Lancashire Life Glitz List 2015
PUBLISHED: 00:00 15 September 2015
Who has made it onto our list of the richest in Lancashire and the Lakes? Financial expert Philip Beresford reveals all
The Duke of Westminster, owner of the Abbeystead estate in the Trough of Bowland and the increasingly successful Liverpool One shopping centre, tops the Lancashire Life 2015 rich list. The inexorable rise in property prices has added another £800m to the Duke’s family fortune since our last list in 2013.
Collectively the 30 richest in Lancashire and the Lakes we have identified in this our fifth list are worth just under £30bn. The £29.9bn total represents a sharp 22% rise on the 2013 figure of £24.5bn. But Westminster, despite the rise in the value of his Grosvenor Estate assets, is not the main cause of the impressive jump.
Neither are the north west’s old aristocrats and landowners, aside from Westminster. They just do not have the valuable acres or art to make it to our top 30. And while we have the remaining Beatles - Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr - they really represent the old generation of rockers. No younger rock or pop stars have yet to make enough to break into our ranks.
The north west is of course filled with super-rich football stars, such as Wayne Rooney or the other players at Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool. But their wealth does not yet stack up enough to grab a place in our rankings. Their club owners, the Glazer family or Sheikh Mansour of Manchester United and City respectively, would be high up in the list but they do not qualify as they are not based here and have only tenuous roots with the county outside the club ownership.
Most of our Top 30 are of course drawn from the world of business and enterprise. This is reflected in the fact that 20 out of the 30 actually created their own fortunes. These include John Whittaker, the property entrepreneur whose vision for Liverpool is already transforming the waterfront along the Mersey and beyond. The area is also home to two of the fastest-growing retail chains in the UK – Home Bargains and B&M retail, run respectively by Tom Morris and the Arora brothers. Both are billionaires twice over on the back of their thriving operations. Their success is good for us all: since the great crash started in 2008, Morris and the Aroras have between them created a tital of nearly 20,000 new jobs in their stores.
The Queen is in our ranks on the back of her ownership of the £442m Duchy of Lancaster, which owns a considerable amount of land and property in the county including Lancaster Castle. What many Lancastrians want to know is whetehr Prince George, now third in line to the throne, may have the Dukedom of Lancaster conferred on him, some 600 years after Henry V was the last holder of the title.
Look out too for the increasingly high profile Warburton family. Their bread is so highly regarded that the Warburton brand is now second only to the ubiquitous Coca Cola label in the UK. No doubt the unveiling of Hollywood superstar Silvester Stallone in the Warbys adverts will only enhance the brand and of course the family wealth, currently standing at £530m. To see who joins the Warburtons in our rankings, read on.
The Duke of Westminster
The recent annual clay pigeon shoot at the Duke of Westminster’s Abbeystead estate near Lancaster raised funds for ABF, The Soldier’s Charity, a cause dear to the Duke, who retired from the Territorial Army in 2012 as a Major General. Abbeystead, a fine estate, is now benefiting from super-fast broadband. The 23,500 acres were bought by the Duke in 1980 from the Earl of Sefton’s executors. It remains one of the UK’s premier sporting estates. Set in North Lancashire’s historic Forest of Bowland, it has the River Wyre running through it and has the attractive stone village of Abbeystead at its heart which is a small but vibrant community. The Forest of Bowland is wild and magnificent. Since 1964 it has been a protected Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, known for its grouse and pheasant shooting. It also has some 22 tenant farms, mainly farming sheep on the rugged hillside pastures. But Westminster is not neglecting his other interests. His Grosvenor Group, which embraces many of his business activities worldwide, including his valuable London property around Mayfair, recently reported record profits of nearly £682m in 2014, up from £507m in 2013. The company is run by experienced professionals and Westminster, the 6th Duke, stood down as chairman of the board in 2007 after 33 years in the role. All of the Grosvenor Group shares are owned by the trustees of various Grosvenor trusts set up for the benefit of the Grosvenor family. Westminster’s private assets and estates include nearly 165,000 acres of rural land (including Abbeystead), a dairy farm, the Chester Grosvenor Hotel and the U.K.’s largest bull stud operation. In all, the family wealth adds up to a staggering £8.83bn.
John Whittaker & Family
Liverpool2 is the new £300m container port on the Mersey which opens later this year under the auspices of John Whittaker’s Peel property operation. He may be the north West’s leading property entrepreneur, but there is a strong sense of history and love of his Lancashire roots in the man whose Peel company gave us the Trafford centre. In a rare recently interview, he pointed out ‘Whichever office we’ve been in, we’ve been able to see it,’ gesturing towards a hill in the distance in Ramsbottom, on which stands the Peel Tower. The monument was built to honour another local boy made good - Sir Robert Peel, founder of the modern police force and former prime minister. ‘I was born right underneath that tower on a little farm. I woke up every morning and the tower was looking down on us and it became the tower of strength.’ From those early days Whittaker has built a £3 billion plus property empire, and his own stake is worth perhaps £2.37 billion.
Tom Morris & Family
Liverpool-based discount retailer Home Bargains was started by Tom Morris back in 1976 aged just 21. He used a bank overdraft to finance the new business, whose takings averaged about £85-a-week. Today each of its 300 plus stores sell toys, household goods, cosmetics, food and drink, encompassing brands from Lego to Vidal Sassoon. Morris had retailing in the blood, as both his parents and grandparents were shopkeepers. Home Bargains’ turnover hit £1.27bn while profits surged from £110.8m to £124.7m in 2013-14. Morris owns the £2.3bn business. Other smaller property companies and past dividends/salaries add £50m.
Clitheroe-born and bred, Peter Hargreaves stepped down from the role of chief executive at Bristol-based financial adviser Hargreaves Lansdown in 2010 and finally left the board in April. He had co-founded the business in 1981 and built an empire now worth over £6bn. Hargreaves, who trained as an accountant, retains a £1.94bn stake in the business. Past share sales and dividends take Hargreaves to £2.01bn.
Simon, Bobby & Robin Arora
Former Manchester Grammar School pupil Simon Arora went to Cambridge to study law after his father, a cash and carry owner in Cheetham Hill, encouraged him to follow in the footsteps of India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru. After a spell working in London, Simon returned to the north west and went into business with his brother Bobby, who he describes as a ‘born trader’. He and Bobby formed Orient Sourcing Services in 1995, which designed, sourced and distributed homewares and soft furnishings for customers including Tesco, Argos and Bhs. They sold the business for £30m in 2000 and five years later took over struggling B&M Retail. The pair, joined by younger brother Robin, sold a 60% stake in the Merseyside-based operation to an American private equity group in late 2012 which valued it at £965m. B&M floated on the stock market in 2014 and it is now valued at over £3.43bn. Robin sold nearly all his stake for £228m in the float, while Simon and Bobby cut theirs from 19.1% to 14% each. In all, the share sales raised £480m for the Arora brothers. Their remaining 27% stake is worth £926m. Other assets including property in the UK and the Far East, share sales etc. take the Aroras to £2bn.
Fred & Peter Done
Betfred boss Fred Done is a fanatical Manchester United fan. The Salford-born bookie and his brother Peter started out as a bookie’s runners for their father. From a single betting shop in 1967, the pair now own what has become one of the largest chains in Britain. In 2011 Betfred took over the Tote for £265m. The brothers also have interests ranging from legal services to insurance, sports promotion, property and a restaurant. The four main but separate Done companies, together made around £1200m profit in 2013-14. They should be worth £1200m. Other assets add £50m.
Lord Grantchester & the Moores Family
Labour supporting Lord Grantchester showed his true connections recently by attending the funeral of former Everton star Andy King. Grantchester, a former Goodison Park director, is the grandson of the late Sir John Moores, who founded the football pools in 1923 from his Liverpool base. The Moores family later branched out from the pools into mail order and retailing. After 1998 the family sold its various interests netting over £1.2bn all told.
John Hargreaves & Family
An ex-market trader from Liverpool, John Hargreaves later built the Matalan discount chain. He floated it on the stock market in 1998 valued at £200m but bought it back again in 2006 for £817m. He also took £310m in share sales in the float later and afterwards. In 2010 Hargreaves refinanced the company in a £525m deal which saw him take a £250m dividend. The first Matalan store was opened in Preston in 1985. In 2013-14 its profits came in at £95.4m on £1.12bn of sales. The Hargreaves family should be worth £1bn.
The Sheppard Family
Liverpool-based European Metal Recycling, which dates back to the 1940s, had a tough 2013 with profits falling to £47m on £2.8bn sales. With £735m net assets, EMR is an £800m operation and we add £40m for other assets to the Sheppard family which owns the business.
Cumbrian-based clothing chain Edinburgh Woollen Mill is run and owned by Philip Day, an experienced retail entrepreneur. In 2013-14 its profits soared to £71.2m on £552m sales. With £202m net assets, it should be worth £700m. We add £50m for other assets to Day.
Peter Green & Family
The son of a Manchester draper and grocery retailer, Peter Green married Canadian industrial heiress Mary-Jean Mitchell in the mid-1970s. She died of cancer in 1990 leaving Green running the family business with their two sons. In 1996, much of the family’s Canadian huge mining operations were sold in a £300m deal. The Green family re-invested 10% of their proceeds in the business, which was taken over again in 2001, netting the Green family another £50m. The Green family also made a £60m profit from the sale of an energy company in 1996. But the family properties in Bermuda, London and the profits from recent London hotel deals keep the Green family at £750m.
Sir Paul McCartney & Nancy Shevell
Former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney continued his ‘Out There’ tour in 2014. There were 32 shows through the year in North and South America with the Asian leg finishing in Japan earlier this year. The gross receipts from the 32 shows was reported at $84.5m. In October McCartney produced a new song ‘Hope for the Future’, generated for the video game ‘Destiny’ the first time he had specifically produced a track for the lucrative video-game industry. On the financial front, McCartney’s company MPL Communications paid him £22m in dividends and salary in 2013-14. As a result we raise McCartney to £580m this year. We still add £150m for the share of his wife Nancy’s fortune derived from her father’s New England Motor Freight trucking operation. That takes the couple to £730m.
The gallant win of Many Clouds in this year’s Crabbie’s Grand National earned Trevor Hemmings a third victory in the race. Hemmings started out as a bricklayer’s apprentice in Leyland, later creating his own housebuilding firm, selling it for £1.5m in the early 1970s to the late Sir Fred Pontin. Hemmings became his right-hand man in the Pontins leisure operation. He later took over the business and sold it in 1989 for a hefty profit to Scottish & Newcastle for a share stake that was worth £218m when S&N was itself taken over in 2008. Through his Northern Trust operation, Hemmings owns 8m square ft of warehousing and factories, while his Trust inns has 420 pubs. He also has the Classic Lodges hotel brand. In all Hemmings is worth £675m.
The Warburton Family
Bolton-based Warburtons hope to raise its profile with Hollywood superstar Sylvester Stallone fronting its commercials, after the baker’s sales fell 2.5 per cent last year and profits also fell. Stallone promised: ‘If I do this, you have my word I will give my best.’ Warburtons was founded in 1876 when two brothers, Thomas and George Warburton, launched a small grocery. In 2014 the family-owned baker made £31.4m profit on £574m sales. It should be worth its main subsidiary’s £503m net assets. Hefty dividends should help take the Warburton family, which owns the business, to £530m after-tax and spending.
The Walker Family
Best known as the Blackburn Rovers’ benefactor, the late Jack Walker and later his family trusts spent as total of £97m on the club. The family sold up in 2010 for £23m. The Walker wealth dates back to after the war when Jack’s father set up a sheet metal business in Blackburn. Walker took over the business with his brother Fred in 1951. The pair built it into a huge steel stockholder which they sold for £330m in 1989. Walker also built the Flybe regional airline and the family trust made over £25m in 2013 selling its entire stake there. After the Flybe sale, extensive property interests keep the Walker family at £520m.
Lord Alliance & Family
No longer chairman of N Brown, Lord Alliance remains a leading shareholder in the Manchester-based home shopping group which dates back to 1963. He arrived in Manchester virtually penniless at the age of 17 from Iran. He built up the Coats Viyella textile giant, later laid low by foreign competition. N Brown is now worth £956m and the Alliance family has a £426m stake. We add £64m for other assets.
Geoffrey Halstead & Family
Bury-based James Halstead makes vinyl tiles and motorbike accessories. Founded in 1915 by Geoffrey Halstead’s grandfather, it is now valued at a record £819m by the stock market. The wider Halstead family and trusts have a £365m stake. Other assets should take the family to £390m.
Sir Michael Bibby & Family
The 204 year old Liverpool-based Bibby Group is run by Sir Michael Bibby , and he is the sixth generation of the family to head the business after becoming MD in 2000. Revenues overall hit a record £1.7bn in 2014 with £44m profit. The Bibby family’s 89% stake is now worth £356m. Other assets add £14m.
Sir Peter Ogden
Born and brought up in Rochdale, Sir Peter Ogden went to the local grammar school. After university and a career in finance, he co-founded the computer group Computacenter in 1981, where his stake is now worth £214m. 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 £345m.
The Queen’s links with the red rose county of Lancaster are strong with the Duchy of Lancaster in her portfolio. Founded by Henry VI in 1399 the Duchy owns the Savoy estate in London as well as substantial holdings in Lancashire and Yorkshire, covering 18.087 hectares in all. Its net value rose is £472m, generating an annual income of around £16m for the Crown. The Crown Estate is of course a much larger royal institution. It produced another record-breaking performance in 2014-15. Profits hit £285m (up from £267m in the previous year). Under new financing rules, the Queen get 15% of the Crown Estate profits via the Sovereign Grant, which replaces the old Civil List. The 2014-15 profit will mean a £42.8m payment to the monarch. Her investment portfolio, properties and the royal stamp collection, art, jewels, cars, horses and the Queen’ Mother’s legacy should take the Queen to £340m. That should be quite an inheritance one day for her great grandson, Prince George, born in the summer of 2013 and her great-grand daughter, Princess Charlotte, born in May.
Sir Michael Smurfit & Family
Sir Michael Smurfit heads-up the Smurfit family, now into its third generation in the global packaging industry. The Lancashire-born businessman lost half the wealth he built-up over seven decades in the 2008 crash. His initial wealth came from the Smurfit Kappa packaging group originally owned by Smurfit’s family which he turned into a global giant before retiring in 2007. His assets include an art collection while his family owns the £57m K Club, the Co Kildare Ryder Cup venue. He has a £5m mansion on the course and another home in Monaco. Smurfitt has become a well-regarded international poker player and some years he has earned over £500,000 from poker. His family wealth is now around £320m.
Born in Old Trafford in Manchester, Alan Lewis left school at 15 and did typography at Manchester University He started out selling repossessed cars and then developing old garage sites. His fortune has been made mainly from restructuring property and finances. In the late 70s he put his money into depressed UK and Spanish property. In 1982 he won a prolonged takeover battle for Illingworth Morris, a textile company owned by the wife of actor James Mason. Since then Lewis has diversified into other areas such as forestry and natural resources. His two main British companies showed £51m net assets in 2013-14. Other assets take Lewis to £270m.
Lawrence Jones & Family
Lawrence Jones started internet hosting company UKFast in 1999. The Manchester-based operation has won numerous industry awards and in 2014 saw its profits soar to £11m on £28.9m sales. Jones and his family own it all. He turned down a £200m takeover approach in June 2014. With other assets including a Swiss hotel, Jones is easily worth £247m.
Anthony Green & Family
Manchester-based PZ Cussons, founded in 1884, is best known for its Imperial Leather soap. Former chairman Anthony Green retired in 2010, though his family retains a £173m stake in the £1.58bn operation with hefty interests in Nigeria. Other assets and past share sales should take the Green family to £235m.
Martin Ainscough & Family
Ainscough Crane Hire was founded in 1976. Ainscough and his brothers took over running the Wigan-based business in 1984 and sold it for £255m to a management team in 2007. Today he is heavily involved in charity work, most notably with Thompson House, a state-of-the-art facility set in 80-acres of farmland which offers opportunities to improve the lives of disabled, vulnerable and isolated people in Lancashire. He is also a staunch supporters of the Prince’s Trust which is aimed at helping young people. After-tax, the family should be worth perhaps £206m.
Iqbal Ahmed & Family
Iqbal Ahmed’s Seamark Group made £10.8m profit on £98.4m sales in 2014. The Manchester-based shrimp processor has with a growing sideline in chicken from a new £12m facility. Ahmed and his family, originally from Bangladesh, have invested heavily in their birthplace and also opened a restaurant on the Manchester site. With property assets, the Ahmed family is worth around £205m.
Dave Whelan & Family
Dave Whelan’s football career was effectively ended with a broken leg at the 1960 Cup Final. He then built the JJB sports retailer, making £190m in its 2007 sale. Whelan bought Wigan Football Club in 1995, but resigned as chairman recently but retains his stake. The club made a £23.7m loss and showed £49m net assets in 2013-14. His Dave Whelan Sports fitness chain, is still worth £70m. After tax and hefty Wigan investment, Whelan is worth £200m.
Alan Murphy’s wealth came first from the sale of a supermarket and then in 1982 he started AM Paper, which turned big reels of tissue into toilet rolls. In 1997, Murphy sold part of his stake in the Merseyside operation for £100m and, two years later, the rest for £50m. Other assets keep Murphy at £190m.
Former Beatle Ringo Starr was reported to have sold his 200-acre Surrey estate to a Russian buyer recently for close to £15m. He made be 75 but the Liverpool born and bred drummer is still busy touring. In 2014 Starr and his All Starr band undertook a North American 46-show tour which made nearly $10m at the box office. The main Beatles’ company, Apple Corps, paid out over £72m in dividends from 2008 to 2014 to the ex-Beatles and families. Starr’s own Startling Music saw its net assets soar to £15.7m in 2013-14. Ringo should easily be worth £180m even if he is downsizing his property assets.
Kenneth Townsley collected the final £47.5m in 2009 from the sale of his Gold Medal travel operation, taking his total to £84m. He started out in travel aged 15 in 1961 and used a redundancy payout to set up the business in a rented Blackpool shop. Property and other assets take Townsley to £160m.