5 Scottish companies to watch, that you (maybe) aren't watching.

Not a day goes by without Skyscanner or FanDuel getting a mention somewhere, and rightly so.  Their world class achievements stand out.  However, many successful Scottish businesses continue to flourish under the radar of most.

In absolutely no particular order, here’s our (not very definitive) list of 5 worth watching:

Brodies – whilst other Scottish law firms tried to outdo the competition with expansion to London, Brodies diversified and deliberately regional strategy has served them well.  Brodies were one of the only firms in the country in FY13 that managed to increase revenue by more than 10%, and profit per employee at the same time.  For a time and materials business model that has to invest in headcount ahead of the curve that can often be a difficult balance to strike for an already successful firm.

Peter Vardy – UK car sales were at a record high in 2014, 11% up on the prior year.  In this typically cyclical industry you would expect strong top line growth in the good times, but Peter Vardy has outshone the competition.  By one measure they are now the 4th largest motor dealership group in Scotland, and had fantastic 42.5% revenue growth in FY13.  The new Porsche centre in Aberdeen will have oil execs dreaming about returning to $100 per barrel.

Space Solutions – the workplace architects and design specialists have made a real name for themselves in understanding the needs of modern organisations, and combining how an organisation works, with the look and feel of the spaces they operate in.  Building the culture and the strategic objectives of an organisation into their designs, seems to be one of the main reasons behind their impressive client list.  Now with six offices across Scotland and London, and strong top line growth in FY13, we’re expecting to see more from Space Solutions in the coming years. 

Albert Bartlett – Established in 1948, Bartletts have very successfully created a brand out of a commodity, something few others have managed.  When other potato growers have taken to making handmade crisps or vodka as a way of extracting value add from the crop, the vertically integrated farm to supermarket model has stood Albert Bartlett in good stead.  If it’s good enough for Michel Roux Jr, then it’s good enough for us.

ECS – It’s tech, but IaaS rather than the more fashionable SaaS.  If you keep up to date with the Sunday Times Hiscox Tech Track 100, you’ll know that ECS has been in the top 50 two years in a row (ranked two places above Skyscanner in 2015), but if you don’t you might not of heard of them. Whilst they have grown up providing services to the banking and finance sector, they are now established across multiple end user markets, which should keep them in growth mode for the next few years.

Who’s on your 5 to watch list?

Stuart Donald
Conduit Corporate Finance