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The decision by Folkes, 54, to take the Folkes Group private in 2002 has been vindicated. Now worth £76m, it is one of the largest property groups in the West Midlands. We add £30m for other family assets.


Steady progress puts Folkes Holdings in fine shape - Con Folkes - £45m (£40m)

Con Folkes shouts for 91 per cent of the issued share capital of Folkes Holdings Ltd, with the remaining nine per cent owned by his immediate family.

Folkes Holdings Ltd has its origins in the art of the blacksmith, originating in 1697, but now the company is recognised as one of the largest private property companies in the West Midlands with a mixed portfolio worth over £80 million.

During 2003, Folkes made £3.22 million pre-tax profit and its property portfolio value rose by a further £1.8Êmillion, giving a combined rise in profits of over £5 million in the year.

Balance sheet net worth at the end of 2003 was estimated at £51 million.

Net profit after interest was up 26 per cent.

Net assets rose from £47 million to £51 million.

Dividends of £491,000 were paid with payments totalling £344,000 made to the highest paid director, conceivably Con Folkes.

With its much documented dramas involved in buying back the family business and a tax review now seemingly firmly behind it, the company has continued to make steady progress in 2004.

In March, the group completed the purchase of £3 million of residential investment property and in April acquired land for £1.15 million, taking the farmland in the portfolio from 325 acres to 650 acres.

These two acquisitions helped increase the total property portfolio value to over £80 million, and demonstrate a more balance spread.

The closure of a manufacturing plant in Lincoln has freed up a 3.25-acre town centre site which has significant potential for future profit growth, and the company has commenced demolition of a Kidderminster factory to improve the perception of the 13-acre site.

Staff numbers during 2003 were down from 254 to 226, and with other cost savings it is anticipated that the company's trading profit will continue to rise, underpinned by an increased rent roll, improved results in the Somers Forge and Heat Treatment businesses and a reduced cost base.

Con Folkes has his principal home in Worcestershire and lists his interests as country sports.

In December 2004, a figure of £15 million for his personal assets seemed reasonable, taking into account past salaries, dividends, houses and investments.

A figure of £30Êmillion for his business interests gives us a total of £45 million. Con Folkes



Folkes Holdings - Con Folkes

Folkes Holdings, which has been under family control since 1697 and is now run by Constantine Folkes (see Profile), specialises in commercial property development and investment in the United Kingdom and the Republic of South Africa and the provision of equity or mezzanine finance to third party property developers and landowners.

Although the group has long since focussed on property development and investment, its origins lie in engineering and it continues to own one of the largest open die forges in Europe, Somers Forge Ltd, (, operating out of Halesowen, and two metal heat treatment companies also based in the West Midlands, (

The group also runs a successful builders merchants in Shropshire, William Williams (Bridgnorth) Ltd.

The group was listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1953 and remained publicly traded until taken private by the family in 2002.

Who we are now

With assets of over £100m comprising industrial estates and business parks, offices, retail investments, farm land and residential properties the company has a portfolio of over 2 million square feet (186,000 sq m) of commercial buildings in and around the West Midlands conurbation and is invested in over 800,000 square feet (74,000 sq m) of retail property in the Republic of South Africa.

With significant cash resources available to support its activities, Folkes’ UK core business operations are:

* The provision of equity or mezzanine funding for joint venture partnerships with land owners, developers and investors for project sizes of between £1 million and £100 million.
* The development and letting of high quality industrial units from 5,000 to 100,000 square feet (465 to 9,290 sq m).
* The development and letting of high quality offices from 5,000 to 50,000 square feet (465 to 4,645 sq m).

More recently Folkes has expanded its operation into the Republic of South Africa where its core operations are:

* The provision of equity or mezzanine funding for joint venture partnerships with land owners, developers and investors for project sizes of between R10 million and R500 million.
* An 85,000 sq ft (7,900 sq m) retail mall in Margate, Kwa Zulu Natal.
* Rental property in Cape Town, catering for the high end luxury tourism market
* Investment in a private retail property fund with leading national retail developers. The fund comprises prime retail malls of up to 160,000 sq feet (15,000 sq m).

In the UK, our development team prides itself on developing high quality, long lasting buildings. incorporating the highest environmental standards of energy efficiency, significantly benefiting the environment and tenant running costs. We recognise that environmental and social responsibility will become increasingly important drivers of our corporate business model in the years to come.

We also work closely with existing and potential tenants in offering flexible lease terms, responsibly managed estates and a service which ensures tenant queries are dealt with promptly and efficiently. Con Folkes

On development funding, our finance team have a record of delivering added value for developers and landowners who require equity or mezzanine finance and senior debt facilities negotiated. Our in-house management structure enables funding and joint venture decisions on third party opportunities to be taken quickly so as to enable our developer partners to maintain momentum in moving their developments forward.
Folkes strategy is to continue to pursue growth opportunities at home and in South Africa in its established core markets.


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West Midlands Council - Con Folkes

Our supporters include those who run businesses operating in many industry sectors across the region as well as civil society. All of them support the TaxPayers’ Alliance in a personal capacity.

Paul Biggs, Regional Director, Association of British Drivers (ABD)
Alan Blumenthal, Managing Director, Suits Plus
Keith Bradshaw, Chairman, Listers of Coventry
Edward Carter, Regional Chairman & Director, Freshwater UK
Bill Church, Chairman, Carrs Toolsteel Technologies
Robert Edmiston, Chairman, IM Group
Greg Emms, Partner, Cobbetts
Con Folkes, Chairman & Chief Executive, Folkes Holdings
Carl Griffin, Folkes Holdings
Mohammed Hasan, Catalyst Associates
Nigel Hastilow, former Editor of the Birmingham Post
John Mellor OBE & QPM, retired Wolverhampton police officer and Chairman of the National Convention of Pensioners, Wolverhampton
Neal Radford, former England cricketer
Peter Roberts, Author of 1.8 million signature Downing Street petition against road pricing & founder of
Richard Smith, Managing Director, HR Smith Group
Rod Turner, Chairman, Whale Tankers Ltd.
David Wall, IM Group

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