Monday 11 December 2017

Rich list 2016: Ryanair's Michael O'Leary joins billionaire club

Ryanair boss among 14 on Rich List 2016 who are worth billions

FLYING: Michael O’Leary in billionaire club for first time. Photo: Matthew Lloyd/Bloomberg
FLYING: Michael O’Leary in billionaire club for first time. Photo: Matthew Lloyd/Bloomberg
Nick Webb

Nick Webb

Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary has joined the billionaire's club for the first time, according to the new Sunday Independent Rich List 2016/

Including O'Leary there are now 14 Irish billionaires - double the number of just five years ago - according to the list of Ireland's 300 wealthiest people.

Access the full list here:

Ryanair's share price has risen fivefold in the last couple of years as O'Leary manages to fill even more of his planes by making the airline a little friendlier and customer-focused.

It's a potent sign that the post-recovery era has been very, very good for some individuals.

But Michael O'Leary is a seasoned veteran compared with the tech-savvy John and Patrick Collison, who zoomed even further up the list as their online payments firm Stripe attracted a massive $5bn valuation after Visa and other investors bought a stake.

The company was only set up in 2010, making the brothers - still in their 20s - the fastest ever billionaires in the history of the State.

It now takes a personal fortune of €35m to even make it onto the list this year.

The combined fortune of the top 300 is €87.7bn, up 3.9pc on 2015, though the last 12 months have been about holding on to their fortunes for the super rich as stock markets around the world slumped on fears of recession and the bursting of a China bubble.

Pallonji Mistry and his family retain their crown as Ireland's wealthiest people, with a fortune of €14.9bn. That's almost twice as big as Bank of Ireland. The Mistry family own an 18pc stake in India's biggest conglomerate Tata Group, which makes everything from chemicals and steel, to cars and tea bags. Family patriarch Pallonji is married to Patsy Perin Dubash, who was born on Dublin's Hatch Street in 1939. He now has Irish citizenship, as do his two sons, Cyrus and Shapoor, and his two daughters Laila and Aloo. They also own a real estate and construction group called Shapoor Pallonji, which last year became the sponsor of the Irish cricket team.

Denis O'Brien remains Ireland's richest native-born son, with a fortune estimated at over €5bn. The estimated wealth of Coolmore Stud's John Magnier has jumped by over €1bn.

Having made his initial fortune from the bloodstock, Magnier has proved to be a spectacularly shrewd investor.

Much of his fortune is tied up in corporate bonds, gilts and derivatives but there are also prime bits of real estate ranging from the Sandy Lane Resort in Barbados, the imposing Unilever office block on the banks of the Thames in London, and a huge retail and office development beside Place Vendome in Paris.

There were 26 new entries on the Sunday Independent Rich list this year. Property investors such as Johnny Ronan and Seamus Ross make the list for the first time following their exits from Nama.

The sale of his stake in Claridges Hotel, following a ding dong court battle with the Barclay brothers, has also propelled Paddy McKillen onto the list for the first time.

Mullingar's Niall Horan has also rocketed up the list.

As the One Direction touring machine cranked into gear, Horan and his fellow band members shared €119.4m last year, according to Forbes magazine calculations.

U2 have made serious wedge from incredibly innovative partnerships, relentless touring and convoluted royalty deals, while Rory McIlroy is now indisputably Ireland's richest sports star.

The current world number two golfer is a sponsors' dream both on and off the course, merging terrific ability with a media-friendly lifestyle involving Lamborghinis, super yachts and high-profile relationships culminating in his engagement last year to Erica Stoll. Nike was so entranced that it inked a $250m endorsement deal with him.

Ireland's record goal scorer Robbie Keane is among the minted who has easily surpassed the €35m barrier. Transfers from Tottenham Hotspur, Inter Milan, Liverpool and Leeds United amounted to over €83m during his career.

He's now one of the highest earners in US soccer, where he is still banging them in for LA Galaxy.

Keane has been smart with his money, helping to bankroll a series of Hollywood blockbusters including Avatar, X-Men and Planet of the Apes.

Women take up some of the top spots. Roma Downey grew up on the Bogside in Derry but has become one of the most powerful people in Hollywood. Former model Hilary Weston from Dublin, fell in love with and later married visiting Canadian entrepreneur Galen Weston. The Weston family were already spectacularly wealthy but Galen set up Penneys, which would transform European retail.

The number of women who have made fortunes in their own right rather than from inheritance or from marriage, is small.

Recruitment is an area where not one but two Irish women have made absolute fortunes.

Anne Heraty has grown her CPL Recruitment into a major pan-European player.

Rosaleen Blair started off by advertising for Northside Dublin babysitters and went on to become one of the most successful head-hunters in London and pioneered outsourcing of human resources functions. And her Alexander Mann's HR business was bought for over €300m.

Access the full list here

Sunday Independent

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