2016: No.3 - £1.1bn
2015: No.3 - £1bn
Jacques Murray’s air conditioning and heating firm is on the move. The Wolverhampton-based company has moved from its Darlington Street headquarters to a new home in Union Street.
The move coincides with the Andrew Sykes Group’s 50th anniversary which was celebrated with a lunch at Molineux Stadium
Andrew Sykes is largely owned by the oldest entrant in our Rich List, 96 year-old Jacques Gaston Murray.
The company is subject to the vagaries of the weather, but in the first six months of 2015 put in a strong performance driven by winter demand. Turnover for the half-year was £28.2 million, up from £26.7 million the previous year. Pre-tax profit rose from £4.1 million to £4.7 million. Confidence for a good performance for the rest of the year is high, thanks to hot weather in Europe which boosted the performance of the firm’s air conditioning hire business.
Full year sales for 2014 were slightly down on the previous year at £56.4 million due to under-performing Benelux markets. Profit for the year was almost £15 million. The company is worth well over £300 million.
The firm continues to invest and in 2014 opened a new depot in Paris, the city of Jacques Murray’s birth.
He puts the company’s success down to its policy of reducing its reliance on its traditional core products and services, together with an increase in non-seasonal business and investment in new technically advanced and environmentally friendly products.
The company has expanded its overseas operations across Europe and the Middle East, providing platforms for future expansion.
Despite being 96, Jacques Gaston Murray shows little sign of slowing down. His other main business is West Yorkshire-based London Security plc, one of Europe’s leading fire protection businesses, of which he owns 98 per cent.
The family – including is two sons Jean-Jacques and Jean-Pierre, also has six hotels worth more than £310 million including the 431 bedroom Grand Beach Hotel in Miami Beach.
He has been a British national since just after the Second World War. He studied architecture at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and was called up in 1940. When France surrendered to Germany he made his way to England where he joined the Royal Air Force, flying 38 missions as a navigator. He was awarded the French Legion of Honour.
After the war – during which his father died in Auschwitz - he returned to France, but came back to England to embark on a distinguished business career. His involvement with fire extinguishers began in 1961 when he invested in a business which became General-Incendie SA, one of France’s largest fire extinguisher companies.
The Andrews Sykes Group was formed in 1857 and has well over 30,000 customers, employing more than 500 people in the UK from 25 sites from Scotland to Devon.
As well as these businesses, the Murray family has a property portfolio and other assets.