The Rich List 2014
PUBLISHED: 15:03 31 March 2014 | UPDATED: 15:03 31 March 2014
The richest 50 in Hertfordshire are not getting any poorer – with a collective wealth up a quarter on last year’s combined total.
Find out who is up, down and new in our in-depth look at those who are leading the economic field in the county
Hertfordshire’s wealthiest individuals are definitely leading the way into economic recovery. This year, the top 50 that make up the Hertfordshire Life Rich List are worth £9.6 billion, up more than 26 per cent on last year’s £7.6 billion total. The latest figure is nearly treble the £3.6 billion we recorded in our first list in 2005.
Our number one is again Mike Ashley, the low-key founder of the Sports Direct sportswear retailer. The Hertfordshire-based billionaire has seen his wealth shoot up by almost 55 per cent in the last year to £3.4 billion, and rising, as City investors continue to fall in love with the sportswear chain. In the last year alone, he has added £1.2 billion to his wealth, which makes him not only Herts’ only billionaire, but only treble billionaire too.
The list is very much a meritocratic affair. There is just one aristocrat – the Marquess of Salisbury – courtesy of his Hatfield estate, land ownership and magnificent art treasures. It is primarily made up of self-made business people and sports stars, with 36 of the 50 here having made their own fortunes.
From the world of sport come golfer Sir Nick Faldo, boxer Lennox Lewis and F1 star Lewis Hamilton. No musicians make it into the ranks, nor film stars, although Kimpton’s Rupert Grint, one of the stars of the Harry Potter films came closest to the £38m bottom line with his £25m fortune. We lost glamour couple David and Victoria Beckham from the list this year after they moved out of their long-time Sawbridgeworth home. They are spending northwards of £30m on a London base in a swanky part of the capital.
Entrepreneurs who are helping spearhead the British economic recovery do make it though and very well they are doing too. There are 20 entrepreneurs listed including Tim Steiner, the co-founder and chief executive of online retailer Ocado. Despite years of carping from City analysts, Steiner has just knuckled down and built the business, which is now valued at £3 billion. Steiner has also seen his stake soar in value and is now personally worth £130m. It is important to remember that the likes of Steiner are the ones creating the jobs that Britain so desperately needs. In the two years from 2010 to 2012 alone, Ocado took on just over 1,000 more staff. It is a story repeated on a lesser scale by most of our other entrepreneurs.
In the last year we have lost one of Hertfordshire’s great industrialists with the death of Sir Bernard Schreier in June at the age of 95. His Watford-based construction to hotels group, worth around £275m, is now run by his very capable daughter Iris Gibbor. She replaces him in our list and is one of four women here. Sadly, the lack of women listed demonstrates that there is still a long way to go before the glass ceiling of the British economy is shattered.
The rich may be doing very well at present but many of our top 50 have not neglected to help those less fortunate. Here special mention must be made of Sir Peter Ogden, co-founder of the Hatfield-based Computacenter operation. Through his Ogden Trust he has given millions to charity with an emphasis on education. With Computacenter’s share price riding high, Ogden is able to up his charitable work.
The list was compiled from publicly available data in early January.
Mike Ashley 09/12/1964
As ever, Mike Ashley surprised the City in January when his Sports Direct operation snapped up a 4.6 per cent stake in ailing stores group Debenhams, only to sell it days later as part of a complex deal that left analysts baffled. But he did make £5m on the turn. It was an audacious move and comes after a good year for the Berkhamstead-based sportswear entrepreneur in which his fortune jumped by £1.2 billion on the back of a record profit of £213m in 2012-13. The company enjoyed a ‘significant’ sales boost from the London Olympics and Paralympics.
Ashley will also pleased that his football club, Newcastle United are in the top half of the Premiership at the start of the 2013-14 campaign. Having paid £134m to gain control of the Magpies in 2007, and putting in over £258m all told, Ashley has had difficult relations with St James Park’s fanatical fans. Funding his Newcastle purchase has not been difficult for Ashley. He pocketed £929m in one day when he floated his company, Sports Direct, on the stock market in 2007 while retaining control of the business.
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. Strong results recently have pushed up the value of Sports Direct to £4.35 billion and a place in the elite FTSE100 as a result. Ashley’s stake in the firm is £2,765m after a recent £100m share sale. Despite a hefty commitment to the Magpies, an £86.8m windfall from the sale of leases he owned on 32 Sports Direct stores, past property deals, dividends and salaries, and remaining cash, Ashley should be worth £3,400m after tax.
Peter Harris 25/03/1934 and family
Hemel Hempstead-based Bourne Leisure saw its profits hit £108m on £838.6m sales in 2012. Peter Harris, an accountant by training, 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 which valued the company at £1.1 billion. In 2008 a £2 billion offer for the company was tabled but the deal fell through. Harris and his original team have a majority stake in the business. We value Harris’s stake at £400m, adding £200m for his racing interests, a 44 per cent stake in spread-betting operation Spreadex, plus past salaries and dividends and other interests.
Tony Tabatznik 02/08/1947 and family
In June 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. Arrow was the second successful foray into pharmaceuticals for South African-born Tabatznik, who sold his family’s Generics (UK) operation to Merck, the German pharma giant in the mid-1990s, netting £200m for the family stake. Tabatznik is also on the board of European Healthcare Group, a profitable nursing home operator. With the sale proceeds from both sales, Tabatznik and his family are easily worth £500m.
Ramesh 04/09/1945 and Pratibha Sachdev 21/03/1948
Hertfordshire-based Life Style Care has 37 care homes nationwide. It has been built up by Ramesh Sachdev, a care home veteran and accountant by training, who started in nursing homes in 1987. He has sold two businesses but kept the Life Style name. The first made £25m for the family’s 85 per cent stake. The second Life Style was taken over for a reported £250m. His other interests include hotels and blue chip properties in central London. The Sachdev family is worth £400m. Charity donations by Sachdev and his wife, Pratibha, total nearly £2m annually.
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. Newathill’s profits rose in 2012 to £20.4m while net assets were £190.1m. It demerged its £120m Renewable Energy Systems operation in 2009. Newarthill should be worth £180m and we add another £145m for other assets.
Sir Peter Ogden 26/05/1947 Computers
Sir Peter Ogden co-founded Hatfield-based computer group Computacenter in 1981. It floated on the stock market in 1998 and Ogden’s stake is now worth £226m. He made £31m from share sales at the float. Ogden also has a £60m stake in Dealogic, a software company, a £6m holding in the MSV motor racing circuits business and half of a recruitment operation. After his hefty charitable work, which earned him a knighthood in 2005, Ogden is worth £300m.
Lance Uggla 01/02/1962
A Canadian bond trader, Lance Uggla started up financial data provider Markit Group at his Hertfordshire home in 2001. He had spotted a gap in the market for a service that provided banks with vital data about the volume and prices of their trades with each other. In 2010, an American financial group acquiring a $250m stake in Markit, valuing it at £$3.3 billion. It is now worth $5.3 billion and Uggla’s stake is worth £300m. It could be in line for £4 billion float.
Iris Gibbor 29/08/1951 and family
Iris Gibbor runs CP Holdings, the Watford-based conglomerate founded by her late father, Sir Bernard Schreier in the 1950s. Schrieier who escaped the Nazis in Austria in 1939, settled in Palestine and joined the British army during the war. After later serving with the Israeli army during its 1948 war of independence, he built up a sizeable contracting business which built Israel’s first dam. After the Suez crisis he came to Britain and started CP. Today its interests range from hotels, car dealerships (both in Hungary) and a serviced office business, called Lenta Properties, which made a healthy £2.4m profit on £10.5m sales in 2012 when it showed over £20.8m net assets. CP Holdings as a whole saw its 2012 profits rise smartly from £6.4m to £12.4m on sales of £405.6m. Its stake in the Hungarian-quoted Danubia Hotels operation is worth around £90m. CP’s net assets stand at £259m. We add £16m for past dividends and other assets to Gibbor and the Schreier family. Sir Bernard died in June aged 95.
The Marquess of Salisbury 30/09/1946
Property, land and art
The hugely successful Thames River Pageant, one of the highlights of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations last spring, was organised by the Marquess of Salisbury whose seat is the 17th century Hatfield House. The stately home was a location in the Oscar-winning film, The King’s Speech and is a treasure trove of paintings worth an estimated £125m. In addition, there is Cranborne Manor, the family estate in Dorset. There have been reports recently that Salisbury has handed over the running of the two estates to his heir Viscount Cranborne.
Salisbury’s assets are extensive. His main farming company, Gascoyne Cecil Farms, and four others show nearly £9m net assets. There is a London estate with valuable acreage around Leicester Square and American assets. The two stately homes with their surrounding 10,300 acres and the art collection take Salisbury to £275m.
Tim Martin 28/04/1955
Watford-based JD Wetherspoon recently opened its 900th pub and also made its first foray outside Britain by buying one in Dublin. Its shares are riding high, valuing the group at £947m. Tim Martin, Wetherspoon’s founder, opened his first pub in 1979. After a difficult start, the former lawyer never looked back and his stake has soared in value to £251m. Past share sales and dividends should take him to £270m.
Colin Allen 03/05/1960 and family
Colin Allen is a director of Bourne Leisure, the holiday camp and caravan park group, which made £108m profit on £838.6m sales in 2012. The Allen family stake in Bourne is worth £200m. Other family assets such as a profitable tree business and hefty Bourne dividends in recent years take the Allen family to £230m.
Charles Gallagher 15/10/1959 and family
Charles Gallagher and his family have a £134m stake in the Dublin-based Abbey housebuilder. The family’s other main operations, Hertfordshire-based Matthew Homes and plant hire company Charles Wilson, add £100m. With some overlap of shareholdings, the Gallagher family should be worth £200m.
Philip Hulme 27/08/1948
Philip Hulme co-founded Computacenter, the Hatfield-based computer operation, with fellow Harvard Business School graduate Sir Peter Ogden in 1981. It floated on the stock market in 1998. Hulme has an £89m stake and has sold around £30m worth of shares in recent years. Hulme also has a £60m stake in Dealogic, a software company. After charitable donations, he is worth £170m.
Stelio Stefanou 06/11/1952
Hertfordshire-based Stelio Stefanou sold his business services company, Accord, in 2007 for a reported £180m. He founded the Stefanou Foundation charity, which he now runs. He should be worth £140m after-tax and charitable work.
Tim Steiner 09/12/1969
Ocado, the Hemel Hempstead-based online grocer, floated on the stock market in 2010 valued at £937m. The share price has soared in recent months following a deal with supermarket group Morrisons. Ocado is now worth £3.18 billion. The company was set up in 2000 by a trio of former Goldman Sachs bankers including chief executive Tim Steiner. His stake is now worth £122m. Share option profits etc. take him to £130m.
David McMullen 27/04/1945 and family
McMullen & Sons, the family-owned Hertford brewer saw its profits nearly double to £10.3m on £63.7m sales in 2012. Its net assets rose to nearly £104m. 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 add £25m after tax to the wider family, here represented by David McMullen as former chairman.
Peter Dean 28/09/1944 and family
Hertfordshire-based Noble Foods, Britain’s largest egg supplier was recently reported to be up for sale with a possible £400m price tag. Peter Dean and his family have a near 50 per cent stake in the 75-year old operation. Cautiously we value that stake at £100m until a sale goes through.
Simon Dolan 25/05/1969
£100m. 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 parent company Hemel Hempstead-based SJD Group, showed £6.4m profit on £13.2m sales in 2012-13. His past salaries, car collection and property interests take Dolan to £100m.
Jason Gissing 25/10/1970
Jason Gissing, one of the founding trio of online retailer Ocado, has a stake now worth nearly £93m. Share sales at the float take him to £95m.
James Neville 24/11/1966 and family
Royston-based Volac makes and supplies high performance nutrition products for the global markets. Its parent company Woodford Holdings saw a sharp rise in profits in 2012-13 to a record £23.3m on record sales of £143.2m. With £57.5m net assets it should be worth £150m. The business is run by Neville and his family. Its 60 per cent stake is worth £90m.
William Hughes 21/07/1941
B&M Care, a Hertfordshire-based care home operator and developer, is owned and run by William Hughes. In 2012 its profits came in at a record £8.5m on £33.7m sales. With a solid balance sheet and net assets of £51.6m, it is easily worth £85m in the current climate.
Lennox Lewis 02/09/1965
Former undisputed heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis confirmed in November he would be happy to make a sensational return to the ring to fight either of the Klitschko brothers, but only for a staggering $100m pay cheque. Lewis said, ‘Well I told everybody that I would take off my pyjamas for $50m, so right now one leg is out of the pyjamas.’ London-born Lewis spent his childhood in Canada and first came to prominence by winning a gold medal for Canada at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. His prize money totalled at least £84m. But as he is clearly looking to earn more money, we clip him back this year to £85m after-tax and spending. He will go higher if he returns to the ring for that record purse.
Andrew Cohen 02/05/1953 and family
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. He is now running the business for the third time, having returned in 2011. We can see nearly £28m of net assets in Hertfordshire-based Cohen’s companies. After-tax the family is worth £80m.
Michael Masterson 20/12/1950 and family
Masterson Holdings, a Hemel Hempstead-based construction operation, made £4.8m profit on £83.6m sales in 2012-13. Michael Masterson runs and owns the £48m business with his family and trusts. Other assets take the Masterson family to £75m after-tax and spending.
Thembalath Ramachandran 30/11/1949
After three decades as a top pharmacy executive at an Indian company, Thembalath Ramachandran came to Britain in 1997 and started his own pharma company, Bristol Laboratories. In 2011-12 the Hertfordshire-based business made £6.9m profit on £71.5m sales. The £75m operation is owned by Ramachandran.
Bryan Duffy 21/03/1943 and family
Hotel and hostels
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, had nearly £11m net assets in 2012. Duffys’ family own it all. With other assets and allowing for tax, the Duffy family should be worth £65m.
Lewis Hamilton 07/01/1985
Lewis Hamilton ended the 2013 Formula One Season in fourth position in the drivers’ championship with 189 points. It was his first 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.
No longer managed by his father Anthony, Hamilton has entrusted himself to the XIX management team that handles David Beckham. He also has an on-off relationship with Nicole Scherzinger, the lead singer of the American girl band Pussycat Doll, since 2007. 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. 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 £10m to his fortune in the past 12 months, taking him to £65m and rising.
Guy Ritchie 10/09/1968
As one of Britain’s top film directors, Guy Ritchie has done well from the two Sherlock Holmes films he directed. The first, released in 2009, grossed over $520m at the box office worldwide, while its sequel Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows released two years later, made $543m. He earned £9m in 2009 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 2008. The divorce settlement included the couple’s country estate Ashcombe House in Wiltshire along with a £4m townhouse, a pub, and a £3m property in New York. The real size of the settlement was put 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 first feature film, 1998’s Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, proved a critical and commercial success, earning him around £9m. His two film companies Ska Films and Ska Films Diamonds made around £1.1m profit in 2012. Another Ritchie company - Toff Guy Films - showed £5m net assets in 2012. With the success of the two Sherlock films, we value Ritchie at £65m.
David Kahn 24/07/1931 and family
Altro is a world leading manufacturer and supplier of interior surfaces. The Letchworth-based operation, founded in 1919, invented its Altro safety flooring in 1947. Kahn and his family own around half the shares in the business, which made a £10m profit on £112m sales in 2012. With £60.3m net assets it is easily worth £100m on these figures, valuing the Kahn family stake at around £55m. Past dividends etc add £8m.
Michael Yarrow 02/12/1947 and 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. 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. Yarrow rarely makes the news apart from occasional letters to the FT and the like defending the record of the British pharmaceutical industry. Diomed, owned by the Yarrow family, is a profitable operation, making a healthy £5.4m profit on £50.6m sales in 2011-12. We value the company at £55m and the Yarrow family at £57m.
Rick Willmott 16/05/1963 and family
Rick 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 2012 its parent, Hardwicke Investments, made a near £9m profit on £1.03 billion sales. It has nearly £65m net assets. We 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 £56m
Mike Garlick 06/10/1963
Mike Garlick’s business career started when he founded the Michael Bailey IT consultancy in 1989. It floated on the stock market ten years later valued at around £37.5m. In 2002 the group was taken private by Garlick. Its parent company, Tring-based Metroyard made £3.8m profit on £63m sales in 2012. Garlick and his family trusts own the company which should be worth £45m in the current climate. Past salaries/dividends and sale proceeds take Garlick to £55m.
Phil Wallace 22/10/1949
Food and football
Phil Wallace chairs Stevenage, the League One football club. Since taking over what was a near bankrupt club in 1999 that 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. But Boro are struggling this season and early in the new year were bottom of the league. 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, was a small food importer based in London. He became a director in 1975 and was appointed managing director and majority shareholder in the early 1980s. Continuing growth in the group led to a $50m management buyout in 2006, with Wallace retaining a large stake in the newly formed parent, Lamex Food Group. In 2012-13 it made a record £12.7m profit on £736m sales. Wallace’s Lamex holding and his other assets and past salaries take him to £55m easily.
Linda Ashley 07/06/1966
Swedish-born Linda 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. Along with a divorce settlement, she is worth at least £50m.
Melvyn Cooper 21/04/1941 and family
Melvyn Cooper’s Barnet-based Mountcharm operation showed net assets of £32.7m at the end of 2012. Other smaller company assets add another £14m. 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 £50m with other assets.
Terry Pickthall 10/03/1939 and family
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 2011-12, CPL made £6.2m profit on £62.2m sales. With strong balance sheet and nearly £28m net assets, the company should be worth £50m. It is owned by the Pickthall family and trusts.
Paul Leach 26/07/1928 and family
Buntingford-based Leach Homes fell into a £7.3m loss on £15.9m sales in 2012. But it has a very solid balance sheet with over £39m net assets. There are other Leach family businesses we can see including Swanfield (Hamels) which together had around £6.5m net assets in 2012 attributable to the family. The Leach family, led by Paul Leach, takes little out of the businesses and we value the businesses at around £45m. We add £2m for other assets.
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 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 £127m. The Sheikhs sold around £12m worth of shares in the float. With trusts they retain a stake now worth around £36m. After-tax and with other assets, the Sheikh family should be worth £46m.
James Barham 28/12/1936
James Barham stepped down as chairman of Bayfordbury Holdings in 2004 after selling the business to Fairview, a property firm for what was reckoned to be a £60m sale price. Hertford-based Barham now concentrates on his other family companies with around £2m net assets between them in 2012. With other assets and past dividends in recent years, Barham is easily worth £45m after tax.
Sir Terry Leahy 28/02/1956
Sir Terry Leahy, former Tesco boss, is not twiddling his thumbs since his 2011 retirement. With a £45m fortune from his stake in the Cheshunt-based group, share sales and option gains, not to mention his hefty salaries over the years, he has the war chest to invest in a number of ventures. He recently revealed two of them: an undisclosed stake in a medical devices start-up developing non-tobacco nicotine products, and three per cent of The Hut Group, the internet retailer whose websites include Zavvi.com. They are a few of ‘a number of investments, up to about 10’ he has made, including one in Stuckonhomework.com, the educational website. He says his private portfolio is as much about tackling creative challenges as seeking high returns. He has also joined buy-out group Clayton Dubilier & Rice as a senior adviser and in late 2012 took over the chairmanship of B&M Bargains, a discount retailer in the north west.
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 looks in fine fettle with profits of £6.5m on nearly £60m sales in 2012-13. With £19m net assets, Shaneel is worth £40m. 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.
Andrew Perloff 30/09/1944 and 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 £43m stake in Panther including family trusts. Other stakes in quoted companies take the Perloff family to around £44m.
Charles Desoutter 30/04/1954 and family
De Soutter Medical is a leading European manufacturer of powered medical devices. Its range is primarily focused on Orthopaedics with its instruments being used in both large and small bone surgery, as well as for surgical procedures in Maxillo Facial, Oral, ENT, Cardiothoracic, Neuro and Plastics. Based in Aston Clinton, Bucks, De Soutter 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 by Atlas Copco, the Swedish mechanical engineer. The Desoutter family and trusts had around 20% of the shares we reckon. As part of the deal the family bought back the medical business for around £850,000. In 2011-12 its parent, Descram Holdings, made £4.8m profit on £20.2m sales. It has a strong balance sheet and is worth £48m. Charles Desoutter also owns the separate Bushell & Meadows engineering operation. Past dividends and any past sale proceeds take the Desoutter family to around £50m after-tax.
Arvind Thakkar 15/11/1943
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 2012-132, Hall & Watts made £980,000 profit on nearly £10m sales. Thakkar has nearly half the company and his stake is worth £30m. Other assets and property take him to £43m.
Nicholas Kebbell 28/10/1951 and 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 2012, Kebbell Holdings made a £230,000 profit on £14.4m sales. The company does have a strong balance sheet with £42.4m net assets and should be worth £40m in the current climate. We add £2m for other Kebbell family assets.
Joseph Murphy 14/11/1962 and family
Irishman Joseph Murphy runs JMCC (Holdings), a Stevenage-based construction group. In 2012, JMCC’s immediate parent, Bandon Holdings, showed £26m net assets and we value the business at that level. Past hefty dividends up to 2004 totalling around £25m and other assets keep the Murphy family to £42m after-tax.
Bharat Shah 30/12/1949 and family
Sigma Pharmaceuticals makes generic drugs, ranging from antibiotics to heart treatments. The Watford-based wholesaler and retailer is also branching out into photographic and travel services. It was started when Bharat Shah, a Kenyan Asian, began supplying pharmacies and hospitals from his local chemist’s shop in 1975. Sigma made £1m profit on £177m sales in 2012. It has £26m 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 £42m.
Stephen Dixon 20/04/1963 and family
Stephen 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 2012 its parent, Hardwicke Investments, made a near £9m profit on £1.03 billion sales. It has nearly £65m net assets. We 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.
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 £7.7m profit on £192m sales in 2011-12. It should be worth £55m. White and his family trusts have a 70% stake worth £38.5m. Past dividends etc take him to £40m.
John Lawson 11/05/1932 and family
Colney Heath-based Lawsons Holdings is a leading builders’ merchant. Its roots go back to 1921 when a Lawson and Son Timber Merchant was established in North London, becoming Lawsons Whetstone in 1931. 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, specialising in the loft conversion market. In 2012-13, Lawson Holdings saw its profits jump to £4.7m on £59.8m sales. It has a strong balance sheet and should be worth around £40m. The Lawson family owns most of the shares and should be worth £38m.