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James Arthur "Jim" Ratcliffe (born 18 October 1952) is a British chemical engineer turned financier and industrialist. Ratcliffe is the chairman and chief executive officer of the Ineos chemicals group, which he founded in 1998 and still owns two-thirds of, and which has been estimated to have a turnover of $44bn. He does not have a high public profile, and has been described by the Sunday Times as "publicity shy". According to the 2010 Sunday Times Rich List, he is one of the richest people in the UK.
Born in Manchester, Ratcliffe graduated from the University of Birmingham with a degree in chemical engineering in 1974. His first job was with oil giant Esso, but he decided to broaden his skills into finance by studying management accounting and taking an MBA at London Business School. He subsequently, in 1989, joined US private equity group Advent International.
Ratcliffe was a co-founder of INSPEC, which leased the former BP Chemicals site in Antwerp, Belgium. In 1998 Ratcliffe formed Ineos in Hampshire to buy-out INSPEC and the freehold of the Antwerp site.
From this small base, using high-yield debt to finance deals, Ratcliffe started buying unwanted operations from groups such as ICI and BP, selecting targets based on their potential to double their earnings over a 5-year period. In 2006 Ineos bought BP's refining and petrochemical arm Innovene, giving Ineos refineries and plants in Scotland, Italy, Germany, France, Belgium and Canada.
Ratcliffe owns the two super yachts, Hampshire and Hampshire II. His first yacht was built as Barbara Jean by Feadship. In 2012 he took delivery of the 78 metres (256 ft) Feadship Hampshire II, built by Royal van Lent.