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2 May 2004

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Peterborough location helps food firms double growth


A business location in Peterborough can help food manufacturers achieve up to double the turnover growth of rival companies located elsewhere in Britain, according to new research.

The difference was most pronounced in food industry firms with a turnover of between 5 million and 25 million. A comparison of financial results achieved over the five years from 1993 to 1998/99 reveals that firms based in Peterborough increased turnover by an average 66 per cent compared with an average of just 33 per cent for similar companies based elsewhere in Britain.

When the research was widened to include firms with up to 500 million turnover, Peterborough companies still achieved much higher growth - up by 64 per cent compared with an average of 44 per cent for other areas.

The research - carried out for regeneration and development agency English Partnerships and Greater Peterborough Investment Agency (GPIA) - compared the financial results of 10 food manufacturers based in the Peterborough area with 50 firms from the rest of the country.

Gloria Milne, chief executive of GPIA said: "These figures reveal that food firms in the Peterborough area enjoy a remarkable advantage over competitors elsewhere in the country.

"The survey criteria were drawn up very strictly to ensure they would produce a like-for-like comparison and we had no preconceptions about what the results would reveal.

"Obviously we believed from anecdotal evidence that a Peterborough location provides a strong business advantage but we didn't realise just how significant that advantage was until these figures were analysed.

"Peterborough enjoyed rapid growth in the 1970s and 1980s and Greater Peterborough Investment Agency is continuing to promote the city as an excellent location for new and growing companies.

"We recently launched a new Positively Peterborough slogan and these figures can't be beaten for a positive message about business," said Mrs Milne.

Mrs Milne believes that several factors contribute to the success that Peterborough offers to business, including the city's strategic location just 80 miles north of London and a similar distance from other major population centres.

It also has rapid road and rail transport connections, lower-than-average business costs, a flexible work force and a healthy environment for families. Food manufacturers in particular benefit from Peterborough's proximity to the vast expanses of productive farm land in the Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire fens.

The research results have been released as the investment agency prepares to exhibit at Foodex Meatex - the UK's leading exhibition for the food and meat processing industry - which is being held at the NEC, Birmingham, on 19 to 22 March.

The research compared representative samples of companies in seven categories based on turnover between 5 million and 500 million.

One of the ten Peterborough companies surveyed achieved turnover growth of 102 per cent over the five-year period, two achieved more than 80 per cent growth and three achieved more than 70 per cent. The least successful company achieved 25 per cent growth.

In the comparative sample of 50 companies with locations outside Greater Peterborough, 20 firms achieved turnover growth of more than 50 per cent while eight companies actually saw their turnover fall - in one case by 26 per cent.

February 2000

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