Business Irish

Sunday 21 September 2014

Ireland's Rich List: 21-30

Published 31/03/2010 | 15:57

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21. MARGARET HEFFERNAN

€430M RETAIL

Margaret Heffernan, 68, is the most high profile of the Dunnes family — which isn't saying much. She runs €1.3bn-valued Dunnes Stores with her brother Frank.

Last year it was widely rumoured that Asda and other big international retailers were considering a bid for the company, which has sales of around €2bn a year — though as a private, unlimited company, its finances are secret. Traditionally, retailers operate off margins of 6 per cent, which may indicate profits of about €120m per year. Dunnes has around 23.4 per cent of the Irish grocery market.

It might have been a good time to sell. Their Northern Ireland operations saw a 35 per cent drop in profits to €17m, although it has paid dividends of €40m to the Dunnes over the last four years.

The perma-tanned Heffernan received an honorary degree from NUI Galway in 2007. She lives in Stillorgan with her husband Andrew, a doctor. Her three children work in Dunnes.

22. LARRY GOODMAN

€425M MEAT

Beef baron Larry Goodman has seen this kind of financial crisis before. His meat business collapsed in the early 1990s and he dusted himself down to work with creditors and revive the beast. Now it's one of the biggest beef and meat processing outfits in the British Isles, accounting for about 25 per cent of all capacity.

The 72-year-old is also a healthcare backer, owning a stake in the Galway Clinic. He also bought into former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds' C&D pet foods, after a catastrophic fire threatened the business.

Goodman is a major property owner in Ireland, with his assets housing a number of government agencies as tenants, bringing in a €6m rent roll. He also owns a swathe of commercial buildings abroad and was one of the backers of a €370m deal to buy the Goldman Sachs headquarters in London in 2001, as well as picking up an office block in Wilmington.

The Co Louth businessman is the largest shareholder in Philip Lynch's €500m valued waste-to-ferries firm One51. Last year he spent €8m on a new Dauphin AS 365 N3 helicopter

23. TOM ROCHE AND FAMILY

€410M INFRASTRUCTURE & ENERGY

NTR, Tom Roche's toll road and solar energy and waste group, will have pocketed €1.15bn from the M50 WestLink toll bridge over two decades, according to a recent estimate. It's a staggering return for the controversial public private project, especially when you consider the bridge was built for just €58m.

NTR's share price has fallen 50 per cent in the last 18 months — but the Roche family stake is still worth €205m. The private company, which is headed by Jim Barry, is making a huge gamble on renewable energy, investing much of the proceeds from its WestLink and Airtricity bonanza into biofuel and solar energy businesses in the US.

The family bagged a €118m payment during a “liquidity event” following NTR's sale of the toll bridge and its stake in Airtricity last year. However the 60-yearold Roche spent €70m buying shares that are now worth €30m.

The family has received over €17.4m in dividends in the last three years. Roche's wife Ann, is part of the Jurys Doyle hotel dynasty, owning a €55m slug of the company, with their children Connor, Michelle, John and Joanne also holding a near €70m block of the hotel firm.

The family also own property as well as investments in a conference organising company and a yachting business.

24. MIKE LYNCH

€375M SOFTWARE

Carrick on Suir's Dr Mike Lynch has a brain the size of a pumpkin, which may explain how he's built his company Autonomy into the UK's largest software firm.

The Cambridge graduate has a 9.4 per cent stake in the business, which is worth around €342m. He sold €18m worth of shares to cover capital gains tax liabilities in 2008 and gifted other shares to a family trust. Zillionaire Joe Lewis was one of the early backers of the firm which was set up in 1996.

During the dotcom bubble Lynch's stake was briefly valued at over €1bn. He owns stakes in a number of other technology and internet companies.

25. MICHAEL SMURFIT

€368M PAPER AND INVESTMENT

Things have not been the same since the swashbuckling twice-divorced yacht owner Michael Smurfit exited his company, Smurfit Kappa. His replacement, Gary McGann, is rather less exciting.

Smurfit owns about 4.9 per cent of Smurfit Kappa, worth €67m, receiving €9.7m in compensation for loss of office when he retired from the job in 2005.

Smurfit has said that he made more money out of the stockmarkets than he did from Smurfit. It's some claim, given that he was the highest paid executive of an Irish listed company for a number of years.

In an interview last year, the Monacobased 73-year-old said that he sold his bank shares as the stock markets were falling. He owns the €115m K Club with Nama-bound developer Gerry Gannon, as well as holding investments in a number of smaller companies. He is a director of Sean Mulryan's Ballymore International.

And then there's the yacht. It emerged that he was selling his €17m yacht last year to buy a monster €53m 213ft super yacht.

26. BERT ALLEN AND FAMILY

€350M MEAT AND HOTELS

Beef barons Bert and Maurice Allen own the Linden Food Group, one of the largest food and meat processing operations in the country, which includes the well known Slaney Food group.

But it's Bert's extra-curricular activities that have made the real money in recent years. He built up the Bewley's Hotel Group, with six hotels from Newlands Cross to Ballsbridge and also in the UK.

Red Cow Inn owner Tom Moran bought the lot for €560m two years ago. After repaying loans and other expenses, the Allens may have cleared €250m after tax. The family also own property in Dusseldorf and Scotland.

27. MARK GETTY

€345M MEDIA

Mark Getty, one of the famous oil and high finance Getty family, is an Irish passport holder. His Getty Images spent €110m buying Jerry Kennelly's Kerry-based Stockbyte in 2006 before being bought out itself by private equity group Hellman & Friedman for €1.9bn.

Getty received about €28m in the deal while his family investment vehicle netted a further €210m.

Getty re-invested some of the proceeds for a 25 per cent stake and is a nonexecutive chairman of the photo company, which generated profits of €92m last year.

He has other assets including property in London and the US as wells as a luxury yacht called Talitha after his mother.

Two years ago, he sold the Wisden cricket magazine and information group.

28. McMAHONS

€332M RETAIL

Thirtysomethings Sharon, Brian, Paul and Sean McMahon inherited their mother Elizabeth's stake in Dunnes Stores in 1994.

Sharon works for the company.

29. PAT McDONAGH

€312 SOFTWARE

Former schoolteacher and low-profile technology pioneer Pat McDonagh has netted €211m from the sale of stakes in CBT systems in 1995 and later Riverdeep in 2001. He also pocketed €95m four years ago when Barry O'Callaghan bought out his remaining shares in what was then the fast-growing publishing firm.

McDonagh, who owns close to 1,000 acres of land in north Dublin, has reinvested much of his loot in companies ranging from e-learning outfit ThirdForce to Digisoft and Olhausen sausages.

McDonagh was one of the backers of Richard Nesbitt's €260m buyout of Arnotts.

30. FREDDIE LINNETT

€310M PROPERTY

Convent-educated Freddie Linnett (nee Murphy) was once the second-richest woman in Britain after the Queen. At the end of the Second World War, her uncles moved from Galway to Leicester where they got into the property game, setting up Charles Street Buildings (Leicester).

The young Freddie Murphy began as a tea lady, rising to become a secretary and then a director of the fast-growing property firm. She inherited a 38.8 per cent stake in the €550m business in 1991 and ran the company for nearly a decade before retiring — briefly interrupting proceedings to get married and honeymoon in the west of Ireland.

Charles Street Buildings has a vast rent roll of government departments in its hefty property portfolio across the UK. Latest figures show rents of almost €48m. Linnett and other shareholders shared close to €100m in dividends in recent years.

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