Britain’s Top 10 Private Family Businesses 2019
30th July 2019
The Sunday Times has published its annual league table of Britain’s top 100 private companies. The list, produced by Fast Track, is published each July and includes non-listed firms employing over 100 people and with sales exceeding £700m.
Showing the incredible variety of private companies, this list is yet another testament to the fact that some of the biggest and most successful private businesses in the UK are family businesses, operating across all sectors and regions, with many long-standing members of the IFB amongst them.
Top 10 Private Family Firms 2019
- EG Group (Issa family, sales 10.6bn)
EG Group is the world’s leading independent fuel station and convenience retailer, with a diversified portfolio of sites across the globe. Based in Blackburn (UK), Euro Garages was founded in 2001 by brothers Zuber Issa and Mohsin Issa with the acquisition of a single petrol filling station in Bury, Greater Manchester.
- Swire (Swire family, sales £10.6bn)
John Swire began importing cotton, sugar and rum from North America and the Caribbean into Liverpool in 1816. More than two centuries later, the family business operates across the Asia-Pacific region with interests that range from shipping, property and agriculture, to cold storage and airlines — including a minority stake in Cathay Pacific — and employs more than 130,000 people worldwide. Barnaby Swire has been chairman of the family business since 2014.
- Pentland Group (Rubin family, sales £5.1bn)
Started in 1932 as a wholesaler, London-based Pentland manages clothing and sports brands such as Speedo, Berghaus and Canterbury. Its sales grew 39% to £5.1bn in 2018. Owned by the founding Rubin family, Pentland Group is chaired by third generation Stephen Rubin. The group owns a majority stake in JD Sports.
- Dyson (Dyson family, sales £4.4bn)
Founded by Sir James Dyson, this manufacturer of bagless vacuum cleaners and bladeless fans Dyson moved its headquarters from the UK to Singapore this year, where it will develop its first electric vehicle. Global demand for its battery-powered vacuum cleaners, hairdryers and air purifiers helped sales grow 24% to £4.4bn in 2018.
- Arnold Clark (Clark family, sales 4.2bn)
One of Britain’s largest independent car dealers group, this Glasgow family business was founded in 1954 by Sir Arnold Clark. Sir Arnold started trading cars in the 1950s after leaving the RAF. Now led by group managing director Eddie Hawthorne, Arnold Clark has over 200 dealerships across the UK.
- EMR (Sheppard family, £3.4bn)
Salvaging metal from US aircraft carrier USS Ranger, which featured in the film Top Gun, and from retired Eurostar trains are just some of this Warrington firm’s recycling projects. Led by its chief executive Chris Sheppard, EMR recycles 10m tons of metal a year at 170 sites worldwide. Last year it opened a £4m recycling facility in Ashford, Kent, and recently finished dismantling the 60,000-ton USS Independence, sister aircraft carrier of USS Ranger, at its site in Brownsville, Texas.
- JCB (Bamford family, sales £3.4bn)
Founded in 1945 by Joseph Cyril, this Staffordshire firm is now chaired by the founder’s son Lord Bamford. This family-owned manufacturer won one of its largest orders in 2017 — a £110m contract to supply the US army with 1,600 forklifts. Its machinery is sold around the world, with India its largest market.
- 2 Sisters Food Group (Boparan family, sales £3.3bn)
This West Midlands food producer may be best known for its Fox’s Biscuits and Holland’s Pies brands, but its chicken processing business accounted for about two-thirds of its £3.3bn turnover in 2018. It also makes chilled meals, and is investing in its Carlisle factory after winning a five-year contract with M&S.
- Bestway Group (Pervez family, sales £3.2bn)
From a single grocery store, opened in 1963, Bestway has grown to be Britain’s largest, privately owned cash-and-carry group. The London company also operates 798 Well Pharmacy stores across the UK, as well as a cement manufacturer and a bank in Pakistan. It is chaired by Sir Anwar Pervez.
- Bet365 (Coates family, sales £2.9bn)
Bet365 has customers in more than 100 countries who can bet on a wide range of sports, play casino games and watch in excess of 160,000 live sport events a year. Introducing new betting products helped turnover grow 25% to £2.9bn in 2018. The company is taking its first steps into America this year, having signed deals with casinos in Atlantic City and the state of New York to provide onsite sports betting services.
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