2019 Sustainability Report

A bicentennial enterprise

Established in 1816, over 200 years ago, the Swire group has grown from a modest import-export company based in Liverpool into a diversified global conglomerate. Our business has stood the test of time because we have always looked ahead and made the right decisions for the long term.

Headquartered in Hong Kong and listed on HKEx, Swire Pacific (SWRAY 00019 and SWRBY 00087) is a key part of the Swire group. Swire Pacific is one of the leading companies in Hong Kong, with five operating divisions: Property, Aviation, Beverages, Marine Services and Trading & Industrial. Swire Pacific has interests in two other listed companies, Swire Properties and Cathay Pacific. The Swire Pacific Group’s operations are predominantly in Greater China, where the name Swire or 太古 has been established for over 150 years.

In 2019, Swire Beverages was renamed Swire Coca-Cola and Cathay Pacific completed the acquisition of Hong Kong Express, a low-cost carrier. Relevant data about Hong Kong Express is not included in this report. We only include data relating to acquired companies for the first full financial year after their acquisition.

When formulating strategy we take a long-term perspective. This is reflected in the nature of our investments. We pride ourselves on being forward-looking and innovative, which has helped us grow and set benchmarks in the industries in which we operate.

2019 overview

After an encouraging first half, in which Swire Pacific delivered a continued recovery in earnings and a solid set of results, 2019 proved ultimately to be a challenging year. Our recurring profit decreased by 4% in 2019, driven by a deterioration in the results of Cathay Pacific. There was also a much smaller increase in the value of our property portfolio than in recent years. This was the main reason for our 2019 return on equity falling to 3.3%, from 9.0% in 2018 and an average of 6.7% over the last five years.

During the year, we completed the disposal of a number of non-core assets at attractive valuations. The total proceeds of such disposals in 2018 and 2019 were around HK$34 billion, contributing to a significant strengthening of our balance sheet. At the end of 2019, our gearing, excluding lease liabilities, was 14.2%, compared with 19.3% at the end of 2018. Cash and undrawn committed facilities stood at HK$40 billion.

More information on the group structure and our economic performance can be found on our factsheet and in the 2019 Swire Pacific Annual Report.

Swire Pacific Group overview 2019


Total revenue HK$14,222M

Recurring profit HK$6,269M

Tax paid HK$586M

Total employees 6,465

Material issues climate resilience, energy use and GHG emissions


Total revenue HK$15,901M

Recurring profit HK$1,784M

Tax paid HK$173M

Total employees 46,965

Material issues energy use and GHG emissions, cyber security, diversity and inclusion


Total revenue HK$43,317M

Recurring profit HK$1,584M

Tax paid HK$173M

Total employees 30,871

Material issues energy use and GHG emissions, water management, environmental impact of products and services

Marine Services*

Total revenue HK$2,452M

Recurring loss HK$1,347M

Tax paid HK$52M

Total employees 3,066

Material issues energy use and GHG emissions, workplace health and safety, diversity and inclusion

Trading & Industrial

Total revenue HK$9,908M

Recurring profit HK$41M

Tax paid HK$404M

Total employees 6,925

Material issues environmental impacts of products and services, product quality and safety

Total employees reported is as at 31st December 2019 and comprises permanent employees and both fixed term and temporary contractors. On the same date, there were 38 employees employed directly by Swire Pacific in the Swire Pacific head office.

*The revenue figures exclude the revenues of associates (for example Cathay Pacific and Hongkong United Dockyards Limited)

**Swire Beverages Limited changed its name in April 2019 to Swire Coca-Cola Limited