GREATER DIVERSITY IN HOW LOCAL ENTREPRENEURS MAKE THEIR MONEY
A NUMBER of wealthy individuals with Coventry and Warwickshire connections have made the prestigious Sunday Times Rich List.
Among them are Lord Edmiston, Sir Peter Rigby, Tony Gallagher and brothers Michael and Kenny Bruce.
The national newspaper’s annual list of the UK’s wealthiest individuals based on business and family finances also features a separate West Midlands list.
Lord Edmiston tops the list of those based in Coventry and Warwickshire and is ranked the sixth wealthiest across the Midlands with an estimated fortune of £1.04 billion.
Lord Edmiston founded the Coleshillbased IM Group, which is made of a property company and the International Motors automotive franchises.
Lord Edmiston was made a Conservative life peer in 2011 but quit the House of Lords in 2015 to spend more time on his charity work.
He is one of the UK’s biggest philanthropic donors and wants to devote more of his time to religious and educational charities. He set up Christian Vision in 1988, a worldwide charity aiming to help a billion people.
He is also a significant donor to the Conservative party.
Christian Vision sponsors three city academies in the Midlands including the Grace Academies in Darlaston, Solihull and Coventry.
Teaching is based on Christian principles, encouraging decency, respect and compassion.
A former finance director at the failed Jensen Motors, Lord Edmiston used his £6,000 redundancy pay to set up International Motors in 1974.
He began as the world’s only distributor for Jensen parts before acquiring the franchises for Subaru and Isuzu.
The IM group is housed on a purposebuilt 200-acre site in Coleshill, Warwickshire, which is the headquarters of its global operations.
Tony Gallagher, ranked eighth ((£850m) sold his Warwick-based strategic land business – Gallagher Estates – for £525 million early in 2017
The business – one of the largest of its kind in the UK – was acquired by a London housing association.
Gallagher Estates controls plots of land with potential for 42,500 homes, mainly in the south Midlands and south of England. It was bought by London and Quadrant Housing Trust,.
Mr Gallagher plans to use the cash generated by the sale to build up a valuable private rented sector operation in London and other UK cities.
The sale did not include Mr Gallagher’s retail and property investment and development business – Gallagher Developments which continues to acquire and develop prime commercial land. Mr Gallagher has spent more than three decades accumulating land and property assets ranging from retail parks, housing plots and industrial sites. The result is a vast land bank under development throughout the UK, as well as a large retail park investment portfolio.
A flagship development from Gallagher Developments is the Warwick Gates Business Park which offers business properties and offices of all sizes, complete with lake and tree-lined boulevards.
Coventry Airport owner Sir Peter Rigby founded the Rigby Group, which last September unveiled its best ever figures in its 42 year history in September. Revenues soared past the £2 billion mark.
Profits and turnover at the Stratford-upon-Avon based company increased by more than 20 per cent as the company saw success across its six divisions of technology, airports, hotels, real estate, aviation and financial services.
In the year to March 2017, the Rigby Group posted revenues of £2.17 billion up from £1.79 billion the previous year. Pre-tax profits, before exceptional items were £27.9 million.
The Rigby Group’s airports division, which owns Bournemouth, Coventry, Exeter and Norwich airports, bought the under-performing corporate jet centre at Birmingham Airport from Marshall Aviation Services in May 2017. The facility will come under the banner of XLR Executive Jet Centres, joining jet centres at Coventry and Exeter.
Mr Rigby’s upmarket hotels group, under the Eden Hotel Collection brand now includes Bovey Castle on Dartmoor, Brockencote Hall in Worcestershire and the Victorian mansion at Chaddesley Corbett near Kidderminster, the Michelinstarred Mallory Court Hotel near Leamington, the exclusive Kings Hotel in Chipping Campden, the Arden Hotel in Stratford-upon-Avon and Buckland ToutSaints in Kingsbridge, Devon. The hotel group expanded further in 2015 with the acquisition of the Caterham House Hotel in Stratford-upon-Avon in a joint venture with the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Rigby Group subsidiary British International Helicopters is operating search and rescue services in the Falkland Islands for the Ministry of Defence, working alongside military resources in the South Atlantic. Work has also completed to turn former passenger facilities at Coventry Airport into a manufacturing and distribution hub covering 30 acres.
Liverpool-born Sir Peter, aged 74, founded his company in 1975 with just £2,000 in cash. Sir Peter’s sons James and Steven are both senior directors, with James running the firm’s high-performing UK division and chief executive of SCC EMEA and Steven the chief operating officer of the Rigby Group.
Sir Peter devotes much of his time and money to charity. The Rigby Foundation Charitable Trust supports child related causes and children’s hospices. Sir Peter was knighted in the Queens Jubilee Honours for his contribution to information technology and business.
Michael and Kenny Bruce are another new entry onto the list this year, ranked 23rd in the West Midlands Rich List, with a fortune of £190 million.
The brothers first registered the domain name Purplebricks.com only six years ago. Since then, they have created a £1 billion business that is changing the way people sell their homes. The Solihull-based operation is seen as a pioneering disrupter that could do to estate agents what Ocado has done to grocery shopping.