Steel magnate Mittal's fortune falls $8b but still Britain's biggest

Updated: 2011-05-09 07:59

(China Daily)

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 Steel magnate Mittal's fortune falls $8b but still Britain's biggest

ArcelorMittal Chief Executive Lakshmi Mittal speaks on Feb 8, 2011, during the presentation of 2010 results at the company's headquarters in Luxembourg. According to The Sunday Times' annual rich list, Mittal remains the United Kingdom's richest person, with a fortune of 17.5 billion pounds. Provided to China Daily

LONDON - Indian-born steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal saw about 5 billion pounds ($8 billion) wiped off his fortune in the past year but remains the wealthiest person in Britain, it was revealed on Sunday.

The fortune of the London-based head of ArcelorMittal, the world's largest steel maker, fell by around 22 percent to 17.5 billion pounds in the past 12 months, according to an annual rich list compiled by The Sunday Times newspaper.

The huge drop in the 60-year-old's wealth was driven by a fall in the share price of ArcelorMittal as the global steel industry struggled to cope with costly raw materials and slow demand.

He was the biggest faller on this year's list - but remains in first place for the seventh consecutive year and is more than 5 billion pounds ahead of the second-placed Alisher Usmanov, a fellow steel magnate.

The fortunes of Mittal, who is chairman and chief executive of ArcelorMittal, were markedly different from the rest of Britain's super rich.

The 1,000 richest people saw their wealth continue to bounce back from the recession and increase by 18 percent to a collective fortune of 395.8 billion pounds.

The number of billionaires in Britain now stands at 73 - up from 53 last year and almost matching the record of 75 set in the list of 2008 before the financial crisis. Forty of the billionaires are British-born.

Russian businessman Usmanov moved from sixth position up the list to get the second spot after adding 7.7 billion pounds to his fortune, which is now worth 12.4 billion.

Usmanov owns a large stake in Russian iron and steel firm Metalloinvest and recently courted controversy in Britain by trying to build up a controlling stake in English football giants Arsenal.

But his bid was thwarted last month when US sports tycoon Stan Kroenke took control of the Premier League side. Usmanov's holding company still owns a significant stake in Arsenal.

The highest new female entry is Chinese businesswoman Xiuli Hawken, 48, who made her fortune converting underground military shelters in China into underground shopping malls. She lives in London.

Another new female entry is Mary Perkins, who founded the value-for-money chain of glasses shops, Specsavers, with her husband Douglas.

Their wealth has increased 42 percent since last year and stands at 1.15 billion.

The list is based on identifiable wealth such as land, property or significant shares in publicly quoted companies, and excludes bank accounts.

Agence France-Presse


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