Mining magnate Gina Rinehart. Photo: Supplied
A hot property sector, the continued emergence of technology entrepreneurs and a rebounding stockmarket have boosted the fortunes of Australia’s wealthy elite.
Total wealth on the BRW Rich 200 list reaches $193.6 billion this year, up from $176.8 billion in 2013.
Average wealth on the list reaches $968 million, up 9.5 per cent from 2013. There are a record 39 billionaires on the list this year. The average age of the 200 individuals is 64, while 14 of those on the list are women.
The youngest debutant is 30-year-old Owen Kerr, the co-founder of online foreign currency dealer Pepperstone. He has wealth of $250 million.
The oldest debutant is 81-year-old Michael Crouch, founder of Zip Industries, the maker of the Zip Hydro Tap. His wealth is $310 million, having sold a large portion of Zip Industries to private equity firm Quadrant Investments last year.
Among those departing the list is Wotif.com founder Graeme Wood, whose wealth is below the $250 million cut-off due to Wotif’s falling stock price and a series of shares sales.
Five of the 2013 Rich 200 members died in the past 12 months, including billionaire Perth developer Len Buckeridge and Ian Norman, the co-founder of retailer Harvey Norman.
The top 10 are listed below. The full list will be revealed on Friday online at brw.com.au and in a special lift-out magazine inside the Australian Financial Review Magazine.
1. GINA RINEHART
Gina Rinehart is once again Australia’s richest person with wealth of $20.01 billion. While her wealth has slipped from $22.02 billion in 2013, the Hancock Prospecting chairman is still almost three times wealthier than the second-ranked list member, Anthony Pratt.
Rinehart is the only member of the top 10 of the Rich 200 to suffer a fall in wealth this year. Her fortune declines due to falling iron ore prices, though she achieved one of her biggest wins in March when completing the debt financing for her $10 billion Roy Hill iron ore project in Western Australia.
2. ANTHONY PRATT
Pratt, in second position with $7.64 billion wealth, has enjoyed an almost doubling of his and his family’s fortune since he inherited the leadership of Visy from his late father Richard in 2009. Pratt Industries, the United States business owned by Anthony Pratt, is growing at 20 per cent annually.
3. JAMES PACKER
James Packer is third on the list with wealth of $7.19 billion. His fortune is now back to about the same level as 2006, his first appearance on the Rich 200 after his late father Kerry’s death at the end of 2006.
Packer has also more than doubled his wealth in the past five years, after it fell to as low as $3 billion in 2009, a year after the global financial crisis hit.
4. FRANK LOWY
Westfield Group supremo Frank Lowy places fourth. He increased his wealth to $7.16 billion from $6.87 billion a year ago despite criticism of his Westfield restructure.
Lowy is now understood to have more of his fortune invested with his private investment company LFG Holdings than Westfield Corporation and Scentre Group.
5. IVAN GLASENBERG
Swiss-based Ivan Glasenberg rounds out the top five. The Glencore Xstrata chief executive, who gained Australian citizenship in the 1980s, lifted his wealth by $1.01 billion on the back of Glencore’s rising share price.
6. HUI WING MAU
Hui Wing Mau, the executive director of Hong Kong-based Shimao Property Holdings is sixth on the list with a $6.35 billion fortune.
He moved to Australia in the 1990s, investing in real estate before returning to China and dealing in property in the fast-growing Shanghai and Hong Kong markets.
7. ANDREW FORREST
Andrew Forrest is seventh at $5.86 billion. His wealth has risen $2.2 billion from a year ago, the biggest rise on the list and in line with the share gains of his Fortescue Metals Group.
8. HARRY TRIGUBOFF
Sydney apartments king Harry Triguboff is eighth with $5.5 billion wealth. His Meriton Apartments group has been a big beneficiary of the continuing property boom, though Triguboff says unit prices are starting to level out.
9. JOHN GANDEL
Melbourne shopping centres magnate John Gandel is ninth at $4.08 billion. His biggest asset is his half-share in the huge Chadstone shopping centre, the biggest mall in the southern hemisphere.
10. KERR NEILSON
Rounding out the top 10 is fund manager Kerr Neilson, the co-founder and majority shareholder of Platinum Asset Management. His wealth is $3.35 billion.