British billionaires join 'Forbes' list of the world's richest

Click to follow
The Independent US

The rich, they say, just get richer, and the new list of the world's dollar billionaires compiled by the financial magazine Forbes indicates the old adage is still true.

The rich, they say, just get richer, and the new list of the world's dollar billionaires compiled by the financial magazine Forbes indicates the old adage is still true.

In Forbes' latest annual survey, the 19th so far, there are 691 people on the planet whose personal net worth exceeds $1bn. Their collective fortune adds up to $2,200bn, compared with $1,900bn in 2004. By way of comparison, Britain has a total gross domestic product of a $1,700bn.

The world's richest man, for the 11th year in succession is Bill Gates, the founder and chairman of Microsoft, worth an estimated $46bn (£24.1bn), with the veteran investor Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway in second place.

Between 2004 and 2005, the biggest single rise was registered by the Indian steel baron Lakshmi Mittal, whose net worth increased from $6.3bn to $24.7bn. The New Labour donor was embroiled in controversy three years ago after a donation led to a "cash for favours" row when it emerged the Prime Minister had written a letter to the Romanian government to help his purchase of the country's steel industry.

Thanks perhaps to the strength of sterling, eight British billionaires make their debut on the list. They include the property magnate John Whittaker, worth £883m ($1.7bn), and 80-year-old Paul Raymond, whose property and publishing fortune is valued by Forbes at £727m. The Sainsbury family comes in at £2.2bn, and the Barclay brothers are reckoned to be worth £1.7bn, putting them in 160th place. The Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone and his family have £1.9bn. But the richest Britons are Philip and Cristina Green, owners of BhS, 68th on the overall list with a net worth of £3.27bn. They replace Gerald Cavendish Grosvenor, the Duke of Westminster, who has slipped to 80th place overall, with his property fortune now valued at £2.9bn. J K Rowling, the creator of Harry Potter, remains on the list with an estimated wealth of £519m, largely thanks to a world-wide sales. But she has slipped from 552nd to 620th place on the list.

A new entry in the magazine's top 10 is Ingvar Kamprad, founder of Ikea.

But if the world's wealth is ever more concentrated at the top, its geographical spread is growing. Almost 50 countries are now represented, with first-time entries from Poland and Iceland, as well as Kazakhstan and Ukraine.

The US has the greatest number of new billionaires, with 69. New York has the highest concentration of billionaires, followed by Moscow and San Francisco. Next come London and Los Angeles on 18 each.

The 691 billionaires have an average age of 64. But 29 are under 40. Youngest of them all is Albert von Thurn und Taxis from Germany, a stripling of 21 but with a net worth of $1.98bn.The list contains 17 re-entries, and 30 people who dropped below the $1bn mark fell off. Fourteen members of the select group died.

TOP 10 BILLIONAIRES

1: William Gates III, $46.5bn

2: Warren Buffett, $44bn

3: Lakshmi Mittal, $25bn

4: Carlos Slim Helu, 23.8bn

5: Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Alsaud, $23.7bn

6: Ingvar Kamprad, $23bn

7: Paul Allen, $21bn

8: Karl Albrecht, $18.5bn

9: Lawrence Ellison, $18.4bn

10: S. Robson Walton, $18.3bn

Comments