The TOP75:

Analysis: Most top companies
reporting growth

Map of Norfolk

Acting EDP business editor, Elaine Maslin, finds signs of growth in turnover for the majority of this year's Top 75.

Uncertainty and instability have been the bywords of the past year. First the general election, then an emergency budget followed by the spending review, the rise in VAT and this year's budget. Meanwhile, worries over an interest rate rise have cast a shadow over any optimism based on growth seen in the manufacturing sector and from exports.

And yet, looking at the figures from the EDP's Top 75, business in East Anglia has grown. The combined turnover of all of those listed was £23.4bn, up on last year's revised £22.5bn.

Strip out Aviva's figures and the amount is £9.6bn, also up compared with the previous year's £9.29bn. Although 24 of the Top 75 have seen their sales fall in their latest accounts, 42 have reported growth. In fact, those 42 who reported growth averaged a very impressive 14pc increase in turnover.

The rest either stayed the same or we have not had updated figures.

The creative industries, energy, engineering and electronics, financial services, food and drink and agriculture, general manufacturing and health and life sciences all grew as sector groups.

However, the total turnover for the Top 75 is still significantly below 2009's £28.13bn.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the sectors which suffered over the past year were automotive, construction and retail, perhaps reflecting where people are halting their spending.

Over the past 12 months the largest number of redundancies has been in the public sector, with 1,41 notified redundancies.

"...the sectors which suffered over the past year were automotive, construction and retail, perhaps reflecting where people are halting their spending."

The construction sector was second, with 555, followed by manufacturing and retail (350 and 339 respectively). And yet within those sectors there are still success stories. Lowestoft-based electrical retailer Hughes grew turnover 33pc to just over £80m, even before its acquisition of six of Bennett’s former stores, rising up the Top 75 from 58 to 39. Hopkins Homes saw growth of 28pc from £38m to £49m, pushing it up the table from 70 to 61.

One of the sectors which has shown clear signs of recovery is now facing a challenge from the chancellor.

The region's energy sector, led by a the gas sector, which had been leading a renaissance in new projects as well as the looming bonanza in decommissioning work, grew, led by Acteon, Perenco and, a new entrant this year, fast growth firm Seajacks.

Perenco rose back up the table to 9 from 11 after falling the previous year.

But it has yet to be seen how the chancellor's increase in a supplementary on oil and gas producers will affect the company and sector. Majors – including Centrica, which has a joint hand in a proposed gas storage project off the coast of Norfolk, and Shell, which has a large presence in the southern North Sea – have already signalled their reaction to the tax rise by halting projects worth millions.

And while Seajacks is unaffected by the chancellor's tax increase, it is reliant to a degree on political support for its main income - offshore windfarm construction.

But while turbulence is still visible for individual firms - Jark, which made a strong come-back last year, with a rise in turnover from £60m to £92m, saw its revenue drop back down 27pc to £67m - the region still has strength.

Its century-long tradition as a food-producing region, financial services and the tourism industry are still strong. And there is potential for growth with offshore wind and green technology and health and life sciences increasingly important areas.