2018: No.42 - £128m
2017: No.37= - £125m
A game reserve in the Eastern Cape region of South Aftrica and metal-bashing in the Black Country have combined to create a healthy income for Constantine Folkes .
His Folkes Holdings property business operates across the UK and South Africa, with a mixed commercial property portfolio worth well close to £100 million.
Its major property interest in the UK is a 1.4 million sq ft portfolio of largely industrial property with more than 90 tenants across the West and East Midlands. In South Africa, Folkes is an active developer and investor - largely in the industrial warehouse sector - with assets in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban. The company also holds 25,000 acres of agricultural land in the Eastern Cape - the Glen Harry Game Reserve. The land is home to a rare game breeding programme including buffalo and sable antelope and offers eco-tourism safaris.
The company is 100 per cent owned by Constantine Folkes and his family, and is one of the largest private property groups in the Midlands.
The company combines property development and investment with Black Country metal bashing, and together they have been a source of wealth for Constantine Folkes, who can trace his company back to 1697. The company was named in the Top 10 oldest family firms in the UK by Family Business United.
Constantine Folkes is a descendant of the Lye blacksmith who began the business more than 300 years and nine generations ago.
Folkes Holding’s main business is now developing and investing in industrial, retail, office and residential property. The company has an extensive portfolio which includes property in Wellingborough, Birmingham, and throughout the Black Country as well as Studley Point in Birmingham Road, Studley – one of the most prominent office buildings in the area.
The company’s roots are in engineering and Folkes Holdings, based in Dudley Road, Lye, includes Somers Forge in Halesowen – one of the largest open die forges in Europe - making crankshafts for the marine, power, oil, aerospace and defence industries. There are also two heat treatment plants, Controlled Heat Treatment which has been operating in Lye since 1946, and Express Heat Treatment in Cradley Heath. The businesses do well, against the trend of many similar manufacturing operations.
Constantine Folkes, aged 64 and an accountant by training, took over the helm of the family company in 1981. When taking over at the age of 28 he was the youngest chairman of a quoted company, putting his drive and determination down to principles instilled in him as a child by his father John Folkes. In 2002 he took the company private. His family members serve on the Folkes Holdings board. He now lives on Jersey.
As well as the value of Folkes Holdings we add at least £25 million for past and present dividends, pension funds, houses, art and other investments.