Saturday, April 06, 2019

Few Irish firms in FT 1000 & Inc. 5000 Europe lists of fastest-growing companies

The FT’s 2019 annual list of the top 1,000 of Europe’s fastest-growing companies, was published by the Financial Times in March and this week INC. — the American entrepreneurship magazine — published its Inc. 5000 Europe list of the top 5,000 fastest-growing private companies in the region.

Ireland has one legitimate entry in the FT 1000.

CET Connect, based in Clonmel, County Tipperary, is a provider of structured cabling and data centre infrastructure services, and gets a 510 rank having achieved a compound annual growth in revenue of 64% between 2014 and 2017.

Solten Business International* with a rank of 952 is a translation and localisation company that was founded in Prague in 2008. It registered a holding company in Dublin in 2017, presumably for tax purposes.

UK companies Blue Motor Finance, which provides point-of-sale car finance and Deliveroo, the food and delivery service, are followed by Taxify rebranded as Bolt, the Estonian taxi app developer, in the top 3 ranks with a 3-year growth of 701%, 441% and 398% respectively.

Markus Villig founded Taxify in 2013 when he was 19.

Technology has 149 firms; ecommerce 59 and fintech 19, accounting in total for 23%  of the FT 1000.

Besides Ireland’s one firm, Germany has 230 firms; Italy 210; France 176; UK 131; Spain 98; Netherland 25; Poland 22; Finland 17; Sweden 14; Norway 13; Portugal 10; Bulgaria 7; Hungary 7; Austria 6; Denmark 6; Czech Republic 4 (including Solten*); Belgium 4; Slovakia 4; Croatia 3; Estonia 3; Lithuania 3; Romania 3 and Switzerland 3.

FT 1000 2019 list (outside paywall).

A company had to meet the following criteria:

  • Revenue of at least €100,000 generated in 2014 (or currency value equivalent according to the average of the actual fiscal year);
  • Revenue of at least €1.5 million generated in 2017 (or currency value equivalent according to the average of the actual fiscal year);
  • The company is independent (the company is not a subsidiary or branch office of any kind);
  • The revenue growth between 2014 and 2017 was primarily organic (ie “internally” stimulated);
  • If a company is listed on a stock exchange, its share price has not fallen 50% or more since 2017

INC. 5000 Europe 2019

The INC. 5000 Europe 2019 listing has 26 Irish entries and 9 of them are effectively foreign-owned.

The top 2, M&B Conversions Ltd (a Japanese-Israeli aviation firm) at 385 rank and Dimension Data Ireland Ltd at 527 (founded in Johannesburg in 1983, is owned by NTT of Japan) are followed by Winthrop Engineering & Contracting Ltd at a rank of 1194; Credebt Exchange Ltd at 2124; and Voxpro Ltd at 2171.

Voxpro is a Cork-based telco firm and it is the only Irish tech firm on the list.

Companies are ranked according to the percentage growth of their annual revenue over a three-year period. To assess this, INC. asks for 2015 and 2018 revenues. This gives a three-year growth period, using 2015 as a base year for growth.

All of the following qualifications must be met in order for your company to qualify for the Inc. 5000 Europe list:

  • Have generated revenue by 31 March 2015;
  • Have generated at least €200,000 in revenue in 2015;
  • Have generated at least €2 million in revenue in 2018;
  • Be privately-held, for-profit; based in Europe, and independent (not a subsidiary or division of another company).

The criteria do not exclude foreign companies that become Irish for for tax purposes by moving their headquarters to Ireland.   

Ireland's rate of INC. 5000 Europe fastest growing firms per million is at 3.5. Estonia with a population of 1.3 million has 96 firms in the INC. 5,000 Europe rankings compared with Ireland's 17.


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