3 Kiwis make the Forbes Rich List

Forbes rich list: Graeme Hart, Richard Chandler and Peter Thiel wave Kiwi flag

New Zealand’s richest man has slid in the rankings of Forbes magazine’s rich list of people in the world, dropping an estimated $1 billion in the past year.

Graeme Hart, who built a packaging empire using leveraged buyouts, came in at No 158 on the list of billionaires with an estimated net worth of US$9.1b ($13.4b).

A year earlier Hart was ranked No 133, with a net wealth estimated at US$10.1b.

Fellow Kiwi Richard Chandler, who lives in Singapore, came in at No 715 with a fortune of US$3.1b ($4.5b), up from US$2.1b a year earlier.

The third and final New Zealand citizen on the list is high profile immigrant Peter Thiel, who is ranked No 916 at US$2.5b ($3.7b), the same figure as last year.

There are now 2,153 members on the Forbes billionaires rich list (down 55 on last year).

Hart’s company Reynolds Group posted a loss last year, because of a greater level of impaired assets and higher raw material costs.

Reynolds reported US$5 million ($7.3m) loss in 2018, against a US$439 million profit in the previous year.

Graeme Hart on the Forbes Rich List once again
Graeme Hart’s fortune decreased in the latest rundown. Herald photo.

The company said its net “other” expenses increased by US$201 million to US$279 million due to an increase in asset impairment charges of US$195 million.

This was primarily due to a goodwill impairment charge of US$206 million at Graham Packaging.

Meanwhile, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos tops the rich list with an estimated fortune of US$131b ($193.5b), followed by Microsoft founder Bill Gartes on US$97.7b (NZ$144.33b).

L’Oreal heiress Francoise Bettencourt Meyers leads the women at US$49.3b and Kylie Jenner the youngest at 21 with an entry-level US$1b.

Forbes’ description of Jenner as a “self-made” billionaire sparked controversy around the world, with many questioning the appropriateness of this descriptor for a member of the Kardashian-Jenner family.

Kylie Jenner won many of the headlines this year. Photo/Getty Images.

Forbes noted that it uses “self-made” to describe anyone who didn’t inherit a business or fortune. “But the term is very broad,” the magazine acknowledges, “and does not adequately reflect how far some people have come and, relatively speaking, how much easier others have had it.”

Having accumulated an estimated US$1b by age 21, her rich list entry states, Jenner is “the youngest self-made billionaire, reaching a 10-figure fortune at a younger age than even Mark Zuckerberg (who was 23 when he hit that mark).”

There are 60 fewer billionaires in Asia Pacific this year and 195 new billionaires globally, including the founders of Spotify & Canada Goose.

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