Europe’s 500, the association of top European growth entrepreneurs met at the European Parliament in Brussels on February 3rd for the European Growth Summit 2011. An integral part of the event, the “Europe’s 500” awards ceremony honoured the top-growth-companies in Europe, and released a list of the 200 fastest-growing, job-creating businesses. One of the UK’s leading independent printed packaging providers, Benson Group, was delighted to be included in the listing for the first time, featuring at number 122, and numbering amongst a select few manufacturing businesses.
Award certificates were presented to representatives of these leading businesses by former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder. On hand to receive the certificate on behalf of Benson Box Holdings Ltd was Chairman Andrew Benson: “It was a great delight to be recognised as a leading growth business on a European scale, where the competition is in the millions. It is especially pleasing as we are a UK-based manufacturing company featuring in a list that is dominated by service industries,” said Andrew. “This certificate helps to illustrate how far we have come as a business in recent years, and the honour is certainly one that our whole team can take pride in.”
Since 1997, Europe’s 500 has selected and published the list of the Top European growth entrepreneurs and has awarded them for their outstanding achievements in generating sustainable growth and jobs. Europe’s 500 was supported by Dun & Bradstreet for the creation of the list of the top growth companies in Europe based on available data of millions of businesses (approx. 4.5 million companies in the EU). In order to qualify, companies need to be entrepreneurially-managed, independent and above 50 FTEs (Full-Time Equivalent employees). The top growth companies are identified by their absolute and relative growth in employees.
Altogether these top 200 companies created almost 28,581 new jobs between 2007 and 2009, bringing their total employment to 175,671 in December 2009 and a total turnover of 37.566 billion Euros. These companies grew on average by 71 employees per year and employ on average 878 employees. The average turnover per company was 190 million Euros. Juan Roure, co-founder of Europe’s 500: “These are exceptional achievements considering that there was a negative growth of approximately 5% in Europe in 2009.”
Benson Group is one of the UK’s leading privately owned printed carton suppliers, producing packaging product for both the food and pharmaceutical industries. The Group has enjoyed unparalleled growth since 2002, when it was a business with an £11 million turnover. In 2010 company turnover exceeded £95 million, with an operating profit of 6%. All of this in a market where customers are keener than ever to force prices down, and the competition is always on hand to provide buyers with a “cheapest ever” quotation.
One major factor in the exceptional growth of the business has been a culture of investment in the very best of equipment. This helps to ensure consistent and reliable production systems, together with the higher productivity provided by newer technology. Investment in new plant and equipment across the four sites has totaled in excess of £28 million, and this is now considered an on-going process, with a focus on selecting the equipment before it is needed in order to cater for growing demand.
Group headquarters are at Benson Box, Bardon, Leicestershire, where the company runs 130,000 sq ft of production and warehouse space. Food manufacturers are the main customers for this site and for the company’s two North East facilities in Newcastle and Gateshead. These two sites have a combined total of 200,000 sq ft of manufacturing and warehouse space. The fourth site in Crewe, Medica Packaging, serves pharmaceutical and healthcare companies. It has 73,000 sq ft of manufacturing, warehouse and office space. The company now employs some 900 personnel across four sites.
Benson Group creates packaging for many well-known companies, brands and retailers. Key account clients across the Group include Northern Foods, Reckitt Benkiser, Greencore, Bakkavör, Samworth Brothers, and leading supermarket chains.
The 90-year-old business remains in private ownership, with today’s Chairman, Andrew Benson, being a grandson of William Watson Benson, the company’s founder, providing the vision and overall strategy for the business. Day-to-day management of the Benson Group is handled by Managing Director, Mark Kerridge.
Whilst Benson Group is undoubtedly one of the major players within both the food and pharmaceutical packaging sectors, it rarely considers this an important point of focus. The company culture dictates that it is more important to understand exactly what the market requires, both now and in the future; seek out areas for improvement within the business; and deliver what the customer demands in terms of quality on a daily basis.
The mission of Europe’s 500 is to support entrepreneurial initiatives and improve the conditions of economic growth and job creation in Europe. Its goal at the summit was to help entrepreneurs redefine and reflect on their strategies and to make recommendations to the European Union based on the conclusions of their talks, with a special focus on how to ease financing for the real economy and also how to better support exports.
The growth companies are the engine of growth in Europe and can contribute to defining what is needed for more growth and jobs in the EU. Europe’s 500 therefore regularly holds the European Growth Summit.
The summit was held under the patronage of Markus Ferber, Member of the European Parliament and Vincent van Quickenborne, Belgian Minister for Economy and Reform and with the support of The Boston Consulting Group, Dun & Bradstreet, Plenum, Hill & Knowlton, White & Case, Alvarez & Marsal, LGT, Wealth Management and Euractiv.
For further information on the Benson Group visit the www.bensongroup.co.uk web site.