The good times have clearly been rolling for New Zealand businessman Graeme Hart, who has rocketed 135 places up the Forbes rich list, surpassing the wealth of Richard Branson, Donald Trump and Giorgio Armani.
New Zealand's richest person - with a net worth now estimated at $US5.1 billion ($NZ6.3 billion) - is ranked No 201 on the American business magazine's latest list of world billionaires.
Mr Hart was the only New Zealander on last year's list, ranking at 336 and estimated to be worth $US2.7 billion.
This year, he is joined by three more New Zealanders, although they are in a more lowly position than Mr Hart.
Investment company-owning brothers Richard and Christopher Chandler have entered the list at No 707 with a mere $US1.7 billion, and Moscow-based investment banker Stephen Jennings has made it at No 1014, with $US1.1 billion.
The Chandler brothers, who ran investment portfolio Sovereign Global together for 20 years, went their separate ways amicably in late 2006 with each taking half the assets.
Richard Chandler's new venture, Orient Global, focuses on long-term investments in financial and social businesses. The fund recently donated to Sir Edmund Hillary's charitable foundation to support schools in Nepal.
Christopher Chandler's new investment company, Legatum, has invested heavily in India's beverage and financial services industries. He has also launched a venture to support aspiring entrepreneurs from developing countries.
The brothers, aged 48 and 49, were raised on a New Zealand farm by a Croatian mother and a father who once worked as a beekeeper before founding a department store.
Mr Hart, once a tow-truck driver, owns investment company Rank Group, which runs timber and paper business Carter Holt Harvey and food manufacturing company Burns Phillip.
The 52-year-old has a $20 million clifftop mansion in Auckland's Glendowie and a $100 million luxury motor yacht called Ulysses.
On this year's list, he is two places above Italian fashion designer Giorgio Armani, who has a net worth of $US5 billion, 35 places above aviation tycoon Sir Richard Branson, worth $US4.4 billion, and 167 places above real estate developer Donald Trump, who is worth $US3 billion.
American investor Warren Buffett tops the list with a net worth of $US62 billion, up $10 billion from last year.
The rise has put him ahead of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, who had been the richest man in the world for 13 years.
Gates is now worth $US58 billion and ranked third in the world.
source: newshub archive