Bernard Matthews leaves lion’s share of business to Dutch son

Poultry tycoon Bernard Matthews left the majority of his fortune – including the largest stake in his business – to his biological son, 29-year-old Dutch internet entrepreneur Frederick Elgerhuizen.

Matthews, who died in November 2010, left a 38% share of the business to Elgerhuizen, the product of an eight-year relationship with Dutch aristocrat Cornelia Elgerhuizen. His remaining 1% share of the business was bequeathed to his former personal assistant Carolyn Claussen, who is a non-executive director of the company.

Elgerhuizen is now the largest shareholder in the family-owned company.

In a company statement, Noel Bartram, chief executive of Bernard Matthews, said: “The company continues to be a family-owned business managed by its board in the interest of all its shareholders. The board continues to implement its strategy of growing the business by focusing on increasing turkey consumption in the UK.”

Matthews’ wife Joyce, with whom he adopted three children before they separated in 1975, already owned 32% of Bernard Matthews Holdings, with 23% held by a family trust and 6% by former or current executives.