Thursday 19 October 2017

Twelve make breakthrough as super-rich get even richer

Number 126: James Murphy
Number 126: James Murphy
299 Cyril McGuire
276 Chanelle McCoy

Tech, pharmaceuticals and property have been among the strongest sectors for generating wealth in recent years. So the most unexpected new entry on Rich List 2017 came from none of the above.

Galway-based James Murphy did an amazing deal for his hair supplements company Viviscal in January of this year. His company, Lifes2Good, sold its hair business to Dwight & Church, a US business corporation that is best known here for its Arm & Hammer toothpaste brand.

The company has attracted the attention of Hollywood A-listers, with the likes of Reese Witherspoon and Gwyneth Paltrow known to be fans of the products. However, the €150m sale price beat any valuations publicly associated with the business in the past.

In total, there are 12 new entries, fewer than last year when a raft of property developers exited Nama and found their way back on to the rankings. But the last 12 months have been very kind to the super-wealthy, making it difficult for newcomers to muscle in on the rankings.

Another new entry from the west of Ireland is Michael Burke and his daughter Chanelle McCoy, the newest dragon on RTÉ's Dragons' Den. The family business has sales of well over €100m and ambitious growth plans for the US.

The highest new entry is Gabriel Ruhan, brother of Rich List regular Andrew, who has amassed a fortune from the data centre business, hotels and properties and a cable firm. It has emerged that his brother has shared in the success of many of these ventures.

Tech continues to deliver financial windfalls for investors who back the right horse. An older Rich List name to return this year is Cyril McGuire. He first appeared after making around €25m for the sale of Trintech and will now cash in on the €85m sale of Hattrick Sports Group, a Dublin-based gaming and betting technology company.

US-based tech firm Stripe, founded by the Collison brothers, now has a multi-billion dollar valuation but some ambitious new businesses are emerging. Intercom, set up by Eoghan McCabe and Des Traynor, is tipped to be Ireland's first private €1bn company.

276 Chanelle McCoy
276 Chanelle McCoy

Strong stock market performances greatly enhanced the wealth of many people. A stand-out was Kingspan, the insulation giant, which has seen its share price jump 25pc in the past year. The biggest beneficiary is Eugene Murtagh, founder of the company. The stellar share price performance added over a quarter of a billion euro to his worth on paper, allowing him to join the billionaire's club. His son Gene, who now runs the company, has also profited.

The flotation of Ardagh, the Irish packaging giant, also saw several people's wealth bound ahead. Chairman Paul Coulson owns 33pc of the company which is valued at around €5bn in the New York Stock Exchange listing.

Yet again, the Rich List is topped by the Mistry family, which is based in India. Their vast wealth comes from a stake in Tata, the conglomerate which owns everything from steel businesses to Jaguar. The matriarch of the family is Dublin-born Patsy Perin Dubash and her husband and children have Irish passports. According to estimates, their immense wealth has continued to grow, despite the fact that their 50-year-old son, Cyrus Mistry was ousted as chairman of Tata.

A number of wealthy individuals with fortunes of under €35m fell off the list, but many may re-emerge in the coming years as news of their ventures and deals surface.

299 Cyril McGuire
299 Cyril McGuire

Sunday Independent

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