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Richest 20 are £4bn richer in the West Midlands

By Simon Penfold | Business | Published: | Last Updated:

The rich are getting richer, as the latest list of the region's billionaires and multi-millionaires reveals.

Overall, the combined wealth of the top 20 in the West Midlands Rich List has risen by over £4 billion.

The usual suspects populate the latest list compiled by the Sunday Times, with Staffordshire's Kirsty Bertarelli topping the league again with her husband Ernesto and their £11.5bn fortune.

Kirsty, aged 45, a singer-songwriter who won the Miss UK beauty pageant in 1988, married pharmaecuticals billionaire Ernesto in 2000. They have three children and live in Gstaad.

Her family, the Ropers, own Churchill China in Staffordshire.

Their fortune has soared by £1.72bn over the last year, according to the latest Sunday Times Rich List out today, and is more than double that of the second-placed Coates family. Denise, John and Peter own Bet365 and Stoke City, and saw their fortune rise an impressive £1.235bn last year to £5bn.

Despite a £200m drop during tough times for the family's JCB digger company, Lord Bamford and his family are still worth £3.3bn.

He'll be hoping for a post-Brexit trading boost. After championing Britain’s exit from the EU, he donated £673,000 to the Brexit campaign and he told his 6,500 employees that they had ‘little to fear’ from Brexit.

JCB’s second largest order ever – £115m from the US army – landed since Brexit and the subsequent decline in the value of Sterling – suggests Lord Bamford’s bold prediction will be true for his Staffordshire-based business.

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John Caudwell, the Phones4U founder who lives near Eccleshall and is now better known as a philanthropist, saw his fortune rise £14m to £1.5bn, putting him in fourth place.

Veteran businessman Jacques Gaston Murray, better known as 'Tony', still heads the Wolverhampton-based Andrew Sykes Group air conditioning and heating hire firm at the age of 97. The onetime RAF pilot and his family saw their fortune rise £120m to £1.17bn.

Former Wolves owner and head of housebuilders Redrow Steve Morgan, who sold the club to China's Fosun last year, saw his fortune dip by £49m to £831m. He could have topped the £1bn but for a £226m charity donation, gifting more than 11 per cent of his Redrow housebuilding company shares to his charitable foundation.

Black Country 'Chicken King' Ranjit Boparan and his wife Baljinder, founders of the 2 Sisters Food Group, have seen their fortune soar by £114m to £544m. In a series of personal deals over the last year, the onetime Bilston market butcher's boy bought the Bernard Matthews turkey business and Tesco's Giraffe restaurant group.

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Caspar MacDonald-Hall, who owns 40 per cent of Kingswinford-based London & Cambridge Properties, is now worth £500m, up £20m on last year. LCP, based on the Pensnett Estate, owns shopping centres and industrial estates across the West Midlands including Wolverhampton's Wulfrun Centre.

Another property developer, the legendary Roy Richardson and his family, saw their combined value dip by £10m to £470m. With his late brother Don, Mr Richardson famously developed the Merry Hill shopping centre. More recently his business is providing financial backing for the new Midland Metro Hospital under construction at Smethwick.

The continuing success of HomeServe, the Walsall-based household repairs and insurance giant, has seen founder and chief executive Richard Harpin's fortune rise by £92m to £356m.

Also in the top 20 is Simon Clarke and family, thanks to the continuing strength of their St Modwen regeneration development company based in the West Midlands. The company is currently looking to build more houses on Wolverhampton's former Goodyear site. The family fortune rose £40m over the last year top £180m.

Chairman Jeremy Peace sold his 88 per cent share of West Bromwich Albion football club in August, netting more than £175m. West Brom born and bred, and a lifelong Baggies fan, he left the club in good financial shape. His own fortune has done well too, rising £30m to £180m.

Robert Watts, the compiler of The Sunday Times Rich List, said: “The Midlands has long been regarded as the engine room of the UK’s economy, but there’s a lot more to this part of the country’s economy than manufacturing now with billionaires who have built their fortune from telecoms, online betting and selling cars.

“That diversity of wealth creation gives reason for optimism about the future of the West Midlands economy.”

Simon Penfold

By Simon Penfold
Business Editor - @SPenfold_star

Business Editor based at the Express & Star's head office in Wolverhampton, looking for stories big & small.

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