Wales

Sir Jim Ratcliffe: The man behind the new 4x4 factory in Bridgend

Sir Jim Ratcliffe Image copyright Ineos Automotive
Image caption Sir Jim Ratcliffe said the car aims to be the "spiritual successor" to the Land Rover Defender (pictured)

The man behind plans to build a new 4x4 at Bridgend is now one of Britain's richest men.

But his life today is a far cry from his humble upbringings.

Born in 1952, Sir Jim Ratcliffe grew up in a council house in Greater Manchester, attending grammar school before studying chemical engineering at the University of Birmingham.

After graduating, he joined Esso before gaining business experience at a US private equity group.

But his big break came in 1998 when he founded Ineos - a petrochemical company now with a turnover of £48bn and sites across 26 countries.

His own personal fortune - an estimated £21bn - led him to reach the number one spot of the 2018 UK Sunday Times rich list.

In recent years Sir Jim - knighted for his services to business - has continued to hit the headlines, largely for unconventional business moves.

In 2018, Ineos bought Belstaff, the luxury motorcycle clothing maker and became the sponsor of the British professional cycle team formerly called Team Sky.

The company also announced plans to build a new off-road vehicle based on the Land Rover Defender, which was discontinued in 2016.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Kipchoge broke the marathon world record in Berlin in September 2018

Sir Jim - a keen Brexiteer - is a known supporter of British brands and businesses, describing Britain as a "very creative nation, hard-working".

But perhaps this latest move is also down to his taste for adventure.

He is funding Kenyan athlete Eliud Kipchoge's bid to break the two-hour marathon threshold this October in a challenge dubbed The Ineos 1:59.

He is also a keen amateur cyclist and recently spent five weeks motorbiking in the Andes.

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