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Michael Oliver and family
Engineering
Rank 2017
261
Worth
£480m
Rise/fall
£100m
“Success is about leading your life the way you want – and I’m doing that,” says Oliver, 78, who started his valve company from his garage in Knutsford in 1979. Oliver Valves has evolved into an international business and in 2008 built the world’s biggest valve, installed 6,000ft under the sea in a Gulf of Mexico oil field. Today Europe's largest privately owned valve maker for the petrochemical, power and mining industries has three branches – Oliver Valves, Oliver Valvetek and Oliver Twinsafe – worth £370m, making a combined £15.2m profit in 2015. Dividends and other interests take the family to £480m. Oliver also has a large collection of classic cars, motorcycles and other vintage machines, including a replica Spitfire aircraft and steeplejack Fred Dibnah's traction engine.