Castle Vale-based Betterware has had some tough times recently. In 2006 profits fell sharply from £11.8 million to £593,000 on lower sales of £34 million. In 2007 Andrew Cohen, aged 55, sold his 50 per cent share.
Despite some poor results recently, the 80-year-old company remains one of the UK’s most successful home shopping operations and is now making it big in Poland and Spain. The brand also sells to customers in Gibraltar, Malta, and Central America through its network of distributors and territory sales agents.
Andrew Cohen has had two shots at running Betterware. He bought the household products empire in 1983, floated it for £30m in 1986, sold it to its management for £42.7m in 1997 and came back as non-executive chairman in 2002. Proceeds from the sale of his half share are believed to be around £50 million, and he has other property interests and racehorses to add to his family’s wealth.
Betterware began in the East End of London in the 1920s. Best known for its kitchenware and cleaning products, the firm now has over 5,000 distributors and operates from a purpose-built warehousing complex in park Lane Castle Vale. Betterware handles around five million customer orders every year. Its past success has helped Andrew Cohen indulge his two passions of horse racing and collecting rare film posters. When he put his vintage poster for Fritz Lang’s movie Metropolis up for sale at the Reel Poster Gallery in London’s Notting Hill it famously fetched nearly £400,000.
In the world of racing Andrew Cohen is probably best known as the owner of Grand National stalwart Suny Bay. He has also dipped his toe into the restaurant business in partnership with celebrity chef Tony Allan. Together they began the Fish restaurant chain.