Saturday 24 February 2018

The share price of Dubliner David McMurtry's precision engineering firm Renishaw has rocketed by over 60pc in the past 12 months, particularly in the second half of last year. Its last quarterly trading update, revealing a 26pc sales boost thanks to orders from Asia - where the hi-tech manufacturer is known to supply machinery used in the 'mega-factories' of the giant Chinese and Korean makers of Apple and Samsung smartphones - also heightened investors' appetites.

Bristol-headquartered Renishaw, in which the 77-year-old car enthusiast owns a 36pc, €1.5bn stake, employs more than 4,300 people around the world, some 200 of which are in Swords, north Dublin.

It has emerged as a supplier of hi-tech laser altimeters used by drones and is also supplying similar Lidar laser-scanning components for use in self-driving cars. The Clontarf-born former Concorde engine troubleshooter's business is also developing other such product lines, including medical robots and industrial 3D printing machines, steadily winning customers that include major hospitals and manufacturers that are household names including Rolls-Royce.

He and his wife are generous supporters of charities near where they live. McMurtry is also a patron of Bristol's Aerospace Museum, which is home to one of the last Concordes.

Fans of the BBC's Sherlock series saw an episode a few years ago featuring an eco-home that he designed and had built in the Gloucestershire countryside at a cost of €34m. Though he and his family got to meet all the stars of the BBC hit, his wife was not a fan of the house itself and they instead live in a more ordinary farmhouse nearby.

Other than the homes, there are few trappings of wealth. Inventor McMurtry is a keen reader, drives a souped-up Mini and has a modest car collection, but there are no jets or yachts.

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