UK leads in fastest-growing tech firms

Internet companies are out. Software companies are in. Either way, the UK leads Europe when it comes to fast-growing hi-tech firms

The UK is in the lead when it comes to fast growing tech firms, according to the latest figures from consulting firm Deloitte.

With 142 places in the European F500, the UK leads other countries by a considerable margin. France come second with 99, then Germany with 53 and Norway with 50. Spain comes bottom of the league table with only one entry.

Internet companies, having lost their lustre with the bursting of the dot-com boom at the beginning of 2000, only make up 12 percent of the 500 fastest-growing tech companies. Software companies appear to be the most successful, by contrast, making up 36 percent of the top 500 with 182 appearances. Telecoms companies and semiconductor companies have 12 percent each.

The ranking is based on three-year average revenue growth of each technology company between 1999 and 2001. It is administered by the Technology, Media & Telecommunications (TMT) industry practice of professional services firm Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu. To qualify for the ranking, firms must be involved in proprietary technology that contributes significantly to their operating revenues, manufacture a tech product or be deeply involved in tech research and development. Also, the firm must have been in business at least three years, had 1999 revenue of at least 50,000 euros (£32,000), and be headquartered in Europe or have shares listed on a European stock exchange.

Denmark's Danionics, a manufacturer of rechargeable lithium-oil polymer batteries for notebook computers, smart handheld devices and mobile phones, came top of the ranking with 33879 percent growth over three years. The UK's top placing was Cambridge Display Technology (CDT), which came in fourth with 4786 percent growth. CDT, which licenses its patents and technologies to other companies, is working on polymer organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display technology, which promises thinner, lighter and less power-consuming displays than today's LCDs.

In a recent interview with ZDNet UK, CDT chief executive David Fyfe spoke about the future of the emerging technology and its potential use in computing devices.

Bristol University spin-off Advanced Transport Systems came in at number 9 and Web-hosting firm Fasthosts Internet Ltd came in a number 10. Both experienced over 2000 percent growth.

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