29 Apr 2012

Rich List shows how super-wealthy have dodged recession

Britain’s super-rich have got even richer over the last year, with the wealthiest 1,000 UK residents now worth a record £414bn.

Lakshmi Mittal

That’s according to this year’s Sunday Times Rich List, which shows that the top 1,000 wealthiest people have bucked the recession and seen their wealth grow by 4.7 per cent.

The collective fortune’s of the 1,000 richest people now stands at £414.26bn, passing the previous record of £412.85bn, set in 2008 just before the financial crash.

There are 77 billionaires in the 2012 rich list, two more than the previous record of 75 in 2008.

Steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal, 61, is clinging on to the top spot with a family fortune of £12.7bn, despite seeing a 27 per cent drop in wealth over the last year thanks to the plunging share value of his main business, steel giant ArcelorMittal.

The Mittals have now been number one in the rich every year since 2005.

Mr Mittal and his family were worth £4.8bn less than last year, leaving them just ahead of Uzbek metals magnate and Arsenal shareholder Alisher Usmanov on £12.3bn.

Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich also saw a fall in his fortunes, down £800m on last year, but he still came in third with £9.5bn.

The wealthiest Briton is Rich List veteran the Duke of Westminster, in seventh place with an estimated £7.35bn thanks to his central London property empire.

Other British-born billionaires, including diamond retailer Laurence Graff, Sir Richard Branson, head of the Virgin empire, bag-less vacuum cleaner inventor Sir James Dyson and JCB owner Sir Anthony Bamford, have enjoyed sharp rises in their fortunes.

Kirsty Bertarelli

The richest woman is Staffordshire-born former songwriter and Miss UK Kirsty Bertarelli, who shares a £7.4bn fortune with her husband Ernesto, largely thanks to shares in the biotechnology giant Serono.

Facebook factor

Stakes in social media websites, including Facebook, Linkedin and Badoo have boosted the wealth of a number of millionaires in the latest rich list.

Andrey Andreev, 38, the London-based Russian businessman who founded the online dating site Badoo, is a new entrant in the list worth £500m.

And Joanna Shields, the European vice-president of Facebook, is expected to add to her wealth when the business floats.

Top of the list of the wealthiest people under 30 is Thomas Persson, 25, whose clothing chain H&M means he and his brother Karl-Johan are valued at £700m.

Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe is in eighth place with a personal fortune of £54m. Singer Adele is worth £20m, making her the wealthiest young musician.