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Last Updated: Friday, 19 November, 2004, 13:01 GMT
Brothers go from pies to planes
Stanley and Peter Thomas
Stanley and Peter Thomas are major stakeholders in TBI
When two south Wales brothers started a pie business in the 1970s, few could have predicted they would be multi-millionaires three decades on.

Stanley and Peter Thomas have gone from a small bakery in the valleys to owning airports across the world.

The latest chapter of their entrepreneurial adventure began on Thursday, with talk of a possible takeover bid for their firm TBI.

The brothers, from Merthyr Tydfil, own almost a fifth of TBI's shares.

TBI owns and operates airports at Luton, Cardiff and Belfast, and also operates three airports in Bolivia and at Stockholm in Sweden.

Their business dream was launched in the 1950s, when they first developed a taste for business helping out at their father's pie firm.

Cardiff airport
Cardiff International is close to where it all began for the brothers

After that was sold, they started their own firm in 1971 based at Bryn Glas Industrial Estate, Bedwas, selling pies to local fish and chip shops under the name Peter's Savoury Products.

In 1976, the business moved to a new factory at Bedwas House Industrial Estate.

From there, the brothers started to expand their business out of south Wales and into London.

Twelve years later, Peter's Savoury Products was sold to Grand Met for a reported 75m, and since then, property has become the cornerstone of their success.

Stanley Thomas, now 62, started TBI with developer Paul Bailey in the early 1990s, and the firm became a fully listed company on the Stock Exchange in 1994.

Its move into airports came the year after, when it bought Cardiff International.

Cardiff Blues
Peter Thomas chairs the Cardiff Blues regional rugby team

Belfast International, Orlando Sanford International and Stockholm Skavsta followed in quick succession over the following years, before TBI acquired London Luton in 2001.

On Thursday, a statement confirming "preliminary discussions" over a possible takeover saw shares soar to a three-year high.

TBI is currently worth around 480m and, earlier this year, Stanley Thomas, who now lives in Jersey, was named 202nd in the Sunday Times Rich List, with the family's wealth estimated at 209m.

Peter Thomas, 60, meanwhile, is a major TBI shareholder and a prominent figure in Welsh rugby.

As chairman of the Cardiff Blues, he has been heavily involved in setting up the game's new regional structure over the last few seasons.

TBI shares rise on approach bid
19 Nov 04 |  Business
Hochtief walks away from TBI bid
21 Jan 04 |  Business
UK airport firm eyed for takeover
04 Dec 03 |  Business
TBI pins hopes on budget airlines
25 Nov 03 |  Business

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