Essex Life - - Richest 50 -

Prop­erty, £400m

East End-born prop­erty en­trepreneur An­dreas Panayiotou learnt all about tim­ing in the boxing ring. Later, es­chew­ing the ring on his mother’s ad­vice, he worked in his Greek Cypriot-born fa­ther’s dry clean­ing busi­ness be­fore branch­ing out on his own with Abil­ity in 1996. Work­ing in what were then un­fash­ion­able parts of Hack­ney, Shoredich and the like, Abil­ity rented out to young City pro­fes­sion­als. Show­ing im­mac­u­late tim­ing be­fore the 2007 crash, Abil­ity sold the ma­jor­ity of its res­i­den­tial stock, with a value of over £1bn. Ep­ping-based Panayiotou then moved into ho­tels and now owns 14. Cau­tiously for now we put Panayiotou at what he will no doubt con­sider an ex­ces­sively con­ser­va­tive £400m for two rea­sons. Firstly, a Grade II-listed house in the ex­clu­sive Bishop’s Av­enue was bought by Panayiotou in 2006 for around £14m, with an­other £40m spent on re­fur­bish­ment. But it was re­cently sold for £25m so he may have taken a hit there. Se­condly, his largest Bri­tish com­pany reg­is­tered at Com­pa­nies House, Abil­ity De­vel­op­ments has seen its net as­sets fall by £75m from nearly £190m in 2005 to £114.5m in 2013. It is owned by a Cypriot par­ent. True there are an­other £45.5m net as­sets in other ho­tel and yacht char­ter­ing op­er­a­tions also owned by the Cypriot par­ent.

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