[London, 22 March] The battle of the Asian billionaires has today seen a twist in the fortunes of the man who for the past four years has sat comfortably at the top of the money mountain.

For the first time in four years, since the Asian Media & Marketing Group (AMG) has been publishing the Asian Rich List, steel billionaire Lakshmi Mittal no longer holds the title of the richest Asian in Britain.

The unique accolade has been usurped by the London-based Hindujabrothers, whose net worth is estimated to stand at a staggering £12.5 billion, an increase of £3 billion over the past 12 months. The Hindujatrading empire is spread virtually over five continents and run by four brothers and their children.

Steel magnate Mittal, who seemed unreachable at the top of the list, has had a tough year, with a drop in wealth of £2.5 billion, taking him to £11bn. Mittal has been largely hit by the fall in the share value of ArcelorMittal, which has been beset by the falling global demand for steel.

In what has been deemed by many to be one of the toughest years for the economy, this year’s Asian Rich List, released exclusively at the Asian Business Awards today, sees the number of Asian billionaires more than doubling in a year. The Asian Rich List features seven billionaires, compared to three in the 2012 list.

With a combined overall net worth of nearly £46bn, (an increase of £4bn since 2012), the 101 millionaires certainly seem to be bucking the global trend. This year’s list sees eight new entries with a combined value of £767 million, with the highest new entry, metal mining magnate, Rajesh Satija storming in to the Top 20 with a valuation of £390m.

As the UK economy struggles to overcome recession, the increasing demand for discount retail stores is creating new fortunes. Simon, Bobby and Robin Arora, have increased their fortune by almost £800m, by selling a stake in their hugely successful chain of discount stores B&M to private equity in this financial year, whilst the Lalani family of 99p Stores fame continue to travel steadily up the list.

Interestingly, as their wealth grows, so does the philanthropic commitment of the millionaires, with many of them having set up their own charitable foundations and trusts.
Retail and property tycoon, and the man who brought Domino’s pizza to the UK, Rumi Verjee is a prime example with the Rumi Foundation selecting and donating to key projects and charities like Mosaic to give disadvantaged youngsters in the UK greater opportunities.
Sir Anwar Perwez, who has been a consistent entry in the Top 10 set up the Bestway Foundation and 2.5% of profits from the Bestway Cash & Carry business are donated to the Foundation to support projects in the UK and Pakistan.

ShaileshSolanki, executive editor of AMG and one of a panel of four experts who has examined British Asian wealth over the last year for the Asian Rich List, said: “The list shows the remarkable resilience and diversity of Asian businesses in the UK. Despite the challenges of the general economy many business leaders in the community have seen opportunity and potential and moved quickly to capitalise. It is an inspiring picture and one that should energise entrepreneurs everywhere.”

Mr Solanki said the Hindujas rise has been gradual but was a clear example of the scale and the impressive breadth of their business interests.

“TheHinduja family have been in business for over three generations and they are one of the largest and most diversified Indian family businesses. They are a truly global business and are always looking at opportunities”, Mr Solanki said. “They have made London their home and are deeply attached to this country and that is borne out by their first active investment in a UK business with the purchase of bus company Optare in 2011.”

The Asian Rich List in association with UBS is released today and is the definitive guide to ultra-high net worth individuals and Asian Business success.