After starting work as an apprentice bricklayer in Scotland, Robert McAlpine founded this civil-engineering and building company in 1869. Since then it has spread its operations across Britain and been involved in landmark projects, from the Singer sewing-machine factory in Clydebank to Arsenal’s Emirates stadium in north London. The business is still owned and managed by the McAlpine family. Group turnover fell by a third to £707m in 2010, partly as a result of government cutbacks, but the company has remained profitable by being selective about the work it takes on.

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Company details
CompanySir Robert McAlpine
ActivityConstruction contractor
Sales £m707
Profit £m31
Year endOct 10
Principal shareholdersMcAlpine family (100%)

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* Supplied by company † Annualised figure