When PA Consulting Group’s current chief executive Jeremy Asher joined the London-based company in 1998 it was in the process of buying out its major shareholder, a move that effectively returned ownership to the staff. The company appears to be thriving as a private enterprise, and was able to buy listed US consulting firm Hagler Bailly Inc for $96m in October 2000. Founded in 1943, PA provides management and systems consultancy to large corporate customers such as Lloyds-TSB and BP. It appears for the second time in the Profit Track 100, and has seen its profits grow 30% a year, from £17.1m in 1996 to £37.5m in 1999, when sales reached £304.8m. The management consultancy’s self-funding venture capital arm has recently spawned two businesses, UbiNetics and Physiome Sciences. UbiNetics is working on third generation mobile-phone technologies for Motorola and Ericsson and is reported to be the subject of a float later this year, while Physiome is developing virtual human organs that can be used to test new drugs.
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