Billionaire Paul Chan owns the most shares of Sainsbury’s (ABS.L), with a stake of 3.1%. Shares in the supermarket chain have been at record highs for many years now – and he owns all 20m shares. Chan’s net worth, meanwhile, comes from a series of investments which have made him extremely wealthy. He has a 20% stake in the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKSE) which he bought for HK$5m in 2007, which he sold to fund his purchase of Vodafone (AFC.L). Chan’s shareholding in Vodafone has risen in recent years, from an average of 19% in 2010 to 48% in 2013.
The other big winner from the weekend was Paul Polman, the boss of hedge fund Greenleaf Capital. Polman, who lives in the Cayman Islands, owns 1.7% of AIA Ireland – and has a net worth of €13m. This made him the fourth richest Briton on the list, but not an especially wealthy one. Polman is the grandson of George Polman and grandson of Paul Polman. The four brothers were famous as the men who built Ayrshire Port into a thriving manufacturing and trading centre – the first company to go into administration a few years prior to opening by employing over 900 people. Despite this success, Polman decided in 2006 to make a big punt in Ireland, buying his first share through a limited partnership in a €200,000 investment. This partnership was dissolved in 2009 and Polman purchased 10% of AIA Ireland through a further limited partnership from a group of pension funds. He continued investing, making his first purchase in 2013 at a fraction of the cost with a €1m investment in Greenleaf Capital.
Polman has continued investing and made more significant purchases since 2012, buying a 10% share in Iberostar Group which has already invested about €1bn in the Irish food retail market. A recent survey discovered that 76% of Brits would buy a home in Ireland, and a quarter of them would consider buying a property in the island. The success of Greenleaf Capital in Ireland will see it further increased in stature and size, and perhaps in value.
The next richest Briton was a man who didn’t make it to the top three – but he did end up in another part of the Top Ten. The fifth wealthiest Briton was British businessman Richard James, who owns 1.5% of the
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