The Rich List: The 50 Wealthiest People in Kent
5th October 2018
Philip Beresford, former compiler of the Sunday Times Rich List, shares with us the Garden of England’s richest millionaires
Our county’s rich have never had it so good. The Garden of England’s 50 wealthiest millionaires – whether living or born here – shows that over the last eight years of recession, they’ve collectively added nearly £1billion to their wealth, taking them to over £4.7billion.
Four of our top 50 have made it from Folkestone-based Saga, the travel insurance group catering to Britain’s growing mature population, while celebrity wealth sprinkles our list in the shape of those with a Kent birthright – including Rolling Stones’ Sir Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. Then there are also singer Kate Bush and A-list Hollywood star Orlando Bloom.
But most of the list consists of local entrepreneurs or family-owned operations, vital for continued local prosperity and jobs. Encouragingly, 36 of our 50 have made their own way in this world – so there’s hope for the rest of us not so rich Kentish folk!
Read on to see who makes our list, usually by virtue of their company assets, which we value somewhat conservatively.
No 48=: £30m
Stephen 10/11/1957 & Jackie Taylor 07/01/1955
Stephen Taylor and his wife Jackie have run Maidstone-based Winterwood Farms since 1978. From small beginnings of 1ha, the company now has 16 farms in four countries (South Africa, Poland, France and UK), and deals with soft fruit. Winterwood was one of the first to grow raspberries and blackberries in polytunnels, and its packhouse is the largest dedicated soft fruit packhouse in the world. It’s also the largest supplier of soft fruit to UK supermarkets from one site, and serves customers such as Tesco, Waitrose, M&S and Co-op. Owned by the Taylors, Winterwood must be worth £30million on the back of a record £4million profit on £48.7million sales in 2016-17. The Taylors take little out of the business, preferring to plough the profits into investment for the future.
No 48=: £30m
Bryan Lynch 08/11/1954 & Family
Irishman Bryan Lynch founded Floplast, a highly-regarded manufacturer and supplier of plastic plumbing and construction systems to the construction industry. Originally operating from rented premises, Floplast bought and renovated an old four-acre BT Engineering works site in 1994, but growing fast, it later developed a 12-acre site on the Eurolink Business park site in Sittingbourne in 2003. Floplast’s profits hit a record £6million on £64.8m sales in 2016. With £36million of assets and a wonderful balance sheet, the robust operation is worth £60million. Lynch and his family have over half the shares, and should be valued at £30million.
No 48=: £30m
Orlando Bloom 13/01/1977
A-list actor Orlando Bloom is starring as a crooked Texas cop on the London stage in a dark play, Killer Joe, where he also has a nude scene. Best-known for his role as Legolas in the Lord of the Rings franchise, and Will Turner in the Pirates of the Caribbean films, Bloom was born in Canterbury. His first role was as a rent boy in the 1997 film Wilde. He made around £21million for his role in the three Pirates films. In all his films have garnered over $4.6billion at the box office worldwide. His company T 12 Ltd showed a healthy £3million net assets in 2016. The website Hollyworth.com puts Bloom’s worth at £26million in 2010. We add £4million for his more recent earnings.
No 47: £31m
Trevor Wells 15/08/1959
Canterbury-based Halsion Holdings designs and installs heating, lighting, ventilation, power and other vital services for construction projects. It’s been in the business for over 20 years, and with a strong reputation for quality, has also delivered healthy profits. The company made nearly £9.4million profit on £42.2million sales in 2016-17. Trevor Wells, a director, owns a 51% stake in the £60million operation.
No 46: £32m
Peter Tory 05/01/1939 & James Tory 15/02/1973
Folkestone-based Pentland Homes has been building quality homes and developments since the 1960s. It reckons to be Kent’s premier new home builder, and has been growing rapidly in recent years, with profits jumping to a record £4.3million on £29.1million sales in 2016-17. The company has a strong balance sheet, and boasts £19.1million of net assets. It should easily be worth £35million on these figures. The Tory family, led by Peter and James, have over 90% of the shares. With other assets such as Pentland Golf, we value the family at £32million with past dividends etc.
No 45: £34m
Josephine Green 25/12/1944 & Family
Industry: Construction and property
Josephine Green is a director of Henry Streeter, a Westerham-based property operation and producer of concrete aggregates. The business was recently reorganised and it doesn’t produce full accounts, but its two main subsidiaries show over £34million assets in 2016-17, and we value the overall business and the Green family at that level.
No 40=: £35m
Glen Obee 27/09/1963 & Gary Obee 28/11/1961 & Thomas Obee 15/07/1968
Industry: Car sales
Tom Obee founded the Motorline Group in 1972 as a car dealer, and its first franchise opened in Canterbury in 1976. Today, it has 51 dealerships across the South East, the South West, South Wales and the Midlands. The company represents 10 quality automotive brands, including Volkswagen, Lexus, Renault, Dacia, Hyundai, Peugeot, ŠKODA, Nissan, Maserati and Toyota. Tom’s sons, led by chairman Glen Obee, and his brothers Gary and Tom as joint managing directors, run the business. In 2016-17, it made £3.8million profit on £552million sales. With £20.4milliion of assets, it’s a £35million operation.
No 40=: £35m
Jonathan Neame 30/01/1964 & Family
Industry: Brewing and pubs
Shepherd Neame is Britain’s oldest brewer. The business dates back to 1698, when a mayor of Faversham, Captain Richard Marsh, founded a brewery. It was in 1859 when the Neame family became involved, former chairman Bobby Neame’s great grandfather buying into the business. Its beers, notably its Spitfiire ale, is selling well, and it’s the only brewery in the UK to still use oak tuns for production. It also has 322 pubs. Fifth-generation family member Jonathan Neame is chief executive. He’s a qualified barrister and former management consultant. The business is quoted on the junior NEX exchange, and valued at £164million. Three trusts have over 20% of the shares, and we assume that these are held for the Neame family. The company website says it’s a family business with a strong family involvement. In 2016-17, Shepherd Neame turned in a near £11.8million profit on £156.1million sales. The wider Neame family stake should be worth around £35million. Jonathan Neame is representing the family here.
No 40=: £35m
Christopher Hanson-Abbott 26/01/1934 & Philip Hanson-Abbott 26/06/1959
On a busy street in Tokyo, Chris Hanson-Abbott heard a noise that was to change his life – and save countless others. It came from the rear of a small truck that was reversing: \"I saw this thing backing towards me, emitting a horrible beeping sound,\" says Hanson-Abbott, who was a City shipbroker at the time. “I thought, This is a fantastic idea.” He promptly quit his job and tracked down the inventor of the reversing alarm, Matsusaburo Yamaguchi, head of Yamaguchi Electric Industry, and asked if he could sell the product. \"It was Yamaguchi’s first export inquiry, so he was delighted,” he adds. “He sent me £10,000 to develop and promote the device in Europe.” The result was Brigade Electronics, established in 1976, to specialise in the development of reversing safety equipment for commercial vehicles. The company, based in South Darenth, near Sevenoaks, Kent, made a healthy £4million on £36million sales in 2016-17. A strong balance sheet and £11.4million assets suggest a valuation of around £35million. It’s owned by Christopher and Philip Hanson-Abbott.
No 40=: £35m
Simon Dawson 27/01/1971 & Family
Industry: Commercial vehicles
MCG Holdings, a commercial vehicle specialist, was started in 1987 with the acquisition of its first dealership at Maidstone. Since those early days, the company has expanded and become a national commercial vehicle service provider and asset management company. It has over 3,000 vehicles and nine locations across the south of England. Trading as MC Group, it made a healthy £6.4million profit on £105million sales in 2016. With over £23million of assets, it should be worth £35million. The business is owned and run by Simon Dawson.
No 40=: £35m
Kate Bush 30/07/1958
In 1978, Kate Bush burst onto the pop scene aged 19 with Wuthering Heights, which spent four weeks at number one. A doctor’s daughter born in Bexleyheath, she spent hours from the age of 10 playing an old organ and writing songs. She was signed at 16 by EMI when a family friend in the record business arranged for a demo tape to be made. But after her seventh album, The Red Shoes, released in 1993, she dropped out of sight for many years, until her eighth album, Aerial, was released in 2005. Bush released on her own label, Fish People, her ninth studio album, Director’s Cut, in 2011. She then released in November 50 Words for Snow. This hit the top ten in several European territories, including the UK and Germany. Bush now controls the rights to her own new recordings, and also the rights recently reverted to her for a series of her EMI albums. In 2014, she announced her first live concerts in several decades: A 22-night residency called Before the Dawn in London, at the Hammersmith Apollo. Tickets sold out in 15 minutes. Bolstered by the publicity around her performances, she became the first female performer to have eight albums in the Official UK Top 40 Albums Chart simultaneously. An eponymous three-disc album of recordings from Before the Dawn was released in 2016. With her £2.5million home in the country and her record sales, Bush is easily worth £35million.
No 39: £36m
Michael Head 19/03/1943 & Family
Crown Products (Kent), a furniture producer, began life as a manufacturer of children\'s wooden toys in South West London in 1946. It relocated to Herne Bay in 1958, and developed as a specialist furniture company in the 1960s. Since the 1980s, it’s grown into one of the top kitchen and bedroom furniture companies. The business is chaired by Michael Head and his wider family, and trusts have around 60% of the shares. In 2016-17, Crown made a £1.3million profit on £59.4million sales. With a solid balance sheet and £19.4million net assets, it should easily be worth £20million on these figures, valuing the Head family stake at around £12million. But a separate Head family company, EL Head, is a much more profitable operation, and in 2016-17 made a £3million profit on showed £26.8million assets. EL Head should easily be worth £30million in the current climate. The Head family and family trusts own around 70%, worth £21million. With past salaries and other assets, we reckon the Head family is worth £36million.
No 37=: £37m
William King 27/03/1955 & Family
Industry: Car sales
WJ King Garages – based in Welling – is one of the fastest growing Vauxhall, Peugeot, Kia, Hyundai, Seat and Suzuki dealers in the South East. It has sites across locations in Kent and South East London. William King is head of the family-owned operation, which in 2016-17 made a £562,00 profit on £115.2million sales. With nearly £37million net assets, it’s worth that sum.
No 37=: £37m
Sir Bob Geldof 05/10/1951
Industry: Internet and music
The former Boomtown Rat frontman last year handed back his Freedom of Dublin, in protest at the tarnished Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who’d also received the award. But when the city’s councillors voted to strip the award from Suu Kyi, they didn’t restore Geldof to the roll of honour. “I’m absolutely disgusted,” Geldof said at the decision. He will probably always be best known for spearheading the Live Aid concerts, which he launched back in the 1980s. His wealth today includes a £25million stake in Castaway TV, maker of the hugely successful reality show, Survivor. The business showed £4.6million profit in 2015-16, but is now being voluntarily wound up. He owned a 10% stake in Zinc Media Group, a London TV production company, he co-founded. But he has now stepped down as chairman, and is no longer listed as a shareholder. He also had a one-third stake in Planet 24 TV. Its sale in 1999 netted Geldof £6million. His main company Bcraft shows assets of £1.4million. He has a home in Battersea, and also owns Kent’s Davington Priory, which dates back to the 12th century.
No 30=: £40m
Hilary Riva 03/04/1957
No longer running the British Fashion Council as chief executive – where she was awarded an OBE for her sterling work during her five year-stint – Riva has been helping out in her home town of Faversham. She chairs the Alexander Centre Trust, which aims to provide affordable business, educational, social and networking spaces to residents, community groups and firms. Much of the success of London Fashion Week is down to her. Riva herself fell into fashion by mistake. After leaving grammar school at 18 with three A-levels, she intended to work in languages. Instead, the employment agency that she applied to sent her to work in Debenhams, where she became a clerk in the merchandising department. She hated it initially, but within a few months, she’d realised that she had found her vocation. She then moved to Topshop and started her ascent of the management ladder. By 1998, she was MD of Evans, Principles and Racing Green, and held similar senior positions in the trade over the next three years. She co-led a management buyout of the Principles, Warehouse, Racing Green and Hawkshead brands from Arcadia Group in 2001. In a complex deal, the senior management of Rubicon eventually gained 100% of the company’s equity, with 90% held by five directors for a total cost of around £1million. By 2004, Riva showed her mettle and turned a £9million operating loss into a £20million profit. The directors hit the jackpot in 2005, when the business was sold for £140million to the Shoe Studio Group, the company behind footwear brands such as Pied à Terre and Chelsea Cobbler. Riva made over £40million in sale proceeds. She remains active in business as a director of Faversham brewer Shepherd Neame and Asos, the online fashion business.
No 30=: £40m
Gerry Pack 23/05/1953 & Family
Industry: Hotel booking
Holiday Extras is the brainchild of Gerry Pack. He worked for 14 years at Saga, the Folkestone-based holiday group, when his boss asked him to look at how the company dealt with customers who needed overnight stays in airport hotels. When he discovered that the existing system was unwieldy and costing Saga a lot of money, Pack had a sudden inspiration. He says: “I thought that if we’d been doing that badly, even though we had been selling holidays since 1955, then what was everyone else doing? So, I rang some travel agents and asked them how they booked airport hotel rooms for customers.” It was a revelation. He says: “I discovered that the only thing the agents had in common was that they all hated doing it. They had to ring lots of hotels, and often bookings went wrong, because the prices were always different. And they hardly ever received commission. So, I thought there could be an opportunity here. I could devise a win-win-win formula.” So, it proved eventually. At first, Pack couldn’t afford to give up his old job at Saga, and continued to work there for more than a year, keeping his fledgling business secret from colleagues, and doing the accounts and paperwork for the then Apple Booking Company in the evenings and at weekends. His double life only ended when his boss at Saga asked him to look after its travel-agent business. Pack realised that he faced a conflict of interest, and left to work for Apple full-time. The company was soon able to move into offices of its own, and gradually added more hotels, and then travel insurance, airport car parks, and airport lounges to the extras that it sold. Renamed Holiday Extras, the Hythe-based business was largely owned by Pack and his family. He sold a 37% stake in the business to a management buyout team for £24million in early 2005. The Pack family retained 49%, worth £30million at the time. In 2016-17, the company made a £2.7million profit on £304million sales. Pack retired as chairman in 2009, but remains a non-executive director. His son Matthew is chief executive officer. The business should now be worth £40million. The Pack family has over half of the business After-tax, and allowing for the previous share sale, the Pack family should be worth £40million
No 30=: £40m
Simon Miles 07/03/1960 & Jon Miles 14/01/1963
Industry: Waste services
In 2007, the Irish waste group Greenstar bought Sevenoaks-based Verdant Waste for an undisclosed sum. Verdant, one of Britain’s biggest privately-owned waste management and recycling businesses, had been owned by brothers Simon and Jon Miles, and before the sale went through, the Sunday Times reported that it had a £50million price tag. The Miles brothers successful track record in the waste management arena started when they bought and developed a healthcare waste management company, prior to selling it to London Waste in 1998. The brothers then bought Ecovert, another waste group, in 2002 from Saur, the French utility group became Verdant. With no thought of retiring, they now run and own Valens Resources Group, a waste metal recoverer, which made a £1.5million loss on £19.5million sales in 2016-17. The Miles brothers should be worth £40million easily after tax and reinvestment of sales proceeds.
No 30=: £40m
Michael McGuirk 22/08/1942 & Family
Sevenoaks-based property company Ramac Holdings (Trading) turned in a useful £1.4million profit on £8.5million sales in 2016-17. It has a record £47million net assets and a solid balance sheet. Michael McGuirk, a director, and his trusts own most of the shares in the low-key operation, which is worth its net asset figure.
No 30=: £40m
Peter Holm 09/05/1958 & Family
Founded in 1952, BATT Cables is the oldest cable distributor in the UK. Based at Erith, its cables range across the industrial spectrum, from fibre optics for telecoms, to 33kv power cable, twin-and-earth and flexible mines and quarries cables. This enables the company to respond quickly to client needs, whether in Britain or worldwide. Peter Holm, chairman, and his family own most of the business, which made nearly £5million profit on £37.6million sales in 2016-17. With nearly £48million net assets, it’s worth £60million. The Holm family should be worth £40million.
No 30=: £40m
Trevor Heathcote 30/05/1965 & Family
Trevor Heathcote came from a humble background on a Kent farm. He went on to study agriculture, and at the age of 19, showed his entrepreneurial flair by forming his first business, Farm and General Services, in 1984, providing agricultural contracting services to the farming community in rural Kent. The business grew steadily, offering utility contracting services to the agricultural and construction sectors. With his agricultural roots, Trevor saw benefits of composting waste materials, and returning these to land to improve soil quality. His first composting business was set up in 1996. Seeing further gaps in the market for waste collection and disposal services, Trevor has since expanded, and now owns five companies. Some are subsidiaries of others, but we can see three Ashford-based businesses making over £4million profit on £77million sale, and displaying £29million of assets between them in 2016-17. All are owned by Heathcote and his family. They should easily be worth £40million.
No 30=: £40m
Danny Chaney 14/08/1976 & Victoria Chaney 03/04/1980
Aylesford-based BLU 3 (UK) provides services to many of Britain’s largest building projects, working as a subcontractor for big companies. It also works independently as a main contractor for local councils and other clients. Its recent projects have included moving Snowdonia’s overhead power lines underground. It also has work worth £7m a year replacing the Victorian water mains in Southeast London. The company was founded in 2004 by managing director Danny Chaney. Sales have grown to £98.4million, with profits of £4.8million in 2016-17. Chaney and his wife Victoria own all of the £40million business. Chaney is a leading supporter of medical charities through sponsored cycle rides over long distances.
No 25=: £45m
John Talbot 16/03/1942
Industry: Transport services
A chemical engineer by trade, John Talbot started his Highway Care operation in 1976. Initially, the Maidstone-based business specialised in motorway and trunk road weed control and mobile traffic management. In 1990, it expanded into supplying specialist road safety products and services for use on motorways, high-speed trunk roads and lower-speed municipal roads. In 2016, Highway Care made a record £6million profit on £27.3million sales on the back of its high-quality and innovative products. It should be worth £45million on these figures. The Talbot family owns the business.
No 25=: £45m
Lee Rowswell 05/12/1973 & Neil Rowswell 14/10/1975
Industry: Construction services
Rochester-based GKR was launched in 1979 by Graham Rowswell, and offers a comprehensive scaffolding service. The award-winning company is growing sharply, and made a healthy £7.1million profit on £28million turnover in 2016. It’s now run by his sons, Lee and Neil, who are also the major shareholders. With an impressively strong balance sheet and over £14million assets, this is a £45million operation.
No 25=: £45m
Stuart Howard 01/05/1962
Industry: Travel and insurance
Accountant Stuart Howard was group finance director for Saga. He retired from the board in 2015. A rugby-playing former advertising executive, Howard is quiet and impeccably polite: ‘the grannies would mob him’ if he went on a Saga cruise, as one paper put it. His good fortune can be tracked back to 2004, when he was part of a management buyout team at Saga, with senior colleagues backed by private equity. The team and its 2,000-plus staff received a combined stake of about 20% in return, for an investment of about £2m, with Howard taking a 4% share. In June 2007, it merged with the AA to create a £6.2billion Acromas group. The deal valued Howard’s stake at around £50million. With his past proceeds and two small Tunbridge Wells-based companies with £1.6million of assets, Howard should be worth £45million after tax.
No 25=: £45m
Tim Bull 15/07/1958
Industry: Travel and insurance
Tim Bull is the former marketing director of Saga, the Folkestone-based holidays-to-finance group aimed at the over-50s. He was on the board from 1988 to 2007 and took part in the 2004 management buyout of the business. The management team and its 2,000-plus staff received a combined stake of about 20%, in return for an investment of about £2million, with Bull taking a 4% share. In June 2007, it merged with the AA to create Acromas, a £6.2billion group. The deal valued Bull’s stake at around £50million. Bull continued as a non-executive director at Saga until 2015. He now chairs the board of trustees for the Kent Community Foundation, which helps vulnerable people locally. He also runs the Brook Trust, a privately-funded grant-making charity, which focuses on support for victims of domestic and sexual abuse, and early intervention projects. After tax and charitable work, Bull should be worth £45million.
No 25=: £45m
Kevin Batley 25/08/1954 & Nigel Batley 21/06/1957 & Family
Industry: Business services
Dartford-based Sahara Holdings started out as a typewriter company back in the 1920s. Today it distributes cutting edge Audio Visual solutions and software to the education, health, public and corporate sectors. With Kevin Batley as managing director, and Nigel Batley as financial director, Sahara continues to grow from strength to strength. It made £5.7m profit on £47.7m turnover in 2016 and showed nearly £10m net assets. Owned by the Batleys, it is a £45m operation.
No 24: £48m
Industry: Divorce settlement
Beverley Charman is regularly in the news locally in Sevenoaks over her sterling work as chair of the Magistrates bench. It was way back in 1976 that she married John Charman when she was working in the civil service as an inspector in what is now the Department for Work and Pensions. Her husband had gone into insurance, starting as a junior clerk at Sturge, a Lloyd’s of London underwriting firm. He prospered and became one of the leading figures in the insurance world, building a £131m fortune. Beverley Charman was awarded £48m in the biggest divorce award in British legal history. She was married to John Charman for 29 years so the settlement in August 2006 equates to almost £1.5m per year of marriage. The award was made in the family division of the High Court in London and came after Mrs. Charman had asked for 50 per cent of her husband’s fortune and had rejected an initial offer of £20m as too little. The judge finally settled on a £48m award.
No 21=: £50m
Yalipray Osman 07/03/1951 & Salik Osman 18/12/1980 & Family
A family-run business, Bromley-based Skillcrown was launched in 1993 by Yalipray Osman as a conversion specialist during the recession. It was a risky undertaking in the depths of the then recession but the company thrived and celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. Now a multi-purpose developer, it made a record £7.5m profit on £30.5m sales in 2016-17. Salik Osman, Yalipray’s son, has been involved in the business since 2009 and took on the role as Managing Director in 2010. Since then Skillcrown has taken on some of its biggest projects, including two hotels and developments for some of the largest Housing Associations in the UK. With a strong balance sheet and nearly £16m of assets it is a £50m operation.
No 21=: £50m
Dennis Pay 14/09/1942 & Family
Paydens, a Maidstone-based pharmaceuticals-to-grocery operation, was established in 1969. It is also one of the UK’s largest pharmaceutical wholesalers. It has grown through offering a top class service to customers including a medication healthcheck in some of its outlets. Other services offered by the chain include smoking cessation support, pregnancy and cholesterol testing, and syringe and needle exchange schemes. Pay chairs the family-owned operation which made nearly £2.25m profit on £146.1m sales in 2016-17 when its assets stood at £46.2m. On these figures, Paydens is worth around £50m.
No 21=: £50m
John Paul Jones 03/01/1946
The former Led Zeppelin bass guitarist and rock legend, Jones has not had a high profile career since the demise of Led Zep. A versatile musician, Jones also plays guitar, koto, lap steel guitars, autoharp, ukulele, sitar, cello, and the three over-dubbed recorders heard on the Led Zeppelin signature tune “Stairway to Heaven”. Born in Sidcup, Jones started playing piano at the age of six, learning his keyboard skills from his father, Joe Baldwin. Jones joined his first band, The Deltas, at 15 and in 1968 Jones joined his friend Jimmy Page in what was to become Led Zeppelin. After the band split following the death of drummer John Bonham in 1980, Jones has collaborated with a number of artists. Jones has two main companies: JPJ Communications and the separate Cap Three company with £2.7m assets in 2016-17 (a sharp fall from previous years). With Led Zeppelin now being less precious about their back catalogue and its uses in advertising or in downloads, Jones’ past earnings should give him wealth of around £50m.
No 20: £51m
Paul Firmin 19/07/1944 & Ian Firmin 23/07/1947 & Family
Paul and Ian Firmin are respectively chairman and a director of Alan Firmin, a Maidstone-based farming to haulage and warehousing group which dates back to 1927 when their father Alan took delivery of a Ford truck to take livestock to market. Its slogan is “Trust in Firmin” and for over 80 years its blue chip customers across the UK and Europe have done just that. Its orchards regularly win prizes for top quality fruits from supermarkets and the like. The family-owned business made a £1.1m loss on £24.6m sales in 2016-17, but it has nearly £51.3m assets and should be worth that sum.
No 19: £55m
Leon Aichen 01/04/1941 & Family
Industry: Food distribution
Dartford-based AG Thames is run by Leon Aichen and owned by his family. Started in the early 1970s, it imports, packages and markets produce mainly to British and European supermarkets. The company also runs Solstor UK, a pan-European haulage business transporting goods ranging from chilled food to pharmaceutical supplies. The 2015-16 accounts show a £4.3m profit on £260.2m sales and net assets of nearly £35.5m. It is easily worth £50m and an £8m dividend last year take the Aichens to £55m with ease.
No 17=: £60m
Malcolm Friday 17/07/1951 & Andrew Friday 22/08/1957
Industry: Egg production
Malcolm and Andrew Friday run Fridays which has grown to be one of the three biggest egg producers and packers in Britain. Originally it simply produced freshly laid eggs to supermarkets but it has expanded into chilled products and has recently invested £2m to cater for demand from sandwich bars etc. Its chilled products now account for 25% of the Cranbrook company’s turnover. The business is run and owned by the Fridays and their families. In 2016 it made nearly £5m profit on £49.1m sales. With £44.6m net assets and a very strong balance sheet it is £60m business. The Friday family take little out of the company.
No 17=: £60m
Barry White 24/11/1962 & Sara White 19/08/1965
Bromley-based Purelake Group calls itself the distinctive developer and it works in South East London and North Kent primarily on brownfield sites. Founded by Barry and Sara White over 25 years ago, it has built a reputation for innovation in its projects. In 2016 Purelake’s profits soared to a record £17.4m on £24m turnover. It has a solid balance sheet and over £52m of assets. The business and the Whites should be worth £60m.
No 16: £61m
Peter Waddell 29/03/1966
Industry: Car sales
Glaswegian Peter Waddell was a Barnardo’s boy placed in care at an early age. When he left school, Waddell worked for a while as a chef before moving to London where he bought his first car, a Nissan Bluebird, for £250 and became a minicab driver. He drove day and night, earning money that he used to purchase cars at auction. The car dealing was a part-time business, but Waddell’s stock soon seemed to encroach on every spare metre of space in his street, so he relocated to Kent in 1983 and bought a small car showroom with space for 20 cars. Buying and selling cars had become his full-time occupation. In 2004 he bought a large site in West Malling, trading under the Big Motoring World name. The business boomed and with further developments, a 21-acre site was acquired in 2016. This new location is the flagship branch with plans to display over 3,000 quality prestige cars. Rather than driving to auctions, he now flies a helicopter with the registration GP WAD. The parent company for his expanding operation is Peter Waddell Holdco. The Canterbury-based business showed an impressive £60.8m net assets in 2016-17 when it chalked up a near £1m profit. Waddell owns all the £61m operation.
No 15: £65m
Chris Boyiantzeas 09/01/1955
Industry: Motorbike parts
Dartford-based Bike Alert is one of the leading suppliers to the motorcycle industry world-wide. It is the brainchild of founder, engineer Chris Boyiantzeas. Fresh out of university, the Greek Cypriot-born Boyiantzeas came to England in 1976 and started Bike Alert four years later. Its products come from top class factories in Thailand and have built up a high reputation for quality. Bike Alert supplies world-wide to more than 50 countries. In 2016 it made a healthy £9.3m profit on £18.8m sales. With £34.6m net assets it is an £80m operation. Boyiantzeas has a £63m stake. Other assets should add £2m.
No 14: £85m
Pat Gallagher 19/04/1949 & Family
The Grand Designs House of the Year was built using materials from Pat Gallagher’s construction empire. Caring Wood, a property inspired by historic oast houses was built in the Kent countryside, using tiles, cladding and ragstone from Gallaghers’ aggregates business. Irishman Pat Gallagher has built up a stable of Maidstone-based construction businesses into Kent’s premier building, civil engineering, quarrying and property operation. Recent projects have ranged from housebuilding and retail parks, to constructing railway embankments and Royal Mail depots. Gallagher Group, his main group, made £5m profit on £60m sales in 2016-7. We can see other companies including Gallagher Aggregates and Gallagher Holdings (Kent) with £36m net assets between them. With past dividends Pat Gallagher and his family should easily be worth £85m.
No 13: £115m
Bill Brett 26/04/1965 and family 18/11/1966
Bill Brett chairs Canterbury aggregates business Robert Brett, which made a £11.9m profit on £184.8m sales in 2016. There is a strong balance sheet, with nearly £104m of net assets. Started back in 1909 by a Robert Brett, it is still owned by the Brett family, and should easily be worth £110m. Dividends and other assets add £5m to Brett and his family.
No 12: £125m
John Elkington 26/05/1963
John Elkington is benefiting from the renaissance of Battersea, with the vast power station redevelopment and new US embassy and tube extension. He set up his Penhurst Properties back in 1987 with the purchase of a flat in Tooting. As house prices plummeted in the early 90s Elkington went on a sizable acquisition program and his company now has more than 300 properties. Most of his assets are in desirable parts of London, such as Battersea, Wimbledon and Clapham. However, most of these properties are worth around £500,000 - suggesting that he is well set to avoid the declines in value of properties worth more than £1m. Profits came in just under £5m in 2015-16, but the company’s assets grew to £92m. Kent-based Elkington and his trust owns it all. Penhurst has also acquired 20 commercial properties, including business centres in London and Tonbridge. With other assets, this savvy London property investor is now worth at least £125m.
No 11: £140m
Judith Wilson 28/05/1950 & Fergus Wilson 23/08/1948
Fergus Wilson and his wife Judith, both former teachers, became well known for their vast empire of buy-to-let properties in Ashford, Maidstone and Folkestone. In 2016 the pair announced the sale of half of their 900 properties for around £125m - with 350 being grabbed by foreign buyers and another 50 by tenants. The Wilsons met while training as teachers at Goldsmiths College, London, in the late Sixties. In the early 1990s the Wilsons were marking maths homework and writing school reports at a Blackheath comprehensive but in 1992 Judith Wilson gave up her job to concentrate on property. Fergus joined her and they came to public attention at the height of the buy-to-let bonanza in 2006. Their empire came close to collapse in the 2008 financial crisis but they survived and prospered again. Taking account of tax and disposal fees, they should have walked with at least £65m from the 2016 sale. Taking account of the other half of the estate should take the buy-to-let king and queen to £140m.
No 10: £152m
Dennis Paulley 28/02/1929 & Family
Industry: Property and investments
Paulley was well known in the 1980s running property auctions for the Kent estate agency, Ward and Partners, which he chaired. Today he has a £105m stake in the Prudential financial group as well as shares worth £7.7m in other quoted companies, and a portfolio of rental properties worth £18.4m. Other assets take the Paulley family to £152m.
No 9: £153m
Raj Manak 23/10/1966
Stanmore’s name stems from the part of Middlesex where it was founded 60 years ago. The business moved to Erith
in 2007 - but this upmarket specialist sub-contractor didn’t change its name. It specialises in dry lining, facades, glazing and metalwork for building jobs across London and the South East. Raj Manak became the owner and managing director of the business in the year 2000. In 2016-17 Stanmore’s parent company, the Akaal Group, made a record £22.2m profit on £123.3m sales. Manak owns all the operation, which we now value at £150m. Dividends and other wealth add £3m.
No 8: £164m
Michael Conway 08/01/1955
Michael Conway became managing director of his father’s business 37 years ago. Back then FM Conway was a Kent-based highway maintenance business. It has now diversified into building maintenance, civil engineering and lighting. FM Conway, based in Dartford, recycles the waste from its road surfacing operation and turns it into concrete for use on its sites after careful preparation and sorting. FM Conway profits hit a record £23.5m on £252.5m sales in 2016-17. With nearly £75m net assets, it should easily be worth £150m and is owned by Conway and his family. Dividends and other assets add £14m, taking the Conways to £164m.
No 7: £195m
Andrew Goodsell 04/01/1959
Industry: Insurance and travel
Andrew Goodsell announced last year he would be leaving the helm of Saga, the cruise-to-insurance group. The former Lloyds of London underwriter joined Saga as a business development manager in 1992, rising through the ranks to become chief executive and then chairman. He acquired a reputation for closely following the habits of his grey-haired clientele, spending 10 days on Saga cruises a year and penning a column in the group’s magazine. Goodsell led an initial management buyout and a later private-equity takeover which gave him £144m of proceeds - although he reinvested £36m back in the business. When the business floated on the stock market in 2014 Goodsell picked up a £5m bonus; but he is thought to have made a grand total of £80m from the Saga float. Although the shares have fallen sharply since he announced he was disembarking the Saga ship, he retains a stake worth £10.1m. Past salaries and other assets take Goodsell to £195m.=
No 6: £200m
Lord Alli 16/11/1964
Lord Alli’s media company Silvergate is behind the children’s hit TV show Octonauts, which has been exported to more than 100 countries. The London-based operation last year signed a contract to make programmes for Netflix. Alli, who is one the country’s only openly gay Muslims, made his first fortune running the Planet 24 TV business. He netted £6m from its 1999 sale. Today he has a £35m stake in Castaway Television Productions, the maker of Survivor. He also built a children’s TV business, Silvergate Media, where a 51% stake was sold in April 2015 for around £40m. Alli stepped down as chairman of online retailer Asos in 2012, having made £40m from share sales there. He floated Koovs, an Indian equivalent of online fashion retailer Asos, in London back in 2014. He is chairman of the business, last year waived his £100,000 salary and holds 19.2% stake worth £3m - down £21m in a year. The Asian media entrepreneur is considered Britain’s first openly gay peer. With property including a Kent mansion and other assets, Alli should be worth £200m.
No 5: £218m
Moni Varma 21/01/1949
Industry: Food production
Varma founded Rochester-based Veetee Rice back in 1987 shortly after arriving in Britain from Malawi. He initially wanted to make money in the steel industry, but he changed direction when a relative asked him to import rice into the UK. It is now the largest supplier of own-brand rice to the UK retail market, exports to 30 countries and supplying to Waitrose, Asda, J Sainsbury and Tesco. A £200m stock market has been mooted and a rival was sold at a similar price. There were profits of £2.4m on lower sales of £61.4m in 2016. Dividends, a property company and other assets take Varma to £218m.
No 4: £245m
Keith Richards 18/12/1943
“A great shepherd’s pie. Thank you Manchester”. This was legendary Stones guitarist Keith Richards tweeting before a concert. How the wildman of rock has mellowed. There were times, according to his autobiography when he used to be fuelled by the “breakfast of champions”, a cocktail of heroin and cocaine. While Dartford-born Richards may have left his wild days behind him, the Stones go from strength to strength. In their sixth successive year of touring their 14 gigs in Europe in September and October last year took $120m (£89m) at the box office, according to figures from Pollstar. Richards revealed last year that the septuagenarian rockers were slightly surprised by the success of Blue & Lonesome, the blues album they released in late 2016. This was the band’s first new record for more than a decade and became only the second album of the year to sell more than 100,000 in a week. “I’m really happy with the last album, the blues album,” Richards said earlier this year. “It was one of the things we felt we had to do, but it worked out really great.” The Stones frontman also suggested a follow-up may be in the offing. “We’re working on some new (material) now,” he added. “There’s a new album in the works. We’re slowly putting it together.” Richards, miraculously still alive at 70 after years of drug excesses, is now valued at £245m.
No 3: £257m
Roger Bromley 30/10/1943 & Family
Theresa May has worn the wares of the Kent-based shoemaker Russell & Bromley for many years. Founded in 1873, the business now has 44 stores across the country. Profits slipped to £17.8m on sales of £107.3m in 2016, although the business’s assets rose slightly to nearly £77m. Bromley, the grandson of the founder, chairs the chain, which still remains in family hands either directly or in trust. Russell & Bromley should still be worth £200m. We add £57m for past dividends - including an £11.2m payment last year.
No 2: £260m
Sir Mick Jagger 26/07/1943
The Rolling Stones took nearly £89m at the box office in just 14 shows last year. This was the sixth successive year the septuagenarian rockers have toured, although they are now slimming down their schedule to play a small number of big shows over the summer.. The Stones’ shows in Germany, Holland and Sweden are believed to be the highest grossing shows ever held in those countries. The band have three of the top 20 highest selling tours of all time, which have netted over $1.5bn. As well as lucrative performing, the Stones continue to release new DVDs and special edition music collections from their back catalogues. They have also earned from Exhibitionism, a travelling show documenting their history that has appeared at a number of sites in the United States over the past year. Sir Mick Jagger, the legendary frontman, was born in Dartford, the son of a teacher and hairdresser. He went to primary school with fellow band member Keith Richards and the band was formed in the early Sixties. Today the Stones are world legends and Jagger is the heart of the group. He has been married once and has had eight children by five women. He became a great grandfather in 2014. But the touring income should help pay for the extended family and push him to £260m.
No 1: £890m
Sir Roger De Haan 15/10/1948 & Peter De Haan 24/03/1952
Industry: Travel and insurance
Since selling the family business back in 2004 the De Haans have concentrated on pouring £74m into their hometown of Folkestone. The Kent seaside resort has become home to a creative quarter, renovating 90 buildings and creating 300 jobs. Plans for a seafront development unveiled earlier this year include up to 1,000 beach houses, apartments and town houses, shops, cafés and bars. The De Haan fortune stems from the Saga empire developed by their hotellier father Sidney. Initially specialising in holidays for the over 50s, the group developed to encompass publishing and financial services. De Haan took over the running of the company in 1984 and sold up in a £1.35bn deal in 2004. Today he owns the Folkestone Harbour Holdings, which showed profits of £6.3m in 2016 - down from £10.6m the year before. His brother, Peter, had been finance director, but now runs his own wine business and has a property company, Opus Trust, which showed £23.2m net assets in 2016-17. In addition Roger bought Peter out of some of his shares in an earlier £81m deal. The huge charitable spending clips the de Haan valuation back to £890m this year.