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Scotland's richest man sees value assets soar above £200m

By Niall Harkiss

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Scotland’s richest man has seen losses at his company that controls his 13 estates widen by another £4 million.

But accounts lodged by Anders Povlsen’s Wildland show he has pumped another £33 million into his massive landholdings and other assets in the Highlands, which are now valued at over £208 million.

Anders Holch Povlsen
Anders Holch Povlsen

The group's total net assets rose from more than £180 million the previous year, and compared to just over £149m in 2020.

Wildland also claimed nearly £800,000 in tax credits in 2021/22.

The accounts lodged with Companies House for the financial year ending July 31, 2022, show an earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization loss of £4.1 million - about £600,000 more than the previous year.

Wildland – which runs the Dane's estates – has never made a profit, or as a result paid any corporation tax – though it does pay VAT and National Insurance.

Turnover was more than £4.2m but operating losses rose to £6.8m.

In his strategic report in presenting the accounts, Mr Povlsen says that while the group's revenues increased by 18 per cent and the net margin was "much improved" it "remained negative".

"Woodland, farming and property made positive contributions to margin whilst our serviced hospitality business turned a net profit in certain locations," he wrote.

"Operational difficulties linked to the pandemic and rising costs pinned back performance. Inflation low economic growth and high energy costs are challenges going forwards."

He added that labour difficulties and the impact of Brexit on the future of subsidies for both farming and conservation were also principal risks and uncertainties.

The group is also reliant on the continued support from the parent company, which is ultimately controlled by Mr Povlsen.

But he added: "The group continued its policy of investment in developing its hospitality business and conservation landscapes committing over £33m during the year."

The central management overhead was "necessary" to enable the group to continue investing "strongly" in protecting and developing the built and natural capital of its landholdings "and future profitability".

"The group remains committed to its development plans and anticipates achieving a positive gross margin, and therefore profitability, over time," said Mr Povlsen.

The average number of employees each month was 74 up from 59.

Mr Povlsen's company previously repaid nearly £300,000 it received from the UK Government's furlough scheme after laying off nearly 50 workers at his Scottish estates during the pandemic.

All were employed by Wildland Ltd and they later returned to work.

Mr Povlsen has also donated to many good causes north of the border.

He gave £100,000 to help young people hit hard by the effects of the pandemic in the region - including to budding entrepreneurs hoping to follow in his wealthy footsteps.

The handouts came just days after Wildland came to the aid of an independent group of lifesavers in the North by buying them a new lifeboat.

It gave almost £250,000 to purchase and equip the new vessel which left volunteers at East Sutherland Rescue Association (ESRA) "speechless".

According to the Sunday Times Rich List for 2023, Mr Povlsen is said to be worth £8.5bn.

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