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Xplore Dundee owners are now billionaires according to Scotland rich list

McGill's chairman James Easdale ( light blue suit) & his brother Sandy with the Dundee to Edinburgh airport bus.
McGill's chairman James Easdale ( light blue suit) & his brother Sandy with the Dundee to Edinburgh airport bus.

The billionaire owners of a Dundee bus firm are newcomers to the list of Scotland’s wealthiest people.

Sandy and James Easdale, whose firm McGill’s acquired Xplore Dundee in late 2020, are new entrants at number eight on The Sunday Times Scottish Rich List.

The list is topped by Danish businessman Anders Holch Povlsen, whose wealth tops £6 billion.

The Sunday Times Rich List is the definitive guide to wealth in the UK.

Who are the Easdale brothers?

The duo founded Greenock-headquartered McGill’s in 2001 and have been Rangers FC shareholders since 2013.

Last summer, the brothers revealed they had made investments of more than £10 million in Xplore Dundee.

The brothers were not even teenagers when they started working with their father Jim at his scrapyard in Greenock.

Sandy spent two years working full-time for his dad after leaving school, but quit to start his own taxi business.

McGill’s Buses owners James and Sandy Easdale.

James joined soon after and over the years they bought a total of six taxi firms, operating 800 cars.

Although the brothers remain best known for McGill’s, over the years much of their wealth has come from property and construction.

McGill’s, now has more than 400 buses in its own group, with hundreds more operated under Xplore Dundee and other names.

In an interview with The Courier, the Easdale brothers said they would bring “better buses and better service” through Xplore Dundee.

They also own a network of factories making window frames, glass and other construction products.

The duo retain their fondness for scrap, with three yards of their own.

The former directors at Rangers were recently linked with becoming new owners of Derby County FC, but pulled out of the running.

Top of Scottish rich list

Mr Povlsen, with wealth of £6.5 billion, is the richest person in Scotland, according to the list.

The 49-year-old is Scotland’s largest landowner, owning 220,000 acres.

The Sunday Times Scotland rich list 2022 includes the billionaire owners of Dundee bus firm

He is also the biggest shareholder in fashion brand ASOS.

He pledged £1m in funding to a small Fife alcohol-free brand earlier this year.

There are 10 billionaires at the head of the 2022 Scottish rich list with combined wealth of £23.054 billion.

Billionaire Anders Holch Povlsen is Scotland’s richest man.

More than a quarter of this is in the hands of Holch Povlsen, whose fortune increased by £500m in the past year.

Water tycoon and media group also feature

Sixth is Mahdi al-Tajir, once Scotland’s richest man and owner of Perthshire-headquartered Highland Spring.

The 90-year-old tycoon, who lives in a 15,000-acre home, Keir House, close to Bridge of Allan in Perthshire, is worth £1.6bn.

His fortune lost £2m in the past 12 months.

The Thomson family, owners of DC Thomson, are seventh in the list with a wealth of £1.5bn.

DC Thomson publishes newspapers and magazines. It has also diversified into new media, digital technology, retail and television interests.

The family-firm owns newspapers The Courier and Evening Telegraph in Dundee.

The DC Thomson building at Meadowside, Dundee.

Rich list shows combined wealth up

Robert Watts, who compiles the Sunday Times rich list, said: “Scotland’s richest people have fared less well than those elsewhere in the UK.

“Half of this year’s 10 Scottish billionaires saw their fortunes fall over the past year.

“The combined wealth of the country’s 10 billionaires is still up, at nearly 2% on 2021.

“As the economy continues to work through the damage wrought by the pandemic, surging inflation and the disruption to markets caused by the war in Ukraine are now making the business environment difficult.”

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