Falling iron ore prices have failed to prevent Gina Rinehart from retaining top spot on SmartCompany‘s special end-of-year rich list. While the iron ore empress’ has seen her fortune fall below the magical $10 billion mark, Rinehart remains Australia’s richest person, with an estimated fortune of $8.5 billion.

While that means her fortune has dropped by around $1.8 billion since the publication of BRW‘s Rich 200 edition in May, she isn’t the biggest loser for the year. That title goes to Glencore chief executive Ivan Glassenberg, who has been on an incredible wealth rollercoaster.

He emerged from the float of the commodities trading giant with a fortune of about $9 billion, and was listed on the BRW list with a fortune of $8.8 billion in May. But a 27% fall in the value of Glencore shares has seen the value of his holding fall to $6.6 billion, down a whopping $2.6 billion.

In total, the 15 billionaires at the top of the BRW list have seen their value fall by a total of $7.9 billion, from $67.2 billion on May 26 to $59.3 billion based on current estimates. That’s a fall of 11.8%, which is actually markedly worse than the 8.1% fall in the benchmark ASX 200 index over the same period.

Here’s how the end of year rich list stands. BRW‘s Rich 200 valuations from May have been used as a base and have then been adjusted for share price movements. These are estimates only …

  1. Gina Rinehart — $8.5 billion: Given Rinehart’s fortune is tied to that of her joint venture partner Rio Tinto, so the big miner’s share price provides a handy proxy for Rinehart’s very private fortune. Recent falls in commodity prices have taken a toll.
  2. Ivan Glasenberg – $6.2 billion: The 27% fall in Glencore’s share price since listing in May has eaten into its CEO’s fortune. As with Rinehart, falling commodity prices have played a big part.
  3. Anthony Pratt — $5.4 billion: The Pratt family’s interests are diverse, but packaging giant and rival Amcor provides a reasonable proxy. Its shares are up slightly since May and so is Pratt’s estimate.
  4. Andrew Forrest — $4.7 billion: Twiggy’s fortune has followed the iron ore price down, with $1.48 billion of his wealth eroding since the BRW Rich 200.
  5. Frank Lowy — $4.7 billon: Frank Lowy’s stakes in Westfield’s various companies have fallen by about $200 million to just over $2 billion, accounting for the small fall in his wealth.
  6. Clive Palmer — $4.6 billion: Getting a line on Palmer’s mainly undeveloped coal interests isn’t easy. We’ve used a 9% drop in the price of Queensland coal as a guide, meaning a $450 million fall in his fortune.
  7. Harry Triguboff — $4.3 billion: Sydney apartment prices are steady (not bad in the current property market) and so is Harry’s fortune.
  8. James Packer — $3.9 billion: Moderate falls in the value of shares in Crown Limited and Consolidated Media account for a slight fall in Packer’s wealth.
  9. John Gandel — $3.5 billion: Property magnate John Gandel has seen his fortune increase slightly along with the value of shares in CFS Retail Trust.
  10. Chris Wallin — $2.8 billion: As with Palmer, a 9% fall in the coal price has taken a small chunk off Wallin’s fortune.
  11. Len Buckeridge — $2.7 billion: The Perth building billionaire’s fortune is hard to line up. We’ve used fellow building company Brickworks as a company and its shares have risen slightly since May.
  12. Kerry Stokes — $2.2 billion: About $350 million has been sliced of the fortune of Kerry Stokes, which probably isn’t bad given the turmoil in the media sector.
  13. David Hains — $2.1 billion: Low profile investor David Hains is another one that is hard to line up. Given many of his investments are overseas, we’ve used the MSCI World Index as a proxy. It has fallen about 11%.
  14. Kerr Nielsen — $1.9 billion: Platinum Asset Management chief Kerr Nielsen has seen the value of his fortune fall slightly, in line with a moderate share price fall.
  15. Angela Bennett and Michael Wright — $1.8 billion: As with Rinehart, Rio Tinto provides best proxy for the wealth of this brother and sister combination.

Peter Fray

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