KENT'S RICHEST 50
PUBLISHED: 13:26 18 March 2011 | UPDATED: 00:27 06 February 2013
Here for the fifth year, we bring you the definitive guide to the wealthiest people in Kent
1 Roger, 61 and Peter De Haan, 57
A second Folkestone Triennial will be held in 2011. The first in 2008 was a huge success with public artworks by Tracey Emin, Mark Wallinger and Richard Wentworth installed in the town. It was a Roger de Haan initiative, as was the establishment of a City Academy designed by Norman Foster. De Haan has also employed Foster to masterplan an 800m redevelopment of land around the harbour, which will incorporate the campus of a new university.
However, the area that to date offers the most visible evidence of his largesse is the Old Town. Here, his Creative Foundation has established itself as the principal landlord through the purchase of 80 buildings, many of which were in an advanced state of decay. "Our project has already created or sustained 200 jobs in the creative industries, and hourly earnings, which used to be 15 per cent below the national average are now just two per cent below," says Nick Ewbank, the Foundation's creative director.
De Haan, the former boss of the Saga holiday operation , based in the town, is now trying to turn Folkestone into a new Barcelona. Over the next 10 years the new Folkestone is aiming to have a new harbour on the 14-acre site that De Haan has bought for 11m. Elsewhere in the town will be a sculpture park, a performing arts complex in Tontine Street, and several university buildings created from Victorian warehouses.
De Haan, who still works 50 to 60-hour weeks in "retirement", set up the Creative Foundation to buy run-down properties in the old town. The plan was to renovate them to a high standard and let them to artists at lower-than-commercial rents; the vibrant atmosphere would in turn attract businesses and further investment. To prevent artists from being priced out, they would be given long leases.
The foundation has spent 26m buying and renovating 45 properties, and the continuing operation will be funded increasingly by rental income. The aim is to have 100 properties and 800-900 tenants by the end of 2010.
That De Haan can affords such generosity is due in no small measure to his late father who developed Saga developed out of the family's Folkestone hotel after the war. He filled the rooms off-season with pensioners, and so popular did it prove that he took it forward and developed Saga as a holiday company for the elderly.
Roger De Haan took over the running of the company in 1984 and sold up in October 2004 to a private equity business in a 1.35 billion deal. By then it had developed far beyond its original holiday operation.De Haan was characteristically generous with the proceeds and gave 15m away to staff.
After the deal was completed, many newspapers including the Financial Times and other quality papers talked about De Haan as a billionaire. There were scores of such articles, but we take a slightly more cautious line. After stripping out any debt we allow at least 400m for tax as Roger De Haan has firmly set his back on becoming a tax exile with his commitment to Folkestone.
His brother, Peter, had been finance director, but now runs his own business in wine and marketing. In addition Roger bought Peter out of some of his shares in an earlier 81m deal. So allowing for that 400m tax bill, we reckon the De Haan family should be worth 800m allowing for the huge and continuing commitment to Folkestone.
2 Peter Cullum, 59
It has been a tough time for Peter Cullum and his Maidstone-based Towergate insurance operation. Founded 12 years ago, Towergate made more than 160 acquisitions and grew to become Europe's largest privately-owned insurance intermediary. The onset of the credit crunch has slowed Towergate's growth rate, but it still made 17 smaller acquisitions last year, helping to increase net commission sales to 308.6m in 2008, from gross premiums of more than 2.1 billion.
In all, it made 112.4m earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation during 2008. It refinanced its debts in 2008 but claims to be in a better position than a lot of its rivals, which are likely to have to go through the same pain at some stage.
Cullum started his insurance career in 1969 with Royal Insurance and worked his way up through several companies, including Commercial Union and ITT London and Edinburgh. In 1995, he held the role of group marketing director at Hiscox until he spotted a gap in the market for an underwriting business serving niche markets. He left in 1997 to create Towergate. In February 2008, The Sunday Times reported that Cullum was in discussions with private equity group, Candover, to sell a 25 per cent stake for around 850m. That would have valued Towergate at a staggering 3.4 billion.
But Cullum shows no sign of wanting to sell and the talks ended. He claimed he was "entering the most exciting phase of his career." Cullum has also been generous with his wealth. The Cullum Family Trust, which he endowed with 11.5m in 2007, focuses on poverty relief and the advancement of education and religion. He also gives on an ad hoc basis, supporting hospices to the tune of 100,000 in the past year. Towergate also gave 10m seed fund for Cass Business School, London, to form a new centre for entrepreneurs. The Peter Cullum Centre for Entrepreneurship will provide support and funding to budding moguls, with a focus on the finance sector.
After the refinancing, we reckon that Towergate should be worth around 600m in the current climate after taking account of any debt. That would value Cullum's stake at 345m. With his hefty charitable work, we only add 55m for other wealth and past share sale proceeds.
3 William Brake, 76 and family
Keeping a low profile, William Brake must have watched the 1.3 billion sale of his former business by its private equity owner in June 2007 with interest. But he also reckons it is a 'full-time job' looking after the fortune his family have accumulated from the original 434m sale of the Brake Brothers food distribution business in 2002.
With his two brothers, Brake began his working life in his family's Kent pub after qualifying at catering college. They started a poultry business as a sideline. In 1958, the sideline became full-time with the founding of Brake Brothers. It grew into a company worth 55m when floated on the stock market in 1986.
The Brake family collected around 255m for its stake. But in the current climate, we cut the Brake family back to 210m reflecting the fall in the property and stock markets.
4 Sir Mick Jagger, 66
After the exertions of the two year Bigger Bang tour, which ended in August 2007, the Rolling Stones have been recuperating of late. There is no word yet whether the band will go on the road again, but it will be difficult to beat the 390m gross box office receipts achieved in the tour. In all the Stones have generated 1.8 billion in receipts from touring since 1989.
On the recording front, the band signed a new exclusive long-term recording deal with Universal Records in July 2008, which brought their post-Decca catalogue, representing more than 35 years of recordings to the industry market-leader, and also included new recordings. The Stones did release audio and DVD versions of the Martin Scorsese film Shine a Light based around concerts from the Bigger Bang tour at the Beacon Theatre New York.
The film was premiered in April when the CD was released with the DVD being released in November. In the UK the DVD was placed just outside the top 10 music videos of the year in 2008, but the album did not reach the year's top 100 best-selling albums nor were the Stones among the top 50 best-selling album artists.
Touring is clearly where the money is. For Dartford-born Sir Mick Jagger, the Stones' frontman, has been busy as an ambassador for British music. After the British success at the Grammy awards, he said "it's proving to be a great period for home-grown talent right now. And what's so refreshing is the different styles that have been recognised. Good to see it. Long may it continue."
But despite his money, fame and reputation as a lothario, Jagger will not join many an ageing icon by going under the plastic surgeon's knife, his daughter recently revealed. Clearly Jagger, based in Richmond has considerable wealth despite the absence of any accounts for the Rolling Stones.
As The Times noted: 'the battle-hardened band proved that they are the most ruthless money-making machine in entertainment.' Past royalty earnings, his property and investment portfolio, song rights and the touring income do give Jagger a considerable fortune. But the lack of activity over the last year and the sharp decline in asset values in the recession will take a toll. We cut Jagger back to 190m.
5 Keith Richards, 66
Having celebrated his 65th birthday in December 2008, Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards shows no interest in his bus pass or retirement. Dartford-born Richards is best known as the hell-raising guitarist with the Rolling Stones. While the hell-raising days may now be largely over and Richards is miraculously still alive after them, his work with the Stones continues apace.
In August 2007 the Stones wrapped up the final leg of their latest A Bigger Bang tour at the O2 arena. The tour grossed more than 339m, making it easily the biggest in rock history. But the European leg had to be postponed in May 2006 after Richards underwent brain surgery when he fell out of a palm tree during a holiday in Fiji. He later apologised to fans for the disruption, saying: "Excuse me, I fell off my perch. Sorry to disrupt everyone's plans but now it's full steam ahead. Ouch!"
Despite the income from tours and music deals, the collapse in asset values with the recession and the lack of activity in 2008 means we should value Richards at 175m this year.
6 Jon Moulton, 59
Jon Moulton, the private equity veteran, shocked the City in September hen he quit in September as managing partner of Alchemy, the business he founded. But he has not hung up his boots and set up a new venture called Better Capital. The speed with which Moulton is putting together his new venture - referred to in his resignation letter, which concluded: "I would do it again - but better'' - will surprise the industry. Better Capital will focus on turnaround investments, targeting under-pressure businesses in the UK and Ireland.
Moulton also has a 60m stake in the quoted investment operation, Ashmore Group, where the shares have recovered sharply in 2009. He also sold around 22m worth of shares in Ashmore's 2006 float. Alchemy Partners made 2m profit on 23.2m fee income in the year to June 2008, when its directors' remuneration was 14.7m.
Moulton's share of profits is not disclosed but his wealth was put at 40m in 2000. It was also reported at the time that he had made 40m from the flotation of a high tech company, Bookham Technology. Sevenoaks-based Moulton should be worth 150m today with other assets.
7 Geoffrey Granter, 73
Press reports in June 2008 talked of a possible 150m to 300m value on Swanley-based United House Group in a possible buyout deal with private equity firms. But in the current difficult climate, nothing has yet come of the reported takeover. Geoffrey Granter runs United House, which was founded in 1961.
Recognised as the foremost specialist social housing contractor operating in London and the south east, United House has proven expertise in all aspects of housing construction and maintenance services and leads in the delivery of Partnering, housing PFI and estate and community regeneration. The business has grown sharply by moving from low-margin tendering to higher-value negotiated contracts. It also helps local unemployed people by training them on building projects.
When not working Granter is a regular correspondent on the letters' pages of the FT, writing about the lack of recognition afforded engineers in this country. The company also maintains many of Britain's council estates. Granter has a 90 per cent stake in the business which beat a tough property market to report record figures for 2008. Turnover rose 65 per cent to 179.1m with operating profit up 113 per cent to 13.6m.
United said that the impact of the recession was "negligible". Cautiously we value the business at 120m. Granter's stake is worth 108m. Other assets add 2m.
8 David Bowie, 63
After David Bowie's huge Reality world tour in 2004, he has led a quiet life with no significant career activity in 2008, apart from the release of a historic concert on CD called Live Santa Monica '72. There were also a few major placements in ads for such songs as Heroes for Nike for the Beijing Olympic and Let's Dance for M&S. Reality was his first fully fledged world tour since 1995's Outside World tour. In all the gross receipts for the 100 dates was close to $60m, yielding Bowie a healthy income and reviving interest in his new and old recordings.
It was in 1969 that Bowie, who had left Bromley Tech with an O-level in art, achieved his first hit. After the early years of excess with drugs and alcohol (he has been off both for more than 17 years) Bowie has enjoyed a revival in his career recently. Bowie lives in New York with his wife Iman, a former model. As a result there are no company accounts available.
Despite the longevity of his career, the lack of activity particularly touring, leads our rock expert to cut Bowie back to 10om in the current climate.
9 Andrew Goodsell, 51
Acromas is the name for the company formed from the merger of Saga, the over-50s holidays to insurance group and the AA. The 6.2 billion merger in the summer in 2007 seems to be working well. In 2008-09, Britain's second largest private equity-owned business, reported a 13 per cent leap in top-line operating profits, easing the pressure on its 4.8 billion debt.
Acromas has benefited from continued merger cost savings and robust sales across many of its core products, ranging from breakdown cover to home insurance. Top-line operating profit for the year to 31 January - its first full year as a combined group - reached 547m. Turnover rose 4.4 per cent to 1.6billion.
Andrew Goodsell presides over this growth as chief executive. He joined the Folkestone-based Saga business more than 15 years ago, with a remit to expand the financial services business. Since then he has turned around the entire over-50s holidays to financial services operation business, working first alongside the founding de Haan family and, more recently, private equity Charterhouse Capital Partners.
A youthful 51, Goodsell is something of a Saga-geek. A notable workaholic, he spends his spare time hopping on to Saga cruises to see how passengers are enjoying their experience. That hard work has now been crystallised into a 108m cash payout and 36m in equity and loan notes as a result of the merger with the AA, which he is rolling forward into the enlarged business.
Goodsell insists he is "far too young to consider hanging up my boots'. In the current climate we clip Goodsell back to around 100m after-tax.
10 Peter Bromley, 68 and family
In 2008 profits at Russell & Bromley came in at 11.7m on record sales of nearly 83m. Peter Bromley chairs the chain of quality shoe shops which is actually based in the London suburb of Bromley.
Russell & Bromley began in 1873 when George Frederick Bromley left his home in Hastings to work as a journeyman-shoemaker for prosperous Albion Russell of Lewes. He fell in love with his employer's daughter Elizabeth and in 1874 he married her. Six years later the young couple took over the management of her father's branch shop at Seaside Road, Eastbourne and for the first time, the sign of Russell & Bromley appeared above a shop door. The business moved to Bromley itself in the early part of the 20th century, and still remains in family hands either directly or in trust, with branches all over Britain in shopping centres or high streets.
With 47m net assets and no borrowings, it should easily be worth 70m even in today's awful retail environment. We add 20m for past dividends etc. after-tax.
11 The Brett family
A tough time for Canterbury aggregates business Robert Brett. In 2008, its losses increased from 1.4m to 14.3m though sales only fell slightly by 4m to 182.1m. The company supplies building products, including 5m tonnes of sand and gravel each year and 500,000 cubic metres of ready-mixed concrete.
It all began in 1884 when a Robert Brett worked for a steam and traction engine maker near Canterbury. He worked hard for his initial 3d an hour and soon worked his way up to become an engine driver. After his first employer died, Robert Brett was able to set up his own haulage business. At the time the roads in and around Canterbury were made of surface-picked flints and clinker and the enterprising Brett saw possibilities in road surfacing and construction. He and his small team of workers gathered flints and clinker from farms and gas works, delivering them to the local councils road construction sites.
As demand for building materials grew, Robert Brett pioneered sand and gravel quarrying in East Kent. Robert Brett & Sons was incorporated as a company in 1909. The company was always a leader in the introduction of new technology. In the 1920s it became the first company in the South of England to produce washed gravel and to use steam powered excavators called mechanical navvies.
Today the Brett family still own and run the company. Despite the increased losses, the business has a balance sheet as safe as the Bank of England, with 87.2m of net assets. We value it below the asset figure at 70m in the current climate. The Brett family took over 2m in dividend in 2004 and 2005, the first sizeable payments from the company. The Bretts are worth perhaps 72m.
12 Lord Waheed Alli, 45
Lord Alli, one of the leading lights of British broadcasting, was one of the candidates for the chairmanship of Channel 4 but the post went to an ex-Treasury mandarin instead. But Alli has his hands full anyway in the media world. He chairs Chorion, the media rights group with a stable which includes the rights to Mr Men, Noddy and Enid Blyton characters. It has not suffered in the downturn and is looking to float in 2011 on the back of 13.6m profit on 53.7m sales in 2008-09. Alli also sits on the board of Shine, Elizabeth Murdoch's independent TV production company.
The son of Indo-Caribbean immigrants, Alli left school in South London at 16 and got a job writing about the ups and downs of unit trusts to help support his brothers through school and university. When one of the unit trusts, Save and Prosper, called him in for a job interview he turned up in a 2 white suit from a seconds shop and a ginger stripe in his hair thanks to an ill-timed attempt to go blonde. "I must have looked like something out of Saturday Night Fever, and the man just spoke to my hair for the entire interview. But all credit to them, they gave me the job," he says.
From his first visit to a job centre as a teenager, Alli went on to pioneer youth-focused TV, spearhead reality shows and, at 33, became the youngest and first openly gay member of the Lords. Alli is also agent to TV star Paul O'Grady. With Sir Bob Geldof and Charlie Parsons, his partner, Alli dreamt up the format for Survivor, the desert island TV games show which is still in demand worldwide from eager broadcasters.
Alli made his name originally as managing director of Planet 24, the youth-friendly television production company, which made major hits such as the Big Breakfast. When Planet 24 was sold to Carlton in March 1999, he netted 6m for his one-third stake. He stayed with Carlton until 2000. He has a one-third stake in Castaway Productions, the maker of Survivor, which turned in profits of 3.1m on 6.1m sales in 2007-08.
Alli's stake in Castaway is now worth perhaps 15m. His three per cent stake in Shine is worth around 10m. His stake in Chorion was worth 1.2m before the MBO but as it grows that stake should also grow in value as he gets more shares. In total Alli should now easily be worth 70m in the current difficult climate for media companies.
13 Judith, 59, and Fergus Wilson, 61
Fergus Wilson and his wife Judith Wilson, both former teachers, are better known as the owners of more than 700 properties in Kent around Ashford. But in recent weeks the national press has reported that they may be in some difficulty with many of their properties apparently empty. The Wilsons firmly reject any problems with mortgage arrears but have put their properties up for sale.
The Wilsons met while training as teachers at Goldsmiths College, London, in the late sixties. Neither came from wealthy backgrounds. The son of a Ford car plant foundry worker, Fergus Wilson was raised in an impoverished Essex family after the war. He had eight brothers and sisters, but two died in infancy. Judith Wilson's formative years were spent in rural Northamptonshire. Her grandparents had built up a thriving nursery business, but when her father took control, it failed disastrously, and he was forced to sell for a pittance.
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 soon they were buying properties as fast as they could in the Ashford area and renting them out. During one extraordinary spell, in 2003, the tycoon teachers were acquiring a house every day, and they amassed 180 in that one year. Now, their spree has slowed only slightly, but Fergus Wilson went on record to say: 'It could reach 1,000.'
There is little evidence of assets wealth in 36 companies owned by the Wilsons, including Burwood Properties. The Wilsons reckon the empire was once worth 240m, but in the current climate and stripping out debt should leave them worth 70m now with the recent fall in property prices.
14 Gordon Bonnyman, 65
Gordon Bonnyman is planning a more advisory role at Charterhouse Capital, the private equity firm. The London-based outfit looks in fine fettle and is seeking to raise 3.8 billion from investors for its ninth investment fund. Just how much money private equity firms made for their clients was revealed four years ago when Charterhouse reported that since 1990 it had returned over 4 billion in profit to its investors.
This is nearly twice what investors have put in originally and its shows why Bonnyman is regarded as one of the City's canniest dealmakers. If that means 2 billion profit to investors, the Charterhouse partners are likely to have had 20 per cent of that - or 400m - which will almost certainly have been re-invested in new deals.
Glasgow-born Bonnyman began his career with the Plessey Company in 1968, after gaining an MA from University of St Andrews and an MBA from Columbia University. He celebrated a landmark deal in 2008 when the Charterhouse business nearly doubled its money, on paper, on its Saga investment. Bonnyman owns around 18% of Charterhouse which must mean his share of the profits to 2005 would be 75m.
With the difficult time that private equity groups are having, we cut our valuation of Charterhouse to 100m as profits plunged from a record 37.5m to a small loss in the two years from 2007 to 2009. That values Bonnyman's stake at 18m. With past profits, Kent-based Bonnyman should be worth 60m after-tax.
15 David Instance, 71 and family
David Instance chaired an Ashford-based specialist printing company bearing his name which printed instruction labels and the like for pharmaceutical companies' products. In the spring of 1999, the Instance family made around 50m by selling of 49 per cent of the company (now renamed Inprint Systems). Instance is no longer involved but retained a small stake.
The family also has as 90 per cent stake in Eschmann Holdings, a medical equipment business bought for 11m off the industrial giant, Smiths Group, in 2001. Eschmann made 1.3m profit on 24m sales in 2007-08. It should be worth 15m. Instance also has a 6m stake in Global Tote, a leisure operation, After-tax, and allowing for past dividends etc, the Instance family should still be worth at least 60m.
16 Edmund Hor, 43
In 1982 Edmund Hor came to Britain from Hong Kong, aged 15. He founded a company called Trayport in 1993 to carry out IT contract work. But as he had worked as a commodities and foreign-exchange trader while at university, it was no surprise that the company's first client was an energy broker. This work led to the development of software for online trading of energy, commodities and currency.
He built up Trayport into a leading provider of technology to the European over-the-counter energy markets. It counts interdealer brokers Icap and Tullett Prebon and single-stock futures exchange OneChicago among its customers. In February 2008, Trayport was sold to GFI, the New York-based broker for 75m cash. Hoy, based in Kent, had a 78.5 per cent stake and should have picked up 53m after-tax for his stake. He had many offers for the company but is staying. He recently moved from managing director to product director to help develop new products.
17 Michael Conway, 55 and family
Michael Conway's father came over from Ireland in the 1950s and started his own construction business in 1961. Conway took it over and has expanded it enormously. FM Conway, based in Dartford, is in the enviable position of recycling virtually all is products. It recycles the waste from its road surfacing operation and turns it into concrete for use on its sites after careful preparation and sorting. It works a treat and in 2008-08, FM Conway made a healthy 7.1m profit on 106.7m sales. It should easily be worth 50m and is owned by Conway and his family
18 John Bigwood, 64 and family
Profits at the Oscar Mayer food processing operation fell from 2m to 1.7m in 2007-08 on sales up nearly 11m at 135m. The Erith-based business is run and owned by John Bigwood and his family. It supplies chilled-food to supermarkets such as J Sainsbury. Wm Morrison and Somerfield. Oscar Mayer has been heavily involved in the Be Good to Yourself range at J Sainsbury. It now makes 1m chilled and frozen meals a week exclusively for the supermarket giant, which sells them under its own label. In 2003
Bigwood sold Hygrade Foods, which started life as a butcher's shop in South London but now supplies a range of meat products to supermarkets. Bigwood took over running the business from his father in the mid-1980s. The buyer was Danepak, he Danish food producer. Though no price was disclosed, Hygrade made 7.4m profit on 129.4m sales in 2002-03 and had 30m net assets. We assume the sale price was at least 40m.
We value Oscar Mayer at around 18m on its performance. Bigwood should have had an Hygrade dividend in 1998 and over 13m of Oscar Mayer dividends in the last three years take the Bigwood family to 48m after-tax in the current climate.
19 Beverley Charman, 57
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 in 1976 when she was working in the civil service as an inspector in what is now the Department for Work and Pensions. Her husband John 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 by Mr Justice Coleridge in the family division of the High Court in London came after Beverley 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.
20 John Elkington, 46
John Elkington owns Kent-based Penhurst Properties. Its portfolio of more than 300 properties has a value before borrowings of around 57m. Many are let to Notting Hill Housing which provides a consistent secure income. The strong balance sheet continues to show substantial cash reserves leaving the group well placed for further opportunities. Elkington founded the firm in 1987 with the purchase of one flat in Tooting and then focused on acquiring properties in affluent parts of South London during the recession period of the early 1990s. In all, other assets take Kent-based Elkington to around 48m.
21 Dennis Pay, 67 and 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.
Paydens profits rose from 4.5m to 9.8m on 110.6m sales in 2007-08. Its net assets rose to 45.3m. Dennis Pay chairs the business, which is owned by his family. On its latest figures we value Paydens at around 45m. The Pay family take little out of the company and should be worth that sum.
22 Leon Aichen, 68 and family
Importing fruit for Sainsbury's is one of the activities of Dartford-based AG Thames. The company imports, packages and markets produce mainly to British and European supermarkets. The company recently bought Produce World's fruit subsidiary British & Brazilian. It also runs Solstor UK, a pan-European haulage business with offices in Belgium, Italy and Spain, that transports goods ranging from chilled food to pharmaceutical supplies on its 250 temperature-controlled trailers.
Owned and run by managing director Leon Aichen and his family, other core businesses include Corer UK and Migrant Fruit. The 2007-08 accounts show a 6.5m profit on 242.9m sales and net assets of nearly 30m. The Aichen family owns all the shares in the 40m business.
23 Damian Aspinall, 49
Damian Aspinall is the son of casino operator and zoo owner the late John Aspinall, who died in 2000, leaving around 25m in his will. That money largely went to the upkeep of his two zoos in Kent where he achieved great success in breeding rare animals. Damian Aspinall has proved to be a shrewd businessman in his own right. He is an astute businessman in his own right and he made a fortune in the 1980s property boom. He did this after returning from Australia, where he travelled to at the age of 20 and ended up becoming the country's best-selling encyclopaedia salesman.
He is now very following the family tradition of running gaming clubs and with his best friend and Australia's richest man, Jamie Packer, has set up a joint venture called Aspers, which encapsulates the old-world, aristocratic Aspinalls club in Mayfair, founded by his father and the haunt of Lord Lucan, as well as a flashy new casino in Newcastle, where Wild Wing Wednesdays (free chicken wings at the roulette wheel) are the order of the day. More recently a new 13m Aspers club opened in Swansea's Salubrious Place and signed up 7,000 members in its first week. The Newcastle venue saw its revenues increase by 50 per cent in 2008-09 as 500,000 people passed through its doors . Another has opened in Northampton, while it has planning permission for a fourth on the English Riviera at Bournemouth.
Jersey-based Aspers Group made a 21m loss on 49.5m sales in 2007-08 as it financed the cost of expansion. Aspinall's past property profits and internet deals should take him to a 40m valuation in today's climate.
24 Tim Bull, 51
Tim Bull is marketing director of Saga, the Folkestone-based holidays to finance group aimed at the over 50s. Bull's good fortune can be tracked back to 2004, when Saga chief executive Andrew Goodsell, led a management buyout of Saga with senior colleagues backed by private equity. The team and its 2000-plus staff received a combined stake of about 20 per cent in return for an investment of about 2m, with Bull taking a four per cent share.
In June 2007 it merged with the AA to create a 6.2 billion group. The deal valued Bull's stake at around 50m. In the current climate though we cut that back to 40m.
25 Stuart Howard, 47
Accountant Stuart Howard is finance director of Saga, the Folkestone-based holidays to finance group aimed at the over 50s. A rugby-playing former advertising executive is three years away from qualifying for the company's holidays or financial products.
His good fortune can be tracked back to 2004, when Saga chief executive Andrew Goodsell, who will head the merged business, led a management buyout of Saga with senior colleagues backed by private equity. The team and its 2000-plus staff received a combined stake of about 20 per cent in return for an investment of about 2m, with Bull taking a four per cent share. In June 2007 it merged with the AA to create a 6.2 billion group. The deal valued Howard's stake at around 50m. But in the current climate we clip him back to 40m.
26 Simon, 49 and Jon Miles, 47
Waste and recycling
In November 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, provides waste services to 19 local authorities in the southeast of England under long-term contracts.
Verdant has 33 sites and collects more than 100,000 tonnes of recyclable materials per annum. It was forecasting revenues of 45m in the year to October 2007. The business had been owned by brothers, Simon and Jon Miles, and before the sale went through, the Sunday Times reported that it had a 50m price tag. Allowing for any tax on the deal, we value the Miles brothers at around 40m.
The brothers acquired the business in 2002 from Saur, the French utility group. They now run and own Glazewing, a scrap wholesaler which made 2.5m profit on 21.4m sales in 2007-08.
27 Karen Millen, 48
Having split from the fashion chain named after her and her former husband, Kevin Stanford, who helped co-found it, Karen Millen is now heavily involved in charity work. She has set up a charity for teenagers with life-threatening illnesses and is involved with a vocational project for the charity Hope HIV, which works with children in sub-Saharan Africa affected by the Aids pandemic, after being approached by a teacher at her daughter's school for assistance.
An alumni of Medway College in Rochester, where she did a City & Guilds in Fashion, Millen considers herself a designer first and a retailer second. She started out selling shirts when she was at college. Then, on holiday in Morocco, she met Stanford. He was doing an engineering degree but hated it, although somewhat idiosyncratically for an engineering undergraduate at that time, he loved fashion. Before long the two were selling Karen's shirts at fashionable Kent's answer to Tupperware parties, and setting their sights on opening a shop. They eventually found a tiny space in a backstreet in Maidstone.
The couple opened another three shops in Tunbridge Wells, Brighton and Guildford and were approached by the successful shoe chain, Pied a Terre, to produce a clothing line for them. The business, called Karen Millen, took off. In 2001, she sold a 40 per cent stake in the business to Icelandic investors, and shared a 54m payout when all but 15 per cent of the rest of the shares were sold in mid-2004. Her total proceeds were around 40m.
28 Jonathan Neame, 46 and family
Brewing & pubs
Shepherd Neame, the Faversham-based brewer seems in reasonable shape. In 2008-09 profits fell from 8.7m to 6.9m though sales grew to 109.5m. Its A shares are quoted on the junior PLUS market and are now worth 112m. 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 when former chairman Bobby Neame's great grandfather bought into the business. Its beers, notably its Spitfiire ale is selling well and it has 369 pubs.
Neame became chairman in 1971 and stepped down in 2005. The family has not been immune from quarrels in recent years but seems more settled now with fifth generation member, Jonathan Neame as chief executive. He is here representing the wider family in this list.
The Neame family has around half the A shares but we discount their widely scattered stake somewhat to around 20m. The family also owns all the B shares worth around 10m. In all we value the family at 40m
29 Dennis Paulley, 80 and family
Dennis 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 significant stake in the Prudential financial group. That stake is now worth around 24m. In addition, property quoted investments and the like take the family of the retired surveyor and auctioneer to perhaps 40m. Paulley is also a director of a handful of companies based in Kent.
30 Hilary Riva, 52
Much of the recent success of London Fashion Week is down to Hilary Riva, the multi-millionairess chief executive of the British Fashion Council, who 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 which 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 realised 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. With Peter Davies, chief executive of Rubicon, she led a management buyout of the Principles, Warehouse, Racing Green and Hawkshead brands from Arcadia Group in October 2001.
In a complex deal the senior management of Rubicon eventually gained 100 per cent of the company's equity, with 90 per cent held by five directors for a total cost of around 1m. By 2004 Riva showed her mettle and turned a 9m operating loss into a 20m profit.
The directors hit the jackpot in February 2005, when the business was sold for 140m to the Shoe Studio Group, the company behind footwear brands such as Pied a Terre and Chelsea Cobbler. Based in Kent, Riva made over 40m in sale proceeds.
31 Moni Varma, 61
Moni Varma, the millionaire rice importer who gave nearly 30,000 to the Labour Party told The Observer newspaper in May 2009 that he will no longer contribute after the MPs expenses scandal erupted. "If this happened in business or any other walk of life it would lead to prosecution," he said. Asked if he was considering withdrawing support for the party, he said: "Yes, I am disillusioned. They are going downhill. They were a good party for Britain but now I don't know."
Still, his Veetee company is in fine fettle, producing a record 3m profit on nearly 46m sales in 2008 and taking the world by storm with new products and investing more than 20m in a new factory to produce its first microwaveable product. In October 2007, it struck a deal to sell the rice in Tesco, while the VeeTee Dine In range, which debuted in Waitrose April, scooped the Food From Britain New Product Showcase award. Through VeeTee Rice, it is now the largest supplier of rice to the UK retail market.
Indian-born Varma was raised in Malawi where he went into business making barbed wire. He developed strong trading links with Europe and other parts of Africa before moving to Britain in 1983 and worked as a steel and commodity trader. Approached by Indian relatives to explore rice trading opportunities in England, Varma saw a gap in the market and set up a rice milling operation in West London.
When Varma outgrew this site, he built an ultra-modern facility at Rochester, complete with it own jetty. The Rochester site has reached full capacity and a further 6m investment has been completed to double capacity. Varma has also set up his own milling and procurement operation in India to secure a supply of quality rice. Further investments have also been made in Pakistan and South Africa. Varma was also involved in raising money for a new stand at the Oval, home of Surrey Cricket Club.
VeeTee and its overseas operations, which also make substantial profits, must be worth around 30m in all. His other property and assets such as Inglemay Ltd, a trading company, which made 51,000 profit on 1.5m sales in 2007, take Varma to around 40m in all.
32 Philip Richards, 49
The RAB Capital hedge fund seems to be on the road to recovery after a disastrous 2008. It has sharpened its focus back to its core investment businesses and is making money again for its investors. The London-based operation was founded in 1999 by two ex-Merrill Lynch bankers, Michael Alen-Buckley and Philip Richards. The group's philosophy was to recruit investment managers with proven talents and provide them with a strong institutional platform to allow them to dedicate themselves to running focused investment strategies.
The group has also put money into new ventures and sticks with them, frequently retaining its stake when they float. It worked a treat with strong initial returns in commodities. RAB was a pioneer among hedge funds when it floated on the Aim itself in early 2004 .
After the Northern Rock debacle, RAB's shares have yet to really recover though and it is now worth 90m. Richards, a former army officer with the Greenjackets has stepped down as RAB's chief executive to concentrate on running investment funds at RAB. He lives in Kent, where he is well known locally for his support of local charities. In 2006 he gave away 3.25m to charity. The greatest beneficiary was The Gateway, a new Christian youth centre in Tonbridge, which was expected to get more than 1million.
His stake in RAB is now worth just 25.4m. Other assets and nearly 20m of share sales take him to perhaps 36m after-tax and his hefty charitable work.
33 John Paul Jones, 64
Led Zeppelin bassist, keyboard player and mandolinist John Paul Jones told Radio Devon in October that he was interested in doing a tour, even with a different vocalist. Jones returned to public attention when he played in the Led Zeppelin reunion show at London's O2 Arena on December 10, 2007 which was a huge sell-out success. In recent years Jones has developed a successful solo career, and is widely respected as both a musician and a producer. 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 Kent, 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 and appeared on several sessions and videos for Paul McCartney.
Zooma, his debut solo album, was released in September 1999 on Robert Fripp's DGM label and followed up in 2001 by The Thunderthief. Jones has two main companies: JPJ Communications showed net assets of 3.8m in 2007-08, while the separate Cap Three company also showed 3.7m net assets in the same period. Jones' past earnings and his share of the Led Zeppelin back catalogue should give him wealth of around 35m in today's climate.
34 Jonathan Palmer, 53
Jonathan Palmer qualified as a doctor in 1980, then committed himself to a career as a racing driver, working his way up the ladder until he reached F1 in 1983. He enjoyed six seasons as a Formula One driver. His best result was fourth place and at his peak he earned around 200,000 a year. But when he was outperformed by a young team-mate in 1990, he knew it was time to move on.
He set up Motor Sport Vision with 100,000 in 1991. It promoted championships and corporate driving days first at an old airfield in Leicestershire and later at a former RAF base which he bought with the backing of two tycoons, Sir Peter Ogden and John Britten. In 2003 they backed expansion of Motorsport Vision when Palmer bought Brands Hatch and three other circuits for 15.5m. It was losing money but Palmer turned it round. Palmer is about to take his biggest business gamble yet - a 6m capital investment in a new racing series designed to prepare the best young drivers for F1. The funding is coming from cash within the business.
In 2008 Brands Hatch-based MSV Group, made a 6.1m profit on 41.1m sales. It should easily be worth 45m. Palmer has a 75 per cent stake worth 33m.
35 Josephine Green, 65 and family
Josephine Green is a director of Henry Streeter, a Westerham-based distributor and producer of concrete aggregates. The business has net assets of nearly 32m and made 2.7m profit on sales of 9.1m in the year to May 2008. Green and her family own all the shares in the company which is easily worth 30m. Other assets and past salaries take the Green family to 32m.
36 Paul Firmin, 65 and family
Paul Firmin is md of Alan Firmin Ltd, a Maidstone-based farming to haulage and warehousing group which dates back to 1928. Its orchards regularly win prizes for top quality fruits from supermarkets and the like. The family-owned business made 505,000 profit on 12.2m sales in 2008-09. With nearly 38m net assets, the company should be worth 30m in the current climate.
37 Peter Holm, 51 and 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 world-wide.
Peter Holm, chairman, and his family own most of the business which made a 5m profit on 83.3m sales in 2008-09. With 34.6m net assets it is worth 30m in today's difficult environment.
38 Gerry Pack, 56 and family
In August 2008 travel company Holiday Extras went into partnership with the AA, giving the firm access to millions of potential customers. The Hythe-based company will now have links to the motoring organisation's clientele of more than 15 million members. In turn, the partnership will enable AA customers to take advantage of holiday add-ons such as airport hotels, airport car parking and airport lounges at a discounted rate.
Holiday Extras is the brainchild of Gerry Pack, who dreamt up the idea when his boss at Saga asked him to look at how the company dealt with customers who needed overnight stays in airport hotels. Discovering the existing system was unwieldy and costing Saga a lot of money, he launched the Apple Booking Company, which added more hotels and then travel insurance, airport car parks and airport lounges to the extras it sold. Renamed Holiday Extras, it sold 400,000 rooms a year by 2003.
Based in Ashford, the business was largely owned by Pack and his family. He sold a 37 per cent stake in the business to a management buyout team for 24m in early 2005. The Pack family retained 48% worth 30m at the time. In 2007-08, Holidays Extras Holdings, the parent company, made 2.6m profit on 129.5m sales. But in the current very difficult climate for the holiday trade, we value the Pack stake at 15m today. After-tax and allowing for the previous share sale, the Pack family should be worth 30m.
39 William Record, 43 and family
Fresh from Southampton University, armed with a 2.1 degree in Economics and Politics, William Record started his own business in 1989. Braebourne Spring supplied cooled water to offices and by the late 1990s, when Record sold, it was making healthy profits of over 1m on 7m sales.
Record is now involved in 3T Bros, a Dover-based company with hefty property and telecom interests. He is the largest shareholder in the group owned by his family. In 2007-08 it showed a 754,000 profit and had net assets of 28m. The family also own WCR Ltd, with 1.8m net assets. In total the Record family is worth 30m in the current climate.
40 Allan Willett, 73 and family
Allen Willett has been active as Lord Lieutenant of Kent recently, supporting the armed forces and the army cadet force in the county at their annual awards ceremony at Ashford International Hotel. Willett was born in India where his father was a tea planter, he also farmed in the Isle of Thanet, where Willett spent his early years. His fathers family had been farmers in that area for many generations.
After serving in the army during the Kenyan Mau Mau campaign, Willett set up his own company to distribute packaging machinery in 1962 with a 3,500 loan and 100 of his own money. His first head office was three flights up a building near St Paul's Cathedral with lino on the floor and a phone that would not work in the rain. His big break was to invent a way to package cheese for supermarkets.
In January 2003, he sold his company, Willett International, for 50m to an American company, Danaher International. Aside from his official duties in Kent, he runs the Allan Willett Foundation which distributes 300,000 a year, mainly to Kent charities. Willett is determined to put his fortune to good use, saying "I have no intention of being the richest man in the graveyard, and my children understand that. I have decided to help others who perhaps also have good ideas but no way of realising them."
As a result we cut his proceeds from the company sale and allowing for tax and charitable giving to around 30m.
41 Sir Bob Geldof, 57
Ten Alps, the television production company founded by Sir Bob Geldof in 1999, has seen its share price recover slightly in 2009. Geldof's stake is now worth just over 1m. The former Boomtown Rat-turned-Third World campaigner via Live Aid, also has a one-third stake in Castaway Productions, maker of the hugely successful reality show, Castaway. Castaway Television Productions made profits of 3.1m on 6.1m sales in 2007-08, valuing Geldof's one-third stake at perhaps 10m.
He had a one-third stake in the Planet 24 TV. Its sale in 1999 netted Geldof 6m. He invested in an internet holiday company, Deckchair.com, but that was sold for a knockdown 3.2m. Ten Alps has been expanding by acquisition, acquiring high-brow documentary production companies like Brook Lapping and more recently 3BM TV (bought in June for 630,000). Even with his rough edges St Bob has the Midas touch. With houses in Battersea and Kent and dividends from Ten Alps in the last three years, a 25m valuation is realistic in the current difficult climate.
42 Michael Head, 66 and family
Crown Products (Kent), thge Herne Bay furniture manufacturer, began life as a manufacturer of children's wooden toys in south west London just after the war. It relocated to Herne Bay in 1958 and developed as a specialist furniture company in the 1960s. Since the 1980s it has 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 38 per cent of the shares. In 2007-08, Crown made a 958,000 profit on 23.5m sales. With a solid balance sheet and 10.4m net assets, it should easily be worth 10m on these figures, valuing the Head family stake at around 6m.
A separate Head family company, EL Head, is a much more profitable operation. It has granted Crown Products (Kent) a licence to manufacturer its products. Agreements over supply of premises and expertise have been entered into with Crown. In 2007-08, EL Head made 2.4m profit on 5.9m sales. But the profit would rise to perhaps 5m if much of the directors' 3.29m pay was added to the bottom line.
With a solid balance sheet and over 18.1m net assets, EL Head should easily be worth 15m in the current climate. It is largely owned by the Head family and family trusts. With 7m for past salaries and other assets, we reckon the Head family is still worth 25m after-tax.
43 Graham Houghton, 60
Graham Houghton started Trans Oceanic Meat Co over 30 years ago. The Sidcup-based company is one of the largest dealers of beef in Europe, and also handles speciality meat such as venison or goatmeat. In 2008 profits fell slightly from 782,000 to 727,000 on 76.7m sales, with net assets of 10.2m. The profit would rise to 2.7m if part of the highest paid director's 2m salary (we assume it is Houghton) was added to the bottom line. That values the company at 15m. Houghton, as managing director, owns it all. Past salaries, and nearly 1m of net assets we can see in over 20 separate companies owned by Houghton easily take him to 25m after-tax.
44 Pat Gallagher, 60 and family
For more than 30 years, Pat Gallagher has built up a number of Maidstone-based construction businesses. Gallagher Group Holdings, his main group, is worth its 9.2m net assets in 2008 when it made a 1m profit on 34m sales. It has phase one underway of Eclipse Park in a prime location next to the M20 motorway.
In addition, it has Hermitage Quarry near Maidstone, one of the last sources of Kentish Ragstone. Output is over one million tonnes a year, supplying a wide range of major contracts in Kent and neighbouring counties. We can see other companies including Gallagher Aggregates and Gallagher Properties with a further 13m net assets.
With past dividends Pat Gallagher and his family should easily be worth 23m in today's economic climate.
45 Max Richard, 31
Young entrepreneur Max Richard is a director of Kalmax Holdings, a Tunbridge Wells property operation. The company, which specialises in buying retail property mainly in the south east, has a very strong balance sheet and credit rating. In 2007-08 it showed 22.4m net assets. It is owned by Richard and his family. We value the family at 22m.
46 Orlando Bloom, 33
His first role was as a rent boy in the 1997 film Wilde, but after appearing in the Lord of the Rings trilogy as the Elf Legolas Greenleaf, Canterbury-born Orlando Bloom is paid up to 3m a film. The Lord of the Rings films grossed $2.3 billion between them. He had a starring role in Troy alongside Brad Pitt and was also in Pirates of the Caribbean and its sequels. These were huge hits and boosted his Hollywood profile and appeal as an A list actor.
His former management firm was reported to have taken legal action against Bloom in 2005 claiming around $660,000, which represented around 10 per cent of his earnings from 2002-05. We reckon he should easily be worth 20m now.
47 Mansukh Ganatra, 60 and family
Citybond Holdings, a Beckenham-based travel insurance broker, turned in a healthy 3.4m profit on 7.4m sales in 2008-09. Founded in 1980, it is run by its md Mansukh Ganatra, who with his family, owns all the shares in the company, which we value at around 18m.
We can also see another 600,000 of Ganatra business assets in Landcharm, a property company with nearly 1.5m net assets, 50 per cent owned by the Ganatra family. In all we value the Ganatra family at 20m.
Ganatra sees no let up to growth: "The travel insurance market is increasing at six per cent a year, and although agents are taking a smaller share, the cake is getting bigger.
Early in 2003, Citybond took over the retail scheme of Travel Protection Group - TPG itself having acquired Hamilton Barr and P J Hayman in the past couple of years. The takeovers make Citybond one of the largest insurance suppliers to independent agents. A new division trades as Citybond Suretravel.
48 David Hance, 44 and family
Established in 1998, Dartford-based Crosswater has become one of the leading specialist bathroom suppliers in Britain. The business is run by md David Hance. In 2007-08, Crosswater saw its profits fall from 7.6m to 4.8m on sales down nearly 3m at 38.7m. It should be worth 18m on these figures in the current climate. The business is owned by Hance and what we assume are his trusts. We add 2m for other assets and past dividends. In mid-2008 Hance appointed Ernst & Young to review Crosswater's future options.
49 William King, 54 and family
WJ King (Garages) - based in Welling - is one of the fastest growing Vauxhall, Peugeot, Seat and Suzuki dealers in the South East. It has branches in Bromley, Bexleyheath, Farningham, Swanley, Welling, Dartford and Woolwich. William King is head of the family-owned operation, which in 2007-08 made a 2.8m profit on 111.2m sales and showed net assets of over 26m.
The King family, which owns all the shares, is easily worth 20m in the current climate.
50 Stuart Wheeler, 74
Stuart Wheeler missed out on a 330m fortune and has had to settle for just 20m. The former barrister-turned merchant banker founded the spread betting company IG index in 1974. It started by allowing clients to take a bet on the price of gold and now runs some sophisticated books. Wheeler floated IG on the stock market in July 2000. He made 5m from selling shares in the float and 10m in two tranches in 2001.
He later sold 7.3m worth of shares in July 2002, which he used to buy Chilham Castle for 5m. "My advice to anyone buying a castle is to triple your expected budget," he said when faced with spiralling costs of renovating the magnificent Grade I-listed building near Canterbury. Indeed, this was one of the drivers for Wheeler selling his final 24 per cent stake in IG Group when hen he retired in July 2003.
He made 33.7m from the sale of these remaining shares. But if he had waited five years until 2008 he would have received 330m for that stake. In all he should still be worth 20m after-tax, donations to the Tory Party and the huge cost of maintaining his castle.
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