005, but was missing from the list until 2009, when it returned as the region’s ninth most profitable and Rotherham’s fourth most profitable SME.
Last year saw the company rise to be the Sheffield City Region’s fourth most profitable SME and now the Denby Way company is back on top after increasing profits by 44 per cent from £5 million to £7.2 million.
The second most profitable company in Rotherham is Thos Winnard.
The Barbot Hall Industrial Estate-based company makes commercial vehicle brake drums, discs, pads, linings, shoes and accessories, and boosted profits from £212,000 to almost £1.8 million during the last year.
Third place goes to another newcomer, YWC Group, better known as Yorkshire Windows, which supplies and installs double glazing, composite doors and conservatories and also has a solar power arm.
Meanwhile, fourth-placed One Flight is no stranger to the Top 100, having secured a place in five out of the last seven years – but under the Candlelight name.
The Aldwarke-based company is a market-leading designer, importer and wholesale supplier of giftware and home accessories to large multiple retailers and independents.
Fifth-placed Acorn Industrial Services appeared in the Top 100 rankings for the first time last year, when it was called HLW271. Acorn is the authorised trade distributor for Swedish group SKF in the UK, and supplies bearings, power transmission, linear motion and maintenance products made by a number of companies to customers in the UK and around the globe from its headquarters and network of seven branches.
Profits have fallen by seven per cent since then, from £897,000 to £831,000, but the company has risen one place up the Rotherham table despite that.
Other newcomers include Paper Island, Lo’s Pharmacy and Highhouse.
Paper Island designs and produces greeting cards and giftware under its Fizzy Moon and Angels at Heart brands, selling to more than 700 independent retailers and several large retail chains.
Lo’s Pharmacy was set up by Steven Lo in 1992 and has grown from a single pharmacy in Kilnhurst to operate 12 high street pharmacies and the Manvers-based Online Chemist, which supplies a range of products over the internet.
Meanwhile, Highhouse operates as an investment trader, based in Moorgate Road.
Two former top five Rotherham SMEs – ASD Lighting and Hydra Mining Tools – have left the listing for technical reasons. ASD’s registered office is now based in Leeds, while Hydra was acquired by the US-based Esco Corporation in July.
Esco, based in Portland, Oregon, and is a leading producer of wear parts and replacement products used in mining, infrastructure development, power generation, aerospace and industrial applications, operating on six continents.
The company acquired Wortley Road-based Hydra, which makes underground consumables and related equipment, because, it said at the time, Hydra gave it an entrée into the fast growing Chinese underground coal mining markets.
It also gave it a platform for continued expansion into the established underground coal market in the US and Australia.
A further seven Rotherham companies dipped out of the Top SMEs because profits fell too low, while three – construction group George Hirst, sales training specialist Huthwaite and pressure vessels and process plant designer and manufacturer Whitely Read – all made losses.