The Coutts & Co Large-Cap Business of the Year Award recognises listed companies or mutuals in the large-cap range.
"Presenting leaders in retail, hospitality, technology, property development, outsourcing, chemical engineering and insuran"Ten sector champions from a range of industries were selected as finalists for the Coutts & Co Large-Cap Business of the Year 2011, with each offering a different perspective on enterprise excellence," says Alex Evans, editorial director of the National Business Awards in partnership with Orange.ce, some of the UK's best and least-known companies are supporting the UK economic recovery and they all deserve recognition."
Debenhams and JD Wetherspoon are among the best known of this year's finalists, but it's less common knowledge that a staff culture of constant improvement and innovation is nurtured through internal awards at the former, while the latter has built customer communities using Facebook and Twitter.
Lloyd's of London is one of the UK's oldest and most recognised businesses. Established 323 years ago, this complex and unique insurance marketplace has been transformed by the corporation that governs it - combining an investment in technology and management training to increase efficiency.
Electrocomponents, often described by the media as "the biggest company you've never heard of", has quietly hit a £1bn turnover for the first time during a recession as an investment in e-commerce, 3D modelling and a wide range of products has helped it to increase sales in its core markets in the UK and overseas. Similarly, integrated facilities management company MITIE has grown from £500m to a £2bn-turnover business by diversifying into new areas such as energy management and security, while investing in training and apprenticeship.
Autonomy, the unstructured information specialist, has gained in profile since HP put in an $11bn bid to buy it, but few are aware of the diversity of the business. Supporting a wide variety of applications across sectors, ranging from healthcare to media, Autonomy has spawned numerous spin-off businesses that, including its own workforce of around 2,700, employ an estimated 10,000 people.
Better known for its consumer products and boasting 19 super brands, Reckitt Benckiser has sustained innovation through a management culture of ownership and accountability, where decisions are made and acted on quickly. As a result, it has been able to take products from conception to market in as little as nine months and has penetrated new markets all over the world.
Kingfisher, the company behind B&Q and Screwfix in the UK and Bricolage in France, has driven profit through an investment in management and efficiency while becoming a market leader in five of the eight countries in which it has a presence.
Another UK business better known for what it makes is Johnson Matthey, a world leader in speciality chemicals, in particular catalysts and other sustainable technologies. Leading on sustainability in its sector, it has also become a poster business for sustainable growth, with a company-wide commitment to exploring ways to conserve the resources and commodities it relies on.
"From high street names to the businesses behind the brands, this year's large-cap finalists have all proved that even the biggest and longest-running companies can still adapt and innovate quickly to compete in the global marketplace," says Evans, "but only by investing in its people."