John Swire began importing cotton, sugar and rum from North America and the Caribbean into Liverpool in 1816. More than two centuries later, the family business operates across the Asia-Pacific region with interests that range from shipping, property and agriculture, to cold storage and airlines — including a minority stake in Cathay Pacific — and employs more than 130,000 people worldwide. Its Asian activities come under the group’s publicly quoted arm, Swire Pacific, which is listed in Hong Kong. Barnaby Swire, 55, has been chairman of the group since 2014.
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