Surrey's richest 50 2009: No's 30 to 21
PUBLISHED: 17:08 05 April 2012 | UPDATED: 16:07 20 February 2013
Not surprisingly, it hasn't been the greatest year for Surrey's millionaires, with many of them losing a sizeable chunk of their fortunes - but, put it this way, we don't need to worry for their welfare just yet... Here, for the third time, we bri...
Originally published in Surrey Life magazine June 2009
Not surprisingly, it hasn't been the greatest year for Surrey's millionaires, with many of them losing a sizeable chunk of their fortunes - but, put it this way, we don't need to worry for their welfare just yet... Here, for the third time, we bring you our annual guide to the wealthiest people in the county, compiled by the writer of the Sunday Times Rich List, PHILIP BERESFORD
30 Dr Chai Patel, 54
50m (last year 50m)
Born in Uganda, Dr Chai Patel came to Britain as a teenager, growing up in a council flat over his father's newsagent in Putney. He trained initially as a doctor and practised medicine for six years before quitting the health service to work in the City.
Having "created a little bit of wealth in the process", he founded his first healthcare company, Court Cavendish, in 1988 and, via a long series of mergers, flotations and buyouts, had by 2002 come to run Priory Healthcare.
That same year, with venture capital backing, he led a management buyout of the Priory chain of psychiatric clinics in a 288m deal. As chief executive, he had an eight per cent stake in the Leatherhead-based business, which was sold for 875m in 2005.
Allowing for debt, Patel should have made 45m from the sale. Other assets should take him to 50m.
29 Graham Mellstrom, 78, & family
52m (last year 75m)
A property tycoon and farmer, Graham Mellstrom left school at 16 and started his first business venture just after the war when milk was rationed. He did a milk round in the morning and trained to be a chartered accountant during the day.
It paid off: his family now owns the Hindhead-based property group, Glen House Estates, with 19.2m net assets in 2008. In addition, Mellstrom has an estate in Devon, agricultural land in Hampshire, Northumberland and Lincolnshire, and a huge cattle station in Australia.
Private assets take Mellstrom and his family to 52m allowing for debt.
28 Ronald, 72, & Peter Goldstein, 69
54m (last year 75m)
Based in Kingston, the Goldstein brothers started their chemist chain, Superdrug, in 1966 and floated it on the stock market in 1983. Four years later, it was sold to the quoted Kingfisher retailing giant.
The brothers stayed with the company and had a large stake in Kingfisher, but we can't find them listed any more as shareholders, or at Woolworths, which demerged from Kingfisher. We assume they have sold their shares and will not have been caught out by the collapse of Woolies. A sale should have netted at least 70m for them, and possibly more.
The Goldsteins now have several small property companies and, cautiously, we value them at 54m.
27 Simon, 48, & Paul Upward, 46
57m (last year 71m)
Brothers Simon and Paul Upward own and run the Croydon-based property company Ocobase.
In 2007-08, its profits fell from 5.9m to 5.2m on 6.9m sales.
Its net assets, though, rose sharply to nearly 68m. With low borrowings, it is worth 50m in the current climate.
We add another 7m for other assets, including two more property companies, taking them to 57m.
26 Adrian White, 66, & family
58m (last year 76m)
A former High Sheriff of Surrey, Adrian White is also the owner of the UK's largest vineyard, the award-winning Denbies Wine Estate in Dorking. His involvement in the county only increased further when he set up the Denbies Trust hoping to take over Epsom General Hospital in a bid to secure its future. This year, he also became chairman of The Children's Trust in Tadworth.
However, it was through the private water company Biwater that he originally made his name. Having begun his career as a salesman for a small engineering firm, he started the Dorking-based company in 1968. As chairman, White and his family have a 70 per cent stake. In his chairman's statement in the 2007-08 accounts, he wrote about a "strong order book and further exciting opportunities in the ever expanding water sector". Biwater made 5.2m profit on 232m sales in 2006-07. With 72m net assets, it is easily worth 75m. That values the White family stake at 38m.
With his other assets, including Denbies, and past dividends (4.5m in 2001), we add another 20m.
24= Andrew Sasson, 39
60m (last year 100m)
One of the leading players in the Las Vegas entertainment industry, Andrew Sasson sold a 50 per cent stake in his company, the Light Group, last year. Though no price was disclosed, he is likely to have done very well out of the sale.
Born in Walton-on-Thames and expelled from school at 15, Sasson moved to Spain, where he got a job in Benidorm, running a string of bars. After three years "getting drunk, chasing girls and turning into a total degenerate", he returned to Britain where his father told him to get an education.
He went to college in America, landing his first job working the door of a local nightclub. In 1995, he moved to New York, later opening a venue in the fashionable Hamptons. But his big break came when he started his fashionable chain of nightclubs, restaurants and bars in Las Vegas.
However, the city has taken a pounding in the sharp downturn hitting America and we estimate that Sasson's wealth will have fallen to around 60m.
24= Tony Brown, 72
60m (last year 75m)
Tony Brown reckons he is too old to start making any of his loyal workforce redundant and in any case that will be a last resort. Surprisingly though, given the current climate, his Bisley Office Equipment operation looks in good nick.
Started by his father in 1931 to repair bodywork on cars, it has evolved to become Britain's leading manufacturer of steel office furniture. Sitting on 13 prime acres in Bisley, the company is owned by Brown and his family.
In 2007-08, its profits more than tripled to 7.5m on 87.2m sales. Its balance sheet looks impregnable with 68.4m net assets. However, Brown says that he will sacrifice some profit margin to keep jobs. In the current climate, we value the business at around 50m, adding 10m for dividends and salaries to the Brown family.
23 Grahame Chilton, 50
68m (last year 85m)
As the chief executive of the Benfield insurance group, Reigate-based Grahame Chilton had a windfall last year when the company was taken over by Aon, the American insurer, for 738m. Not only did he collect around 77m for his stake, but he also went on to become vice-chairman of Aon.
A keen motor racing fan, his interest has clearly been passed on to his sons, too. Tom, 24, races for Team Aon in the British Touring Car Championships, while 18-year-old Max is making waves in Formula 3. Overall, Chilton should easily be worth 68m.
22 Tony Pidgley, 61
71m (last year 115m)
Widely regarded as one of Britain's shrewdest housebuilders and developers, Tony Pidgley reckons the worst of the recession has been reached. Meanwhile, his Cobham-based Berkeley Group is seeking to raise 50m from investors to buy land cheaply from builders who are in financial difficulty.
Berkeley itself has not been immune from the recent stock market rout. Its shares are trading at around half the level they were before the credit crunch began. However, the company also managed to defy the credit crunch by increasing its revenues for the six months to October 2008 by 11.2m to 452.6m. Profits of 80m were only slightly lower than the previous year. Now valued at 1.1 billion, it is also the biggest housebuilder quoted on the stock market.
Pidgley, who calls himself an 'old dinosaur', made his reputation in the early 1990s when he sold his land bank at the top of the market, and cherry-picked the best sites back for a fraction of their price as recession struck then. The former Barnado's boy is simply repeating that now.
His stake in Berkeley is now worth just 31m, but previous salaries, share sales, dividends and his share of bonuses will take Pidgley to around 71m.
21 Brian May, 61
70m (last year 75m)
Last October, rock group Queen released their first studio album of new material since 1995, The Cosmos Rocks. The legendary band, now with Paul Rodgers on vocals, also undertook a major tour from September to November after a one-off show in June in Hyde Park for Nelson Mandela's 90th birthday. The tour comprised 34 European dates plus five in South America and one in Dubai.
At the heart of all this activity was Dr Brian May, now a visiting researcher in astrophysics at London's elite Imperial College. In 2007, May completed his PhD on interplanetary dust 30 years after starting it.
Better known for his guitar riffs, Richmond-born May joined Queen in 1970. Like the other band members, he has enjoyed an influx of wealth as the group's popularity continued to soar even after the death of lead singer Freddie Mercury in 1991.
With 100m records sold over the years, Queen Productions, the band's main company, has paid out nearly 33m in dividends and payment to the band members' companies since 2001.
The continuing popularity of the Queen stage show, We Will Rock You, also helps to provide a steady income.
Despite Queen's enduring appeal and past earnings, our rock expert clips May back to 70m in the current climate.