50 richest people in Hertfordshire 2019

Lewis Hamilton after winning the 2018 Japanese Grand Prix (photo: Paul Ripke for Mercedes-Benz Grand

Lewis Hamilton after winning the 2018 Japanese Grand Prix (photo: Paul Ripke for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd) - Credit: Daimler AG

From film and sport to construction and pharmaceuticals, discover who the richest Hertfordshire people are this year and just how they’re faring in strange times

Hertfordshire’s rich are shrugging off economic and Brexit woes. The 50 richest from the county have seen their wealth in the 2019 Hertfordshire Life Rich List rise by nearly £1bn to a record £13.27bn. In the 13 years since our first list in 2005, the wealth of the 50 Hertfordshire rich has risen well over threefold from £3.6bn in little more than a decade.

The Hertfordshire Life Rich List is still led by Sports Direct’s Mike Ashley, whose fortune has actually fallen by £150m this year to £2.01bn, the sharpest fall of anyone in the list. Problems in the retailing sector, which Ashley says is ‘smashed’, have hit Sports Direct hard.

The celebrity millionaires though are doing very well by contrast. There are two Hertfordshire-born world champions: Lewis Hamilton in Formula One and Anthony Joshua in heavyweight boxing. Their success on the track and in the ring has garnered them additional millions in salaries, winnings and sponsorship deals.

Welwyn-raised Sir Cameron Mackintosh’s London theatres are packed thanks to Brexit and the cheap pound. His new show, Hamilton is a sell-out and wowing audiences and critics alike. The Beckhams, David and Victoria, are also doing fine with Victoria’s fashion brand attracting important outside investment while David’s plans for his Inter Miami are coming along nicely.

Celebrities aside, the Hertfordshire Life Rich List is still very much a meritocratic ranking. Of the 50 names, 41 made their own fortunes (one more than last year), which does auger well for some degree of social mobility and shows budding entrepreneurs that they can indeed stand a good chance of making serious wealth for themselves (and therefore for the UK plc too) through dint of hard work, skill and a good idea. We still only have one aristocrat here in the Marquess of Salisbury courtesy of his Hatfield estate and magnificent art treasures.

The business wealth in Hertfordshire is drawn from all spheres, which is also gratifying. It means that all the county’s eggs are not in one industrial basket so to speak. Leading the way are the 15 in industry and computers, the same as last year. There are 12 in property or construction, reflecting perhaps the high house prices locally. One might speculate that this diversity of talent is one reason why Hertfordshire’s unemployment rate of 3.7 per cent is well below the UK national rate of 4.6 per cent.

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Not so impressive though is the lack of women in the Hertfordshire Life Rich List. Aside from Victoria Beckham, there is just one other woman in the list, down by two on last year. There are no women entrepreneurs or women heading family companies in our ranks. No better are the figures for the Asian community with two of the 50 (down one on last year) drawn from what all would acknowledge is one of the most dynamic and entrepreneurial communities in the UK. We need more women and Asian entrepreneurs in our future ranks.

Those who do qualify are either born or raised in Hertfordshire or are based here today, all with assets wealth of £48m or more that we can prove, which is actually £3m more than last year. They were valued in early January from publicly available information.

1. Mike Ashley 09/12/1964

Sports equipment and fashion

2019: £2,010m. 2018: £2,160m

Mike Ashley’s Newcastle United is still up for sale after spurning an approach from a Middle Eastern-backed consortium last year. Hertfordshire-based Ashley may not need a fast sale of the premiership strugglers, but the former squash coach is hardly back at the top of his game. In recent years Ashley has been distracted from his day job running his sports retailing juggernaut by a medley of shareholder revolts, a bruising select committee hearing probing his company’s working conditions. Before Christmas he issued a stark warning that the British high street risked being smashed by weak consumer spending. To add to his workload, Ashley has also bought the ailing House of Fraser department store chain from administrators. Sports Direct’s performance remains groggy, with profits down 72.5 per cent at £77.5m in 2017-18. This has pushed the value of the company down to £1.41bn, well down on the peak of nearly £5bn reached in early 2014. Ashley’s 61.46 per cent stake now has a value of £897m - down £172m on a year ago. Ashley started Sports Direct in 1982 with a £10,000 loan from his parents. He pocketed £929m in one day when he floated Sports Direct on the stock market in 2007 and another £314m of sales in 2014 and 2015. Other windfalls from the sale of leases he owned on 32 Sports Direct stores raised nearly £87m. The falling Sports Direct share price justifies clipping Ashley back to £2.01bn this year - but his wealth remains well down on the £3.75bn level he reached in 2014.


2. Sir Cameron Mackintosh 17/10/1946


2019: £1,180m. 2018: £1,180m

West End smash Hamilton helped lift sales at Sir Cameron Mackintosh’s theatre company in 2017-18 but the cost of a refurb of the hit musical’s home at the Victoria Palace Theatre cut profits sharply. The cost of the Victoria refurb to the end of March 2018 was more than £61 million, more than double the original £30 million cost. As a result profits at his main company Cameron Mackintosh Ltd fell from £23.3m to £18.1m in 2017-18. But turnover rose sharply to a record £168.3m while assets also hit a record £208.6m on the back of packed Hamilton audiences and tours of old favourites such as Les Miserables and Miss Saigon which he has produced.. A former stage hand at the Theatre Royal in London’s Drury Lane, Mackintosh was raised in Cuffley near Welwyn. He later graduated to stage manager on several touring productions, becoming a London¬based producer in the 1970s. His big break came in 1981 when he produced Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats, which became the hit of the season and later one of the longest running musicals on both sides of the Atlantic. With values in the sector holding up well Mackintosh’s business empire should still be worth £1bn despite the profits fall. Private assets, including his property - and a £35m dividend in 2015-16 - keep him at £1,180m.


3. Peter Harris 25/03/1934 & Family

Hotels and caravan parks

2019: £965m. 2018: £800m

Bourne Leisure, the Hemel Hempstead-based leisure operator is in fine fettle. Profits came in at a record £155.1m on sales of over £1bn in 2017. Every year more than 4 million families visit a Butlins, Warner Leisure or other holiday destination owned by Bourne. It was founded in 1964 after a young accountant, Peter Harris, liked the look of the figures he saw when he was sent to audit a caravan park. He decided to go into the business himself, founding Bourne with the late David Allen. Bourne should now easily be worth £1.4bn, raising the value of the Harris family’s stake to more than £600m. Harris and his family also own 72 per cent of the £350m spread-betting operation Spreadex, which has paid out more than £75m of dividends in the past five years. A successful horse owner and trainer, Harris has substantial racing assets too. Taking account of strong dividends, past salaries, tax and other interests we put Harris and his family at £965m.


4. Luke 30/11/1957 & Brian Comer 06/01/1960


2019: £800m. 2018: £800m

Property tycoon Luke Comer and his brother Hertfordshire-based Brian, originally from Galway, have come a long way since starting out in business together as plasterers back in 1971. The siblings, from a Barnet base, built a British property portfolio and then went into the German market when it was in recession buying assets cheaply. In 2010, with the Irish economy in deep trouble and property prices in freefall, they turned their attention to their homeland and started buying at the bottom of the market. The Comers once said that they had 500 companies worldwide, with assets worth £2.25 billion. “A conservative valuation would be we’d be worth around £1 billion in England, three-quarters of that in Germany and half a billion in Ireland,” Luke told the Galway Advertiser. We can see nearly £105m net assets in 15 British companies. Enthusiastic horse owners, the brothers’ assets including around 200 breeding thoroughbred and more then 20 in training. We keep the Comers at £800m.


5. Tony Tabatznik 02/08/1947 & Family

Pharmaceuticals and film

2019: £500m. 2018: £500m

Tony Tabatznik is a leading investor in the Bafta-winning cinema chain Curzon. It is a sign of his love of film. But it is pharmaceuticals that made the Tabatznik family fortune. In 2009, Stevenage-based Arrow Generics was sold to the American Watson Pharmaceuticals for $1.75 billion in cash and shares. Tabatznik founded Arrow in 2000 and it was the second successful foray into pharmaceuticals for the Tabatznik family. South African-born Tabatznik sold his family’s Stevenage-based Generics (UK) operation to Merck, the German pharma giant in the mid-1990s, netting £200m for the family stake. With the proceeds from both sales, Tabatznik and his family are easily worth £500m.


6. Charles Gallagher 15/10/1959 & Family


2019: £482m. 2018: £472m

Housebuilding group Abbey is now valued at £250m on the stock market. Charles Gallagher serves as executive chairman of the Dublin-based group, which was founded by his late father - also called Charles, who was one of seven brothers from County Sligo. Charles Gallagher junior joined the board in 1986 and took over the chairmanship when his father died in 1993. Gallagher has increased his family’s holding in the company to nearly 82 per cent - a stake currently worth £205m, down nearly £22m from a year ago. The family’s other main operation is Matthew Homes, based in St Albans, which made nearly £13m profit on £74m sales in 2017. With £107m net assets, it is now a £140m operation. The family’s property operation, Gallagher Holdings, also showed £81m net assets and there is another £59m in a plant hire company - up £7m. With some overlap of shareholdings, the Gallagher family should be worth £482m with other assets.


7. Iris Gibbor 29/08/1951 & Family

Industry and hotels

2019: £422m. 2018: £383m

Iris Gibbor spent eight years working for the Australian TV company ABC News as a facilities manager. But in recent years the Cardiff University graduate has chaired CP Holdings, the diverse conglomerate set up by her Austrian father Sir Bernard Schreier in the late 1950s. He died in 2013 at the age of 95. The Watford-based saw its 2017 assets rise to £395.3m - up £38m in a year. We add £27m to Gibbor and her family for dividends and other wealth.


8. Tim Martin 28/04/1955


2019: £420m. 2018: £425m

When asked on the BBC’s Desert Island Discs in 2017 whether his intervention into the EU referendum harboured an interest in entering politics seriously, J D Wetherspoon founder Tim Martin said an emphatic “No”. “I’m too old and I’m a one-trick pony,” he said. “I know my limitations, which is running pubs.” He’s certainly not too bad at that. After starting out in 1973, this former surf bum has built up a chain of more than 900 pubs. The Watford-based group has sales rose by 5 per cent in the year to July 2018, but its shares have not fared well through the year and the group is now worth £1.19bn. As well as his noisy Euroscepticism Martin is well known for his devotion to a mullet hairstyle. Over the past year his stake has fallen by around £30m to £390m. Dividends and other assets including £20m of dividends in the last five years, take Martin to around £420m after tax.


9. Michael 07/07/1970 & Xochi Birch 11/01/1972


2019: £375m. 2018: £375m

Bebo founder Michael Birch and his wife Xochi own The Battery, an exclusive private club and workspace for San Francisco’s Silicon Valley’s elite. The Cheshunt-raised internet entrepreneur started the Bebo social networking site with his wife in 2005. Three years later they sold it to AOL for £510m, netting around £357m for their 70 per cent stake. They bought back Bebo for around £600,000 in July 2013, just five years after selling it. But they have parked it for now. Michael is working away on a new hospitality-software venture called Sonato and have also put £75,000 into Double, a dating app. The Birchs have a $13m mansion on the shores of Lake Washington, in the same neighbourhood as Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos. We still value the couple at £375m after-tax


10=. Colin Allen 03/05/1960 & Family

Caravan parks and holiday camps

2019: £350m. 2018: £267m

Bourne Leisure, the holiday camp and caravan park group saw its profits hit a record £15.1m on over £1bn sales in 2017. The Hemel Hempstead-based group which owns Butlins holiday camps was co-founded by the late David Allen in 1964. The Allen family stake is worth £300m. Other assets take the Allen family - now led by David’s son Colin - to £350m.


10=. David 02/05/1975 & Victoria Beckham 17/04/1974

Football and fashion

2019: £350m. 2018: £320m

There will be a 2019 Spice Girls re-union tour but it will be without Victoria Beckham. She has wished her former bandmates well but will be concentrating on her fashion empire, though the possibility of her joining them at some stage on the tour has not been ruled out. Husband David’s 21-year football career ended in 2013 with Paris St Germain, after a ten year spell with Manchester United, followed by a four year deal with Real Madrid and then a five-year contract with LA Galaxy. Today he is the driving force of a major League franchise in football. His team, now called Inter Miami, hope to play in a new 25,000 stadium by 2021. It has just been approved by local voters in the city. But the couple’s biggest break came in late 2017 with a £30m private equity investment in Victoria’s struggling fashion line. The money poured in by David Belhassen - the man who financed the growth of the patisserie chain Paul - valued the fashion label at £100m. The pair, who divide their time between the United States and UK, are both launching their own cosmetic ranges. David meanwhile has new a grooming brand with L’Oreal called House 99, while his wife developing a fragrance and skincare range with Estee Lauder. Since blowing the whistle on his football career, glamorous brands have queued up to harness the marketability of the former England captain, who won 115 caps. These include Adidas, Coty, H&M, LVS, Belstaff, Breitling Haigh whisky and Hachette. He has also signed a five-year deal to promote the Chinese Super League. Beckham’s main company, Footwork Productions, has paid him around £160m in salary and dividends from 2002 to 2016. Becks’ total career earnings were put at £600m by Forbes, the business magazine in 2016. Beckham Brand Holdings, the parent company for their businesses, saw its profits fall to £15.7m on record sales of £55.7m in 2017. It is 66 per cent owned by the Beckhams. However its subsidiary DB Ventures, which licenses David’s name, is in fine fettle showing a £26.5m profit that year. The Beckhams bought a £2.5m house in Sawbridgeworth in 1999, the year of their marriage, and only selling it in 2014 for £11.4m. Overall we raise the Beckhams to £350m this year as the private equity investment in Victoria’s fashion label which aims to pay for a digital operation and more stores, justify a stronger valuation for the business.


12. Marquess of Salisbury 30/09/1946

Property and art

2019: £340m. 2018: £335m

The Marquess of Salisbury voted for Brexit even though even though his farming company Gascoyne Cecil Farms received £376,620 in CAP payments in 2016, according to accounts filed in Companies House. He argues that the European Union is an “ancien régime, incapable of adapting to the new bottom-up societies” of today. His family has owned property around Hatfield for 400 years, with Hatfield House completed in 1612. It is a treasure trove of paintings worth £150m. Salisbury is also planning to build a science park next to the railway station in Hatfield — which stand opposite Hatfield House — taking advantage of the town’s position in the heart of the “golden triangle” of Oxford, Cambridge and London. In addition, there is Cranborne Manor, the family estate in Dorset. Together they have 10,300 acres. Gascoyne Cecil Farms, and four other Salisbury companies showed over £32m net assets in 2017-18 - up £4m on last year. Gascoyne Estates, the property arm of the Salisbury family, owns, lets and manages up to 300 residential properties in Hatfield, London and Dorset. The London estate has valuable acreage around Leicester Square and there are also assets in America. We raise Salisbury by £5m this year reflecting the rise in his companies assets, taking him to £340m.


13. Sir Peter Ogden 26/05/1947


2019: £338m. 2018: £400m

Sir Peter Ogden’s MotorSport Vision (MSV) business signed a deal in 2017 to take over the running of the Donnington Park race track in the Midlands. MSV, which Ogden co-owns, operates Brands Hatch, Oulton Park, Snetterton and Cadwell Park as well as Bedford Autodrome. Ogden made his money from the IT giant Computacenter. Ogden’s stake in the £1.2bn Hatfield-based operation is now worth £212m - down £24m on last year. After university and a career in finance, Ogden co-founded the company in 1981 with business partner Sir Philip Hulme. Ogden also had a £100m stake in Dealogic, a software company taken over in a £440m deal back in 2014. Ogden, who also has a PhD in theoretical physics, is a huge benefactor to educational charitable work. He gave £25m to fund bright students from poor backgrounds at some of the leading independent schools. With dividends, a property in Sandbanks, a £19m stake in MSV and after his hefty charitable work - which earned him a knighthood in 2005 - Ogden is worth £338m.


14. Tim Steiner 09/12/1969


2019: £300m. 2018: £130m

Tim Steiner has had the last laugh on his critics in the City who have regularly predicted the demise on his online grocer Ocado. A tie up with an American supermarket giant Kroger in May led to a 45 per cent rise in Ocado’s share price. The Hatfield-based company will build 20 fulfilment centres for the US company in a move which turned Ocado into a “global provider of logistics technology” as the Financial Times reported. The deal was much larger than previous similar deals in France, Canada and Sweden as well as Wm Morrison in the UK. Steiner, a former Goldman Sachs banker, launched Ocado in 2000, with two ex-Goldman colleagues. Ocado floated back in 2010 with a value of £937m. Today the business is worth £6bn. Steiner remains chief executive and retains a stake worth £202m. Share sales totalling £127m since the French deal in 2017 should propel him to £300m after-tax.


15. Charles Wilson 24/07/1965

Food retailing

2019: £280m. New entry

Charles Wilson oversaw the £3.9bn merger of wholesaler Booker’s with Tesco, which completed in March 2018. The deal saw Booker’s chief executive convert all of his £236m stake in Booker into 115m Tesco shares - a holding worth in the region of £244m. The tie-up propelled Wilson onto Tesco’s board as head of retail and wholesale operations at the Welwyn-based retailing giant. Previous gains from company turnarounds and past Booker dividends take Wilson to £280m


16. Sir Philip Hulme 27/08/1948


2019: £200m. 2018: £220m

The fall in the Computacenter share price has hit the wallet of co-founder and leading philanthropist Sir Philip Hulme to the tune of around £20m. . Knighted in the 2016 Honours List for his services to technology and philanthropy, Hulme co-founded Computacenter, the Hatfield-based computer operation, with fellow Harvard graduate Sir Peter Ogden in 1981. The company floated on the stock market in 1998 and it is now worth £1.2bn. Hulme has an £101m stake and has sold around £60m worth of shares at the float and in recent years. Hulme also had a £100m stake in software company Dealogic taken over in a £440m deal back in 2014. Taking account of dividends and charitable donations, Hulme is now worth £200m.


17. Neil Utley 16/01/1962 & Family


2019: £174m. 2018: £249m

Neil Utley says that after playing in bands and working as a DJ as a teenager, he decided in 20s to get a ‘“boring job ‘” that he could live off. He chose insurance. After making £13m from the sale of an insurance company in Utley later took over Hastings Direct, for £24m. He turned around the business and made £135m from selling 50 per cent to Goldman Sachs in 2013. A £1.1bn float took place in 2015. The shares have had a tough 2018 and Hastings is now worth £1.28bn. Utley and his family retain stakes currently worth nearly £60m - down £75m on last year. Share sales at the float, a £26.4m sale in March 2017 and a £6m transfer to a charitable trust, take him to £174m after tax. Utley bought David Beckham’s old Hertfordshire mansion in early 2014 for £11.4m. Utley has now retuned to music and launched his own music production company NUA Entertainment.


18. David McMullen 27/04/1945 & Family

Brewing and pubs

2019: £173m. 2018: £161m

Hertford brewer McMullen and Sons saw its profits surge to £16.2m on £80.8m sales in 2017. The brewery dates back to 1827 when former poacher and failed apprentice Peter McMullen was persuaded by his wife Sarah to start a brewery. Six generations of McMullen later, the family’s brewery is making Hopping Mad, Stronghart and a range of other bevvies. We value the company, still based on its original site, on its £150.4m net assets. Past dividends and other assets take the wider family - represented here by former chairman David McMullen - to £173m.


19. Derek Beevor 24/06/1955


2019: £160m. 2018: £70m

Derek Beeevor left school with no qualifications after his teacher asked the class to write down what subjects they wanted to do for O-levels — but then tore up the list Beevor had written and told him to leave. Beevor later joined the army where he says: ‘“Being in the Paras taught me that you just have to go for it and not give up, ‘” he says. Beevor set up his company Radlett-based Road Tech Computer Systems in 1984 after becoming frustrated with the lack of software available to help run his 20 vehicle transport company. Its transport management system called ‘“Roadrunner ‘” is used by some of the most successful companies in the industry. In 2006, Beevor launched a tachograph analysis solution. Tachomaster. By 2016 it had analysed 90m card, chart and vehicle downloads. In 2016-17 the new Road Tech parent company made a healthy £19.6mm profit. It is a £160m operation, totally owned by Beevor.


19=. Lewis Hamilton 07/01/1985

Motor Racing

2019: £160m. 2018: £140m

Back to back Formula One titles wins in 2017 and 2018 mean that Lewis Hamilton has won the world championship five times. The 2018 season proved a comfortable cruise for Hamilton with eleven wins out of the 20 starts. Hamilton has more titles firmly in his sights and aims to overtake the seven titles won by Michael Schumacher. He signed a two-year contract extension in July with the Mercedes AMG Petronas team worth £40m a year. He enjoys the trappings or success: he owns a £20m Bombardier jet to ferry him to and from race circuits across the globe, and a £10m apartment in Monaco and a home in the mountains of Colorado, in the United States. He recently added a second £32m Manhattan penthouse to his portfolio according to the Wall Street Journal. Hamilton, who grew up in Stevenage, moved first to Switzerland and then Monaco, in a bid for more privacy. The tax regime in both places is also kinder. Forbes magazine reckons that he makes a further £7m a year from endorsement deals with IWC, Bombardier, L’Oreal and Monster Energy. We raise Hamilton to £160m this year.


21=. John Griffin 01/08/1942 & Family


2019: £150m. 2018: £150m

Now giving generously to charity John Griffin is an Enterprise Fellow at the Prince’s Trust charity. As co-founder of the London-based Addison Lee taxi firm, Griffin retired from the firm after its £300m sale to an American private equity company in 2013. Since then he has been heavily involved in property development where he made a £30m profit on a London development. Potters Bar-based Griffin and his family should still be worth £150m after generous donations including £10m to a West London hospital for medical research.


23. Simon Dolan 20/05/1969

2019: £142m. New entry

Simon Dolan began selling scratch cards in his school playground. After being expelled at 16 he sold cheese and eggs on a market stall. Then in his early 20s he took out a £10 advert in his local newspaper advertising his accountancy skills. He started a simple business handling accounts and tax returns for small, local businesses. In time the business grew into one of the UK’s largest accountancy firms. Dolan’s parent company Hemel Hempstead-based SJD Group, was sold in 2014 for more than £100m. Since then he has become enthused by motor racing and created his own team Jota Sports in 2011. His Jota Group now has three divisions, focusing on motorsport, engineering for racing cars and an airline based at London Southend. Dolan’s past salaries, car collection and property interests should easily take him to £142m.


24. Stelio Stefanou 06/11/1952

Business services

2019: £140m. 2018: £140m

Stelio Stefanou moved to the UK with his Greek Cypriot parents when he was six years old. In 2007 he sold his business services company Accord for a reported £180m. A former High Sheriff of Hertfordshire, Stefanou was a high-profile supporter of a recent initiative by Westminster’s local authority urging wealthier individuals to voluntarily pay more council tax. He said the initiative - dubbed a ‘“guilt tax ‘” by the media - was an opportunity for more affluent homeowners to ‘“do the right thing ‘”. He has established charities in the UK and Cyprus aim to address social and economic challenges. Stefanou was awarded an OBE for services to business in 2004. Stefano should still be worth £140m after tax and charitable work.


24. Michael Yarrow 02/12/1947 & Family


2019: £139m. 2018: £137m

Diomed Developments, the Hitchin-based manufacturer of dermatological products, saw its profits fall slightly in 2016-17 to £9.2m on £60.2m sales. Founded in 1963, it trades as Dermal Laboratories. Its products are widely prescribed for the treatment of a variety of skin disorders. We still value the company at £130m, adding £9m to the Yarrow family, led by low-key MD Michael Yarrow, for dividends and horse racing assets.


25. David Kahn 24/07/1931 & Family


2019: £135m. 2018: £133m

Altro Group this year celebrates the 100th anniversary of its birth. The Letchworth-based operation has become a world-leading manufacturer and supplier of interior surfaces. The Kahn family, led by chairman David Kahn, owns the business, which made a £10.7m profit on £143.3m sales in 2017. With £85.4m net assets and a strong balance sheet, it is still worth £120m on these figures. Past dividends - including a £2.3m payment in 2017 add £15m.


26. James Neville 24/11/1966 & Family


2019: £132m. 2018: £67m

Royston-based Volac makes and supplies a wide range of nutrition products. Profits at the parent company Woodford Holdings bounced back from £9.7m to £19m on record sales of £268.7m in 2017. With £90.4m of assets this is a £160m operation. The Neville family’s stake including trusts is now nearly 79 per cent with the rest owned by a foundation. The business is run by Neville and the family should be worth £132m with past dividends.


27. William Hughes 21/07/1941

Care homes

2019: £127m. 2018: £117m

William Hughes owns and runs B&M Care, a care home operator and developer. Hughes bought his first care home, Clare Lodge in St Albans, in 1975. The group now has nearly 30 homes and In 2016-17 profits soared by 25 per cent to £13m on turnover of £48.3m. With £67.9m net assets, it is now a £120m operation. Dividends and other assets take Hughes to £127m.


28. Hitesh 02/09/1956 & Dilesh Mehta 29/02/1960


2019: £126m. 2018: £115m

Hitesh and Dilesh Mehta’s Shaneel Group supplies fragrances to Tesco, Morrisons and a range of other big retailers. The Watford-based business also operates PerfumeShopping.com, an online retailer. Shaneel’s profits fell by 13 per cent to £11.3m on £113.2m sales in 2017-18. But net assets grew by £9.1m to £55.7m and so we value the operation at £120m. We add £6m for past dividends and property.


29. Brian Morrisroe 31/08/1955


2019: £125m. 2018: £102m

Borehamwood-based construction group AJ Morrisroe was founded by Brian Morrisroe in 1983. Morrisroe is chief executive and owns all of the £120m business, which made £16.2m profit on £214.3m sales in 2017. With £43.1m assets, we value the firm at £120m. A separate construction firm, Morrisroe UK, is worth its £5m assets.


30=. Stephen Brooks 30/03/1962 & Family

Exhibition organizer

2019: £120m. New entry

Mack Brooks, the St Albans-based exhibition organizer, was sold in January 2019 for a reported £200m. The firm was founded by Kenneth Brooks and Brian Mack in 1965 to organize a conference in London. Today it is is run by Kenneth Brooks son, Stephen, who joined in 2013 after working in marketing for Jaguar Land Rover. He oversees over 30 exhibitions, and conferences in specialized industrial sectors worldwide including Euroblech for sheet metal working. Its parent Brooks Events turned in a record £19.5m profit on £48m sales in 2016-17. The company has been bought by Relx, the FTSE100 media group. Brooks and his family were reckoned to own at least 75 per cent of the shares before the deal. After-tax the Brooks family should be worth £120m.


30=. Peter Harris 21/02/1955


2019: £120m. New entry

Peter Harris was working for a Cambridge tech firm in the mid 1980s when he interviewed feisty young graduate Angus Thirlwell and was so impressed with Thirlwell junior’s vim and vigour he hired him on the spot. Just over a year later the pair quit their jobs and together started the business that would evolve into the high street confectionery giant Hotel Chocolat. The Royston-based chain is a rare high street success story./ Thirlwell and Harris made £20m each when the business floated on the stock market in 2016. It is now worth £304.7m. Thirlwell and Harris each still own stakes worth £101.4m. With past share sales etc. Harris is worth £120m.


30=. Michael Masterson 20/12/1950 & Family


2019: £120m. 2018: £110m

Michael Masterson and his wife Mona own Getjar, which specialises in ground works and concrete frames. The Hemel Hempstead-based operation’s profits rose to £10.5m on lower sales of £129.2m in 2016-17. We value the business at £110m. Dividends and other assets take the Masterson family to £120m after tax and spending.


30=. Angus Thirlwell 17/04/1963


2019: £120m. New entry

Angus Thirlwell has served up a tasty rise in profits and sales since the Hotel Chocolat chain he founded with Peter Harris floated on the stockmarket in 2016. In the mid-1990s with business partner Peter Harris, Thirlwell began selling chocolates and becoming one of the UK’s early online retailers. When they opened their first shop in Watford in 2004 they called it Hotel Chocolat. Today the Royston-based business has become a purveyor of upmarket confectionery from around the world. Thirlwell and Harris made £20m each when the business at its float. Their stakes are worth £101.4m apiece. We put Thirlwell at £120m.


34. Daniel Durkan 09/09/1964 & Family


2019: £116m. 2018: £116m

Daniel Durkan now runs his family’s Hertfordshire-based construction company./ Profits fell to £9.2m profit on £140.5m sales in 2017. But the business has a £350m order book and with £58.9m assets, it should still be worth £110m. We add £6m for other wealth.


35. Phil Wallace 22/10/1949 & Family


2019: £110m. 2018: £80m

Sitting 11th in the English Football League division two at the start of 2019 is not where Stevenage’s ambitious chairman Phil Wallace wants the club to be. Wallace took control of Stevenage FC in 1999 when the club was days away from bankruptcy. Wallace regards it as a personal challenge but it is one he can bankroll. Aside from his footballing duties Wallace is the CEO at Lamex, which he joined in 1972 and became a director in 1975 and was appointed managing director and majority shareholder in the early 1980’s. Continuing growth in the Group led to a $50m management buyout in 2006, with Wallace and his family retaining a near 24 per cent family stake in the newly formed parent, Lamex Food Group. In 2017-18 it made a record £24.7m profit on £1.2bn sales and should be worth over £300m. Wallace’s Lamex holding and his other assets and past salaries take him to £110m.


36. Rick Willmott 16/05/1963 & Family


2019: £100m. New entry

Rick Willmott is the fifth generation of the family to lead the Hitchin-based Willmott Dixon construction group. In 2017 its parent Hardwicke Investments showed profits of £13m on record sales of nearly £1.5bn. It has £74.8m net assets. We value the company at £200m and the Willmott family stake at around £80m. With past salaries, dividends and other assets, the Willmott family should be worth £100m.


37. Robert Weston 11/07/1955 & Family


2019: £82m. 2018: £82m

Bishops Stortford-based Weston Group made £22.4m profit on sales of £198.6m. Net assets grew by £15m to £59.5m. Weston chairs the construction operation and with his family, owns around 40 per cent of the ordinary shares. This stake should easily be worth £80m on its recent performance. We add £2m for dividends and other assets.


38. Jason Gissing 25/10/1970


2019: £80m. 2018: £60m

Ex-Goldman Sachs banker Jason Gissing should have done well from the soaring share price of Ocado, the Hemel Hempstead-based online grocer, which is now valued at £6bn by the stock market. Gissing, one of the founding trio, shrewdly retained a stake in trust which could have grown to over £60m. But we reckon that with share sales of around £3.6m at the float and a more recent £15m disposal that we can see, he should be worth at least £80m after-tax.


39. Steven Anderson 26/09/1967


2019: £72m. New entry

Steven Anderson is a director of Lamex Food, the Stevenage-based food giant. It made a record £24./7m profit on £1.2bn sales and should be worth over £300m. Lamex has been growing smartly by acquisition and now reckons to be one of the world’s largest frozen food importers and exporters. Anderson has a 24.1 per cent stake in the business which should be worth at least £72m.


40. Mel Cooper 21/04/1941 & Family


2019: £70m. 2018: £66m

Mountcharm, the Barnet-based property operation, showed slightly higher assets of £32.1m in 2017. Mel Cooper and his family own the business while other smaller company assets add £36.6m. Other wealth a sale proceeds should take the Coopers to £70m


41. Stephen Dixon 20/04/1963 & Family


2019: £70m. New entry

Stephen Dixon is a family shareholder in Willmott Dixon, the Hitchin-based construction group. The Dixon family stake should be worth around £60m. With past salaries, dividends and other assets, the Dixon family should be worth £70m.


42. Guy Ritchie 10/09/1968


2019: £67m. 2018: £67m

Is tough-man director Guy Ritchie entering the world of fashion design? This is the speculation in the press recently. New records filed with Companies House suggest that the Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels director is lining up a new venture named Cashmere Caveman. It is thought to be style-focused: the records state that the company relates to ‘“specialised design activities. ‘” But Ritchie is still active in film. He is director of Disney’s new all-action production Aladdin starring Will Smith as the genie, which is due for release soon. In total his films have grossed $1.4bn at the box office. But Hatfield-born Ritchie is still perhaps best known for his eight-year marriage to America pop queen Madonna which ended in 2008. The divorce settlement was put at between £39m and £46m. But Ritchie should have built up his own fortune over the years. His film companies showed £1m net assets in 2017-18. We still value Ritchie at £67m.


43=. Bryan Duffy 21/03/1943 & Family


2019: £65m. 2018: £65m

Bryan Duffy retired from running a public company to play golf, but hankered after business and has turned himself into a serial entrepreneur. His main interests today is in starting up new technology companies through his holding company called MBI MBO, based in Ware, which showed net assets of £15.4m in 2017. Duffy and his family own it all. They sold their separate Hostelbookers.com online hostel and hotel reservation service in early 2013 for around £60m. Cautiously we stick with a £65m valuation for the Duffy family.


43=. John Lawson 11/05/1932 & Family


2019: £65m. 2018: £65m

A leading builders’ merchant Colney Heath-based Lawsons Holdings saw its 2016-17 profits rise slightly to £7.3m on record sales of £95.1m. The business which dates back to 1921 is in the hands of the third generation in the shape of John Lawson. Lawsons has a strong balance sheet with £50.3m of assets and should still be worth around £65m.


43=. Farouq 13/10/1958 & Haroon Sheikh 04/03/1956

Care homes

2019: £65m. 2018: £75m

CareTech, the Potters Bar-based care operation, is now valued at £384m by the stock market. It was set up by Kenyan-born Farouq and Haroon Sheikh in 1993. The company floated on the stock market in 2005 valued at £58m. With trusts they retain a stake now worth around £40m. Property assets and share sales take them to £65m after-tax.


46. Alan Moore 29/05/1950


2019: £63m. New entry

Alan Moore runs and owns Medlock Electrical Distributors, the UK’s largest independent electrical wholesaler. Profits at the Waltham Cross-based business rose to £5.2m on £70.9m sales in 2017-18. With assets of £22.6m, we value the fast-growing operation at £50m. A separate small business and past dividends take Moore to £63m.


47. Nicolas Kebbell 28/10/1951 & Family


2019: £59m. 2018: £56m

Watford-based Kebbell Homes is run by MD Nicolas Kebbell, son of the founder. Kebbell Holdings, its parent, made a £2.5m profit on higher sales of £23.3m in 2017. The company does have a strong balance sheet and with £53.5m net assets, should be worth £54m. We add £5m for other Kebbell family assets.


48. Anthony Joshua 15/10/1989


2019: £55m. 2018: £45m

Watford-born Anthony Joshua is hoping to line up a long-awaited world heavyweight boxing bout against American boxer Deontay Wilder. Joshua - the hottest prospect in British boxing - is unified world heavyweight champion, holding three of the four major titles in boxing: the IBF title since 2016, the WBA (Super) title since 2017, and the WBO title since 2018. Wilder is the WBC champion so a fight would unify all the titles and earn both boxers a huge pay day. Joshua earned a reported £20m from his last fight against Russian boxer Alexander Povetkin in September. He also did well from a unification bout for the heavyweight title against Wladimir Klitschko in 2017. His purse from that fight was at least £15m. If he emerges as the holder of all four world boxing belts after fighting Wilder, boxing promoters reckon he will then be on his way to eventual billionaire status. He can already boast a dozen endorsement partners including Under Armour, Lucozade, Jaguar, Beats, StubHub, JD Sports and Audemars Piguet. For now we value Joshua at £55m.


49. David Underwood 22/08/1952


2019: £49m. 2018: £70m

Statistician David Underwood runs and largely owns Hitchin-based Quanticate which safely collects, analyses and reports clinical trial data for blue chip clients. Quanticate’s profits fell in 2017 to £3.1m on £15.8m sales. Underwood and his family have a 70 per cent stake in the £70m operation.


50. James Brogan 06/11/1957

2019: £48m. New entry

Started in 1988 Welwyn-based Brogan Group has evolved from a scaffolding hire and erection service into an international specialist access group. In 2017 it made a healthy £6.7m profit on £31.7m sales and with £26.3m net assets, should be worth £60m. Founder James Brogan has an 80 per cent stake worth £48m.