Hertfordshire Life Rich List 2018
PUBLISHED: 11:54 08 March 2018 | UPDATED: 13:54 12 March 2018
How are the richest in the county faring in the uncertain economic climate? Find out in our 13th annual rich list
Hertfordshire’s rich have recovered their mojo. The 50 richest in and from the county have seen their wealth in the 2018 Hertfordshire Life Rich List rise some £600m to £12.3bn this year, not far short of the record high in 2016. In the 13 years since our first list, the wealth of 50 Herts’ 50 richest has risen well over threefold from £3.6bn.
The list is still led by Sports Direct’s Mike Ashley, whose fortune remains at £2.1bn despite all the adverse publicity he has received over the past year. It is dominated by entrepreneurs and family businesses people but the celebrity element is actually doing very well. Welwyn-raised Sir Cameron Mackintosh’s London theatres are packed. His new show, Hamilton, is a sell-out and impressing audiences and critics alike.
Stevenage-born Lewis Hamilton, who won his fourth F1 world championship in 2017, is doing very nicely on the back of new contracts and sponsorship deals. The Beckhams, David and Victoria, are holding their own despite the problems at her fashion brand, where losses are piling up. Our newest celebrity millionaire is Watford-born Anthony Joshua, Hertfordshire’s own world heavyweight boxing champion who makes it into the 50 at £45m. He is certain to go much higher on the back of his huge potential.
Celebrities aside, the list is still very much a meritocratic ranking. Of the 50, 40 made their own fortunes (the same as last year), which does auger well for some degree of social mobility and shows budding entrepreneurs that they can stand a good chance of making serious wealth for themselves (and therefore for UK plc too) through dint of hard work, skill and a good idea. We still only have one aristocrat here in the Marquess of Salisbury courtesy of his Hatfield estate and magnificent art treasures.
The business wealth in Herts is drawn from all spheres and means that all the county’s eggs are not in one industrial basket. Leading the way are the 15 names in industry and computers, the same as last year. There are 12 in property or construction reflecting perhaps the high house prices locally. One might speculate that this diversity of talent is one reason why Hertfordshire’s unemployment rate of 3.7 per cent is well below the national rate of 4.6.
Certainly our richest 50 are doing the heavy lifting on the job creation front. Computacenter, the Hatfield-based computer services operation is a prime example. Co-founded by two of our 50, Sir Peter Ogden and Sir Philip Hulme, the business has seen its workforce grow by nearly 3,500 staff in the last decade. Then there are entrepreneurs such as Derek Beevor, an ex-para, whose Radlett-based software operation Road Tech has 64 staff, paid an average of over £45,750 apiece last year. These are just the sort of skilled high paid jobs Hertfordshire and the UK needs.
Those who do qualify are either born or raised in Hertfordshire or are based here today, all with assets wealth of £45m or more that we can prove, which is actually £5m down on last year. They were valued in early January from publicly available information.
Mike Ashley 09/12/1964
Sports equipment and fashion
Not many business leaders would raise a glass to the year Mike Ashley’s just had. A high-court hearing in which Ashley defended claims he had agreed to pay a banker £15m to push up the share price exposed unflattering details of the Sports Direct supremo’s management style. Ashley won the case. Meanwhile, Sports Direct’s shareholders recently rejected a motion to pay Ashley’s brother, John Ashley, £11m for his work with the company since 2007. A few days later Sports Direct revealed a 67per cent drop in profits for the half year to October 2017. Despite the bad news Sports Direct’s share price has recovered slightly in recent months and it is now worth £2.05bn. But this is well done on the its peak of nearly £5bn in early 2014. Ashley’s stake is now worth £1.25bn. Ashley, a former squash coach who started Sports Direct in 1982 with a £10,000 loan from his parents, has other assets too. He pocketed £929m in one day when he floated Sports Direct on the stock market in 2007 and another £314m of sales in 2014 and 2015. That has enabled him to fund premiership club Newcastle United, which he bought for £134m in 2007 and has bankrolled to the tune of well over £300m in total since then. He is looking to sell the club which is not having a good season. Past property deals, dividends and salaries and any remaining cash, should take Hertfordshire-resident Ashley to £2.160bn.
Sir Cameron Mackintosh 17/10/1946
The Broadway smash hit Alexander Hamilton has just opened at Sir Cameron Mackintosh’s Victoria Palace Theatre in London to rave reviews. The critics all reckon the musical about an American founding father will be a huge hit too on this side of the Atlantic. Mackintosh, the star producer behind Les Miserables, Miss Saigon, Cats and many other West End and worldwide hits, has even revamped the Victoria Palace for the production which sold out instantly. A former stage hand at the Theatre Royal in London’s Drury Lane, Mackintosh was raised in Cuffley near Welwyn. He later graduated to stage manager on several touring productions, becoming a London-based producer in the 1970s. His big break came in 1981 when he produced Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats, which became the hit of the season and later one of the longest running musicals on both sides of the Atlantic. Despite Hamilton’s success, profits at his company Cameron Mackintosh Ltd fell from £27.8m to £23.3m while turnover also fell 98.6 per cent to £132.6m in 2016-17 after the closure of shows such as Miss Saigon in London and Les Mis on Broadway. Profits in 2017-18 are also expected to fall due to rising costs associated with theatre works. Yet values in the sector are holding up well and Mackintosh’s business empire should still be worth £1bn. Private assets, including his property, and a £35m dividend in 2015-16 (nothing in 2016-17) keep him at £1,180m.
Luke 30/11/1957 & Brian Comer 06/01/1960
Luke Comer and his brother Brian have developed, a former private school that served as Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films. The brothers, originally from Galway, have transformed the Hertfordshire property, creating 380 luxury homes with prices of up to £2.8m. The brothers have come a long way since starting out in business together as plasterers back in 1971. The low-key pair built a British property portfolio from their base in Barnett and then went into the German market when it was in recession buying assets cheaply. In 2010, with the Irish economy in deep trouble and property prices in freefall, they turned their attention to their homeland and started buying assets at the bottom of the market. The Comers once said that they had 500 companies worldwide, with assets worth £2.25 billion. ‘A conservative evaluation would be we’d be worth around £1 billion in England, three-quarters of that in Germany and half a billion in Ireland,’ Luke told the Galway Advertiser. We can see nearly £105m net assets in 14 British companies. Enthusiastic horse owners, the brothers’ assets including around 200 breeding thoroughbred and more then 20 in training. Luke lives quietly in Monaco while Brian has a residence in Hertfordshire complete with its own golf course. We now put the Comers at £800m.
Peter Harris 25/03/1934 & Family
Hotels and caravan parks
The Redcoats are clearly pulling in the holidaymakers. Every year more than four million families visit a Butlins, Warner Leisure or other holiday destination owned by Bourne Leisure. The Hemel Hempstead-based business was founded in 1964 after a young accountant, Peter Harris, liked the look of the figures he saw when he was sent to audit a caravan park. He decided to go into the business himself, founding Bourne with his business partner the late David Allen. Profits rose to a record £143.8m on sales of £996.5m in 2016. Bourne should now easily be worth £1.4bn, raising the Harris family stake to nearly £510m. Dividends of over £57m were paid in 2016 on top of more than £150m in the three previous years. Harris and his family also own more than 60per cent in £350m spread-betting operation Spreadex. A successful horse owner and trainer, he has substantial racing assets. Taking accounts of strong dividends, past salaries, tax and other interests such as a private doctors company and an aviation firm (£15m of assets) we now value Harris and his family at £800m.
Tony Tabatznik 02/08/1947 & Family
Pharmaceuticals and film
Busy in film production, Tony Tabatznik served as an executive producer on the acclaimed documentary ‘That Summer’ which was released last year. But it is pharmaceuticals that have made the Tabatznik family fortune. In 2009, Stevenage-based Arrow Generics was sold to the American Watson Pharmaceuticals for $1.75 billion in cash and shares. Tony Tabatznik founded Arrow in 2000 and turned it into one of the fastest-growing companies in the pharmaceuticals sector. It was the second successful foray into pharmaceuticals for the Tabatznik family. South African-born Tabatznik sold his family’s Stevenage-based Generics (UK) operation to Merck, the German pharma giant in the mid-90s, netting £200m for the family stake. Tabatznik is also on the board of European Healthcare Group, a profitable nursing home operator and is a backer of the highly-acclaimed Curzon cinema chain, which won a Bafta in 2017. With the proceeds from both sales, Tabatznik and his family are easily worth £500m.
Charles Gallagher 15/10/1959 & Family
Charles Gallagher runs Matthew Homes, a £120m St Albans housebuilder, which made nearly £12m profit on £63.4m sales in 2016. The family’s property operation, Gallagher Holdings, also showed £76.3m net assets and there is another £52m in a plant hire company – up £6m. Gallagher also chairs Irish housebuilder Abbey which was founded by late his father, also called Charles, who was one of seven brothers from Co Sligo. Most of the brothers emigrated to the UK in the 1930s and 40s and gradually worked their way up through the ranks of the UK building industry. Charles Gallagher junior joined the board in 1986 and took over the chairmanship when his father died in 1993. With some overlap of shareholdings, the Gallagher family should be worth £472m with other assets.
Tim Martin 28/04/1955
EU-hating Tim Martin printed 200,000 Brexit beermats in the final days before the 2016 referendum. The whole Brexit battle since then has done Martin no harm with shares in his Wetherspoon pubs group soaring to record highs at the end of 2017. The Watford-based group’s sales rose by 6.1per cent in the three months to October 2017, easily beating City forecasts. Spoons, as it is nicknamed was founded by former lawyer Martin back in 1979. He is also renowned for his outrageous mullet hair style. His stake has risen in value to nearly £410m, while past dividends and other assets including nearly £20m of dividends in the last five years, take Martin to £425m after-tax.
Sir Peter Ogden 26/05/1947
Shares in Hatfield-based Computacenter are trading at their highest price since the dot.com boom at the millennium. This will please co-founder Sir Peter Ogden. After university and a career in finance, Ogden co-founded the company in 1981 with business partner Sir Philip Hulme. Computacenter floated on the stock market in 1998 and Ogden’s stake in the £1.46bn operation is now worth nearly £340m, including those in trust. Ogden also had a £100m stake in Dealogic, a software company taken over in a £440m deal back in 2014. Ogden also has a keen interest in motorsports through Motorsport Vision, a racing circuit owner, where he has a 25 per cent stake. Ogden, who has a PhD in theoretical physics, is a huge benefactor to educational charitable work, earning him a knighthood in 2005. He established the Ogden Trust in 1999 to maximize the opportunities available to young people in all parts of the UK’s educational system, focusing on science, particularly physics. With other assets including a £19m stake in MSV, Ogden is worth £400m.
Iris Gibbor 29/08/1951 & Family
Industry and hotels
Iris Gibbor chairs CP Holdings, the Watford-based conglomerate which owns hotels in Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Israel and the UK as well as logistics, car dealing, serviced offices and other businesses. The group was founded by her late father, Sir Bernard Schreier in the 1950s. He died in 2013 at the age of 95. During 2016 CP’s net assets soared to £357.3m – up £84.7m in a year. Profits also rose strongly to £54.5m, due the disposal of some of its office properties. We add £26m for past dividends and other assets to Gibbor and the Schreier family.
Michael 07/07/1970 & Xochi Birch 11/01/1972
Cheshunt-raised Michael Birch started the Bebo social networking site with his wife Xochi 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 2013. The Birchs, an Anglo-American couple, have invested in about 50 companies and charities, and we still value them at £375m after-tax.
Marquess of Salisbury 30/09/1946
Property and art //
The Marquess of Salibury’s family has helped keep the roof on Hatfield House, the vast Jacobean pile in Hertfordshire, by letting it to film crews. Over the years, it has featured in a number of blockbusters, including two Batman films and the Lara Croft franchise. The marquess has also helped to keep the lights on by hosting music concerts. His family has owned property around Hatfield for 400 years, with Hatfield House completed in 1612. It is a treasure trove of paintings worth £150m. In addition the old stable yard at Hatfield House is now home to a slew of small enterprises. Salisbury is also planning to build a science park next to the railway station, which stands opposite the main entrance to Hatfield House, taking advantage of the town’s position in the heart of the ‘golden triangle’ of Oxford, Cambridge and London. In addition, there is Cranborne Manor, the family estate in Dorset. Combined, they have 10,300 acres. His main farming company, Gascoyne Cecil Farms, and four others showed over £19m net assets in 2015-16. Gascoyne Estates, the property arm of the Marquess of Salisbury’s family, owns, lets and manages up to 300 residential properties in Hatfield, London and Dorset. It has recently proposed to build 1,100 new homes on the outskirts of Hatfield. The London estate with valuable acreage around Leicester Square and American assets keep Salisbury at £335m.
David 02/05/1975 & Victoria Beckham 17/04/1974
Football and fashion
The official engagement portraits of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle before Christmas were a triumph for Victoria Beckham. Markle wore a Victoria Beckham sweater over Ralph and Russo Couture gown. But it was a rare good news story for Victoria, who has deep roots in Hertfordshire, having grown up near Broxbourne. She made her fortune as a pop star with the Spice Girls and has developed her own fashion brand. However, the accounts for Victoria’s enterprise do not make pretty reading. Losses nearly doubled to £8.4m in 2016, despite husband David injecting £25m into the business. David may have hung up his boots, but his earnings over the past year would make any of today’s Premier League stars blush. Well, almost. We can see dividends in 2016 of £19m alone from his two main companies, plus profits of £14m from his new separate venture Seven Global LLP. Since blowing the whistle on his football career four years ago, glamorous brands have queued up to harness the marketability of the former England captain. These include Adidas, Coty, H&M, LVS, Belstaff, Breitling Haigh whisky and Hachette. He has also signed a five-year deal to promote the Chinese Super League. Beckham’s main company, Footwork Productions, has paid him around £160m in salary and dividends from 2002-2016. Becks’ total career earnings were put at £600m by Forbes, the business magazine in 2016. His 21-year football career ended in 2013 with Paris St Germain, after a decade with Manchester United, followed by a four-year deal with Real Madrid and then a five-year contract with LA Galaxy. The Beckhams bought a £2.5m house in Sawbridgeworth in 1999, the year of their marriage, selling it in 2014 for £11.4m. Early in 2016 unflattering emails emerged which showed the football superstar to be dismayed and angry that he had not received a knighthood. For partners and other sponsors it doesn’t appear to have impacted on the wholesome image of Brand Beckham. With the difficulties in Victoria’s fashion operation, we keep the ultimate celebrity couple at £320m.
Colin Allen 03/05/1960 & Family
Caravan parks and holiday camps
The late David Allen co-founded Hemel Hempstead-based Bourne Leisure, the holiday camp and caravan park group back in 1964. The business looks in fine fettle. Profits rose to a record £143.8m on sales of £996.5m in 2016. Bourne should now easily be worth £1.4bn, raising the Allen family stake to over £300m. Other family assets include a holding in the £350m spread-betting firm Spreadex, worth around £30m. A profitable tree business and hefty Bourne dividends in recent years take the Allen family, now led by David’s son Colin, to £350m.
Neil Utley 16/01/1962 & Family
Neil Utley made £13m from the 2006 sale of an insurance company. He later took over insurer, Hastings Direct, for £24m. It was turned round and Utley made £135m from selling 50per cent to Goldman Sachs in 2013. A £1.1bn float took place in 2015. HHastings is now worth £2.05bn. Utley and his family retain stakes currently worth nearly £135m. Other assets take him to £249m after-tax. Utley bought David Beckham’s old Hertfordshire mansion, dubbed Beckingham Palace by the tabloids, in early 2014 for £11.4m.
Sir Philip Hulme 27/08/1948
Knighted in the 2016 Honours List for services to technology and philanthropy, Hulme co-founded Computacenter, the Hatfield-based computer operation, with fellow Harvard Business School graduate Sir Peter Ogden in 1981. The company floated on the stock market in 1998 and its shares have soared in recent months, valuing the business at £1.46bn. Hulme has an £124m stake and has sold around £60m worth of shares at the float and in recent years. Hulme also had a £100m stake in software company Dealogic taken over in a £440m deal back in 2014. Taking account of dividends and charitable donations, Hulme is worth £220m.
The McAlpine Family
The McAlpine family’s construction-to-property group was started by the late Sir Robert McAlpine in 1869. Known as Concrete Bob, he was born in Newarthill, North Lanarkshire, and left school at the age of 10 to work in a coal mine, but became an apprentice bricklayer. He was involved in the building of roads, public buildings and other works. Newarthill, based in Hemel Hempstead, has had a difficult time of late due to the enduring legacy of certain contracts agreed during the recession. In 2016 its losses widened to £43.2m after a £53m hit to its pension scheme. Without that its underlying profit was around £10m. Newarthill’s net assets again fell sharply to £61.6m and we value the business on that figure. The company demerged its £120m Renewable Energy Systems operation in 2009. We add another £140m for other assets.
Peter Dean 28/09/1944 & Family
William Dean hatched the Noble Foods egg business business back in 1920, collecting eggs from smallholders and selling them door-to-door in straw-lined wicker baskets. Today it is Britain’s biggest egg supplier but the Tring-based operation put plans for a £400m flotation on ice in the summer after revealing a 32.7per cent drop in profit to £5.6m in 2015-16. Clipping Noble back to £350m values the stake held by Peter Dean and his family at £175m. Past dividends etc add £12m.
Michael Kent 04/08/1949
Tring-based Noble Foods is Britain’s biggest egg supplier, producing and delivering more than 60 million eggs a week to their customers through its Happy Egg Company brand. Plans to float the business for £400m were mooted last year and subsequently delayed. Earning fell to £5.6m on turnover of £327.2m in 2015-16 so we clip the value back to £350m. Michael Kent has a 50per cent stake in and should be worth £187m with past dividends
David McMullen 27/04/1945 & Family
Brewing and pubs
Peter McMullen spent his life failing apprenticeships or poaching until his wife Sarah prompted him to found a brewery in 1827. Six generations of McMullen later and the family’s Hertford brewery is still going strong. The business also operates more than 125 pubs. McMullen and Sons’ profits fell below £13m on £79.2m sales in 2016. But its net assets rose to £139.3m – up £6m. Past dividends and other assets take the wider family represented by former chairman David McMullen to £161m.
John Griffin 01/08/1942 & Family
Co-founder of the London-based Addison Lee taxi firm, Griffin retired from the firm after its £300m sale to an American private equity company in 2013. Since then he has been heavily involved in property development where he made a £30m profit on a London development. Potters Bar-based Griffin has also given generously to charity, including £10m to a West London hospital for medical research. We clip the Griffin family back to £150m to take account of this generosity.
Stelio Stefanou 06/11/1952
Born in Cyprus, Stefanou moved to the UK when he was six years old. In 2007 he sold his business services company Accord for a reported £180m. Stefano should now be worth £140m after tax and charitable work. His assets include a £50m Mayfair property once owned by the then Duke of Clarence before he became King William IV in 1830.
Michael Yarrow 02/12/1947 & Family
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. It made nearly £9.6m profit on £61.8m sales in 2015-16. We value the company at £130m, adding £7m to the Yarrow family for dividends and horse racing assets.
David Kahn 24/07/1931 & Family
Letchworth-based Altro company invented its Altro safety flooring in 1947. The Kahn family, led by chairman David Kahn, own the business which made a £11m profit on nearly £138m sales in 2016. With £70.6m net assets and a strong balance sheet, it is worth £120m on these figures. Past dividends add £13m.
Lewis Hamilton 07/01/1985
An exciting 2017 F1 season saw Lewis Hamilton finish world champion, his fourth title - equaling Sebastian Vettel and Alain Prost. The Mercedes driver has just two drivers ahead of him on the grid now when it comes to multiple world championship winners: Michael Schumacher (with seven titles), and Juan Manuel Fangio (five). Hamilton has more titles firmly in his sights and has committed to the Mercedes AMG Petronas team until the end of the 2018 season. A new deal is being negotiated. Yet his current deal with the Silver Arrows, which kicked in at the start of 2016 sees him earn a basic £21.4m rising to $40m (£27.6m) with the sort of bonuses that come from winning more world champs. It’s a significant rise on his previous £15m a year deal and offers Hamilton the chance to become Britain’s richest sportsman, surpassing even David Beckham. He enjoys the trappings or success: he owns a £20m Bombardier jet to ferry him to and from race circuits across the globe, and a £10m apartment in Monaco and a home in the mountains of Colorado, in the United States. Hamilton, who grew up in Stevenage, moved first to Switzerland and then Monaco, in a bid for more privacy. The tax regime in both places is also kinder. Forbes put his earnings in 2016 at £38m of which over £3m comes from endorsement deals with IWC, Bombardier, L’Oreal and Monster Energy. We raise Hamilton to £140m.
Tim Steiner 09/12/1969
Steiner has changed the way millions of people buy their food. The former Goldman Sachs banker had the idea for setting up Ocado after reading about a grocery delivery service that went bankrupt in the United States. He believed the idea could take off in the UK, where population density is higher. He launched the Hatfield-based business in 2000, with two ex-Goldman colleagues. Ocado floated back in 2010 with a value of £937m. Today the business is worth £2.74bn. Steiner remains chief executive and earned more than £6m in 2015 and 2016. He and his trust own a 4.75 per cent stake in Ocado, currently worth £130m. We value Steiner at that level, excluding previous earnings and share sales due to a divorce settlement in 2016.
William Hughes 21/07/1941
William Hughes bought his first care home in 1975. Today he owns and runs B&M Care, a Hemel Hempstead care home operator and developer. B&M has also moved into the serviced office market. In 2016 it made a record £10.4m profit on £41.7m sales. With nearly £57.4m net assets, it is a £110m operation. Other assets take Hughes to £117m.
Daniel Durkan 09/09/1964 & Family
Daniel Durkan runs his family’s Hertfordshire-based construction company. Daniel’s father Bill arrived in London from Mayo in the 1950s and set up the family firm in 1970. Profits fell sharply to £10.2m profit on £141.1m sales in 2016. But the business has a £350m order book and with £52.5m assets, it should be worth £110m. We add £6m for assets held in two separate businesses.
Hitesh 02/09/1956 & Dilesh Mehta 29/02/1960
The Mehta family, led by Hitesh and Dilsh, own Watford-based Shaneel Enterprises which was set up in 1986 as a perfume supplier and also operates PerfumeShopping.com, an online retailer. Shaneel’s profits more than doubled to £13m on £113.3m sales in 2016-17. With £46.6m net assets, it is worth £110m. We add £5m for past dividends and property.
Michael Masterson 20/12/1950 & Family
Michael Masterson runs Getjar, a Hemel Hempstead-based construction group, started in 1980. Profits fell by nearly 10per cent in 2015-16 to £9.5m on lower sales of £144m. But had the business not paid a £4.3m dividend last year it would have enjoyed a record year. So we value the business at £100m. Dividends and other assets, including a burgeoning racehorse operation, take the Masterson family to £110m after-tax and spending.
Brian Morrisroe 31/08/1955
Borehamwood-based AJ Morrisroe was founded by Brian Morrisroe in 1983 specializing in Groundworks and Reinforced Concrete Frame Construction. Morrisroe owns all the £100m business which made £14.3m profit on £162.8m sales in 2016.. His family also own around £1.5m of other assets we can see. In all the Morrisroe family should be worth £102m.
Thembalath Ramachandran 30/11/1949
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 2016-17 the Berkhamsted-based business’s profits slipped from £6.8m to £5.57m though sales hit a record £110.7m. Still worth £130m, Bristol is 76per cent owned by Ramachandran’s trust. Other assets take him to £100m.
Andrew Cohen 02/05/1953 & Family
Andrew Cohen made his money in retailing when he left school at 17 to work for his father, selling women’s dresses in Scotland. In 1983, the family acquired Birmingham-based Betterware and transformed its operations. Cohen turned Betterware into one of the top retailers in Britain. In 1997 Cohen agreed to sell firm to a management team, netting £42.7m but kept a stake. Cohen was bought back to the Birmingham-based company to be non-executive chairman in 2002. But five years later he sold his near 50 per cent stake in Betterware Investments. Radlett-based Cohen is a keen race horse owner and collects cinema posters. We can see £48.5m of net assets in Hertfordshire-based Cohen’s companies. After-tax the family should be worth £95m after-tax and re-investment of sale proceeds.
Robert Weston 11/07/1955 & Family
Bishops Stortford-based Weston Group is one of the leading developers in London and the south east. The company was established by Robert Weston in 1987 in his garage. In 2015-16, Weston Group’s made £16m profit on sales of £154.1m. Net assets grew by almost £10m to £44.4m. Weston chairs the group and with his family, owns around 40 per cent of the ordinary shares. This stake should easily be worth £80m on its recent performance. We add £2m for dividends to Weston and his family.
Phil Wallace 22/10/1949
Phil Wallace wants the club to be. Wallace took control of Stevenage FC in 1999 when the club was days away from bankruptcy. Since then he has increased the capacity of the stadium, built a new training facility. Broadhall Way – now known as the Lamex Stadium after the chairman’s food company – holds 6,700 fans, more than enough for the club’s 3,300 average attendance. Aside from his footballing duties Wallace is the CEO at Lamex, which he joined in 1972 when the company was a small food importer based in London. Continuing growth in the Group led to a $50m management buyout in 2006, with Wallace and his family retaining a near 24per cent family stake in the newly formed parent, Lamex Food Group. In 2016-17 it made a record £17.5m profit on £1bn sales and should be worth over £200m. Wallace’s Lamex holding and his other assets and past salaries take him to £80m easily despite the cost of supporting the football club.
Farouq 13/10/1958 & Haroon Sheikh 04/03/1956
CareTech, the Potters Bar-based care operation, was set up by Kenyan-born Farouq and Haroon Sheikh in 1993. Originally backed by private equity funding, the Sheikhs bought back control of the company in 2004 and floated it on the stock market in 2005 valued at £58m. CareTech is now worth over £329m. With trusts they retain a stake now worth around £48m. Property assets and share sales take them to £75m after-tax.
Derek Beevor 24/06/1955
Derek Beevor, a former Army paratrooper and road haulier, set up his company Radlett-based Road Tech Computer Systems in 1984 after becoming frustrated with the lack of software available to help run his 20 vehicle transport company. Its transport management system called Roadrunner is used by some of the most successful companies in the industry. In 2006, Beevor launched a tachograph analysis solution. Tachomaster. By 2016 it had analysed 90m card, chart and vehicle downloads. In 2016-17 Road Tech made a healthy £5.7m profit on £10.5m sales. It is a £70m operation, totally owned by Beevor.
David Underwood 22/08/1952
Statistician David Underwood merged his company, Statwood, with Oxford Pharmaceutical Sciences in 2007 to create fast-growing Quanticate. Since then, it has worked with its numerous clients to safely collect, analyze and report clinical trial data. The Hitchin-based operation made a record £5.3m profit on nearly £15.9m turnover in 2016. Underwood and his family have a 70 per cent stake in the £100m operation.
James Neville 24/11/1966 & Family
Royston-based Volac makes and supplies high performance nutrition products for the global markets. But tough trading conditions in 2016 saw profits fall to £9.7m on sales of £212.2m. The £100m business is run by Neville and the wider family stake is worth £62m. Other assets add £5m.
Guy Ritchie 10/09/1968
Guy Ritchie is director of Disney’s new all-action film Aladdin starring Will Smith. But the film, being shot in Surrey, has been plunged into a race row after ‘browning up’ white actors to play Arabs. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, Ritchie’s previous film, released in May last year, did not too too well at the box office so he will be banking on Aladdin to restore his reputation. In total, his films have grossed $1.3bn at the box office. 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. 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 should have built up his own fortune over the years. His film companies showed £1.1m net assets in 2016 (down over £3m). But we still keep him at £67m.
Mel Cooper 21/04/1941 & Family
Mel Cooper’s Barnet-based Mountcharm property operation showed net assets of £31.8m in 2016 after making a £1.4m loss for the year. Other smaller company assets add another £31.6m. We value the Cooper family at perhaps £66m with other assets.
Bryan Duffy 21/03/1943 & Family
For 15 years, Bryan Duffy ran a public company and when he retired, he looked for new avenues to exercise his business flair. In 1995 he launched The Generator in Tavistock Place as a budget hotel, catering especially for students and young people. Today he has a chain of such hotels. The parent company, called MBI MBO, based in Ware, saw its net assets rise in 2016 to over £16m. Duffy and his family own it all. They sold their separate Hostelbookers.com online hostel and hotel reservation service in early 2013 for around £60m. Cautiously we raise the family to £65m.
John Lawson 11/05/1932 & Family
Colney Heath-based Lawsons Holdings is a leading builders’ merchant. In 2016-17, its profits fell slightly to £7m on record sales of £91.5m. It should still be worth around £65m. John Lawson and family owns most of the shares and should be worth that sum.
Pauline Chai 10/11/1946
A former Miss Malaysia, Chai was married to Laura Ashley chairman Dr Khoo Kay Peng for more than 40 years. Although both parties are Malaysian, they moved to Berkhamsted a few years ago. After three years of legal arguments over which jurisdiction their split should take place in, the couple then faced a further battle over the division of assets. With legal costs having already hit £6.1m, a High Court judge last summer urged the couple to declare ‘an armistice.’ Although she had wanted £100m, a settlement in April 2017 gave Chai £64m.
Jason Gissing 25/10/1970
Ocado, the Hemel Hempstead-based online grocer, was set up by a trio of Goldman Sachs bankers including. Gissing. The shares have risen sharply of late and Gissing, no longer with the business shrewdly retained a stake now worth over £22m. But with past share he should be worth at least £60m after tax.
Nicolas Kebbell 28/10/1951 & Family
Kebbell Homes is a family-owned business started in 1953. The Watford-based operation is run by managing director Nicolas Kebbell. In 2016, its parent Kebbell Holdings saw its profits rise sharply to £3m on £22.6m sales. With £51m net assets, it should be worth that sum. We add £5m for other Kebbell family assets.
Paul Rogers 26/11/1949
Paul Rogers runs and owns Cyberscience, a Hertfordshire-based computer software company founded in 1977. In 2016 it made a record £4.7m profit on £8.6m sales. It should be worth £50m on these figures. Past dividends should take Rogers to £55m.
Tony White 03/09/1942
Royston-based ProCam is now one of the largest agronomy companies in Britain. Led by chairman Tony White, who founded the business in 1979, ProCam saw its profits fell slightly in 2016 to £6.7m on £235.7m sales. But it should still be easily worth £75m. White and his family trusts have a £53m stake. Past dividends etc. take him to £55m.
Linda Ashley 07/06/1966
Swedish-born Linda Ashley is the ex-wife of Mike Ashley, the sportswear billionaire who also owns Newcastle United. It was reported in late 2016 that the pair had re-kindled their relationship after a 14-year break and that Linda was selling her Majorcan villa set in a 4.5 acre plot on the south west of the island. She is said to now own a mansion a mile away from her former husband’s home. A property developer and interior designer in her own right, she went to the Commons with Mike Ashley in June when he was grilled by MPs over working conditions at Sports Direct. She has stakes in several small businesses including Watford-based Current Design, and with a divorce settlement, is worth at least £50m. We keep her separate from Mike until we see more of the happy couple together.
Brendan Mitchell 04/09/1967
On busy days at his Hatfield building firm Brendan Mitchell can still apparently be seen driving a shovel to ensure tippers are ready for their next delivering. Mitchell founded the company in County Mayo back in the 1990s with a single vehicle. Profits fell by more than 10per cent to under £5.8m on sales of £24m in 2015-16. It has net assets of nearly £14.3m. We still value the business at £50m and Mitchell, who owns 87per cent of the business, at £45m.
Anthony Joshua 15/10/1989
Watford-born Anthony Joshua is now the hottest prospect in British boxing. He scored the biggest payday of his career in a unification bout for the heavyweight title against Wladimir Klitschko in April 2017. The fight had one million pay-per-view buys in the UK, while 10 million watched in Germany and 90,000 fans packed Wembley Stadium in London. In a titanic battle, Joshua knocked out Klitschko in the 11th round to post his 19th straight win since turning pro in 2013 after winning the gold medal at the London Olympics. His purse from that fight was at least £15m. His next fight against Carlos Takam in Cardiff earned him another £15m. Joshua is set to go into the ring twice in 2018, with the aim of scooping the remaining two heavyweight titles. If he emerges as the holder of all four belts, boxing promoters reckon he will then be on his way to eventual billionaire status. He can already boast a dozen endorsement partners including Under Armour, Lucozade, Jaguar, Beats, StubHub, JD Sports and Audemars Piguet. For now we value Joshua at £45m.