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Tycoon Lady Ballyedmond remains top of rich list on £1.345bn

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Wealth: Lady Ballyedmond

Wealth: Lady Ballyedmond

Wealth: Lady Ballyedmond

Billionairess businesswoman Lady Ballyedmond has retained her place as the richest person here despite her wealth reportedly dropping by £293m in 12 months.

The pharmaceuticals tycoon, who is vice-chairman of Newry-based Norbrook Laboratories, kept her place at the top of Northern Ireland’s Sunday Times Rich List despite an 82% drop in profits in 2018-19.

Despite the decline, attributed to supply chain problems and manufacturing difficulties, the family’s overall wealth still stands at a staggering £1.345bn.

Lady Ballyedmond, formerly Mary Haughey, is the widow of Norbrook founder Baron Ballyedmond, Edward Haughey.

Coming in a close second is Martin Naughton and family, who have also seen their overall wealth drop £74m to £1.158bn, according to the paper.

The family owns Glen Dimplex in Newry, which is the world’s largest maker of electric heaters and suffered a £5.98m loss in 2018 across £1.14bn in sales.

The deficit was put down to an £18.48m restructuring, the Brexit slowdown and a change in its accounting period.

Both Mary Haughey and Martin Naughton remain the richest people in Northern Ireland despite losing a combined total of £367m.

Bucking the downturn at the top, all eight millionaires in the top 10 have seen increases in their wealth over the last 12 months.

Engineering boss Chris Rea saw the biggest increase in riches with a £50m boost, according to today’s Rich List.

Recently made a CBE, Mr Rea began working at the age of 11, picking potatoes and manning petrol pumps in his native Co Down.

He later moved to South Yorkshire and joined seal manufacturer AES, taking control in 1979 when it was crippled by debt.

With profits rising to £27.7m in 2018 and showing £116.5m in assets, the renamed AESseal is now a £260m business with Rea’s 70% stake valued at £182m.

Belfast Telegraph