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Property lifts private magnates’ riches

PROPERTY has provided the path to wealth and influence for many noteworthy Western Australians.

Chief among these is Len Buckeridge, whose privately owned BGC group is one of the State’s biggest employers with 2,400 staff.

BGC is a vertically integrated business, manufacturing nearly all of the materials used in its home building and other construction projects, and Mr Buckeridge is aiming to add to his empire by building a new brick factory in Armadale.

Last financial year, BGC was also the State’s largest home builder, with 4,700 housing starts (including 2,600 starts for its former subsidiary JCorp).

Mr Buckeridge is equally well known for his fierce opposition to unions and perceived government interference in his business activities.

Bill Wyllie acquired his fortune in Hong Kong, where he rescued and ran a series of businesses.

Since returning to Perth in 1992, he has been involved in property investment and development.

Current projects include the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Stan Perron is another big player in the WA (and national) property market.

Last year he bought 50 per cent of the Central Park office tower from the Government Employees Super Board for $150 million.

Mr Perron’s property portfolio, valued at $1.2 billion, also includes Belmont Forum and Mirrabooka Square shopping centres.

Ralph Sarich is well known as the founder of Orbital Engine Corporation, a company that has found some commercial success but has never lived up to the early hype.

Mr Sarich sold out of Orbital in the early 1990s and has proceeded to become seriously rich via his property investments.

The latest big project for his Cape Bouvard group is the Icon apartment tower in central Perth.

Cape Bouvard’s other investments include a half share in Allendale Square and the Wesfarmers office tower.

Dale Alcock was the founder of Dale Alcock Homes and is a director and co-owner of Alcock/Brown-Neaves Group, which is the second largest house building group in WA with nearly 3,000 housing starts last year.

Bob Branchi heads Automotive Holdings Group, which employs 1,300 staff in its 27 vehicle and truck franchises across 13 dealerships.

Its net revenue last year was estimated to be $1.14 billion, making it the State’s largest private company, according to WA Business News’ Book of Lists.

Ric Stowe is chairman of Griffin Group, which has 800 staff involved in coal mining, agriculture, property development, packaging, equipment hire and signage.

While based in Monaco, Mr Stowe is keeping close tabs on the group’s major growth focus, a planned move into energy production.

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