Austerity – A word foreign to the Estate owners of Scotland
The Austerity years (2008 – 2030): Scots are burdened with the impossible task of breaking free of many years of austerity forced upon them by the criminal excesses of bankers and financial investors seeking to add fast bucks to their already greatly swollen chests of gold.
But austerity does not have any place in the mindset of those who brought financial ruin to the country.
Recent data identified the wealth of private households in the UK totalled £11.1 Trillion.
But the gap between rich and poor has expanded greatly.
The richest 10% of households command 50% of the wealth whilst the lowest 50% of earners exist on less than 9% of the nations economy.
This blog is centred on one of the richest families in the UK, William Grant & Sons, whisky distillers of note.
A Tory Unionist family that contributed nearly £200,000 to the “Better Together campaign in the 2014 Scottish independence referendum.
An act which contradicted the Scottish Whisky Association (S.W.A.) policy to which the company had subscribed. Ye cannae trust a Tory.!!!
The Grant Family
William Grant & Sons Ltd
William Grant was born in Dufftown in 1839.
He spent his childhood herding cattle on lands belonging to the Duke of Fife.
He went to work as a clerk, before becoming a bookkeeper for the Mortlach distillery. It was there that he learned the art of distilling, remaining in the position for some 20 years, and eventually becoming the distillery’s clerk and manager.
In 1886, he had saved enough to go into business on his own and together with his wife and their seven sons and two daughters, the family purchased a plot of land in Speyside, near the River Fiddich.
He acquired a second hand still and other equipment from the Cardhu Distillery and began the construction of a distillery.
The entire build was done by Grant, his 7 sons, and a stone mason.
The distillery began production on Xmas day 1887.
He named his distillery Glenfiddich, Gaelic for “Valley of the Deer.”
In 1892, William Grant & Sons expanded the business purchasing a second neighbouring Distillery called Balvenie.
In 1898, the two distilleries started blending their whiskies and Grant’s Whisky was “born”.
Still family owned, the company is now in its 127th year and expanding its business world wide.
It posted a (2016) turnover of around £1.5 billion.
A subsidiary of William Grant & Sons Holdings Ltd, it lists 3 persons with significant influence or control:
Arthur Detmar Chamberlain, Residence-England: Glenn Grant Gordon, Residence-Jersey: Peter Grant Gordon, Residence-Scotland.
Grants are the the third largest producer of Scotch whisky (10.4% market share) after Diageo (34.4%), and Pernod Ricard.
Headquartered at Strathclyde Business Park, North Lanarkshire, its brands include the Balvenie, Glenfiddich, Tullamore Dew, Drambuie, Hendrick’s Gin, Sailor Jerry rum and Grant’s.
Distilleries owned By Grants, around twenty in total, include: Glenfiddich, Balvenie, Girvan and Kininvie.
Many of Grant’s distilleries are still located in Dufftown, making the Company the largest employer in the town.
The Company has established major outlets worldwide, including but not limited to, Europe, Asia, Canada, USA, Australia, South America, India, England and Ireland.
Grant’s combined with The Edrington Group in 1999 to acquire Highland Distilleries, owner of The Macallan and Highland Park malts, The Famous Grouse, Black Bottle and Gloag’ London Gins creating the Company, with Grants holding a 30% stake.
The William Grant Foundation
William Grant & Sons has always taken a long-term view to support its people, its communities and its business.
The company has long given to a wide range of non-profit and charitable organisations and projects across Scotland and remains committed to donating 1% of pre-tax profits each year to charitable causes, (2016, nearly £2 million).
In support of this, family shareholders established the William Grant Foundation in 2014 as a non-profit association to oversee and direct donations.
A comprehensive statement of expenditure can be found at: http://edition.pagesuite-professional.co.uk/launch.aspx?eid=993263ae-dc87-400d-b103-ae436abb6162
Grant Gordon – Author – Businessman – Millionaire – Philanthropist
The Author: Family Wars – Classic Conflicts in Family Business and How to Deal with Them: by Grant Gordon & Nigel Nicholson
His book provides fascinating insights into business management within families.
“The passing of a company from parent to child has remained an essential backbone of the global economy.
Craftsmen have historically ensured that their unique trades and skills are perpetuated beyond their own life spans by bringing the next generation in early.
Many major corporations have their roots in a single family that shepherded the original business through good times and bad.
Family-run businesses will always be essential to the continued development of new ideas and services.
But the authors’ true concern is with the darker side of multi-generational businesses.
There are natural downsides that can result from several decades of a business under the same last name if the ownership is not careful.
Gordon and Nicholson expertly name and number the problems unique to family-run businesses, but more than just labelling they also offer insight and solutions.”
(Great read: eye-opening expose of the myths of family business)
The Businessman: Although Gordon left William Grant’s board of directors in 2003, he still plays a small role in the family foundation and is a board member of Laurent-Perrier, the leading independent family owned champagne house in France and actively participates in the business affairs of, The Institute of Family Business (IFB).
Family business is the backbone of the UK economy, and the bedrock of its communities.
(IFB) is the voice of the UK family business sector.
Two thirds of UK businesses are family owned – three million in total, of which over 15,000 are medium and large businesses.
They generate over a quarter of UK GDP and employ around nine and a half million people and generates over £1.4 trillion turnover a year.
In 2013, the family business sector paid £102 billion in tax, 15.5% of UK government revenues.
(IFB) is a not for profit, member-led organisation.
It works closely with family firms to gather evidence on how the sector is faring and the challenges they face.
(IFB’s) members represent a strong collective voice, with a combined turnover approaching £100 billion, employing over half a million people.
(IFB’s) growing membership includes some of the UK’s largest and most successful family-owned businesses, including some of the UK’s most recognisable and well loved brands.
(IFB) members are based throughout the UK and represent a diverse range of industry sectors.
International links: ( IFB) is the official UK chapter of both the Family Business Network (FBN) and European Family Businesses (EFB).
They, in turn support and work with international colleagues connecting family businesses across the world, sharing knowledge and best practice.
One of the most powerful lobbying networks at Holyrood, Westminster, Europe and Worldwide.
More details here: http://www.ifb.org.uk/media/?page=10
The (IFB) Research Foundation: Is a registered charity and its parent organisation is the Institute for Family Business (UK).
The Foundation is governed by its own Board of Directors and operationally managed by Grant Gordon, Chairman of the Research Committee
The board includes representation from independent directors who are unrelated to the (IFB.)
Peter Armitage, OCS Group
Sir Michael Bibby (Chairman), Bibby Line Group
Roshanak Dwyer, Butane Group
Grant Gordon (Chairman Research Committee), William Grant & Sons
Carrie Rubin, Pentland Group
Richard Sermon (Independent Director), Gryphon
Barnaby Swire, John Swire & Sons
Ross Warburton, Warburtons
Andrew Wates OBE, Wates Family Holdings
Martin Wyn Griffith (Independent Director)
The Philanthropist: Grant Gordon appointed Chairman of “Philanthropy Impact”
Britain has a wonderfully rich history of giving. In fact Britain today is defined by the generosity of our predecessors.
In Britain some hospitals, social housing estates, museums and gallery’s, theatres, public parks, schools and universities might not exist without the support of philanthropists.
Philanthropy has a huge role to play in society and the givers are all truly inspirational and make a significant impact with their generosity.
Full details can be found at: (http://www.philanthropy-impact.org/news/philanthropy-impact-appoints-grant-gordon-chairman)
William Grant, Lord Grant, QC (19 June 1909 – 19 November 1972)
Born to the Grant’s distillery family, William married Margaret Katharine Milne, a native of Aberdeen, in 1936 and lived in Moray Place in the New Town of Edinburgh. The couple had two sons and a daughter.
As an officer of the Territorial Army, he was mobilised at the outset of World War II and served in the Royal Artillery, reaching the rank of major
Returning to the bar after demobilisation in 1945, Grant rebuilt his legal practice, focusing on trusts, wills, inheritance and company law.
In 1949 he became standing junior counsel to the Ministry of Pensions in Scotland.
With a reputation for fast work and effective presentation, he took silk in 1951.
He was a Scottish Tory Unionist politician and representing Glasgow constituencies sat in the House of Commons from 1955 to 1962.
He left Parliament in 1962 to become Lord Justice Clerk, the second most senior judge in Scotland then first Solicitor General for Scotland, then Lord Advocate. .
He died on 19 November 1972 as a result of a road accident near Lynchat, about 3 miles north of Kingussie in Inverness-shire. He was 63 years old.
Driving home alone from Brora in Sutherland, his BMW had overtaken a car transporter on a double bend, and collided with a car travelling in the opposite direction, carrying a young family home to Alness.
The crash killed the driver and male passenger of the other car and seriously injured his wife and their three children, aged between three and seven years.
A fatal accident inquiry in May 1973 heard that blood tests showed Lord Grant to have consumed the equivalent of two pints of beer or two large whiskies.
No alcohol was found in the blood of the other driver.
The injured widow testified that her husband had been driving at under 25 miles per hour (40 km/h).
The Inverness Constabulary estimated the impact speed to have been between 100 miles per hour and 140 miles per hour (Wikipedia)
6 July 2014: Scottish independence: Distiller William Grant and Sons Ltd and their substantial donation to Better Together
A company representative said, “We support the stance of the Scotch Whisky Association (S.W.A.) over independence and would refer you to their recent statement that the Scotch whisky industry enjoys substantial support from the UK government and its worldwide embassy network and from lack of trade barriers within the EU.”
It is understood to have given in the region of £135,000 to Better Together, £25,000 to the No campaign group “No Borders” and a further £25,000 donated through an individual registered with the No campaign called Angus MacDonald.
Parent company, William Grant & Sons Holdings Ltd., added to confusion through a public statement that the company had not formally backed either side in the independence debate.
The industry trade body, the (S.W.A) chief executive, David Frost, said in April that the industry would succeed regardless of the result but he was seeking reassurances about what he described as the potential “risks” of independence for the industry.
You couldn’t make it up: William Grant & Sons forked out nearly £200,000 in support of “Better Together” whilst the parent company stays out of the argument, with the rider that the non-negotiable, “remaining part of the European Union was crucial because of the benefit from “free-trade agreements around the world”.
6 August 2014: Paul Walsh, former Chief Executive, of the much larger Whisky producer and distributor, Clarified the Company’s position
He said: “Scotch has been around for hundreds of years, it has seen all kinds of political changes. We’ll weather anything. Our decision to invest is based on the economics that we think the category will continue to enjoy”.
29 May 2014: Ivan Menezes, current Chief Executive of Diageo
Said that Scotland remaining part of the European Union was important because of the benefit from “free-trade agreements around the world”, but that the decision on independence was for “the people of Scotland to make.
What we will fight for is keeping our industry competitive and thriving, and we are very clear on what that requires.”
He explained that Diageo was speaking to both sides of the debate on Scottish independence.
“We’re being very proactive in ensuring the health of this industry is protected.
Unlike other businesses, we cannot pick up and leave Scotland.
We’re there to stay.” (Wall Street Journal)
6 August 2014: The Scottish government response
Scotch whisky was responsible for more than £4bn of exports last year, which the (S.W.A.) said accounted for about 85% of Scottish food and drink exports and nearly a quarter of the British total.
In its White Paper on independence, the Scottish government argued that the biggest threat to the Scotch whisky industry was a potential in/out referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU.
It said: “Scotland’s food and drink industry does an excellent job promoting the Scottish brand, but Scotland is constrained by the current constitutional settlement, which prevents it from directly engaging on a level footing with other countries.
“The UK’s planned in/out referendum on EU membership threatens our food and drink industry’s current access to Europe’s single market of 500 million citizens and 20 million businesses.
“There is also a real concern, particularly for the whisky industry, that if the Westminster government takes Scotland out of the EU, we will lose the backing of the EU’s trade negotiations with countries like India, the United States and China.” (BBC News)
The Chamberlain Family – Suffolk Foundation uses Scottish derived finance to fund English based organisations
Thirty-Nine different shareholders, most–if not all–distant relatives of William Grant, lay claim to the company.
The ownership structure is tiered, with both “ordinary” and “preference” shares.
While both hold equal economic value, “preference” units have restricted voting rights.
A significant amount of equity in the company, mostly “preference” shares is owned by direct descendant’s of William Grant.
The Chamberlain family headed by Benedicta Chamberlain, widow of the late Major Francis Chamberlain and her sons are major shareholders establishing their worth at around £2.5 Billion.
Benedicta does not sit on William Grant’s board, but her sons Julius Fergus Chamberlain and Arthur Detmar Chamberlain do.
The Chamberlains operate a family account, Bamboo Holdings Limited, which is registered in Scotland.
It’s value is in excess of £40 million, much of which is invested through their London based agents.
A sum of money £750 – £900 is transferred annually to the Broomtown Foundation.
The Chamberlain’s finance the Suffolk based, Broomton Foundation which supports good causes in Suffolk.
In recent years donations have been made to, The Queen’s Dragoon Guards, (Late father and son Arthur served with the regiment) British Red Cross, Cardiac Risk in the Young, ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices and Suffolk Foundation.
William Grant & Sons – Shareholders
MICHAEL SCOTT-BROWN-100 shares at 1.00 value (share type ORDINARY)
MATHIEU GRANT GORDON-20 shares at 1.00 value (share type ORDINARY)
ALEXANDRA SARAH GRANT COHEN-5 shares at 1.00 value (share type ORDINARY)
FIONA WILSON-33 shares at 1.00 value (share type ORDINARY)
SALLY WOOF-5142 shares at 1.00 value (share type ORDINARY)
JOHN GARNER-1455 shares at 1.00 value (share type ORDINARY)
ELIZABETH GORDON-300 shares at 1.00 value (share type ORDINARY)
RORY GORDON-200 shares at 1.00 value (share type ORDINARY)
WILLIAM DOUGAL GRANT GORDON-200 shares at 1.00 value (share type ORDINARY)
LLOYD GRANT GORDON-100 shares at 1.00 value (share type ORDINARY)
DAVID EDMOND GRANT-34 shares at 1.00 value (share type ORDINARY)
CLAIRE GORDON-25 shares at 1.00 value (share type ORDINARY)
VALERIE GORDON-25 shares at 1.00 value (share type ORDINARY)
CHARLES GRAY GRANT-5 shares at 1.00 value (share type ORDINARY)
Palmilla Holdings-39465 shares at 1.00 value (share type 10% CUMULATIVE PREFERENCE)
ALISON MARY GRANT-2400 shares at 1.00 value (share type 10% CUMULATIVE PREFERENCE)
PETER GORDON-4894 shares at 1.00 value (share type ORDINARY)
ALISON MARY GRANT-1339 shares at 1.00 value (share type ORDINARY)
IAIN MEIKLE-873 shares at 1.00 value (share type ORDINARY)
IAIN MEIKLE-9100 shares at 1.00 value (share type 10% CUMULATIVE PREFERENCE)
DOUGLAS MEIKLE-291 shares at 1.00 value (share type ORDINARY)
DOUGLAS MEIKLE-10000 shares at 1.00 value (share type 10% CUMULATIVE PREFERENCE)
WILLIAM ALEXANDER WOOF-150 shares at 1.00 value (share type ORDINARY)
KENNETH SCOTT-BROWN-100 shares at 1.00 value (share type ORDINARY)
GRANT GLENN GORDON-39466 shares at 1.00 value (share type 10% CUMULATIVE PREFERENCE)
GRANT GLENN GORDON-40 shares at 1.00 value (share type ORDINARY)
JULIETTE GORDON-25 shares at 1.00 value (share type ORDINARY)
ANNABELLE JANET MARIE GORDON-20 shares at 1.00 value (share type ORDINARY)
JONATHAN GRANT-14550 shares at 1.00 value (share type 10% CUMULATIVE PREFERENCE)
WILLIAM GORDON-4794 shares at 1.00 value (share type ORDINARY)
JONATHAN GRANT-427 shares at 1.00 value (share type ORDINARY)
MARGARET LINDSAY GORDON-2 shares at 1.00 value (share type ORDINARY)
JEAN LESLIE SCOTT-BROWN-1155 shares at 1.00 value (share type ORDINARY)
GRANT EDWARD GORDON-25 shares at 1.00 value (share type ORDINARY)
NOMINEE HOLDINGS LTD-23370 shares at 1.00 value (share type ORDINARY)
KIRSTEN ANNA WALLACE MEIKLE-10000 shares at 1.00 value (share type 10% CUMULATIVE PREFERENCE)
KIRSTEN ANNA WALLACE MEIKLE-291 shares at 1.00 value (share type ORDINARY)
MARGARET LINDSAY GORDON-42720 shares at 1.00 value (share type 10% CUMULATIVE PREFERENCE)
VMJR LIMITED-11340 shares at 1.00 value (share type ORDINARY)
ALLAN BOOTH SCOTT-BROWN-100 shares at 1.00 value (share type ORDINARY)
THOMAS GRANT GORDON-20 shares at 1.00 value (share type ORDINARY)
ROBIN WILLIAM GRANT-33 shares at 1.00 value (share type ORDINARY)
SASHA ROSE GRANT COHEN-5 shares at 1.00 value (share type ORDINARY)
FLORENCE LUCY GORDON-200 shares at 1.00 value (share type ORDINARY)
VMJR LIMITED-660 shares at 1.00 value (share type ORDINARY)
NOMINEE HOLDINGS TWO LIMITED-3203 shares at 1.00 value (share type ORDINARY)
NICOLA COHEN-14550 shares at 1.00 value (share type 10% CUMULATIVE PREFERENCE)
NICOLA COHEN-418 shares at 1.00 value (share type ORDINARY)
VMJR LIMITED-100000 shares at 1.00 value (share type 10% CUMULATIVE PREFERENCE)
There aren’t many family businesses that survive intact through five generations, but William Grant & Sons is one of them.
In fact, forget about surviving: the business behind the best-selling Glenfiddich single-malt whisky is positively thriving, throwing off so much cash that it recently paid a special dividend worth £200m to the few dozen descendants of the founding Grant and Gordon families.
The bulk of this group, their relatives and associates are actively involved in the control of a large number of companies worth multi-million pounds sterling, operating outwith the scope of William Grant & Sons. (https://check-business.co.uk/business/SC282845/william-grant-sons-holdings-limited)
13 October 2014: A £10 million super-yacht and a whisky heir
Mr Charles Grant Gordon, great-grandson of the founder of William Grant and Sons Distillers, piloted the family firm to a billion pound business, while pursuing his 50-year hobby of ocean sailing.
The former Royal Navy recruit developed a passion for sailing with the purchase of his first boat, Yala, on which he took his family sailing with his three infant sons tied in their prams to the mast.
He went on to build and sail a total of eight yachts, five new-builds and three second-hand over the next 50 years.
he helmed his last yacht Cinderella 1V across the Atlantic at the age of 85 just months before his death.
He had just refitted Cinderella IV for the following season and was on his way to London and Scotland for business meetings when he was stricken by pneumonia.
Through his efforts Glenfiddich, with its iconic triangular bottle, led the market as the first “straight” malt to achieve international brand recognition
5 October 2015: Hilary Clinton woos ex-pat bankers at Lloyd Grant Gordon’s house in London
The race for the White House came to London as Hillary Clinton’s closest lieutenant made a fundraising stop to woo wealthy US expatriates.
Huma Abedin will appear at a fundraising event where the minimum contribution has been set at about £1,000.
It will be held at the Kensington home of Rola Gordon, an American socialite who is married to Lloyd Grant Gordon, an heir to the Glenfiddich whisky fortune.
Abedin has been tainted with emails released showing Clinton personally signed off on an employment deal that allowed Abedin to work at the State Department, the Clinton Foundation and an outside firm.
During the job transition, Abedin was discovered not to have disclosed information to the State Department about her husband’s business dealings.
Her husband, Anthony Weiner left congress in 2011, in the midst of a sexting scandal, and went on to start his own consulting firm.
Today he works for a crisis PR firm.
He recently was told by his boss, who was hosting a fundraiser for Clinton, that he wasn’t invited and to stay away.
Weiner hasn’t been seen publicly with Clinton since 2013, after news broke that he was still sexting women while running for New York City mayor.
The Gordon’s, owners of expensive homes in London, New York, California and elsewhere might need to exercise more care about those they choose to associate with.(The Times)
7 October 2015: Scotland’s four richest families worth £1 billion more than poorest 20% of population
The four richest families in Scotland are worth £1 billion more than the poorest 20 per cent of the country’s population, according to new research which calls on ministers to do more to tackle inequality.
The combined wealth of the Grant-Gordon whisky family, Highland Spring water owner Mahdi al-Tajir, oil tycoon Sir Ian Wood and former Harrods owner Mohammed Fayed dwarfs that of the one million people who make up Scotland’s poorest 20 per cent.
The four families – all of whom are either based in Scotland or have substantial business interests there – are worth an estimated £6.1bn.
Researchers also calculated that Scotland’s 14 wealthiest families are better off than the most deprived 30 per cent of the population.
A Scottish Government spokesperson said it was tackling poverty and inequalities “head on” by investing £296m in measures to mitigate Westminster-led welfare cuts.
“We have also appointed our first independent adviser on poverty and inequality who will advise Scottish ministers on how we can move forward with our efforts to tackle poverty in key groups.”
“But we do this against a backdrop of a UK Government which is removing income targets from the definition of poverty and continues to introduce policies and implement cuts that will have a devastating impact on families in Scotland.”
12 November 2015: Anti renewable energy (windfarms) – The Speyside Alliance fails to overturn District Council ruling
Speyside Business Alliance (SBA): was formed in 2009 as a vehicle to defend the interests of a number of significant local brand owners against the plan to industrialise the Glenfiddich Estate, through the construction of a 59 turbine wind farm known as Dorenell.
SBA is made up of a coalition of five members including: Diageo, Edrington, Glenfarclas, Walkers, Shortbread and Wm Grant and Sons.
These companies collectively own a substantial proportion of the brands that have their home of origin as “Speyside”.
The combination of Malt Whisky distilleries located in the area, the majority of which are owned by SBA members and a number of iconic local food brands sharing the same regional brand designation “Speyside” arguably gives these products the support of the most valuable regional brand in Scotland.
The area is the home to brands that collectively have revenues of approximately £0.5 Billion, and who represent for consumers over the world strong premium connotations, setting these brands in terms of imagery and quality perception at the pinnacle of the global drinks industry.
Names such as Cardhu, Glenfiddich and Macallan are recognised as leading Malt Scotch Whisky brands; acting as locomotives for an entire sector that generates over £3 billion in annual export earnings and is the UK’s leading category in terms of international trade of food and drink. (http://www.moray.gov.uk/downloads/file68573.pdf)
12 November 2015: EDF Energy Renewables Gains approval to develop the 60 unit Dorenell wind farm project in Morayshire
EDF Energy Renewables, (EDF ER) working with the renewable energy company Infinergy, is taking on the development and construction of the Dorenell Wind Farm, which is one of the largest onshore wind projects due to be built in Scotland.
The site near Dufftown in Moray had been developed by Infinergy and consent for a 60-turbine wind farm with a capacity of up to 177MW was granted by Scottish Ministers in December 2011.
Following improvements in the latest available turbine technology, applications for a redesign of the currently consented project have been submitted to boost to the amount of renewable electricity produced from the site.
If successful this would see the wind farm’s installed capacity increased to approximately 200MW.
Once built, Dorenell could produce enough electricity for up to 138,000 homes.
Grid connection is planned for 2018.
EDF Energy Renewable’ s recognises the importance of this project locally and will honour the commitments that have been made by Infinergy throughout the years that Dorenell Wind Farm has been in development, which include a Community Benefit package worth nearly £1m a year.