Whenever Scotland comes up, your mind might drift to thoughts of men dressed in kilts (with or without underwear? We’ll never know!) playing musical notes on a set of bagpipes, women with bouncy red curls twirling to the lilting Celtic tunes. You might well think of a courageous, battling nation – with internationally celebrated movies like ‘Braveheart’and ‘Brave’ famously located in the Highlands. For those of us unfamiliar with the country, Scotland is all this plus lush landscapes, intimidating castles, and legends of the Loch Ness monster. But all those clichés don’t take into account the fact that this country is home to some of the wealthiest people in the world.
Although high-profile wealthy Englishmen often outstrip the Billionaire Scots on Britain’s rich list, 2013 was a great year for Scotland. There were 78 Scottish people featured on the UK’s rich list this year, 4 more than last year. In fact, the combined wealth of the 100 richest inhabitants of Scotland came to £21.1 billion in 2013 – that amount is double what it was ten years ago.With the high level of wealth accumulated by those who call Scotland home, the individuals at the very bottom of the rich list still have a £75 million fortune. Some of the newest entries to the list include two lottery winners: Adrian and Gillian Bayford who share a £149 million fortune. Not a bad return on £1!
The richest of the rich that call this country home, the elite Billionaire club, come from all walks of life. Some had inheritances, while others made their fortune in modern business. Regardless of how they have earned their billions, these wealthiest Scots have helped put the country on the radar internationally. So put on your favourite bagpipe artist, slip into your comfiest kilt, and get ready for an adventure into the lives of the richest Scots.
5. Alastair Salvesen- $1.7 billion
Alastair Salvesen earned a great deal of his fortune through the seafood industry, but he bolstered up his inherited fortune with his stake in the power firm Aggreko. This share has contributed to Salvesen’s £1.05 billion – or $1.7 billion – fortune. Originally, Alastair Salvesen and his family made their millions in the seafood processing industry. Alistair was an entrepreneur, turning millions into more millions and then billions when he invested cleverly – and created the seafood company Dawnfresh from the Christian Salvesen group founded by his great-grandfather. Although he has turned his attention to the power industry, fishing and seafood processing remains an important part of his past and present. Salvenson recently revealed he has developed a £3.5 million business in exporting large trout.
4. The Thomson Family- $1.8 billion
As the current directors of D.C. Thomson & Co. – a Scottish publishing company – Andrew Thomson, L. Murray Thomson, Christopher Thomson, and Richard Hall enjoy the perks of ownership. Although they remain out of the spotlight for the most part, their company continues to garner a lot of wealth. The Dundee-based company was founded in 1905 by David Couper Thomson. Over the years, ownership has remained in the Thomson family and the current four directors are direct descendants of David Couper Thomson. The company produces magazines, comics, and newspapers; all of which are incredibly popular amongst the readers. The company is best known in the UK as the publisher behind cultural fixtures likes the kids’ comic ‘Beano’ and teen girls’ magazine ‘Shout’ as well as several newspapers and niche interest magazines. While the Thomson family featured among the Billionaires of 2013, as of the 31st of December 2013 it was reported that the publishing group suffered a decline in profits, falling from £31.1m to £23.7m.
3. Sir Ian Wood – $1.9 billion
Recently retired, this Scottish billionaire was the chair of the Wood Group. The Wood Group is a multinational energy services company, but Sir Ian Wood is best known for his work in the North Sea Oil industry – he recently released a well-publicized report on his findings. His interim report focused primarily on the importance and availability of economic opportunities offered by offshore oil and gas resources. In 1982, Sir Ian Wood was awarded the CBE in the New Year’s Honour List and twelve short years later, he was knighted by the New Year’s Honour List.
2. William Grant and Sons- $2.3 billion
These whisky tycoons are known primarily for their single malt whisky, which has become an institution among whisky connoisseurs all over the world. The company has a long-running history manufacturing high quality whisky and other spirits since the 1887. William Grant, his sons, and Charles Gordon who was son-in-law became the primary sales agents and by 1909, they had made quite the name for themselves. When prohibition hit, they continued to produce their products in secret, but William Grant died before the lift on the ban of alcohol. After his death, his sons and son-in-law took over the business. Today, it continues to be run by descendants of Grant who enjoy a plush lifestyle.
1. Mahdi al-Tajir- $2.71 billion
As the owner of Highland Spring, a bottled water firm, Madhi al-Tajir enjoys a lavish lifestyle that we could only dream of. He has a bursting bank account, and takes the coveted spot as one of the richest men in the United Kingdom. Al-Tajir owns several prime real estate properties, and manages his investments wisely. His family also enjoys the perks of being associated with a billionaire and rest assured that his wife and five children are completely pampered. According to a study, his estimated fortune landed him in the top fifty richest people in the United Kingdom. At the ripe age of 81, Madhi al-Tajir spends his time lounging at his 24,000 acre estate near Gleneagles, Pertshire , though he can be found relaxing in style on his property in London. Although he is interested in oil, gas, and metal trading, his primary focus remains on mineral water.
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