Revenue: £101.7m (-7%)
Net profit: 0.2% Staff: 493
Having made over 100 acquisitions to date, this Alderley Edge-based telecoms provider put M&A on the back burner last year to focus on driving operational efficiency. Chess branded a seven per cent revenue slide in its year to 30 April 2020 a "short-term dip" as it transitions towards higher-margin modern workspace revenue streams. Thanks in part to improved cash collection, net debt was trimmed from £33.7m to £27m. It bolstered its £20m-revenue cybersecurity arm in August 2021 by acquiring Stevenage-based pen testing outfit Armadillo.
Chess has pulled in its horns in recent times, selling its Shaftesbury Systems unit to Daisy for £3.6m in September 2020 and its O2 distribution arm for £6m in April 2021 after conceding that it "continues to be impacted by the pandemic". It is, however, predicting EBITDA growth in its fiscal 2021.