Saturday, April 5, 2008

Australia's richest lose $5b in 3 months

Ten of Australia's richest businesspeople have lost $5 billion between them over the past three months due to the global financial upheaval.

Some of the executives have recorded losses on paper of up to half of their fortunes, New Limited newspapers report.

Australia's richest man, Andrew Forrest, has recorded the biggest losses, having watched his share in Fortescue Metals fall by $1.01 billion.

However, the miner's fortune is still valued at more than $7 billion.

The portfolio of the nation's second richest man, James Packer, performed slightly better, with his paper losses for the first quarter of 2008 estimated to be about $600 million.

This has largely been due to the decreasing share price of the Packer-based Challenger Financial Services.

Retail giant Gerry Harvey's shareholdings have dropped in value by $900 million while Frank Lowy's shareholdings have fallen by $439 million.

Seven Network boss Kerry Stokes' shares have lost $308 million in value.

Meanwhile Olympic legend Herb Elliot faces the loss of half his $40-million fortune after becoming the highest-profile casualty of the collapse of stockbroker Opes Prime.

The Weekend Australian reports Mr Elliot has lost control of half of his 5.5 million shares in Fortescue Metals Group worth about $20 million.

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