Jim Ratcliffe, the British billionaire famous for his chemicals giant brand Ineos and the recent purchase of Manchester United stock, is the second wealthiest person in the UK. In 2024, Jim Ratcliffe’s net worth most likely exceeds $30 billion.

In 2018, Ratcliffe topped the Times Rich List, a list of the richest people in the UK. Even though his wealth is currently surpassed by the Hinduja family, he remains the richest individual in the country.

The businessman has a low public profile, but his story is truly inspiring, having built his wealth from scratch. Let’s see how he built his massive fortune.

Jim Ratcliffe’s Net Worth Breakdown:

Over the years, the Ineos founder has maintained a low profile. He is a private person, which makes it hard to pinpoint his assets or find out how he spends his incredible wealth. Still, we managed to find plenty of information to help us determine the main sources of his net worth and estimate his total wealth at about $30 billion. Here’s the breakdown:

Asset or Income Source Contribution to Net Worth
Ineos stake Unknown, majority stake
Ineos sailing team investment, 2021 -$120 million
Manchester United FC stake £1 billion ($1.3 billion)
Pig Hotels sale of 50% stake Unknown
Mercedes F1 team 33% stake $1.15 billion
Real estate $7.5+ million
Superyachts $164+ million
Total Net Worth $30 billion

Sir Jim Ratcliffe Net Worth: Early Life, Education & Family

Sir James Arthur Ratcliffe was born on October 18, 1951, in Failsworth, Lancashire, now Greater Manchester. His father ran a factory that manufactured laboratory furniture, while his mother was employed in an accounts office. Young James was raised in a middle-class family in a council estate until he was 10 before his family moved to Hull, East Yorkshire.

In Hull, Ratcliffe studied at Beverley Grammar School. Upon his high school graduation, he enrolled in the University of Birmingham to study engineering, where he obtained his Bachelor of Science degree.

When he obtained his BSc, Ratcliffe went to work at BP during the summer holiday, but once his bosses found out he had allergies and eczema, they fired him. He then landed a job with the oil giant Esso, who encouraged him to pursue higher education, after which he went to London to learn more about business. In 1980, he got his MSc from the London Business School.

Ratcliffe has three children – two sons with Amanda Townson and a daughter with Maria Alessia Maresca – but is currently unmarried. He spends most of his time in Monaco and Hampshire.

Jim Ratcliffe Net Worth: How Did Ratcliffe Make His Money?

After initially working at several companies, Ratcliffe eventually founded his own business, an idea that helped his wealth skyrocket in only a few years. Let’s see how Ineos’ owner made his fortune.

Early Career

Ratcliffe left his position at Esso to study management accounting. Straight out of school, he joined the fabric and chemicals firm Courtaulds, where he remained for nearly a decade before he landed a job at the private equity group Advent International in 1989.

The breakthrough point in Ratcliffe’s career came when he took a gamble in 1998 by buying an Antwerp-based chemical company with the money he got from mortgaging his home. He and two partners transformed INSPEC into Ineos, the business that made him a billionaire.

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The Founding and Growth of Ineos Group

INSPEC, Ratcliffe’s first owned venture, leased the former BP Chemicals site in Antwerp, Belgium. When he founded Ineos in Hampshire in 1998, he bought out INSPEC and the site’s freehold in Antwerp.

Ineos went on to acquire Tessenderlo’s chlor-vinyls (chemicals used in PVC manufacturing) business in Belgium for $110 million and made a joint venture with BASF in Germany, two of its most notable acquisitions to date. However, the biggest and most profitable deal Ineos made was the $8.7 billion deal with the petrochemical arm Innovene by BP Group in 2005.

Ineos bought BP’s refining subsidiary, making the expanded Ineos one of the largest independent petrochemical companies in the world. This allowed Ineos to become one of the biggest producers of polystyrene and styrene monomers globally. These hydrocarbons are used to produce foams and plastics.

This purchase resulted in giving Ineos refineries and plants in Italy, Germany, Scotland, France, Canada, and Belgium. In 2010, Ratcliffe decided to relocate the headquarters of the business to Rolle, Switzerland. This move allowed him to cut the company’s tax bill by £100 million per year.

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In 2015, the company opened its UK headquarters in Knightsbridge, London, and Sir Jim Ratcliffe started using his home country as a business base.

Fast forward to 2018, and the Ineos owner already had over $20 billion in his net worth. He was named the richest person in the UK.

A year later, after a lot of controversy related to environmental pollution, the company said it would close its Middlesbrough Ineos refineries unless it could defer compliance with EU rules. According to the Environment Agency, the plant had 176 permit violations between 2014 and 2017. The company’s director, Tom Crotty, said that the firm could not justify the sizeable investment required to comply with the air and water pollution rules.

Today, Ineos employs 26,000 people and sells 60 million tons of chemicals per year.

Stake in Ineos

Ineos is a beast of a company today, comprising at least 36 separate businesses spread over 29 countries. Most of them are grouped into three major holding companies: chemicals, plastics, and energy.

Including its share of joint ventures, the business has total revenues of $65 billion and a profit margin of a minimum of 10%.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe reportedly owns a majority stake in Ineos, making this the main source of his wealth. He has been chairing the chemical powerhouse for years and now serves as its chief executive officer and chairman.

Honors, Awards, and Knighting of Sir Jim Ratcliffe

As one of the richest people in his home country, Ratcliffe has had many honorable mentions and rewards over the years and has even been knighted in a ceremony presided over by Prince William on behalf of the late Queen. Here are his most notable accomplishments:

  • 2009: granted an honorary fellowship for his sustained leadership in building Ineos by the Institution of Chemical Engineers.
  • 2013: awarded the Petrochemical Heritage Award.
  • 2018: On June 2, Jim Ratcliffe was appointed Knight Bachelor in the Queen’s Birthday Honors list for his services to business and investment.

Philanthropic Endeavors

Sir Jim Ratcliffe is not only a successful businessman. He is also an influential philanthropist. He has established the Jim Ratcliffe Foundation, which focuses on supporting varied initiatives.

He initially founded the charity to build a new ski clubhouse in Courchevel for underprivileged children. He helped fund a 16-million-pound luxury clubhouse.

Sports Teams and Other Investments of Ratcliffe

Even though the biggest portion of his net worth comes from Ineos, this is not the only venture Ratcliffe has invested in over the years. He is a known sports enthusiast, having partnered with several teams and even bought a stake in a few over the years. In addition to this, he has a rather large real estate portfolio.

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Sports Investments

Ratcliffe apparently wasn’t busy enough, running a massive conglomerate, so he decided to become an athlete too.  In 2013, he completed the Marathon Des Sables across the Sahara Desert and founded a charity called Go Run for Fun for children aged between five and ten.

His passion for sports is undefinable, and, based on this, he has made several notable purchases and sponsorship deals over the years.

The Ineos Grenadiers

He initially bought the cycling squad Team Sky in 2019 and rebranded it into the team it is today, The Ineos Grenadiers. With his support, the team has also produced many Tour de France winners like Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome.

Ineos Britannia

Ratcliffe is the owner of a team that competes in races like the America’s Cup. In 2021, Ratcliffe partnered with Olympic athlete Ben Ainslie to form the sailing team to compete for the 36th America’s Cup, an investment that cost him over $120 million. The team continues to compete.

Mercedes F1

In 2020, Ratcliffe bought a 1/3 share in the Mercedes F1 team, co-owning it with Toto Wolff and Daimler (the parent company of Mercedes). The ownership is through Ineos, which had already been a major sponsor of the team.

The team is estimated to be worth $3.8 billion and is the second most valuable F1 team after Ferrari. Mercedes is easily one of the most famous and most popular F1 teams with an astonishingly great record in recent years.

Sponsorships

The British billionaire loves to combine his passion for business with his love of sports, too. He has secured sponsorship deals with renowned sporting entities. Ineos became a sponsor for All Blacks, the New Zealand rugby team, and Mercedes AMG F1, among others.

The company also sponsors the Ineos Grenadiers cycling team.

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Lausanne Sport

In 2017, Ratcliffe purchased a Swiss Super League club called Lausanne Sport for an unknown sum. Even though he angered fans when he attempted to redesign the club’s badge with Ineos branding, he remains the owner of the club even today.

Nice

Through his company, Ratcliffe also acquired the Ligue 1 Nice club in 2019 from Chien Lee, once again for an undisclosed sum. His initial offer was over $100 million, but we couldn’t confirm that this was the final agreed sum for the purchase.

Manchester United

In 2022, Ratcliffe made a bid to buy Chelsea FC, but this wasn’t successful since the team was eventually sold to Todd Boehly.

That same year, he expressed interest in buying Manchester United, the extraordinarily popular English Premier League club. After a few months, Ineos announced that they entered the formal process of bidding for the team.

After a long ‘battle’ against other bidders, Man Utd announced that Ratcliffe bought a significant stake in the club, and Trawlers Ltd assumed control over its football operations. Trawlers Ltd is a company registered in the Isle of Man and wholly owned by Ratcliffe, who stated that he wouldn’t use Ineos funds for the purchase of the Red Devils.

He shared his interest in buying the Old Trafford Club in January 2023 after the team was put for sale by the Glazer family. Even though Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani from Qatar put his bid for the team, the Glazer family eventually decided to sell the Manchester United stake to Ratcliffe.

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Reportedly, he now owns 27.7% of Manchester United, including class A and B shares in the team. He invested $1.3 billion in the company and plans to invest a further $300 million in new shares to increase his minority stake to 29%.

Real Estate and Superyachts

Back in 2017, he submitted a plan to build a luxury home in Thorns Beach in Hampshire to replace an existing two-bedroom bungalow. He has owned the seafront site for several years and bought it for an undisclosed sum but has fought a long battle with the New Forest National Park Authority (NPA), which has rejected several applications over the years.

At one point, it was reported that he built a honey-making factory without permission from the NPA planners. The estate was constructed following a six-year fight with the authority. His mansion is reportedly worth around $7.5 million.

In 2020, he changed his tax residence to the tax haven Monaco, which was estimated to save him over $4 billion< in tax.

He reportedly owns an estate by Lake Geneva in Switzerland and the hotels Le Portetta and Lime Wood in Courchevel and Hampshire, respectively.

The billionaire used to own a 50 percent stake in The Pig Hotels Group, which he reportedly sold to KSL Capital Partners, a private equity firm. He founded Home Grown Hotels, the parent company of the Pig Hotels, with Robin Hutson in 2011.

Ratcliffe is the owner of two superyachts built by Feadship called Hampshire and Hampshire II. His first yacht, Barbara Jean, was sold at one point. In 2012, he bought Hampshire II, worth $164 million, which he still owns today.

What Can We Learn from Ratcliffe’s Story?

Jim Ratcliffe, the British chemical engineer turned industrialist, has had a fascinating and impressive entrepreneurial journey. His success at least partially stems from his persistence in pursuing his goals. He has faced numerous challenges and setbacks but, despite it all, remained committed to building Ineos into a global powerhouse – and succeeded in doing so.

The billionaire teaches us the importance of taking risks. He has ventured into numerous business opportunities led solely by his knowledge and ideals and founded Ineos from scratch.

The company’s growth has been fueled by strategic investments, demonstrating his ability to identify undervalued assets and integrate them into Ineos’ portfolio. This showcases the importance of diversification and strategic expansion.

By building a portfolio of high-value sporting investments, he has also shown that he understands branding and how his corporate clients spend their leisure time. Competitive sailing, cycling, rugby, and Formula 1 are industries where luxury brands spend their sponsorship budgets, so he used them to brilliantly target massive clients.

Ratcliffe’s leadership style is characterized by pragmatism and decisiveness. His ability to make tough decisions demonstrates the importance of effective leadership qualities.