Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

World News

'The harder I work, the luckier I get', says Ineos boss Sir Jim Ratcliffe

Driving the change: entrepreneur Sir Jim Ratcliffe with his off-road Grenadier 4x4 created in the spirit of the now discontinued Land Rover Defender

Buccaneer entrepreneur Sir Jim Ratcliffe thinks you need a little luck in life.

“But the harder you work, the luckier you get – I believe that,” says Britain’s richest man.

The 70-year-old billionaire is in good spirits at the launch of his latest business venture, the Grenadier 4×4 off-roader created in the spirit of the now discontinued Land Rover Defender.

Driving the change: entrepreneur Sir Jim Ratcliffe with his off-road Grenadier 4x4 created in the spirit of the now discontinued Land Rover Defender

Driving the change: entrepreneur Sir Jim Ratcliffe with his off-road Grenadier 4×4 created in the spirit of the now discontinued Land Rover Defender

As the founder and majority owner of the giant chemical company Ineos Group, his business interests already range from oil and gas and petrochemicals to hand sanitizers and the luxury clothing company inspired by Belstaff engines.

Then there’s sport, including Formula 1 motor racing with Mercedes-Benz, sailing with Sir Ben Ainslie and cycling with the Ineos Grenadiers.

There’s also football, with his company owning French Ligue 1’s OGC Nice and Swiss Challenge League’s FC Lausanne-Sport, and now considering a bid for Manchester United, the team he’s backed since he is a child.

But when we meet in the Scottish Highlands, his target is the Grenadier.

The setting is the Royal Castle of Mey, just 10 miles from John O’Groats on the Caithness coast, where Ratcliffe is hosting an exclusive Grenadier launch dinner at the former residence of the late Queen Mother, now a rural retreat for the king.

First deliveries of Grenadier are underway, order books span six months and there are 24 sales and service centers in the UK out of 200 worldwide.

At its peak, its immaculate factory in Hambach, France, would produce between 25,000 and 30,000 Grenadiers a year, a third of which would go to the United States.

The plans don’t stop there. Ratcliffe says that in 2026 Ineos Automotive will launch a battery-powered zero-emission 4×4 with a range of 248 miles enough to take you from London to Manchester.

After actually signing it, he says, “It looks pretty good.”

This year Ineos will also put a prototype hydrogen fuel cell electric Grenadier on the road before it hits showrooms by the end of the decade, although it believes the Hydrogen is still “far away” due to the lack of refueling infrastructure. .

Ratcliffe is tall, lean, imposing, and charismatic. A northerner who likes to run and ride a bike, he speaks what he thinks, has a colorful bearing and a sharp sense of humor, and is mischievous.

He talks passionately about his adventures and travels, clearly unafraid to take calculated risks in business – and, one suspects, in life – but negotiates hard, accounts for every penny and demands a return.

His story is from rags to riches. He was a bright lad from a Greater Manchester council estate in Failsworth near Oldham who was educated at a public grammar school in Beverley near Hull and became a billionaire entrepreneur with a fortune of nearly £14billion. pound sterling.

His professional background includes a degree in chemical engineering from the University of Birmingham and an MBA from London Business School before working in Exxon, Courtaulds and private equity.

Where it all started: Ratcliffe conceived the idea for his 4X4 at the Grenadier Pub in London's Belgravia in 2017

Where it all started: Ratcliffe conceived the idea for his 4X4 at the Grenadier Pub in London’s Belgravia in 2017

Ratcliffe mortgaged his family home at age 40 in 1992 to finance his first purchase and created the foundations of his Ineos empire.

His last project Grenadier 4×4 was not without challenges or controversies. And like all the best stories, it started in a pub.

As a car, 4×4 and motorcycle enthusiast, Ratcliffe loved the rugged and original Land Rover Defender, which ceased production in January 2016.

His offer to buy the production line and keep it running was rebuffed. So, sitting in The Grenadier pub in London’s Belgravia in 2017, he conceived the idea of ​​creating a new model, identifying a gap in the market for “a stripped down, utilitarian and hardworking 4×4, designed for modern compliance and reliability “. .

Not short of a bob or two, and seeing the potential, he set up Ineos Automotive to build the classic 4×4 of his dreams and he hired experts to bring his vision to life.

Ineos’ engineering partner is Austrian specialist Magna Steyr, and the original concept vehicle was designed by MBtech, a Mercedes-Benz spin-off.

The three-litre petrol and diesel engines are supplied by BMW. A fan of BMW motorcycles, Ratcliffe enthuses about German engines, saying, “You can beat them to death. They are incredibly well made.

Originally, the Grenadier was to be built on the site of the former Ford Bridgend engine factory in South Wales, where early preparation work was already underway.

Then Ratcliffe got a call from Mercedes-Benz boss Ola Kallenius, who made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.

They already knew each other well, not least thanks to Ineos’ share of F1 driver Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes-Benz racing team.

“We have a good relationship with them,” Ratcliffe says.

Mercedes was looking to unload its state-of-the-art Hambach plant after deciding to move production elsewhere. Was he interested?

Giant: Ineos' Grangemouth refinery in Scotland

Giant: Ineos’ Grangemouth refinery in Scotland

Ratcliffe snapped up the 200-acre outfitted site with its highly skilled workforce of 1,000 ex-Mercedes-Benzes in January 2021 for an undisclosed sum that would have been an absolute bargain.

Some suggest Mercedes may even have paid him to get rid of it. Was this agreement the theft of the century?

“I haven’t made any money from it yet,” he laughs.

Both parties were happy, however, Ratcliffe said, adding, “I’m not going to embarrass anyone. Were happy.’

The economic case for Hambach over Bridgend simply proved irresistible. Thus, hopes for a new factory and jobs in Britain were dashed, causing frustration in the UK. This added to the criticism he received from already angry critics, he supported Brexit but lived in tax exile in Monaco and Switzerland.

But Ratcliffe is unfazed, saying, “We’re in a much better place than if we had to build a new factory.”

Along with the factory row, Jaguar Land Rover has launched a number of unsuccessful legal actions against Ineos over the ‘lookalike’ 4×4. Then, in reaction to Covid and the Ukrainian conflict, project costs skyrocketed.

“We thought it would be 1 billion euros and ended up spending 1.5 billion euros,” says Ratcliffe.

But, unlike Sir James Dyson, who ended his own ambitious electric car plans, Ratcliffe says they “never really came close to canning it”.

As a general rule, in all of his businesses, he says, “we pay a reasonable price, not a stupid price.”

He continues: “We want to buy good assets. We try to double our profits over a period of five years.

It takes “self-discipline,” he says, adding, “It takes time to learn. We need to bring in high-calibre people. The automobile is no different. Sports are no different.

“Football is the same. There is a lot to learn. As Ineos Automotive moved from project to commercial reality, Ratcliffe appointed Scot Lynn Calder as managing director. Companies within Ineos enjoy a high degree of autonomy but must deliver on their promises.

Ratcliffe encourages his senior executives to take equity stakes in the companies they run.

His Ineos group now employs 26,000 people in 36 companies in 29 countries and has an annual turnover of around £45bn.

His frenetic global business life – from the United States to China where he has a joint venture – means he is constantly on the move. “I never stay in one place for very long,” he says.

With homes and superyachts all over the world, Ratcliffe owns a Grenadier and a Mercedes G-Wagon in the French ski resort of Courchevel.

He talks passionately about his off-road adventures in the wilderness of Namibia and the Okavango Delta in Botswana.

He has been to the North and South Poles and took a month-long motorcycle trip to South Africa in 2015.

He has already come a long way. But you can bet he’ll raise an overflowing glass to his latest motoring adventure the next time he’s at the Grenadier pub.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe, Chairman of INEOS

Age: 70

Family: Three children, two sons and a daughter.

Born and Raised: Council estate in Failsworth, near Oldham, Greater Manchester until he was 10 when the family moved to East Yorkshire.

His father was a carpenter who later ran a laboratory furniture factory, and his mother in an accounting office.

Lives now: Monaco with houses in London and Switzerland near Lake Geneva.

Has two hotels, Le Portetta (Courchevel, France) and Lime Wood (Hampshire, England)

Education: Beverley Grammar School near Hull, chemical engineering at the University of Birmingham and his MBA at the London Business School.

First job: After graduating he was offered a job in August 1973 with BP Saltend – but was made redundant three days later when his routine medical report confirmed he had mild eczema and it did not was not allowed on site.

Thirty-two years later, INEOS has taken over BP Petrochemicals for $9 billion. poetic justice.

Hobbies and interests: Football, marathons, cycling, adventure, endurance, travel and all things ‘work hard, play hard’.

First car: A white Volkswagen Beetle (although he and his brother Bob tried their father’s 2000 Ford Corsair company car the day he passed his test). Later a Vauxhall Cavalier before switching to a BMW 5 Series.

Best Advice: Try to maximize the number of unforgettable days.

Some links in this article may be affiliate links. If you click on it, we may earn a small commission. This helps us fund This Is Money and keep it free to use. We do not write articles to promote products. We do not allow any business relationship to affect our editorial independence.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like


When you apply for a personal loan, lenders first determine your credit score to know how credible and reliable you are. This means that...


Loans against property are a common option for people needing high-value cash. Given that its interest rates are almost 3% to 4% more than...


It’s fun to be a student, especially if you’re motivated to achieve. However, it’s getting harder for students to focus in today’s busy society....


House Movers London is perfect for all types of moving needs. So, if you are looking for some reliable movers in London, then you...