Sunday Independent Rich List 2020 – Big Winners – Some Insights

The 2020 Sunday Independent Rich List again provided a fascinating insight to a small but highly influential part of our population. I’ve taken a further look at some of the trends and stats behind the bios and overall figures. I’ve looked only at those who I believe are based in Ireland.

Some new entrants have come on the list in dramatic fashion, most notably Eamon Waters at €310m, he runs Panda Waste – there’s money in muck – and recycling. The highest new entrant – John Armitage at €1.181bn – took out Irish citizenship in 2018. Unfortunately, his new John Armitage Charitable Trust primarily makes grants in England and Wales. Perhaps in time this may extend to Ireland. And of course, you might win the lottery – the Rogers family Syndicate in North Dublin came in at an amazing €175m.

Some of the rises are down to share price increases. Some are as a result of new information. Larry Goodman is up €1.95bn to €2.8bn – a result of info about some overseas entities. Declan Ganley is up €200m, while Michael O’Leary saw a rise or €146m on the back of improving Ryanair share price primarily, with Kyran McLaughlin, a former non-executive director there, seeing his wealth increase by €9m. Paul Coulson and others linked to Ardagh also saw dramatic increases, with Coulson up by €570m to €1.72bn as Ardagh share price increased 62% in 2019. Others linked to Ardagh include Niall Wall, up €203m, Eddie Kilty up €60m, Brendan Dowling by €9m and Houghton Fry up €40m. Those with DCC shares also had a great year, with Jim Flavin up €36m to €272m. Likewise for Michael Chadwick whose Grafton Group shareholding helped him increase some €38m to €216m. ICG has helped Eamon Rothwell to a €20m increase. These are dramatic changes over the course of just 12 months.

Business success at Fexco has also seen Brian McCarthy and family see their wealth grow €92m, Terry Clune is up €40m as his fintech TaxBack Group expands and the Queally family are up a third to €400m as meat sales continue apace. The Stafford family have come through a tough few years but their Lifestyle Sports and other businesses are now in rugged good order and their wealth is up €24m. The Smyth family now own many Toys R Us outlets and have been remarkable in growing their business – they saw their wealth increase €35m to €147m, while Rich List stalwarts Anne Heraty and Paul Carroll are up €29m as CPL continues to prosper in this boomtime for recruitment. Kingspan is an amazing irish success story and Gene Murtagh is up €25m to €80m as its share price continues to climb, although he has some way to go to catch the da, Eugene, who is up a phenomenal €500m to €1.88bn. Not forgetting the Collison Brothers at Stripe, it’s just a new level of wow every year. This year’s estimate put them at €7.7bn, up €5.95bn. It will be interesting to see what their realisable wealth will ultimately be.

Canny investing is also leading to big rewards. Barry Maloney is up €24m. Others in the technology spacehave done well too.

Property has also driven the increases with the Byrne family seeing a €64m increase. Paddy McKillen is up by €45m. Sean Reilly and family are another dramatic new entrant – coming in at €294m, while Joseph Brennan and family (bread) saw their dough rise by €60m as a result to a re-evaluation of their property portfolio – much if it in the UK. Michael Stanley and Alan McIntosh are up a combined €30m as Cairn Homes sells more homes and apartments in Dublin.

For many of course being on the list ‘only’ represents paper wealth and there have been dramatic disappearances in years past as a result. Business sales can however change the nature of one’s wealth fundamentally. Noel Moran and Valerie Willis who entered the Rich List in 2017 on €120m are now there at €294m, having sold their Prepaid Financial Services business. The sale of Pointy, reported as being $160m / €147 has made the news in recent weeks, leading to big windfalls for Charles Bibby and Mark Cummins.

Much more could be written and perhaps will, but time is against me for now. I hope you enjoy the read. As ever, hopefully some newfound and older Irish wealth will increasingly find its way into philanthropy as our attitude to and understanding of wealth matures.

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