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Danish billionaire Povlsen retains Scots richest crown

Asset growth: Povlsen owns the Jenners building and Aldourie Castle

Danish landowner and business leader Anders Povlsen has retained his position at the top of Scotland’s rich list after seeing his wealth balloon by more than £1.2 billion in the past year.

The owner of the Jenners building in Edinburgh also has a 25% stake in online fashion chain Asos which has seen its value rocket after acquiring a number of brands such as Top Shop and Miss Selfridge from Sir Philip Green’s collapsed Arcadia group.

The bulk of Mr Povlsen’s wealth stems from the Denmark-based fashion retailer, Bestseller, which owns the Jack & Jones and Vera Moda brands among others.

Mr Povlsen is a major landowner in Scotland, his interests centred on the 43,000-acre Glenfeshie estate in the Cairngorms. He has 12 further estates in the country and is a prominent advocate for rewilding – allowing native species to become reestablished, including native woodland and animal species. He owns Aldourie Castle in the Highlands.

He is one of ten billionaires linked to Scotland in a record-breaking UK list of 171, up 24 on 2020, a year-on-year increase that is also a record despite the wider economic impact of the pandemic. The combined wealth of the 171 UK billionaires is £597.269bn, up £106.582bn, or 21.7%, on the total wealth of the billionaires in last year’s Rich List.

Lockdown has also proved lucrative for Glenn Gordon and family, owners of the Willian Grant & Sons whisky business. The family have registered gains of £409m in the past year to lift them to £3.595bn.

The Moray-based distiller owns brands that include Grants, Glenfiddich and Milagro tequilla.

The India-based pharmaceuticals business, Biocon, run by John and Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw is another £1bn winner over the past year, lifting the couple’s wealth to just under £3bn and third place in the Scottish Rich List. 

Glenfiddich whisky

The family behind the Glenfiddich brand saw their wealth grow

Glaswegian Mr Shaw and his wife, who set up the business in the late 1970s, own a 60% stake in Biocon, 20% higher than previously thought, which accounts for the bulk of their gain in this year’s Scottish Rich List.

There are 14 Scots or individuals with a connection to Scotland among this year’s 250 richest in the UK.

The UK’s richest person is Sir Len Blavantnik, a dual UK-US citizen, who was born in Ukraine. His company owns most of Warner Music as well as interests in real estate, chemicals and telecoms. He also has his own philanthropic foundation. with his wealth increasing by £7.2bn this year to £23bn.

He moves up from fourth, replacing British inventor Sir James Dyson who relinquished the top spot despite gaining £100m this year (£16.3bn).

Once again there is no place in the Rich List for alleged billionaire Doug Barrowman and his wife Lady Michelle Mone. The Isle of Man based Glaswegian owns the Knox Group of companies, has six homes, a collection of 15 cars, and a private jet, but has not featured in the Rich List.

Getting ever closer to billionaire status is author J K Rowling, valued at £820m this year. Undoubtedly she would have been a billionaire already but for her philanthropy and her determination to remain tax resident in the UK.

JK Rowling: giving money away

The Sunday Times Giving List calculates that she has given away at least £166m over the past two decades. She ranks 42nd in this year’s Giving List, based on £24m of charitable donations tracked in the past year alone.

England and Manchester United footballer star Marcus Rashford has topped the Giving List in a record-breaking year for donations.

Rashford, with a personal worth of £16m, has become the youngest person to top the philanthropy list by raising £20m in donations from supermarkets for groups tackling child food poverty in the UK.

For the first time, total donations on the list exceeded £4bn, with a 36% rise on the previous year’s £3.2bn taking the 2020 total to more than £4.3bn.

Along with helping charity FareShare distribute four million meals to vulnerable children during the pandemic, Rashford, 23, also forced a series of Government U-turns over free school meals.

The Sunday Times Rich List 2021: Scotland

ScotlandRankNameSector2021wealthWealth increase/decrease
1Anders Povlsen Fashion£6bnUp £1.27bn
2Glenn Gordon and familySpirits: William Gordon & Son£3.595bnUp£409m
3John Shaw and Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw and familyPharmaceuticals£2.942bnUp £1.134bn
4Sir Ian Wood and familyOil services and fishing£1.819bnUp £119m
5Mohamed Al-Fayed and familyRetailing£1.7bnUp £25m
6Mahdi al-TajirMetals, oil and water£1.687bnUp £18m
7The Thomson familyMedia£1.271bnDown £136m
8Trond Mohn and Marit Mohn Westlake and familyIndustry£1.259bnDown £66m
9Lady Philomena Clark and FamilyCar sales£1.141bnUp £10m
10Jim McCollEngineering£1bnNo change
11Joanne RowlingNovels and films£820mUp £25m
12Lord LaidlawConferences£787mNo change
13Sir Tom HunterRetailing and property£729mUp £104m
14Sir Brian Souter and Dame Ann GloagTransport£650mDown £80m


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