Hertfordshire's Richest 50

PUBLISHED: 17:36 20 March 2012 | UPDATED: 21:08 20 February 2013

Mike Ashley

Mike Ashley

It's been a good 12 months for many of Hertfordshire's wealthiest residents. Philip Beresford takes a look at the ups and downs of the county's elite...

Its been a good 12 months for many of Hertfordshires wealthiest residents. Philip Beresford takes a look at the ups and downs of the countys elite...

ERTFORDSHIRES millionaires are recovering nicely despite fears of a double-dip recession. This year the 50 richest in the county are worth in total 6.9 billion. This is a rise of 1.5 billion on last year and way up on our first list in 2005 when the total wealth was just 3.6 billion.

Part of the reason of course is that the better performance of his Sports Direct operation has helped our number one for the third year running: Mike Ashley, the sportswear retailer and still owner of Newcastle United, has seen his fortune rise by nearly 375m to 1.37 billion, making him Hertfordshire's only billionaire.

It is very much a list of self-made tycoons and sports stars, with 37 of the 50 having made their own way in the world. David and Victoria Beckham still make our list as their home near Sawbridgeworth is their main UK base. Other prominent sports or stage stars with a strong Hertfordshire link include golfer Sir Nick Faldo, boxer Lennox Lewis and F1 star Lewis Hamilton.

But we have not neglected the local tycoons whose wealth has come through hard work and enterprise. That wealth has also created scores of local jobs.Tony Tabatznik, a serial entrepreneur, has created two large and hugely successful pharma companies. Tim Martin has built up Britain's biggest pubs group, JD Wetherspoon, based in Watford. Such business and wealth building is good for all of us with the jobs harvest that inevitably follows. In 12 years, the skill and drive of the founders of Ocado, for example, has created 3,000 jobs, many locally to its Hatfield base.

To find out who constitute our Hertfordshire Richest 50 in 2012, read on. They were valued at the end of October 2011 from publicly available information.

1 Mike Ashley 09/12/1964



Mike Ashley will be delighted with the way Newcastle United have started the 2011-12 season, standing sixth as of mid-January 2012. Having paid 134m to gain control of the Magpies in the summer of 2007, and put in 258m all told, Ashley has had difficult relations with the St James Park fanatical fans. Funding his Newcastle purchase has not been difficult for Hertfordshire-based Ashley. He pocketed 929m in one day when he floated his company, Sports Direct, on the stock market in February 2007 while retaining control of the business. It was after leaving school at 16 that Ashley first became involved in sportswear, opening a small chain of sport and ski shops in and around London after quitting his job as a squash coach. The flotation valued Sports Direct at 2.2 billion. The shares have had a yo-yo ride and the company is now worth nearly 1.24 billion with Ashley sitting on a 924m stake. Plus we add past property deals, dividends and salaries.

2 Tony Tabatznik 02/08/1947 & 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. Its sales grew from $18m in 2001 to more than $650m in 2008. 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.

3= Peter Harris 25/03/1934 & Family



Hemel Hempstead-based Bourne Leisure saw its profits rise from 88m to 93m on sales of 802.7m in 2010. It was in 1964 that Harris as a young accountant was sent to audit a caravan park. He decided to go into the business himself, founding Bourne Leisure later that year. In 2000 Bourne Leisure Holdings took over the Rank holiday interests for 700m. Early in 2004, Bourne's venture capital backers were bought out of their 28% stake in the business by Harris and his managers in a deal which valued the company at 1.1 billion. We now value it at 1.5 billion. Harris and his original team of John Cook and David Allen, have a majority stake in the business. We value Harris's stake at 360m, adding 40m for his racing interests plus past salaries/dividends.

3= Ramesh 04/09/1945 & Pratibha Sachdev 21/03/1948

Nursing homes


Sachdev is busy building his third nursing home operation. A chartered accountant and entrepreneur, Sachdev started his first Life Style Care operation in 1987 and sold it four years later making 25m for his family's 85% stake. He kept the Life Style name and started the second Life Style, taken over for a reported 250m in 2007. Sachdev kept the freehold sites and started the third, which makes around 13m profit a year on an annualised turnover of 40m. He has also had to take over 23 of the care homes formerly run by failed Southern Cross, where he was the landlord. Prime property in London and hotel assets in India take Sachdev and his wife Pratibha, the pioneer of Life Style, to 400m.

5 Sir Bernard Schreier 28/03/1918 & Family



Watford-based CP Holdings saw its 2010 profits fall sharply from 22.2m to 9.3m on sales also down by 31m at 386.3m. Its interests range from hotels, car dealerships (both in Hungary) and a serviced office business, as well as machinery, logistics and international trading operations. It has been built up by chairman Sir Bernard Schreier, who left his native Austria for Palestine in 1939, but came to Britain in the 1950s. A mechanical engineer by training, he worked for a road construction company before setting up CP. The business is worth its 345m net assets. We add 15m for past dividends and other assets.

6 John Cook 04/07/1944 & Family



Hemel Hempstead-based Bourne Leisure is benefiting from the boom in holidays in Britain in these difficult times. In 2010, profits rose to 93.4m on sales of 802.7m. John Cook is part of the team that built Bourne over the years. We value Cook's stake at 300m, adding 30m for other assets, and past salaries/dividends etc.

7 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, he was born in Newarthill, North Lanarkshire. The company saw its profits fall in 2010 to 27.4m while sales fell sharply too to 707m. The fall can be attributed to the 2009 demerger of its Renewable Energy Systems Holdings operation valued at around 120m. Newarthill had 190m net assets at the end of 2010 and we value the business at around 150m in today's climate. But we add 120m for the Renewable Energy Systems operation and another 15m for other assets.

8 Marquess of Salisbury 30/09/1946

Land and art


Hatfield House, a location in the Oscar-winning King's Speech film, is the Salisbury family seat and has just celebrated its 400th anniversary. Hatfield is a treasure trove of hugely valuable paintings worth 125m. But we cut that in half to allow for any tax demands in any future sales. In addition, there is Cranborne Manor, the family estate in Dorset. His main farming company, Gascoyne Cecil Farms, and three others saw a sharp increase in their net assets to nearly 8.4m in 2009-10. Salisbury is also developing the family's London acreage round Leicester Square. The London estate, American land, the two stately homes with their surrounding 10,300 acres and the art collection take Salisbury to 260m.

9 David 02/05/1975 & Victoria Beckham 17/04/1974

Football and fashion


Off the pitch all is well with Becks finances even if he hangs up his boots. His personal company Footwork Productions saw its sales rise by over 31% in 2010 to 14.9m, while Becks himself saw his company salary jump by 28.4% to nearly 11.6m. In all Footwork Productions has paid him nearly 78m since 2002 in salaries and dividends. Even if he does give up the beautiful game, Becks can look forward to a lucrative career of sponsorship and endorsements. In November, it was revealed he will become a new face of the Sainsbury supermarket giant, replacing Jamie Oliver. Beckham will front the Sainsburys Active Kids campaign and promote its sponsorship of the London 2012 Paralympic Games. The deal should add between 3.5m and 5m to the Beckham family coffers and could be extended beyond the Games. In 2007, he was reportedly paid $13.7m to launch his fragrance line in the US. Forbes, in its list of the Top 100 celebrities in the world, puts his income at 56m in the two years 2009 and 2010. Wife Victoria is no slouch in the earnings stakes either. With her pop career as a Spice Girl now history, she is having huge success on the fashion front. The mother-of-fours clothing range generated sales of over 15m in the first three months of 2011, a rise of 71% on the previous year. Her range of clothes which sell for up to 5,000, have been worn by the likes of Kate Winslet and Cheryl Cole. The pair are launching their own fashion and cosmetics lines and have their own company Beckham Brand Limited.

10 David Allen 26/07/1932



Allen is part of the team that built Bourne Leisure, the holiday camp and caravan park group. His family run and own Barcham Trees, a profitable nursery operation which made 283,000 profit on 5.3m sales in 2009-10. Allen was also reported to have bought a 27.5m Midlands estate in 2005. Allowing for any borrowings associated with that buyout, Allen's stake should now be worth perhaps 150m. Allowing for his spending on the estate, his Barcham stake and past salaries of around 5m, we value him at 165m.

See the March issue of Hertfordshire Life for the complete Richest 50 list.

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