17 (17) Grahame Whateley £425m (£300m)

The last year has seen rapid growth in Grahame Whateley’s assets thanks to strong performances in both his property development firm Castlemore Securities and his other business investments.

Grahame Whateley is one of the UK’s leading entrepreneurs, with a proven track record of building businesses and investing successfully in unlisted companies.

Companies in which he has a controlling or significant interest currently employ around 600 people.

He owns all the share capital in Cedar Group, an unlisted property investment firm with net assets in excess of £10 million. He also owns 10 per cent of Local Shopping REIT PLC, the first independent real estate investment trust to be listed in the UK. This company was floated on the London Stock Exchange in May 2007 and Grahame Whateley opened the Stock Exchange that morning. Local Shopping REIT is capitalised at £200 million.

He is a non-executive director and a former chairman of stockbroker Arden Partners which he floated in October last year. He retains a substantial share holding. Arden, previously an unlisted business, was AIM-listed last summer.

He is non-executive chairman and a substantial shareholder in unlisted aerospace component and Formula One supplier Commatech Holdings Limited, which, in four years, has grown from one small factory to five factories and annual sales of more than £40 million. He is also non-executive chairman of sales finance firm Liquidity, which, from a standing start three years ago, now has a book of loans and advances of more than £17million.

The business supplies small and medium sized business market with asset finance services including factoring, confidential invoice discounting and import sales finance.

He has a substantial stake in a publicly quoted company Hardie Oil & Gas PLC, a London based oil and gas exploration company which is searching for gas and oil off the East coast of India.

Grahame Whateley has built up his unlisted property development company Castlemore to the point where it is the largest privately owned independent property development company with net assets of more than £250 million.

In the year ended September 30, 2007, Castlemore reported a pre tax profit for the year of £6.1 million from annual sales of £105 million and a growth in net assets of 33.3 per cent.

Continued profitability and further asset growth is likely to be reported over the following year as the group builds its portfolio and continues to gain from major investments in high profile locations around the UK.

Grahame Whateley is married, with three children, and lives in Worcestershire. He supports many charitable activities, including the Duke of Edinburgh Outward Bound scheme and Emmaus, a charity for the homeless.