Property-dealing brothers top regional rich list

A SERIES of property deals have helped entrepreneurs Eddie and Malcolm Healey overtake Sir Ken Morrison at the top of Yorkshire’s rich list with sofa supremo Lord Kirkham moving up behind them.

The Hull-born brothers’ joint fortune now stands at £1.5bn, up £250m, while miner’s son Lord Kirkham became a billionaire after selling DFS to a private equity firm, according to The Sunday Times Rich List 2011.

The Healeys, who have made their fortune from property and kitchens, rose to 40th position nationwide, after older brother Eddie, 73, sold a 50 per cent stake in Centro, Europe’s largest shopping mall, to the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board for £593m.

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He is best known for turning a piece of derelict land beside the M1 in Sheffield into the Meadowhall shopping centre. Its sale in 1999 netted him a total of £420m.

The wealth of Malcolm Healey, 66, remained stable after he returned to the kitchen trade with Wren kitchens. He is said to have earned £600m after previously building up and then selling Hygena Kitchens.

Eddie Healey has retained the other half of Centro, in Oberhausen, Germany, and is reaping the benefits of Germany’s gradual economic recovery.

Philip Beresford, who compiled the Rich List, said: “The Germans had never seen that sort of thing before and it has been an enormous success – more successful than Meadowhall and with a population that is booming and beginning to spend its money.”

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One of the fastest-risers in the table was Lord Kirkham, whose total value soared from £430m to £1bn. The life peer made around £300m last year from the £500m sale of DFS to Advent International and stepped down as executive chairman, 40 years after setting up the firm in a former billiard hall in Doncaster.

The adopted son of a miner floated the business in 1993 before taking it private again in 2004 for £507m. Today it is Britain’s largest sofa retailer.

Sir Ken Morrison and his family dropped to second place in the Yorkshire list after reducing their stake in Wm Morrison to about nine per cent. The Morrison family fortune now stands at £1.034bn.

Entrepreneurs Robert Miller, Tony Murray and Lawrence Tomlinson also all saw their value increase this year.

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Robert Miller, who owns the Gunnerside estate in Swaledale, North Yorkshire, is the co-founder of the Duty Free Shoppers chain. Much of his wealth is, however, now tied up in Search Investment Group, which runs the Hong Kong-based hedge fund Sail Advisors – responsible for managing an estimated $2.4bn (£1.46m).

The American-born 77-year-old has British citizenship and has accumulated a diverse range of assets, from steel mills in China to casinos in Italy. This year he is valued at £1bn, up £50m.

An even more experienced businessman, Tony Murray, 91, saw his wealth and that of his family increase by £209m to £690m. The French-born magnate fled the continent in 1940 and served with distinction as an RAF navigator, leading to him gaining British citizenship.

He major interests are in London Security, a fire protection firm based in based in Elland, West Yorkshire, and Andrews Sykes Group, a Wolverhampton-based Aim-listed support services company.

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Shares in London Security soared last year after it developed a new fire protection system, Mr Beresford said.

“Investors are impressed by what he (Mr Murray) is doing at the age of 91.”

Lawrence Tomlinson, chairman of Garforth, Leeds-based LNT Group, saw his wealth rise from £400m to £500m. He took over the management of a care home owned by his parents in 1988, developed the brand and sold Orchard Care Homes to a management buy-out team in a £175m deal in 2007. He went on to set up Ideal Care Homes and six years ago the racing enthusiast bought Ginetta Cars.