Club owner’s fortune grows

ENIGMATIC Ipswich Town owner Marcus Evans has enjoyed a �110million jump in his personal fortune in the last year, new figures reveal.

The corporate hospitality tycoon is now worth more than half a billion pounds, according to The Sunday Times Rich List.

He was not able to match last year’s phenomenal success when his wealth doubled through the recession, but his earnings have continued to grow by 27% to �510m.

The overall wealth of the region’s top 10 has increased 31% to �6.5billion in a welcome bounce back from the credit crunch.

Mr Evans’ property portfolio has gone up �10m to �210m, while his worldwide conferencing arm has risen a third to �300m.

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Since taking over the club in late 2007, Mr Evans has kept his identity a closely-guarded secret.

He is widely credited for saving Ipswich Town from potential financial ruin.

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Philip Beresford, who compiled the Rich List, claimed it could soon be time for Mr Evans to put a face to the name.

“Marcus Evans is going great guns,” he said. “But he remains extraordinarily elusive. If he ever gets the club back to the Premier League, I don’t think he will be able to keep that up.

“His anonymity has no effect on his business, but owning a football club is a completely different matter.”

Mr Evans declined to comment yesterday.

Elsewhere in the county, Kirsten Rausing, whose wealth stems from her father’s global packaging business Tetra Laval, has seen a �1bn surge in her fortune to keep her at the top of the East Anglia Rich List.

The 57-year-old, who owns Lanwades Stud in Newmarket, is now back to her 2008 value of �3.5bn, ranking her ninth in the country. In second place in East Anglia is The Earl of Iveagh and the Guinness family, whose fortune has risen nearly 10% to �820m.

The Earl of Iveagh, who owns the Elveden Estate, is a direct descendant of brewer Arthur Guinness, who invented the classic stout in 1759.

Food and horse racing partners David and Richard Thompson, who own Cheveley Stud in Newmarket, are in third on �450m.

Among the biggest risers is north Suffolk resident Mike Lynch, whose Cambridge-based software business is now worth nearly �4bn. He has almost doubled his personal fortune to �427m.

And despite a tough time in recent years, Bernard Matthews’ Turkey business has recovered significantly.

As well as the worldwide economic downturn, the company has had to contend with a PR crisis caused when Jamie Oliver criticised the now-infamous Turkey Twizzlers.

And it was forced to cull 160,000 turkeys at its farms and factory in Holton, Suffolk, during the avian flu outbreak three years ago. The company’s assets are now up 30% to �135m.

Former Ipswich Town shareholder Michael Spencer saw his fortune fall, the Rich List claims. The 54-year-old, who runs City-based internet broker Icap, is down a further �100m to �150m. He was worth more than �1bn in 2008.

Colchester United owner Robbie Cowling is down around �4m to �40m.

Mr Beresford said: “Most businesses are doing better than last year because the stock market has risen and there is more confidence around. But they haven’t yet returned to the boom years of 2006-07.”

The Sunday Times Rich List is published in full in The Sunday Times tomorrow.

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