The Super-Rich: Britain's Top Ten Richest
- 8 May 2011
- From the section UK
The rich are getting richer, with the combined wealth of Britain's richest 1,000 up 18% in the past year to £396bn. The BBC takes a look at the ten billionaires topping this year's Sunday Times Rich List.
LAKSHMI MITTAL AND FAMILY
Steel (Worth £17.5bn; Down £4.9bn)
A familiar face on the Sunday Times Rich List, steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal has topped the rankings for seven consecutive years.
The Indian businessman is the highest faller in this year's list in terms of total wealth, because of the plunging share price of his business AcelorMittal.
Mr Mittal has not been afraid to enjoy his riches. He bought his main house in West London for £57m from Bernie Ecclestone. He owns a 20% stake in Queens Park Rangers football club, and has offered to stump up most of the £22m cost for a 377-ft twisting tower in time for the 2012 Olympic Games.
His daughter, Vanisha Mittal, meanwhile made headlines after holding one of the most expensive weddings in history when she married Amit Bhatia in 2005, racking up a bill of some £60m.
Speaking to Tatler recently, Mr Mittal's wife, Usha, said the attention did not bother her. "We are what we are and we live a normal life," she said.
Steel (Worth £12.4bn; Up £7.7bn )
Russian tycoon Alisher Usmanov - who owns a large stake in iron and steel firm Metalloinvest - has had a good year. He moved from sixth position up the list to get the second spot after adding £7.7bn to his fortune, which is now worth £12.4bn.
A football fan, Mr Usmanov holds a 27% stake in Arsenal, declaring his love for the club as "like that of a man for a woman" - however his bid to control the club was thwarted by rival US investor Stan Kroenke last month.
He has resolved to retain his stake, worth around £198m.
The 57-year-old became rich through steel and iron ore mines before diversifying into timber, telecoms, and eventually the internet.
He is also a philanthropist, reportedly giving £78m to charity over the past year.
Oil and industry (Worth £10.3bn; up £2.9bn)
Russian Roman Abramovich soared to fame in the UK when he bought Chelsea football team.
Orphaned as a toddler, the 44-year-old grew up in a bleak industrial town south of the Arctic Circle with his uncle.
His road to fortune began in the early 1990s, selling Russian oil products. He later teamed up with Boris Beresovsky, one of Russia's biggest oligarchs, who is now exiled in the UK, to found an oil firm called Sibneft.
Sibneft then merged with Yukos Oil in a deal that created Russia's biggest oil producer, although it was later sold to Gazprom.
Since becoming wealthy, he has amassed a selection of yachts, including the world's largest - the 536-foot Eclipse, which is reported to have cost over £300m.
His property portfolio is also expansive. He has seven properties in the UK, two in the US, three in France and four in Russia. In London (in Chelsea, of course), his next-door neighbour is Sir Mick Jagger.
He also has stakes in Russian steel group Evraz and mining group Highland Gold.
THE DUKE OF WESTMINSTER
Property (Worth £7bn; up £250m)
The Duke of Westminster might be up £250m this year, but it has not stopped him from falling out of the top three for the first time since 1999. His profits came after two years in the red, as his properties suffered the financial crisis.
The duke - the owner of the Grosvenor property group - is the richest property developer in Britain and one of the country's largest landowners.
ERNESTO AND KIRSTY BERTARELLI
Pharmaceuticals (£6.8bn; up £920m)
Entrepreneur Ernesto Bertarelli has interests across the fields of business, finance, yachting and philanthropy.
After a solid education, including an MBA from Harvard, Mr Bertarelli became CEO of his father's pharmaceutical company Sereno after his death.
The young Bertarelli was only 31. He sold the company to Germany's Merck KGaA in 2007 after switching it to biotechnology.
His current business interests include Kedge Capital, an investment management group, and Ares Life Sciences, an investment fund, according to his website.
A keen yachtsman, Mr Ernesto, 45, founded the Alinghi team and won the prestigious America's cup in 2003 and 2007.
His wife, Kirsty, is the UK's wealthiest woman, and heavily involved in the yachting business.
Industry (Worth £6.2bn; up £3.2bn)
Russian-American businessman Leonard (Len) Blavatnik made his fortune mainly through holding group Access Industries, which he founded in 1986.
The industrial group has recently agreed to buy Warner Music - the world's third largest music firm - for $3.3bn (£2bn) in cash, it was announced last week.
The 53-year-old, who owns a £41m house in London's Kensington Palace Gardens, is also a director of Russian oil firm TNK and aluminium giant Rusal.
Mr Blavatnik left Moscow penniless with his family in 1978, aged only 21, to make a life for himself in the US.
After studying a masters at Columbia and an MBA from Harvard Business School, he went on to made a fortune in New York real estate before starting up ventures in post-communist Russia.
JOHN FREDRIKSEN AND FAMILY
Shipping (Worth £6.2bn; up £3.5bn )
John Fredriksen is the world's leading oil tanker tycoon and Norway's richest man. He began as a junior shipping broker in Oslo in the 1960s and later moved to New York.
The Fredriksen businesses include Frontline, said to be the biggest tanker operator in the world, Seawell, and Arcadia Petroleum.
According to the Sunday Times, Mr Fredriksen's wealth was first built during the Iran-Iraq wars in the 1980s when his tankers picked up oil amid the fighting at great profit.
He spends much of his time in London, with his 27-year-old twin daughters, Kathrine and Cecilie, who are heavily involved in the family businesses.
Mr Fredriksen took citizenship in Cyprus after Norway tightened the tax regime.
DAVID AND SIMON REUBEN
Property and internet (Worth £6.2bn; up £644m)
The joint Chief Executives of Reuben Brothers, David and Simon Reuben are well-known businessmen and philanthropists.
The brothers are involved in private equity and venture capital investments as well as real estate ownership and development. Their data centre company Global Switch has a value of more than £3bn.
The two men first made their fortune in the aluminium industry in Russia, before moving into the British property market.
GOPI AND SRI HINDUJA (=9)
Industry and finance (Worth £6bn; new entry)
The Hinduja Group, started by the late Parmanand Hinduja in 1914, is run by his four sons and has industrial, power generation, automotive and defence interests in India.
Gopichand, 71, and Srichand, 75 - two of the sons - are based in Britain.
The Hindujas are the highest new entry on this year's Rich List.
GALEN AND GEORGE WESTON AND FAMILY (=9)
Retailing (Worth £6bn; up £1.5bn)
Galen Weston is the 70-year-old chairman and president of George Weston Ltd, originally founded by his grandfather, George, in 1882.
Born in Buckinghamshire, he was brought up in England, Canada and the US. Today, Weston's is one of Canada's most recognisable companies.
The British part of the company is run by a 47-year-old nephew, George. George Weston is chief executive of Associated British Food, owner of the discount chain Primark.