Billionaire Makes Good on 'Pact with God'

U.K. entrepreneur Albert Gubay will be giving at least £235 million to the Roman Catholic Church before he dies but hopes to push that amount to at least half-a-billion.

Gubay, the former owner of Kwik Save and Total Fitness, has already put £470 million of his £480-million estate into the newly established Albert Gubay Charitable Foundation, which will invest half of its funds to the Catholic Church and the rest according to the discretion of the trustees.

But Gubay is planning to continue running his companies for as long as he is able, with the goal of getting his empire's value past the £1 billion mark.

And when he dies, Gubay will have made good on the vow he made to God as a penniless young man

In 1997, Gubay said in a television documentary that he had made a 50-50 "pact with God" in his youth, promising to give half of his estate to the Roman Catholic Church if he succeed in becoming a millionaire.

"Make me a millionaire and you can have half of my money," he recalled praying.

Since then, Gubay founded the now defunct discount supermarket chain Kwik Save, which he sold in 1973 for £14M. Gubay also founded the fitness chain Total Fitness, which he sold in July 2004 for £70 million.

In recent years, Gubay has shifted his focus to property development, investing mainly in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Russia. After Gubay's death, the Gubay Foundation will receive an estimated income of £20 million a year from the businesses.

"He (Gubay) wants this work to continue after his death and he has given a lot of thought to this arrangement," foundation chairman John Nugent told the Telegraph.

"His priority now is to maximize the asset base of the company," Nugent added. "He is confident he can push the worth to £1 billion before he dies."

Last year, Gubay ranked 107th on The Sunday Times Rich List. Presently, the 82-year-old retailer turned real estate guru is ranked No. 880 on Forbes' list of billionaires.

Gubay, a devout Catholic, is married and has two children.