The collapse in value of house-building companies means that David Wilson is one the biggest losers in this year’s Rich List.

The record-breaking £2.2 billion takeover of David Wilson’s Leicestershire-based property group Wilson Bowdon by rivals Barratt Developments put more than £700 million into the Wilson family coffers.

Former chairman David Wilson – who together with his family owned 33 per cent of the business – said the deal – the biggest in the housebuilding industry – was the best way forward for the business. The takeover created the biggest home-builder in Britain and was only the second acquisition by Barratt in 25 years.

Unfortunately, of the £700 million Barratt paid to David Wilson and family holdings, only £300 million was paid in cash. The rest was in shares and the value of those shares has gone through the floor.

Wilson Bowden is based in Ibstock in Leicestershire and was formed in 1961. Ten years later David Wilson, now 67, joined the business after graduating from what was then Leicester Polytechnic. At that time the company had a turnover of just £1 million.

By 1987 David Wilson was running the company and floated it on the London Stock Exchange. It became among the biggest housebuilding concerns in the country.

The collapse in share value has certainly not dimmed David Wilson’s enthusiasm for the building business. He is busy investing some of his cash to set up a new company – Davidsons – at the Leicestershire site where the original Wilson Bowden operation was based. If it’s only half as successful as Wilson Bowden then David Wilson will be climbing back up our list in the future.

He is married with four children and lives in Leicestershire.