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UK list names Swraj Paul as 2nd richest Indian

May 08, 2007 18:13 IST

NRI industrialist Lord Swraj Paul is the second richest British Asian with business interests largely based in the UK, next only to Mike Jatania, head of the Lornamead cosmetics group.

According to a new Asian rich list brought out by The Daily Telegraph on Tuesday, Lord Paul, chairman of the Caparo Group, is worth 750 million pounds. The list includes people with companies based in the UK, who do all, or a significant amount, of their business in London.

Wealthy Indians based in the UK but whose business interests are largely overseas are excluded -- hence the absence of steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal and the financial services business of the Hinduja brothers.

Lord Paul, who is also an active member of the House of Lords, 'came to the UK in 1966 and founded Caparo, a private diversified, UK-based group specialising principally in the manufacture and supply of steel and engineering products for industry,' the report said.

The majority of people in the list are true 'rags to riches' stories like Mike Jatania and his three brothers, who run cosmetics giant Lornamead and top the list for the fifth year running. They came to Britain from Uganda in 1969 when Asians were expelled from that country by dictator Idi Amin. Mike Jatania and family are worth 850 million pounds.

Vijay and Bhikhu Patel, who are worth 500 million pounds have been placed third. The Patel brothers arrived in the UK from Kenya when Vijay was just 16. They now head Waymade Healthcare, a wholesale pharmaceuticals business.

In an attempt to build the Asian Glaxo, the brothers have created a subsidiary, Amdipharm, which aims to develop and launch new drugs.

Gulu Lalvani and family (450 million pounds) have been listed as the fourth richest British Asian. Karachi-born Lalvani is the founder and Chairman of Binatone, one of the world's largest manufacturers of digital cordless phones.

Lalvani founded Binatone in Britain in 1958 with his brother Partap, naming it after their sister, Bina.

Other British Asians figuring in the rich list are Jasminder Singh, luxury hotel boss (360 million pounds); Tom Singh, founder of New Look, the third largest womens-wear retailer (350 million pounds); Ramesh and Pratibha Sachdev, founder of Life Style Care (350 million pounds); Sir Anwar Pervez and family, cash and carry supermarket king (250 million pounds); Firoz Kassam, hotels and leisure magnate (240 million pounds); and Navin and Varsha Engineer, pharmaceuticals business (220 million pounds).

Nat Puri, Nottingham's richest man who built Melton Medes Group into a business empire in packaging paper is the 13th richest (130 million pounds).

According to the rich list, the Asian influence on British business is staggering. From the entrepreneurial types such as the Jatania brothers to Vodafone Chief Executive Arun Sarin at the helm of a FTSE 100 company, and now Asian companies stalking their European rivals, this vast continent is making its presence felt at every level of UK.

H S Rao in London
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