55: Derek Raphael Holdings

Metals trader DRH was founded by managing director Andy Raphael’s father Derek in 1973. According to Andy, start-up capital was sufficiently small to not be worth quoting. 

The truly great thing about the business is not that it now boasts a mighty £328m turnover but that it grew into such a giant business without borrowing any money or giving away any equity to external investors. In spite of this, Andy and his father Derek are modest about their achievements. “Our turnover is completely dependent on the price of commodities,” Andy tells Real Business.

This is the second consecutive appearance in the Hot 100 for DRH. Last year, it charted at number 43. Its main niche is molybdenum – those in the know refer to it as "moly", which is used as an alloy in steel to enhance its strength and is widely used by energy companies.

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