Britain’s annual rich list unveiled today has a distinctly Indian flavour with two India-born brothers - Reuben and the Hinduja - grabbing the top two slots as some of the UK’s super-rich suffered the worst hammering of their fortunes following the steel industry crisis.
Mumbai-born tycoons David and Simon Reuben have topped ‘The Sunday Times’ Rich List 2016 with a fortune of 13.1 billion pounds, followed by the Hinduja brothers at 13 billion pounds.
The Reubens were born in India to a wealthy Iraqi-Jewish family before moving to Britain in the 1950’s and made their fortune in metals and property.
This year they have increased their fortune by 3.4 billion pounds to jump to the top slot from last year’s fifth position.
Their mouthwatering collection of London property includes Millbank Tower, the John Lewis Partnership HQ in Victoria and shops in Sloane Street. The list goes on. They own London Oxford Airport and London Heliport and were a leading investor in Metro Bank, which floated last month at 1.6 billion pounds,” the newspaper notes.
“Famously wary of debt, David, 77, and Simon, 74, keep a large proportion of their wealth in liquid assets, such as cash and bonds, and cautiously value their properties at cost.
“Overseas property and a metals operation add 300 million pounds, while the hidden value in their London portfolio and their Global Switch stake take the Reubens, who live in Switzerland, to 13.1 billion pounds,” it adds.
Srichand and Gopichand Hinduja, who head the Hinduja Group, hold on to their second rank from last year with an unchanged fortune.
“The old War Office in London’s Whitehall was bought for 300 million pounds by the Hinduja family in March on a 250-year lease. They plan to turn it into a hotel worth 1 billion,” it noted.
However, another Indian tycoon did not have a similarly fruitful year with Lakshmi N Mittal’s steel empire taking a hit from the global industry crisis and losing nearly three-quarters of his wealth.
The 65-year-old ArcelorMittal chief held the top slot on the list back in 2008 with a whopping 27.7 billion pounds, which is now down to just 7.12 billion this year. He slips to 11th on the list from 7th last year.
“The guys at the top who are feeling the pain this year are often hit by a cocktail of plunging stock markets, low oil prices and the crisis in the steel industry sometimes by all three,” said Robert Watts, compiler of the 2016 list.
NRI steel tycoon Lord Swraj Paul and family are also among those hit by the steel crisis, with their fortune registering a 66 per cent drop to 740 million pounds, to be ranked 154th this year compared to 44th in 2015.