Monday 22 January 2018

These top 300 earners are worth €50bn

Hilary and Galen Weston are third on the Rich List with a fortune of €3.67bn. Photo: Getty Images
Hilary and Galen Weston are third on the Rich List with a fortune of €3.67bn. Photo: Getty Images
Nick Webb

Nick Webb

The 300 richest Irish people are worth close to €50bn, with nine individuals or families having a net worth of over €1bn. Irish people now own Premiership football teams, paintings by Monet, Modigliani and Sir Joshua Reynolds, superyachts, world famous buildings, Bordeaux vineyards and Cheltenham champions, the first Sunday Independent Rich List can reveal.

There is wealth in the country — you just need to know where to look for it. But the last year has seen an unprecedented destruction of riches and few have been completely spared.

The Sunday Independent list is based on estimates of the wealth of Ireland’s 300 richest people. We have been much more conservative in our valuations than other estimates.

We have used identifiable wealth for our calculations, based on the value of stock market shares listed in Dublin, London or New York, or stakes in private companies.

We have used the most recent sets of accounts from the Irish, UK and NI company offices.

Private firms have been valued by multiple of earnings, shareholder funds and net asset values.

We have slashed the values of private companies, largely due to the poor economic conditions and the lack of acquisition finance.

The value of land in Ireland has fallen drastically over the last two years, with development land in some cases down 95 per cent.

Residential, commercial and retail property has fallen up to 50 per cent.

We tried to gauge the impact of liabilities on net worth, which dramatically reduces estimates.

Taxes, from inheritance to capital gains to dividend levies, are also added to the mix.

However, financial detective work can only uncover so much, and the size of the fortunes may actually be much higher — or indeed, lower — than our estimates

We have an unprecedented number of billionaires and multi-millionaires who made their wealth in other countries.

And remember, not all the big money in Ireland is from property. Massive fortunes have been made by smart entrepreneurs — in technology, retail, high finance, aviation and renewables.

The country may be on its knees, but some people will continue to coin it over the next year.

Others will lose everything.

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