The Duke of Westminster
The Duke of Westminster stepped down as chairman of Grosvenor Group on 1 May 2007 after 30 years at the helm of his family’s property group. But he remains involved through his chairmanship of the Grosvenor Trustees, who represent the family’s interests.
His property operations are in fine fettle. Despite making a £140m loss on the Liverpool One urban regeneration project, Grosvenor Group – the family’s main property company – saw its profits rise 38% to £508.7m in 2006. The value of its assets rose 23% to £4.6bn.
But, anxious to avoid a repeat of the Liverpool One experience, Grosvenor has begun forming joint ventures on its other major mixed-use schemes to share the risk as well as release cash to pump into development elsewhere. The first is a 50:50 joint venture with Australian company Lend Lease to bring forward Grosvenor’s £700m regeneration of Preston’s Tithebarn area, due for completion in 2013.
Taking such a long view has, of course, helped Gerald Grosvenor, 55, the sixth Duke of Westminster, to become the richest property developer in Britain. The range of his wealth is staggering, taking in vast estates in Lancashire and Cheshire, great swathes of central London – in Mayfair and Belgravia – and tracts of land in Scotland, Canada and around the world.
Within Grosvenor Group are the overseas holdings, the British development work and 100 acres of Mayfair. Separately, some 200 acres of Belgravia are held in family trusts which should be worth around £4bn. That would put a value of around £6.2bn on the total family assets. Taking in the £62m in dividends that the family trusts have had from Grosvenor Group since 1999, a valuable art collection and family properties, we reckon that Westminster and his family are now worth around £7bn.
David & Simon Reuben
Trans-World Metals (UK)
Retirement homes and racecourses are of particular interest to the Reuben brothers these days.
In August 2006, they were part of a consortium that spent £1.1bn buying retirement home builder McCarthy & Stone, while in April 2007 they agreed a £65.9m takeover of Northern Racing, owner of racecourses throughout Britain.
But the brothers are able to spot value and make a profit by buying and selling on assets. In July 2007, they shared in the windfall from the £500m sale of Shell-Mex House on London’s Strand. Earlier, in 2006, they had achieved a £30m profit on the sale of their stake in the Stratford City development, a move which was virtually forced by London mayor Ken Livingstone.
The Reubens, David and Simon, respectively aged 69 and 66, have been active in the British property market for the past decade after making their fortune in Russia in the 1990s, where they were dubbed the “metal tsars” for their important role in restructuring the aluminium industry in the country.
Born in Bombay (now Mumbai), the Reubens made their way as teenagers to London, where Simon went into property and David started trading in scrap metal.
Their foray into Russia, which ended in 1999, earned them at least £1.3bn, according to a detailed analysis by Fortune magazine.
Our sources suggest that, following a series of astute deals in the British property market, the brothers’ property assets now amount to at least £1.8bn (mostly in the United Kingdom).
They also hold £1.6bn in liquid assets such as cash, bonds and a growing investment portfolio. Personal assets take them easily to a fortune of £3,490m.
Sean Quinn & Family
Serial Irish border entrepreneur Sean Quinn and his family join Ireland’s elite sterling billionaire ranks, having built the Quinn Group from scratch over the past 34 years into a huge conglomerate.
A farmer’s son, Quinn leftschool at 15 to work on his family’s 23-acre dairy farm in Derrylin, Co Fermanagh. His breakthrough came in 1973 when, at the age of 26, he realised that the family was sitting on huge reserves of sand, gravel and shale.
Buying a truck for £600 and borrowing money for a mechanical shovel, Quinn went into the quarrying business. One half of the quarry was in Northern Ireland and the other half was in the Republic.
The troubles in the North meant a healthy demand for building products in construction and repair work. So, in 1975, Quinn started making concrete blocks he followed that with cement and then, in the early 1980s, with roof and floor tiles. By the mid-1980s, his Quinn Group had become Ireland’s second-largest cement manufacturer.
Quinn then diversified and bought nine Dublin pubs and a string of Irish hotels in the mid-1990s. The Irish property boom that followed increased their value six-fold.
Quinn-direct Insurance, which now writes premiums of £350m a year, has also taken the entrepreneur into another new and lucrative market.
In 2006, the Quinn Group made £264m profit on £1bn of sales.
The family has amassed more than £600m in assets. These include a 5%, £368m stake in Anglo Irish, the quoted Dublin business bank, hotels, wind farms, pubs and other investments.
In addition, Quinn is now moving actively into the European property market.
Now aged 61, he has given much of the company to his five children – Brenda, Ciara, Sean Jnr, Colette and Aoife – three of whom work for it.
We value the Quinn Group and the other assets at around £3bn, adding another £50m for other assets.
Earl Cadogan & Family
The Cadogan Group
Earl Cadogan has helped Chelsea to undergo a remarkable transformation in the past few years, making the area one of the most fashionable in London – indeed, in Europe.
Having inherited his title from his late father in 1997, 70-year-old Cadogan has presided over a hefty investment programme covering the 90-acre estate.
Rising central London property values and the completion of new developments in the Sloane Square area of Chelsea helped to raise the net asset value of the Cadogan Group to £2.36bn at the end of 2006.
The crowing glory is the new £150m redevelopment of the old barracks and sports ground at Duke of York Square on fashionable King’s Road.
Estates, past dividends, quoted investments and personal property add £250m, taking the Cadogan family to around £2,610m.
Buckingham Securities Holdings
The recent collapse of the Esporta health club operator will have caused some pain to Simon Halabi, 49. He bought it just nine months earlier in a deal reckoned to be worth £476m including debt his losses on the venture could run as high as £150m. He is also under pressure from his co-investors to sell his one-third stake in the Shard at London Bridge, SE1.
The Esporta difficulty comes as Halabi’s latest venture, the PM Club, is under way. The private members’ club, aimed at the global elite, will use his family trust’s existing assets – the old In and Out Club in Piccadilly, and Mentmore Towers, the former Rothschild estate in Buckinghamshire which is now being restored.
The Halabi family trust, advised by family property group Buckingham Securities, has grown in value by at least £1bn on further trophy property assets in London, including the King’s Reach office development in the City, Alban Gate, the Bankside Estate and Millennium Bridge House. We cautiously value Halabi at £2.5bn.
Tamares Real Estate Investments (UK)
The Daniel Dead Sea Hotel, Poju Zabludowicz’s fourth hotel in Israel, reopened in early 2007 after a £16m renovation.
Zabludowicz came to attention in Britain when he backed David Cameron’s Tory Party leadership bid to the tune of £15,000. The 55-year-old holds a Finnish passport, but has lived and worked in London for most of his life. His father Shlomo, a Holocaust survivor, built the family business around Soltam, an Israeli defence contractor, but most of the defence interests have now been offloaded and the family has diversified heavily into property and hotels.
Zabludowicz now owns 40% of downtown Las Vegas, including half-a-dozen casinos. He also owns the Tides hotel in Miami and the Ritz Carlton in Barcelona, but sold the Princes Arcade on London’s Piccadilly for around £120m.
He has a number of companies, including Tamares Real Estate Investments and Ivory Gate. Tamares is set to invest around £285m in a series of floating shopping and leisure schemes at ports across the world.
Equity investments in areas such as card payment technology have also proved lucrative for Zabludowicz, who is also a major modern art collector and is on the board of several Jewish/Israeli charities. Our sources reckon Zabludowicz is easily worth £2bn.
Ian & Richard Livingstone
London & Regional Group Holdings
Ian and Richard Livingstone, aged 45 and 42, plan to develop an entire new district in Panama City, South America. The brothers were selected for the vast 40-year project in February after a two-year competition run by the World Bank. The value of the finished 60m sq ft development could top $10bn.
This is the latest evidence of the brothers’ ambition to expand from their European base. Last year, they added a development in South Africa, buying the 200-acre Victoria & Albert Waterfront in Cape Town.
They have also completed the £925m acquisition of David Lloyd Leisure, which will be combined with their Next Generation chain to give them 89 leisure and fitness clubs in the UK, the Republic of Ireland, Belgium, Spain and the Netherlands. L&R is one of the largest private property companies in Europe, with investments and business interests exceeding €8.5bn (£5.8bn) in more than 12 countries. Its large portfolio of hotels includes the Park Lane Hilton in London. With L&R’s £5.8bn empire underpinned by at least £3.4bn of debt, we cautiously value the brothers at £1.88bn.
Sir David & Sir Frederick Barclay
The Barclay twins’ approach to property dealing is in keeping with their other business interests: they spot undervalued opportunities where they are able to add considerable value.
Such was the case when they sold the new London headquarters of their Telegraph Media Group to Greek shipping magnate Achilleas Kallakis for £225m in August. Just 18 months previously, they had paid £156m for the block next to Victoria Station, which had been vacant for years.
It was a trademark deal for the twins, who turn 73 today. Recently, they bought the old Peugeot car plant near Coventry for around £60m to be used in the revamping of their mail order Littlewoods Shop Direct Group.
On the hotels front, the Barclays have held on to the highly coveted Ritz hotel and spent around £200m acquiring a 5% stake in the luxury Inter-Continental chain. But they will sell assets when the price is right. The sale of The Scotsman in December 2005 to Johnston Press raised £160m. This was followed by the £25m sale of the Scotsman HQ in August 2006.
The once low-key Barclays have become much more prominent in British business since their £665m purchase of the Daily Telegraph publisher in 2004. We stick with last year’s £1.8bn valuation.
Bernard Lewis & Family
Lewis Trust Group
River Island founder Bernard Lewis’s reputation may be legendary in the fashion business, but in recent years he has been building something of a name for himself in commercial property.
Through his Lewis Trust Group, 81-year-old Lewis has built up a weighty investment portfolio in the UK, Europe – where assets include 19 out-of-town retail properties in Germany let to car retailer ATU – the US and Asia.
Most recently, it bought in the long leasehold on the ground floor of a block it owns in Kingsway, London, from the Bank restaurant’s parent, Individual Restaurant, for £3.5m in cash. The group is to embark on a major 160,000 sq ft refurbishment to attract a new upmarket restaurant operator and office tenants.
Lewis was also among the pioneers of tourism to Israel – particularly in the Red Sea resort of Eilat, where a separate leisure arm within the group owns hotels such as the Royal Beach.
The group as a whole saw profits soar from £95m to £155m on much higher sales of £762.5m in 2005. The star performer was the River Island fashion chain, which made £139m profit.
Founder and chairman Lewis opened his first shop, a greengrocers, on being demobbed from the RAF after the second world war. He soon switched to textiles, though. He has said: “However perishable fashion is, and it is perishable today, it lasts more than a day. Once you’ve bought perishable soft fruit, you can buy anything.”
The clothing business he began in 1948 has been through numerous evolutions – becoming Chelsea Girl in the 1960s and River Island in the 1980s. The group also has banking interests.
The Lewis family and trusts own all the £1,500m business. Recent dividends, including £52m in 2006, £17m in 2005 and £47m in 2004, plus other property assets, should add perhaps £120m after tax.
Baroness Howard de Walden & Family
Howard de Walden Estate
A strategy to rid London’s Harley Street of clinics that perform so-called lifestyle abortions attracted unwelcome attention to the family headed by the 10th baroness, a devout Catholic, earlier this year. Now 72, she is the eldest of four daughters of the late Lord Howard de Walden, who died in 1999.
The family is pouring £100m into sprucing up the area around Harley Street over the next five years. Its property company has shifted attention from its acclaimed reinvention of Marylebone High Street to focus on delivering large chunks of modern space that will build income and meet the needs of a booming medical market.
Projects include a 55,000 sq ft cancer centre, which is being developed in a joint venture with the London Clinic and is scheduled for completion in 2009. The Harley Street area currently accounts for 25% of rental income across the estate, which should grow to 30% on the back of the new strategy.
In 2005-06, Howard de Walden Estate saw its profits soar from £29.8m to £41.1m on £59m sales, and it showed £86.6m net assets. In the past 12 years, the family has clocked up around £98m in dividends (but none in 2005-06).
The family trusts also own development company Welbeck Land, which saw its profits come in at £4.6m on £17.6m sales in the same period.
Welbeck Land is working on schemes around the country, from Guildford to South Wales and Manchester. With central London prices up in the last year, we raise our valuation of the family’s business assets to £1.5bn, adding another £100m for past dividends and other property assets.
Mark Pears & Family
William Pears Family Holdings
As shareholders in the London power eatery The Wolseley in Piccadilly, low-key London property group William Pears will be pleased to know that the restaurant makes a solid profit.
Yet it is small-scale for the business – run by 44-year-old Mark Pears – whose empire now stretches from small local ground rents to the majority of British Telecom’s property portfolio.
The family are currently backing a bid for a £1bn outsourcing of government property in Northern Ireland through their Telereal business, of which they took full control two years ago by splashing out £300m to take over the 50% stake they did not own from Land Securities. The two had formed the company in 2001 to own and manage the BT properties.
Telereal, the Wolseley stake, the acquisition of a pub chain in 2003 for £57m and a joint venture to run NHS facilities show that the Pears family are willing to move out of their traditional local property and auction room arena.
Started in 1952 by the Pears brothers’ grandfather, the late William Pears, the family’s holdings now stretch to at least 44 separate companies. These showed profits of over £110m and net assets of more than £650m in 2005-06. The holdings outside Telereal must be worth at least £1100m.
We value the family stake in Telereal at £300m, assuming that borrowings may have had to be used to purchase the outstanding 50%. The Pears have taken dividends of £40m in the past few years and nearly £82m in 1996. With the money coming through from Telereal, we raise our valuation of the Pears family to £1.5bn after tax.
Eddie & Sol Zakay
Eddie and Sol Zakay, respectively 57 and 55, are eyeing the Indian market with a view to investing £1bn on building 40,000 homes for India’s growing middle class.
The Zakays’ company, Topland, made its name through sale-and-leaseback deals on supermarkets run by blue-chip companies such as Marks & Spencer and Tesco. Its biggest coup was to buy 78 M&S stores in 2001 for £350m these are now worth £800m. The Zakays have also taken out hefty amounts of cash with refinancing deals.
The Zakays are active in both the British and European markets. They have around 157 directorships but the main holding company, Topland Group, showed £101.5m net assets in 2005-06.
The total portfolio worldwide is worth around £4bn. A Gibraltar-based company, Topland Group Holdings, paid out £165m to Zakay family trusts. In all, after stripping out borrowings, the Zakay family should easily be worth £1.5bn.
John Whittaker, 65, will bankroll £10bn of development covering hundreds of acres of his beloved Merseyside over the next 50 years. His Peel Holdings has ambitious plans for Wirral and Liverpool which should see them rival Shanghai and New York, with towering schemes on Liverpool Bay.
The land at Birkenhead Dock and Central Dock was acquired through Peel’s acquisition of Mersey Docks & Harbour Co for £771m in 2005. In late 2006, Whittaker sold a 49% stake in his Peel Ports business for £750m, valuing the whole company at about £1.6bn.
In addition to ports, the low-key Whittaker has put his talent for spotting opportunities early into building a formidable empire that also embraces John Lennon Airport and a £158m stake in UK Coal. He took Peel private in 2004. With over 68% of the shares, he and his ally, the Saudi Olayan dynasty, remained as shareholders.
Whittaker was in the quarrying business before moving into property. In the 1980s, he fought a long battle to take over the Manchester Ship Canal Co, which owned the land on which his hugely successful shopping complex, the Trafford Centre, is built. He remains extremely active around Manchester on schemes including the BBC’s new home at Salford Quays.
By 2005-06, Whittaker had split his empire. We can see around £2.074bn of net assets in four main companies including Peel Holdings (TCL) and Peel Holdings (Land & Property). We assume he still has a 68% stake, worth £1.410bn. His other assets, including an Isle of Man home, another in Spain and £6m of dividends a year, should easily take Whittaker to £1.5bn.
Viscount Portman & Family
It may have been around for 478 years, but the Portman Estate is no slouch when it comes to technology. The company has installed the latest mobile internet and broadband telecoms equipment in its properties.
Forty-nine-year-old Viscount Portman has been trying to improve the image of his 110-acre central London inheritance since he took over the estate on his father’s death in 1999.
Owned by a series of complex family trusts, and with many of its properties on long leases, the Portman estate was slower than the other big London landowners to start improvements.
However, these leases are now coming to an end and the estate is taking a more proactive role in development, spending £40m on an investment programme such as Portman Village – the name for two shopping streets in the heart of the estate. Here, it recently worked with Westminster council and others to turn Old Quebec Street into an “oasis of calm”.
As well as the London estate, the Portman owns a rag-tag of rather obscure assets, including 17,000 acres at Wagga Wagga, in New South Wales, Australia. Other assets include a share in commercial properties in Manhattan in New York and Palm Beach in Florida.
There are few signs of family wealth in their two companies – Brickleton Group and Portman Settled Estates – with £500,000 net assets between them.
But with the improvements on the estate and the inexorable rise in prices in central London, we add 10% to last year’s £1.15bn valuation for the estate, taking it to £1,265m. We add another £50m for family assets, including the Herefordshire estate and a holiday home in Antigua.