Stephen Mayne gives his commentary on the Australian Financial Review‘s Rich List, which was released today:

  1. Anthony Pratt, $12.6b: 57-year-old inherited from his father Dick Pratt. Told Fairfax his US packaging business has boomed with push for recycled boxes after Hurricane Katrina and Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth. Valuation looks over-cooked given parts of the Visy empire are owned by his siblings and the $1 billion annual EBITDA in the US is supporting plenty of debt.
  2. Harry Triguboff, $11.4b: 84-year-old Sydney property developer whose Meriton business sold about $1.2 billion worth of apartments last year.
  3. Gina Rinehart, $10.4b: 64-year-old Perth-based mining heiress who topped the pops for five years straight after the mining boom but is now third.
  4. Frank Lowy, $8.26b: 86-year-old Westfield co-founder who is one of 15 blokes to have been on the list for all 34 years since it started in 1984.
  5. Ivan Glasenberg, $6.85b: 60-year-old Glencore CEO who lives in Switzerland. Relatively easy to value since Glencore floated, given he owns 8.4% of the company.
  6. Andrew Forrest, $6.85b: 55-year-old Perth resident who is also relatively easy to value courtesy of his 30% stake in Fortescue Metals Group.
  7. John Gandel, $6.1b: 82-year-old Melbourne property and retail mogul. Major asset is his stake in Melbourne’s Chadstone shopping centre, the largest in the southern hemisphere, but Fairfax doesn’t even say how much he owns of it.
  8. Hui Wang Mau, $6b: 66-year-old Hong Kong resident who has Australian citizenship after doing his MBA in Adelaide in the early 1990s. Apart from some Sydney property exposures, most of his wealth is tied up in Chinese and Hong Kong property. 
  9. James Packer, $4.75b: Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Dad was worth three times his nearest rival in 2000 and now James is in danger of falling out of the top 10! That said, sister Gretel has emerged as a billionaire in her own right this year. Turns 50 next month so is the youngest billionaire in the top 10.
  10. Stan Perron, $3.9b: 94-year-old from Perth who is Australia’s oldest billionaire, just shadowing 93-year pokies pusher Len Ainsworth. Owns plenty of shopping centres, sells all the Toyotas in WA and even gets a tasty slice of the Hancock iron ore royalties from Rio Tinto.
  11. Len Ainsworth, $3.1b: the 93-year-old sold his personal controlling stake in Ainsworth Game Technology last year, but his kids are collectively richer than he because they own a slice of Len’s original company Aristocrat, which has boomed in recent times and is now capitalised at $13.5 billion after rising another 3% this morning to a record high of $21.64 per share. For instance, son Paul Ainsworth owns 5% of Aristocrat, which is today worth $675 million.
  12. Lang Walker, $3b: The 70-year-old Sydney-based property developer is hard to value given nothing is public but doing the $2.5 billion Collins Square precinct in Melbourne on his own takes some serious wealth. Has dropped plenty on a $100 million Fiji indulgence over the past couple of years.
  13. Lindsay Fox, $2.91b: The 80-year-old Melbourne trucker is rare because he has largely stuck to his knitting for 60 years, although property investments, particularly a half share in Essendon Airport, have also paid off big time.
  14. Kerry Stokes, $2.9b: The 76-year-old even has to put up with his 100-word Rich List summary featuring a mention of Tim Worner and Amber Harrison. Is there no escaping it? Valuation looks over-cooked given woeful share price performance of Seven West Media, where Stokes’ personal investment is now worth less than $300 million.
  15. Bianca Rinehart, $2.74b: Up from $905 million last year but does the 40-year-old Brisbane resident really control this money given the control-freakery of her litigious mother. Legally owns 26% of Hancock Prospecting but faces a hostile majority shareholder in Gina. Could she sell it? Can she lift the dividend? Unlikely.
  16. David Hains, $2.55b: 86-year-old Melbourne establishment figure who appears on the list for the 34th time in a row. Still running a diversified global investment portfolio and no new insights from Fairfax in 2017.
  17. Mike Cannon-Brookes, $2.51b: The 37-year-old Sydney-based tech entrepreneur is far easier to value now that Altassian has floated. Up from $2 billion last year.
  18. Scott Farquhar, $2.51b: Co-founder of Altassian with his university mate listed above but surely Fairfax could have estimated which of the 37-year-olds has done better with their private investments rather than giving them an identical valuation.
  19. Solomon Lew, $2.38b: the 72-year-old Melbourne retail and investment street-fighter has been on the Rich List for 34 years but Fairfax has nothing meaningful to add this year. Up from $2.13 billion in 2016.
  20. Jack Cowin, $2.38b: The 75-year-old Sydney resident who migrated from Canada in 1969 is up strongly from $1.81 billion last year with Domino’s being the largest contributor, in spite of some recent share price weakness following allegations of dodgy wage practices.
  21. Gerry Harvey, $2.34b: The 77-year-old firebrand has been given a surprising increase from $1.99 billion last year, despite serious questions and an ASIC investigation into Harvey Norman’s accounting practices. Harvey Norman shares have tumbled from $5.58 to $3.63 in 7 months and remains one of the most heavily shorted stocks on the ASX with predictions of further trouble as Amazon prepares to enter the Australian market.
  22. Marc Besen, $2.24b: The 93-year-old Melbourne property, retail and wine player has been given a personal entry this year, as opposed to a family mention in the past. Daughter Naomi Ingram, who runs the Sussan retail chain, is separately listed at 117 with $585 million but son Daniel Besen and other daughter Carol Schwartz didn’t make the cut which came in a $342 million. The most surprising inclusion was Clive Palmer at 198 with $344 million. Surely that’s overdone, otherwise he would have saved Queensland Nickel.
  23. Alan Rydge, $2.09b: The 64-year-old controller of the Rydges hotel chain and Greater Union cinema business managed to add $10m to his $2.08 billion pile in 2016, according to Fairfax.
  24. Michael Hintze, $1.98b: The 63-year-old London-based hedge fund manager and generous Tory donor added $660 million to his pile, according to Fairfax, after his main fund generated a fabulous 30.4% return for investors in 2016. This is the sort of useful factual information which should be included in all entries. The US$12 billion under management at his CQS fund will presumably grow exponentially given such out-performance.
  25. Huang Bingwen, $1.93b: The 62-year-old Chinese investor who lives in Shantou but has Australian citizenship, along with his two sons. Owns some Australian dairy farms but major wealth is derived from large stake in Shanghai listed Shantou Dongfeng Printing, a paper and packaging business.

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