A private company is one that doesn’t issue shares through IPO (initial public offering), or its shares don’t trade on public exchanges. Thus, these companies face fewer regulations. Such companies, however, may issue shares and have shareholders. In this article, we will discuss the ten biggest British private companies.
Ten largest British private companies
We have selected the largest private companies on the basis of annual revenue. Following are the ten largest British private companies:
- Bestway Group
Founded in 1976, it is the largest privately-owned cash-and-carry business in Britain. The company is based in London, and has operations in the UK and Pakistan. The group has about 180 companies under it. It serves independent retailers and caterers, and owns one of the largest pharmacy chains in the UK, Well Pharmacy. Bestway also owns brands such as Best-one, Bargain Booze and Central Convenience stores.
Founded in 1993, it is a technology company based in Malmesbury, Wiltshire. Founder James Dyson launched the first bag-less vacuum cleaner in 1993. The company makes household appliances, including bladeless fans, heaters, vacuum cleaners, air purifiers, hair dryers, lights and hand dryers. Dyson group refers to itself as agents of change, and it employs more than 12,000 people.
- Pentland Group
It started in the 1930s by selling shoes, and now has grown into a multinational firm that owns and invests in sports, outdoor and sports fashion sectors. The group is based in Finchley, London and owns popular brands, including Endura, Boxfresh, Ellesse, Speedo, Berghaus, Red or Dead, SeaVees, Canterbury of New Zealand and Mitre. In 2000, the group became the worldwide licensee for London fashion brand Ted Baker footwear. It purchased a majority stake in Reebok in the 1980s for $77,500 and sold it for $770 million in the 90s.
- Arnold Clark
Founded in 1954, it is UK’s largest independently owned, family-run car retailer. The company opened its first branch in Glasgow. It was awarded the Dealer Group of the Year 2019 by Automotive Management. The company sells more than 280,000 cars a year and employs more than 10,000 employees. Along with selling cars, the company also offers business fleet services, rental vehicles, training in several related areas, as well as MOT tests and accident repair.
- MFG Group
Founded in 2007, it is the largest independent forecourt operator in the UK. The company has about 900 stations operating under Texaco, JET, Shell, Esso, BO and Murco fuel brands. In Dec. 2011, a new management team, headed by the chief executive officer, William Bannister, acquired the company. In Feb. 2018, the company announced the acquisition of MRH. The acquisition helped MFG to get about 500 stations, as well as Greggs, Spar and Hursts brands.
- EG Group
Founded in 2001, the company operated petrol stations and fast food outlets in Australia, the U.S. and Europe. It started its operation with one petrol station, but now manages more than 4,000 garage forecourts. The company is based in Blackburn and employs over 28,000 people. In Nov. 2018, the company announced a binding agreement to buy Woolworths’ petrol business in Australia.
- John Lewis Partnership
It is UK’s largest employee-owned business with headquarters in Westminster, London. It operates department stores, supermarkets, banking and financial services and other retail activities. The company is the owner of popular brands, including John Lewis & Partners and Waitrose & Partners. It operates 42 John Lewis & Partners shops, as well as 335 Waitrose & Partners shops across the UK.
“We strive to be a better way of doing business. This commitment is driven by our purpose, our Partnership values and our business strategy,” the company says on its website.
Founded in 1816, it is a highly diversified global group. Most of Swire’s core businesses are in the Asia Pacific region, and come under Swire Pacific Limited. In other regions, many of the company’s businesses are held by the parent company, John Swire & Sons Limited, which is headquartered in the UK. The company deals in several businesses, including property, aviation, food and beverages chain, marine services, trading and industrial and Swire Investments. Swire Pacific acquired Cathay Pacific in 1948.
Founded in 1992, the company supplies road fuel to customers in the UK and Canada. The company is headquartered in London, and has offices in Canada, the U.S, Brazil and Dubai. Greenergy also has an in-house haulage operation with more than 250 drivers. Also, the company has made significant investments in marine and rail-fed storage terminals. Greenergy’s objective is to offer low-cost, reliable fuel supply to its clients.
Founded in 1998, it is a global manufacturer of petrochemicals. The company is headquartered in London, and its production is spread across 171 manufacturing facilities in 24 countries globally. INEOS is known for high quality and low-cost production facilities, well-invested plants at favorable locations, as well as experienced management. The name INEOS comes from Inspec Ethylene Oxide Specialities.