Sir Philip Green’s retail empire valued as “worthless”

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Sir Philip Green worthless
// Sir Philip Green is no longer considered a billionaire after his personal wealth halved
// Arcadia Group has also been valued as worthless, according to the Sunday Times Rich List
// Green’s ranking on the list plummeted from 66th to 156th

Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia Group has been valued as worthless due to a multi-million pound pension debt, prompting his personal fortune to plummet by more than £1 billion in a year.

According to the latest Sunday Times Rich List, the retail tycoon’s fortune is believed to have halved year-on-year, plunging £1.05 billion to £950 million.

This effectively means Green is no longer considered a billionaire and marks the first time he has not been considered one in 17 years.

Despite this, he and wife Tina were still ranked 156th on the rich list, down from joint 66th last year.

The loss of Green’s billionaire status has been attributed to the £565 million pension debt that plagues Arcadia, which has also been valued as worthless in this year’s list.

Green and his wife’s stake in company was last year valued at £750 million, but compilers for the Sunday Times Rich List removed £300 million from their worth to allow the shoring up of the deficit.

Robert Watts, who compiled the list, said he struggled to see Green returning to the “upper echelons” of his wealth. In 2007, Green’s wealth peaked at almost £5 billion.

“Sir Philip Green may have clung on to his knighthood, but we can no longer justify his status as one of the UK’s billionaires,” Watts said.

“This is the first time since 2002 he has not been in that top tier of the UK’s super rich individuals.”

The devaluation comes after sustained criticism against Green and calls for him to lose his knighthood.

He endured controversy over the collapse of BHS, which saw 11,000 job losses, affected 19,000 pension holders and left £571 million black hole in the pension scheme.

The tycoon – who had owned BHS for 15 years before selling it to Dominic Chappell for £1 a year before it plunged into administration – agreed to pay £363 million towards the deficit.

Green has also faced a slew of allegations, including sexual harassment and racist bullying.

He has denied his behaviour was criminal or amounted to gross misconduct.

Arcadia – which includes Topshop, Burton and Dorothy Perkins – is also reportedly on the verge of launching a CVA.

The firm recently achieved support from HSBC for bank security over deposits worth millions and Arcadia also proposed to halve the annual contributions it makes to its pensions scheme, from the £50 million down to £25 million.

The Pensions Regulator had reportedly “pushed back hard” on this proposal, due to how Green handled the BHS pension deficit scandal in 2017.

In response, Green reportedly offered to give the pension funds security over Topshop Oxford Street, which has a lease that is said to be worth as much as £600 million.

He also made a pledge to invest £100 million into Arcadia, should the CVA be approved.

However, some of the biggest property owners in the UK – including Hammerson and British Land – are reportedly joining forces in order to get themselves a better deal out of Arcadia’s impending CVA.

Signs that Arcadia was looking to restructure first emerged earlier this year when it hired Deloitte to carry out a review of the business, followed by property advisers GCW for representation during discussions with landlords across its store estate.

Arcadia also reportedly drew up a list of stores it wanted to close down across the UK and Ireland, and appointed two restructuring specialists to its board of directors.

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