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Published 06 March 2013 23:58, Updated 08 March 2013 08:12
Property developer Rhonda Wyllie is Australia’s second-richest woman, with an estimated $346 million. Australia’s richest self-made woman, TPG’s Vicky Teoh, is seldom seen in public. Photo: Greg Lewis
A seldom seen internet entrepreneur has topped BRW’s inaugural Rich Women list – TPG Telecom’s Vicky Teoh has an estimated wealth of $390 million.
The list, released ahead of International Women’s Day on March 8, highlights the 30 richest self-made women in Australia. It excludes anyone who started with an inheritance from the previous generation – so Gina Rinehart is not on the list, for the same reason that James Packer never made the BRW Young Rich.
Rhonda Wyllie is Australia’s second-richest woman, with an estimated $346 million earned through her work in the family property development business, Wyllie Group, where she is a non-executive director.
Actress Nicole Kidman and Patricia Ilhan, the widow of Crazy John’s founder John Ilhan, are next with an estimated $320 million each.
In fifth place is Charlotte Vidor, who co-founded property development and hotel business Toga Group with her husband in the 1960s, with an estimated worth of $250 million.
Entertainers feature prominently among Australia’s richest women – Kylie Minogue, Elle Macpherson, Cate Blanchett and Naomi Watts make the cut, as well as Kidman.
But the real stars are the entrepreneurs. About two out of three of the BRW Rich Women are there because they founded companies.
Malaysian-born Vicky Teoh and her husband, David Teoh, moved to Australia in 1986 and founded TPG Telecom, originally as a computer equipment business and more recently as a broadband provider.
The company is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange and David Teoh is its executive chairman and chief executive officer.
Vicky Teoh owns 18 per cent of TPG in her own right and her shares have risen in value from $125 million to $380 million in the past 12 months. She also has a stake in online prescription glasses retailer Oscar Wylee.
There were 16 women on the BRW Rich 200 last year and six out of 100 on the Young Rich.
BRW editor James Thomson says the list is designed to celebrate the achievements of Australian women, particularly in business.
“Australian women are founding and running fantastic businesses and it’s time to shine a light on their achievements,” Thomson says. “There is still a glass ceiling hovering over the Rich 200 and Young Rich lists and we think it is very important to highlight these great business people.”