Hertfordshire Rich List 2016

PUBLISHED: 11:46 29 March 2016 | UPDATED: 11:46 29 March 2016

Mercedes Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton celebrates on the 2015 United States Grand Prix podium after becoming a triple world champion [Picture: Mercedes-Benz]

Mercedes Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton celebrates on the 2015 United States Grand Prix podium after becoming a triple world champion [Picture: Mercedes-Benz]


From eggs to computing and fashion to property, Herts’ top earners are worth a collective £12.4bn, up 15 per cent on last year. We rank the bank balances of the wealthiest 50 and reveal the business ideas and moves that took them to the top

Sir Peter Ogden, co-founder of Hatfield based company ComputacenterSir Peter Ogden, co-founder of Hatfield based company Computacenter

Tougher times for business may be on the horizon as China and the world economy slow, but in the meantime Hertfordshire’s rich are doing very well. The 50 richest in or from the county have seen their wealth in the 2016 Hertfordshire Life Rich List jump to £12.4bn, a hefty 15 per cent rise on last year’s £10.8bn. But while the rate of increase is up on last year’s 12.4 per cent, it is still well below the spectacular 26.4 per cent rise in 2014. Still, the rich have never had it so good. In the 11 years since our first list in 2005, the wealth of the 50 Hertfordshire richest has nearly quadrupled from £3.6bn.

Yet while the rich seem to be getting richer, our number one is having a (relatively) very tough time. Mike Ashley, the low-key founder of the Sports Direct sportswear retailer, is now worth £2.65bn, down exactly £1bn on last year. The Berkhamsted billionaire has worried the City with a series of investments and deals. Investors have also been spooked by warnings that Sports Direct profits will be less than expected.

The Hertfordshire Life Rich List may be dominated by entrepreneurs and family business people, but there is still a touch of glamour with one or two celebrities in our ranks. The celebrity count is headed by Sir Cameron Mackintosh, raised near Welwyn, whose shrewd handling of musicals such as Cats, plus theatres and performing rights, have garnered him a £1.1bn fortune.

Also prominent in 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 £250m. Coming up fast (and that is the right word in his case) is Stevenage-born Lewis Hamilton, who has just secured a third F1 world championship, which will open the floodgates for new sponsorship deals and has led to a hugely increased contract from his Mercedes team. We have raised his valuation to £120m as a result, but he will go a lot higher.

The Hertfordshire Life Rich List is still very much a meritocratic ranking. Of the 50 names, 38 made their own fortunes (up one on last year), which does augur well for social mobility and shows budding entrepreneurs they can indeed stand a good chance of making serious wealth for themselves (and therefore for Herts and UK plc too) through dint of hard work, skill and good ideas. We still have only one aristocrat in the list – the Marquess of Salisbury, courtesy of his Hatfield estate and magnificent art treasures.

Mr. Luke Comer, Ruth Holmes, Brian Comer & William Comer at the Irish Post Awards.Mr. Luke Comer, Ruth Holmes, Brian Comer & William Comer at the Irish Post Awards.

The business wealth in Hertfordshire is drawn from all spheres, which is also gratifying. It means all the county’s eggs are not in one industry basket. There are 13 on the list in property or construction, reflecting perhaps the high house prices locally. There are 11 in industry including high-tech and highly-regarded medical-equipment company owners. One might speculate that this diversity of talent is one reason why Hertfordshire’s unemployment rate is well below the national rate of 5.2 per cent.

Certainly our Hertfordshire rich 50 are doing the 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 2014 (its latest figure) and the staff numbers are up an impressive 44 per cent at 111.

Not so impressive though is the lack of women in the Hertfordshire Life Rich List 50. Aside from Victoria Beckham, who has built a respected fashion business, there are just three others in the list and these are spouses or ex-spouses.

No better are the figures for the Asian community, with just four of the 50 drawn from what is one of the most dynamic and entrepreneurial communities in the UK. This is down by two on last year.

Those who qualify for the list were either born or raised in Hertfordshire or are based here today, all with assets or wealth of £45m or more that we can prove. Wealth statistics were gathered in early January from publicly-available information.

Tim Steiner, chief executive of Hemel Hempstead-based OcadoTim Steiner, chief executive of Hemel Hempstead-based Ocado

1. Mike Ashley 09/12/1964



A difficult time for Mike Ashley, the king of high street sportswear retailing. His Sports Direct operation saw its share price fall nearly 40 per cent in three months to mid-January following a shock profits warning amidst closer scrutiny of its working practices and corporate governance. The Nottinghamshire-based operation is now worth £2.24bn, while Ashley’s stake is down by over £1bn since mid-October 2015 and is now worth £1.47bn. But the canny 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. This has enabled him to fund struggling premiership club Newcastle United, which he bought for £134m in 2007 and bankrolled to the tune of well over £300m in total since then. 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, should take Hertfordshire-resident Ashley to £2.65bn.

2. Sir Cameron Mackintosh 17/10/1946

Musicals and theatres


The Marquess of Salisbury owns Hatfield House, completed in 1612, a treasure trove of paintings worth £150mThe Marquess of Salisbury owns Hatfield House, completed in 1612, a treasure trove of paintings worth £150m

The 68 backers who put up the £600,000 for Sir Cameron Mackintosh’s original London production of the musical Les Miserables in 1985 have made £47m to date, 78 times their money and they are still earning. The 240 investors in his production of Cats made a 60 fold return on its 21-year run. Return on its 21-year run. Worldwide in Australia, America and the Far East, the old favourite musicals are drawing strong audiences. Phantom’s box office sales have totalled $6bn over the years while Les Miserables still playing to 90 per cent attendances after 30 years, has made $5.5bn worldwide. Not bad for a former stage hand at the Theatre Royal in London’s Drury Lane. Mackintosh, raised in Cuffley near Welwyn, later graduated to stage manager on several touring productions. He became 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. The two other legs of the Cameron Mackintosh business are booming too His eight London theatres made a very healthy £14.2m profit on £44m sales in 2014-15. His third business, which has the most potential is Music Theatre International, which licenses secondary performance rights. Mackintosh owns 75 per cent and will own it all next year. It licenses 25,000 productions a year to 70,000 organisations, taking a 15 per cent cut of any fee paid, bringing in £22.5m to Cameron Mackintosh in 2014-15. In all the business made a record £27.7m profit on £139m sales that year. Mackintosh’s business empire is now easily worth £950m. Private assets including his property and a £13m dividend last year take Mackintosh to £1100m.

3. Luke 30/11/1957 & Brian Comer 06/01/1960



Originally from Galway, the Comer brothers, Luke and Brian, made enough money in Britain through tirelessly plastering houses to start acquiring properties of their own. The low-key brothers built a British property portfolio from a Barnet base, 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 at the bottom of the market. The Comers, who are known in racing circles for owning five stud farms and 80 horses, told the local Galway paper last year that they had 500 companies world-wide and that their assets were 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 just £75m net assets in 14 British companies. But the brothers show no signs of flamboyant living. Luke lives quietly in Monaco while Brian oversees operations in Britain. Allowing for any debt, we clip the Comers back to £750m.

Sir Cameron Mackintosh at Prince Edward Theatre, LondonSir Cameron Mackintosh at Prince Edward Theatre, London

4. Peter Harris 25/03/1934 & Family



Hemel Hempstead-based Bourne Leisure saw its profits hit a record £133.8m on £895.5m sales in 2014. A bumper £46m dividend was paid in 2014 with another £33m in 2015 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 £1.1 billion. The Harris family has a 21 per cent stake in the business. We value Harris’s stake at £400m, adding £250m for his racing interests, a majority stake in £300m spread-betting operation Spreadex, plus past salaries/dividends and other interests.

5. Tony Tabatznik 02/08/1947 & Family



In 2009, Stevenage-based Arrow Generics was sold for $1.75 billion. It was Tabatznik’s second successful foray into pharmaceuticals. Tabatznik sold his family’s Generics (UK) operation in the mid-1990s, netting £200m for the family stake. Still involved in healthcare and award-winning film production as a producer, Tabatznik and his family are easily worth £500m.

6. Charles Gallagher 15/10/1959 & Family

House building


The Dublin-based Abbey housebuilding group is now valued at £268.5m, 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 company - quoted on the London and Dublin stock markets, was built up by Gallagher’s late father, also Charles Charles Gallagher senior was the company’s chief executive when it first went public in 1974 but he was soon forced out by other family members. He returned to the UK and spent most of the following decade quietly developing his own house-building company, Matthew Homes. But he returned to the helm of Abbey in 1983 and successfully fought off a takeover bid from a British company. Charles Gallagher junior joined the board in 1986 and took over the chairmanship when his father died in 1993. Today the family stake in Abbey is worth £196m. The family’s other main operation St Albans-based Matthew Homes made £12.1m profit on £59.1m sales in 2014. With £78m net assets, it is a £110m operation.. The family’s property operation, Gallagher Holdings, also showed over £71.5m net assets with another £50m in a plant hire company. With some overlap of shareholdings, the Gallagher family should be worth £425m with other assets.

7. Ramesh 04/09/1945 & Pratibha Sachdev 21/03/1948

Care homes


Borehamwood-based Life Style Care has been built up by Ramesh Sachdev, a care home veteran and accountant by training. His wife Pratibha started the homes in 1987. He sold two businesses for around £275m in total 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 few years.

8. Declan Ganley 23/07/1968



Watford-born Declan Ganley returned with his parents to live in Galway at the age of 13. He worked on London building sites and as a teaboy for an insurance company before going to Russia to trade in aluminium and later timber. He sold up in 1997 and moved into telecoms and broadband. Today he runs Rivada Networks which recently secured $50m of funding from investors. Before that it was valued at £450m. Though there are reports that it could now be worth over £3.6bn. Ganley, who owns near half, is best known in Ireland for leading the 2008 campaign against the Lisbon treaty in Ireland. We are more cautious than the recent huge valuation and with his property assets and earlier sale proceeds, Ganley should be worth £400m.

9. Michael 07/07/1970 & Xochi Birch 11/01/1972



CitySocialising, a web site pioneering the convergence of virtual and real world social networking, is being backed by Michael Birch who is one of the group of investors who have put $2m into the business. He also recently put £75,000 into Double, a dating app. The Cheshunt-raised 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. But they have parked it for now. 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 restoration of a Devon pub in a village where Birch’s ancestors came from. Birch also has a $13m mansion on the shores of Lake Washington, in the same neighbourhood as Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos. We value the Birchs at £375m after-tax.

10. Sir Peter Ogden 26/05/1947



After university and a career in finance, Sir Peter Ogden co-founded the Hatfield computer group Computacenter in 1981. It floated on the stock market in 1998 and Ogden’s stake is now worth £239m, including those in trust. Ogden also had a £100m stake in Dealogic, a software company recently taken over in a £438m deal. He gave £25m to fund bright students from poor backgrounds at some of the leading independent schools, many coming from Lancashire. With other assets and after his hefty charitable work, which earned him a knighthood in 2005, Ogden is worth £370m

11.The Marquess of Salisbury 30/09/1946

Land, art & property


Gascoyne Estates and a partner sold a City office block in June 2015 for nearly £34m,. This followed a Leicester Square cinema sale in 2014 for over £23m. The company, the property arm of the Marquess of Salisbury’s family, owns, lets and manages up to 300 residential properties in Hatfield, London and Dorset. 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 showed over £12m net assets in 2014-15. The London estate with valuable acreage around Leicester Square and American assets take Salisbury to £330m.

12. Iris Gibbor 29/08/1951 & Family



Iris Gibbor runs CP Holdings, the Watford-based conglomerate founded by her late father, Sir Bernard Schreier in the 1950s. In 2014 its profits hit £16.8m on sales of £451m. CP’s net assets stand at nearly £266m. We add £24m for past dividends and other assets to Gibbor and the Schreier family.

13. The McAlpine Family



Construction-to-property group Sir Robert McAlpine’s parent company, Newarthill, was started by the late Sir Robert McAlpine, known as “Concrete Bob.” The Hemel Hempstead-based operation turned in a near £68m loss in 2014 while its net assets fell sharply to £126m. The company demerged its £120m Renewable Energy Systems operation in 2009. Newarthill should be worth its net assets and we add another £144m for other assets.

14 Colin Allen (dob03/ 05/1960) & Family



The late David Allen co-founded Hemel Hempstead-based Bourne Leisure, the holiday camp and caravan park group, which made a record £133.8m profit on £895.5m sales in 2014. A bumper £46m dividend was paid in 2014 with another £33m in 2015 to shareholders. The Allen family, led by his son Colin, have a £220m stake in Bourne. Other family assets including a holding in spread-betting firm Spreadex, a profitable tree business and hefty Bourne dividends in recent years take the Allen family to £260m.

15. David 02/05/1975 & Victoria Beckham 17/04/1974

Fashion, football and music


The Beckham brand name and business ventures are now worth almost £500m according to a recent London School of Marketing analysis. While this may be slightly too generous at this stage, there is no doubt that the husband and wife team, ex-footballer David and ex-singer and fashionista Victoria, are working hard and successfully to get to that £500m figure. Cheshunt-raised Victoria’s fashion business goes from strength-to-strength. Indeed she was outed as Britain’s top entrepreneur in the autumn of 2014, such has been the growth of the Beckham Brands operation with its first shop opening in London’s exclusive Dover Street. David’s 21 year football career ended in 2013 with Paris St Germain, after a ten 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 Haigh whisky 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 £129m in salary and dividends from 2002 to 2014. Forbes magazine puts his income at £188.5m in the six years from 2009 to 2014, mostly from sponsorship. The Beckhams bought a £2.5m house in Sawbridgeworth in 1999, the year of their marriage, and only selling it last year for £11.4m. The pair now live in exclusive West London in a £40m plus home. 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’ 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, Victoria Beckham saw its sales rise sharply to £39.3m in 2014. Its new parent Beckham Brand Holdings saw its profits hit £15.8m on £51.4m sales in the last five months of 2014. Crucially it is very much a team effort now with the huge earnings from David Beckham’s endorsement deals being invested in growing the fashion operation. As such we only push the pair up £250m this year until the fruits of the investment become apparent. But that £500m is easily achievable.

16. Philip Hulme 27/08/1948



Philip 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 £92.5m 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 £215m.

17. Tim Martin 28/04/1955



JD Wetherspoon’s founder has warned that the Government’s National Living Wage will accelerate the closure of British pubs already feeling the squeeze. Spoons, as it is nicknamed, was founded by Tim Martin in 1979 and now owns just under 1,000 pubs. The giant Martin, a former lawyer, has a £191m stake. Other assets add £20m, taking him to £211m.

18=. Peter Dean 28/09/1944 & Family



Noble Foods, Britain’s biggest egg supplier, made £18.7m profit in 2014 and paid out £16m in dividends. The Tring-based business was put up for sale in 2013 with a £400m price tag but there were no takers. Peter Dean, a leading shareholder with a 50 per cent stake, and his family should be worth £210m with past dividends.

18=. Michael Kent 04/08/1949



Michael Kent has a 50 per cent stake in Tring-based Noble Foods and should be worth £210m with past dividends.

20. Neil Utley 16/01/1962



An insurance entrepreneur, Neil Utley bought David Beckham’s old Hertfordshire mansion in early 2014 for £11.4m. He could afford it, having made £13m from the 2006 sale of an insurance company. Utley later took over insurer, Hastings Direct, for £24m. It was turned round and Utley made £135m from selling 50 per cent to Goldman Sachs in 2013. A £1.1bn float took place last October. Utley retains an £77m stake and sold nearly £3m of shares at the float. After-tax he should be worth £192m.

21. David McMullen 27/04/1945 & Family



McMullen & Sons, the family-owned Hertford brewer saw its profits rise sharply to £14.6m on £72.4m sales in 2014. Its net assets rose to nearly £120.4m. 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 £145m.

22. Stelio Stefanou 06/11/1952

Business services


Stelio 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.

23. David Kahn 24/07/1931 & Family



Altro is a world leading manufacturer and supplier of interior surfaces. The Letchworth-based operation made a record £17.5m profit on £118.5m sales in 2043. With £65m net assets and a strong balance sheet, it is worth £120m on these figures. Kahn and his family own the business. Past dividends etc. add £10m.

24. Lewis Hamilton 07/01/1985

F1 racing


Lewis Hamilton effectively finished the 2015 Formula One Season as world champion with three races still to be won. It was his third world championship and means he is now with 43 victories all told has the highest number of any British driver and the third in all F1 history. It was his third season driving for the Mercedes AMG Petronas team after his long spell with McLaren during which he won the 2008 drivers’ championship. He was being paid £15m a year by the German car giant, after ending his 14-year association with McLaren. But before the 2015 Monaco Grand Prix, Mercedes announced a new three-year deal with Hamilton which is worth around £32m a season from this year. He 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 where he has a £10m apartment. He also has a £20m hotel development in the West Indies and a similarly priced jet. Hamilton is a regular on the high street, too, as one of the faces of Santander. His total sponsorship income should adds at least £5m a year and his new contract gives him more rights to pursue sponsors. Forbes in its list of the Top 100 highest earning celebrities put his 2015 earnings at around £30m. After spending, Stevenage-born and raised Hamilton should now be worth £120m. He will go a lot higher.

25=. Michael Masterson 20/12/1950 & Family



Masterson Holdings, a Hemel Hempstead-based construction operation, saw its profits soar to a record £11.7m on £155.2m sales in 2014-15. Michael Masterson, an Irish-born entrepreneur, runs and owns the £95m business with his family and trusts. Other assets take the Masterson family to £105m after-tax and spending.

25=. Rick Willmott 16/05/1963 & Family



Willmott Dixon will this year restore the derelict east wing of London’s Alexandra Palace, home to the world’s first television studio. Rick Willmott is the first family member for nearly 40 years to run Hitchin-based firm. Founded in 1852, the company now specialises in hospitals, recreation centres, schools, and other public and private sector buildings. In 2014 its parent, Hardwicke Investments, made a profit of £17m on £1.2 billion sales. It has £70.7m net assets. We value the company at £220m and the Willmott family stake at around £88m. With past salaries, dividends and other assets, the Willmott family should be worth £105m.

27. James Neville 24/11/1966 & Family



Royston-based Volac makes and supplies high performance nutrition products for the global markets. In December it opened a new £5m silage additive fermentation plant in Wales, securing Volac’s place as one of the five leaders in the forage additive global market, currently worth £200m. The world market for dairy additives is forecast to hit £42bn by 2020, and again Volac is a leading player here. Its parent made £16.1m profit on record sales of £198.9m in 2014-5. The £165m business is run by Neville and the wider family stake is worth £100m. Other assets add £4m.

28. William Hughes 21/07/1941

Care homes


B&M Care, a Hemel Hempstead-based care home operator and developer, is owned and run by Irishman William Hughes. He bought his first care home, Clare Lodge in St Albans, in 1975. It has also moved into the serviced office market. In 2014 it made an £8.5m profit on £33.1m sales. With nearly £65m net assets, it is a £100m operation.

29. Andrew Cohen 02/05/1953 & Family

Retail & property


Andrew 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 £34m of net assets in Hertfordshire-based Cohen’s companies. After-tax the family is worth £90m after-tax and re-investment of sale proceeds.

30 Christopher Maughan 16/10/1963

Footwear and workwear


Dragonfly Venture Group is a fast-growing footwear, workwear and storage group. Owned by its director Christopher Maughan, the low key operation produced a record £13.2m profit on £65.1m sales in 2014-15. With a strong balance sheet at nearly £33m net assets, it is easily worth £80m. Other assets add £5m.

31 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 2014-15 the Hertfordshire-based business made £8m profit on £94.5m sales. The £120m operation is 76 per cent owned by Ramachandran’s trust.

32. Tim Steiner 09/12/1969

Online retail


Ocado, the Hemel Hempstead-based online grocer, floated on the stock market in 2010 valued at £937m. Its shares have had a roller coaster ride on the stock market ever since and it is now worth £1.68bn. Its shares have suffered recently as investors fear the threat posed to Ocado by Amazon, the American online retail behemoth entering the British grocery market. Ocado was set up in 2000 by a trio of former Goldman Sachs bankers including chief executive Tim Steiner. His stake is now worth £73m. Share option profits etc. take him to £78m.

33. Stephen Dixon 20/04/1963 & Family



Stephen Dixon is a family shareholder in Willmott Dixon, the Hitchin-based construction group. The family recently won a £27m contract to renovate the east wing of London’s Alexandra Palace, housing the world’s first TV studio. Founded in 1852, the company now specialises in hospitals, recreation centres, schools, and other public and private sector buildings. In 2014 its parent, Hardwicke Investments, made £17m profit on £1.2bn sales. It has £70.7m net assets. We value the company at £220m and the Dixon family stake at around £66m. With past salaries, dividends and other assets, the Dixon family should be worth £75m.

34=. Sir Terry Leahy 28/02/1956



Sir Terry Leahy, former Tesco boss until 2011, led the successful 2014 £2.7 billion flotation of the B&M discount retailer. 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 £13m 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. 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 had 25 per cent of the company sold for £50m last year. He also has a £10m stake in The Hut Group, another online retailer, and 9 per 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 60 per 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 £311m stake, so Leahy should have done well there. With other investments, and allowing for re-investment of Tesco salaries, Leahy should now be worth £70m despite Tesco problems.

34=. Phil Wallace 22/10/1949



Phil 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 and today the club plays in the Football League Two. 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 2014-15 it made a record £14.4m profit on £840m sales. Wallace’s Lamex holding and his other assets and past salaries take him to £72m easily.

34=. Michael Yarrow 02/12/1947 & Family

Health care


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 nearly £8.7m profit on £60m sales in 2014-15. We value the company and the Yarrow family at £70m

37. John Newton 19/09/1963



John 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 2014, Gravity made a healthy £7.66m profit on £62.2m sales and it is worth £75m, valuing Newton’s stake at £64.5m. Other assets add £2.5m.

38. Guy Ritchie 10/09/1968



Having married model Jacqui Ainsley last July, Guy Ritchie is now working on his latest film, “Knights of the Round Table: King Arthur. Hi last film The Man from Uncle, based on the 1960s TV series, was a reasonable hit in 2015, taking nearly $110m at the box office world-wide. In total his films have grossed nearly $1.3bn. 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 of 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 film companies showed £2m net assets in 2014. We value Ritchie at £65m until we see how his latest film pans out at the box office.

39=. Mel Cooper 21/04/1941 & Family



Mel Cooper’s Barnet-based Mountcharm operation showed net assets of £31.4m in 2014. Other smaller company assets add another £24m. 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 £60m with other assets.

39=. Charles Desoutter 30/04/1954 & Family

Health care


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 £88.7m by a Swedish company. As part of the deal the Desoutter family bought back the medical business for around £850,000. In 2013-14 its Berkhamsted-based parent, Descram Holdings, made £5.5m profit on £22.7m sales. It has a strong balance sheet and £27m net assets. It should be worth £55m. Other assets add £5m.

39=. Jason Gissing 25/10/1970



Ocado, the Hemel Hempstead-based online grocer, was set up by a trio of Goldman Sachs bankers. Jason Gissing, one of the founding trio, has left the £1.6bn company. With his trusts, he had a £58m stake but is not listed as a shareholder any more. But we reckon that with share sales of around £3.6m at the float and a more recent £15m disposal that we can see, he should be worth at least £60m after-tax.

39=. Nicholas Kebbell 28/10/1951 & Family



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 2014, its parent Kebbell Holdings made a £5m profit on £30.5m sales. The company does have a strong balance sheet and with £50m net assets, should be worth £55m. We add £5m for other Kebbell family assets.

43. Bryan Duffy 21/03/1943 & Family



Bryan 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, saw its net assets fall by £4m to £4.7m in 2014. Duffys’ family own it all. We clip the family back by £4m to £59m.

44=. Terry Pickthall 10/03/1939 & Family



CPL Aromas, a Bishops 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 2014-15, CPL made £5.5m profit on record sales of £68.7m. With strong balance sheet and £36.34m net assets, the company should be worth £55m. It is owned by the Pickthall family and trusts.

44=. Tony White 03/09/1942



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 £10.1m profit on £311.6m sales in the 18 months to the end of 2014. It should be worth £75m. White and his family trusts have a £53m stake. Past dividends etc. take him to £55m.

46. Andrew Perloff 30/09/1944 & Family



Andrew 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 £50m stake in Potter Bar-based Panther including family trusts. Other stakes in quoted companies take the Perloff family to around £52m.

47. Linda Ashley 07/06/1966



Swedish-born Ashley is the ex-wife of Mike Ashley, the sportswear billionaire 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.

48. John Lawson 11/05/1932 & Family

Builders’ merchant


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 2014-15, its profits hit a record £5.6m on £76.6m sales. It has a strong balance sheet and should still be worth around £48m. The Lawson family owns most of the shares and should be worth that sum.

49. Hitesh 02/09/1956 & Dilesh Mehta 29/02/1960



The Mehta family, led by Hitesh and Dilesh, own Shaneel Enterprises, a Watford-based perfume and fragrance operation. The business, best known for its Designer Parfums brand, saw its profits dip in 2014-5 to £8.7m on £91m sales. But with £31m net assets, it is worth £42m. We add £5m for past dividends and property. They also own and run perfumeshopping.com, which sells perfume over the internet.

50. Farouq 13/10/1958 & Haroon Sheikh 04/03/1956

Care homes


CareTech (CORRECT), 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 stock market in 2005 valued at £58m. CareTech is now worth £145m. The Sheikhs sold around £12m worth of shares in the float. With trusts they retain a stake now worth around £34m. After-tax and with other assets, the Sheikh family should be worth £45m.

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