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Cheese or vegetables? There’s more money in…

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

This year’s Sunday Times Rich List features 73 sterling billionaires. Last year, only 53 people in the list had a fortune of £1bn or more. The record for The Sunday Times Rich List, over its 23 years of publication, stands at 75, in 2008.

Cheese or vegetables? There’s more money in…

The leading billionaire this year is the same as it has been since 2005: Lakshmi Mittal, the Indian steel tycoon, with a £17.5 billion fortune.

Depressingly (or interestingly, depending on your marital status) four positions – 96, 449 and joint 871 – with a staggering combined £1.49bn fortune credit ‘divorce’ as the source of wealth.

Although there’s a distinct lack of bodyshop names in the list, it’s interesting to note those involved in the automotive and motor insurance world. Here’s a round-up...


Topping the insurance rich list big hitters is Henry Engelhardt and family, ranked 120 with a wealth of £648m. The American chief exec of Admiral has a stake of almost £617m. Admiral is worth £4.1bn.

Next down the list is Peter Cullum (178) with a £450m fortune. He has a £412m stake in Towergate Insurance, which he set up in 1997.

Thanks to a talking meerkat called Aleksandr, Douw Steyn and family are in at 221. He founded BGL Holdings – the parent company of – and has a £360m bank balance as a result.

290 places below their Admiral chief exec are David (COO) and Heather Stevens (fellow founder-manager) who have a £156m stake in the Cardiff-based insurer. Ranked 410 in the Sunday Times Rich List, worth £170m, in 2007 the couple transferred around £100m of shares to charity.

Neil Utley is chair of Hastings Direct. He made £13m from the sale of Equity Insurance five years ago. Hastings Direct is being lined up for a £500m flotation next year and Neil’s stake would be worth a cool £150m. He’s number 403 with £160m.

Peter Wood of esure fame is ranked 457, worth £150m. Peter set up several insurance businesses, including Direct Line and esure. Early last year he bought the 70% of esure he did not own from Lloyds Banking Group for £185m, backed by private equity money.

Number 703 has £100m and his name is David Gundlach, founder of Hastings Insurance Services. He sold the business in 2006 to Insurance Australia Group for £140m. He previously worked for the Admiral car insurance business.

Sabre Insurance is one of the fastest growing motor insurance names. The parent company – Binomial – was founded by Angus Ball and Keith Morris. In 2010, Binomial made £25.4m profit on £156.9m sales. That values the company at £150m. Angus Ball and Keith Morris are ranked a joint 751 with a wealth of £95m a piece.

Despite the irritating ads, Hayley Parsons, founder of also has amassed a £95m fortune (751). Cwmbran-born Hayley has worked in insurance since leaving school at 16 with five GCSEs. She spent 14 years at the Admiral group in Cardiff, climbing to the second highest position at its operation, before setting up Gocompare in 2006.

Grahame Chilton (776 - £93m) had a windfall in August 2008 when the Benfieldinsurance group was taken over by Aon, the American insurer, for £738m. Grahame was Benfield’s chief executive and helped lead its £574m flotation on the stock market in 2003. He became vice-chairman of Aon after the deal and also collected around £77m for his stake.

Last of the insurers is John Charman, who co-founded Bermuda-based Axis Capital in 2001. He had previously built up a Lloyd's agency, from which he netted £70.6m when it was sold. He has a £38m Axis stake and has sold at least £30m of shares. An expensive divorce in 2006 cost him a painful £48m and he falls 323 places from his 459 spot in the 2010 Sunday Times Rich List. Ouch!

Car sales

The fortune of Sir Arnold Clark and family has shot up by £53m in the last year to £430m (186). The scrappage scheme is said to have helped to more than double profits at the Glasgow-based Arnold Clark Automobiles business.

Lord Edmiston has a £400m pot, ranked 200 in the list. An accountant who once worked for the Jensen sports car operation, he has built the IM Group in Birmingham into one of Britain's biggest importers of Far Eastern cars. It also has a thriving property operation. Since 1998 Lord Edmiston has also given more than £120m to charity.

The motor trade business of Jack Tordoff and family – JCT600 – comprises 48 dealerships and made an impressive £13m profit in 2010. Ranked 269 with a wealth of £290m.

Sir Peter Vardy and family (457, £150m) took over the family’s Sunderland-based car showroom and expanded the business massively. It was sold in 2006, netting the family around £124m.

Sir Tony Bramall, 75, joined his father's car dealership in Sheffield in 1963. In 1987, it was taken over for £45m. Subsequent start-ups in the car trade have boosted his £144m fortune (497).

Keith Bradshaw owns half of car dealer Listers of Coventry, which is on course to make £14m profit in 2010-11. His diverse business interests extend to importing musical instruments and property. Keith Bradshaw and family are ranked 504 with a wealth of £140m.

Colin Giltrap made his fortune in the motor trade in New Zealand and Britain, he has been a long-term investor in luxury car group HR Owen, making nearly £1.2m in recent share sales. He’s number 513 and worth £136m.

Iranian-born Mahmoud Khayami and his family made a fortune selling cars in his native country before the 1979 revolution. Now resident in Berkshire but a French citizen, he has three large Mercedes-Benz dealerships and is worth £98m (741), a fortune boosted by a fine art collection and property businesses. He’s a Labour party donor and has funded two academy schools.

Ken Cheevers made his first fortune in the motor trade, building the Charles Hurst motor business, which was sold in 1996 for £25m. Ken Cheevers and family are ranked 813 worth an impressive £87m.

Douglas Park, 60, helped to build his father’s Scottish coach business into a leading force in luxury coach travel before branching out into car dealerships. In 2009-10, Park’s of Hamilton’s profits rose sharply from £5m to £11.9m on £340m sales when it showed nearly £28m assets. It is worth £70m and Douglas Park and family rank 914 in the list thanks to a £78m wealth.

Graham Dacre ( 927 - £75m) sold his Norwich-based Lind Automotive Group in 2006 for £96m. He took over the running of the company in 1980 when his father retired. He has put at least £2m into a city academy in Norwich.

David Agnew is chair of Isaac Agnew (Holdings), the Belfast car dealer. The company boosted its profits in 2009 to £8.8m on £315.7m sales. Founded in 1931 by Isaac Agnew, it also offers car-hire services and the group has invested £2m in repair facilities. The company is owned by the family, netting them the 968 spot with a wealth of £70m. The business has a solid balance sheet and £57.6m assets. It is worth £70m.

Car parts

Sukhpal Singh Ahluwalia, the founder of Euro Car Parts has an immense £225m fortune and is number 313. The company’s 2009 profits rose from £6.6m to £17m on sales up to £186.9m. The Wembley-based company has more than 85 branches. There are reports that the business has been put up for sale with a £200m price tag.

Sir Tom Farmer (513 - £136m) founded Kwik Fit and sold it to Ford for £1 billion in 1999. He netted a cool £78m from the deal and retained the freeholds on many Kwik Fit properties.

Leeds-based Andrew Page was set up in 1948 and is the largest privately-owned distributor of vehicle parts in Britain. Andrew Page (629 - £115m), son of the late founder, reinvested in the business after a £109m MBO in 2010. He is chairman of the business, which has 41 depots through the north of England.

And finally, tyre tycoons

Number 782 is Tony Todd, founder of Micheldever Tyre Auto Services, a business that started in a shed in Hampshire in 1972. He’s now valued at £90m.

Just in case you’re wondering, there’s more money in cheese. £120m to be exact. In 2004 Hugh Irvine and family (583) sold McLelland, the Glasgow-based maker of Seriously Strong Cheddar, for between £150m-£170m. Potato lovers don’t lose heart, Alan and Ronnie Bartlett (746) from potato processing companies Albert Bartlett Sons and Alan Bartlett and Sons (Chatteris) have a not-so-cheap-as-chips £97m fortune.

Researched from The Sunday Times Rich List 2011



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