Tue 1 Jul 2014
HE MAY be filthy rich, but he’s not exactly a household name.
Anthony Pratt, 54, the global chair of packaging company Visy and Pratt Industries, has just been named the richest man in Australia by BRW’s Rich List 2014.
He made $1.7 billion in the last year alone due to huge growth in the US-based business — which grew from a family company founded with a few hundred dollars into a global force which signed a waste paper recycling contract with the entire city of New York in 1995.
Mr Pratt is now worth $7.642 billion and is ranked number two in the country behind Gina Rinehart, who’s $20.1 billion fortune still sees her firmly entrenched as the richest woman in Australia despite losing $2 billion in the last year due to falling iron ore prices.
Mr Pratt’s rise is symbolic of the changing face of Australia’s wealthy, as shown in the 2014 Rich List which is due out in full tomorrow.
While mining and investments dominated the top of the tree, more than one quarter of Australia’s richest people made their fortune in property, with technology entrepreneurs snapping at their heels.
Crown Resorts chairman James Packer ranked number three on the list with a $7.186 billion fortune after strong growth in the company’s share price. However his high-profile divorce from Erica Baxter is reported to have taken $100 million off his total wealth.
Westfield’s Frank Lowy is number four with a $288 million boost in his worth to $7.158 billion. Swiss-based CEO of mining and commodity trading company Glencore Xstrata Ivan Glasenberg rounds out the top five with a $6.629 billion fortune.
Overall, Australia’s rich have got even richer in the last year with total wealth among the top 200 rising $16.81 billion to nearly $200 billion. The 2014 list is also more exclusive with at least $250 million needed to gain a place, up $15 million from last year. It also contains a record number of 39 billionaires.
The average wealth per person is just less than $1 billion although without Gina Rinehart that figure would fall to $872 million per person. The highest ranked debutant is Chinese-Australian entrepreneur Huang Bingwen, 60, who has a $1.26 billion fortune from his company Shantou Dongfeng Printing, which makes paper packaging for tobacco products, wine and cosmetics.
Source: News Limited
Perhaps the most notable change is the rise of homegrown technology barons. Kogan electronics founder Ruslan Kogan debuted with a $320 million fortune from his online retail store that is rapidly expanding from electronics into homeware and other areas.
Atlassian founders Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar, both 34, were also valued at $2.1 billion due to recent investments in their company, while freelancer’s Matt Barrie and 30-year-old Owen Kerr from foreign exchange trader Pepperstone were also new entrants to the list.
BRW editor Michael Bailey said tech provides some of the youngest and most exciting entrants to the list. But another debutant bucking the trend is 81-year-old Michael Crouch, the manufacturer of Zip Industries who provide hot and cold taps to homes and businesses and is now valued at $310 million after selling his stake to a private equity company.
“It’s an Australian company sold all over the world … It’s quite an inspiring thing to hear. A story like that shows you can be a success in manufacturing in Australia,” Mr Bailey said.
The 2014 list also shows the global nature of Australia’s business community. More than 20 of the entrants live overseas in places like Switzerland, the UK and Hong Kong.
In Australia, 63 of the richest people came from Victoria and 62 from New South Wales. Queensland is home to 29 of Australia’s wealthy, while Western Australia has 16, South Australia seven, Tasmania has two and the ACT just one.
The list also contains 14 women, with Gina Rinehart at the top, followed by TPG founder Vicky Teoh who is worth $2 billion and mining heiress Angela Bennet at $1.54 billion.
There were also some notable exits. Clive Palmer’s wealth tumbled $1 billion to $1.2 billion due to a fall in iron ore prices and a devaluation of some of his assets, while internet entrepreneur Graeme Wood, who founded travel site Wotif, also fell off after missing out on the $250 million cut off.
Five members worth a total of $6.2 billion also died in the last year including construction and manufacturing giant Len Buckeridge — who reportedly once picked up an adversary’s car with a forklift and dropped it over a fence. Hotelier Cyril Maloney, healthcare billionaire Paul Ramsay who left a staggering $3.3 billion to charity, beef industry guru Graeme Acton and Harvey Norman co-founder Ian Norman also died.
AUSTRALIA’S RICHEST PEOPLE AND THEIR INDUSTRIES
• Gina Rinehart, $20.01 billion, resources
• Anthony Pratt and family, $7.642 billion, manufacturing, investment
• James Packer, $7.186 billion, entertainment (gaming), investment
• Frank Lowy, $7.158 billion, property, investment
• Ivan Glasenberg, $6.629 billion, investment
• Gina Rinehart, $20.01 billion
• Vicky Teoh, $2 billion
• Angela Bennett, $1.54 billion
• Charlotte Vidor, $740 million
• Naomi Milgrom, $520 million
• Anthony Pratt and family, $7.64 billion
• James Packer, $7.19 billion
• Frank Lowy, $7.16 billion
• Ivan Glasenberg, $6.63 billion
• Hui Wing Mau, $6.35 billion