Surrey's richest 50 2009: The top ten

PUBLISHED: 12:49 11 April 2012 | UPDATED: 16:07 20 February 2013

Surrey's richest 50 in Surrey Life magazine

Surrey's richest 50 in Surrey Life magazine

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

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10 Navin, 58, & Varsha Engineer, 54
150m (last year 210m)

Hefty spending on research and development has led to a raft of new products from Chemidex, the Egham-based pharmaceuticals firm. The company, run and owned by Navin Engineer and his wife Varsha, has also been busy expanding into Europe. In 2007-08, Chemidex made 4m profit.

Engineer, a trained pharmacist, started his own chemist chain by looking for new sites that were close to doctors' surgeries. He and his wife soon had 14 profitable pharmacies, which they sold in 1999 for around 12m, using the money to build a leading pharmaceutical operation. In the current climate, we value the business at around 125m and we add 25m for a property portfolio.

9 Sir Mick Jagger, 65
190m (last year 225m)

After the exertions of the two-year Bigger Bang tour, which ended in August 2007, the Rolling Stones have been taking it a little easier of late.

There is no word yet whether the band will go on the road again, but it will be difficult to beat the 390m gross box office receipts achieved last time. In all, the Stones have generated 1.8 billion in receipts from touring since 1989.

On the recording front, the group signed a new exclusive long-term deal with Universal Records in July 2008, which brought their post-Decca catalogue, representing over 35 years of recordings, as well as some new ones, to the industry market-leader. The Stones also released audio and DVD versions of the Martin Scorsese film, Shine a Light, based around concerts from the Bigger Bang tour at the Beacon Theatre in New York. The film was premiered in April, when the CD was released, with the DVD coming out in November.

Clearly, the band's charismatic frontman Mick Jagger, who is based in Richmond, has considerable wealth, despite the absence of any accounts for the Rolling Stones. As The Times noted: 'The battle-hardened band proved that they are the most ruthless money-making machine in entertainment.'

However, the lack of activity over the last year and the sharp decline in asset values in the recession will take a toll. On that basis, we cut Jagger back to 190m.

7= Lady Annabel Goldsmith, 74, & family
300m (last year 300m)

The widow of the billionaire financier Sir James Goldsmith, Lady Annabel comes from a top drawer family. Her father was the 8th Marquess of Londonderry and her first husband, the late Mark Birley, named his famous Mayfair nightclub after her.

In 1964, Lady Annabel fell in love with entrepreneur Sir James Goldsmith and embarked on an affair. Birley and Lady Annabel divorced in 1975 but remained best friends until his death in 2007. After Sir James divorced his second wife, he and Lady Annabel married in 1978.

Sir James made his fortune in the 1980s, largely in America, by taking over companies and selling off their assets. He died in 1997 and his fortune was then reckoned to have been more than 1.2 billion. Lady Annabel and her family should have received at least 300m.

From her home near Richmond Park, she is now carving out a successful career as a writer. Her autobiography, Annabel: An Unconventional Life, reached number four in the non-fiction best-seller list in 2004.

7= David, 72, Ralph, 70, & Jacqueline Gold, 48
Football, retail, property
300m (last year 450m)

As chairman of Birmingham City, David Gold is still likely to be celebrating the club's return to Premier League football next season and the potentially lucrative opportunities it offers.

The club's finances look in good shape already: the Blues made a 7.8m operating profit for the six months to the end of February 2008. David and brother Ralph are both directors of the club, with a 25 per cent stake.

David also owns Gold Group International, with interests ranging from property to the Ann Summers chain, based in Whyteleafe, which is run by his high-profile daughter, Jacqueline. Last year, David bought out his brother from the 100m group, where in the difficult climate, profits fell from 13.4m to 9.9m on 136.5m sales in 2007-08.

With past dividends and property assets, including a 6.5m home in Caterham, the Gold family is worth around 300m now.

5= Mark Dixon, 49
330m (last year 326m)

As founder and chief executive of the Chertsey-based property group Regus, Mark Dixon bucked the recent stock market turmoil when he unveiled a 25 per cent increase in profits for 2008. The shares jumped sharply as Dixon reported a strong demand for their products - they supply fully-serviced offices to rent - as companies seek more flexible office space in a tough market. Dixon's stake is now worth 261m.

A former sandwich and later hamburger salesman, he formed Regus in 1989 with the sale proceeds of earlier businesses and floated it on the stock market in 2000. The shares soared initially, making Dixon a billionaire on paper. But his wealth collapsed six years ago when the shares went into free-fall following over-expansion.

However, Dixon nursed the business back to health and, with other assets and the proceeds of a 61m share sale before the flotation, he is easily worth 330m.

5= Nicholas, 36, & Christian Candy, 34
330m (last year 120m)

In the last decade, brothers Nicholas and Christian Candy have turned a 6,000 deposit on an Earls Court flat into a multi-million pound property empire in some of the world's most exclusive postcodes.

Born in Banstead, the sons of an advertising executive (who now works for them), they were educated at Epsom College. Backed by Arab money, the pair started out buying and making over properties, and now work everywhere from the most exclusive areas of London to the Middle East.

For example, the Candys are the developers behind the luxury One Hyde Park near Harrods. Thus far, they have exchanged contracts worth 741m on the development, but they have 1.1 billion worth to sell, which may not be so easy in the current climate.

Their main Guernsey-based company shows 244m net assets while a British company, Candy & Candy Holdings, is worth around 50m on the back of 5.9m profit in 2006-07. Their other assets and cash take them to 330m.

4 Boris Berezovsky, 63
450m (last year 667m)

Surrey's most colourful Russian migr, Boris Berezovsky lives at the 10m Hascombe Court estate, near Bramley, which he bought from TV personality Chris Evans in 2004.
A former computer scientist, the Georgian tycoon went into business in 1989 when he and two friends pooled their savings and went to Germany to buy a used Mercedes for $5,000. Returning to Moscow, he sold it for three times the outlay and his first business was born. Soon, he had helped set up the first Mercedes dealership in Moscow and that led to a nationwide chain of car dealerships, Logovaz, which he sold for a reputed 350m. Investing 75m of borrowed money, he then bought a stake in the Sibneft oil business and sold it for 1 billion two years later.

Berezovsky has long been a thorn in the side of the Russian government and Vladimir Putin in particular. The Kremlin alleges that Berezovsky plotted a violent coup against Putin, a charge he vehemently denies. He says he is pressing for bloodless regime change and fulminates against what he sees as Putin's fast-track to a dictatorship. With the rise of Putin, he fled Russia in 2000, heading first to his South of France estate, then London and finally Surrey. "My capital today is basically concentrated in the West," he says.

In that same year, with his other assets and investments, Berezovsky was valued at 2 billion by Forbes. In early 2008, the Russian rich list - produced by the local Finans business magazine in Moscow - put his wealth at 667m. However, with the general collapse on asset values, we put Berezovsky at 450m.

3 Mark Coombs, 49
526m (last year 970m)

The chief executive of specialist City investment group Ashmore, Mark Coombs saw profits in 2007-08 rise by 49 per cent to 196.2m, with the stock market turmoil providing unparalleled opportunities to buy assets from distressed sellers.

The Wimbledon-based businessman began his career at London's ANZ Bank, leading a management buyout of its Ashmore subsidiary in 1999. In 2006, the company was floated on the stock market and is now valued at just over 1.05 billion, with Coombs' stake worth 373m. He sold 192m worth of shares at the float and should easily be worth 526m.

2 Mohamed Al Fayed, 76
650m (last year 555m)

Arguably the county's most high-profile businessmen, Mohamed Al Fayed is best-known to most as the owner of luxury department store Harrods, which he bought in 1985.

Also the owner of Fulham FC, he will be delighted with the way that the Cottagers just escaped relegation from the Premiership on the very last day of the 2007-08 season. The 2008-09 campaign has been going pretty well, too, with the Cottagers looking set to finish in the top half.

Meanwhile, up in Scotland, he is known as Mohamed of the Glen, wears a kilt on his 65,000 acre Balnagown estate whenever he can and even makes his own whisky. He can certainly afford to...

As boss of Harrods, he was able to report that its parent company, Harrods Holdings, increased profits from 34.8m to 55.7m on 440.8m sales in 2007-08. However, Al Fayed's annual dividend from Harrods fell from 48.5m to just 30m. In all, the Al Fayed family has had 368m in dividends from Harrods since 1999.

Effectively, this has enabled Al Fayed to bankroll Fulham. He has put 165m into the club in total and wrote off 9.5m in 2007.

With 413m net assets and low borrowings, Harrods should easily be worth 500m in the current climate. And despite the drag of Fulham, Al Fayed's past dividends and other assets, yachts and estates, including his Oxted property near the M25, take him to perhaps 650m.

1 Nadhmi Auchi, 71
Hotels, property and construction
1.2 billion (last year 2.15 billion)

For the third year in a row, the richest man in Surrey is the Kingston-based entrepreneur Nadhmi Auchi, who started his hotel business, General Mediterranean Holding (GMH), some 30 years ago. Nowadays, he has over 120 companies worldwide in areas including banking and finance, hotels, aviation, industrial trading, pharmaceuticals, property and construction. Among his recent deals are a 740m Chicago property development, new hotels in Egypt and a 71m investment in telecoms.

Born in Baghdad, Auchi grew up in Iraq but has lived in Britain for more than two decades. The son of an accountant, he studied economics and politics at university as befitting a middle class Iraqi. Initially, he joined the Ba'ath party, which, at the time, was fighting for democracy in Iraq and was not in power. But he left in 1962 only to be jailed out of spite a year later when his erstwhile comrades came to power.

Having established GMH in 1979, he left Iraq the following year after the Iran-Iraq war broke out, settling in Britain where he quietly built up the business.

The GMH website reports that its total consolidated assets exceed $4.2 billion. But even Auchi's largely Middle East-based operation will not be immune to the global slowdown with the value of hotel and property assets down sharply. As a result, we cut him
back to 1.2 billion.

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