Sunday 7 May 2017

Britain Has More Billionaires Than Ever Before


This year’s list found the richest 1,000 people and families have a record total wealth of £658 billion, a rise of 14 per cent on last year’s £575 billion figure.

The wealthiest people in the UK are elderly brothers Sri and Gopi Hinduja, whose latest project is to convert the Old War Office in London into a luxury five-star hotel and 88 luxury apartments for the super-rich.

The pair first topped the list in 2014 and now have a fortune of £16.2 billion, made through investments spanning the oil and gas, automotive, IT, energy, media, banking, property and healthcare sectors.

They are now among 134 billionaires on the list – a record number in the UK and 14 more than last year’s.

In today’s world, being simply a millionaire no longer secures you a place on the rich list, with a fund of £110 million now needed to get you a place in the top 1,000. Two decades ago people needed a fortune of £15 million to make the cut.

Robert Watts, compiler of the rankings, said: "While many of us worried about the outcome of the EU referendum, many of the richest people just kept calm and carried on making billions.

"We expected to see a chilling effect in the run-up to the EU referendum, but that simply did not materialise.

"A buoyant stock market usually drives the wealth of Rich Listers higher, and since last June equities have soared.

"We're seeing more and more diversity in the composition of the Rich List.

"More women, more people from ethnic backgrounds, and more from surprising walks of life, with egg farmers and pet food makers lining up with hedge fund managers and private equity barons."

Ukrainian businessman Len Blavatnik, whose empire includes the Warner Music Group, is in second place on the list with a fortune of £15.982 billion.

Siblings David and Simon Reuben, 78 and 76 respectively, topped the Rich List in 2016, and rank third this year despite a £900 million rise in their wealth in the past 12 months.

The pair, who have a fortune of £14 billion, now focus on prime London property including Connaught House, London Oxford airport and Arena Racing.

Lakshmi Mittal and family are fourth and boast the biggest increase in wealth within the past 12 months, having added more than £6 billion to their £13.229 billion fortune, one of the highest annual rises to date.

Mittal, 66, is the largest steelmaker in the world and has felt the benefits of the industry's resurgence.

Taking fifth position is Alisher Usmanov, 63, who has a 30 per cent stake in football club Arsenal, with a fortune of £11.791bn.

He grew rich through steel and iron ore mine, with his numerous assets including shares in Spotify and Airbnb.

The only top 20 entrants to have suffered a loss this year are Guy, George and Galen Junior Weston and family who sit in seventh position.

The food and retail giants have lost £500 million due to the drop in price of ABF shares, a company in which they own a 20.8 per cent stake, which is behind brands such as Ryvita and Kingsmill, and has fashion chain Primark as a subsidiary.

Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich is in 13th place with a fortune of £8.053 billion, an increase of £1.653 billion.



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