Business Irish

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Ireland's Rich List: 31-40

Published 31/03/2010 | 16:04

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LONDON - APRIL 18: Michael Flatley and his Lord Of The Dance company perform his latest dance and theatrical spectacular 'Celtic Tiger' about the history of the Irish people, at Wembley Arena on April 18, 2006 in London, England. The production received its world premiere in Hungary in July 2005, and was followed by the UK premiere in Sheffield last year. (Photo by Jo Hale/Getty Images)
Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary poses for photographers prior to the start of a press conference in a Paris hotel on March 30, 2010. A week ago, Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary accused Air France, which has filed a complaint with the European Commission against his airline, of stifling the development of French regional airports. Air France said on March 11 that it had filed a complaint with the European Commission against Ryanair, accusing the Irish budget airline of unfair trading practices. AFP PHOTO ERIC PIERMONT (Photo credit should read ERIC PIERMONT/AFP/Getty Images)
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31. SISK FAMILY

€305M CIVIL ENGINEERING

John Sisk set up a small construction company in Cork in 1859. That company, which has remained in Sisk family hands ever since, is now the biggest construction company in the country.

Brothers George, Henry and John Sisk, with their respective families, each own one-third of the group. The extended family shared a €91m interim dividend in 2008, despite profits tumbling 63 per cent to €24m. Revenues at the construction to healthcare group fell 10 per cent to €1.6bn.

Sisk reacted sharply to the construction meltdown and is well into a massive restructuring, which will see one third of its workforce cut. However there's still money to be made in construction, with the firm building part of the Olympic Village in London, to add to its works at Croke Park, Dundrum Shopping Centre, the Grand Canal theatre and the National Conference centre in the IFSC.

Sisk also spent €28m buying hospital equipment firm Eschemann, which is providing 300 operating tables for hospitals in Iraq.

32. O'FLAHERTY FAMILY

€300M MOTOR INDUSTRY

O'Flaherty brothers Michael (based in Guernsey), Nigel and Stephen O'Flaherty are major car industry players — or were, when there was a car industry.

Their O'Flaherty holdings posted a €10m loss last year, compared with a profit of €33m a year earlier. Motor Distributors saw sales plummet from €766m down to just €198m in 2008.

This was the year that Volkswagen bought back its distribution rights from the company. Despite this, the O'Flaherty's snagged dividends of €24.1m, the same amount as in 2007.

The group has also bought Versalift, an aerial lift and crane company in Waco, Texas, as well as the C3 digital imaging firm. The family own a large property portfolio as well as shares, bonds and other assets.

33. MICHAEL FLATLEY

€295M ENTERTAINMENT

The silky blue shirt and East German footballer's mullet launched dancer Michael Flatley into the stratosphere with Riverdance. The Chicago-born 51- year-old showed real entrepreneurial zeal by setting up his own shows Lord of the Dance, Feet of Flames and the unfortunately titled Celtic Tiger.

These shows are thought to have generated tickets sales of more than €700m.

The twinkle-toed dancer nearly floated his Unicorn Entertainment in 2002 but the plans came to naught. Another wheeze, to create a truly dumb-sounding €1bn Irish themed casino in Las Vegas, has also gone very quiet.

Flatley owns flash properties in London, Chicago, France, Barbados and of course Cork. A viral infection floored the dancer for a long period but more recently he has been doing a lot of TV work in the States. Last December he was lured back onstage for a series of shows in the Far East, netting him an estimated €18m fee. He is also a substantial holder in Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway



34. SAM MORRISON

€295M RETAIL A& PROPERTY

Ballymena's Sam Morrison started out by selling leather jackets from the boot of his car before moving into retail and property.

Falling property values have hit the 58- year-old Antrim tycoon, who owns a shopping centre in Ballymena and a retail warehouse park in Belfast. His Corbo property firm is sitting on shareholders’ funds of €336m, although a mountain of debt is coming due. He is also involved in retail through the 19-strong SVM group of stores. His son Sam Jr is developing the fashion retail chain clockwork.

35. MARTIN NAUGHTON

€700M INDUSTRY

Martin Naughton is Ireland's most prominent industrialist, owning the Ardeeheadquartered Glen Dimplex, which makes everything from heaters to toasters to radios. Forbes reckons his worth at €1.09bn — we think that considerably overvalued.

The main company doesn't file financial accounts, but its Northern Ireland subsidiary Glen Electric had a damn fine year, growing profits to €67m off sales of just over €1bn. The company had shareholders’ funds of €238m and paid a dividend of €13.2m back to Naughton.

The businessman and philanthropist is an owner of the Merrion Hotel and a shareholder in Michelin-starred restaurant Patrick Guilbaud.

Naughton, who has a box in Croke Park, owns the vast Stackallen Estate in Meath. He is believed to be a major art collector, with his wife Carmel Naughton serving on the board of the National Gallery.

36. MICHAEL O'LEARY

€285M AVIATION

O'Leary's stake in Ryanair is worth just over €210m. Sales of shares in recent years have netted him €77.5m. O'Leary lives in the independent republic of Mullingar and pays his tax here. In fact, his €14m tax bill in 2003 was bigger than Ryanair's own corporate tax bill for the same year.

The Clongowes-educated businessman owns an estate in Westmeath, as well as at least one fancy pad in Dublin. Queries about his private investments have always been met with the responses that he simply lobs his money into the post office. We don't buy that.

O'Leary was approached about buying a stake in his favourite team — Manchester City. He turned it down. He is thought to own a number of commercial properties in London and the UK.

The maverick airline boss has a shrewd eye when it comes to the horses, with his War of Attrition landing a big gamble by winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2006.

37. ANNE DUNNE

€270M RETAIL

One of the Dunnes Stores heirs, 65-year-old Anne holds a large stake in the company, which we have conservatively estimated to be worth €1.3bn because of falls in the value of its property holdings, plus a near 10 per cent contraction in the Irish grocery and retail market.

Other assets and dividends add to her inherited wealth.

38. BERNIE & JOHN GALLAGHER

€245M HOTELS

John Gallagher may just have been the smartest man in the room, when he helped his wife Bernie and her family to offload the Jurys Doyle hotel operations in Ballsbridge plus the Burlington to rather stupid looking property developers Sean Dunne and Bernard McNamara.

Derek Quinlan (remember him?) was equally flathulach when he outbid all comers to buy the Jurys Inn business for €1.4bn. These deals saw the extended Doyle family clear the €1bn debt associated with a take-private in 2005 and essentially receive a free carry on the €400m Doyle hotel group.

The couple owns a 24.9 per cent stake in the business which includes the renovated Westbury Hotel. The 50-year-old Gallagher also netted close to €86m selling an alarm and waste business earlier in his career.

Despite warning investors off Irish property, the Gallagher's Crownway company did buy into a shopping centre in Bradford along with Anglo Irish Bank private clients. The value of the investment has since tanked.

John is lead singer of rock group Dakota 66, which played at Electric Picnic last year. Oh, and Bernie Gallagher is dropdead gorgeous too.

39. STEPHEN VERNON

€236M PROPERTY

Motorbike-riding chartered surveyor Stephen Vernon has a 32 per cent of Green Property, which owns the vast Blanchardstown Centre in West Dublin and generates about €55m per year in rents.

Vernon took the company private in 2002, selling €1.5bn in UK assets to pay off debt and buy out his partners before being left with Blanchardstown and some smaller properties. Now headed up by Pat Gunne, Green is one of a tiny number of property companies that is actively still involved in the market searching for cut-price deals.

The company has been in talks with Anglo Irish Bank about acquiring a €1bn commercial property portfolio from the nationalised bank.

Last year it paid about €740m to buy the AIB-controlled UK property empire of fallen Greek tycoon Achilleas Kallakis. If the property market turns round, Vernon could make a killing.

40. PETER AND ALICIA WHITE

€235M INVESTMENT

Former restaurateur and auctioneer Peter White, 68, called the market spectacularly well when offloading stakes in 3,500 Dublin properties to Fitzwilliam Land Securities for an estimated €200m before tax. He has other assets.

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