The largest companies of the United Kingdom greatly impact the British and world economy. The UK’s top 30 publicly traded companies, major components of the FTSE index, are presented here together with their activities, logos, sectors and useful links.
In the United Kingdom, companies become publicly listed companies – PLC – to get listed on the London Stock Exchange. Though they have to follow the rules of the Financial Conduct Authority, companies that become publicly listed can then gain access to capital from investors who acquire their stocks.
The FTSE 100 Index
To ease the understanding of the evolution of the British stock market and the broader economy, the stocks of the 100 largest companies by market capitalization are aggregated in the Financial Time Stock Exchange 100 Index, or FTSE 100, which is widely recognized as the benchmark index of the UK. It represents around 70% of the total market capitalization on the London Stock Exchange.
The real-time quotation of the FTSE 100 index can be followed with convenient graphical tools from a number of sources, including the London Stock Exchange, Google Finance, Yahoo Finance, Bloomberg, etc.
Note that this post is part of a series:
- Top companies from the US
- Top tech & innovative US companies
- Top companies from Canada
- Top companies from Mexico
- Top companies from Germany
- Top companies from India
- Top companies from Australia
List of the 30 largest companies of the London Stock Exchange by market capitalization
To help you learn more about British corporations, the 30 largest companies in the London Stock Exchange, which are also the largest components of the FTSE 100 index, are listed hereafter. Each company is presented with details on its sector, operations, direct link to its website, market capitalization, logo and stock symbol.
Companies are ranked by market capitalization in Pounds Sterling, as of effective close on Tuesday, December 4, 2018.
Quick links to the 30 largest publicly listed companies in the London Stock Exchange
To facilitate your browsing in this long list, here are quick links to go directly to the details of any of the top 30 FTSE 100 companies.
Sector: Oil & Gas
Royal Dutch Shell PLC, simply known as Shell, is a British-Dutch oil and gas company. Founded in 1907, headquartered in the Netherlands and incorporated in the UK, Shell is now present in more than 70 countries. It operates in oil and gas in exploration and production, refining, transport, distribution and marketing, petrochemicals, power generation and trading, and is also engaged in renewable energies with biofuels, wind and hydrogen.
Website: shell.com – Market cap.: £ 203.3 Billion – Stock symbol: RDSA+RDSB
HSBC Holdings PLC is a multinational banking and financial services company, dual-listed both in London and Hong Kong. Founded in Hong Kong and Shanghai in 1865, HSBC has grown to operate in more than 60 countries, with operations in commercial banking, investment banking, retail banking and wealth management, and global private banking.
Website: hsbc.com – Market cap.: £ 134.5 Billion – Stock symbol: HSBA
Sector: Oil & Gas
BP PLC, formerly The British Petroleum Company and BP Amoco, is a multinational oil and gas company. Founded in 1909, BP operates in oil and gas through exploration and production, refining, distribution and marketing, petrochemicals, power generation and trading, and also has interests in renewable energy with biofuels and wind power.
Website: bp.com – Market cap.: £ 107.2 Billion – Stock symbol: BP.
AstraZeneca PLC is an Anglo–Swedish multinational pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical company. AstraZeneca develops, manufactures and sells pharmaceutical and biotechnology products to treat major disease areas including cancer, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, infection, neuroscience, respiratory and inflammation.
Website: astrazeneca.com – Market cap.: £ 78.7 Billion – Stock symbol: AZN
GlaxoSmithKline PLC, better known as GSK, is a pharmaceutical company. GSK manufactures products for major disease areas such as asthma, cancer, infections, diabetes and mental health, and it also has a portfolio of vaccines. Operating in more than 115 countries, GSK is also engaged in the consumer healthcare business in oral health, pain relief, respiratory, nutrition/gastro-intestinal and skin health categories.
Website: gsk.com – Market cap.: £ 75 Billion – Stock symbol: GSK
Diageo PLC is a multinational alcoholic beverages company. Notably the world’s largest producer of whisky, Diageo is involved in the production and distribution of multiple spirits and beers, with some of the world’s most famous brands including Guinness, Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff and Gordon’s.
Website: diageo.com – Market cap.: £ 69.9 Billion – Stock symbol: DGE
British American Tobacco PLC, also known as BAT, is a multinational cigarette and tobacco manufacturing company. Formed in 1902, BAT is now the world’s second largest tobacco producer with multiple international brands such as Lucky Strike, Dunhill, Pall Mall, Rothmans International, Winfield and a large array of local brands.
Website: bat.com – Market cap.: £ 63 Billion – Stock symbol: BATS
Sector: Household Products
Unilever is a British-Dutch multinational consumer goods company dual-listed in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. Formed from companies founded in the 1870s, Unilever now regroups more than 400 brands, including Axe/Lynx, Dove, Omo, Heartbrand ice creams, Hellmann’s, Knorr, Lipton, Lux, Magnum, Rexona/Degree, Sunsilk and Surf.
Website: unilever.com – Market cap.: £ 52.9 Billion – Stock symbol: ULVR
Rio Tinto PLC is the British part of the Anglo-Australian multinational metals and mining corporation that is also listed in the Australian Stock Exchange and a top constituent of the ASX index. Founded in 1873, Rio Tinto has evolved to become a leader in the extraction of minerals, especially aluminium, iron ore, copper, uranium and diamonds, and developed operations in refining, particularly for bauxite and iron ore. With global presence, Rio Tinto is primarily operating in Australia and Canada.
Website: riotinto.com – Market cap.: £ 49.6 Billion – Stock symbol: RIO
Sector: Household Products
Reckitt Benckiser Group PLC, also known as RB, is a multinational consumer goods company, producing health, hygiene and home products. Tracing its origins back to the 19th century, RB has grown to a global company with famous brand names including Dettol, Strepsils, Veet, Airborne, Gaviscon, Mead Johnson, Air Wick, Calgon, Clearasil, Cillit Bang, Durex, Lysol, Mycil and Vanish.
Website: rb.com – Market cap.: £ 46.8 Billion – Stock symbol: RB.
Vodafone Group PLC is a multinational telecommunications conglomerate. Engaged predominantly in mobile connectivity services, Vodafone owns and operates networks in 25 countries, and has partner networks in 47 further countries. Its enterprise services division provides telecommunications and IT services to corporate clients in 150 countries.
Website: vodafone.com – Market cap.: £ 44.1 Billion – Stock symbol: VOD
Glencore PLC is an Anglo-Swiss multinational commodity trading and mining company. Glencore is operating mining and metallurgical sites, oil production assets, agricultural facilities, and it is engaged in the sourcing and distribution of its commodities throughout the world.
Website: glencore.com – Market cap.: £ 42.2 Billion – Stock symbol: GLEN
Prudential PLC is a multinational life insurance and financial services company. Founded in 1848, it has grown become a leading insurance and asset management provider in Asia with Prudential Corporation Asia, one of the largest life insurance providers in the United States with Jackson National Life Insurance Company, and a leading savings and investments business in the UK and Europe with M&G Prudential.
Website: prudential.co.uk – Market cap.: £ 40.1 Billion – Stock symbol: PRU
Lloyds Bank PLC is a retail and commercial bank. Evolved from the Bank of Scotland founded in 1695, Lloyds Banking Group has developed its activities in retail banking, commercial banking, life, pensions and insurance, wealth management and international operations in the U.S., Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
Website: lloydsbankinggroup.com – Market cap.: £ 39.4 Billion – Stock symbol: LLOY
BHP Group PLC is the British arm of the Anglo-Australian multinational mining, metals and petroleum corporation that is also listed in the Australian Stock Exchange and a top constituent of the ASX index. BHP is involved in the exploration, production and processing of minerals, especially coal, iron ore, copper and manganese ore, and the exploration, production and refining of hydrocarbons.
Website: bhp.com – Market cap.: £ 33.8 Billion – Stock symbol: BHP
RELX PLC, also known as RELX Group, is a multinational information and analytics company. RELX Group is engaged in four business segments: scientific, technical and medical, under the Elsevier brand, risk and business analytics, under the LexisNexis Risk Solutions and Reed Business Information brands, legal, under the LexisNexis brand, and exhibitions, under the Reed Exhibitions brand.
Website: relx.com – Market cap.: £ 32.5 Billion – Stock symbol: REL
National Grid PLC is a multinational electricity and gas utility company. It primarily operates in electricity transmission and gas distribution in the United Kingdom and the United States, managing operations directly or through subsidiary companies.
Website: nationalgrid.com – Market cap.: £ 28.2 Billion – Stock symbol: NG.
Barclays PLC is a British investment bank and financial services company. Tracing its origin to 1690, Barclays is primarily involved in investment banking with additional services in personal banking, corporate banking, wealth management, and investment management.
Website: barclays.co.uk – Market cap.: £ 27.2 Billion – Stock symbol: BARC
Sector: Support Services
Compass Group PLC is a multinational contract food service company. The largest contract food service company in the world, providing food and support services in more than 50 countries across five market sectors: business and industry, healthcare and seniors, education, sports and leisure, defence, offshore and remote.
Website: compass-group.com – Market cap.: £ 26.8 Billion – Stock symbol: CPG
The Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC, also known as RBS, is a private, and partly publicly-owned, banking and insurance holding company. Evolved since its origin in 1707, RBS operates in Europe, North America and Asia through multiple brands providing personal and business banking, private banking, insurance and corporate finance, notably The Royal Bank of Scotland, NatWest, Ulster Bank and Coutts.
Website: rbs.com – Market cap.: £ 26.1 Billion – Stock symbol: RBS
BT Group PLC, trading as BT and formerly British Telecom, is a multinational telecommunications company. Tracing its origins to 1846, BT has grown to operate in about 180 countries. The leader in the UK, BT provides fixed-line, broadband and mobile services, together with subscription television and IT services.
Website: btPLC.com – Market cap.: £ 25.9 Billion – Stock symbol: BT.A
Anglo American PLC is a mining company based in South Africa and the United Kingdom. Founded in 1917, Anglo American is the world’s largest producer of platinum, and a major producer of diamonds, copper, nickel, iron ore and metallurgical and thermal coal.
Website: angloamerican.com – Market cap.: £ 23.3 Billion – Stock symbol: AAL
Imperial Brands PLC, formerly Imperial Tobacco Group PLC, is a multinational tobacco company. A large producer of cigarettes, Imperial Brands is the world’s largest producer of cigars, fine-cut tobacco, and tobacco papers, with famous brands including Davidoff, West, Gauloises Blondes, Montecristo, Golden Virginia, Drum and Rizla.
Website: imperialbrandsPLC.com – Market cap.: £ 22.6 Billion – Stock symbol: IMB
Standard Chartered PLC is a multinational banking and financial services company. Tracing its origins to the 19th century, Standard Chartered operates in consumer, corporate and institutional banking and treasury services in more than 70 countries.
Website: sc.com – Market cap.: £ 20.1 Billion – Stock symbol: STAN
Tesco PLC is a multinational groceries and general merchandise retailer. Founded in 1919, Tesco has grown to become the world’s third largest retailer, operating hypermarkets and convenience stores selling groceries, books, clothing, electronics, furniture, toys, petrol, software, financial services, telecoms, and internet services in seven countries.
Website: tesco.com – Market cap.: £ 19.3 Billion – Stock symbol: TSCO
Associated British Foods PLC is a multinational food processing and retailing company. Founded in 1935, the company has evolved to become a leader in the production of ingredients, such as sugar and baker’s yeast, grocery products with brands including Mazola, Ovaltine, Ryvita, Jordans and Twinings and retail, with spaces across Europe and the United States.
Website: abf.co.uk – Market cap.: £ 19 Billion – Stock symbol: ABF
Sector: Support Services
Experian PLC is a consumer credit reporting agency. Based in Ireland, it operates in 37 countries, where it gathers credit information on millions of consumers. Experian also sells decision analytic and marketing assistance to businesses.
Website: experian.com – Market cap.: £ 17.8 Billion – Stock symbol: EXPN
CRH PLC is an international group of diversified building materials. It produces and supplies a wide range of products for the construction industry, including heavy side materials, such as aggregates, cement, asphalt, concrete, and light side products, such as glass and glazing products, shutters and accessories. It is also involved in the distribution of these products.
Website: crh.com – Market cap.: £ 17.7 Billion – Stock symbol: CRH
Sector: Aerospace & Defence
Rolls-Royce Holdings PLC is the multinational engineering company focusing on power and propulsion systems. Founded in 1904, Rolls-Royce designs, manufactures and distributes engines and systems for the aviation, marine, defence and energy industries.
Website: rolls-royce.com – Market cap.: £ 16.1 Billion – Stock symbol: RR.
Aviva PLC is a multinational insurance company. Tracing its origins to 1696, Aviva is a general insurance, life insurance and pensions provider. The largest general insurer in the UK, Aviva is operating in 16 countries of Europe, North America and Asia.
Website: aviva.com – Market cap.: £ 15.6 Billion – Stock symbol: AV.
Here are the 30 largest public companies in the London Stock Exchange. Do you think they are worth their market capitalization? Are their stocks a good investment right now? Do they have too much economic power… and maybe political power too?
Leave your comments below!