CHEMICAL engineer Jim Ratcliffe was on the Sunday Times Rich List 2021 with a personal fortune estimated at £6.33billion.
Here’s what we know about who is one of the UK’s richest men, who could be set to purchase Manchester United.
Who is Jim Ratcliffe and what is his net worth?
The Brexit-backing businessman is the chairman and CEO of chemicals group Ineos.
He increased his wealth by more than £15billion in 2017 to take the top spot on the Sunday times Rich List.
But the 66-year-old came from humble beginnings.
Brought up in a council house near Manchester by his joiner dad and office manager mum, he went on to study for an MBA from London Business School.
He is the first British-born industrialist to top the list, according to a Sunday Times profile.
Ratcliffe is also the first UK-born person to top the rich list since the Duke of Westminster in 2003.
Sir Jim recently said that he looks forward to Britain throwing off the shackles of Brussels when we finally quit the EU.
He said: “The Brits are perfectly capable of managing and don’t need Brussels telling them how to manage things.”
When did he start Ineos?
Ratcliffe is the chairman and chief executive of the Ineos chemicals group, which he founded in 1998.
From a small base in Hampshire, using high-yield debt to fund deals, he started buying unwanted operations from groups such as BP, picking targets based on their potential to double their earnings over a five year period.
In 2006, Ineos bought BP’s refining and petrochemical arm Innovene, giving Ineos refineries and plants in Scotland, Italy, Germany, France, Belgium and Canada.
Then, in April 2010, Ratcliffe relocated Ineos’ head office to Rolle in Switzerland, cutting the company’s tax bill by £100million per year.
Millions of Brits unwittingly use Ineos products every day.
They are used to clean water, make toothpaste, manufacture antibiotics, insulate homes and package food.
The chemicals giant has an annual turnover of about £45bn and employs more than 18,500 people at 181 sites across 22 countries.
Runner Eliud Kipchoge, 34, smashed his target by 20 seconds to complete the race in 1:59:40 in the Ineos 1:59 Challenge in Vienna today.
The event was bankrolled by petrochemicals company Ineos, owned by Sir Jim Ratcliffe.
When was Jim Ratcliffe knighted and will he buy Manchester United?
Ratcliffe was knighted in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list on June 2, 2018.
He received the honour for services to business and investment.
The billionaire would welcome talks with the Glazers over securing a minority stake in Manchester United which he hopes will lead to taking full control long-term.
A spokesman for the Ineos CEO confirmed this interest by saying: “If the club is for sale, Jim is definitely a potential buyer.
“If something like this was possible, we would be interested in talking with a view to long-term ownership. “This is not about the money that has been spent or not spent. Jim is looking at what can be done now and, knowing how important the club is to the city, it feels like the time is right for a reset.”
Sir Jim Ratcliffe is reportedly a Manchester United fan who had a failed late bid for Chelsea in May, but the successful businessman made it clear that he is interested in being in control of a Premier League club.
What other sports teams does Jim Ratcliffe own?
Sir Jim Ratcliffe purchased Swiss top flight football team FC Lausanne-Sport in 2017.
He bought OGC Nice in 2019, when Patrick Vieira was the manager but the current Crystal Palace boss was sacked a year later.
And the keen cyclist took over Sir Dave Brailsford’s cycling setup Team Sky and rebranded them Team Ineos in 2019.
They have since won the Tour de France and the Giro d’Italia under his ownership.
He also sponsored Sir Ben Ainslie’s America’s Cup team, called Ineos Team UK – Royal Yacht Squadron Racing Ltd.
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Does he have children?
Jim Ratcliffe divorced wife Amanda Townson in 1995 after a ten-year marriage. They had two sons.
Sir Jim also has one daughter with his second wife, Alicia.
He lives in Chelsea and Hampshire and, in May 2017, submitted his fifth plan to build a luxury home at Thorns Beach, near Beaulieu – to replace an existing two-bedroom bungalow.
He also owns a property in tax haven Monaco.
In August 2018 it was revealed he and two other Ineos executives are planning to move to Monaco, although the company’s HQ will remain in the UK.
Ratcliffe is reported to have completed the 2007 London Marathon and is a keen skier.
He has owned two superyachts, and in 2012 he took delivery of the 78-metre Hampshire II, which he still owns.
A keen adventurer, Ratcliffe has made expeditions to the North and South Poles as well as a three-month-long motorbike trek in South Africa.
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