A PROFIT boost of £400 million has been reported by North Yorkshire’s biggest businesses according to a the latest annual report of the region’s economy.

The data, compiled by business advisory firm BDO in its yearly Yorkshire Report, reveals the 34 corporates headquartered in the county served up a combined 24 per cent increase in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA).

Mark Langford, partner at BDO Yorkshire, which analyses the region’s top 250 companies, said: “North Yorkshire is home to many world-class businesses operating across a wide range of sectors.

“The county is adding to its longstanding strengths in fields like energy and construction with new specialisms in retail and information technology.

“North Yorkshire corporates bucked the trend of low growth by booking a solid and respectable five per cent increase in sales.

“Drax Group helped power this rise with a £735 million increase in revenues.”

BDO LLP, the accountancy and business advisory firm, credits the achievement to operational performance, commercial management and favourable currency conditions for exporters.

Mr Langford said: “Lean is the buzzword among our clients. Companies aren’t going for growth for the sake it. They have concentrated on operations instead.”

He added: “The weak pound has also helped companies in North Yorkshire to become more competitive abroad.

“It has supported those corporates with overseas operations when they exchange foreign currencies.”

As well as highlighting sharp rises in profits and dividends, the report also reveals a big increase in the amount of cash on balance sheets.

Analysis shows they are sitting on £7.2 billion in cash reserves, an increase of 51 per cent on the previous year.

Mr Langford said: “This is a sign of strength, but it is also a sign of uncertainty.

“There is lots of ‘dry powder’ money out there waiting to be invested.”

Mr Langford pointed to the 15 per cent fall in mergers and acquisitions activity over the last year as another sign of caution.