• Wednesday, February 21, 2024

HEADLINE STORY

Asians grow their wealth, reveals Asian Rich List 2024

Entrepreneurial excellence in the spotlight as Hindujas top Asian Rich List ranking

COMMUNITY PRIDE: Princess Anne with (from left) Gopichand and Prakash Hinduja, Saad Hasan and Ashok Hinduja at the launch of The OWO hotel in London in September (Pic credit: Dave Benett)

By: SAILESH RAM

ASIAN entrepreneurs in the UK have increased their wealth by a staggering £6.8 billion in the past year, despite worldwide economic challenges, analysis by the Asian Rich List 2024 has found.

Published by Eastern Eye, the list profiles the 101 richest Asian people in Britain. It was released on Wednesday (22) evening at the annual Asian Business Awards, now in its 25th year.

The rise of 6.1 per cent in general wealth reflects the resilience of Asian business in the UK. Inflation, energy costs and the long tail of the global pandemic have impacted all businesses and presented them with huge challenges. Despite all that, there are 16 billionaires on the list – a figure unchanged from last year.

Top of this year’s list is the Hinduja family, whose wealth has grown by £3bn.

Asian Rich List 2024 cover

The Hinduja Group, led by 83-year-old Gopichand, has interests in many areas of the global economy – from Gulf Oil to Switch Mobile (UK electric buses) and hotels. The group operates in some 50 countries and employs almost 200,000 around the globe.

The group owns the recently refurbished and just opened OWO (Old War Office) building, close to The Mall and Buckingham Palace in central London. Its IT arm, Hinduja Global Solutions, has done particularly well and counts the UK Government Digital Service, among its clients.

Parmanand Deepchand Hinduja founded the dynasty, and the second-oldest of his sons, Srichand, passed away in May this year, aged 87. The family conglomerate is run by London-based Gopichand and supported by brothers Prakash, 78, and Ashok, 73.

Five second-generation sons – ranging in age from 59 to 30 – now run more of the show as the business baton passes from one generation to the next.

The three patriarchs and their families all still practise the Indian joint family system – living under one roof – in London.

Gopichand told the Asian Rich List: “We four brothers were four bodies, but one soul.”

Lakshmi Mittal

Just behind the Hindujas are steel magnates Lakshmi Mittal and his son Aditya, with an estimated fortune of £12.9bn.

In third place is Mittal’s brother-in-law and global plastics supremo Sri Prakash Lohia with just over £10bn – his wife Seema is Mittal’s sister.

Sri Prakash Lohia

Tea connoisseur Nirmal Sethia is one of the fastest climbers on the Asian Rich List, has broken into the top five for the first time. His wider industrial base has risen by £100m, putting his estimated wealth at £6.6bn. Sethia began his working life as a junior tea merchant in London in the 1950s, before going back to India and expanding the family business, which also trades in jute.

Nirmal Sethia

Industrialist Anil Agarwal is fifth on the list. His company, Vedanta, has lost value worth almost £3bn, but Agarwal’s wealth is estimated to be £5.2bn.

Agarwal left his native Bihar state in north India, one of India’s poorest and least developed, for the bright lights of Mumbai, where he first traded old cable and copper wires and from where he developed an interest in metals. His firm is now listed on the London Stock Exchange.

Anil Agrawal

Asda Supermarket owners Mohsin and Zuber are ranked sixth, with a fortune of £4.6bn.

Their continuous rise up the list represents one of the most remarkable immigrant stories in the UK. They started with a single petrol garage in Burnley, where they still live, despite having the keys to £25m townhouse in central London.

Their masterstroke – of having a well-stocked retail shop in the forecourt – proved popular with motorists who loved the convenience of it. In the years to follow, the Issas brothers’ continued expansion saw them take over gas stations in the US and other countries and put them in a position to acquire Asda from Walmart in 2021.

Mohsin (left) and Zuber Issa

Other Asian billionaires include B&M store’s former owners Simon, Bobby ad Robin Arora (£2.9bn); Bestway wholesalers and pharmacy owners, founded by one-time Bradford bus driver Sir Anwar Pervez, now 88; investors Cyrus Vandrevala and his wife Priya (£2.5bn); luxury hotelier Jasminder Singh (£1.6bn) who began his empire with a West London purchase in 1977. His latest, The Londoner, described as his personal love letter to the capital and the country, cost £500m.

(from left) Bobby, Simon and Robin Arora

The remaining six billionaires are industrialists, pharmacy owners and oil and shipping barons.

Ranked 24 on the list is prime minister Rishi Sunak, whose background in merchant banking and investment made him wealthy. But it is the inheritance of his wife Akshata Murty, whose father Narayana Murthy co-founded Indian IT giant Infosys, that adds weight to the couple’s combined wealth, estimated to be £720m.

Sir Anwar (left) and Dawood Pervez

There is a wide range of success stories which will inspire the next generation of Asians. Several began as refugees, as families were expelled from East Africa, but there are also those who also fled the conflict in Sri Lanka.

Cyrus (right) and Priya Vandrevala

Shailesh Solanki, executive editor of the Asian Media Group and publisher of the Asian Rich List, said: “There isn’t a sector Asians are not involved in – what is striking is the number of billionaires and the many who started in humble circumstances and have gone on to build real legacy businesses, employing thousands and contributing to UK plc bottomline significantly. It’s a staggering achievement and one that both our community and the country can be rightly proud of.

Jasminder Singh

“The Asian Rich List is all about stories that illustrate qualities we all need to succeed in business – hard work, enterprise, innovation, a dedication to excellence and a little luck.

“It’s a fascinating and gargantuan task and one that took time, care and much diligence to put together – it also contains several exclusive interviews and is a great read, even if being a billionaire isn’t one of your life’s goals.”

  • Full coverage of the Asian Business Awards next week
  • Copies of the Asian Rich List 2024 are available to buy. Contact Saurin Shah via email [email protected] or call 020 7928 1234

Britain’s Top 20 wealthiest Asians

  1. Gopichand & Srichand Hinduja – £33.5 billion
  2. Lakshmi & Aditya Mittal – £12.9 billion
  3. Sri Prakash Lohia & Family – £10.1 billion
  4. Nirmal Sethia – £6.6 billion
  5. Anil Agarwal – £5.2 billion
  6. Mohsin & Zuber Issa – £4.6 billion
  7. Simon, Bobby & Robin Arora – ££2.9 billion
  8. Sir Anwar & Dawood Pervez – £2.5 billion
  9. (=8) Cyrus & Priya Vandrevala – £2.5 billion
  10. Jasminder Singh & Family – £1.6 billion
  11. Ramesh & Bhupendra Kansagra – £1.5 billion
  12. (=11) Lord Swraj Paul & Family – £1.5 billion
  13. Vijay & Bhikhu Patel – £1.4 billion
  14. Lord Zameer Choudrey & Family – £1.3 billion
  15. Surinder Arora – £1.2 billion
  16. Manubhai Chandaria & Family – £1.1 billion
  17. Dr Kartar & Tej Lalvani – £950 million
  18. Pradip & Manish Dhamecha – £925 million
  19. Ranjit & Baljinder Singh Boparan – £920 million
  20. Mayurbhai Madhvani & Family – £800 million
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