Hinduja wealth doubles, 7th of 1,000 richest Britons

Monday, 28 April 2003, 07:00 Hrs
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LONDON: The estimated wealth of the Hinduja brothers has more than doubled in The Sunday Times rich list this year.

They are estimated to be worth 1.836 billion pounds, a surge attributed largely to share price rise.

The Bofors case, in which they are charged with corruption in a multi-million arms deal in India in the mid-1980s, "seems to have done no harm to the Hinduja empire," The Sunday Times said. Most of the increase in their wealth is attributed to their business success in India.

The Hindujas, seventh on the list of 1,000 richest Britons, are reported to have a 200 million pound stake in Indian truck major Ashok Leyland, whose revenues have risen 33 per cent. Their technology company HTMT has seen its shares soar to 159 million pounds, and their cable company in India has trebled revenues, with the Hinduja stake in it valued at 400 million pounds, the report said.

The Hindujas have assets worth about 1.366 billion pounds in India. The Sunday Times added 400 million pounds for their company Gulf Oil and 70 million pounds of other wealth.

The fortune of Lakshmi Mittal (12th on the list) was estimated to be 1.310 billion pounds, far higher than the 900 million pounds estimated last year.

His company LNM, believed to be the world's second biggest steel company, is now estimated to be worth close to a billion pounds in the improved steel market.

He is also believed to have a 77 per cent share in Ispat, which is worth 136 million pounds after the share price falls of last year. Other assets are reported to add 185 million pounds to his wealth.

The Indian touch is also reported to have revived the fortunes of composer Andrew Lloyd-Webber. After losses for his Really Useful Theatre Company, the musical "Bombay Dreams" marks a "turning point" for Lloyd-Webber, the rich list report says. He is now valued at 400 million pounds.

Bhikhu and Vijay Patel are valued at 350 million pounds. Their company Waymade Healthcare is now expanding to Europe, the Middle East and Australasia. They were estimated to be worth 298 million pounds last year.

Jasminder Singh, chairman of the Edwardian group of hotels is also valued at 350 million pounds. He has hotels around Heathrow and in Central London. Valuation for him is slightly down from 400 million pounds last year. Both Singh and the Patel brothers are joint 89th on the list.

Tom Singh, who has found much success with his New Look Fashion, is worth about 250 million pounds. His wealth was estimated at 160 million pounds last year. New Look has seen a 12 per cent surge in sales since last October. The firm took 44 million pounds profit last year. Tom Singh's family's share in the company is 141 million, and the rich list estimates 109 million pounds of wealth through past sales and other assets. He is 133rd on the list.

Gulu Lalvani, better known for his association with princess Diana than for his electronics business, is valued at 150 million pounds. His company Binatone is a large electronics firm. He figures 210th on the list.

At 280th spot come two other Gujarati brothers, Bharat and Ketan Mehta, who own Necessity Supplies, a pharmaceutical firm in West London. They are said to be worth 118 million pounds, up from 80 million last year.

Also with success in pharmaceuticals are Navin and Varsha Engineer with their Chemidex group of companies, at 289th place with an estimated 111 million pounds.

Dinesh Dhamija with his travel agency is placed at 290th spot, with an estimated 110 million pounds.

None of the Indian millionaires is reported to have lost as much as Lord Swraj Paul, down to 302nd position with an estimated 105 million pounds, a sharp fall from the estimated 280 million pounds last year.

"A grim time for Lord Paul's Caparo group," The Sunday Times said. "In 2001, it plunged from a 1.5 million pounds profit to losses of 15.3 million pounds on lower turnover." His sons are said to have cut their salaries 40 per cent, and his company is now valued at no more than 80 million pounds.
Source: IANS
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