28 March 2003 – Jewish Chronicle
The Reubens placed themselves centre stage in the British business arena this week, breaking with their reclusive past by launching a website on their commercial achievements — reubenbrothers.com.
London-based David Reuben and his Monaco-domiciled brother, Simon, have amassed an estimated £2.1 billion fortune from “a highly successful metal and real estate business” over 35 years. With the metals side sold, they plan to expand their interests, covering property and asset-based investments and venture capital.
Their property portfolio includes Millbank Tower and has an estimated value of more than £1 billion – exceeding that of publicly quoted Canary Wharf Group.
They have also recently launched the Reuben Foundation charity with a donation of £100 million.
List compiler Philip Beresford told JC Business: “The Reubens dared to enter the aluminium business at a crazy time in the early 1990s and won hands-down.
“They are now top players in the London property market”
According to their site, the brothers “hold substantial liquid reserves and are currently looking at a number of new business ventures. They continue to hold and acquire significant commercial property investments in the UK and overseas.”
London photographer Jill Edelstein, who was commissioned three years ago by America’s Fortune magazine to photograph the brothers in David Reuben’s Holland Park home, recalled them “seeming very close. They were perfectly charming and cordial.”
Having studied at college, “trader” David, as the site refers to him, started in business in 1958 by joining a scrap-metals enterprise, which took him to the then Soviet Union, China and North Korea looking for sources of metal. Two decades later, he set up Trans-World Group, specialising in trading aluminium, tin and minor metals out of London, and copper and tin out of New York.
“Investor” Simon Reuben started out in 1962, importing carpets to the UK. Three years later, he bought England’s oldest carpet company, J.Holdsworth & Co, from the receiver and proceeded to turn it around.
Trans-World opened an office in Russia in 1991. By 1995, it had a turnover of nearly $7 billion, but the business climate subsequently soured. By 2000, Trans-World had sold its metals interests in Russia.