http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article7069853.ece wrote:Tycoon in £470m 'deal with God'The multi-millionaire founder of the Kwik Save supermarket chain has handed over his whole business empire - worth nearly half a billion pounds - to charity, fulfilling a “deal with God” that he made as a penniless young man.Albert Gubay, 82, a devout Roman Catholic, made a pledge that he would give half his fortune to the church if he became wealthy.
Now, he has gone one better and handed over virtually all his £480m wealth to a new foundation, leaving himself less than £10m.
Gubay joins other tycoons who have pledged to give most of their fortunes to charity. In 2009 Lord Sainsbury, Labour’s former science minister, became the first Briton to donate a total of £1 billion.
Lord Ashcroft, the Tory party deputy chairman embroiled in a row over his tax status, has set up a foundation to receive 80% of his estimated £1.1 billion fortune when he dies.
Sir Tom Hunter, the former sportswear tycoon, has pledged to donate £1 billion to charity during his lifetime, although he has had to scale this back because of damage to his fortune from the recession.
“Britain is seeing a new type of super-donor,” said Philip Beresford, editor of The Sunday Times Rich List. “Simply making a billion and giving some of it to charity is no longer enough.
“For some of these people, who already have everything material that they could ever want, philanthropy has become the main goal in having a fortune.”
In 2009 Gubay was ranked 107 on The Sunday Times Rich List, and his companies’ fortunes are likely to have risen in the past year as Britain pulled out of recession. Because of his donations, he will not appear in this year’s list.
Until Gubay dies, he will continue running his companies, reinvesting all profits and, he hopes, pushing the value to more than £1 billion. After his death, the foundation will receive an income from the businesses currently estimated at £20m a year.
Gubay has stipulated that half the income must be spent on projects connected with the Roman Catholic Church. The rest will be distributed at the discretion of the trustees.
John Nugent, chairman of the Albert Gubay Charitable Foundation, said: “Albert is a very frugal man and has dedicated his life to good causes.
“He wants this work to continue after his death and he has given a lot of thought to this arrangement. His priority now is to maximise the asset base of the company. He is confident he can push the worth to £1 billion before he dies.”
Nugent added: “With these arrangements he is keeping to the pact and going well beyond it.”
Gubay, who lives in Santon on the Isle of Man with his second wife, Carmel, was born in north Wales to a Jewish father and an Irish Catholic mother.
He started out selling sweets, and opened the first Kwik Save discount store in Prestatyn in 1965, based on ideas from businesses in Germany and America.
Gubay sold the company eight years later for £14m and moved his money into property in Hull, Liverpool, Sheffield and the Isle of Man.
He has also set up chains of stores successfully in New Zealand and Ireland, although his venture in America went bankrupt in the 1980s.
While recovering from a back injury, Gubay set up the Total Fitness network of gyms. The chain of 21 outlets was sold in 2004 for £70m.
In 1997 Gubay described his “50/50 deal” in a television documentary made by RTE, the Irish broadcaster. “Make me a millionaire — and you can have half of my money
,” he said he told God in his prayers.
He added in the programme: “My belief in a day of reckoning keeps me on the straight and narrow.”
Gubay has transferred several dozen companies to his new trust. The largest is Derwent Holdings, the property group. He was once nicknamed “Britain’s richest navvy” because, as a property developer, he liked to go to work as a labourer on his own building sites.