1. ITW LIMITED

If ITW Limited continues its impressive double-digit growth then it won’t be long before it joins the illustrious billion-pound turnover club.

2017 saw sales rise 14% to £848m — the equivalent of a £107m increase on the year before — with the company apportioning £79m of that figure to a rise in royalty revenue due to legal entries being included in its royalty programme.

ITW’s interests are vast, encompassing everything from highly engineered fasteners and components to speciality products for industrial components.

What we are interested in, however, is its catering equipment business and, according to last year’s accounts, that remains in pretty formidable shape. The bulk of it comes from Hobart and Foster Refrigerator and together they helped sales grow 15% to £203m last year.

That makes food equipment the largest division of ITW’s UK business, accounting for 25% of overall turnover. ITW said the extra £26m that its food equipment arm achieved in sales was down to increases in goods sold and royalty income.

As a business, ITW ended the year with a profit of £109m, up from £61m the year before. However, it has not broken out profit by individual segment since 2014, which makes it impossible to accurately state just how profitable its catering equipment business.

What we do know is that four years ago, profit represented 21% of turnover. Anything close to that last year would undoubtedly have made the company very happy.

2017 Vital Statistics

Turnover: £203.23m (+15%)
Operating profit: Not reported on a segmented level
Employees: 2,322 (2,373). Note that this is an overall ITW Limited figure
Ownership: The company’s immediate parent company is Berrington UK. The ultimate parent company and controlling party is Illinois Tool Works, incorporated in the US.
Financial year end: 31 December

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