Richard Biffa started this firm 100 years ago, collecting ashes from London power stations. Today, its 2,000 refuse trucks hit the road every morning to collect waste, and the company prides itself on its recycling. Last year Biffa’s lenders swapped their loans for equity when the company failed a covenant test. The resulting restructuring more than halved its net debts to £430m with a £75m cash injection. Chief executive Ian Wakelin, 50, reported a 9% increase in sales in 2012 to £843m.

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Company details
Year2013
Rank70
CompanyBiffa
ActivityIntegrated waste manager
LocationHigh Wycombe
Sales £m843
Profit £m129
Year endMar 12
Principal shareholdersAngelo Gordon, Avenue Capital Group, Sankaty Advisors
Staff6,376
Founded1913
Websitewww.biffa.co.uk

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* Supplied by company † Annualised figure