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Sir Terry back at No 1 as rich get richer

Apr 22 2006

Tryst Williams, Western Mail

 

BILLIONAIRE businessman Sir Terry Matthews has leapfrogged back to the top of a list of the nation's wealthiest people, it was revealed last night.

The Newbridge-born tycoon, estimated to be worth a mind-boggling £1.2bn, is back at number one in the Sunday Times Rich List for Wales after experts admitted they may have got last year's results wrong.

According to the influential list, the Cardiff-born Google financier Michael Moritz beat Matthews to the top spot in 2005 with a personal wealth estimated at £1.35bn.

But that figure has since been pegged back to £518m placing Mr Moritz, 52, at fourth in this year's top 10.

Ian Coxon, editor of the annual list, said, "We had paid too much attention to reports saying he was worth billions and should have shown more caution.

"This year's figure is more realistic and we agree with Forbes magazine's valuation of £518m, which put him first in a list of the best technology deal-makers."

Mr Moritz, who was educated at Cardiff's former Howardian High School before heading out to California's Silicon Valley, made a vast chunk of his fortune by investing in the then-fledgling Google internet search engine in 1999.

As the star member of the Sequoia Partners venture capitalist firm he invested £8m of his company's money.

Seven years later that stake is now worth an astonishing £6.3bn.

But despite Moritz's prodigious talent for money-making Sir Terry has regained the bragging rights to the title of Wales' only ever billionaire.

The 62-year-old, whose Celtic Manor resort in Newport will host the 2010 Ryder Cup, made his money in Canada with telecoms company Mitel and then Newbridge Networks.

He sold the latter for £4.4bn in 2000, collecting shares valued at £530m today.

However, his vast riches still make him only the joint 40th richest person in the UK, a fall of 15 places from last year's position with his personal wealth shrinking £100m in lost share values over the past 12 months.

Perhaps the biggest success story of the year, meanwhile, belongs to Henry Engelhardt, chief executive of Cardiff-based Admiral Insurance.

The wealth of Mr Engelhardt and his family has leapt by £95m to £240m in the space of a year.

Record first-half profits in 2005, up 17%, have seen the value of the insurance business soar to £1.4bn; this puts a value of £222m on the 48-year-old's personal stake.

To give a measure of Mr Engel-hardt's meteoric rise through the list, he could not even find a place in the UK top 1,000 in 2004, when "just" £40m would have ensured a place, compared with £60m this year.

The list of Wales' 10 richest people was revealed just 24 hours after a list of the UK's wealthiest entertainers was released.

This year's super-rich entertainers included the likes of Sir Tom Jones and Catherine Zeta-Jones - who both make it into today's overall national top 10 - as well as Sir Anthony Hopkins and Charlotte Church.

Mr Coxon said the latest UK top 1,000, due to be published tomorrow, contained mixed results for Wales.

"With the three or four at the top of the Welsh list, their value has either stayed the same or gone down so the trend is opposite to that of the main UK list," he said.

"Obviously Sir Terry's shares in Newbridge Networks have stalled a little bit and, at 78, Albert Gubay is more or less retired, and the big drop is Michael Moritz.

"Clearly we were finding it very difficult to place a value on him but the test of time has shown that his investments and so forth are not as highly valued as first thought."

However, the number of Welsh entries in the UK top 1,000 rose from 22 to 24, compared with a comparable drop from 69 to 61 in the number of Scottish entries.

Mr Coxon said, "Overall, given the threshold to get in is £60m compared to £50m last year and £40m two years ago, millionaires in Wales are getting richer."

This year's list was also skewed by the reclassification of Steve Morgan as a Welshman.

The construction magnate may have been born on Merseyside but the phenomenal success of his former Redrow company wasengineered in North Wales.

And his decision to focus much of his charity work in Wales persuaded the list's compilers to place him in his adoptive homeland's top 10.

The list is based on identifiable wealth such as land, property, art, racehorses or shares in publicly quoted companies. Bank accounts, by their very nature confidential, are excluded from the calculations.

Page 2: The Sunday Times Rich List for Wales

 
 

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