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JOHN BLOOR

Building and Motorbikes

Bloor, the unlikely saviour of the British motorbike industry, has seen profits at Bloor Holdings more than double to 10.7m pounds sterling in the year to March 1994, the latest figures available. With a strong balance sheet, healthy sales of 141m pounds sterling and net assets of 120m pounds sterling, the company is easily worth that asset figure. Bloor owns 95% of the shares in the company, which makes the Triumph motorbike.

Bloor, a miner's son, grew up in a mining village on the borders of Staffordshire and Derbyshire. He spent his teenage years in successive visits to hospital having operations on his dislocated and diseased hip. As a result, he only spent six months at school between 12 and 15, though he recovered enough to be able to walk. "Looking back," he said recently, "it seems like an advantage. It stiffens the backbone." Bloor was encouraged enough to study building at night school, become a self-employed plasterer and then set up his own building company in his native Staffordshire. But his really bold move came when he bought the name and production rights for Triumph from the receiver of the Meriden workers' co-operative in 1983. He has poured a reputed 80m pounds sterling into the project, creating a 40-acre factory near Nuneaton. The first machine was launched in 1991, and it has been a literal triumph.

Production is scheduled to rise from 8,000 to 40,000 machines by next year, when 1,000 jobs will have been created at the factory and at suppliers' plants. Two-thirds of the machines go overseas. A knighthood would not be an unreasonable award for what he has done to support British manufacturing. We value Bloor at 95% of the net asset figure for Bloor Holdings plus another 10m pounds sterling for personal assets.

'Britain's Wealthiest'

Sunday Times 30 June 1996

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