Monday 18 December 2017

Ireland's richest 300 now worth almost €88bn

Nick Webb

Nick Webb

Every single one of the 1.9m Irish workforce would have to slave away tax free for more than 15 months to create the same wealth as Ireland's top 300 people.

The wealth of the top 300 has risen to €87.7bn, up 3.9pc on last year's combined fortune of €84.4bn. Turbulent stock markets, crashing commodity prices and wild fluctuations on the currency markets made 2015 a year of wealth preservation rather than wealth creation for the bulk of Ireland's super rich. It is the smallest increase in the wealth of Ireland's richest since 2010.

Global stock markets had a sucky year. The Dow is down 10pc over the last 12 months, with London's FTSE falling 17pc. Over the last year Ireland's ISEQ is down about 4pc.

Despite this, there were a number of super rich who made staggering stock market gains over the last year, with Paddy Power rising more than 60pc in a year. Along with vast dividends, it has catapulted the likes of David Power and John Corcoran up the list.

Ryanair is another company on the rise, with its jet-propelled share price massively inflating Michael O'Leary's wealth.

But technology and property have been the biggest drivers of wealth creation on the list. While there are fears of yet another dotcom bubble, it hasn't stopped investors shovelling money at what could be a gamechanging bit of software or a technology-focused idea that could disrupt an entire industry. Less than six years after being founded, John and Patrick Collison's Stripe is now worth more than Smurfit Kappa.

The property sector has also performed well. The latest IPD index showed Irish property asset classes generate an annualised return of 25pc last year, with offices showing a 27.1pc return. Over the same period, bonds chipped in with a 4.4pc annualised return. The availability of finance and rising asset values has seen a number of high-profile developers exit Nama and rebuild their wealth.

We have calculated the wealth of the people on the Rich List in a number of ways - from poring over Irish and UK company accounts, land registry records and listed company annual reports. It is an ongoing project - wealth estimates will change as new information is uncovered, ranging from debt levels to the payment of big dividends.

We have also tapped well-placed sources in banking, legal and wealth management sectors for insights and information. Increasingly, we have also talked to many of those on the list.

More and more of them have got in touch, keen to help with accurate assessment of their wealth. And more often than not, our assessment rises when they call.

Sunday Independent

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