This company may be based in London but it operates worldwide and is most closely associated with Hong Kong. Sir Adrian Swire, the great-great-grandson of the founder, heads the group’s interests in deep-sea shipping, cold storage, road transport, 1.7m acres of agricultural land in Australia, franchises for bottling Coca-Cola, and oil production for Shell. The company employs more than 132,000 people and it reported sales of £2,022m and operating profits of £349m in 2004. There are further profits of £226m from associated undertakings that include a stake in the quoted Hong Kong airline Cathay Pacific.
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