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2015 Hertfordshire Life Rich List

PUBLISHED: 12:41 24 March 2015 | UPDATED: 12:41 24 March 2015

David and Victoria Beckham

David and Victoria Beckham

Archant

Our annual Hertfordshire Life Rich List gives a snapshot of the wealthiest 50 people in a county populated by celebrities, sports stars and industry leaders. We tot up the assets of those in and from our area making it (very) big

Lewis HamiltonLewis Hamilton

Hertfordshire’s rich are doing very nicely. The 50 richest have seen their wealth in the 2015 Hertfordshire Life Rich List jump to £10.82bn, a very respectable 12.7per cent rise on last year’s £9.6bn. Yet the rate of increase is actually slowing sharply: last year’s rise was a spectacular 26.4 per cent. Still the rich have never had it so good. In the 10 years since our first list in 2005, the wealth of the 50 Hertfordshire richest has exactly trebled from £3.6bn in that decade.

Our number one is again Mike Ashley, the low-key founder of the Sports Direct sportswear retailer. The Berkhamsted billionaire has puzzled the City with a series of investments and deals. Yet such is the strength of his Sports Direct operation that the shares have risen, adding £250m to Ashley’s fortune this year. He remains not only Hertfordshire’s sole billionaire but with a £3.65bn fortune, its only treble billionaire too.

The Hertfordshire Life Rich List may be dominated by entrepreneurs and family businesses, but there is still a touch of glamour with celebrities in our ranks. Heading the celebrity count are David and Victoria Beckham. They may not live in the county any more but still have strong local links: Victoria grew up in a village near Broxbourne, and it was only last year that they finally sold their Sawbridgeworth house. So we are happy to put the pair in our ranks at a conservative £210m. Coming up fast (and that is the right word in his case) is Stevenage-born Lewis Hamilton, who secured a second F1 World Championship in the last season, which will open the floodgates for him on new sponsorship deals. We have raised his valuation to £90m as a result, but he will go a lot higher.

Celebrities aside, the Hertfordshire Life richest 50 is still very much a meritocratic ranking. Of the 50 names, 37 made their own fortunes, a gratifyingly high figure. This does auger well for some degree of social mobility and shows budding entrepreneurs that they do stand a chance of making serious wealth for themselves (and therefore for UK plc too) through dint of hard work, skills and a great idea. We still only have one aristocrat in the list in the Marquess of Salisbury courtesy of his Hatfield House estate and magnificent art treasures.

The business wealth in Hertfordshire is drawn from all spheres, which is also gratifying. It means that all the country’s eggs are not in one industrial basket so to speak. There are highly regarded medical equipment company owners, internet entrepreneurs, veteran retailers such as ex-Tesco boss Sir Terry Leahy and computer services operators in our ranks. One might speculate that this diversity of talent is one reason why Hertfordshire’s 4.3 per cent unemployment rate is well below the UK national rate of six per cent.

Certainly the 50 richest are doing heavy lifting on the job creation front. Take Charles Desoutter of Descram Holdings, a medical instruments operation based in Berkhamsted. In 2009, during the depth of the financial crisis, it employed 77 people. Roll on to 2013 (its latest figure) and the staff numbers are up an impressive 36 per cent at 105.

There is still a dearth of women on the list however. Aside from Victoria Beckham, there are just four others on the list – all of whom are spouses or ex-spouses. There are no women entrepreneurs or women heading family companies in our ranks. Marginally better are the figures for the Asian community with six of the 50 drawn from one of the most dynamic and entrepreneurial communities in the UK. We need more women and Asian entrepreneurs in our future ranks.

Those who do qualify were either born or raised in Hertfordshire or are based here today, all with assets wealth of £36m or more that we can prove. The 50 included here were valued in early January from publicly available information.

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1 Mike Ashley 09/12/1964

Retailing

£3,650m

‘If only Newcastle United showed such energy around the park,’ one pundit mused of owner Mike Ashley’s business dealings recently. Not content with owning the Magpies, languishing in the premiership relegation zone, Ashley has recently upped his stake in Glasgow Rangers to nearly 9per cent. And the Berkhamsted-based founder and deputy chairman of Nottinghamshire-based Sports Direct has placed bets on retailers Tesco and Debenhams, and has stakes in MySale and JD Sports. Sports Direct is now valued at £4.26bn on the stock market. The group, where Ashley has a 57.7 per cent stake, reported underlying earnings up 11 per cent to £203.1m for the first half of 2014-15. Funding the stakes outside Sports Direct has not been difficult for Ashley. He pocketed £929m in one day when he floated Sports Direct on the stock market in 2007 and another £204m sales in April 2014. It was after leaving school at 16 that Ashley first became involved in sportswear. He opened a small chain of sport and ski shops in and around London after quitting his job as a squash coach. His remaining stake is worth nearly £2.5bn. Other windfalls from the sale of leases he owned on 32 Sports Direct stores raised nearly £87m, past property deals, dividends and salaries and any remaining cash, Ashley should be worth £3650m after tax and spending.

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2 Peter Harris 25/03/1934 & family

Leisure

£650m

Hemel Hempstead-based Bourne Leisure, which owns UK holiday providers Haven, Butlins and Warner Leisure Hotels, saw its profits hit £106.5m on £862m sales in 2013. A bumper £58m dividend was paid to shareholders including Peter Harris, an accountant, who founded Bourne in 1964. Forty years later, Bourne’s venture capital backers were bought out of their 28 per cent stake in the business by Harris and his managers in a deal valuing the company at £1.1bn. Harris and his original team have a majority stake in the business. We value Harris’s stake at £400m, adding £250m for his racing interests, a majority stake in spread-betting operation Spreadex, plus past salaries/dividends and other interests.

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3 Tony Tabatznik 02/08/1947 & family

Pharmaceuticals

£500m

A £7,000 donation to the Green Party by Tabatznik was returned in May 2014 as unethical. The Greens objected to his ‘non dom’ status for tax. South African-born Tabatznik is a hugely successful pharma entrepreneur. In 2009, Stevenage-based Arrow Generics was sold for $1.75 billion in cash and shares. Tabatznik founded Arrow in 2000 and it was his second successful foray into pharmaceuticals. Tabatznik sold his family’s Generics (UK) operation in the mid-1990s, netting £200m for the family stake. He is now involved with the successful European Healthcare Group, a well-regarded nursing home operation. Tabatznik and his family are easily worth £500m.

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4 Ramesh 04/09/1945 & Pratibha Sachdev 21/03/1948

Nursing homes

£418m

Borehamwood-based Life Style Care has been built up by Sachdev, a care home veteran and accountant by training. His wife Pratibha started the homes in 1987. He sold two businesses but kept the Life Style name and rebuilt the portfolio. Sale proceeds and other family interests including an Indian hotel and blue chip properties in central London take the Sachdevs to £418m. Charity donations by the Sachdevs total £4m in the last four years.

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5 Michael 07/07/1970 & Xochi Birch 11/01/1972

Internet

£350m

The Farmers Arms in Woolsery, North Devon is being restored by Michael Birch. The Cheshunt-schooled internet entrepreneur can afford it. With his wife Xochi, Birch started the Bebo social networking site in 2005. Three years later they sold it to AOL for £510m, netting around £357m for their 70 per cent stake. They bought back Bebo for around £600,000 in July 2013, just five years after selling it. The Birchs, an Anglo-American couple, have invested in about 50 companies and charities, and have even built a pub - ‘the original social network’, says Birch - in their San Francisco home serving London Pride and Guinness. It should give them the know-how for their Devon adventure. We value the Birchs at £350m after-tax.

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6 The McAlpine family

Construction

£345m

Construction-to-property group Sir Robert McAlpine’s parent company, Newarthill, was started by the late Sir Robert McAlpine, known as Concrete Bob. Its profits fell sharply in 2013 to £6m while net assets were £201m. It demerged its £120m Renewable Energy Systems operation in 2009. Newarthill should be worth its net assets and we add another £145m for other assets.

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7= Sir Peter Ogden 26/05/1947

Computers

£320m

Ogden co-founded computer group Computacenter in 1981. Ogden’s stake in the quoted Hatfield company is now worth £199m. He made £31m from share sales at the float. Ogden also had a £100m stake in Dealogic, a software company recently taken over in a £438m deal. With other assets and after his hefty charitable work, which earned him a knighthood in 2005, Ogden is worth £320m.

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7= The Marquess of Salisbury 30/09/1946

Land, property and art

£320m

Leicester Square’s Vue Cinema was purchased in April 2014 by a UK pension fund for £23.46m. The nine-screen, 2,500 person cinema comprises a 22-year leasehold interest from Gascoyne Estates, the property company owned by the Marquess of Salisbury and his family. Salisbury’s Hatfield House in Hertfordshire, completed in 1612, is a treasure trove of paintings worth £150m. In addition, there is Cranborne Manor, the family estate in Dorset. Together they have 10,300 acres. His main farming company, Gascoyne Cecil Farms, and four others show nearly £10m net assets. The London estate with valuable acreage around Leicester Square and American assets. Rising values for land and art take Salisbury to £320m.

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9 Iris Gibbor 29/08/1951 & family

Industry

£290m

Iris Gibbor runs CP Holdings, the Watford-based conglomerate founded by her late father, Sir Bernard Schreier in the 1950s. In 2013 its profits hit £14.7m on sales of £434.2m. CP’s net assets stand at nearly £269m. We add £21m for past dividends and other assets to Gibbor and the Schreier family.

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10 Tim Martin 28/04/1955

Pubs

£287m

Watford-based pubs chain JD Wetherspoon is to open 200 new sites and create 15,000 jobs over the next five years as part of a £400m investment programme across the UK and Ireland. It currently operates 931 pubs and employs more than 34,000 staff. Spoons as it is nicknamed was founded by Tim Martin in 1979. The giant Martin, a former lawyer, has a £267m stake. Other assets add £20m.

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11 Colin Allen 03/05/1960 & family

Leisure

£240m

Allen is a director of Hemel Hempstead-based Bourne Leisure, the holiday camp and caravan park group, which made £106.5m profit on £862m sales in 2013. The Allen family stake in Bourne is worth £200m. Other family assets such as a stake in spread-betting firm Spreadex, a profitable tree business and hefty Bourne dividends in recent years take the Allen family to £240m..

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12 Charles Gallagher 15/10/1959 & family

Construction

£230m

The Dublin-based Abbey housebuilding group is now valued at £186m, with the Irish housing making showing signs of life again. The business is run and controlled by the Gallagher family led by Charles Gallagher. The family stake is worth £136m. The family’s other main operation is Matthew Homes, based in St Albans which showed nearly £69m net assets in 2013. The family’s property operation, Gallagher Holdings, also showed over £69m net assets with another £30m in a plant hire company. With some overlap of shareholdings, the Gallagher family should be worth £230m with other assets.

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13 Neil Utley 16/01/1962

Finance

£225m

An insurance entrepreneur, Utley bought David Beckham’s old Hertfordshire mansion in early 2014 for £11.4m. He could afford it, having made £13m from the sale of Equity Insurance in 2006. Utley later took over insurer, Hastings Direct, with another manager for £24m. They turned it round and in late 2013 Goldman Sachs took a 50 per cent stake in Hastings, valuing it at £700m. Utley’s stake, sale proceeds and other assets should keep him at £225m.

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14= Victoria 17/04/1974 & David Beckham 02/05/1975

Fashion and football

£210m

It is Victoria making the headlines in the Beckham family these days. While husband David has hung up his football boots, Victoria’s fashion business goes from strength-to-strength. Indeed she was recently outed as Britain’s top entrepreneur in the autumn such has been the growth of the Beckham Brands operation with its first shop opening in London’s exclusive Dover Street last September.

David’s 21 year football career ended in 2013 with Paris St Germain, after a 10 year spell with Manchester United, followed by a four year deal with Real Madrid and then a five year contract with LA Galaxy, where he was by far the highest paid player in Major League Soccer, on £4m a year. This represented a small fraction of his overall annual earnings from grooming products and endorsements of companies as diverse as Adidas, Coty, H&M, LVS, Belstaff, Breitling and Hachette. He has signed a five-year deal to be an ambassador for Sky Sports and promote its Living for Sport initiative, which encourages children to take up sport.

The Beckham bandwagon is also moving into China, with a five-year deal to promote the Chinese Super League. Beckham’s company, Footwork Productions, has paid him £122m in salary and dividends from 2002 to 2013. Forbes magazine in its list of the Top 100 celebrities in the world, puts his income at £138m in the five years from 2009 to 2013, mostly from sponsorship. David may be an Essex lad and Victoria was born in Harlow but she was raised in Goffs Oak near Broxbourne. The pair obviously liked Hertfordshire having bought a £2.5m house in Sawbridgeworth in 1999, the year of their marriage, and only selling it last year to insurance tycoon Neil Utley (see above) for £11.4m.

Victoria has made her separate fortune as a pop star with the Spice Girls and in fashion with her growing fashion brand. She sells in 400 top stockists around the world and won the prestigious Designer Brand Of The Year title at the 2011 British Fashion Awards. She launched her mainline collection, Victoria Beckham and her collaboration with Range Rover in 2013. Analysts reckon the business will be worth over £200m in five years time. Her company, Beckham Ventures saw its sales soar from £6.7m to £15.4m in 2012. Sales in 2013 rocketed to £30m. The pair now live in West London in a £40m-plus home. David’s commercial success and Victoria’s growing clout in the fashion world push them up to £210m this year.

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14= Peter Dean 28/09/1944 & family

Egg production

£210m

Noble Foods, Britain’s biggest egg supplier, saw its profits surge to £17.4m in 2013 and paid out £9.3m in dividends. The Hertfordshire-based business was put up for sale in 2013 with a £400m price tag but there were no takers. Dean, a leading shareholder with a 50per cent stake, and his family should be worth £210m with past dividends.

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16 Philip Hulme 27/08/1948

Computers

£200m

Hulme co-founded Computacenter, the Hatfield-based computer operation, with fellow Harvard Business School graduate Sir Peter Ogden (q.v.) in 1981. Hulme has an £77m stake and has sold around £30m worth of shares in recent years. Hulme also had a £100m stake in software company Dealogic recently taken over in a £438m deal. After charitable donations, Hulme is worth £200m.

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17= Simon Dolan 25/05/1969

Business services

£140m

Former kickboxing champion Simon Dolan started his career as an entrepreneur selling eggs and cheese in Chelmsford market. Now a serial entrepreneur Dolan has interests ranging from accountancy, employment services, motor racing, publishing and an airline. His main company Hemel Hempstead-based SJD Group, was sold in September 2014 for £80m. His past salaries, car collection and property interests take Dolan to £140m.

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17= Stelio Stefanou 06/11/1952

Construction

£140m

Hertfordshire-based Stefanou sold his business services company, Accord, in 2007 for a reported £180m. He founded the Welwyn-based Stefanou Foundation charity which he now runs. He should be worth £140m after-tax and charitable work.

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19 David McMullen 27/04/1945 & family

Brewing

£132m

McMullen & Sons, the family-owned Hertford brewer saw its profits come in at £8.5m on £67.5m sales in 2013. Its net assets rose to nearly £109m. In 2004 the company bought some of its shares back for £43.5m allowing family members who wanted cash to bail out. We value the company on the net assets. But past dividends and other assets take the wider family represented by former chairman David McMullen to £132m.

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20 Tim Steiner 09/12/1969

Internet retailing

£125m

Ocado, the Hemel Hempstead-based online grocer, floated on the stock market in 2010 valued at £937m. It is poised to make its first profit, helped by a contract to run Morrison’s online grocery business which helped push sales above the £1 billion mark in 2014. Ocado is now worth £2.5bn. It was set up in 2000 by a trio of former Goldman Sachs bankers including chief executive Tim Steiner. His stake is now worth £115m. Share option profits etc. take him to £125m.

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21 David Kahn 24/07/1931 & family

Industry

£100m

Altro is a world leading manufacturer and supplier of interior surfaces. The Letchworth-based operation made a £9.4m profit on £111.6m sales in 2013. With £57m net assets it is worth £90m on these figures. David Kahn and his family own the business. Past dividends etc. add £10m.

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22= Lewis Hamilton 07/01/1985

Motor racing

£90m

Stevenage-born and raised Lewis Hamilton ended the 2014 Formula One Season as world champion, the second time he has achieved this feat. It was his second season driving for the Mercedes AMG Petronas team after his long spell with McLaren during which he won the 2008 Drivers’ Championship. He is being paid £15m a year by the German car giant, after ending his 14-year association with McLaren. 
He has had an on-off relationship with Nicole Scherzinger, former lead singer of American girl band Pussycat Dolls and X Factor judge, since 2007. Hamilton moved to Switzerland in 2009 to escape media scrutiny and for tax reasons. But at the start of 2012 he left Switzerland for the equally tax-light Monaco. He is a regular on the high street, too, as one of the faces of Santander. Even allowing for the attendant costs associated with being an international sports star, Hamilton will have added £22m to his fortune in the past 12 months, as the new world champion with a £3m pay rise to boot. Huge sponsorship deals will follow pushing him to £100m plus in the near future.

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22= Sir Terry Leahy 28/02/1956

Retailing

£90m

Sir Terry Leahy, former Tesco boss until 2011,led the successful £2.7 billion flotation last year of the B&M discount retailer he now chairs. Much of his wealth though comes from his years at Tesco. He had around 8.5m shares before he retired which would have fallen to around £18m today as the Hertfordshire-based operation has been having a torrid time of late. He also amassed an £18.4m pension pot after 14 years at the helm, and even when he had left, picked up £8.5m in deferred performance related payouts. But we assume he has sold some shares beyond the £3m worth in 2010 to fund an array of promising ventures which are making him much richer. Leahy was, of course, not born into wealth at all. His father was a greyhound trainer and Leahy was raised in a prefab maisonette in the Lee Park council estate in Liverpool’s downmarket Belle Vale suburb with his three older brothers. In 1979 he followed a girlfriend to London and applied for a job with Alcan, the packaging firm. He could have ended up as a product manager for baking foil. Instead he took a post as junior marketing executive with Tesco. Leahy was a marketing manager at 25. Fifteen years later he was chief executive. We reckon that in all, aside from his pension, his years at Tesco gave him a £38m fortune. But he has added to that with a vengeance. Among the ventures he has backed are Blackcircles.com, an internet tyre operation, where he has 25per cent of the £200m operation. Then he has a £10m stake in the Hut Group, another online retailer, and 9per cent of Metapack, an online delivery technology business valued at £200m in 2011. He does not have a direct stake in B&M. But Leahy will have made a healthy return from his involvement with the American private equity group Clayton Dubilier & Rice, which bought a 60per cent stake in B&M for nearly £1 billion back in 2012. It sold £690m of shares in the B&M float and retains a near £850m stake, so Leahy should have done well from that gain. With other investments, and allowing for re-investment of Tesco salaries, Leahy should now be worth £90m despite Tesco problems.

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22= James Neville 24/11/1966 & family

Industry

£90m

Royston-based Volac makes and supplies high performance nutrition products for the global markets. Its parent company Woodford Holdings saw its profits fall in 2013-14 to £18.4m on sales of on record sales of £197.3m. With £67m net assets it should still be worth £150m. The business is run by Neville and his family. Its 60per cent stake is worth £90m.

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25 William Hughes 21/07/1941

Care homes

£85m

B&M Care, a Hertfordshire-based care home operator and developer, is owned and run by Irishman Hughes. It has also moved into nurseries and the serviced office market. In 2013 its profits came in at £8.3m on £31.4m sales. With a solid balance sheet and net assets of £58.1m, it is easily worth £85m in the current climate.

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26= Andrew Cohen 02/05/1953 & family

Retailing

£80m

Cohen’s fortune came from transforming the Betterware catalogue retailer in the 1990s. His family made £72m from share sales at the Birmingham-based group. We can see nearly £21.5m of net assets in Hertfordshire-based Cohen’s companies. After tax the family is worth £80m.

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26= Jason Gissing 25/10/1970

Internet retailing

£80m

Ocado, the Hemel Hempstead-based online grocer, was set up by a trio of Goldman Sachs bankers. Gissing, one of the founding trio, has left the £2.5bn company. His trust retains a £20m stake, but share sales at the float and a more recent £15m disposal take him to £80m after tax. Gissing recently broke his arm and leg after an accident at a friend’s wedding in Zimbabwe.

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28 Thembalath Ramachandran 30/11/1949

Pharmaceuticals

£76m

After three decades as a top pharmacy executive at an Indian company, Ramachandran came to Britain in 1997 and started his own pharma company, Bristol Laboratories. In 2013-14 the Berkhamsted-based business made £5.6m profit on £70m sales. The £100m operation is 76per cent owned by Ramachandran’s trust.

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29 Michael Masterson 20/12/1950 & family

Construction

£75m

Masterson Holdings, a Hemel Hempstead-based construction operation, made £6.9m profit on £109.5m sales in 2013-14. Masterson, an Irish-born entrepreneur, runs and owns the £70m business with his family and trusts. Other assets take the Masterson family to £80m after tax and spending. New entry

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30 Phil Wallace 22/10/1949

Food production

£70m

Phil Wallace chairs Stevenage FC and will not be happy that the club was relegated from League One at the end of the 2013-14 campaign. But the Boro are handily placed in the League Two promotion pack. Since taking over what was a near bankrupt club in 1999 which was days away from closing, Wallace has increased the capacity of the stadium, built a new training facility and in 2010 the club achieved promotion to the Football League. Back-to-back promotions followed. Aside from his footballing duties Wallace is the CEO of Lamex Food Group, a global food trading company which he joined in 1972 when the company, then known as L+M Foods, were a small food importer based in London. He became a director in 1975 and was appointed managing director and majority shareholder in the early 1980’s. Continuing growth in the Group led to a $50m management buyout in 2006, with Wallace retaining a 20 per cent family stake in the newly formed parent, Lamex Food Group. In 2013-14 it made a record £14.3m profit on £806m sales. Wallace’s Lamex holding and his other assets and past salaries take him to £70m easily.

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31 Michael Yarrow 02/12/1947 & family

Health care

£67m

The low-key Michael Yarrow is MD of Diomed Developments, the Hitchin-based manufacturer of dermatological products. Founded in 1963, it trades as Dermal Laboratories. Its products are well known amongst dermatologists, general practitioners and nurses and are widely prescribed for the treatment of a variety of skin disorders, such as psoriasis, eczema, dry skin conditions and acne, as well as other conditions which can be treated by applied medication. Diomed, owned by the Yarrow family, is a profitable operation, making a healthy £6.1m profit on £56.8m sales in 2012-13. We value the company at £62m and the Yarrow family at £67m.

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32 Guy Ritchie 10/09/1968

Films

£65m

Guy Ritchie’s latest film, The Man from Uncle, based on the 1960s TV series, will be released in August. Ritchie did well from the two Sherlock films he directed. The first, released in 2009, grossed over $524m at the box office worldwide, while its sequel Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows released two years later made $545m. He earned £9m according to Vanity Fair’s List of Hollywood highest earners in 2010 from the two films. But Hatfield-born Ritchie is still perhaps best known for his eight year marriage to America pop queen Madonna which ended in late 2008. The divorce settlement included the couple’s country estate Ashcombe House in Wiltshire along with a £4m townhouse, their pub, and a £3m property in New York. The real size of the settlement was put at between £39m and £46m. But Ritchie, a successful film director in his own right, should have built up his own fortune over the years. His five film companies showed £4.5m net assets in 2013. We value Ritchie at £65m until we see how his latest film pans out at the box office.

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33 Bryan Duffy 21/03/1943 & family

Leisure

£63m

Duffy and his family sold their Hostelbookers.com online hostel and hotel reservation service in early 2013 for around £60m. For 15 years, Duffy ran a public company and when he retired, he acquired the failing Executive Hotel and turned the business round. It was the start of a chain of budget hotels. The parent company, called MBI MBO, based in Ware, had nearly £9m net assets in 2013. Duffys’ family own it all. With other assets and allowing for tax, the Duffy family should be worth £63m.

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34= Hitesh 02/09/1956 & Dilesh Mehta 29/02/1960

Fragrances

£60m

The Mehta family, led by Hitesh and Dilesh, own Shaneel Enterprises, a Watford-based perfume and fragrance operation. The business looks in fine fettle with profits up sharply to £9m on £77m sales in 2013-14. With £25.4m net assets, Shaneel is worth £55m. We add £5m to the Mehta family for past dividends and property. They also own and run perfumeshopping.com, which sells perfume over the internet.

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34= Terry Pickthall 10/03/1939 & family

Fragrances

£60m

CPL Aromas, a Bishop’s Stortford-based fragrance and flavour manufacturing operation, was co-founded by Terry Pickthall in 1971. He floated the company on the stock market in 1994 valued at just over £16m. In 2000, Pickthall and his family took the company private again in a £14m deal. In 2013-142, CPL made a record £7.6m profit on record sales of £68.4m. With strong balance sheet and £31.4m net assets, the company should be worth £60m. It is owned by the Pickthall family and trusts.

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34= Rick Willmott 16/05/1963 & family

Construction

£60m

Willmott is the first family member for nearly 40 years to run Hitchin-based Willmott Dixon. Founded in 1852, the company now specialises in hospitals, recreation centres, schools, and other public and private sector buildings. In 2013 its parent, Hardwicke Investments, made a near £7m profit on £1.02bn sales. It has £63.5m net assets. We still value the company at £120m and the Willmott family stake at around £48m. With past salaries, dividends and other assets, the Willmott family should be worth £60m.

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37= Melvyn Cooper 21/04/1941 & family

Property

£55m

Cooper’s Barnet-based Mountcharm operation showed net assets of £31.3m at the end of 2013. Other smaller company assets add another £19m. In May 2006 Cooper bought a prestige building in Tel Aviv. He sold it two years later for around double the price. We value the Cooper family at perhaps £55m with other assets.

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37= Charles Desoutter 30/04/1954 & family

Health care

£55m

De Soutter Medical is a leading European manufacturer of powered medical devices. The business is run by managing director, Charles Desoutter, and is owned by his family and trusts. The family used to control Desoutter Brothers, a manufacturer of electric and pneumatic power tools, which was taken over way back in 1989 for the then princely sum of £88.7m by a Swedish company. The Desoutter family and trusts had around 20per cent of the shares we reckon. As part of the deal the family bought back the medical business for around £850,000. In 2012-132 its Berkhamsted-based parent, Descram Holdings, made £4.9m profit on £20m sales. It has a strong balance sheet and £24m net assets. It should be worth £50m. Other assets add £5m.

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39 Paul Leach 26/07/1928 & family

Construction

£53m

Buntingford-based Leach Homes recovered to a £1.8m profit on £37.2m sales in 2013. It is worth its £43.3m net assets. Other Leach family businesses we can see including Swanfield (Hamels) which together had around £7.5m net assets in 2013 attributable to the family. The Leach family, led by Paul Leach, should be worth £53m.

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40 Nicholas Kebbell 28/10/1951 & family

Construction

£52m

Kebbell Homes is a family-owned business started in 1953. The Watford-based operation is run by managing director Nicholas Kebbell son of the founder. In 2013, Kebbell Holdings bounced back with a £4m profit on £28m sales. The company does have a strong balance sheet and with £46.2m net assets, should be worth £50m. We add £2m for other Kebbell family assets.

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41 Linda Ashley 07/06/1966

Property

£50m

Swedish-born Ashley is the ex-wife of Mike Ashley, the sportswear billionaire (see above) who also owns Newcastle United A property developer, she has stakes in several small businesses including Watford-based Current Design, and with a divorce settlement, is worth at least £50m.

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42 John Newton 19/09/1963

Media

£47m

Newton led a management buyout of the UK and Australian broadcast subsidiaries of a company called Gearhouse in 2000. These assets were formed into a Watford-based company called Gravity Media. Newton as boss of the company has an 86 per cent stake. In 2013, Gravity made a healthy £6m profit on £65.6m sales and it is worth £55m, valuing Newton’s stake at £47m.

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43 Andrew Perloff 30/09/1944 & family

Property

£44m

Perloff, a veteran property man, has been running Potters Bar-based Panther Securities since 1972 and quietly delivering decent returns to his investors. He is renowned in the City for his annual report which contains his pearls of wisdom on life and the universe under the heading Chairman’s ramblings. His family has a £42m stake in Panther including family trusts. Other stakes in quoted companies take the Perloff family to around £44m.

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44 Bharat Shah 30/12/1949 & family

Pharmaceuticals

£42m

Sigma Pharmaceuticals makes generic drugs, ranging from antibiotics to heart treatments. The Watford-based wholesaler and retailer was started by Bharat Shah, a Kenyan Asian, in 1975 when he began supplying pharmacies and hospitals from his local chemist’s shop. Sigma made £1.7m profit on £2157m sales in 2013. It has £76m net assets. But with the government squeezing costs in the supply of medicines, we keep the value of the business at £35m. We add another £7m for other assets, taking the Shah family to perhaps £42m.

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45 Farouq 13/10/1958 & Haroon Sheikh 04/03/1956

Care homes

£41m

CareTech, the Potters Bar-based care operation was set up by Kenyan-born Farouq and Haroon Sheikh in 1993. Originally backed by 3i, the private equity giant, the Sheikh brothers saw Barclays Private Equity replace 3i in 2000 as a shareholder in a £35m deal. The Sheikhs bought back control of the company in 2004 and floated it on the Aim in October 2005 valued at £58m. CareTech is now worth £118m. The Sheikhs sold around £12m worth of shares in the float. With trusts they retain a stake now worth around £31m. After tax and with other assets, the Sheikh family should be worth £41m.

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46 Stephen Dixon 20/04/1963 & family

Construction

£40m

Dixon is a family shareholder in Willmott Dixon, the Hitchin-based construction group. Founded in 1852, the company now specialises in hospitals, recreation centres, schools, and other public and private sector buildings. In 2013 its parent, Hardwicke Investments, made a near £7m profit on £1.02 billion sales. It has £63.5m net assets. We still value the company at £120m and the Dixon family stake at around £36m. With past salaries, dividends and other assets, the Dixon family should be worth £40m.

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47= John Lawson 11/05/1932 & family

Builders’ merchant

£38m

Colney Heath-based Lawsons Holdings is a leading builders’ merchant dating back to 1921. Today the business is run by John Lawson, who returned from national service in the early 1950s to develop a fence contracting operation. It later became a fully fledged builders’ and timber merchant. In 2013-14, Lawson Holdings saw its profits fall slightly to £4.6m on £69.8m sales. It has a strong balance sheet and should still be worth around £40m. The Lawson family owns most of the shares and should be worth £38m.

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47= Arvind Thakkar 15/11/1943 & family

Industry

£38m

Expelled from Uganda in 1972 by Idi Amin, Arvind Thakkar joined a small British company as a book keeper on £40 a week. By dint of hard work, using his financing and negotiating skills to grow the business, he was promoted to the board of AH Hall & Bros. He gradually acquired a stake in the firm which took over another company called Watts, making optical instruments from the Rank Organisation in 1979. The St Albans-based company changed its name to Hall & Watts and entered the defence market. It now makes a range of artillery sights, fire control systems and has expanded further by acquisition in the UK and abroad. In 2012-13, Hall & Watts’ profits fell to £406,000 on nearly £10m sales. Thakkar has nearly half the company and his stake is worth £25m. Other assets and property take him to £38m.

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49 Tony White 03/09/1942

Industry

£37m

Royston-based ProCam is now one of the largest agronomy companies in Britain. Its agronomists now walk over one million acres of crops providing technical support to top producers. It offers a range of services, from crop rotation planning and budgeting to seed processing and soil sampling. Led by chairman Tony White, it made £6.2m profit on £207.5m sales in 2012-13. It should be worth £50m. White and his family trusts have a 70 per cent stake worth £35m. Past dividends etc, take him to £37m.

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50 Daniel Durkan 09/09/1964 & family

Construction

£36m

Irishman Bill Durkan went to work in London for the first time in the 1950s. He started his own construction firm in 1963 and today Durkan Holdings is run by his son Daniel. Borehamwood-based Durkan Holdings builds houses and flats for housing associations and local authorities, and has a subsidiary that builds private residential units and commercial property. It made £1.6m profit on £98.4m sales in 2013-14. It is owned by overseas trusts but we assume that the Durkan family are the ultimate owners. With over £36m net assets, it should easily be worth that sum.

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