Berkshire & Buckinghamshire Life Rich 25 - 2010

PUBLISHED: 14:24 05 October 2010 | UPDATED: 12:06 02 May 2018

Berkshire & Buckinghamshire Life Rich 50 - 2010

Berkshire & Buckinghamshire Life Rich 50 - 2010

Welcome to the second Berkshire & Buckinghamshire Life Rich 25, covering the 25 wealthiest people and families in the two counties, plus some of the Thames Valley that nudges into Oxfordshire

Welcome to the second Berkshire & Buckinghamshire Life Rich 25, covering the 25 wealthiest people and families in the two counties, plus some of the Thames Valley that nudges into Oxfordshire.

Collectively they are worth over £7.2 billion, which is considerably less than last year's total of £8.8 billion. Virtually all of the fall is a result of a sharp drop in the fortune of our still number one South African tycoon, Nicky Oppenheimer. His wealth at £2 billion is down sharply on last year's £3.5 billion total, with the diamond industry yet to recover its lustre. Oppenheimer, however, is still well ahead of any other tycoon or pop star. Our second place is now Lord Rothschild, the banker and leading financier, worth some £400m. As befits counties with strong royal and celebrity connections, our list also features Her Majesty, along with rock royalty in the shape of Sir Elton John and Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page, near neighbours in  Windsor. Well-known local tycoons such as the Dragon Peter Jones and chairman of Reading Football Club, Sir John Madejski are also in our ranks.


1 - Nicky Oppenheimer, 65 - Diamonds and mining - £2,000m

South African tycoon Nicholas Oppenheimer will be pleased that diamond giant De Beers returned to profit in the first half of 2010. The company is the basis of his family fortune and the diamond industry was hammered by the recession. Educated at Harrow and Oxford, Oppenheimer is the grandson of legendary tycoon Ernest Oppenheimer, who founded Anglo American in 1917 and later took over De Beers.  Oppenheimer owns Waltham Place, near Maidenhead. His other interests in Anglo American, the mining giant, are in much better shape. In November 2006 Oppenheimer sold a third of his family's interest there for £250m which has been reinvested in non-mining assets in Africa. His remaining stake is now worth £800m. In all, we value him at £2000m until there is more sign of recovery at De Beers.


2. Lord Rothschild, 74, & Family, 74 - Finance - £400m

Lord Rothschild is one of the most skilled bankers of his generation, having split from the NM Rothschild bank in 1980 to take over RIT Capital, then a small investment trust. It is now worth over £1.7 billion, while Rothschild and his family have a £280m stake. The family has a long association with Buckinghamshire.  Rothschild is a recent major benefactor to Waddesdon Manor.  It was built for the family but handed over to the National Trust in 1957. We add £120m for other assets including his art, a small farm and nursery operation.


3. Sir Martyn Arbib, 71, & Family - Finance - £325m

Ex City financier, Arbib set up Henley-based Perpetual in 1974 with two phones and a secretary. When he sold to Amvescap, the Anglo American fund manager, it was worth £1.05 billion. With previous share sales and other assets, the Arbib family should be worth £325m after-tax.


4. The Queen, 84 - Head of state - £290m

The  cost of the Royal Family to the nation fell by £3.3m in 2009 to £38.2m and Palace officials are drawing up plans for a possible 25 to 40 per cent cut in Royal finances, in keeping with the cuts in Whitehall. The assumption is that the Queen will have to dip into her own pockets to undertake urgently needed repairs and the like to her palaces. In her personal capacity, we reckon her investment portfolio, consisting largely of blue chip British companies' shares, is worth £90m.  Her own personal assets including a valuable stamp collection should take the Queen to £290m.


5. Lord Iliffe, 65, & Family - Media - £240m

Yattendon Investment Trust, the Iliffe family company, saw its profits plunge in 2009 from £24.6m to £1.2m on sales. Its net assets came in at £240m. In the current climate we value the Iliffe family at £240m with property, estate assets and past dividends.  


6. Michael Clare, 55 - Retailing - £236m

Mike Clare, founder of beds retailer Dreams, has invested £85m in property in the last 18 months, which is now worth around £120m.  In 2008 he sold Dreams for a reported £230m. He and his family owned it all. Investments and other assets take him to perhaps £236m. after-tax.


7. Peter Jones, 44 - Mobile phones - £220m

Peter Jones has not been side-tracked from business by his TV stardom on Dragon's Den. His Buckinghamshire-based Phones International Group turned in a handsome profit of £5.7m on £167.1m sales in 2008-09.  It is worth perhaps £150m on these figures even in this climate. He also has a £33m stake in Expansys, a quoted high tech retailer. In all he should easily be worth £220m.


8. Josie Rowland, 66, & Family - Finance - £220m

Josie Rowland is the widow of the late Tiny Rowland, one of the great buccaneers of the 1970s up to his death in 1998.  After tax on his fortune, she inherited at least £220m.  She lives on the banks of the Thames in Berkshire.


9. Sir John Madejski , 69 - Property and football - £200m

Sir John Madejski made £174m from selling Autotrader magazine in 1998. Now a serial entrepreneur, he owns a majority stake in Sackville Properties, planning a £400m development scheme next to Reading Station. Madejski chairs  Reading Football Club, and owns most of the championship team. His other interests include hotels, a radio station, a five star hotel in the Galapagos Islands, a Chinese bottling plant,  publishing and printing operations. A noted philanthropist, he has helped the Royal Academy of Arts, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and Reading University (where he is Chancellor). Madejski is now worth £200m.


10. David Mabey, 49, & Family - Construction - £196m

Mabey Holdings was formerly run by David Mabey, who used to chair the family-owned operation. In the year to September 2008 it went from a £217,000 loss to an £18.2m profit though sales were down nearly £24m at £153.3m. With £206.4m net assets, the company should be worth £140m in the current climate. Other business interests and past dividends take the Mabey family to £196m.


11. Sir Elton John , 63 - Music - £185m

Showing no signs of slowing down despite having celebrated his 63rd birthday, Sir Elton John had an exceptionally busy time with nearly 100 gigs last year including the last of his Red Piano Show at the Colosseum Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas. His Red Piano run was hugely lucrative, earning $750,000 a show for 225 shows over five years. That, in a nutshell, is why John is still hugely rich despite his prodigious spending in the 1990s which led to stark warnings from his accountant that he had to cut back.  John's earnings now come in at around £30m a year.  He should easily be worth £185m. 


12. Peter Dawson, 72, & Family - Vehicle hire - £184m

In 2009, Dawsongroup was worth £142m. Peter Dawson turned his father's Milton Keynes-based haulage group into one of the largest truck rental businesses in Europe. With his family trusts, the business is worth £164m. We add £20m for other assets.


13. Olivia, 63, & Dhani Harrison, 32 - Music - £160m

Olivia Harrison is the widow of the former Beatle George Harrison. In September 2009 perhaps the most significant Beatle event for some time was the launch of the whole Beatles catalogue re-mastered and re-packaged  for the first time since 1987.  George Harrison left £99m in his UK estate to Olivia and Dhani. The rest of the fortune, including homes in Switzerland, Italy and Hawaii, add another £60m.


14. Sir Tim Rice, 66 - Music - £140m

Lyricist Sir Tim Rice plans to turn his sprawling Highland estate into a sanctuary for the endangered species of Scotland. It was while working at  EMI Records in the mid-1960s, that he teamed up with Lloyd Webber to write the lyrics for musical hits like Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar and Evita. A three year contract with Disney was worth a reputed £4m, while his main company, Heartaches, paid him £17m in recent years. His royalties from shows worldwide have been shrewdly invested in art.


15. Sir Peter Michael , 72 - Industry - £135m

After training as an electronics engineer, Sir Peter Michael launched Newbury's first high tech company, Quantel, in 1968. Twenty years later he sold it, netting a £60m fortune. Michael also established the highly regarded Peter Michael Winery in California. Other companies and share sales followed. His main company is Stockford which made £6.2m profit on £40m sales in 2008 when it showed £33.4m net assets. It should be worth £50m. In all, Michael's interests and share sales should be worth £135m.


16. Peter, 64, & Michael Kane, 60 - Business services - £125m

Business Post Group changed its name in October 2009 to UK Mail to reflect its stronger focus on the postal market.  Ironically, the Slough-based  operation was started by Peter Kane as a courier operation after the 1971 postal strike. He was joined by his brother Michael in 1974 and they floated on the stock market in 1993. Peter Kane is chairman and Michael a director. The Kane family stake is now worth £114m.  With past dividends and share sales, the Kane family is worth £125m after tax.


17. Michael Shanly, 64 - Construction - £122m

Michael Shanly founded his own housebuilding operation in 1970. His main operation is Sorbon Investments which made a £3.6m profit on £13.1m sales in 2008. It has £60.8m net assets, but other Shanly companies including Sorbon Homes add around £79m further net assets. We value the businesses at £110m, adding £12m for other assets.


18. Eric Gadsden, 65 - Property - £113m

Eric Gadsden's Chesham-based company, WE Black, went from a £16m profit to a £4.5m loss on £15.9m sales in 2008. The developer  still has a rock solid balance sheet, though its net assets fell £5m to £90.5m. It should be worth £70m in today's difficult climate. Other business and racing interests take Gadsden to £113m.


19. Robin, 64, & Barry Gibb, 60 - Music - £110m

The remaining two Bee Gees, Robin and Barry Gibb celebrated their 50 year anniversary as a group in 2009, in a career in which they are reckoned to have sold over 200m records. They both acknowledge that the unexpected death of their brother Maurice in 2003 knocked them off track. Without any concerts, the 50th Anniversary did not really add up to much commercially, so despite their longevity and role in musical history, we value the Gibb brothers, who live in Buckinghamshire and the Thames Valley,  at £110m.


20. John, 75, & Richard Bennett, 70 - Computers - £99m

In December 2005, an American company, ADP Dealer Services acquired Newbury-based Kerridge Group for a reported round £170m. It was 61.9 per cent owned by the family trusts of John and Richard Bennett before the sale. The Bennett family trusts should have made £85m from  the deal after tax. The Bennetts also have Kerridge Properties with £14m net assets in 2008-09. In all they should be worth £99m.


21. Bart Becht, 53 - Industry - £90m

Dutchman Bart Becht is chief executive officer of the Slough-based Reckitt Benckiser cleaning giant. Last year he earned a £93m salary and bonuses. He has a £44m stake. In all he should now be worth £90m and he would have been much richer if he had not transferred £93m worth of Reckitt shares to his charitable trust.


22. Peter Prior, 66, & Family - Waste management - £79m

Peter Prior's firm, Summerleaze, has  interests ranging from gravel extraction to waste disposal and made a healthy £1.9m profit on £3.7m sales in 2008-09, when its net assets came in at £70.7m sales. We value the Maidenhead-based business at around £71m, adding £8m for other assets and past dividends/salaries to the Prior family.


23. Peter Kindersley, 69, & Family - Media and farming - £75m

Now running an organic farm near Lambourn, Peter Kindersley founded the Dorling Kindersley Publishing group in 1974. He later floated it on the stock market in 1992 and sold it eight years later, collecting around £105m for the family stake.  Allowing for tax, his hefty investment in organic farming and many charitable contributions, we value the Kindersley family at £75m.


24. Jimmy Page, 66 - Music - £75m

Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page announced in early 2010 that he was publishing an autobiography through Genesis Publications, in a hand-crafted, limited edition of 2,500 copies. But no re-union of Led Zeppelin is likely as vocalist Robert Plant is reluctant even with a rumoured $200m payday. Windsor-based Page's two companies, Classicberry and Succubus Music, showed over £16.8m net assets in 2008-09 with £13.2m cash in the bank. We value Page at £75m.


25. Neil Record, 59 - Finance - £67m

A former Bank of England economist, Neil record has built Windsor-based Record into a world, beating company offering currency investment and hedging services. Record started the company in 1983 with £100 of his own money and a £20,000 loan. He floated the company in November 2007 valued at over £354m. Record's stake is now worth £34m. With some £33m in after-tax proceeds from share sales and other assets, Record is easily worth £67m.

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