Owner of Hartlepool’s Able UK yard valued at £483million on 2018 North East Rich List

Peter Stephenson from Able UK.
Peter Stephenson from Able UK.

The owner of Hartlepool’s Able UK yard has seen his wealth go up by more than £50million according to the latest Sunday Times Rich List.

Peter Stephenson and family are the fourth richest in the North East because of a £51million wealth increase in the past year to £483m.

Mr Stephenson, 71, founded Able UK in 1966 and has built it into a market-leading marine decommissioning and land development business.

In recent times he has invested £450million in a marine energy park on the Humber estuary’s south bank, offering state-of-the-art facilities to make wind turbines.  

Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley topped the list once again.

Ashley remains the region’s richest man with a fortune now put at £2.437billion, up £277million on last year.

Ellis Short, who owns the Magpies’ rivals Sunderland AFC, has seen his wealth fall by £200million to £1billion after the Black Cats were relegated in successive seasons.

Short has since agreed a deal to sell the club to a consortium headed by the former owner of non-league club Eastleigh, Stewart Donald.

Like Sunderland, Newcastle United are also up for sale, although a deal to sell has not yet been reached.

Ashley recently spurned an from Amanda Staveley and her Middle East-backed investment vehicle PCP Capital Partners.

Ashley’s main source of wealth is his Sports Direct business worth £2.05billion.

The business’s recovering share price justifies raising Ashley to £2.437billion, though the 53-year-old’s wealth remains well down on the £3.75billion of four years ago.

Former Dragaon’s Den star Duncan Bannatyne is ninth with £280m, up by £55m in the last 12 months.

Robert Watts, compiler of The Sunday Times Rich List, said: “Our North East Rich List epitomises the increasingly diverse range of ways the wealthy are making their money.

“Although property continues to be a big part of the picture, this part of the country is producing entrepreneurs making fortunes from fast fashion, software and online gambling.”

He added: “They say the surest way to become a millionaire is to start out as a billionaire - and then buy a football club. It’s a grim joke that Sunderland owner Ellis Short may not wish to hear right now. Short keeps his billionaire status in this year’s 30th Rich List by a whisker - but takes a substantial cut due to the Black Cats’ woes. It’s been a slightly better year for Newcastle owner Mike Ashley.”