NBR List: The top Kiwi wealth creators of 2021

Graeme Hart tops NBR's list again as New Zealand's wealthiest person.

The National Business Review (NBR) estimates Hart's net worth at $11 billion, up from an estimated $10 billion in 2019.

Released on Monday, The NBR List reveals the top 10 Kiwi wealth creators for 2021. Following COVID-19, the former 'NBR Rich List' has been revamped and the word 'rich' has been dropped. Focusing on profit and purpose, The NBR List 2021 ranks Kiwis on more than just how many dollars they have to their name. It includes 100 people and families who are building companies, growing the country's wealth, providing jobs and giving back.

Talking to The AM Show on Monday, NBR list editor Maria Slade said in the wake of COVID-19 the list had a few changes.

In previous years, the only financial threshold was $50 million in wealth. This year's list features 100 Kiwis and is divided into five industry groups: property, make and sell, investment, agribusiness and tech and services.

"What used to happen is the property guys used to really dominate because they are just so wealthy, so there's quite a lot of property people who haven't made it," Slade explained.

Among the noteworthy additions to the list is Rocket Lab founder Peter Beck. The upcoming float on Rocket Lab in the US has an estimated value of $560 million.

Bernie and Kay Crosby, founders of Hamilton-based Prolife Foods (Alison's Pantry, Mother Earth and Donovan's Chocolate), have also made the list. Other newcomers include Jonny Hendriksen, founder of video ad company Shuttlerock and brothers Chris and Stephen Harris, who sold their gaming studio Ninja Kiwi for $270 million in March.

Jucy founders the Alpe family have dropped off the list. The business went into receivership in November and the assets were sold to Colin Neal's Polar Capital.

Following are The NBR List's top 10 wealth creators for 2021, including the industry they're in and estimated net worth.

  1. Graeme Hart - Investment (Rank Group - packaging, wood products and building supplies industries): $11 billion.
  2. Todd family- Investment (Todd Corporation - energy, Todd Digital): $4.3 billion.
  3. Goodman family - Property (Goodman Group): $3.1 billion.
  4. Mowbray family - Make and sell (Zuru Group - toys and consumer products): $2.5 billion.
  5. Sir Michael Friedlander - Property (Samson Corporation, Sterling Nominees): $2 billion.
  6. Rod Drury - Tech and Services (Xero founder): $1.95 billion.
  7. Talley family - Agribusiness (Talley's Group): $1.2 billion.
  8. Sir Robert Jones - Property: $1.1 billion.
  9. Bruce Plested Tech and Services (Mainfreight): $1.02 billion.
  10. Jim and Rosemari Delegat - Agribusiness (Delegat Group wines): $1.01 billion.

Graeme Hart ranked number one

NBR estimates Hart's net worth at $11 billion, up from an estimated $10 billion in 2019.

Having left Mt Roskill Grammar school on his 15th birthday, Hart worked as a tow truck driver and panel beater before starting his first business at age 18, the NBR reports.

After owning a small printing business, he bought the Government Printing Office in 1990, before moving to Burns Philp, Goodman Fielder and Carter Holt. Now in his mid-60's, the businessman has built his fortune in the packaging and building supplies industries.

Hart is a shareholder of Rank Group Holdings Limited (Rank Group Limited), a privately held investment company for pactiv evergreen, Reynolds Consumer Products, Carter Holt Harvey Woodproducts and Graham Packaging.

In 2018, Hart reportedly donated $10 million to Otago University for a new dental school. He and his wife, Robyn support various philanthropic causes including Starship Hospital, Children of Fiji, and children of Pine Ridge Indian reservation in South Dakota, the NBR said.

The transactions which led to Hart amassing his $11 billion fortune could be seen as the culmination of a "highly leveraged acquisition strategy," the NBR said.

For many years, Hart's equity in Reynolds group was less than its debt - in December 2019, Reynolds carried debt of US$10.6 billion and its net equity was US$2 billion. After a decade of private ownership, in January 2020, Hart took most of the Reynolds packaging group public.

The initial public offering (IPO) raised US$1.2 billion at US$26 per share, leaving Hart with a 77 percent stake worth US$4 billion at the offer price. In the second IPO in September, Reynolds aimed to raise US$800 million ($1.2 billion) to repay $1.385 billion of debt. According to NBR, the offer raised US$574 million, valuing Hart's controlling stake held through Rank Group at US$1.88 billion.

Hart is said to own a considerable property portfolio, including land on Waiheke Island, houses in Auckland, a holiday home in Closeburn near Queenstown and Eori, a private island in Fiji. A superyacht, Ulysses, held through Cayman Islands company Felham Enterprises and a Gulfstream G650ER executive jet, complete the package.

Other notable achievements by Kiwis among the top 10 on The NBR List for 2021 are below.

Zuru Group bounces back after COVID-19

Siblings Nick, Ana and Matt run toy and consumer product maker Zuru Group, ranking fourth on The NBR List. Based in Hong Kong, the business reportedly suffered mass disruption and lost sales in February, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite this, NBR estimates annual sales to be upwards of $1 billion over the year, with growth up around a third on 2019. The family reportedly supports a number of charities, including Starship, Unicef, the Salvation Army, Kids Can and Foodbank, along with various causes in China.

Talley's Group recognised among New Zealand's largest food processors

Ranked seven on The NBR List, Talley's Group is among New Zealand's largest food processors, including seafood, frozen vegetables, potato products, icecream, meat and dairy products.

Founded in 1936 by Ivan Peter Talijancich (Ivan Talley) and based in Motueka, Talley's employs around 7500 staff. A takeover of Singapore's Olam International earlier this year saw Talley's increase its share of Open Country Dairy to around 92 percent. The whole milk powder exporter reported revenue of NZ$1.6 billion in the 2020 financial year. It's also expanded its ice cream business, having bought the Deep South brand from Synlait Milk in October 2020.

Talley's delivered frozen vegetables to the Salvation Army to help families during COVID-19. It also supports Snowden's Bush Trust, aimed at preserving native lowland bush in the Waimea Plains.

Coming in last of the top 10, Delegat Group sold a record number of cases of wine during COVID-19. In the year to June 30, 2020, 3.3 million cases of Delegat wines were sold, up 9 percent, making it New Zealand's number one wine exporter.