We knew he was worth a few Bob. And now we know how many

Bob Geldof's Ten Alps company has doubled its turnover to £34.1m. Ben Schneiders and Anthony Barnes reveal how
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Indy Politics

The magic touch that former rock star and charity impresario Sir Bob Geldof brings to raising cash for Africa is reflected in his own business, The Independent on Sunday has learnt.

The media company Ten Alps, which Geldof founded for just £1, will tomorrow report record profits, and figures are expected to show turnover doubled to more than £34.1m. Geldof himself took just £80,000 in fees and benefits from the firm, whose high-profile productions are the series Geldof in Africa, which begins on BBC1 next week, and Band Aid: The Song that Rocked the World, presented by his friend Midge Ure.

Geldof's take from the firm, however, is a far cry from the astonishing annual yield for many of the bands that will form the line-up for his Live8 concerts on 2 July. His friend Bono, for example, is estimated to be worth £100m, and his income will be colossal on the back of this year's U2 world tour.

Geldof told the IoS yesterday he accepted there is interest in his finances. "That's all normal. It's perfectly valid that people ask those questions," he said. He did not wish to comment on his income, but a friend of his said: "He has been rich and he has been poor and then he has been wealthy again. But he doesn't like to talk about his finances. He does not see any point in taking too much money out of his company. He believes he will be rewarded ultimately if it all goes well, but if not he is not going to get upset about it."

Ten Alps Communications, the media group Geldof established six years ago after the sale of his earlier company, Planet 24, has become a respected player in the worlds of TV and radio production, advertising and event marketing. But its bread and butter is through the boom in independent TV programme-making, with 350 programmes made since 1999.

Other Ten Alps projects include Geldof on Marriage and the presenting debut of his daughter Peaches in Sky One's Inside the Mind of a Teenager. The company also has a TV channel, Teachers TV, as well as advertising, PR and event management businesses. Tomorrow it is expected to reveal full year pre-tax profits of £1.38m, up from £0.56m a year ago, according to its stockbroker, Canaccord Capital.

Geldof lives modestly for a global superstar, even though his work for Africa has long overshadowed his music career. As a child in Dun Laoghaire, Geldof had to fend for himself as his father was often away from home and his mother died when he was seven years old. After a stint as a music journalist he became a chart star himself with The Boomtown Rats. But it was with his organisation of Band Aid in 1984 and then Live Aid the next year, to help to ease the famine in Ethiopia, that he found a new calling. As his music career faltered he moved into TV production, setting up Planet 24 - the creator of Channel 4's The Big Breakfast - in 1992 and making around £5m from its sale to Carlton seven years later.

He then began all over again that year by setting up Ten Alps, along with Alex Connock and Des Shaw, which now has a market value of £24m. Its directors include Brian Walden, the former MP and long-time presenter of ITV's now defunct political series Weekend World. Geldof, a non-executive director in Ten Alps, has an 8.3 per cent stake in the company, worth just over £2m, but valued at half that at the start of 2004. He also owns 148,000 share options, valued at £46,000.

Miranda Carr, an analyst at City brokers Durlacher, said: "He's an excellent person to have on your board. He's an excellent businessman." Ten Alps' customers include the BBC, Channel 4, ITV, Five and Sky One. Shares in the firm - which has acquired other production companies, including Brook Lapping and Blakeway - have risen by nearly a third in the past year. Ten Alps this year reached a new creative high with 30 projects in production simultaneously.

Annual yields

Bob Geldof £2m

Co-founded media company Ten Alps for £1 after selling his previous company Planet 24 to Carlton TV in 1999 for an estimated £15-£30m. Takes just £80,000 a year from the company. Also earned money from the sale of his web company, Deckchair.com

Bono £164m

The 'biggest band in the world' receive £6.6m on completion of an album; their Vertigo tour is expected to gross £138m. Bono is a tireless campaigner on Aids and Africa

Coldplay £10

New kids on the global superstar block with three best-selling albums in the bag.

There have been reports that they plan to donate 10 per cent of their earnings to charity

Madonna £235

Massive record sales in the 1980s and 1990s. Her 2004 tour grossed £1.1m a night. Has donated millions to Aids charities