How he made his pile: Jim Ratcliffe, Ineos founder

How did the UK's 'most private billionaire' make his money?

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Who is he? The UK's 'most private billionaire' is described as being to chemicals what Sir Philip Green is to retail, (although we can't imagine Ratcliffe turning up to a party with Kate Moss on his arm) or what that other great modern industrialist, Lakshmi Mittal, is to steel.

How did he make his millions? Ineos bought up production capacity from the likes of ICI, Dow and Degussa and is now Britain's second-largest chemicals business, with more than 15,500 staff worldwide. Ratcliffe snapped up BP's Innovene chemicals business in 2005 for £5bn, quadrupling Ineos' turnover. But things have got tougher, with Ratcliffe's personal wealth down to £150m in 2010 from £2.8bn in 2008. He's so outraged with prospective tax rises under a new government that he moved Ineos HQ to Switzerland in April 2010.

The secret of his success? Ratcliffe has been described as intensely private, but in the industry he is known for his legendary deal-making prowess. This should help fund his penchant for heli-skiing, listed as one of his interests, for some time to come.

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