With 21 ports from Ayr to Plymouth, Associated British Ports estimates that it handles almost a quarter of all the UK’s seaborne trade. Back in 2006, a consortium led by Goldman Sachs paid £3.4 billion for the company, more than 15 times its profits. Sales have remained broadly flat since then, standing at £408.1m in 2010, but the business recently received a boost when the government approved its plans for a new riverside terminal at Grimsby, which will enable big container ships carrying more than 3,000 cars to use the port.

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Company details
Year2011
Rank39
CompanyAssociated British Ports
ActivityPort operator
LocationCentral London
Sales £m408.1
Operating profit £m174.4
Main shareholdersBorealis (34%), GIC (33%), Goldman Sachs (23%), Infracapital (10%)
Staff1,926
Founded1982
Websitewww.abports.com

If applicable:

* supplied by Company   † annualised figure   ‡  profit = ebitda