Despite falling property values and a slump in the motor trade which have affected Robert Edmiston’s businesses he remains in the top 10 list of Britain’s biggest philanthropists.
He ranks at number nine in the charitable giving list, having donated more than £46 million to religious, humanitarian and educational charities.
His business – the IM Group – has felt the cold blast of recession in both its car import business and property interests, affecting the value of the business. Net assets of the two sides of the group amount to around £280 million.
The IM Group, previously based in West Bromwich but now in a purpose-built headquarters in Coleshill, imports Subarus, Isuzus and Daihatsus. Despite business being boosted last year by the new Subaru Impreza STi, the Daihatsu Sirion and the world’s first diesel boxer engine for passenger vehicles, this has not been maintained in the face of a fast-falling car market. Daihatsu’s sales have almost halved over the year and Subaru hasn’t fared much better.
The scrappage scheme has provided some relief though, and the group – under Robert Edmiston’s son Andrew as managing director continues to be active abroad with franchises in Ireland, the Baltic States and Scandinavia, and a trading house in China.
The property business has secured a £33 million re-financing package to secure its funding commitments “for the foreseeable future.” Warwick-based IM Properties, with its headquarters in Haseley Manor, arranged the facility to part refinance an investment property portfolio, and to exploit opportunities thrown up by the recession. Funding was provided by Santander Corporate Banking.
Sixty-three-year-old Robert Edmiston is one of the country’s leading philanthropists, through his Christian Vision organisation. He has publicly stated that he aims to give at least £300 million to charity before he dies.
Robert Edmiston is a committed and active Christian and founded Christian Vision in 1988. This charity – 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. Teaching is based on Christian principles, encouraging decency, respect and compassion.