1974-1979 Going Global

1974 The birth of Swire Pacific

Category: Corporate

Taikoo Swire, the shell public company left behind by the closure of Taikoo Dockyard, was renamed Swire Pacific Limited – a ready-made holding company for the group’s principal Hong Kong-based assets. This year also marked the passing of the Butterfield name, when Butterfield & Swire was renamed John Swire & Sons, in line with the UK parent company.

Inside Story

1975 Offshore oil and gas

Category: Corporate, Marine Services

Swire entered the offshore oil and gas industry at a time when the price of crude oil had risen dramatically, leading to a huge increase in offshore exploration. Industry demand for anchor handling tug supply boats - used to tow, secure and service offshore oil rigs – far outstripped supply. The company formed a joint venture supply boat company, Swire Northern Offshore, which was renamed Swire Pacific Offshore (“SPO”) in 1980, after Swire bought out its joint venture partner, Northern Offshore.

Inside Story

1976 Investing in agribusiness

Category: Corporate, Beverages & Food Chain

In 1976, Swire acquired just under 30% of the Glasgow firm, James Finlay. Established in 1750, James Finlay started out as a textile trader, before moving into cotton manufacturing, and later into tea growing, becoming one of the world’s leading tea traders. Finlays became a wholly owned Swire subsidiary in 2000.

1977 Expansion in Papua New Guinea

Category: Corporate, Property, Beverages & Food Chain, Marine Services

Swire acquired a shareholding in Steamships Trading Company, one of Papua New Guinea’s oldest companies. Today, Swire holds 72% of Steamships, a conglomerate involved in shipping, transport, property, hotels and manufacturing.

1978 Diversification in America

Category: Corporate, Property, Beverages & Food Chain

Swire established beverage and property interests in the US. The group obtained its first US Coca-Cola bottling franchise at Salt Lake City, and purchased a manmade island in the Brickell district of Miami for development.

1979 Supplying the global energy sector

Category: Corporate, Marine Services

As part of its strategy to invest in the energy sector, Swire purchased EPD containers and Supply Ltd, a specialist provider of North Sea transport and storage equipment. Swire EPD was renamed Swire Oilfield Services (“SOS”) in 1998, to reflect an expanded range of services and geographical footprint. Today, SOS is the world’s largest supplier of specialist offshore cargo carrying units to the global energy sector.


1980-1988 Sprinting Ahead in Hong Kong