Mittal loses 16.7 bn pounds to credit crunch: report

December 28th, 2008 - 5:43 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Dec 28 (IANS) Lakshmi Niwas Mittal and Anil Agarwal head a league of British super-rich who have seen their collective fortunes nosedive by more than 200 billion pounds in the economic downturn, a report here said Sunday.According to research to be published by the Sunday Times Rich List next year, the fortunes of the richest 1,000 people in Britain have fallen from 412.8 billion pounds in the 2008 List to 200 billion pounds.

“The value of some assets, including hedge funds and property firms, has been shattered by as much as 90 percent,” the authors of the Rich List report.

“The destruction of the wealth of Britain’s richest is so great and sudden that it has been likened to the bursting of the South Sea bubble in 1720 or the depression of the early 1930s.”

Taking the biggest hit has been Lakshmi Niwas Mittal, who heads the world’s biggest steel company, ArcelorMittal, with 326,000 employees in more than 60 countries.

Mittal has headed the Rich List for the past four years, and was estimated to be worth 27.7 billion pounds in this year’s list. He is now worth 11 billion pounds.

Mining tycoon Anil Agarwal has seen almost 1.5 billion pounds knocked off the value of his stake in Vedanta Resources and now has less than a billion pounds.

At the start of 2008, Mittal’s family stake in ArcelorMittal was worth 25 billion pounds and soared to more than 33 billion pounds in the summer before plummeting to 9.5 billion pounds, the Sunday Time said.

Mittal’s spokesman said: “He doesn’t comment on his personal affairs. He is hardly immune to things but he is not affected by them the way most people might be.”

Other significant losers include Sir Tom Hunter, the sportswear tycoon (down from 1.05 billion pounds to 750 million pounds), and Sir Stelios HajiIoannou, founder of the easyJet airline (from 812 million pounds to 500 million pounds).

One in six of those on the 2008 Rich List are in finance and their estimated worth is down by more than 70 percent. The hardest-hit include 50 multi-millionaire housebuilders who have seen values sink by up to 90 percent.

However, HajiIoannou, the largest shareholder of easyJet, who lives mostly in Monaco, said he had paid off his loans earlier this year and the recession would have only a limited effect on his lifestyle.

“I will still travel by black cab or public transport in London and I’ll still get the easyBus to Gatwick to fly easyJet to Athens or Nice,” he said.

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