Lyons Cub Shops Alone

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We're hoping to build up some dry investments in the UK to support more high-risk investments in eastern Europe,

The grandson of UDS founder Jack Lyons is planning to build on his family's talent for amassing millions out of retail property by launching his own investment company, ODP. Simon Lyons, 24, is in talks with a supermarket chain in two eastern European countries over a possible sale-and-leaseback, which would get his new business off the ground.

He left niche West End firm Singer Vielle three months ago to set up ODP with lawyer friend Farid Alizadeh, also 24.

Based at 55 Knightsbridge, SW1, they plan to spend up to £40m over the next year, focusing on retail and retail warehouse property.

"We're hoping to build up some dry investments in the UK to support more high-risk investments in eastern Europe," Lyons said, adding: "Retail appeals to me. I understand it."

Simon's father Jonathon and grandfather Jack are ranked 44th in Estates Gazette's Rich List, published last week, based on a £250m fortune.

Jack and brother Bernard built up stores group UDS, which they sold to Hanson in the early 1980s. The family's properties in the Notting Hill/Kensington area are held partly through JE London Properties, of which Jonathon is chairman, and they also have extensive property assets in the US.

Simon Lyons and Alizadeh, who met as teenagers, are backed by two wealthy offshore families based in the US and Middle East, which each have 40% stakes in the new business. Lyons and Alizadeh are each investing 10%.

"I've got a very good partner with a tremendous amount of drive and energy. I wanted to do this independently from my family," said Lyons.

Lyons said his family had inspired him to launch his own business. "My grandfather and father are both entrepreneurs. They have taught me that if you don't do something yourself, someone else will have the persistance."

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Simon H Lyons
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