Distillery family tops Scottish Rich List

Distillery family tops Scottish Rich List

In a record-breaking year for Scottish billionaires, Glenn Gordon and family are the richest in the country, according to the new edition of The Sunday Times Rich List, published yesterday.

Glenn Gordon and family who run the William Grant & Sons distillery in Banffshire have seen their wealth grow by more than £200m in the past year. Profits surged to £260.2m in 2016-17, helping the business, founded in 1887, to a valuation of £2.4bn. The business is chaired by Jersey-based Glenn Gordon, the founder’s great-great-grandson, and includes some of the most famous Scottish whisky labels, including Grant’s, Glenfiddich and The Balvenie, as well as Hendrick’s gin.

The family featured in the very first Sunday Times Rich List in 1989, worth £50m, and have been in every edition published since.

There are a record-breaking number of billionaires in The Sunday Times Rich List this year with a connection to Scotland – 11 in all. They have a combined wealth of £16.207bn.

Ranked second in Scotland this year, John Shaw and wife Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw have seen the biggest growth in personal wealth in the past year, with £606m of gains off the back of a sharp rise in the value of Biocon, the Bangalore-based pharmaceuticals business in which Mazumdar-Shaw and her Glaswegian husband have a stake valued at £1.69bn, up £606m on last year. Mazumdar-Shaw, 65, set up the company – which specialises in diabetes, oncology and autoimmune diseases – in the late 1970s. It was sold to ICI in 1997, but Shaw, 69, a University of Glasgow graduate, arranged $2m of finance the following year to buy it back. The operation was floated in 2004.

Distillery family tops Scottish Rich List

Sir Ian Wood, one of the leading players in Aberdeen’s oil boom years, gave £10.7m in the past year to NHS Grampian to build a car park at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, which is free to patients and visitors. One of the largest acts of philanthropy in the UK in the past year, Wood, 75, now devotes much of his time to charity through his Wood Foundation, set up in 2007. He stepped away from the day-to-day running of his oil services business, Wood Group, in 2012, and has watched its recent rough ride on the stock market from retirement. He has sold most of his stake in the business over the years and today now retains only a 1.2% holding worth £50.4m. His JW Holdings fishing operation showed profits of £2.4m in 2016 and it has assets of more than £20m. A family investment fund grew in value by some £75m in 2017-18 to help justify this year’s £112m rise in the Wood family fortune.

Elsewhere in the Scottish top 10, Philip Day, ranked seventh in the Scottish Rich List, has enjoyed a stellar year. His wealth is up another £50m to stand at £1.2bn. Where others are struggling on the High Street, Day is showing something of a midas touch. His Dumfries and Galloway-based Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group returned record profits of £83.8m on record sales of £592m in 2016-17. Day took a dividend of £30.5m in 2016. He bought the Edinburgh Woollen Mill tweed and knitwear company for £55m in 2001, clearing all loans on the business four years later. It is now worth £1.15bn. Last year, he opened in Carmarthen the first of what he hopes will be a chain of 50 Days department stores. He will bring a number of the labels he owns – including Austin Reed, Jaegar, Country Casuals, Viyella, Jane Norman and Peacocks – under one roof, believing he can cut costs by up to 40 per cent as a consequence.

Robert Watts, the Compiler of The Sunday Times Rich List, said: “Our list of Scotland’s wealthiest people epitomises the seismic change we’ve seen over 30 editions of The Sunday Times Rich List.

“This is now largely a group of self-made individuals, with people like Sir Ian Wood and Philip Day growing billion pound businesses through their vision and tireless endeavours. The days when the Rich List was dominated by aristocrats and inherited wealth are over.”

The 2018 Sunday Times Rich List featured in a 160-page special edition of The Sunday Times Magazine is the biggest issue of the Rich List published since it first appeared in 1989. It charts the wealth of the 1,000 richest people in the UK in a list based on identifiable wealth, including land, property, other assets such as art and racehorses, or significant shares in publicly quoted companies. However, it excludes bank accounts to which the paper has no access.

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