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Well-known Irish Agri/food names in Rich List top 100



Larry Goodman. Picture: Tom Burke

Larry Goodman. Picture: Tom Burke

Larry Goodman. Picture: Tom Burke

A host of well-known Agri-food names make it into this years 'Sunday Independent Rich List'.

The top 10 entries on the Sunday Independent Rich List now boast a collective wealth of more than €53bn, which is more than the total wealth Rich List in 2010.

This year's list, detailing the fortunes of 250 entrants, also reveals the wealth of several billionaires has jumped significantly over the last year.

Larry Goodman was placed at No. 7 in this years list with his wealth estimated at €2.8bn.

Having made a multi-billion euro fortune from the meat industry over more than 40 years, media-shy Goodman (82) has invested some of his profits in property, and is now believed to be the State’s biggest landlord.

His Ardee, Co Louth-headquartered ABP Food Group is Europe’s largest beef processor, with operations in nine countries, and a €3bn turnover, while the commercial property interests include Baggot Street’s Miesian Plaza, and a large block on the corner of Kildare Street and Nassau Street, which he is battling to redevelop.

Son Laurence Jnr also has property interests, with his Urban Life firm having expanded to the UK. It had sales of €33m in 2018, earning €5m in profit, out of €9m accumulated profits, with its Irish developments currently concentrated in Co Louth.

ABP will have benefited from being approved as an exporter of meat to China, but was also one of several firms to be hit by the beef protests last year. Its customers include supermarket private labels, restaurant and takeaway chains, and it owns factories in the North and the UK, as well as renewable energy-related businesses there. One ABP-Slaney Foods firm, WBL, made a €3.1m profit on €339m of sales in 2018.

He also co-owns the Hermitage Clinic with developer Sean Mulryan. His interests include the Galway Clinic and Blackrock Clinic in Dublin. He recently supported a Derry teenager’s fundraising effort for cancer research. He had a 5pc stake in Green Reit, and made a 35pc profit on his €3.1m stake in INM. He had a stake in IPL Plastics, whose shares are down 35pc since it floated. Goodman uses a €30m Dassault Falcon jet and a €7m Dauphin helicopter.

New information that came to light last year revealed that nine Goodman companies in the Netherlands, Jersey, Luxembourg and here had assets of over €3.45bn between them, and made profits of €170m. However, we assume there is about 20pc debt.


Other well-known Agri/Food names in the top 100 include:

12. The Lyons Family

Inheritance - €1.9bn down €100m

Mark Lyons has taken over the running of run US-based Alltech, an international animal feed company, following the death of his father Dr Pearse Lyons in 2018. Pearse Lyons’s wife Deirdre, 72, is closely involved in the company. Sadly, their daughter Dr Aoife Lyons died at the age of 45 last April. She had a doctorate in psychology and worked with Alltech in the areas of culture and business practices.

Dr Pearse Lyons was born in Dundalk and after starting a career in the brewing industry he turned his attention to animal nutrition, setting up Alltech in 1980. It now employs up to 6,000 people across 120 countries. At the time of his death, the company said his wife, who is the company’s director of corporate image and design, would continue “to further Dr Lyons’ vision for Alltech’s global presence and their shared commitment to philanthropy and community involvement”.

The day-to-day running of the company has fallen to Mark who will take on his father’s stated goal of increasing revenues from more than $2bn to $10bn. He is based at Alltech’s headquarters in Kentucky.

28. Bert Allen and family

Food - €640m up €35m

Low-key Wexford brothers Bert (81) and Maurice (77) Allen and their families are the second wealthiest food industry magnates in Ireland. But they also have extensive property interests, with a portfolio of nursing homes, land, apartments, a car park and hotel investments spanning the UK, Ireland (Dublin and Cork) and Germany. It’s thought to be worth at least €450m, with debt of about half of that, and generating a rent roll of over €40m

In recent years, they lost money after backing renewable energy firms Gaelectric and OpenHydro. Separately, a wind farm they’ve backed had €57m of assets, a farm in their native Wexford is valued at €15m, and they have valuable thoroughbred horses valued at €9m.

When their 50pc stake in Slaney Foods was sold to Larry Goodman’s ABP Group in 2016, they banked about €200m, with an expertly timed sale of the €580m Bewley’s Hotel Group before the crash in 2008 having netted them about €200m.

Children Harry, Bertram and April run bloodstock operation Ballywalter Farms near Dusseldorf, with six stallions. Son Bertram is a professional showjumper, with his list of prizes getting longer by the year, and 91,000 followers on Instagram. The family are also currently redeveloping their Newtown Stables in Wexford, where they have about 100 acres.

53. The Queally family

Food - €400m up €100m

Waterford family the Queallys — headed by brothers Peter (81) and John (83) — own the country’s largest meat processor, Dawn Meats. A third brother Michael is also involved. The firm has a turnover of over €2bn, and employs 7,000, having been set up in 1980 with Peter and John, along with Dan Browne.

As with other meat processors, their plants experienced blockades during 2019, with a number laying off workers. Several of their plants got approval to export meat to China.

Shareholders’ funds in The Arrow Group — which is controlled by Michael — amount to €180m, with €349m of assets in the business, having made €41m profit on €1.1bn of revenue in 2017 and 2018. Dunbia, which Dawn took over in 2017 had a turnover of €1.3bn in 2018, with shareholders’ funds of €125m. Among other family assets are a sewage treatment firm, the Glenpatrick Spring Water company, five-a-side football pitches and commercial property. They are also among a number of local investors backing Waterford Airport.

93. Joseph Brennan

Food - €200m up €60m

The man behind the famous family pan will have been one of few people in Ireland to have enjoyed Storm Lorenzo, with shoppers “panic buying” loaves of Brennan’s. The family company has been under the same ownership since 1972, but the market has become increasingly competitive with new entrants and bakers from the UK competing. Last year, Brennan and family sold a four-storey property on London’s Oxford Street to an investment vehicle owned by Tadashi Yanai, founder of the Uniqlo fashion brand. Having evaluated the property portfolio held by the family, we estimate Joe’s wealth is actually much higher at €200m

99. The Keating Family

Food - €190m up €5m

The Keating family’s Kepak group — which employs more than 5,000 people across 43 countries and works with 28,000 farms — had to lay off 1,125 people and shut some of its Irish plants during last year’s beef protests.

The business was started by Noel Keating in a butcher’s shop in Dublin’s Liberties in 1966. He then went on to establish Kepak in Clonee, Co Meath in 1981. Today, his children Liam (50), Catriona (47), Niamh (44) and Stephen (43) control the company, which has an estimated turnover of €1.5bn. Sales increased significantly in 2018 after the firm acquired 2 Sisters red meat business, which had €550m of revenue, but was loss-making. Accounts for one business there show £167m of revenue, but a loss of £7.77m, so margins seem under pressure.

Kepak’s Irish companies are unlimited, meaning the accounts aren’t public. Some of the siblings are involved in restaurants and property investments. In October, the firm was the first European meat company to secure access to the $122bn US burger market.

Online Editors