We are proud of our values-based culture that has been developed over many generations and continues to be the core driver of our success. Our people embody a legacy of integrity, initiative and accountability.
Soul Patts employs a diverse workforce of over 50 people with our office based in Sydney, Australia. We continually invest in our people's capability and competitiveness, which ensures that we are identifying the best investments and generating sustainable returns for our shareholders. Our commitment to equal opportunities for all employees creates a strong workplace culture. Our employee value proposition sees us attracting and retaining the best people who support and drive our purpose of delivering enduring value for shareholders.
At the time of our public listing in 1903, Soul Patts had 21 pharmacy stores under its banner which prospered through diverse product ranges, low prices and good quality service. By the 1950s, Soul Pattinson dominated the retail pharmacy market nationwide, supported by our own manufacturing and warehouse facilities. A successful export division was launched in 1966.
The 1960s and 1970s marked the Company’s diversification into building materials – the cross-shareholding with Brickworks Ltd – and in resources with the purchase of New Hope Collieries, now New Hope Corporation (ASX: NHC). The 1980s saw expansion into media with the purchase of NBN Television station, which over time grew into TPG Telecom – the third largest telco in Australia. All three companies are long-term investments within the portfolio, with New Hope and TPG Telecom seeded from private investments within Soul Patts.
In 2021, the acquisition of Australia’s third-largest Listed Investment Company, Milton Corporation, was strategic in transforming our scale and liquidity to pursue further investment opportunities beyond equity markets. Our investment portfolio is designed to pivot to where we identify superior market returns. Our belief in being diversified – by industry and asset class – has not only helped the Company weather various market cycles, but continues to position the portfolio to generate sustainable shareholder returns.
Soul Patts no longer owns Australian pharmacies, however many of the investments made decades ago remain large positions in today’s portfolio. Today, the portfolio is truly diversified across multiple industries, asset classes, and geographies.
Soul Patts remains one of the few public companies that has been managed by the same family from the outset. Our story started when Caleb Soul and his son Washington opened their first store at 177 Pitt Street, Sydney, in 1872, while Lewy Pattinson opened his first pharmacy in Balmain in 1886. The men became friends.
Some years later Washington Soul approached his old friend, Lewy Pattinson, and asked if Pattinson & Co. would buy him out. Pattinson agreed and after discussion with his partners, Pattinson and Co. bought out Washington H. Soul and Co., effective from 1st April 1902.
Out of respect for his old friends, Lewy Pattinson included the name of Washington H. Soul in the name of the new Company, Washington H. Soul Pattinson and Company Limited, incorporated on 21 January, 1903 and listed on the Sydney Stock Exchange (now the Australian Securities Exchange). Today, we are affectionately known as Soul Patts and our Chairman, Robert Millner AO, Lewy’s great-grandson, represents the fourth generation of the family to Chair the Company.