Andrew Heathcote Rich Lists editor

Andrew is BRW's Rich lists editor and is responsible for the Rich 200 and Young Rich flagship issues. He also reports on matters relating to wealth and investment for BRW and The Australian Financial Review.

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David Teoh’s TPG becomes bigger than Qantas after jumping 21 per cent in a month

Published 30 September 2013 11:53, Updated 01 October 2013 07:34

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David Teoh’s TPG becomes bigger than Qantas after jumping 21 per cent in a month

Despite some analysts claiming TPG’s run is over, the stock has leaped 21 per cent in the last month. Photo: Rob Homer

The personal fortune of publicity-shy billionaire David Teoh has grown to $1.3 billion after more share price growth at TPG Telecommunications, the listed telco he founded and runs.

TPG stock is up 21 per cent over the past month and this rise alone has added $225 million to his net wealth.

A 3 per cent fall the share price since September 19 has done little to slow the long term trend. Over the past 12 months, TPG’s stock has risen in value by 98 per cent to closer at $4.37 on September 27.

In January 2009, the shares were worth as little as 15¢ each.

The price rises have lifted TPG’s market capitalisation to $3.5 billion and makes it a bigger company than Qantas Airways, which is worth $3.4 billion.

Teoh and the co-owner of his 36 per cent stake in TPG, his wife Vicky, were worth $525 million on last year’s Rich 200 list, which was published in May 2012.

By May this year, they were billionaires with a $1.06 billion fortune their ranking on the lost had climbed from 77th to 34th.

The question now becomes whether the extraordinary run can continue.

TPG under Teoh’s leadership has proven itself as a smart acquirer of companies and it has built enviable fibre infrastructure across major metropolitan areas.

A lack of reliance on the services of incumbents like Telstra mean TPG have been able to provide cheap broadband and customers have signed up in droves.

On September 17, TPG released a preliminary financial report for the year to June 30, 2013 and the results in it were suitably impressive.

Revenue, EBITDA and net profit were all up and debt levels were substantially reduced.

The problem for Teoh is that his investors have grown accustomed to fast growth and not everyone is convinced that there is much left for TPG.

Nick Harris, an analyst from RBS Morgans, is among those who suggest that Teoh’s billion dollar run may be coming to an end.

“We see TPG as now priced for success [but] this seems very optimistic,” Harris says.

“We see a high likelihood of disappointment as the facts start to solidify.”

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