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Jim Ratcliffe grew up on a council estate in Greater Manchester during 1950s

  • He was sacked from his first job at BP because he suffered from mild eczema

  • The tycoon founded £35bn chemicals giant Ineos when he was 45 years old

  • By Phoebe Southworth For Mailonline

    Published: 00:33 BST, 13 May 2018 | Updated: 11:50 BST, 14 May 2018

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    Jim Ratcliffe, whose £21 billion fortune puts him at the top of the Sunday Times Rich List

    Jim Ratcliffe, whose £21 billion fortune puts him at the top of the Sunday Times Rich List

    A 'publicity shy' chemicals tycoon who grew up on a council estate has been revealed as Britain's richest man with a jaw-dropping £21 billion fortune.

    Jim Ratcliffe, founder and boss of chemical giant Ineos, topped the Sunday Times Rich List this year - sailing ahead of a record 145 billionaires now living in the country.

    The 65-year-old, who grew up on a council estate in Greater Manchester, saw his wealth increase by an astonishing £15.3 billion between 2017 and 2018.

    He shot to the top spot from 18th place after the success of Ineos.

    The company's annual turnover is about £45 billion and it employs more than 18,500 people at 181 sites across 22 countries.

    Its products are, among many other things, used to clean water, make toothpaste, manufacture antibiotics, insulate homes and package food. 

    Ratcliffe owns a 60 per cent stake in Ineos which is valued at £21 billion.

    The 65-year-old, who grew up on a council estate in Greater Manchester, saw his wealth increase by an astonishing £15.3 billion between 2017 and 2018

    The 65-year-old, who grew up on a council estate in Greater Manchester, saw his wealth increase by an astonishing £15.3 billion between 2017 and 2018

    From council estate to CEO: Jim Ratcliffe was fired after just three days in his first job and isn't proud of his A-level results but built his staggering fortune in just 20 years

    Born in 1952, Jim Ratcliffe grew up in a council house on Dunkerley Avenue in Failsworth, a small town between Manchester and Oldham.

    He was sent to Beverley Grammar School when his family moved to Yorkshire. 

    As well as being football mad, he founded the school's industrial society during sixth form.

    He got a 2:1 degree in chemical engineering at the University of Birmingham. 

    On his first day, he was embarrassed to see he was nearly at the bottom of a list of 99 undergraduates ranked by their A-level results.

    He worked for BP during a summer holiday after graduating and was offered a job. But he was fired after just three days because his boss had seen his medical report and wasn't keen on him working there with mild eczema.

    Ratcliffe went on to work as a trainee accountant at a pharmaceuticals company before moving to Esso then Courtaulds.

    In 1992 he mortgaged his house to buy BP's chemicals division for about £40 million.

    He only started his first business weeks before his 40th birthday and founded Ineos aged 45 in 1998.

    During the next 20 years he built his empire.

    Ratcliffe married his first wife Amanda Townson in 1985. The pair, who have two sons, divorced in 1995. He has a daughter with his second wife Alicia.

    Cutting a svelte figure, he does distance running and triathlons to keep himself in shape.

    Source: The Sunday Times

    Ratcliffe at a news conference in 2014. He was fired from his first job after just three days

    Ratcliffe at a news conference in 2014. He was fired from his first job after just three days

    The UK's largest privately owned company, Ineos's headquarters is just a stone's throw away from Harrods in London.

    Its operations were moved to Switzerland in 2010 after a spat with the Labour government over a VAT payment, but it returned to the UK in 2016.   

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    Last year Ratcliffe acquired the clothing brand Belstaff, whose jackets are worn by David Beckham.

    But the mogul maintains a relatively low profile and has previously been described on the Rich List as 'publicity shy'.

    The wealth of the 1,000 richest people jumped by 10 per cent this year in the 30th list compiled by the Sunday Times.

    London is the number one city in the world for billionaires, with some 93 born, living or with their businesses based in the capital.

    More women and entrepreneurs are also emerging among the country's financial elite.

    Robert Watts, the compiler of the list, said the economic landscape is changing in Britain.

    'Gone are the days when old money and a small band of industries dominated the Sunday Times Rich List,' he said.

    'Aristocrats and inherited wealth has been elbowed out of the list and replaced by an army of self-made entrepreneurs.'    

      Hotel tycoons Sri (left) and Gopi Hinduja, who are in second place on the Sunday Times Rich List with a £20 billion fortune

    Hotel tycoons Sri (left) and Gopi Hinduja, who are in second place on the Sunday Times Rich List with a £20 billion fortune

    SECOND PLACE: £20.644 billion

    Sri and Gopi Hinduja the teetotal vegetarian hotel tycoon brothers 

    Hot on the heels of Ratcliffe are brothers Sri and Gopi Hinduja.

    Sri, 82, and Gopi, 78, oversee their family's global business empire.

    Hinduja Group invests in oil and gas, IT, energy, media, banking, property and healthcare. 

    Their main British company, Hinduja Automotive, turned over nearly £2.7bn in 2016-17. 

    In 2014 the Hinduja brothers bought the 1,100-room War Office in Whitehall where Winston Churchill plotted the defeat of the Nazis. 

    Raffles Hotels & Resorts plan to open a luxury hotel in the historic building.

    Sri and Gopi, both teetotal and vegetarian, live in a £250 million palatial home overlooking St James's Park.

    The 67,000 square foot mansion is made up of four interconnected Georgian houses.

      Sir Len Blavatnik, who is in third position on the rich list. The music mogul is worth £15 billion

    Sir Len Blavatnik, who is in third position on the rich list. The music mogul is worth £15 billion

    THIRD PLACE: £15.259 billion

    Music mogul Sir Len Blavatnik who was knighted for his jaw-dropping charity donations  

    Sir Len Blavatnik owns Warner Music Group, which raked in a mouth-watering £2.65 billion last year.

    The Ukraine-born billionaire, who became a UK citizen in 2010, was once at the top of Britain's rich list but slipped a few places after a £723 million dip. 

    Not afraid to party like he means it, Sir Len once enlisted Joss Stone to sing on his yacht.

    As well as enjoying his riches, the music mogul has also made some unbelievable donations to charity, earning him a knighthood for philanthropy in 2017.

    Among his financial gifts was £75 million to Oxford University. 

    As a gesture of thanks, the famous institution now has a Blavatnik School of Government.

      Simon (left) and David Reuben. The metal tsar brothers are in fourth position - hot on the heels of Sir Len Blavatnik

    Simon (left) and David Reuben. The metal tsar brothers are in fourth position - hot on the heels of Sir Len Blavatnik

    FOURTH PLACE: £15.096 billion

    Metal tsars David and Simon Reuben who control five per cent of the world's aluminium output

    David Reuben, 79, and his brother Simon, 77, made their fortunes from carpets, metal and property.

    But their role in the Russian aluminium industry placed them firmly on the map.

    The pair, dubbed the 'metal tsars', control five per cent of the world’s aluminium output through their Trans-World Metals operation. 

    Their two main operations, Reubros and Aldersgate, are valued at £14 billion, up nearly £1.79 billion on last year.

    The brothers, who left Russia in 2000, had made about £1.3 billion over the previous decade.

    Among their UK property investment portfolio are Millbank Tower and the John Lewis Partnership HQ in Victoria. 

      Steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal, worth £14 billion, is in fifth position on the list of the UK's most wealthy

    Steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal, worth £14 billion, is in fifth position on the list of the UK's most wealthy

    FIFTH PLACE: £14.667 billion

    Steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal whose family has a stake in Queens Park Rangers

    Lakshmi Mittal, 67, provides the steel for one in four of the world’s cars. 

    His father built a steel firm in India and the metal industry has been a part of his life since childhood.

    He made his billions by acquiring and turning around underperforming rivals across the globe.

    Mittal has lived in London since 1995 and owns three houses in Kensington Palace Gardens worth more than £300 million.

    His family has a small stake in Queens Park Rangers football club.

     

    London is the number one city in the world for billionaires with 93 - as 'an army of self-made entrepreneurs selling chocolate, sushi and pet food' muscle aristocrats out of rich list 

    BY IAIN BURNS FOR MAILONLINE AND PRESS ASSOCIATION 

    Self-made entrepreneurs have almost completely displaced those who inherited their wealth in the list of the UK's 1,000 richest people.

    Of the super-wealthy living in - or connected to - Britain, 94 per cent have acquired their great fortunes through their own work. 

    Meanwhile more billionaires - 93 - live in London that any other city in the world.

    In 1989, only 43 per cent of the entries were self-made - with the bulk either aristocrats or landowners. 

    Chairman of INEOS petrochemicals plant Jim Ratcliffe Tony Pidgley, a Barnardo's orphan worth £310m

    Of the super-wealthy living in - or connected to - Britain, 94 per cent have acquired their great fortunes through their own work. Left: Chairman of INEOS petrochemicals plant Jim Ratcliffe. Right: Tony Pidgley, a Barnardo's orphan worth £310m

    'Proud gypsy' Alfie Best (centre with Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford on TV show Eamonn & Ruth: How The Other Half Lives), who accumulated a £250m fortune from caravans and holiday parks

    'Proud gypsy' Alfie Best (centre with Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford on TV show Eamonn & Ruth: How The Other Half Lives), who accumulated a £250m fortune from caravans and holiday parks

    Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken Hugh Grosvenor

    In 1989, only 43 per cent of the entries were self-made - with the bulk either aristocrats or landowners. Pictured: Two of the people on the list to have inherited their wealth, Hugh Grosvenor (right) and Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken (left) of the brewing dynasty

    But now the Sunday Times Rich List is dominated by grafters, with the compiler of the first 28 editions of the catalogue - Philip Beresford - praising those on the list as 'Thatcher's children'.

    Top of the list is a 'publicity shy' chemicals entrepreneur whose wealth leapt £15.3 billion in a single year, while Sir Philip Green and Jamie Oliver saw their fortunes slide.

    Jim Ratcliffe, 65, chief executive of Ineos, topped the list with a fortune of £21.05 billion, leapfrogging his way from 18th place year.

    He once lived in a council house in Manchester before going on to Beverley Grammar School in East Yorkshire.

    Mr Ratcliffe, whose firm is currently locked in a legal battle with the Scottish government over its moratorium on fracking, emerged in pole position after additional details led to a 'substantial revaluation' of his assets.

    The Sunday Times has previously described him as publicity shy.

    Ineos's director Andy Currie and finance director John Reece shared in his fortunes, joining Ratcliffe in the top 20, taking joint 16th place with fortunes of £7 billion each.

    Also featured on the list are Tony Pidgley, a Barnardo's orphan worth £310m, and 'proud gypsy' Alfie Best, who accumulated a £250m fortune from caravans and holiday parks.    

    James Watt and Martin Dickie, who set up the craft beer firm BrewDog, are also featured on the list

    James Watt and Martin Dickie, who set up the craft beer firm BrewDog, are also featured on the list

    There are now 141 women on the list, with Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken of the brewing dynasty ranked highest at number six.

    She and her financier husband Michel de Carvalho - vice chairman of Citigroup - increased their wealth by almost 20 per cent over the past year to £11.1 billion.

    Aristocrat Hugh Grosvenor is still the UK's youngest billionaire at the age of 27 having inherited his fortune and his title - 7th duke of Westminster - following the death of his father two years ago.

    His property empire includes 300 acres in Mayfair and Belgravia, as well as properties in Oxford, Cheshire, Scotland and Spain.

    His wealth grew by £444 million in the last year to £9.96 billion. 

    Three more self-made figures on the list are Penny Streeter, who founded a recruitment firm while living in a homeless refuge as a single mother and James Watt and Martin Dickie, who set up the craft beer firm BrewDog.

    There were also a growing number of people whose fortunes were built on selling food and drink - including the founders of Hotel Chocolat and the Sushi Daily creators. 

    At second place on the list were the Hinduja brothers, Sri and Gopi, worth £20.64 billion

    At second place on the list were the Hinduja brothers, Sri and Gopi, worth £20.64 billion

    At second place on the list were the Hinduja brothers, Sri and Gopi, worth £20.64 billion.

    Their fortune jumped by £4.44 billion on 2017, with their India-based car manufacturer Ashok Leyland and Mumbai-based IndusInd Bank having a particularly successful year.

    British-American industrialist-turned-media mogul Sir Len Blavatnik came in third place with £15.26 billion to his name.

    The 60-year-old was knighted this year for services to philanthropy - recent donations include £50 million to fund the Tate Modern's new wing, and £5 million towards the Victoria and Albert Museum's new entrance, as well as funding the Blavatnik School of Government at Oxford University.

    This year is the 30th anniversary of the Rich List, with the top 20 now worth a combined £218.6 billion - increasing their cumulative wealth by £33. 5 billion in the last year.

    Of the 1,000 people on the list, 145 are billionaires. 

    Elsewhere, Arcadia boss Sir Philip Green's fortune took a tumble - his reputation was dragged through the mud following the collapse of BHS after he sold it to a man twice declared bankrupt for just £1.

    It later emerged that the department store's two pension schemes had a combined shortfall of £571 million, risking the future of their 19,000 members and prompting MPs to call Sir Philip to give evidence in front of a parliamentary select committee.

    Falling sales at his flagship brands Topshop and Miss Selfridge as well as his promise to contribute £363 million towards the pension deficit led to Sir Philip's fortune dropping by £787 million to £2 billion.

    Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver exited the list completely following a rocky year for his eponymous restaurant empire - it is still undergoing restructuring after racking up debts of more than £70 million.

    Elsewhere, Arcadia boss Sir Philip Green's fortune took a tumble - his reputation was dragged through the mud following the collapse of BHS after he sold it to a man twice declared bankrupt for just £1

    Elsewhere, Arcadia boss Sir Philip Green's fortune took a tumble - his reputation was dragged through the mud following the collapse of BHS after he sold it to a man twice declared bankrupt for just £1

    In January the chain announced 12 of its 37 branches were to close.

    Financier Ernesto Bertarelli and his wife Kirsty saw the biggest decrease in wealth, losing £1.48 billion due to falls in Ernesto's pharmaceutical company stakes, the list's author said.

    The couple are now 11th on the list. 

    Robert Watts, who compiled this year's list, said: 'Britain is changing. Gone are the days when old money and a small band of industries dominated the Sunday Times Rich List.

    'Aristocrats and inherited wealth has been elbowed out of the list and replaced by an army of self-made entrepreneurs.

    'Today's super rich include people who have set up businesses selling chocolate, sushi, pet food and eggs.

    'We're seeing more people from humble backgrounds, who struggled at school or who didn't even start their businesses until well into middle age.

    'Meanwhile, technology is also playing a bigger part in helping more young people make their fortunes and small companies to grow.

    'Britain's rich are getting richer, but the cast of Britain's 1,000 richest people is an ever-changing and increasingly diverse cast of people.'

    Jamie Oliver drops off the Sunday Times Rich List as his Italian restaurant empire undergoes restructuring after racking up debts of more than £70m 

    Jamie Oliver has not appeared on The Sunday Times Rich List for the first time since he debuted on it in 2010

    Jamie Oliver has not appeared on The Sunday Times Rich List for the first time since he debuted on it in 2010

    BY SEBASTIAN MURPHY-BATES FOR MAILONLINE 

    Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has dropped off the wealth list as his restaurant chain continues to struggle.

    It is the first time the chef from Essex has been missing from the list since he debuted on it in 2010.

    His Italian restaurant empire has racked up debts of £71.5million and its staff are owed £2.2million. 

    In January Oliver announced he was closing 12 of his 37 Italian eateries after his food magazine, Jamie, went under last year. 

    The restaurant closures put more than 200 jobs at risk, after creditors pushed through a restructuring plan devised by the chef. 

    A Company Voluntary Arrangement will allow the Italian chain to secure rent reductions on the remaining estate and exit unprofitable stores.  

    When he closed six restaurants last year, Oliver blamed a combination of rising Brexit cost pressures and tough trading. 

    The celebrity chef's restaurant chain has been blighted by problems, which Oliver blamed on Brexit

    The celebrity chef's restaurant chain has been blighted by problems, which Oliver blamed on Brexit

    His chain was stung by the collapse of the pound - which ramped up the cost of buying ingredients from Italy - as well as staff costs and lower footfall. 

    Last month the chef said he could 'happily f****** retire' within the next 12 years as he bemoaned the fact that people blame him for taking away their turkey twizzlers.

    He told Balance magazine: 'I still get “Where’s my Turkey Twizzlers?”. Someone thinks I took something away from them. I didn’t.'   

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    Source : http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5722391/Chemicals-boss-Ratcliffe-tops-Sunday-Times-Rich-List.html

    Chemicals tycoon, 65, who grew up on a council estate, was fired from his first job and didn't start a business until he was nearly 40 is UK's richest man after his fortune ...
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