Irish billionaires see a sharp rise in their fortunes

Among the gainers are Denis O’Brien, Eugene Murtagh and Dermot Desmond

It has been a good year for Irish billionaires with a new ranking showing that most of them saw a rise in their fortunes.

Forbes’ Billionaires List, which ranks the richest people in the world, has expanded this year with 660 more people joining the list to take the world’s wealthiest list to an unprecedented 2,755 people.

The Republic's richest person is 91-year-old construction magnate, Pallonji Mistry, The Indian-born Irish citizen controls engineering business, Shapoorji Pallonji Group and holds a stake in Tata Sons, one of India's biggest businesses. He is worth $14.6 billion, putting him 140th on the Forbes list.

Stripe founders, Patrick (32) and John Collison (30), whose personal fortunes have both shot up to an estimated $9.5 billion each following a recent fundraise should be behind Mr Mistry in the rankings.

However, the list does not take note of their recent rise in fortune, estimating their net worth at a pre-funding round total of $3.2 billion apiece. This places the brothers in joint 956th place.

John Grayken (64), founder of Dallas, Texas-based private equity business, Lone Star Funds, an active investor in the Republic is at 327th with $7.6 billion, up from $7.4 billion a year earlier. Originally from Boston, Massachusetts, Mr Grayken became an Irish citizen in 1999.

The latest list shows entrepreneur Denis O’Brien’s net worth jumped significantly in the past year. The controversial businessman is at number 622 on its list with his fortune having risen from $2.9 billion in 2020 to $4.6 billion currently.

Mr O'Brien (62), who still runs and owns mobile operator Digicel, sold Communicorp in late February to Bauer in a €100 million-plus deal. That transaction followed Mr O'Brien's sale of his 29 per cent shareholding in Independent News & Media (INM) in 2019 and marked his exit from the Irish media market.

Campbell’s Soup heir

John Dorrance (77), heir to the Campbell's Soup fortune, is at 1205 with $2.6 billion, unchanged from last year. His grandfather, John T Dorrance invented Campbell's formula for condensed soup.

Mr Dorrance’s relatives are still the company’s largest shareholders, but he sold his 10.5 per cent stake in the nineties and moved to the Republic

John Armitage (60), the British-born founder and investment manager of Egerton Capital, whose wealth is also estimated $2.6 billion comes in at 1205th. He became an Irish citizen three years ago.

Kingspan founder Eugene Murtagh (78), is in 1262nd place with a $2.3 billion fortune, up from $1.4 billion in 2020.

Dermot Desmond (70), also makes the list again. He comes in at 1444 with a $2.2 billion net worth, up from $2 billion a year earlier.

The Forbes World’s Billionaires list is a snapshot of wealth using stock prices and exchange rates from March 5th, 2021.

The 2,755 billionaires included on this year’s list are worth a combined $13.1 trillion, up from $8 trillion in 2020.

Bezos and Musk

Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos retains the top spot on this year's ranking for the fourth consecutive year with a $177 billion fortune, while Elon Musk rocketed into the number two spot with $151 billion.

LVMH chief executive Bernard Arnault is third with his net worth totalling $150 billion. Rounding out the top five are Bill Gates ($124 billion) and Mark Zuckerberg ($97 billion).

The US still has the most billionaires with 724, followed by China (including Hong Kong and Macao) with 698.

This year’s list includes 328 female billionaires and 1,975 self-made ones.