Page last updated at 11:38 GMT, Monday, 28 April 2008 12:38 UK

The tycoon behind oil plant Ineos

By Jo Perry
Central reporter, BBC Scotland news website

Jim Ratcliffe, the founder of Grangemouth refinery owners Ineos, is unlikely to be revelling in his recent heightened profile.

Jim Ratcliffe
Jim Ratcliffe currently appears at number 25 on the UK's Rich List

The 55-year-old billionaire is often described as "publicity-shy, "private" and "reclusive".

Despite his reluctance to embrace the limelight, he has become a high profile figure in the oil industry.

In 2005 he was named entrepreneur of the year and currently appears at number 25 on the UK's Rich List.

His net worth is estimated to be about 2.3bn.

Based in the New Forest, Mr Ratcliffe has helped build Ineos into the world's third largest chemicals company with sales approaching $45bn.

Having graduated from Birmingham University in 1974 with a degree in chemical engineering he joined oil giant Esso.

He subsequently studied and qualified as an accountant before joining US-based private equity group Advent in 1989.

He left the venture capitalist firm in 1992 and built up Inspec, floating the company in 1994.

In 1997 he quit the group, pocketing a 28m windfall, money that would be used to buy Ineos from Inspec.

INEOS FACT FILE
Ineos was formed in 1998
The company is a global manufacturer of petrochemicals, specialty chemicals and oil products
Jim Ratcliffe transformed the Ineos Group through a deal to buy BP's Innoven chemical business for 5bn in 2004.
The business is now the world's third largest chemicals company with annual sales of $45bn
Today, Ineos employs 17,000 people in 17 countries.
On the Ineos website, the company's stated objective is to "continue growing our profitability and cash flows"

The business was transformed through a deal to buy BP's Innoven chemical business for 5bn in 2004.

A series of acquisitions has since seen Ineos develop into a major global player in the 10 years since it was formed.

His determination to clinch the deal saw him beat off rival competition from private equity firms.

In 2005 Mr Ratcliffe was named top entrepreneur by business publication Management Today.

The magazine described him as the chemical industry's answer to steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal because of his shrewd business sense.

Today, Ineos employs 17,000 people in 17 countries.

The company is a global manufacturer of petrochemicals, specialty chemicals and oil products.

It comprises 19 businesses, each with a major chemical company heritage.

On the Ineos website, the company's stated objective is to "continue growing our profitability and cash flows".

The company said it would achieve this by leveraging existing resources to expand sales, achievement of cost savings and extracting the full benefits of a vertically integrated business.

Mr Ratcliffe's Who's Who entry gives little clues as to his personal life, other than to list his recreations as "skiing, running, mountains and wine".




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