Lady Ballyedmond and family top the Northern Ireland Rich List with a fortune of £1.4bn, according to The Sunday Times Rich List 2016.
The family’s wealth is based on the world’s leading veterinary pharmaceutical company, Norbrook Laboratories, based in Newry and formerly run and owned by Lord Ballyedmond, who died in a helicopter crash in 2014.
Under his leadership profits hit £22.1m on £198.7m of sales in 2013-14. The business, valued at £1bn, is still owned by the family and led by Ballyedmond’s widow, 68-year-old Mary, Lady Ballyedmond. He left £344m in his will, which together with art, property and land keep the family at £1.4bn, the same value as last year.
In second place in Northern Ireland’s Rich List are Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, valued at £375m. Hollywood impresario Mark Burnett, 55, is the president of MGM Television and Digital Group, while his Londonderry-born wife Downey, also 55, is to be the chief content officer of Lightworkers Media, the faith and family division of the company.
The couple are behind the mini-series The Bible, in which Downey starred as Mary, and other faith-based programmes. MGM bought a 55% stake in their production company for $343m in 2014 and last December the Malibu-based couple exchanged their remaining holding for £83m of MGM shares.
Brothers Paul and Jeremy Eakin have made a £310m fortune largely from the manufacture of ostomy products, for the discharge of human body wastes. Co Down-based T G Eakin was founded by their pharmacist father, Tom. Paul, 53, and Jeremy, 48, own the £300m company.
Belfast-born Paddy McKillen joins the Northern Ireland Rich List with a £156m fortune based on his worldwide commercial property portfolio. McKillen, who lives in south Dublin, was at the centre of a legal battle with twins Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay for control of Claridge’s hotel chain in London and sold his 36% stake last year for more than £624m, more than enough to clear debts.
The 2016 Sunday Times Rich List - the definitive guide to wealth in Britain and Ireland - is published on Sunday, April 24. The 148-page special edition of The Sunday Times Magazine is the biggest issue of the Rich List ever published since it first appeared in 1989. It charts the wealth of the 1,000 richest people in the UK and the 250 richest in Ireland. The list is based on identifiable wealth, including land, property, other assets such as art and racehorses, or significant shares in publicly quoted companies. It excludes bank accounts, to which the paper has no access.
The Sunday Times Rich List is compiled by Philip Beresford and Robert Watts, and edited by Ian Coxon. The complete list will be available to all the paper’s digital members and will be fully-searchable online at thesundaytimes.co.uk/richlist
1, Lady Ballyedmond and family £1.4bn; 2, Mark Burnett and Roma Downey £375m; 3, Paul and Jeremy Eakin and family £310m; 4, John King £190m; 5, Danny Hill £183m; 6, Robert Barnett and family £182m; 7, Kevin and Michael Lagan £160m
8, Paddy McKillen £156m; 9, Brian Conlon £127m; 10, Chris Watson and family £126m; 11, Peter FitzGerald and family £125m; 12 Chris Rea £120m; 13, Harold Montgomery and family £115m; 14= Michael Loughran and family £112m;14=
Tony and Maureen Wheeler £112m; 16, Eoin McCann and family £110m; 17= Raymond and Stephen Hutchinson and family £105m; 17= Ted Kelly £105m; 17= Brenda Salters and family; 17= Joe Sloan and family £105m.