Indian-born steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal saw about ￡5 billion (US$8 billion) wiped off his fortune in the past year, but remains the wealthiest person in Britain, it was revealed yesterday.
The fortune of the London-based head of ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steel maker, fell by about 22 percent to ￡17.5 billion in the past 12 months, according to an annual rich list compiled by the Sunday Times newspaper.
The huge drop in the 60-year-old’s wealth was driven by a fall in the share price of ArcelorMittal as the global steel industry struggled to cope with costly raw materials and slow demand.
He was the biggest faller on this year’s list — but remains in first place for the seventh consecutive year and is more than ￡5 billion ahead of the second-placed Alisher Usmanov, a fellow steel magnate.
The fortunes of Mittal, who is chairman and chief executive of ArcelorMittal, were markedly different from the rest of Britain’s super rich. The 1,000 richest people saw their wealth continue to bounce back from the recession and increase by 18 percent to a collective fortune of ￡395.8 billion.
The number of billionaires in Britain now stands at 73 — up from 53 last year and almost matching the record of 75 set in 2008’s list before the financial crisis. Forty of the billionaires are British-born.
Russian businessman Usmanov moved up the list from the sixth spot to claim the second spot after adding ￡7.7 billion to his fortune, which is now worth ￡12.4 billion.
Usmanov owns a large stake in Russian iron and steel firm Metalloinvest and recently courted controversy in Britain by trying to build up a controlling stake in English soccer giant Arsenal.
1. Lakshmi Mittal — steel — ￡17.514 billion (first)
2. Alisher Usmanov — steel — ￡12.4 billion (sixth)
3. Roman Abramovich — oil, industry — ￡10.3 billion (second)
4. The Duke of Westminster — property — ￡7 billion (third)
5. Ernesto and Kirsty Bertarelli — pharmaceuticals — ￡6.87 billion (fourth)
6. Leonard Blavatnik — industry — ￡6.237 billion (15th)
7. John Fredriksen and family — shipping — ￡6.2 billion (16th)
8. David and Simon Reuben — property, Internet — ￡6.176 billion (fifth)
9. Gopi and Sri Hinduja — industry, finance — ￡6 billion (new)
10. Galen and George Weston — retailing — ￡6 billion (seventh)
However, his bid was thwarted last month when US sports tycoon Stan Kroenke took control of the Premier League side. Usmanov’s holding company still owns a significant stake in Arsenal.
The highest new female entry is Chinese businesswoman Xiuli Hawken (戴秀麗), 48, who made her fortune converting underground military shelters in China into underground shopping malls. She lives in London.
Another new female entry is Mary Perkins, who founded the value-for-money chain of glasses shops, Specsavers, with her husband Douglas.
Their wealth has increased 42 percent since last year and stands at ￡1.15 billion.
The list is based on -identifiable wealth, such as land, property or significant shares in publicly quoted companies, and excludes bank accounts.