Hindujas top UK's rich list, top 1,000 own 518.9 bn pounds

Written by PTI | London | Updated: May 18 2014, 20:46pm hrs
Hinduja brothersThe London-based Hindujas edged out steel tycoon Lakshmi N Mittal, who rose one position upwards to the third rank with 10.25 billion pounds (AP)
The Hinduja brothers have topped UK's list of 1,000 richest people - that includes other Indian-origin industrialists Lakshmi N Mittal and Lord Swraj Paul - with a combined fortune reaching a "phenomenal" 518.9 billion pounds or one-third of Britain's annual GDP.

Srichand, 78, and Gopichand Hinduja, 74 - who run the multinational Hinduja Group conglomerate with interests across automotive, real estate and oil - moved up from third position last year to top the UK's billionaire charts this year with a fortune of 11.9 billion pounds, according to The Sunday Times Rich List 2014 made public today.

The London-based Hindujas edged out steel tycoon Lakshmi N Mittal, who rose one position upwards to the third rank with 10.25 billion pounds even as Arsenal shareholder and Russian business chief Usmanov, who topped the list till last year, fell to the second place after his estimated fortune dropped to 10.65 billion pounds.

"Last year, the Hindujas sold a 49 per cent stake in a Saudi Arabian lubricants maker, Petromin, for more than 200 million pounds. Property investments in India have added 200 million pounds. The family's IndusInd bank is capitalised at about 2.7 billion pounds. In Britain, Hinduja Automotive turned over about 1.5 billion pounds in 2012-13," the newspaper said.

According to the list of 1,000 richest men and women, Britain's wealthiest people are richer than ever before, with a combined fortune of 518.9 billion pounds equivalent to a third of the nation's gross domestic product (GDP).

The rich have surged to new heights with their wealth rising by 15.4 per cent on last year's total of 449.6 billion pounds.

It means the wealth of the top 1,000 has doubled since the financial turmoil in 2009, rising from 258 billion pounds that year, the newspaper said.

The list also includes NRI industrialists such as Prakash Lohia, Lord Swraj Paul and family, Anil Agarwal and Ajay Kalsi and family.

Philip Beresford, who has compiled the list since 1989, said: "I've never seen such a phenomenal rise in personal wealth as the growth in the fortunes of Britain's 1,000 richest people over the past year."

"The richest have had an astonishing year, and while some may criticise them, many of these people are at the heart of the economy and their success brings more jobs and more wealth for the country," Beresford said.

One of the world's most active philanthropists, 60-year- old Usmanov sold a USD 525 million stake in Facebook last year and has sold out of Apple, preferring to focus on Chinese tech companies. He controls Metalloinvest, Russia's largest iron ore producer, and MegaFon, its second-biggest mobile phone operator.

In reference to Mittal, the Times highlighted a final bounce in fortunes after a few years of dip.

"After a tough few years in the steel industry, Mittal is seeing a glimmer of hope. ArcelorMittal has seen its shares recover, making his stake worth 6.65 billion pounds up 700 million pounds on last year but still well below its 2008 peak. Mittal, 63, who spent eight years at the top of the Rich List, plans to shave nearly 2 billion pounds in costs next year," it said.

Mittal's brother-in-law India-born textiles and plastics tycoon Lohia, 61, is ranked as Britain's 45th richest man with around 2.11 billion pounds.

Leading NRI industrialist and Caparo chief Lord Swraj Paul is ranked Britain's 47th richest, with an estimated wealth of 2 billion pounds. He is also the chancellor of Westminster and Wolverhampton universities.

"Paul, 83, came to Britain from India in 1966 to seek treatment for his daughter's leukaemia. He stayed after her death and founded steel manufacturer Caparo, which made more than 62 million pounds profit in 2013. The company has been restructured, with its American and Indian businesses worth 1.6 billion pounds," the newspaper said.

Vedanta Resources chief Agarwal ranks at 49th position with 1.7 billion pounds. His Indian metals-to-oil group, is worth 2.4 billion pounds after a decline in its share price.

Kalsi at 98th rank is supremo of Indus Gas, which floated on the Alternative Investment Market, sub-market of the London Stock Exchange, in 2008 and is worth 1.09 billion pounds.

Queen Elizabeth II, 88, who has been on every Sunday Times Rich List since she topped the first one in 1989, is now worth 330 million pounds but that is only enough to see her ranked 285th.

The amount of money needed to join the ranks of Britain's 1,000 richest is 85 million pounds, compared with 80 million pounds in 2008, at the height of the boom years. Today, it takes 190 million pounds to make it into the ranks of the richest 500, more than double the figure 10 years ago (80 million pounds).

"Women are doing better than ever: there are 114 on the list this year, up from 78 in 2004. However, few have made their money single-handedly. Jimmy Choo founder Tamara Mellon (180 million pounds) and author Joanne - JK - Rowling (570 million pounds) continue to be the only women who have made a vast fortune in their own right, unaided by inheritance or sharing a business with a husband or another relative, or, in a handful of cases, divorce," the Times said.