Friday 22 November 2019

Record jump in wealth for the 300 richest Irish

Older industries are strongly represented on list

Nick Webb, Business Editor

Traditional industries such as manufacturing, engineering, finance and energy businesses formed the basis of much of the wealth detailed by the Sunday Independent Rich List this year. While new industries such as technology, telecoms or e-payments created fortunes, the bulk of the wealth his held by those in more "old fashioned" sectors.

The sharp rise in global stock markets, a rebound in property prices and a stronger domestic economy created the conditions for the largest ever jump in wealth for Ireland's 300 richest people. Some €13.6bn was added on to the fortunes of the wealthiest individuals last year.

This year the bar for entry to the Sunday Independent Rich List has risen once again, serving as a barometer for the improving Irish economy. A fortune of at least €26m is needed to make it onto the list, compared with €17m in 2010.

The top 300 people in the country are worth €84.4bn. That's more than three times the value of retailer Tesco or the same size as the economy of Morocco. Back in 2010 their combined net worth was just €50bn.

Mumbai-based industrialist Pallonji Mistry (85) tops the list for another year with a fortune of €14.5bn. He's more valuable than Ryanair. Mistry's wife Patsy Perin Dubash was born on Dublin's Hatch Street in 1939 and he has taken up Irish citizenship along with his two sons and two daughters.

The Mistry wealth comes from their 18.2pc stake in vast global conglomerate Tata, which owns assets ranging from IT giant TCS, Corus Steel, Jaguar cars and Tetley Tea as well as hotels and office blocks. The family is increasing its links with Ireland and is now involved in sponsoring the Irish cricket academy.

Their wealth rose by a staggering €5.14bn in the last year.

Sandymount-born former model Hilary Weston and her husband Galen are in second spot with an €8.8bn fortune.

Hilary Weston made the first dress ever sold in Penneys, which was set up by Galen in the 1970s. The Weston family now own assets ranging from Brown Thomas and Selfridges to the Loblaw chain of supermarkets in Canada.

Telecoms entrepreneur Denis O'Brien is the richest man actually born in Ireland, with a near €6bn fortune.

O'Brien's wealth has come from his fast growing mobile operator Digicel, as well as assets ranging from property, shares, infrastructure, health and recruitment businesses.

The Sunday Independent Rich List features 11 billionaires this year - but not the same 11 as last year. We pared backed valuations of Paul Coulson's glass bottle and tin can maker Ardagh, which has seen the financier slip just below the billionaire mark. He owns about a third of Ardagh.

However Patrick and John Collison, the pair of Limerick twentysomethings, are our newest billionaires. Their rapidly growing e-payments group Stripe was valued at €3bn following last year's fundraising. The brothers have created the fastest ever billion-euro fortune in Irish history as Stripe was set up just over four years ago.

This year's rich list also features 25 new entries including Limerick's Kieran Curran, who sold his GenCell biotech firm to US multinational group Becton Dickinson for around €132m last year.

He's joined by Clare man Patrick Purcell, who has a fortune of almost €80m after the flotation of his Mincon mining equipment firm last year.

Other new entrants include Monaghan dotcom pioneer Tony White, who sold his Abacus data firm for €1.05bn.

Sunday Indo Business

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