10 (9) Robert Edmiston £630m (£520m)
Robert Edmiston - often nicknamed the "missionary millionaire" - isn’t afraid to give his money away.
He is in the top 20 of Britain’s philanthropists and is the biggest charitable giver from business in the UK. He is also one of the country’s highest political donors, having given more than £2 million to the Conservative party according to 2006 figures.
His philosophy is clear and he is on record as saying to this newspaper: "I am going to die with enough money in the bank so I may as well use it for things I believe in."
His IM Group, based in West Bromwich, continues to be successful with latest figures showing a £25 million profit on sales of £536 million. IM Group companies have more than £400 million of assets.
In 2006, 61-year-old Robert Edmiston marked the 30th anniversary of his company by spending a quarter-of-a-million pounds to take his 500 staff on a trip to Spain. No surprise that this altruistic businessman has publicly stated that he aims to give at least £300 million to charity before he dies.
IM’s UK car import activities continue to perform well and IM Properties, based in Haseley, near Warwick is also making significant contributions. IM Properties is increasingly active abroad and has European interests worth around £300 million.
IM Group imports Subarus, Isuzus and Daihatsus. As well as the UK, the company holds franchises in Ireland, the Baltic States and Scandinavia, and IM Trucks imports Isuzu commercial vehicles into Scandinavia and the Baltic. He also has a trading house in China, ensuring that IM doesn’t miss out on opportunities created by the phenomenal growth in that country.
Robert Edmiston is a committed and active Christian and has put many millions into his charity Christian Vision which he founded in 1988. This charity - based in West Bromwich and founded on biblical principles - has helped families and children around the globe, and has a presence in the United States, Brazil, Chile, Zambia, Mozambique, Australia, East Timor and Angola, among others.
In addition the former accountant has spent £2 million of his own money towards the £28 million re-build of Whitesmore School in Chelmsley Wood, renamed the Grace Academy to reflect his Christian beliefs. Living in the wealthy area of Solihull, he believes that less fortunate youngsters living to the north of Solihull can benefit from the Christian principles of the Grace Academy, encouraging decency, respect and compassion.
He is also sponsoring a bid to build another city academy with a Christian ethos in Coventry.
Edmiston was one of a number of high-profile business figures questioned under the abortive "cash for peerages" investigation, but he is unrepentant. "I have given more than £140 million to charity and supported the Conservatives for more than 20 years. I give money to things I believe in," he said.