London: Leading NRI businessmen Srichand Hinduja and Gopi Hinduja, Chairman and Co-Chairman of the Hinduja Group, have emerged as the richest Asians in Britain in 2013. After playing second fiddle for years to steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal, the London-based Hinduja brothers have come out top this year with net wealth assessed at 12.5 billion pounds - up 3 billion pounds on the 2012 figure.
The falling demand for steel in Europe and elsewhere has reduced the wealth of Mittal, the Chairman and CEO of ArcelorMittal, from 13.5 billion pounds in 2012 to 11 billion pounds this year.
Leading NRI industrialist Lord Swraj Paul is listed as 95th in the 'Asian Rich List' brought out by the Eastern Eye Newspaper, a publication of the Garavi Gujarat Group headed by Ramniklal Solanki. Lord Paul has wealth worth 845 million, up 170 million pounds from 2012.
According to the list, "While other organisations have been cutting costs at a time of recession, the Hindujas splashed out USD 1.1 billion (725 million pounds) on buying Houghton, the US lubricant and specialised chemicals group that has been a market leader in its field. It has 12 manufacturing facilities in 10 countries from the United States to China and South Korea and sales in 80 countries. Its European headquarters is in Manchester. It reported an operating profit of USD 132 million in the year to September 30,2012, on sales of USD 858 million."
The report said, "The Hindujas have always made a big effort with their philanthropic work and in building up a close relationship between Britain and India, not only in business but also in the cultural and educational fields."
It said the Hindujas' bank, IndusInd, has been performing well in India, where many of group's ventures are located. In the power sector, the 1,040MW coal-fired generators at Visakhapatnam are due to be commissioned later this year. The investment could be valued at USD 1.64 billion.
Back in Britain, Optare, the bus company the Hindujas rescued at the end of 2011, has been restored to health. Exports have started to Africa and Optare buses are also operating in Europe and North America. Anil Agarwal, Chairman of Vedanta, is listed number 3 in the list with a fortune worth 3 billion, down 200 million pounds from 2012.
Naresh Goyal, Chief of Jet Airlines, is 12th in the list with a fortune worth 440 million, up 165 million pounds over 2012. Rami Ranger, winner of four consecutive Queen's Awards for enterprise in international trade between 2009 and 2012, is 42nd in the list with a fortune worth 125 million, up 32 million pounds over 2012.