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High spirits for Britain’s Most Admired Company

UNIVERSITY NEWS LAST UPDATED : 13 DECEMBER 2013

Premium drinks company Diageo has been crowned the country’s most admired company, by a unique peer-reviewed survey, carried out by academics at Birmingham City University.

The world’s leading beverage company has topped the Britain’s Most Admired Company (BMAC) league table for the third time – first in 2008, 2012 and now 2013 - putting the drinks giant only second to Tesco’s tally of six titles in the 23 year history of the survey.

Net sales for the company have been up by 6% to 11.4bn in 2013; having made its name through global brands such as Guinness, Smirnoff, Baileys, Johnnie Walker and Dom Perignon;

Professor Mike Brown, Senior Academic at Birmingham City University, and founder of the Britain's Most Admired Companies study said: “There are positive signs the mood in the UK’s leading companies is looking up. The firms that earn the greatest respect from their peers are those most prepared to leave no stone unturned in the search for growth.”

Strength in the emerging markets has proved to be a common theme among the top-ranked companies in this year’s league table, with almost 30% of Diageo’s business coming from newly affluent middle class drinkers in Latin-America and Asia. The group is now pursuing the latest international growth opportunity – Africa, having recently launched its first ever cassava beer in Ghana. More than half of third-placed Unilever’s £42.5bn annual revenues come from emerging territories and in July this year the company raised its stake in its India arm, Hindustan Lever, to 67 per cent.

London-focused Berkeley Group, famous for its swanky riverside flats and executive mini-mansions, retains its position in the BMAC league for the second consecutive year, proving that it remains the nation's most admired house builder and its instincts for finding buyers in even the toughest markets is still very much intact. Profits for 2013 are up 26% to £270.7m and the company has invested £315m in 10 new sites this year, including two in the burgeoning Docklands area.

High street retailers John Lewis, number four in the list, has jumped 14 places from last year and scooped this year’s BSI award for continued excellence. It has beaten rivals Next and M&S to lead the home retail category this year. Former colossus and six-times winner Tesco languishes at 191, one place behind Morrisons, after a year when falling domestic sales and profits were compounded by its withdrawal from the US.

Now in its 23rd year, the Britain's Most Admired Companies survey is the only academic study in the UK which measures a company's reputational success on the perceptions of opposing companies.

Every year a small team led by Professor Mike Brown from Birmingham City University's Business School, in conjunction with Management Today, carry out a survey where Britain's top companies and their bosses assess their competitors in a revealing study that unveils the coveted secret of what it takes to be admired by your closest rivals.

Using their 'gut feeling' about individual firms and inside industry know-how; business leaders from across 26 sectors mark each other on nine different criteria. Considered the 'nine measures of success' the criteria ranges from the firm's ability to innovate and the quality of its marketing, to its financial performance and the strength of its management team.

This year's Britain's Most Admired Companies winner was unveiled in this month's issue of Management Today.

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