The UK’s best year for billion pound companies

Revealed: The UK’s best year for billion pound companies

  • 2017 saw the incorporation of 51 companies which had a turnover of more than £1bn in most recent accounts
  • Each year on average since 2011, 28 companies have been created which turned over more than £1bn in most recent accounts
  • Outside London, the top locations for billion turnover businesses are Berkshire, Cheshire and Surrey, each with home to seven companies on the list

New research has revealed that in the past decade, 2017 saw the largest number of billion pound companies created in the UK.

Cloud accounting company Ember studied data from Companies House which reveals that in 2017, 51 of the 622,713 companies that were incorporated have gone on to report an income in excess of £1 billion in their most recent accounts. The second most successful year was 2016, when 41 of 646,703 such companies were created.

Since 1st January 2011, a total of 282 companies have been incorporated which turned over more than £1 billion pounds in their most recent accounts, which equates to an average of 28 companies each year.

When comparing the total combined income of the companies incorporated in the past decade, businesses created in 2016 top the table, with a massive combined turnover of £242.25 billion. In second place is companies incorporated in 2012, contributing a combined turnover of £204.79 billion from their most recent accounts.

London and the City of London are the most common UK addresses for the companies, with 79 in Greater London and a further 34 in the Square Mile. Outside of the capital, two different counties are each home to seven £1 billion+ turnover businesses – Berkshire and Cheshire.

Meanwhile, Surrey and the West Midlands both count six firms that turnover more than £1 billion, and Bristol, Hertfordshire, West Yorkshire, and Greater Manchester each contain four.

Commenting on the study, Ember co-founder Daniel Hogan said: “It’s a phenomenal achievement for any company to reach a turnover figure as high as one billion pounds. And it’s even more remarkable to see that 51 companies have been able to do so since just 2017 alone. We have already seen that 2020 was a record year for the number of companies created in the UK, so hopefully, plenty of those founded in the past year will go on to join the billion pound club as well.”

The analysis also included companies that have turned over in excess of £100 million in their most recent accounts, with 2015 topping the list thanks to 294 of 598,630 companies hitting the mark. The second most fruitful year was 2014 when 274 businesses were registered that have gone on to record a turnover of more than £100 million in their most recent accounts.

The figures follow news uncovered by Ember that the first quarter of 2021 saw nearly 100 new businesses created every hour. In total 211,368 companies were incorporated at Companies House in January, February and March this year, which equates to 2,349 brand new businesses each day, or 98 every single hour.

The research was conducted by Ember, the cloud accounting company which automates accounting and tax to help make business admin simpler and more cost-effective for freelancers, contractors, start-ups and small businesses.

The UK’s billion turnover businesses from the last decade, by Ember

Year Number of companies incorporated Companies incorporated with £1bn+ turnover in most recent accounts Companies incorporated with £100m+ turnover in most recent accounts
2011 440,638 20 191
2012 479,545 25 213
2013 509,628 31 221
2014 573,658 32 274
2015 598,630 35 294
2016 646,703 41 268
2017 622,713 51 263
2018 657,868 30 239
2019 678,419 16 102
2020 758,012 1 6

Source: Companies House and

Article by Ember, a cloud accounting company