The 15th annual Grant Thornton Quoted Company Awards took place at the end of February with the event marked by a gala dinner in the City attended by 500 people. These long-established Awards are organised by Growth Company Investor and recognise the achievements of the UK’s smaller quoted companies.
The judging panel is mainly composed of highly-experienced small cap fund managers who are keen to reward companies that have not only had a great year, but are also capable of delivering sustainable performance in future years.
Unusually we had a couple of double winners this year. Craneware was successful in the blue riband Company of the Year category and founder Keith Neilson was recognised as Entrepreneur of the Year. Craneware was a main GCI recommendation in May 2017 and the shares have risen 120% since, reaching a market cap of £700m. The Edinburgh-based company generates all its revenue from the US where it has compiled a consistent growth record supplying software to the healthcare sector.
Chairman of the Year was Anthony Craven-Walker of Serica, who also won the Deal of the Year Award. Craven-Walker has overseen the spectacular rise of Serica which was turbocharged by last year’s acquisition of of the BKR assets from BP. We discussed this deal and the company’s strategy in last month’s cover article.
The CEO of the Year was Zillah Byng-Thorne of Future. Ths was richly deserved recognition for a company that has delivered outstanding growth in a very difficult media sector.
Zillah and her management team have successfully managed the decline in print magazines by developing new revenue streams from digital, ecommerce and events based on the group’s titles. Future is now moving into the US with another acquisition just announced.
This is another story GCI identified at a relatively early stage with the shares up over 450% on our December 2016 recommendation article.
Here is the full list of winners:
Company of the Year: Craneware
CEO of the Year: Zillah Byng-Thorne of Future
Chairman of the Year: Anthony Craven Walker, Serica Energy
Finance Director of the Year: Andrew Boteler, Gooch & Housego
Entrepreneur of the Year: Keith Neilson, Craneware
Profit Star of the Year: FeverTree
IPO of the Year: Team 17
Share Price Star of the Year: Versarien
Deal of the Year: Serica, acquisition of assets from BP
Broker of the Year: Investec
PR Firm of the Year: Yellow Jersey
Fund Manager of the Year: Ken Wotton, LF Gresham House UK Micro Cap