UK’s richest increase wealth by 30%

By RONIT GOODMAN
April 26, 2010 09:50

UK Sunday Times: Wealthiest UK 1,000 including Mittal, Abramovich gain 30% net worth rise.

3 minute read.



UK’s richest increase wealth by 30%

mercedes. (photo credit: Guy Fattal)

The fortunes of the richest people in the UK rose at a record pace last year, with the 1,000 wealthiest experiencing a 30 percent increase in their net worth, according to the annual Sunday Times Rich List.

Lakshmi Mittal, the 59-year-old chief executive officer of ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steelmaker, topped the list for the sixth straight year. His fortune doubled to £22.5 billion as the recovering economy bolstered orders from automakers and builders, according to the Rich List, published Saturday.

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Roman Abramovich, 43, the Russian-born billionaire, remained in second place after adding £400 million to his net worth.

The cumulative wealth of the UK’s richest people rose to £333.5b. during the year. The total fell short of the record £413b. reached in 2008, according to the rankings compiled each year by Philip Beresford. None of the top 10 lost money during the year, while the number of billionaires on the list rose 10 to 53.

The list has been compiled for the past 22 years and is based on identifiable wealth, including property, art, racehorses and shares in publicly held companies. It excludes bank-account balances.

The 30% increase in combined wealth in the last year is “easily the biggest annual rise” in the history of the list, Beresford said in an e-mailed statement.

The year before, the net worth of those on the list had plunged 37%, in the depths of the global financial crisis.

Duke of Westminster

The highest new entry was Joseph Lau, the 58-year-old chairman and CEO of Hong Kong-based Chinese Estates Holdings Ltd., who took the 12th spot. Lau, with a fortune calculated at £3.8b., recently paid £33m. for a house in London’s Eaton Square.

The Duke of Westminster, the highest-placed British-born billionaire, remained in third place. His ancestral land holdings in central London are among the most expensive properties in the nation and helped boost his net worth by 4%. It was the smallest gain seen among the wealthiest 10 people in the UK.

The Queen, 84, ranked No. 245 with a fortune of £290m.

New to the 10-top list were Alisher Usmanov, who made his money in steel and mines; Galen and George Weston, whose wealth from retailing was combined this year; and Indian-born Anil Agarwal, who had an increase of 583% in his fortune thanks to the skyrocketing price of his London-based mining group, Vedanta Resources Holdings Ltd.

ArcelorMittal

Falling from the top 10 were Hans Rausing and family, whose fortune is in packaging; Sammy and Eyal Ofer and John Fredriksen in the shipping industry; Joe Lewis in investments; and Kirsten and Jorn Rausing in inheritance.

Mittal holds a 41% stake in Luxembourg-based ArcelorMittal, which he formed through the takeover of Arcelor SA by Mittal Steel Co. in 2006. The stock surged 89% in 2009 when it boosted output of the metal as the world economy recovered and automakers and builders increased orders.

The steel industry is recovering faster and stronger than expected, the World Steel Association said last week. The group, whose members include 19 of the world’s 20 top steelmakers, forecast that steel consumption will increase 10.7% this year. European hot-rolled coil, a benchmark product used in cars and appliances, increased 41% in the first quarter as raw-material prices surged, according to Metal Bulletin data.

Roman Abramovich

Abramovich, owner of the Chelsea football club, accrued his wealth after the fall of the Soviet Union by building up Russia’s fifth-largest oil producer. His oil business, OAO Sibneft, was bought by OAO Gazprom in 2005 as then-president Vladimir Putin moved to return the country’s oil wealth into state hands.

The billionaire, once Russia’s richest man according to Forbes, has since bought into metal producers. Millhouse LLC, which manages his assets, has stakes in Evraz Group SA, Russia’s second-largest steelmaker, and Highland Gold Mining Ltd.


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