42= (38) Constantine Folkes £85m (£85m)
A combination of property and good old-fashioned metal bashing have been the source of wealth for Constantine Folkes, who can trace his company back to the 17th century.
Constantine Folkes - the 91 per cent owner of Folkes Holdings - is a descendant of the Lye blacksmith who began the business more than 300 years ago.
Folkes Holdings, based in Dudley Road, Lye, includes Somers Forge in Halesowen, making crankshafts, and a heat treatment plant. It is one of the largest open die forges in Europe. There are also two metal treatment plants. The business is profitable, against the trend of many similar manufacturing operations.
These business divisions pale into insignificance when compared to the Folkes’ property division which is the largest commercial landlord in the Black Country and also specialises in commercial property development and investment in South Africa.
Folkes owns well over two million square feet of business, office, retail and residential space worth nearly £100 million.
The portfolio includes the Britannia Business Park in Wednesbury as well as trading estate property in Cradley Heath, Kidderminster, Dudley, Tamworth and Wellingborough. The company also has a successful building firm in Shropshire - William Williams.
Constantine Folkes, aged 54, took over the helm of the family company in 1981 and remains chairman and chief executive. When taking over at the age of 28 he was youngest chairman of a quoted company. In 2002 he took the company private.