15 Australia’s Newest Billionaires Revealed in Richest 250

This year, Australia had a record 159 billionaires, including newcomers to the wealthy elite such as Nicola Forrest, Australia’s second-richest woman, and Adrian Portelli, the “Lambo man”.

Many people may recognize names such as James Packer, Gina Rinehart, and Andrew Forrest.

Cryptocurrency gaming tycoons, lithium mining magnates, and the entrepreneurs behind well-known companies such as Chemist Warehouse, Kennard’s Hire, and 7-Eleven will also become billionaires for the first time by 2024.

1. Nicola Forrest – $37.17bn (with Andrew Forrest)

Nicola Forrest joins The List this year following the announcement of her separation from husband Andrew Forrest, founder and executive chairman of Fortescue Metals Group.

Her new distinct investment in Fortescue, which is held alone in her name while the remainder of the Forrest family fortune is owned jointly, is responsible for her participation on The List, despite the fact that the duo’s wealth is shared.

They also share equal ownership of the private Tattarang business empire, which includes cattle holdings and trademarks such as RM Williams.

2. Sam Gance – $3.26bn (with Jack Gance)

The Gance brothers had previously expanded their pharmacy holdings in Melbourne’s northern suburbs with the successful Le Specs eyewear and Le Tan sunscreen brands before forming a relationship with Mario Verrocchi in the Chemist Warehouse chain in 2000.

Chemist Warehouse is now going public through a reverse takeover of ASX-listed Sigma Pharmaceutical, with the Gance brothers maintaining a significant stake in the combined company. Sam Gance, whose partner is Real Housewives of Melbourne star Janet Roach, joins The List based on a proposed interest in the merged firm, which is expected to be completed later this year.

3. Tim Heath – $2.15bn

He grew up in Warracknabeal, Victoria, and played poker at Melbourne’s Crown Casino before moving overseas. Heath’s Yolo Group is now headquartered in Estonia, where it employs over 1000 people and plans to develop a $100 million casino and hotel complex for high rollers. It will be his latest gaming business, in addition to his gambling site Sportsbet.io. Heath began with an online poker website in 2013, which later became Bitcasino.io, a runaway success.

4. Chris Barlow & family – $1.95bn (with Russell Withers)

The Withers and Barlow families sold the 7-Eleven Australia convenience store chain, which began in 1977 with one store in the Melbourne suburb of Oakleigh, last November. It was acquired by its Japanese parent company, Seven & I Holdings. Barlow is the nephew of Withers, who founded 7-Eleven in Australia with his late sister Beverley Barlow. The two families continue to own Starbucks, an Australian coffee chain.

5. Dick Honan – $1.86bn

Documents filed with the corporate regulator late last year gave more information on the vast scale of Honan’s wheat processing and ethanol producing enterprise.

Last year, Manildra’s revenue reached $2.3 billion, and the company, which employs over 1150 people, had a net profit of approximately $203 million, increasing Honan’s estimated fortune significantly.

6. Craig & Ryan Sutton – $1.56bn

The massive Suttons car dealership firm was founded in the early 1940s by the late Frederick Sutton, grandfather of Craig and Ryan, who currently run the company following their father Laurie’s death last year. The firm is primarily centered in Sydney. Suttons’ revenue last year was $1.93 billion, and the company’s balance sheet included more than $1.2 billion in real assets.

7. Adrian Portelli – $1.30bn

Portelli enters The List with a wealth based on the value of his LMCT+ rewards club, real estate assets, and other interests. Portelli, a marketing and self-promotion expert, is most known for bidding at auction on houses auctioned in Nine Entertainment’s The Block TV renovation series. However, Portelli has a highly profitable business in LMCT+, which has over 100,000 customers, as well as property holdings along the eastern shore, investments in beverage startups, and a collection of expensive sports cars.

8. Marnie Lewis-Millar & Shay Lewis-Thorp – $1.19bn

The daughters of late property developer Bernard Lewis run the family company, which claims to be Australia’s longest privately owned property development group. Lewis property has developed over 20,000 residential property lots since its inception in 1957, including canals on the Gold Coast and residential subdivisions in outer Melbourne and Sydney.

9. Peter Smaller – $1.18bn

Smaller owns one of the largest privately held steel groupings in the country, which includes 26 companies that supply, process, and distribute steel products. According to documents filed with the corporate regulator, Southern Steel Group generated a net profit of $113 million on $1.85 billion in revenue in 2023. Southern Steel Supplies began operations in Wollongong in 1947.

10. Nick Wakim – $1.10bn

Wakim is the founder and majority owner of privately held Phoenix Lithium, which is looking for a partner and finance to develop a $US2 billion processing factory in California. He said it will extract and recover around 64,000 tonnes of battery-grade lithium carbonate per year beginning in 2030. Phoenix’s valuation accounts for the majority of Wakim’s wealth, but he also made headlines last year by purchasing over $150 million in Victorian property, including three houses in Melbourne’s Toorak.

11. Neville Crichton – $1.12bn

Crichton is apparently searching for a buyer or at least a partial departure from his massive car dealership business, which has been quickly expanding in recent years. He has considered an ASX offering for Ateco and has been quoted in media stories as considering proposals from wealthy overseas purchasers. For the time being, Crichton, who sold his first car to the prefect at his New Zealand high school when he was 13, still owns Ateco, which generated a $107 million net profit on $2.5 billion in revenue.

12. John & Michael Borg – $1.12bn

Borg Manufacturing is an underappreciated Australian success story. In 1989, the brothers established a small joinery business in their parents’ garage on the NSW Central Coast. The company now employs over 2200 people, producing cabinet doors, benchtops, panels, laminates, and other board goods. Its brands include Polytec, Crossmuller, Australian Panels, ReDirect Recycling, and Direct Pallets. Revenue is approaching $1 billion, and Borg Manufacturing earned a $102 million profit last year.

13. Roger Fletcher – $1.09bn

Fletcher is an agricultural industry legend who transformed his family’s business in Dubbo, central west New South Wales, into a global meat exporter. He even constructed his own train to transport his processed lamb and sheep from Dubbo to Sydney’s Port Botany for export. Fletcher Group has an annual sales of more than $1 billion, and its most recent records show a net profit of more than $100 million.

14. Dale Elphinstone – $1.09bn

Elphinstone began converting Caterpillar equipment for subterranean use in the shed of his father’s Burnie farm in 1975, and has since developed an Australian success story from Tasmania’s north. The Elphinstone Group currently manufactures and modifies mining trucks and equipment, and it has a contract to construct turrets and hulls for the Australian Army’s new Huntsman howitzers.

15. Andy Kennard & family – $1.05bn

Kennards Hire had another good year in 2023, its 75th year in business. The company made a $85 million net profit on a record $629 million in revenue, and owner Andy Kennard and his family received a $155 million payout. Kennard is the son of late founder Walter Kennard, who founded the business in 1948 in Bathurst after a customer sought to borrow a concrete mixer from his supply and machinery store. Walter stated that he would hire the mixer, and a business plan was formed.


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