These are the richest people in the Black Country in 2020
Written by The Newsroom on January 23, 2020
Flush football club owners, billionaire businessmen and minted property moguls – the Black Country has them all.
The Birmingham Post Rich List details the fortunes of the 50 wealthiest people in the West Midlands and this year’s handy guide features 11 entries from across Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton.
As expected, the list – published in association with Quilter Cheviotis – is packed with the well-heeled, well-off and well-to-do but it is the wealthy football club owners who who have come out on top.
Wolverhampton Wanderers owner Guo Guangchang takes the premier position with his £4.5billion fortune, followed by West Bromwich Albion owner Guochuan Lai who has got £2.6 billion in the bank.
So who else made the cut? See our list below to find out.
Here are the richest people in the Black Country
The number in brackets shows ranking on main list, which can be found here .
1 (3) Guo Guangchang (Wolverhampton Wanderers) £4.5 billion – Football/Investment
Guo Guangchang bought the club for £30 million in 2016 – and it was a great buy as they finished seventh in the Premier League last season after promotion and are currently enjoying a Europa League cup run. Wolves are now the richest club in the West Midlands according Deloitte’s new Football Money League rankings, turning over £167m in the 2018/19 season.
The 52-year-old is also the major shareholder and runs the Fosun business, which has investment assets in the Europe including Club Med, nursery brand Silver Cross and entertainment group Cirque de Soleil.
2 (4) Guochuan Lai (West Bromwich Albion) £2.2 billion (£2.5bn) – Football/Eco-towns
Guochuan Lai and his company Yunyi Guolai (Shanghai) Sports Development paid former chairman Jeremy Peace around £200 million in 2016 for an 88 per cent controlling interest in WBA Holdings Ltd. Profits dipped following relegation but the Baggies are eyeing up automatic promotion this season.
As former general manager of Chinese landscaping giant Palm, Lai helped develop the company from a regional landscape engineering company to one of the biggest in China. He remains a director of a number of Palm’s subsidiaries including Belt Collins International, Palm Landscape (Hong Kong), and Palm Design Holdings. Palm is also the principal sponsor of West Bromwich Albion.
3 (9) Jacques Gaston Murray and family (Andrew Sykes) £1.25 billion – Manufacturing
He might be the oldest person in our list – reaching the ripe old age of 100 next month – but Jacques Gaston Murray still takes an active interest in his Wolverhampton air conditioning and heating firm, despite residing in Switzerland.
One of his two main businesses is the Wolverhampton-based AIM-listed Andrew Sykes Group, which supplies industrial heating and air conditioning. The business is building its revenue both in the UK and overseas, with turnover rising to £78.6 from £71.3 million for the year to December 2018. Pre-tax profits grew to £20.7 million.
4 (13) Ranjit and Baljinder Boparan (2 Sisters) £680 million – Food
Ranjit Boparan’s career in food began behind the counter of a butcher’s shop in Bilston – the town where he was born.
Now, the founder of the 2 Sisters Food Group, has taken back control of the company’s core poultry operation, replacing UK poultry managing director Andrew McInnes.
The move comes as the group has been undergoing significant restructuring, divesting loss-making or non-core divisions. The strategy seems to be meeting with success, with losses stemmed and turnover increasing in a challenging marketplace.
5 (14) Caspar MacDonald-Hall (LCP) £600 million – Property
Caspar MacDonald-Hall’s main source of wealth is the Kingswinford-based London & Cambridge Properties, which has a property portfolio.
In the year to March 2019 revenue was up at £130 million compared to £121 million the previous year. Pre-tax profits were down at £60.3 million but underlying profits rose by six per cent when previous revaluations and disposals were taken into account.
6 (15) Richard Harpin (HomeServe) £620 million (£360m) – Insurance
Richard Harpin’s HomeServe, the Walsall-based home maintenance and insurance firm which he founded in 1993, is going from strength to strength. The company’s rapid growth, especially in the US, means the share price keeps going up, as do dividends.
Turnover in the six months to September 2019 increased to just shy of £458 million, with profits two per cent up to £37.7 million.
7 (16) Roy Richardson and family (Richardsons) £490 million – Construction
The Richardson family is actively involved in the boom in the click-and-collect market. Their business is working on a network of 25 logistics hubs around the country to take advantage of this growing market.
The family’s long-established partnership with Europe’s premier outlet operator McArthurGlen will see them establish a new £160 million West Midlands outlet, opening in Cannock later this year , and another in Remschied, Germany, in 2021.
8 (29) Jeremy Peace (WBA/Quadrant) £200million (£200m)- Finance/Football
Jeremy Peace sold his 88 per cent share of West Bromwich Albion football club in 2016 after nearly 16 years at the club, netting more than £175 million.
The club was bought by Guochuan Lai’s Shanghai-based Sports Development Ltd. The 63-year-old former banker is a lifelong Baggies supporter and was born and bred in West Bromwich.
9 (33) Rupert Mucklow (A&J Mucklow) £170 million – Construction
Rupert Mucklow sold Black Country industrial property group A and J Mucklow Group last year in a deal worth £415 million. He is due to step down from his roles as chairman and chief executive.
The business, founded in 1933 and a stalwart of the London Stock Exchange for almost 60 years, was acquired by property investor LondonMetric.
10 (37) Simon and Yu-Lin Wilson (Intouch Games) £156 million – Gaming
Simon and Yu-Lin Wilson’s Halesowen-based Intouch Games was crowned the region’s Digital Business of the Year at the end of 2018. The e-gaming firm behind PocketWin and mFortune took the top prize at the West Midlands Tech Awards run by BirminghamLive and CoventryLive.
The company is one of the UK’s largest privately-owned e-gaming businesses and has developed multiple, world-leading brands. Simon Wilson, 49, and Yu-Lin Wilson, 45, have a 75 per cent stake in the business.
11 (39) Jeremy Woolridge and family (Wedge Group) £150 million – Manufacturing
Jeremy Woolridge’s Willenhall-based Wedge Group, which galvanises steel and iron components, saw turnover jump by eight per cent in the year to March 2019, reaching £174.1 million.
Revenue was boosted by strong sales volumes in the UK and US, with a little help from exchange rates. Higher distribution costs and one-off items made a small dent in profits, but they were still healthy at £17.2 million.
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