Success stories

Forbes’ Australian rich list pits innovators with miners

By Michelle Hammond
Friday, 01 February 2013

Forbes Asia’s annual list of the richest Australians is littered with mining magnates, including Gina Rinehart in the top spot, but it also features a strong contingent of entrepreneurs who have made their fortunes in other fields.


With a net worth of $17 billion, Rinehart easily tops the list of Australia’s richest people, although 2012 was a tumultuous year for her.


In addition to losing a legal battle with fellow rich lister Stan Perron, Rinehart watched helplessly as falling iron ore prices shaved $1 billion off her net worth.


But true to form, she bounced back relatively unscathed, publishing a book of her favourite speeches and articles, and purchasing two condos in Singapore’s Sentosa Island.


In second place on this year’s list is Ivan Glasenberg, who, with a net worth of $6.7 billion, is the chief executive of mining and trading giant Glencore International.


Glasenberg is closely followed by James Packer, who has a net worth of $6 billion. After selling off his last media asset, Packer is very much focused on building casino empire Crown Limited.


Rounding out the top five are Frank Lowy and Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest, worth $5.3 billion and $4.8 billion respectively.


In sixth spot is Harry Triguboff, a Sydney builder who started 50 years ago and has put up more than 55,000 apartments. Triguboff has a net worth of $4.6 billion.


In eighth spot is John Gandel, who, with a net worth $3.5 billion, made his first fortune when he expanded Sussan – the clothing chain founded by his immigrant parents.


However, his real wealth came from shopping malls, purchased from Myer in the 1980s. This includes Chadstone, Australia’s largest shopping centre, valued at more than $3.4 billion.


At number 20, with a net worth of $1.15 billion, is Robert Ingham of poultry producer Inghams Enterprises, which was put up for sale last year.


Inghams Enterprises was started more than 50 years ago when Robert and his late brother Jack inherited a small chicken farm from their father.


According to Robert, it now generates annual sales of more than $2 billion.


Further down the list is John Van Lieshout, a Dutch immigrant who made his fortune by selling discount furniture chain Super A-Mart in 2006, but kept the stores’ buildings.


He’s now on the hunt for new investments, targeting undervalued Queensland homemaker stores.


In 28th spot on the list is outspoken retailer Gerry Harvey, and at number 30 is Angela Bennett – the only other woman on the list.


Bennett has stepped down from the board of Wright Prospecting, founded by her father, which collects millions each year from its share of the Hamersley iron ore royalty.


At number 33 is Brett Blundy, who started selling records at age 20, and now sells jewellery, lingerie, homewares and pies. His company, BB Retail Capital, is one of Australia’s largest private investment companies.


Ten more places down the list is Reg Rowe, who started Super Retail Group with his wife Hazel in 1972 as a mail-order business distributing battery chargers from his Brisbane home.


Today, there are car accessories stores, two sporting goods chains, and a chain that sells boating, camping and fishing gear. And despite the retail slump, Super Retail Group boasts annual sales of $1.65 billion.


Scraping into the list at number 50 is media magnate Bruce Gordon, with a net worth of $620 million.

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