Changing fortunes ... From left: Gina Rinehart, Ivan Glasenberg, Andrew Forrest, Clive Palmer and Nathan Tinkler.
Being a mining magnate isn’t what it used to be.
Gina Rinehart might be charting a course to richest person in the world, but many of Australia’s resources billionaires have taken a haircut in the past year. Property, however, has been far kinder to the mega wealthy, according to BRW’s 2012 Rich 200.
Out Thursday on newsstands and on brw.com.au, the Rich 200 found 104 list members took a hit in the hip pocket since April 2011, with Australian mining luminaries including Ivan Glasenberg, Clive Palmer and Nathan Tinkler among them.
The declining fortunes are reflected in the entry point for list membership, which eased to $210 million from $215 million last year. But with only 16 drop outs from 2011, including junior media mogul Lachlan Murdoch, BRW Rich editor Andrew Heathcote notes it’s still tough for newcomers to make their mark.
“The relatively low number of newcomers and re-entrants on the list this year says much about the state of the economy,” Heathcote says.
“The ability of the rich to maintain their wealth when others around them are suffering falls also makes entry to the list difficult. The cut-off for inclusion this year is $210 million, down $5 million on last year’s mark.”
Those newcomers include former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s wife Therese Rein, who eased onto the 2012 list with net worth of $210 million, making her one of just 16 women in the 200.
At the other end of the spectrum, Hancock Prospecting heiress Gina Rinehart amassed a staggering $29.17 billion, up from $10.3 billion in 2011, making her the richest woman in the world.
The growth in Rinehart’s personal fortune was enough to lift the total net worth of the Rich 200 by 8.4 per cent. But if the Perth-born billionaire is excluded, that rise turns to a 3.1 per cent decline in overall wealth for the remaining 199 members.
Those who’ve felt the pinch in the last 12 months include Glencore boss Glasenberg, who held on to the No. 2 spot behind Rinehart but watched as his personal fortune whittled from $8.8 billion back to $7.4 billion thanks to a decline in his company’s share price over the past year.
Fellow mining magnate Andrew Forrest also suffered a decline in wealth, with the fall in his net worth from $6.18 billion to $5.89 billion enough to knock him back from third place in the Rich 200 to fourth.
Forrest’s decline came as Westfield Group’s Frank Lowy enjoyed a surge in his net worth from $4.98 billion last year to $6.47 billion, partly in thanks to a better understanding by BRW of how the Lowy family has invested its immense wealth over the past 15 years.
Last year’s fifth ranked member wasn’t so fortunate. Clive Palmer slipped back to eighth place as his wealth declined from $5.05 billion to $3.85 billion, thanks in part to the withdrawal of his Resourcehouse float shortly after the 2011 Rich 200 was published.
Taking Palmer’s place in fifth is Visy boss Anthony Pratt, whose wealth rose from $5.18 billion to $5.45 billion.
Rounding out the top 10 are James Packer in sixth ($5.21 billion, up from $4.16 billion), Harry Triguboff in seventh ($4.85 billion, up from $4.3 billion), Chris Wallin in ninth ($3.78 billion, up from $3.1 billion) and John Gandel in tenth ($3.35 billion, down from $3.45 billion).
Outside the top 10, Young Rich heavyweight Nathan Tinkler fell out of the billionaire’s club as his wealth eased from $1.01 billion a year ago to $915 million.
In all there are 31 billionaires in the 2012 Rich 200, with many familiar names including Kerry Stokes ($2.79 billion), Lang Walker ($2.1 billion), Len Buckeridge ($2.01 billion), Lindsay Fox ($2 billion) and Bob Oatley ($1.25 billion).
Billionaires in 2011 who along with Tinkler fell out of the elite club for 2012 include Con Makris and family ($910 million, down from $1.07 billion), Ralph Sarich ($890 million, down from $1.12 billion), Bruno Grollo ($720 million, down from $1.1 billion) and Sam Tarascio ($690 million, down from $1.05 billion).
Those who fell out of the top 200 altogether include Shi Zhengrong, Nik Zuks and Chris Corrigan. The death of Doug Moran removed a very familiar name – Moran is one of 18 people to appear in all 28 Rich 200 lists.
The rise in the fortunes of several top 10 property magnates was reflected in the dominance of property wealth across the 200. More than 50 rich listers for 2012 made the fortunes in property, compared to just under 30 in the next best represented sector, services.
Resources and investment followed, each with a shade over 20 representatives, while retail and rural each had between 10 and 20 members. Technology, manufacturing, entertainment, construction, media, transport, wholesaling, energy and biotechnology all had fewer than 10 members in this year’s list.
“The rise in the number of Rich 200 members to make most of their money from property perhaps also points to volatility in equity markets,” Rich editor Heathcote says. “Although the property market has had its own problems, it remains a relatively safe way to mind money in a downturn.”
Nationally, NSW had the largest Rich 200 representation, with 65 members, followed by Victoria (55), Queensland (33), Western Australia (24), South Australia (5), Tasmania (3) and the ACT (1). Fourteen of 2012’s Rich listers live overseas.
Victoria’s Smorgons remain Australia’s richest family despite a slip in net worth from $2.69 billion to $2.63 billion.
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