How SA-linked super-rich have fared on Sunday Times 2020 Rich List

Patrice Motsepe, Nicky Oppenheimer and his wife Orcillia Lasch at a funeral. Picture: Sibonelo Ngcobo/African News Agency(ANA)

Nicky Oppenheimer has seen a loss in his fortunes, though moved up two places on the list, with Douw Steyn apparently still smiling to the bank.

Britain’s Sunday Times newspaper each year compiles its list of 1,000 richest people, including individuals with links to Britain but who aren’t necessarily British.

As a result, a handful of South Africans or people with connections to South Africa make the list each year, including South Africa’s richest man, Nicky Oppenheimer. Last year, he and his famous family featured at 25 on the list, and this year moved up two places to 23, even though the Oppenheimers actually saw a drop in their fortunes in pound sterling terms, down from £5.661bn (R127.4 billion) to £5.6bn.

The Sunday Times recognised that the 74-year-old mining magnate had “stumped up a billion rand to help his homeland’s businesses cope with the coronavirus lockdown, saying he was spurred to take action by his grandson Sam”. The paper lowered its estimation of the Oppenheimer fortune due to the family”s “latest philanthropy and Covid-19’s effect on its own investments”.

The other people on the Sunday Times’ list included South African-born Nathan “Natie” Kirsh at number 39, with £3.656bn, down by a whopping £628m and eight places on the list. The paper said the 88-year-old Swazi citizen had spent £10m on “greening” London’s Tower 42 so that its 20 renewed lifts now consumed 82% less electricity.  They reported that his son and daughter had also bought four apartments in Trump Tower.

The paper placed Douw Steyn, 67, and his family at number 150 on the list, with £950m, an increase of £50m and a rise of 12 places on their list. They mentioned Steyn City as “one of the largest residential developments in South Africa, with 2,000 workers building 730 apartments, a lagoon, malls and a school at the 2,000-acre estate”. They valued his home in London at £63m.

Others on the list with South African links included Manfred Gorvy, who works in property and food, in 157th place and £918m.

IT guru Mark Shuttleworth came in at 269, with £500m.

One place ahead of him, but also with £500m, was the pharmaceuticals industry’s Tony Tabatznik and his family.

At 300 was the Gordon family with £445m, a huge drop of £155m after the South African-born property magnate Sir Donald Gordon died in November at age 89.

Vivian Imerman came in at 340, with  £390m made in the spirits and food industries.

Down in 858th place was South African-born banker Richard Gnodde, with £140m.

AFP has reported that, according to the Sunday Times, Britain’s wealthiest people have lost tens of billions of pounds in the coronavirus pandemic as their combined annual wealth fell for the first time in a decade.

The Sunday Times Rich List, which has been produced since 1989, found the past two months had resulted in the super-rich losing £54 billion (R1.2 billion).

More than half of the billionaires in Britain had seen drops in their worth by as much as £6bn, a decrease in their collective wealth unprecedented since 2009 and the financial crisis.

Inventor James Dyson bucked the trend to top the list for the first time, with an estimated wealth of £16.2bn.

The paper credited his rise from fifth place in 2019 to both the strong performance of his businesses and the plummeting fortunes of other billionaires in the top 10.

The Hinduja brothers, who topped last year’s list with a £22bn fortune, saw among the biggest falls in worth – £6bn – and are now ranked jointly second with entrepreneurs David and Simon Reuben.

Jim Ratcliffe, boss of petrochemicals firm Ineos, who topped the rankings in 2018, also saw his worth slide by £6bn to £12.15bn.

Steel baron Lakshmi Mittal was another to see the steepest falls in his fortune — nearly £4bn — placing him 19th with a worth of £6.78bn.

In total, the 2020 list calculated the combined wealth of Britain’s super-rich to be £743bn — £29bn less than last year.

Billionaire capital of the world

Its number of billionaires dropped by four to 147, but London remains the billionaire capital of the world, with 89 born, living or with a significant chunk of their assets based in the city.

“The first detailed analysis of the super-rich’s finances since the Covid-19 outbreak began will heighten concerns that Britain is entering a deep and long-lasting recession,” the Sunday Times said.

The paper noted that at least 63 members of the list, including 20 billionaires, had sought to use a government-run furlough scheme which pays staff up to 80 percent of their salaries up to £2,500 a month during the crisis.

Rich List 2020 top 10

£16.2bn — James Dyson and family

£16bn — Sri and Gopi Hinduja and family

£16bn — David and Simon Reuben

£15.8bn — Leonard Blavatnik

£12.2bn — Jim Ratcliffe

£12.1bn — Kirsten and Jorn Rausing

£11.7bn — Alisher Usmanov

£10.5bn — Guy, George and Galen Jr Weston and family

£10.3bn — Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken and Michel de Carvalho

£10.3bn — The Duke of Westminster and the Grosvenor family

(Compiled by Charles Cilliers)

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