Hot 100 2012 – 52: Air Charter Service

The basics

Company name: Air Charter Service
What they do: Aircraft lease and charter
Headquarters: Surbiton
The boss: Chris Leach

The financials

Latest turnover (£,000): 227,819
Four-year compound sales growth (%): 38
Latest Ebitda (£,000): 5,049

The details

“Success comes from two sources,” says Chris Leach, founder of Air Charter Service, a near-£230m turnover business specialising in chartering and leasing flights for a wealthy client list. “One is the luck of being in the right place and time; the other is having the judgement to take advantage of that good fortune and grow a solid business.”

Leach started the firm in 1990 “because I was out of work and chartering aircraft was all I knew about” and six years ago diversified into cargo aircraft charter, small jets and commercial jets. The new divisions grew quickly and the group quickly went global with 15 new companies springing up in Germany, the US, Russia, Asia and elsewhere.

Growth will continue this year, says Leach, and ACS is budgeting for £320m in sales. The business will also continue its ambitious overseas growth spurt. “There are, what, 200 countries recognised by the UN. ACS is in 12, we’ve got a lot of work to do,” he says.

The Hot 100 2012 is brought to you by Investec, Jordans, Cass Business School and Your Business Your Future.

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