John Swire & Sons has its headquarters in London but has interests around the world, many of them in Hong Kong. Sir Adrian Swire, great-great grandson of the company’s founder, oversees diverse activities such as property, including more than 1.7m acres of agricultural land in Australia, franchises for bottling Coca-Cola, oil production for Shell, and other industrial and shipping operations. The company employs more than 131,000 people and it reported sales of £1,948m and operating profits of £353m in 2003. These figures exclude the contribution from Cathay Pacific, the Hong Kong airline in which John Swire has a 29% stake. The Sars outbreak significantly dampened the airline’s business in 2003 and profits there have fallen by two-thirds.
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