THE final four businesses shortlisted for the most anticipated Winchester Business Excellence Award have been announced.

European Exhaust and Catalyst Ltd (EEC), Charters Estate Agents, Lakesmere Ltd and Upham Brewery Company have been selected for Denplan’s Business of the Year Award.

Sharon Ellis, head of human resources and business services at Denplan, said: “Denplan has been part of the Winchester community for almost 30 years and we're delighted to sponsor the Business of the Year category once again.

“This award recognises and celebrates one outstanding company that has demonstrated excellence in developing its business, including implementing a sound business and financial plan that runs in conjunction with a clear marketing strategy.

“These are tough criteria to meet but we have been extremely impressed by all of the finalists. It's exciting to think that all of these fantastic businesses are already part of the thriving local economy.”

In May last year EEC were awarded the supply contract for Euro Car Parts - the UK's largest distributor in its sector. The move led to another with Sator group, owned by Euro Car Parts parent company LKQ, which in turn led to a 40 per cent upturn in volume for the company. They have continued to extend their product range to reach a larger customer base, improve on its teamwork, innovation and products to ensure they meet environmental legislation. Their catalytic converters convert around 98 per cent of harmful car exhaust emissions into less harmful gases.

Established in 2009, Charters is now the market leading estate agency in Winchester. A recent survey showed they owned 39 per cent of the market share out of 22 competitors and they have been awarded the third best agency practice in Southern England at the Estate Agency Awards for two consecutive years from 2010.

Winchester-based Lakesmere started in 1993 as a small cladding contractor. Since then it has grown to become the UK’s leading specialist in design, manufacturing, installation and management services across seven offices throughout the UK and the Middle East. Between 2007-2012 their average turnover was £43m per year, peaking at £47m in 2012. Despite rough trading conditions as a result of the economic downturn their 2013 turnover increased by 16 per cent and net profits increased threefold.

Upham Brewery, based in Bishop’s Waltham, was set up in 2009 with the objective to brew a selection of fine real ales to restore the pub back to its former glory. Most recently, the company announced its aim to expand and open between 20 to 30 new pubs by the end of 2015 providing employment for some 400-500 people. The company also aims to invest £280,000 to increase their brewery capacity from 1,000 casks to 5,000 casks over the next three years to meet growing demand.

The names of the winners of each category will be announced at the prestigious black-tie awards ceremony on Friday (June 14).