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Rich List 2015: No.1 - Anthony Bamford & family

Baron Bamford has spent more than 50 years at JCB, and 2015 marks his 40th year as chairman.

Lord Bamford
Lord Bamford has been with JCB for more than 50 years

2015: No.1 - £3.3bn
2014: No.1 - £3.3bn

When a company announces that it’s going to build its own golf course you know things must be going pretty well.

And so it is with JCB which is spending £30 million developing an 18-hole par 72 championship golf course next to its Rocester headquarters. It’s expected to provide work for 100 people in ground care and hospitality.

Once completed, the course will be made available to JCB’s network of 770 dealers. The clubhouse will be the 18th century Woodseat Hall, previously derelict but being given a new lease of life as a five-star hotel and luxury spa.

Not everything in yellow digger-land is rosy, though. The company has recently shed 150 jobs as the construction market in emerging countries slows down. The economies of India, Brazil and China have been flat-lining, while the tit-for-tat sanctions war with Russia is also an issue.

The company’s performance in 2013 was down on the previous record year. Pre-tax profits fell 14 per cent to £313 million while turnover was flat at £2.68 billion.

The company is optimistic, though, and continues to invest in new production facilities in the UK and overseas. Two new plants have opened in Jaipur, India involving an investment of more than £60 million.

A new factory is being built in Uttoxeter, replacing an existing operation in Rugeley which is to close. There will also be a new manufacturing plant in Cheadle. Plus, it has acquired the 383,000 sq ft Blue Planet distribution hub near Newcastle-under-Lyme to become JCB World Logistics.

Lord Bamford – formerly Sir Anthony Bamford – has the formal title of Baron Bamford of Daylesford in the County of Gloucestershire and Wootton in the County of Staffordshire. In the autumn he was given one of UK engineering’s highest honours when he was made an honorary fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering for his contribution to industry.

He has spent more than 50 years at JCB, and 2015 marks his 40th year as chairman.

With more than 6,000 employees in 11 UK factories, exporting more than three-quarters of its production, JCB generates export revenues of more than £1.35 billion and is estimated to contribute at least £1.4 billion to national GDP, £555 million to the exchequer and 24,000 jobs overall to the UK economy.

The Rocester firm – which is selling more than 66,000 machines a year across the world – is valued at £3 billion. Growth is coming largely from emerging markets, but more traditional markets are performing well also.

While demand for construction equipment has eased in some overseas markets, this is more than offset by strong growth in the UK, Middle East and Africa.

The JCB Academy, Britain’s only school dedicated to developing engineers and business leaders of the future, came through its first full Ofsted inspection with flying colours. Outstanding features included the academy’s progress in mathematics, engineering and vocational courses.

As well as their huge 4,000 acre Wootton estate in Staffordshire, Lord Bamford, 68, and his wife Lady Carole Bamford have homes in Chelsea, Barbados and France and the 2,000- acre Daylesford estate near Stow-on-the Wold where Lady Bamford also runs the award-winning Daylesford Organics.

She founded the company 12 years ago and it is now one of the country’s largest working organic farms, with a long list of celebrity customers. It is one of the most sustainable farms in the UK. The company, which has a vineyard in Provence, also has a store, bakery and café in Tokyo.

She also has shops in Pimlico, Notting Hill, Selfridges and Gloucestershire, an organic farm school, a cookery school and a fashion business – Bamford & Sons.

The Bamfords’ road to riches began in 1945 when Lord Bamford’s father, Joseph Cyril Bamford – inventor of the iconic backhoe loader - built his first farm trailer in a small garage in Rocester.

Now Lord Bamford moves in exalted circles and has the ear of the Prime Minister, having donated almost £5 million to the Conservative Party since 2002, and is a member of David Cameron’s elite leaders’ group.

He has also been an active benefactor of non-political causes including the NSPCC.


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