74: Meade-King, Robinson & Co

The business with one of the longest names in this year’s Hot 100 is also one of the oldest. MKR has been a distributor of oils and chemicals for more than 140 years. It acts as an overseas selling arm for producers, saving them the hassle of setting up sales houses all over the globe. Big clients include Shell, which awarded MKR the contract to act as its sales house at its refinery in Stanlow.

The business turned over £30m last year based on its experienced sales team and strong relationships with clients, says managing director Philip Tarleton. But he admits that it’s not always plain sailing: “We’re in a unpredictable industry,” he says, “and we operate in a world where factors outside our control can lose us big chunks of business. We start the year expecting to lose some contracts, so we keep looking for new customers. If we haven’t lost anything by the end of the year, we can chalk it up as a big success.”


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