On Wednesday, David Cameron named Lord Alan Sugar, one of Britain’s most famous businessmen, as his new “enterprise tsar” — tasked with
encouraging more young people to start businesses and championing the government’s apprenticeship programme.
As the man behind companies like Amstrad, he frequently brings up the fact that he rose from a working class upbringing in east London to becoming a billionaire. But just how much money does he actually have?
There are contrasting estimates of Sugar’s wealth, but he is undoubtedly extremely rich. According to Spear’s magazine Lord Sugar is worth roughly £1.4 billion ($2.05 billion) as of May 25th, while he placed 95th in this year’s Sunday Times Rich List, with the paper putting his wealth at £1.15 billion ($1.68 billion)
This makes him more than three times richer than the Queen, but only a quarter as wealthy as another of Britain’s best loved entrepreneurs, Sir Richard Branson.
But where does Britain’s second-most famous businessman get his money from? The answer is property. Given that on his TV show, the Apprentice, Sugar often makes his potential apprentices conduct tasks based around their entrepreneurial skills, and is the government’s new champion for young entrepreneurs, it’s a little bit surprising that he now makes most of his money from Britain’s absurd land prices.
Amsprop Estates, which is managed by his son, Daniel, is Sugar’s biggest cash cow. The Telegraph reported in October 2015 that the firm is currently “sitting on a major pile of cash” that it is intending to spend on prime retail and office spaces in the centre of London.
Amsprop has made millions in the last couple of years through the sales of numerous major developments, including selling the Sugar Building near St. Pauls Cathedral for £80 million ($117.3 million). Amsprop made a profit of around £50 million ($73.3 million) on the sale. Add that to the sale of Burberry’s store on Haymarket, which went for £65 million ($95.3 million), and it is obvious why Lord Sugar is so rich.
2014 Apprentice winner Mark Wright recently said “Lord Sugar said you make money from property and do business for fun,” according to the Telegraph.
Before he took charge on The Apprentice, Sugar was probably most famous as the man behind Amstrad, a company that made goods like cigarette lighters and hi-fis. Its most famous product was the [email protected], even if it was famous for being a flop. Sugar sold Amstrad for £125 million ($183.2 million) in 2007, which, given it was worth more than £1 billion ($1.47 billion) in the 1980s, was a spectacular fall from grace for the company.