Wealthiest Irish dozen now worth more than next 288 put together
They’ve had an up-and-down year but the Mistry family remains streets ahead at the top of the 2017 Rich List of leading Irish movers and shakers
THE MISTRY FAMILY €15.4bn s €500m
INDUSTRY The vast wealth of Pallonji Mistry (87) and his family continues to outstrip the rest of Ireland’s super-rich. Mistry, a reclusive Indian tycoon with an Irish passport, is dubbed ‘The Phantom’ at Bombay House, the headquarters for Tata, the largest private conglomerate in India and the world.
Mistry, who has a fondness for whiskey and horses, gave up his Indian passport and became an Irish citizen in 2003, on the basis of his marriage to Dublin-born Patsy Perin Dubash. Their children, Cyrus, Shapoor, Aloo and Laila, are also citizens.
The bulk of the Mistry family wealth comes from an 18.4pc stake in Tata Sons, the holding company for the Tata group, which owns interests ranging from Jaguar, Land Rover and Tetley tea to vast steel works. The company, set up as a trading firm in what was then Bombay in 1868, now employs over 660,000 people in 100 countries.
Mistry’s grandfather, a property mogul, bought the stake in the 1930s. His son Cyrus (50), who followed in his father’s footsteps by studying at Imperial College, London, became chairman of Tata Group in 2012, the first chairman in the company’s history not to be a blood relative of the Tata family.
However, the scion’s role swiftly became the stuff of a Bollywood drama after he was ousted last October by the Tata board, but he refused to go quietly. His dismissal led to a bitter spat between him and group patriarch Ratan Tata, who had led the company for 21 years until 2012 and came out of retirement to serve as interim chairman after Cyrus Mistry’s departure.
Tata claimed that Mistry was failing to make tough decisions to turn around ailing businesses in the conglomerate, while Mistry condemned a phase of GLORIOUS MISTRY: Ireland’s richest man, Pallonji Mistry, at his office in Mumbai (left) and Tom Halliday’s illustration of the Mistry family, including matriarch, the Dublin-born Patsy Perin Dubash, at the wheel. debt-fuelled expansion that the company had gone through under Ratan Tata and claimed that his predecessor had interfered with his running of the company.
In January, Natarajan Chandrasekaran, CEO of Tata Consultancy Services, the group’s biggest cash cow, was named the new chairman. Among the challenges he faces are helping to cut Tata’s €39bn worth of debt and taking on the UK steel market. In March 2016, Tata put its entire British steel business up for sale, saying it was unwilling to fund a turnaround of the business and wanted to quit UK steel as quickly as possible, but by December vowed to keep the UK steel plants open. The entire group had sales of over €98bn last year — roughly four times as much as Facebook’s annual revenue.
The Mistry family’s property interests include a White House-style mansion on an exclusive seaside stretch of Mumbai overlooking the Arabian Sea, a stud farm in nearby Pune, a stately home in Surrey, and homes in London, Dubai, Alibaug and Matheran.
2 THE WESTON FAMILY €7.5bn t €600m
RETAIL Dublin-born Hilary Weston (75), a 1960s model-turnedretailer and philanthropist, is married to Galen Weston, Canada’s second-richest man. The publicity-shy family owns a retail empire that includes Brown Thomas and Arnotts in Ireland, the Loblaw grocery chain in Canada, and Selfridges — the high-end British chain that was the basis of the ITV show Mr Selfridge.
The family’s empire in Canada dates back to the late 19th century. It grew out of the bread factory established in Toronto by Galen’s grandfather George Weston, That business prospered, becoming the country’s largest bread factory and the foundation of the family’s wealth. George Weston is now one of North America’s largest food processing and distribution groups.
These days, Galen Weston is gradually handing over the reins of the business to the fourth generation to focus on the luxury end of the family portfolio, including Selfridges and Holt Renfrew, and to devote more time to charitable pursuits. At George Weston Ltd, Galen Sr has passed the torch to son Galen Jr (44), who is married to Alexandra Schmidt, heiress to the Bata shoe fortune. Nicknamed G2, Galen Jr ran Loblaws, Canada’s biggest grocery chain, until he stepped down last year to become chairman of George Weston after his father left at age 75 as part of a staged succession plan and family tradition.
Daughter Alannah Weston was named deputy chairman in 2014 at Selfridges Group and became a director on the George Weston board in 2016. After the Weston family took control over Selfridges in 2003, Galen Weston appointed Alannah as the creative director. She is married to architect Alex Cochrane and they live in a 19th-century home in South Kensington in London with their two daughters.
The family’s Wittington Investments, which controls department stores like Brown Thomas and De Bijenkorf in the Netherlands, made a profit of €1.3bn in the year to September 17, 2016, up from €860m a year earlier, but it also donated €129m to charity. In November 2015, Selfridges completed its acquisition of Arnotts in Dublin. The Westons also own a controlling stake in Loblaws, which saw its shares — currently valued at €26bn — almost unchanged in the past year.
The extended family also owns a stake in Associated British Foods (ABF), owner of Penneys, but shares have been on the slide over the past year.
Galen Weston first moved to Dublin in the early 1960s, where he met Hilary. Her love of fashion led to them setting up the first Penneys in Dublin. As well as their extensive retail interests, the family owns properties such as a 416-acre gated country club at Windsor in Vero Beach in Florida and their own private island in a national park in Canada.
When in Britain, they often stay near the royal family in England, at Fort Belvedere, formerly the country home of King Edward VIII.
4 DENIS O’BRIEN €4.9bn t €200m
MEDIA The richest individual born in Ireland is communications and media entrepreneur Denis O’Brien (58), whose considerable assets span the telecoms, media and hotels sectors, among others. Among the key projects on his agenda for 2017 is a plan to personally invest up to $450m on a network of undersea telecoms cables linking dozens of countries in the Caribbean. The project could connect up to 40 countries.
However, his telecoms company Digicel has been hit by currency fluctuations over the past 12 months. The company has laid out an ambitious transformation plan to ready it for 2030. There will be up to 2,000 job cuts, but the company will reduce debt and grow earnings as customers buy more sophisticated services. The company has been a massive cash cow for the entrepreneur, who has taken out close to $1.5bn in dividends in the last decade.
O’Brien, who was born in Cork and raised in Dublin, has sold some assets in recent years, making impressive returns. In 2015, he sold off petrol station chain Topaz, receiving €258m in cash from a Canadian buyer.
O’Brien decided against selling off his Quinta do Lago resort in Portugal, which he bought for about €31m in 1998. Now valued at well in excess of €220m, he has extensive plans to develop and expand the luxury development.
He has also bought a hotel near his PGA Catalunya golf resort outside Barcelona in Spain and is a backer of a hip new hotel in Dublin 8. He also owns Actavo — formerly Siteserv — which recorded a 25pc increase in profits to €18m in 2015.
O’Brien’s fortune was originally generated by building up telecoms firm Esat in the late 1990s before selling it to BT, netting about €317m in cash. Apart from his radio assets, which include Today FM and Newstalk, he is a shareholder in Independent News & Media, publisher of this newspaper.
He owns a €65m Gulfstream G650ER, which he received delivery of in late 2015 and has a new one on order. He has also emerged as the owner of a luxury six-bedroom ski chalet in the French Alps called Chalet Chocolat Chaud (Chalet Hot Chocolate), which can be rented for €33,000 a week.
O’Brien bought Ballynahinch Castle Hotel in Connemara, one of the country’s top hotels, in 2015. He owns many fine properties including a home in affluent Ballsbridge. The businessman has significant philanthropic interests and helps many good causes, funding charitable organisations in Ireland and abroad.
A keen sportsman, he has paid the wages of the Ireland football team manager and is also a major, but low profile, supporter of Irish rugby. He is well known for his support of the Special Olympics.
3 JOHN GRAYKEN €6.13bn s €1bn
FINANCE American private equity mogul John Grayken (60) renounced his American citizenship in 1999 for tax purposes and became an Irish citizen. He is the founder and sole owner of Dallas-based Lone Star Funds, which has raised €67bn to buy up assets since he set it up in 1995. The secretive Grayken’s strategy is to buy distressed property assets in countries experiencing economic turmoil, clean them up and flip the assets for a huge profit. He made a fortune in Japan and south east Asia during the late 1990s and turned his attention to Ireland during the financial crisis. Lone Star was among the biggest buyers of loans and assets sold off by the Irish banks and Nama following the financial crisis.
According to a damning Forbes profile published last year, Grayken rules his empire with an iron fist, with the German press calling Lone Star “the Executioner from Texas” after the firm bought nonperforming loans that resulted in homeowner foreclosure proceedings. Forbes dubbed him one of “the robber barons of the new millennium” for his long track record of profiting from delinquent mortgages and other battered financial assets. Grayken runs his empire from the UK, where he owns a mansion in Chelsea, purchased for €66m through a Bermuda company, making it the most expensive house in the UK. He also owns Pyford Court, the sprawling Edwardian stately home in Surrey where classic horror chiller The Omen was filmed in 1976. The father of four is also said to own a €100m waterside mansion on Lake Geneva, a super-yacht in the Caribbean called the Virginian, and a private island in Cohasset, off the South Shore in Massachusetts, where he grew up. Grayken also splashed out €35m last summer on a 13,000-sq ft penthouse at the top of the new Millennium Tower Boston, a record for a condo in the city.
5 PEARSE LYONS €3.3bn s €400m
ANIMAL NUTRITION Animal nutrition accounts for most of the fortunes amassed by Alltech tycoon Pearse Lyons (72), but it’s his brewing division that has been grabbing the limelight of late. He worked at Harp Lager in Dundalk while studying biochemistry at UCD (he also has a Master’s in brewing science), before using his scientific background to produce superior animal feeds. He has turned his attention to whiskey, having bought and restored a 19th-century church on Dublin’s James’s Street to house the Pearse Lyons Distillery. His wife Deirdre, Alltech’s co-founder and director of corporate image and design, has been heavily involved in the distillery.
Alltech is head-quartered in Kentucky. Lyons started in 1980 from his garage with just $10,000 in seed capital. The shares are held by the family, which includes son Mark, who heads up Alltech’s greater China operation. In January 2016, when Alltech acquired Masterfeeds, a leading animal nutrition company in Canada, Alltech said it had more than tripled its sales in the last three years and was on target to achieve $4bn in sales “in the next few years”.
6 JOHN DORRANCE €2.55bn s €62m
SOUP John Dorrance III’s wealth originates from a 10.5pc stake he inherited in the late 1990s in Campbell’s Soup, the iconic American brand. His grandfather invented Campbell’s formula for condensed soup, and his relatives are still the company’s largest shareholders. The publicity-shy Dorrance moved to Ireland from his 18,000-acre ranch in Wyoming and the Irish government gave him a passport after he invested $1.5m in a tree-planting project. The low-profile billionaire (73), nicknamed ‘Ippy’ Dorrance, owns a home in Dartry in Dublin 6.
7 JOHN MAGNIER €2.2bn s €160m
FINANCE Coolmore Stud’s John Magnier (69) made his initial fortune from his horse-breeding empire. But most of his wealth — along with that of his friend and fellow horse-racing tycoon JP McManus — now comes from investments. This includes buying and selling government and corporate bonds and currency trading (Magnier is widely believed to have made a killing when the Mexican peso devalued in 1994). Magnier and McManus recently sold an office and retail building on the exclusive Place Vendome in Paris, beside the Ritz Hotel, for €1bn, with a reported profit of €350m on the deal.
Magnier, the son of a Co Cork landowner, was educated at Glenstal Abbey in Co Limerick but had to leave school at 15 on the death of his father to take charge of the family estate near Fermoy. He later moved to Fethard in Co Tipperary, where he transformed Coolmore Stud into a multi-million euro business, making a fortune for himself in the process and becoming Ireland’s leading thoroughbred stud owner. Champion sires to have stood at the 7,000-acre stud include Sadler’s Wells and Danehill.
He is understood to have been one of the beneficiaries of the €1.1bn sale of London City Airport in 2006. He owns 20pc of UK nursing home group Barchester, which in October reported it had shareholder funds of €130m by the end of 2015. Magnier also co-owns with McManus a 23pc stake in €1.2bn-valued Mitchells & Butlers (M&B), Britain’s biggest pub group.
Shares of M&B have slipped over the last year amid concern about the impact of Brexit on the pub chain’s costs and after pre-tax profits for the year to September 24 fell by more than 25pc. Earlier this year, the bloodstock billionaire and his family acquired the Sutton Scotney Estate in Hampshire, which includes 24 homes and more than 4,000 acres of land, for an estimated €52m.
Magnier is married to Susan, the daughter of Irish racehorse-trainer Vincent O’Brien, and they have five children. He has a property portfolio that stretches from a €30m beach-front pad in Marbella, which was once rented to David Beckham, and the 18th-century Cashel Palace Hotel in Co Tipperary, which he bought for an estimated €2.25m, and has an interest in the exclusive Sandy Lane Resort in Barbados. He also has a stunning art collection, including a €70m Modigliani painting and a €25m Sir Joshua Reynolds portrait. FINANCE JP McManus (65), dubbed ‘The Sundance Kid’, started life as a bookie but soon switched his attention to currency and bond markets. McManus, a tax resident of Switzerland, conducts his currency operations from his trading nerve-centre in Geneva.
McManus often invests with John Magnier and the pair, along with Dermot Desmond, control the €1bn-valued Sandy Lane beach-front resort in Barbados, having bought it with a consortium in 1998. They also own a 23pc stake in Britain’s biggest
9 JP McMANUS €2bn s €150m 8 COLLISON BROTHERS €2.1bn s €720m
TECHNOLOGY Limerick brothers John (26) and Patrick (28) have gone from being highly gifted students to paper billionaires in just a few short years. This year’s Rich List continues to see them gallop up the rankings with valuations for their micro-payments firm, Stripe, racing ahead every few months.
A fundraising last November ensured they are each billionaires. It brought in $150m, giving the company a $9bn valuation. The brothers each own around 12pc of the business, giving them a net worth of over $1bn each.
The brothers have been making money since their teens — they sold their first company, Auctomatic, for $5m in 2008.
They both secured highly soughtafter places in Harvard and MIT but dropped out to pursue their entrepreneurial leanings and set up Stripe in 2010. They discovered that businesses found arranging online payments difficult and they had an idea — simplifying online transactions. With initial backing from Tesla founder Elon Musk and Paypal’s Peter Thiel, the company kept on growing.
Forbes has described the business as “a mobile payments phenomenon”. It employs over 600 people. pub company M&B, though the chain’s shares have dipped over the last year.
The pair have made good money from their stake in nursing home business Barchester, which had shareholder funds of €130m by the end of 2015. In December, Magnier and McManus sold an office and retail building on the exclusive Place Vendome in Paris, beside the Ritz Hotel, for €1bn, with a reported profit of €350m on the deal.
McManus also owns one of Ireland’s biggest private residences, a huge neo-Palladian home at Killmallock, Co Limerick. The racehorse-owner and his wife Noreen also own a home on the so-called Millionaires’ Row of Ailesbury Road, where Noreen won a planning battle with neighbours in November to further extend the property.
McManus spent close to €30m in 2015 to buy Adare Manor, the luxury hotel and golf resort where he hosts his world famous and celeb-laden Pro-Am for charity. Various reports have stated that he is currently investing from €30m up to €50m on revamping the resort, with a view to staging the Ryder Cup there in 2026. McManus, known for helping charities and good causes in his native Limerick, also invested €10m in a planned new rugby visitor centre for Limerick, headed up by former Ireland and Munster captain, Paul O’Connell.
Last year, a Revenue statement estimated that the tax exile has paid no income tax or capital gains tax in Ireland in 20 years. In recent weeks, he lost a US legal action to recover $5.2m (€4.9m) in tax withheld from his winnings on a three-day backgammon match.
10 DERMOT DESMOND €1.8bn s €240m
FINANCE Billionaire businessman and financier Dermot Desmond (66) worked in banking before setting up NCB stockbrokers in 1981. He sold out in 1994 for €49m, using the money to build his own private equity firm, International Investment & Underwriting (IIU).
Among his most high-profile deals was the sale of London City Airport for €1bn in 2006, having bought it for €30m in 1995. He and others shared in the considerable upside.
The Cork man also invested €475,000 into Denis O’Brien’s Esat as it pitched for the State’s second mobile licence. He later made €120m from the sale of his shares. Other excellent returns came when he took a €300,000 stake in Baltimore Technologies before selling out at the top of the market.
He showed similar timing with Optimal Payments, where an initial €20m investment was turned into €180m. He also owns biometric firm Daon, as well as stakes in Independent News & Media, which publishes this newspaper, One51 and Datalex. He played a key role in developing the IFSC in Dublin.
The shrewd deal-maker, who guards his privacy, controls Celtic Football Club. Desmond also owns part of the exclusive Sandy Lane resort in Barbados. Meanwhile, Desmond’s sons have expanded their business interests, bringing the Five Guys burger chain to Ireland, and opening trendy bar Zozimus in Dublin.
11 MARTIN NAUGHTON €1.6bn s €100m
INDUSTRY Martin Naughton (77) built up the world’s biggest manufacturer of home and commercial heating appliances from a base at Dunleer, a Louth village with little over 5,000 residents. Glen Dimplex makes most of the heaters and toasters in the world, through brands such as Morphy Richards, Stoves and Belling. Glen Dimplex is an unlimited company and does not have to reveal its finances. Last April, he said he would leave the board of the company he founded more than 40 years ago, and hand the reins to his long-time CEO, Sean O’Driscoll.
Glen Electric, a UK subsidiary which is thought to account for close to half the business, saw sales fall 5pc last year to €850m. Operating profits were also down at €41m before a donation of almost €21m to the Naughton Foundation, which focuses on art and education.
He has significant interests outside of Glen Dimplex including a stake in the five-star Merrion Hotel and the exclusive restaurant Patrick Guilbaud’s. He also cashed in some of his more mature property assets, offloading two office blocks in the IFSC for a combined €90m in recent years.
Naughton, who lives on a 200acre estate at Stackallen House, Co Meath has also invested in a number of domestic Irish firms, ranging from wind energy to water-coolers and telecoms.
13 SHANE SMITH €1.41bn s €701m
MEDIA Shane Smith’s family moved from Galway to Canada and he once had a summer job as a barman in Dublin’s Baggot Inn. His Disney and News Corp-backed global media firm, Vice, is now thought to be valued at $5bn.
As it takes aim at the rather fickle millennial audience for TV and web content, the valuation may be a frothy one, but it puts his estimated 30pc stake at €1.41bn, having doubled since last year, going by recent media reports.
Smith (47), who has reported from the likes of North Korea and Iraq, won $1m at a consumer electronics conference in Las Vegas three years ago and splurged $300,000 on dinner afterwards.
Giving a landmark speech at the Edinburgh Festival last August, he said he expects a frenzy of mergers and acquisitions in the world of digital media and is aiming to grow Vice’s monthly audience from 380m to 1bn. No pressure then.
12 PAUL COULSON €1.5bn s €660m
INDUSTRY Known to friends as ‘The Cooler’, Paris-based Coulson last month listed his company Ardagh, a giant in the packaging and glass bottle business. It valued his stake at close to €1.5bn, vastly increasing previous estimates of his personal wealth.
First founded as the Irish Glass Bottle Company in 1932, it has grown massively since Coulson first invested in 1998 and now produces everything from Budweiser beer bottles to Lynx aerosol cans.
Ardagh has paid huge dividends to Coulson. He owns properties in Dublin’s Shrewsbury Road, a home in Paris and properties in Portugal. There’s also a 164ft yacht off Sardinia. He’s a major donor to the private Jesuit school Gonzaga, which has named its theatre after him.
14 ELLIS SHORT €1.1bn
s €50m FINANCE The Missouriborn private equity baron Ellis Short (inset) helped John Grayken transform Lone Star into a €67bn investment giant before setting up on his own. He set up Kitano Partners and in 2013 created Kildare Partners to go on a purchasing spree as Europe’s economy began to recover. Kildare raised €2bn from investors and spent it rapidly, loading up on distressed commercial, leisure and industrial property assets across Ireland and Europe, including €100m worth of loans associated with developer Michael O’Flynn’s business. Like Grayken, he shuns the limelight.
He bought Sunderland Football Club from a group of Irish investors in 2008, though the purchase has become somewhat of a headache for Short. The club has denied that its owner is actively trying to sell it for up to £170m despite a brochure being created last year to advertise the benefits of buying the relegationthreatened outfit. The club is thought to have accumulated debt worth €164m.
Short also owns Skibo Castle, Scotland, the former home of billionaire industrialist Andrew Carnegie, which he now runs as a private members’ club. He owns a €40m beach-side pad in Hawaii. Short, who is married to former tennis player Eve Zimmerman, holds an Irish passport.
16 COMER BROTHERS €1.05bn s €50m
PROPERTY Billionaire brothers Luke (61) and Brian (57) Comer from Glenamaddy, Co Galway started out as plasterers together in the early 1970s and made a huge play on the Irish economy during the recession, buying property at the bottom of the market. Values have risen, making the brothers very wealthy as a result.
The pair have launched a slew of new housing schemes in Dublin, including Hersilwood in Knocklyon, and own a 110,000sqft (10,220sqm) building in Dublin that Facebook has just agreed to lease.
In the first six months of 2016, the Comers spent more than €75m growing their property empire here, in Germany and in the UK, having banked sales of €300m in those countries over the previous 18 months. In July, Luke Comer outlined plans to invest up to a further €200m in the three countries within 18 months. The brothers estimated in 2015 that their assets, which include stud farms and racehorses, are worth about €3bn (excluding debt).
17 EUGENE MURTAGH €1bn s €288m
INDUSTRY Having started insulation group Kingspan in the back of a pub in Kingscourt, Co Cavan, founder and now chairman Eugene Murtagh’s 17pc stake in the firm has rocketed in value in the past year to over €900m, building on the fact that the shares have risen more than tenfold since 2009. With other assets, Murtagh should comfortably be in the billionaires’ club. The company
recently reported sales of €3bn, with profits having jumped by 33pc to €341m, and is growing through acquisitions and building new factories across the world.
Shares are up more than 25pc this year. Helping to drive this is the company’s expansion into other green construction technologies including LED lighting, fuel and energy storage, solar panels, hybrid energy systems and small wind turbines. Tesla-driving son, Gene, now runs the business. The Murtaghs also own the Hempel Hotel in London, another in Amsterdam.
18 DECLAN AND SHANE RYAN €966m s €251m
AVIATION These two sons of the late Tony Ryan inherited his stake in Ryanair, though most of it was sold since the IPO in 1990, enabling them to bank some €260m.
Wicklow-based entrepreneur and philanthropist Declan invests in start-ups such as Coindrum but has also had continued success building up or backing low-cost airlines across the world including Singapore-based Tiger Airways, Allegiant Air in the US and VivaAerobus in Mexico. The family’s Irelandia Investments sold a 49pc stake in the latter last November, which was estimated to be worth €226m.
Property interests reportedly in Britain, Poland, Asia and Mexico are also likely to have done well in the past year. Shane is a successful bloodstock farmer, owning stud farms in Tipperary and Kentucky.
19 DAVID McMURTRY €910m s €250m
INDUSTRY Dubliner David McMurtry’s precision engineering firm Renishaw has emerged as a supplier of hi-tech laser altimeters used by drones and is also supplying similar laser-scanning components for use in self-driving cars.
Though mainly associated with hi-tech manufacturing — the firm is known to supply machinery used in the ‘mega-factories’ of the giant Chinese and Korean makers of Apple and Samsung smartphones. The company of the Clontarf-born former Concorde engine troubleshooter is also developing other such product lines, including medical robots and industrial 3D printing machines.
The Bristol-headquartered business, in which the 75-yearold car enthusiast owns a 36pc, €900m-plus stake, employs more than 4,300 around the world, some 200 of whom are in Swords, north Dublin.
21 U2 €795m s €40m
MUSIC Bono (56), The Edge, Larry Mullen and Adam Clayton may be around for over four decades but they remain Ireland’s wealthiest music act. The Dublin rockers, who shifted parts of their business to the Netherlands 11 years ago to reduce tax, made €52m in the 12 months through June, according to Forbes.
As the importance of record sales began to diminish, U2 became a touring machine. Another tour will follow this year to mark the 30th anniversary of The Joshua Tree, with 1.1m tickets sold worldwide in the first 24 hours of going on sale in January, meaning U2 could command up to €93m from the endeavour. The band’s 360 tour from 2009 to 2011 was the highest-grossing tour of all time, with the band said to have made €660m out of it. Outside of music, band members have diverse interests and investments including a stake in the Clarence Hotel, which recorded profits of more than €430,000 for 2015, and Dublin Dockland properties. The Dubliners also own some smashing houses, from Killiney Hill to valuable beachfront castles in Eze and Beaulieu on the Cote D’Azur. Bono is a partner in $1.9bn US tech venture capital firm Elevation, which is sitting on stratospheric profits from a 2.3pc stake in Facebook bought in 2009, and is now winding down. AVIATION Michael O’Leary (55), the outspoken boss of no-frills airline Ryanair, may be the kingpin of European air travel, but the aviation industry has been under a dark cloud cast by the UK’s decision to leave the EU. However, the airline is guiding a net profit of between €1.3bn and €1.35bn for the financial year ending in March.
At one stage, the chief executive owned almost 25pc of the airline but sold much of the stock over the last 20 years. His stake is now worth around €700m.
Before Brexit, Ryanair was on a straight run, benefiting from an overhaul of its cheap ’n’ nasty image and becoming more customer-friendly. Much to the chagrin of shareholders, however, O’Leary was rewarded for this overhaul in the form of a €3.2m pay and bonus package for the 12 months to the end of March 2016, 33pc more than he netted in 2015. The Clongowese ducated former accountant has a large UK commercial property portfolio, including two office blocks in the centre of London.
At home, he, his wife Anita and their four children live in an extensive, renovated country pile at Gigginstown in Westmeath. They also own a house bought for €9.4m on Raglan Road and a Newmarket stud farm. O’Leary has spent heavily to become the biggest National Hunt horse-owner in the country. It’s an expensive flutter that has paid off. Last September, he ended his very successful relationship with trainer Willie Mullins withdrawing his 60 horses from the yard. Recently he has been involved in a spat with the handicapper of the Aintree Grand National which led him to withdraw his big three horses from the fixture.
20 THE CLEARY FAMILY €850m s €77m
INHERITANCE Farmer-turned-property developer Eamon Cleary passed away aged just 52 in 2012, leaving most of his estate to his wife and eight children. The Meath man built
up an extensive portfolio of commercial, retail and residential real estate in New Zealand.
Cleary, who left school aged just 11, spent the first half of his career trading in agri and building supplies in the Border region surrounding Inniskeen in Monaghan. For most of the 1980s, cattle growth promoters were legal, and the canny trader was reputed to have been one of the first in Ireland to cash in on that market.
His mounting gains saw him secure a farm of 250 acres on the outskirts of Navan, with most of the cost reputed to have been covered by the sale of the milk quota and silage. The farm was subsequently sold for development.
However, it was his move to New Zealand in the 1990s that proved to be the real break, with Cleary getting into dairy farming just as the industry really started to take off. New Zealand’s National
Business Review estimated his fortune at €1bn before he died. The family is thought to have donated large sums to charity.
22 LARRY GOODMAN €780m UNCHANGED
BEEF The past year has seen the Goodman-owned ABP Food Group extend its share of the Irish beef market, with a joint-venture passed by European Competition Authorities in October allowing it to acquire a 50pc stake in Slaney Meats.
While Goodman (78) has beefed up his meat processing operations at home, beef exports have been severely hit by sterling/ euro fluctuations, which are estimated to have wiped €570m off the value of Irish food and drink exports to the UK — 50pc of Irish beef continues to go to that market. ABP remains the largest beef processor in Europe, with 37 manufacturing plants in Ireland, the UK, Poland, the Netherlands, Austria and Spain. It extended its market share in Poland with the acquisition of a third production plant. It is understood the facility will bring ABP’s production capacity in Poland up to 250,000 cattle annually.
ABP was the first Irish company to get beef into the US after that market re-opened to Irish beef in 2015 — a deal worth in the region of €15m at the time. While Irish beef exporters have not made significant inroads into the US market, it’s understood that the Goodman operation is looking at expanding further into the ‘beef for grinding’ market.
Brexit and sterling fluctuations may have negatively impacted his core business interests and the uncertainty around the UK as Ireland’s main beef market hangs like a cloud over the entire agri-food industry. However, he has other interests, including Irish commercial property.
23 FREDDIE LINNETT/ HUGH MURPHY €770m s €25m
PROPERTY Freddie Linnett (68) was once considered to be the second richest woman in Britain after Queen Elizabeth. Her uncles Hughie and Paddy Murphy, came to Great Britain from Armagh in 1945. They left her a 32pc stake in property group Charles Street, which is a huge landlord in the UK. She initially worked for the company as a secretary and tea lady but soon gained a reputation for hard work and moved up the ranks.
Chief executive Hugh and his wife Mary Murphy own around 49.2pc of the shares in the Charles Street (Leicester) holding group with the extended family holding the remainder. The company owns 6m sq ft of property in the UK, which is let out to state and blue-chip tenants, with a rent roll of €50m-plus per year.
24 NED GUINNESS €768m s €83m
INDUSTRY Heir to the brewing fortune of the same name, Kildare-born Ned Guinness, also known as Lord Iveagh, has seen the family stake in drinks giant Diageo increase in value by about €62m in the past year.
Said to own a green vintage Rolls Royce from 1928, he is also one of Britain’s biggest private landowners, as his vast Elveden estate in Suffolk covers 22,500 acres and grows potatoes and 10pc of all the onions consumed in the UK.
In recent years, Guinness emerged as a backer of Irish firm Blueface, which provides internet-based phone services to businesses and expanded into the US, Spain, Germany and France last year.
There is also property in Britain and Canada — its British Pacific Properties owns over 2,000 acres and specialises in high-end housing in and around Vancouver, which is likely to have increased in value, as will have any other family wealth and assets.
25 MIKE LYNCH €625m s €110m
TECHNOLOGY Lynch (51) is one of the smartest investors in the fast-growing cyber security and artificial intelligence sectors and was once described as ‘Europe’s Bill Gates’. The largest chunk of his wealth is derived from the sale of software firm which he founded in 1996, Autonomy.
After its sale to HP for $10bn in 2011, HP subsequently wrote down the value of the firm by $8.8bn, and embarked on a vicious row, claiming it had overpaid by $5bn as a result of misrepresentation of its financial health. A court battle is now set to take place in London next year, but in the meantime, last November, Autonomy CFO Sushovan Hussain was charged with accounting fraud, which the US calls “wire fraud”. Lynch has counter-sued HP for $160m over reputational damage
Lynch has been busying himself since, founding €1bn London tech investment firm Invoke Capital, whose controlling stake in fast-growing cyber security firm Darktrace, looks like a potential unicorn and was valued at €470m.
Other assets and investments are likely to have increased in value too. There is a farm and mansion in Suffolk and the car enthusiast, whose parents were from Cork and Tipperary, also owns a 1965 Aston Martin DB5, like the one that was in James Bond film Goldfinger, which is probably worth about €1m.
26 BERT ALLEN & FAMILY €605m s €130m
BEEF Bert Allen and his family had two significant pay-days in the past year from the sale of Slaney Foods to Larry Goodman’s ABP Foods and a group of wind farms that Gaelectric owned.
The Allens’ stake in Slaney was 50pc, but the sale price was undisclosed. Its turnover looks to have been perhaps €250m. The accounts are unlimited but the average industry profit seems to be around 5pc, so the Allens may have banked €50m.
The firm had about 6pc of the Irish market, mainly in beef and lamb and big contracts with the likes of Lidl and McDonalds which made it a prize for ABP.
Gaelectric recently sold its assets for about €350m, meaning the family could have banked €63m for their share of that, and while debt may have changed that number considerably, the value of the remainder of the company is likely to have increased.
The family also has other interests. They made an expertly timed sale of the Bewleys Hotel Group for €580m in 2008, just before the economic crash.
There are also properties in
Düsseldorf and Marl in Germany, while Allen (78) collects Eileen Gray furniture and has restored her Brownswood family home near Enniscorthy in Co Wexford. One of the designer’s chairs was worth €22m. Meanwhile, Bert’s son Bertram is a star showjumper who has competed for Ireland in the Equestrian World Cup and took more than 20 first places during a cracking year in 2015.
27 MARK GETTY €495m t €100m
MEDIA Irish passport-holder Getty is an heir to the renowned Getty oil fortune, through which his grandfather John Paul was one of the world’s wealthiest men.
The proverbial apple didn’t fall far from the tree and Mark built up the Getty Images photo library into a global giant, before selling off large shares to private equity firms in two stages for a combined sum of just under €4bn.
He owns a 2,500-acre estate in Buckinghamshire, complete with Oval cricket ground replica, an eclectic art collection, ranging from old masters to Banksy, and a yacht called Tabitha. A collection of old books, including rare Shakespeare and Chaucer folios, is also said to be very valuable.
Though more than €850m in dividends has been paid out, Getty Images has come under pressure from rivals, the increasing availability of free high quality photos on the internet and the general decline in traditional media — which has less money to spend on stock photography, in recent years.
Getty’s high debt levels affected its ability to reinvest to boost its growth in recent years, and last year Chinese photo library giant Visual China was mulling taking an unspecified stake in the firm, having previously bought a rival, Corbis, which had been owned by Bill Gates.
28 THE FLATLEY FAMILY €493m t €28m
INHERITANCE Kiltimagh, Co Mayo native Thomas Flatley emigrated to the US in 1950 with just over $30 to his name. Over the following 40 years or so, he established a $1.3bn property empire, initially focused on south Boston and the surrounding area, building offices, apartments, hotels, shopping centres, industrial parks and health centres.
At the height of its success, the company employed 5,800 people and owned property in 56 cities across seven states, and he also owned a New Hampshire TV station, according to one report.
The staunchly Catholic businessman died in 2008, and his family are giving away much of the fortune he built to good causes. At the end of 2015, it had €493m of assets, according to an official filing.
29 PAT McDONAGH €479m s €64m
TECHNOLOGY Low-profile e-learning tycoon Pat McDonagh (65) was previously a schoolteacher and encyclopaedia salesman, but made hundreds of millions from success with CBT Systems and Skillsoft in the 1990s, and later with Riverdeep. At one stage during the dotcom boom, his 53pc stake in the latter was worth a whopping €800m. He sold more than €260m worth of shares.
The Baldoyle-based businessman took a huge punt on development land in recent years, and emerged as a backer of New Generation Homes founder and Arklow man Greg Kavanagh’s well-timed strategy of buying land at or around the bottom of the market and then selling it on or developing it for massive profits.
It’s thought that the gamble involved buying upwards of €100m worth of sites. This is likely to have paid off handsomely for them both — Kavanagh sold his stake in various residential and commercial property assets he’d bought with backing from M&G Investments last October. McDonagh was also a shareholder in Olhausen, a sausage business, as well as digisoft.tv, a tech firm.
30 STEPHEN VERNON €457m s €107m
PROPERTY Property magnate Stephen Vernon (66, inset) will have benefited handsomely from the sale of Blanchardstown Shopping Centre, which he controlled, to investment behemoth Blackstone for €950m last June and of two prime London properties for €246m to an Asian investor in January. He had developed Blanchardstown and a number of other commercial properties before the boom, but then took Green Property, which he founded, private in a €1bn deal, selling off a bundle of properties to clear debt and leave him with Blanchardstown.
He was one of only a handful of property players who avoided the carnage of the 2008 crash, coming through it with cash to spend. He also made money when Green REIT was floated off — it had built up €950m worth of properties and a €55m rent roll — and his 34pc of it alone is worth €340m.
The stake in Green Property Holdings, which is a separate entity, and any related debt will have dictated what he banked from his Blanchardstown pay-day, while he also pocketed a €7m performance fee last summer.
31 RAY & DES O’ROURKE €455m t €275m
CONSTRUCTION Low-key Leitrim brothers Ray and Des O’Rourke jointly own UKheadquartered global construction giant Laing O’Rourke. In a letter to the company last December, qualified pilot Ray, who now lives in Jersey, outlined how it had made a €290m loss last year — its first in 15 years — with €3bn of revenue due to problems with a big hospital contract in Canada and other projects in the UK, but emphasised plans to achieve turnover of about €4.5bn by the end of 2019. This should be helped by a reported order book of €11.5bn.
His son Cathal and Des’s son Stephen now work in the business, which has worked on Dubai’s biggest skyscrapers, London’s Olympic venues and Heathrow’s Terminal 5. Ray stepped down as CEO four years ago, but returned once again at the end of 2015. He had built up the company from humble roots in his utility room with the help of some stellar phases of growth and a merger with builder Laing.
32 NIALL WALL €450m s €241m
INDUSTRY Niall Wall left tin and bottling giant Ardagh last April but retains an 8.8pc stake in the business. The company listed part of the business last month, valuing it at €5bn and Wall’s stake at €440m, significantly higher than previous estimates. He is a brother-in-law of Ardagh chairman Paul Coulson. Wall sold his Ranelagh house to Greencore boss Patrick Coveney for €2.75m in 2014.
33 BERNARD MURPHY AND FAMILY €443m s €148m
CONSTRUCTION The late John Murphy founded the iconic Irish building firm whose dark green vans became a frequent sight on British roads. His Kildare-based son, Bernard Murphy (72), and his extended family now own J Murphy & Sons.
The three main companies, the principal one of which is working on some of the UK’s biggest construction projects, booked €970m of sales in their last accounts, throwing off €40m in profits. The assets are worth at least €403m. Last year the main firm’s CEO said it plans to grow turnover from €770m to €2.4bn by 2025.
34 PADDY McNALLY €436m s €21m
MOTOR RACING Former motor racing journalist McNally (85, inset), a Donegal native and long-time associate of former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, spends his time at homes in Switzerland and the Cote d’Azur — where he keeps a Sunseeker yacht — after selling Allsports Management, his Formula One events, corporate entertainment and trackside advertising business, to private equity giant CVC for €275m in 2006. McNally, who previously dated Sarah Ferguson (the exwife of Britain’s Prince Andrew), is believed to own a chalet in the exclusive Swiss ski resort of
39 ROMA DOWNEY €411m s €21m
MEDIA Television has helped to pave a road to riches for Roma Downey (56), a native of Derry’s Bogside who is also an Emmy-nominated actress and starred in soppy US soap Touched by an Angel. Marriage helped too, given that her husband, Mark Burnett, a former British soldier, developed ratings winners The Apprentice (maybe he’s partly to blame for Trump), Survivor, Shark Tank and The Voice.
Hearst and MGM bought his company in several chunks in 2012, 2014 and 2015, initially valuing the firm at €480m — though the value increased during that time — and the couple may have banked €120m from the 2015 transaction alone, with fees and dividends of almost €200m adding to that bank balance over the years. Various assets and investments increasing in value over the past year are likely to have further added to that.
Downey and Burnett live in a huge 7,300sqft beachside house in Malibu, where the neighbours include Hollywood actors. Strongly religious, they saw the potential of a TV adaptation of The Bible, which won numerous awards and reached 100m viewers. Verbier which is said to command rents of €26,000 a week. Another of his homes was once owned by James Bond creator Ian Fleming, a stately pile on an estate in Wiltshire in southern England. A Rich List in a Swiss newspaper once estimated McNally’s wealth at closer to €600m.
35 SEAMUS MULLIGAN €433m s €73m
PHARMACEUTICALS Following a drop in his estimated net worth last year, pharma entrepreneur Seamus Mulligan (56) has seen his fortunes improve again in the past year, with a number of business interests doing well for him. One of these, Adapt Pharma, which he backed with about €60m of his own money, has won FDA approval for its nasal spray for heroin users and is growing steadily, carving out a sizeable piece of a $100m market in the US. Meanwhile, Jazz Pharmaceuticals — the result of a merger of Jazz with Azur, a pharma venture he had set up in 2011 — has seen its share price rise by about 10pc in the past year.
Roscommon-based Mulligan previously played a key role in turning around Ireland’s then biggest drugs firm Elan, which was struggling with too much debt. Wisely cashing in a €210m chunk of his shares, Mulligan still retains a stake now worth about €138m. During the boom, he bought former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds’ house on leafy Ailesbury Road in Dublin for €14m, while also investing in other properties and the Derek Quinlan syndicate that bought properties such as the Four Seasons hotel in Prague and others in London’s West End.
36 THE HAUGHEY FAMILY €428m s €14m
PHARMACEUTICALS Louth-born animal health entrepreneur Eddie Haughey, who was also known by his former title Lord Ballyedmond, died in a helicopter crash in 2014.
His Norbrook Laboratories business is now owned by his wife Mary and the family, to whom €104m of assets, including properties and farmland, were transferred at the end of 2015.
The family also owns castles in Northern Ireland and Cumbria in the north of England, as well as an estate in Norfolk. A house in one of London’s most expensive postcodes, Belgrave Square, which was bought in 2006 for €18m, is probably worth three times that now. A planning application seeking to make relatively minor improvements that was made last year by Lady Ballyedmond shows a house described as a family home and rich in architectural detail, complete with a huge dining room.
37 DAVID POWER €415m t €140m
GAMBLING Rathgar-based David Power (70) owns 3.57m shares in Paddy Power Betfair — whose share price has fallen by almost a quarter since early 2016, meaning they’re now worth about €360m. Share sales and dividends, as well as property in the UK, accounts for the rest of his wealth.
38 BERNIE & JOHN GALLAGHER €412m s €21m
HOSPITALITY Darlings of the hotel business, Bernie — one of the heirs to the PV Doyle hotel empire — and John, both 57, also know a thing or two about timing. They sold off most of the Doyle hotel empire’s assets to developers for more than €1.1bn as prices hit their peak during the most bonkers phase of the boom.
Doing so enabled them to clear their debts and walk away with a portfolio of classy hotels including the Westbury and River Lee, two in London and one in Washington. They own 25pc of the business.
They have also got back into the property game, buying up the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre for €28m as well as office blocks and shops here and in Poland. Among other things, during his spare time John is the lead singer of Dakota 66, an indie rock band which has played at Electric Picnic a few times.
40 ANDY RUHAN €400m s €100m
TECHNOLOGY Low-key and media-shy Andy Ruhan (53), who grew up in Athenry, Co Galway, has amassed a fortune thanks to success in a data centre business, hotel and properties and a cable firm.
Sentrum, a data centre venture, sold a three-property portfolio to Digital Realty for €850m in 2012. Then in a highly-leveraged deal, Ruhan made money from flipping the Thistle chain of 32 hotels and converted many of them into high-end apartments. It has emerged that a deal involving two of the London hotels alone, which involved the Candy Brothers, saw the site flipped within just 18 months to a Middle East buyer for a cool £250m profit in 2008.
It has also emerged that he and his brother Gabriel made money from the sale of Global Marine Systems, an undersea cable firm, for €200m in 2014. When IT services firm Navisite was sold to Time Warner, it earned them about €127m, so we’ve upped his net worth considerably from last year’s figure.
Among the other assets owned by Andy are a hotel in Wimbledon, a multi-million pound mansion in Buckinghamshire and an African game reserve. He is also an avid motor racing fan and sat on the board of the Lotus F1 team before Renault took it over at the end of 2015. A classic car collection includes a rare 1962 E-type Jaguar.
41 TOM ROCHE AND FAMILY €384m s €64m
INFRASTRUCTURE The Roche family dynasty initially made their money from cement, through what became CRH in the 1970s. Toll roads and energy — mainly wind farms — later saw them prosper again, with Tom being the biggest shareholder in NTR. His wife Anne is one of the Doyle hotel family and owns 25pc of the Doyle Collection business. They have shared in more than €800m of dividends over the past decade. Son John runs the slick Cocu Kitchen restaurants on Dublin’s Hatch Street and Baggot Street. Last May it emerged that he and his parents bought a site at Percy Place in Ballsbridge where they plan to develop a high-end apartment block complete with roof garden.
43 TIM MARTIN €376m
s €60m PUBS Listed pub chain Wetherspoons has rowed back on ambitious expansion plans for Ireland having carved up most of Britain’s high streets with its fairly priced coffee, food and drinks offering. Belfast native Tim Martin (61, inset) owns 30pc of the firm, so he’s sitting on a €60m paper profit after a hike in the share price of about a third in the past year. There was a bit of a blip last June in the wake of the Brexit vote — he was an outspoken supporter of the ‘leave’ side. In the run-up to the Brexit vote, he visited up to 100 of his pubs on a whistle-stop tour.
44 MICHAEL SMURFIT €376m s €76m
INDUSTRY One of the country’s best-known and most successful businessmen, Michael Smurfit turned a small cardboard box firm into the global giant that became Smurfit Kappa.
In 2002, he earned €230m for his 7.5pc stake when US firm Madison Dearborn acquired it for €3.8bn. He later spent €55m to buy 4.29pc of the private company back before it returned to the stock market in 2007, and he later made money again selling that stake.
In the past year, he banked an estimated €62m from his stake in his brother Dermot’s firm Powerflute, which was bought by a familiar name, Madison Dearborn. He also invests in start-ups, including Offalybased farm tech start-up MooCall.
Last August, for his 80th birthday, he brought 100 close friends, family and VIPs on a super-yacht voyage lasting a week from Venice to Corfu via Dubrovnik, Hvar and Montenegro.
Among his most prized possessions is a €50m yacht called the Lady Ann Magee ,as well as an art collection worth a similar amount, and several properties.
The Monaco-based golfing fan and bon viveur paid €115m to buy The K Club with developer Gerry Gannon during the boom, but later had to wrest control of it from Nama by buying Gannon’s stake. A stunning home in Marbella owned by Smurfit — Casa Loriana — has gone on the market for €80m and comes with a private beach and a mooring for a yacht.
45 CHARLES GALLAGHER €343m s €42m
CONSTRUCTION One-time Tory party candidate
42 MICHAEL FLATLEY €376m s €21m
ENTERTAINMENT Chicago-born Flatley, 58, whose parents hailed from Carlow and Sligo, is trying to sell his Castlehyde estate in Cork, which he lovingly restored while adding mod cons that only a multimillionaire could need such as an earthquake-proof garage for his car collection and a multi-storey library for his rare book collection. He spent up to €50m on the work over a decade, according to reports, yet at one stage had reduced the sale price from €30m to €20m. Flatley made his name in Riverdance but then struck out on his own to create Lord of the Dance, which has toured the globe numerous times.
It has been a substantial operation, employing 300 and making profits of up to 40pc on ticket sales, having played to tens of millions. At one stage, there was talk of him floating his Vegas-based Unicorn Entertainment to cash in on its success. He did his final tour last year but continues as creator, producer and choreographer of Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games.
Nowadays Flatley is creating one-off paintings that sell for up to €340,000, many of which involve him essentially dancing with paint on his feet, or “portraying the fluid movement of dance on canvas”.
From a base in London, he also owns valuable properties in the Caribbean, New York, Beverly Hills and Villefranche. It’s believed he has shares in Berkshire Hathaway, which have risen by 20pc in the past year. The properties and other assets will have increased in value in the past year too. Charles Gallagher (57) and his extended family now own 81pc of the shares in housebuilder Abbey. The share price has remained largely unchanged in the past year, but the additional 8.2pc they bought is worth about €12.5m, while profits from Abbey and Matthew Homes, a UK builder they also own, add a further €30m to their wealth.
46 O’FLAHERTY HOLDINGS €325m s €37m
MOTORING O’Flaherty Holdings is one of the country’s largest family businesses and booming car sales has seen them generate massive profits in recent years. The company, which imports the Mercedes brand, dates back to 1949, when the late Stephen O’Flaherty inked a deal to make Volkswagen Beetles in Ireland — the first to be put together outside Germany.
The group, which runs Volkswagen, Mazda and Audi dealerships through MSL, had a difficult recession but is now reaping the rewards of a revitalised car industry. Last year, sales were up by €110m, to €460m, as the country’s car sales jumped 17.5pc. Around €170m has been paid out in dividends since 2009.
Shares are held by Kildarebased Nigel (79), his daughters Lauren and Nicola as well as by Guernsey-based Michael (85) and Stephen O’Flaherty (55) who lives in a Georgian house set in eight acres in Howth.
FRANK DUNNE €320m s €15m
RETAIL Media-shy Frank Dunne (73) owns about a third of Dunnes Stores, and is its largest shareholder. He lives on a stud farm in Co Kildare and has seen the supermarket and clothing retailer take the top spot with 22.7pc of the €9bn grocery market in the 12 weeks to the end of January.
48 JOHN KING €317m s €14m
PHARMACEUTICALS John King (67) was a key player in the development of Galen, Northern Ireland’s biggest drugs company, before it was bought by Warner Chilcott in 2004. The deal saw King earn €150m for his 7.7pc stake in the business, while subsequent share sales were worth €173m. The chamber music enthusiast lives in a Georgian mansion in Co Kildare.
49 MICHAEL AND BRIAN ENRIGHT €302m s €7m
TRANSPORT Father and son Michael and Brian Enright turned Walsh Western, a small west of Ireland trucking firm, into Syncreon, a global firm describing itself as a specialised contract logistics firm whose customers include the biggest companies in the world (if you’ve ever ordered something from the Apple store online, it might say Syncreon somewhere on the package). Private equity firms Centerbridge and GenX360 now own the majority of the company, and refinancing deals led to more than €395m in dividends being paid out in recent years.
An €850m deal to sell the company didn’t work out in 2013 and more recently Moody’s has been raising an eyebrow at the amount of debt the firm is carrying — over €650m last year.
Brian is now based in Michigan in the US, while Michael, who is on the board of up-and-coming renewable energy firm AirSynergy, lives in Cork.
50 LIAM CASEY €300m t €50m
HARDWARE Corkman and globe-trotting former fashion salesman Liam Casey (51, pictured below), also known as ‘Mr China’, has built up a huge business, PCH, in consumer electronics and hardware design, manufacturing and distribution.
If a firm wants a new electronic gadget, his company will design it, make it and ship it to the customer, taking a cut of the earnings in return.
The firm was backed by blue chip venture capital investors Cross Creek and Triangle Peak Capital, who put in about $50m, and Casey is believed to own a third of the business, which is thought to have turned over $1bn in 2015, though its accounts are unlimited.
But the past year has been a tough one for the company, with the loss of a key contract with Apple — on which it has never commented — resulting in an announcement last June that it was laying off 1,500 workers mainly in China and closing some of its factories there.
In a bid to slim down the business further, in February PCH sold off TNS Connect, a distributor of emerging technologies and accessories to retailers. Though Casey has backed start-ups such as the Collison brothers’ Stripe and Pat Phelan’s Trustev, and will have made money from them, his stake in PCH may now be worth less; a customer as significant as Apple may be irreplaceable.
THE TOWN SHE LOVES SO WELL: Derry-born actress Roma Downey and her husband Mark Burnett attend the Citi Celebrates Billboard Power 100 in Los Angeles
RACE TO THE TOP: Michael and Anita O’Leary enjoying a festive day out at the races with children Tiana (8) and Zach (6) last Christmas
ROCK ’N’ ROLLING IN IT: U2’s The Edge and Bono
VICE SQUAD: CEO of Vice Media Shane Smith with his wife Tamyka
STRIPE PHENOMENON: John and Patrick Collison
TOAST TO SUCCESS: Pearse Lyons
STYLISH: Alexandra Schmidt, Galen Weston Jnr, Hilary Weston and Galen Weston
CELL DIVISION: Denis O’Brien in downtown Port au Prince, Haiti
LORD IN HIS MANOR: Michael Flatley takes afternoon tea at The Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin