Greater Manchester-born Jim Ratcliffe is top of the 2018 Sunday Times Rich List – the first British-born industrialist to do so since the list of the UK’s wealthiest individuals was first compiled in 1989.
Mr Ratcliffe, who was brought up in a council house in Dunkerley Avenue, Failsworth before his family moved to Yorkshire, is estimated to be worth a staggering £21.05 BILLION.
Founder and head of the global chemicals giant Ineos, the 65-year-old tycoon’s accumulation of such vast wealth is all the more astounding since he was fired from his first job after only three days and didn’t start his first business until he was 40.
According to the Sunday newspaper, Ineos, a private company in which Mr Ratcliffe has a 60 per cent stake, has an annual turnover of about £45 billion and employs more than 18,500 people at 181 sites in 22 countries.
Today, 13 of Ineos’ 78 manufacturing sites are in the UK though Mr Ratcliffe says manufacturing is vital to Britain. He told the Sunday Times: “You can’t have an economy of 70 million people where you don’t make any products.”
He is sceptical about the “platitudes” of former chancellor George Osborne’s Northern Powerhouse and controversially advocates fracking for shale gas as the best means of reviving depressed northern towns and British industry in general by reducing the cost of energy, as has happened in the United States.
Mr Ratcliffe’s interest in building a rugged 4×4 to replace the Land Rover Defender could generate 10,000 jobs if he decides to manufacture it in the UK.
Bury-born property tycoon John Whittaker, whose Peel Group has steered some of the north west’s biggest infrastructure projects for the last 50 years, is valued at £2.25 billion and placed 61st in the list. The 76-year-old fought a long takeover battle for the Manchester Ship Canal Company, paving the way for the development of the Trafford Centre and now owns 27 per cent of Intu, which owns 20 shopping centres in the UK and abroad, including the Trafford Centre. Peel developed MediaCityUK in Salford and the £400 million Liverpool2 container terminal.
Also in the billionaire club are Salford brothers Fred and Peter Done, founders of the bookmaking business that grew into the gambling giant BetFred with an empire of more than 1,650 outlets in the UK. Fred, 75, a huge Manchester United fan, and Peter, 71, took over the former state-owned Tote for £265 million in 2011.
The Done brothers have been joined in the club by financier Henry Moser and family, founder and chief executive of Manchester-based lender Together, valued at £1.01 billion. The business began when Mr Moser and his then business partner set up the company to lend a customer money to buy a car from them.
Manchester-born Peter Green and family are valued at £750 million after selling their holding in the Maybourne luxury hotels group – owners of Claridges, the Berkeley and the Connaught. Mr Green, now 82 and based in Bermuda, married Canadian industrial heiress Mary-Jean Mitchell, who died in 1990, and many of the family’s mining assets were later sold in a £300 million deal.
The astonishing success of Manchester-based online fashion house Boohoo has seen co-founder Mahmud Kamani and family rocket 39 places up the Rich List, their wealth increased by £268 million to an estimated £1 billion in the space of just one year. And Boohoo’s co-founder, designer Carol Kane, 53, enters the list for the first time with an estimated fortune of £120 million. “I want to encourage young ladies to be like me,” she told the Sunday Times.
Former joiner Peter Jones, 83, who built house builders Emerson Developments in Alderley Edge and received an OBE in 2014 for services to business in the north west, is in the list at 154 – a rise of five places on 2017, with £900 million – up £87 million in a year.
Anthony Green, 67, nephew of the late soap magnate and philanthropist Sir John Zochonis, whose family co-founded PZ Cussons, makers of Imperial Leather and Carex soaps, is listed with £811 million. Mr Green retired as chairman in 2010.
Michael and Chris Oglesby and family, whose estimated fortune is £587 million, up £67 million on a year ago, donate ten per cent of the profits from Bruntwood, their Manchester-based property empire, to charity every year. The company owns more than 145 sites in Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham and Leeds.
The 5th generation of the Warburton family, who established their bakery in Bolton in 1876, now employ 4,500 people in 12 bakeries and 14 depots across the UK. The Rich List estimates their wealth at £545 million.
Also listed are Lord Alliance and family of Manchester mail order group N Brown (£500 million); John Coulter and his sister Ann Jones of Stockport-based jewellery chain Warren James (£477 million); David and Victoria Beckham, formerly of Manchester United and the Spice Girls (£340 million); hotelier Alex Langsam, owner of half the Manchester-based Britannia Hotels group (£250 million) and internet retailer Nitin Passi, 35, who saw sales at Missguided soar by 75 per cent last year (£250 million).
Manchester-based footballers are prominent amongst the list’s richest young sportsmen, with City’s Argentine striker Sergio Aguero in 4th place with £48 million. Manchester United’s Paul Pogba (9th) has £25 million; Juan Mata (10th) £24 million; Alexis Sanchez (12th) £21 million and David De Gea (14th) with £18 million. City’s Kevin De Bruyne makes 16th place with £16 million.