David and Simon Reuben
David (born 1941) and Simon (born 1944) Reuben are British businessmen and philanthropists. In the Forbes magazine List of billionaires 2013, ranking of the wealthiest people in the UK, the brothers were placed second.
Early life and career
The brothers were born in Bombay, India to a prosperous Iraqi Jewish family. The family, which had lived in British India since the mid-1800s, emigrated to the UK in the early 1950s. Their extended family had run various businesses across the Indian Subcontinent from their base in Bombay. The family arrived in London when the boys were teenagers, allowing them to be educated in British secondary schools.
The brothers increased their fortune during the 1970s and 1980s in both metals trading and property. Nearly half their fortune is in liquid assets such as cash and bonds. They avoid publicity, but provide some details about their interests on their personal website.
In the early 1990s, the brothers invested in the Russian metals market, financing significantly the production and distribution of metals. The Reubens became the world's third-biggest producer of aluminum.
At its peak, their company, Trans-World Metals, and its associates controlled seven percent of the world's aluminum output. When Russian aluminum smelters were incapacitated by debt, Trans World entered into tolling arrangements with factories in which they paid for and delivered raw materials in return for finished aluminum, which it then sold for profit. The company's investment in Russia was $1.5 billion (£870 million), with global sales in 1995 topping $8 billion.
Due to their former status as Russia's biggest foreign investors, they are subjected to significant press scrutiny. During their ten years in the country the Reuben Brothers did business with some unconventional characters. They also came across several members of the country's new oligarchy, including Roman Abramovich, now owner of Chelsea F.C.
In 2008 Reuben Brothers returned to the commodity business expanding their mining interests with a portfolio of mines in Morocco, Indonesia and South Africa.
By 2000, the Russian business environment was turning sour for them and they sold all their Russian assets and focused their business activities mainly in the UK property market, where they have a substantial portfolio of debt-free assets. With others, they have been involved in financing a number of major acquisitions and also have investments in technology companies.
UK properties owned by Reuben Brothers include: Millbank Tower; the John Lewis Partnership headquarters in Victoria; the American Express offices also in Victoria; Carlton House SW1; Academy House on Sackville Street; Connaught House on Berkeley Square; Market Towers; prime Sloane Street shops; and Cambridge House, the former premises of the Naval and Military Club, which comprises six freehold buildings which have a planning consent for a six-star hotel and private members' club. Unconfirmed rumours state that the mansion complex will be re-converted into a private residence, as it was when Prime Minister 3rd Viscount Palmerston lived there. Other investments and developments include:
- Merchant Square: a 1,800,000 sq ft (170,000 m2) development scheme of offices and flats, key to the regeneration of the Paddington area of London
- Park Plaza Hotels & Resorts: 50/50 joint venture in a new apart-hotel under the 'art'otel' brand in Hoxton, City of London
- Hampton House: demolition and redevelopment of the 1960s office block opposite Tate Britain. Designed by Foster & Partners, the project features a mix of apartments and an apart-hotel on the River Thames next to the Riverbank Park Plaza hotel
Via both companies, the Reuben Brothers continue to be one of the largest investors in luxury leisure group Orient-Express Hotels. Other holdings include:
- Hotels: the company own significant interest or co-interests in the hotels sector, covering Orient-Express Hotels and Travelodge Hotels
- Retail: Co-investors of D2 Jeans and Blue Inc clothing retailers, with retail guru Sir Stuart Rose
- Banking: investors in both Luup and Metro Bank
- The Wellington Pub Company: the largest free-of-tie pub estate in the UK with approximately 850 tenanted pubs
- Global Switch: the largest wholesale carrier neutral data centre provider in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region
- Horse Racing: Arena Leisure and Northern Racing merged forming ARC (Arena Racing Company) which represents 40% of UK fixtures and a 45% stake in At The Races (ATR), the broadcaster taking UK and Irish racing to domestic & international audience
The Reuben brothers guard their privacy. Simon, three years younger than his brother David, has given only one interview to a British publication in his entire career and that was more a case of finding himself in a room with a journalist and having to make polite conversation. In 2005, they won the Variety Club 'entrepreneurs of the year' award. Both are married with children, and both follow Chelsea FC.
- "Mayfair's First Family, Tatler (Oct 2013)".
- "Report of an investigation under section 59 of the Local Government Act 2000 by Peter Keith-Lucas, acting as investigating officer, into an allegation concerning Mr. Ken Livingstone, the Mayor of London" (PDF).
- "Reuben Brothers official website".
- David and Simon Reuben
- Profile in The Guardian