Facilities management company Servest has been named in a new league table of the UK’s 50 largest overseas-owned employers.

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Servest, whose parent company is based in South Africa, is ranked 48th in the first Sunday Times PA Consulting Inward Investment Track 50.

The UK business, which is based in Bury St Edmunds and is a member of the EADT/EDP Top100 listing of the 100 largest companies in Suffolk and Norfolk, has a full-time equivalent workforce of 7,626, out of a global total for the group of 37,077.

The new listing, compiled by research company Fast Track, is sponsored by PA Consulting Group and supported by UK Trade & Investment.

High profile names in the list include Santander, Ford and Siemens.

Colm Reilly, who leads PA Consulting Group’s economic development unit and is managing director of UKTI’s investment services, said: “These are exciting times for UK inward investment and companies operating in the east show what can be achieved.

“Britain is making good progress, but there is more to be done. Companies must learn to focus on developing technology that can help a variety of sectors, rather than serving the industries they have typically worked with.”

In total, the 50 companies featured employ more than 780,000 UK staff on a full-time equivalent basis.

The US and France are the parent countries of the largest number of companies on the league table, hosting 12 global head offices each. They include French energy company GDF Suez, which has 19,000 UK staff, and US conglomerate GE, which has 18,000 UK staff and runs its global healthcare and oil & gas divisions from their offices in Amersham and London.

Multinationals from further afield also feature, include health and beauty retailer Superdrug, which is owned by Hong Kong company AS Watson and employs more than 8,700 people in the UK, and private hospital operator BMI Healthcare, which is owned by South Africa-based Netcare and employs 7,800.

Almost half of the 780,000 UK staff work for services sector companies, including German logistics provider DHL, which employs more than 43,000 people, and IT consultancy Fujitsu, which has more than 12,000 people here.

Manufacturing companies that feature on the league table employ 110,000 UK staff. They include Italian aerospace and defence firm Finmeccanica, which employs 8,400, and Indian-owned Tata Steel, which employs 18,500 people and is the largest private sector employer in Wales.

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