So who are living up and over the top in the land down under? Australia has always been known for its laidback lifestyle, the outback, the kangaroos, koala bear, wallabies, waltzing Matilda, its rugby and cricket teams and its wide and open spaces. Opportunities are also wide and open to those who seek it, and they have the billionaires to prove it.
Australian wealth has been achieved in vastly different ways. Ms. Gina Rinehart, Australia’s richest person, believes in the value of pure, hard work. Those aspiring to be rich should give up their social lives to enable them to make a fortune. And Ms. Rinehart’s opinions are worth listening to. After all, she would not have made it to the top of this list if she does not know what she is talking about.
On the other hand, Mr. Ruslan Kogan, a technological entrepreneur who founded the online electronics retailer Kogan Technologies, thinks that wealth can be attained even while having fun. And Mr. Kogan speaks with authority. After all, he has already earned the mega bucks despite the fact that he is not even 30 years old.
So whether by working hard or partying harder, here is a list of the top ten billionaires in Australia. They are helping advance Australia fairly well.
1. Gina Rinehart – $18 billion
Ms. Gina Rinehart is the richest woman not only in Australia, but also in the whole Asia and Pacific region. And her numbers are already challenging that of Christie Walton, the richest woman in the world with net worth amounting to $24.5 billion. Her iron ore mine in Western Australia will soon be developed in partnership with Posco, the South Korean steel giant. She still has complete control of the mine, however, as she will retain an 85 percent stake.
Ms. Rinehart is not without controversy. Aside from her opinions on how the rich are the ones supporting the rest of the country and how the minimum wage amount should be lowered, she also got embroiled in a court case with her own children. At least three of them have sued her over control of the family trust.
2. Ivan Glasenberg – $7.2 billion
Mr. Ivan Glasenberg is the richest of the five Glencore billionaires, so-called because of the wealth garnered by the five executives of the commodities trading giant when it conducted an initial public offering in the stock exchanges of London and Hong Kong. Mr. Glassenberg used to be the race walking champion of South Africa, where he was born. He grew up in Johannesburg, and got his start peddling South African coal to foreign buyers. He got hooked in commodities trading after studying the subject when he was taking up his Masters in Business Administration at the University of Southern California. He then moved around Hong Kong, Singapore and Melbourne, where he became an Australian citizen.
3. Andrew Forrest – $5.3 billion
Mr. Andrew Forrest used to be the Chief Executive Officer of Fortescue Metals Group, considered as Australia’s third largest miner of iron ore after BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto. The past years have not been good to him, as declining prices in the iron market grossly affected his company. Mr. Forrest also tried to have a new mining tax repealed, but he lost that battle as well. Even worse, Mr. Forrest got accused of deliberately misleading his shareholders. To avert a crisis in the company, he resigned his position and instead took up the role of a chairman.
4. James Packer – $4.5 billion
Mr. James Packer inherited his wealth from his father, Kerry, who passed on several media assets and a casino and gaming corporation. The casino firm, called Crown Ltd, allowed Mr. Packer’s wealth to survive unscathed as it expanded in Macau, the largest casino market in the world. While he has sold off several of his media businesses and shares in a financial services company, as well as a cosmetics firm, Mr. Packer is keen on diversifying his stakes through the purchase of interests in a couple of online retailing corporations.
5. Frank Lowy – $4.4 billion
The head of the Football Federation of Australia is also a shopping mall magnate. While he has passed on the daily operations of the Westfield shopping mall chain and his other investments to his sons, the business has remained very active and has been continuously expanding. They now have a total of 124 malls, including five that were recently opened. They are now planning to open in Brazil and Italy.
6. Harry Triguboff – $4 billion
Mr. Harry Triguboff is a self-made billionaire. He started out driving cabs in Sydney before he entered the construction business during the 1960s. Mr. Triguboff was born in China of Russian blood, and he owns Meriton, the pioneer in high-rise apartments in Australia. Most of his apartments are in Sydney and Brisbane, and he builds a thousand new apartments every year on average. His business model that showcases miniscule debt allows him to hold on to his properties when the market his slow, rather than selling them off at a loss.
7. Anthony Pratt – $3.4 billion
Mr. Anthony Pratt is the owner of Visy, a paper and packaging company. He has been actively spreading the company’s wings since taking control from his father, Richard. He set up a subsidiary company based in Singapore to help close out deals in Asia. He is also keen on reducing his company’s carbon tax bill by seeking alternative sources of energy.
8. John Gandel – $3.2 billion
He owns half of Chadstone, a $3.4 billion shopping center, which is expanding by adding a hotel and an office tower. Mr. Gandel is also awash in cash after selling his interest in another center.
9. Angela Bennett and Michael Wright – $2.3 billion
The siblings own half of Gina Rinehart’s iron ore company. Both are sickly, but the big checks from larger iron ore shipments will help defray medical care costs.
10. Kerr Neilson – $2.10 billion
A South African who moved to Australia in 1983, Mr. Neilson is the founder and majority owner of Platinum Asset Management, an international equities company. He still manages the company. Aside from equities, Mr. Neilson is also involved in the arts, as his wife owns an extensive Chinese collection.
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