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Lakshmi Mittal richest business tycoon in South Africa

world Updated: Dec 05, 2010 18:55 IST
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Indian steel magnet Lakshmi Mittal remains the richest business tycoon in South Africa for the sixth consecutive year despite hit hard by the global financial crisis.

Mittal heads the 'Rich List', a ranking of the 100 wealthiest businessmen in South Africa released here by the weekly Sunday Times, even though he is not living in South Africa.

Mittal's listed holdings of Rs 21.5 billion ($ 3.4 billion) in Arcelor-Mittal, which was born out of state-owned steel manufacturer Iscor, got him the top slot as the three richest men in South Africa remained unchanged from last year.

Mittal first provided technical assistance to turn the ailing Iscor around before buying it out in 2001 as he expanded his global steel empire.

The 'Rich List' is based on an analysis of holdings of all companies listed on the Johannesburg Securities Exchange, thus being only the South African portion of Mittal's wealth, as he has huge interests worldwide.

Last year, Mittal narrowly beat South African businessman Patrice Motsepe of African Rainbow Minerals, whose stake in listed companies was Rs 19.9 billion. Their nearest rival, Nicky Oppenheimer, narrowed the gap in his stake from just Rs 5.3 billion last year to Rs 10.7 billion in 2010.

Only three South African Indian businessmen made the list of 100, mostly at the bottom end. Ragavan Moonsamy dropped from 61 to 68 with holdings of Rs 339 billion; Mustaq Brey's Rs 227 billion got him the 96th position; and Harish Mehta was at 99th position with his Rs 216 billion.

With South Africa having largely survived the global economic crunch, the number of local billionaires almost doubled from 16 in 2009 to 31 this year.