By Mike Parker
THE ON-GOING low poultry prices, pinned down by imports and the strong pound, have chipped away at the private fortunes of the broiler barons, according to the Sunday Times Rich List 2000.
In the main, losses have been limited to the odd million or two, but there has been no significant expansion and they have all slipped down the millionaires league table, overtaken by the new dot-com moguls.
David Padley (62) and family stay top of the poultry tree despite tumbling from 100 million to 90m 85m with the company, 5m from other assets.
Profits dipped to 8.4m in 1988 on sales of 203.2m and the family dipped from 227 to 338 in the league table.
New product lines are seen as the secret of Bernard Matthewss success in competing with imports and maintaining his private fortune at 70m, no change from the previous list.
He is credited with a 61m stake plus other assets down from 329 to 447.
At 50m last year and this year, there was no change for Robin Faccenda (62) and family other than a fall from 471 to 623 in the table.
Fred Duncan (56), chairman of Grampian Country Foods, is credited with a 30 per cent stake in the company where profits slumped from 9m to 208,000.
Sales rose 190m to 768m. The company is valued at 100m and Fred Duncans fortune at 35m against 38m last year – down to 832 from 662.
The fortunes of David Thompson (one-time Smithfield wholesaler, founder of Hillsdown Holdings, now meat and investment) and family fell spectacularly from 340m to 250m.
Rich List puts the blame on fraud committed by a commodities trader in one of the familys firms over a 14-year period.
It cost the family some 32m and the net assets of Southfield Trading fell from 50.9m to 3.4m in 1998 when it lost 9.3m and helped push the Thompsons from 60th spot to 120.
Lord Sainsbury (57), one of the best customers for home-produced chicken, turkey and egg, had a rough time, too.
The fortune plunged from 3,100m to 2,200m, pushing the family down from two to fourth place in the peck order.
They were number one in 1998. This years number one is Swede food packaging giant Hans Rausing (74) with 4,000m.
As in previous years, none of the egg company chiefs cross the 30m threshold.