Nicola Forrest Will Become Australia’s 2nd Richest Woman Following Her Divorce from Billionaire Andrew Forrest

Andrew and Nicola Forrest, Australia’s wealthiest couple, have divorced after more than three decades of marriage, but they claim the split will not impair their combined business or humanitarian interests.

The majority of their fortune stems from their ownership of more than one-third of iron ore miner Fortescue, which is aiming to diversify into hydrogen production.

According to Forbes, Andrew Forrest, the executive chair of Fortescue, is one of the world’s 100 wealthiest persons, worth $20.3 billion. When the fortune is divided, Nicola Forrest will be Australia’s second-richest woman, trailing only iron mining mogul Gina Rinehart.

In a joint statement, the couple said they would continue to create and give away money to tackle community and global challenges.

“After 31 years of marriage, we have made the decision to live apart,” the pair said. “Our friendship and commitment to our family remains strong. There is no impact on the operations, control or direction of Fortescue, Minderoo or Tattarang.”

Minderoo is the Forrests’ charity organization, whereas Tattarang is an investing firm that also houses the bootmaker RM Williams.

The rich pair first announced the divorce to the Australian Financial Review in response to questions about a transaction that transferred Fortescue shares under Nicola Forrest’s ownership.

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Other recent modifications to the structure of the couple’s Fortescue holdings, as well as Minderoo’s philanthropic intentions, have occurred.

While the divorce will have an impact on Fortescue’s ownership shares, pledges of their commitment to the iron ore miner and other interests are intended to assuage investor fears.

When a major investor sells a large stake in a listed company, the share price would typically be depressed.

Vas Kolesnikoff, the head of research for Australia and New Zealand at governance firm Institutional Shareholder Services, said the separation appeared to be managed peacefully, with commercial and philanthropic interests maintained.

“No one knows how all this plays out, but it doesn’t seem like it’s a bayonets at 10 paces scenario,” Kolesnikoff said. “On the face of it, it’s not going to blow up.”

Influential couples have used various mechanisms to protect business interests when they separate.

When Jeff Bezos and MacKenzie Scott divorced in 2019, the Amazon founder kept the majority of the couple’s interests in the company, as well as full voting rights.

Fortescue shares were increasing in a robust market on Thursday, indicating that investors were not concerned.

In 2013, the Forrests were the first Australians to join the Giving Pledge, which was also signed by Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, and Elon Musk, to give away the majority of their money over their lifetimes.

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