Fortunes of Britain's super-rich rise by a third: list

25th April 2010, Comments 0 comments

The fortunes of the richest people in Britain have soared by 30 percent in a year while much of the country is struggling to recover from recession, according to an annual list published Sunday.

Indian steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal and his family remain top of the list with 22.45 billion pounds (34.5 billion dollars, 25.8 billion euros), more than double the 10.8 billion pounds they were estimated to have last year.

Roman Abramovich, the Russian billionaire who owns Chelsea Football Club, retains his second place on the Sunday Times Rich List with wealth of 7,400 million pounds, up 400 million pounds from last year.

The compilers of the 2010 list say the rise in the wealth of Britain's richest individuals is the largest since the list was first published 21 years ago.

The recovering health of global stock markets and property values following the global downturn has fuelled the rise.

The 1,000 richest people in the country increased their wealth by 77 billion pounds last year, bringing their total wealth to 335.5 billion pounds.

Another ten individuals joined the ranks of billionaires in the past 12 months -- there are now 53 in Britain.

A boom in commodity markets lifted the fortunes of the mining magnates Alisher Usmanov, up 213 percent to 4.7 billion pounds, and Anil Agarwal, up 583 percent to 4.1 billion pounds.

Philip Beresford, who complies the list, said: "The rich have come through the recession with flying colours. The stock market is up, the hedge funds are coining it. The rich are doing very nicely."

Explaining the high number of foreign tycoons taking up residence in Britain, he said: "Russians like the UK because it is safe, the level of corruption is low and they can get decent services."

India's super-rich also find Britain a tempting base because: "They live in an Anglophile society in the higher reaches of Delhi and Mumbai -- apart from the heat and the curry it's much the same in London.

"Here there's English spoken, a good legal system, their children can go to good schools and they are welcomed into the Establishment."

Top ten of Sunday Times Rich List 2010 (last year's position, fortune and percentage change is in brackets):

1. Lakshmi Mittal and family, steel - 22,450 million pounds (1, 10,800 million, up 108 percent)

2. Roman Abramovich, oil and industry - 7,400 million pounds (2, 7,000 million pounds, up six percent)

3. The Duke of Westminster, property - 6,750 million pounds (3, 6,500 million pounds, up four percent)

4. Ernesto and Kirsty Bertarelli, pharmaceuticals - 5,950 million pounds (4, 5,000 million pounds, up 19 percent)

5. David and Simon Reuben, property and Internet - 5,532 million pounds (9=, 2,500 million pounds, up 121 percent)

6. Alisher Usmanov, steel and mines - 4,700 million pounds (18=, 1,500 million pounds, up 213 percent)

7. Galen and George Weston, retailing - 4,500 million pounds (47, 900 million pounds. Note: the wealth of the two sides of the Weston family has been merged in this year's list)

8. Charlene and Michel de Carvalho, inheritance, brewing and banking - 4,400 million pounds (7, 2,960 million pounds, up 49 percent)

9. Sir Philip and Lady Green, retailing - 4,105 million pounds (6, 3,830 million pounds, up seven percent)

10. Anil Agarwal, mining, 4,100 million pounds (70=, 600 million pounds, up 583 percent)

© 2010 AFP

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