Industry big guns named on AFR’s Rich List

25 May, 2018 by Andy Young

The Australian Financial Review has published its 2018 Rich List and once again several industry big guns have been named in the top 200.

While Anthony Pratt and family remain at the top of the list with a net worth of $12.90bn, TheShout has scouted through the top 200 to find those with links to Australia’s liquor and hospitality industry – and while there are some of the same faces in the list, there are a couple of new entries who have made quite the impact.

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Len Ainsworth & family – $4.02bn – the pokie industry has proved very lucrative for Ainsworth, after he founded Aristocrat in the 1950’s, which went on to dominate the market in NSW. Following a false cancer diagnosis in 1994 he gave up his interest in Aristocrat and went on to establish Ainsworth Game Technology (AGT). Despite having recently sold his share in AGT to Austria’s Novomatic, the 94-year-old Ainsworth said he had no plans to retire.

Lindsay Fox – $3.56bn – The transport and trucking magnate’s company Linfox bought the beverage logistics group BevChain in September last year, making him a key part of the industry. The warehousing and distribution company delivers in excess of 2.5 billion serving units to the liquor industry every year, calling on 25,000 delivery points each week.

Marc Besen & family – $2.40bn – The Sussan Group has been the basis of Besen’s fortune and last year it sold its stake in Melbourne’s Highpoint shopping centre for $680m. While property is key for Besen, he also owns the TarraWarra Estate winery in the Yarra Valley, which is particularly known for its Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

Bruce Mathieson – $1.18bn – Mathieson owns 25 per cent of the ALH pubs business, which includes the largest number of pokies in the country – the remaining 75 per cent of the business is owned by Woolworths. The AFR states that ALH made a $206m net profit in 2017 and generated $4.3bn in revenue.

Sandy Oatley & family – $1.07bn – Oatley and his family inherited its wealth from Bob Oatley, who the AFR describe as “a sailing, wine and tourism legend”. Having established Rosemount Estate in 1969, Oatley sold the business to Treasury Wine Estate in 2001 for $1.4bn. The family’s holdings still include the Robert Oatley Vineyards business including the Robert Oatley, Wild Oats and Four in Hand brands.

Chris Morris – $1.02bn – Morris is a director and major shareholder in Computershare, but it’s his Colonial Leisure Group (CLG) which ties him to the industry. CLG has venues in Western Australia, Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales, a diverse range of hospitality experiences including brewing, pubs, gaming, restaurants and resorts.

Justin Hemmes & family – $951m – While Hemmes falls just short of a billion-dollar listing in the Rich List, it is his debut in the list and caps and incredible rise of the Merivale Group. With more than 70 venues and brands in pubs, hotels and restaurants across Sydney, Merivale has added a number of new venues in recent times including The Newport, the Tennyson Hotel and The Collaroy, which only recently re-opened its doors after an extensive renovation.

Theo Karedis – $737m – Having established the Theo’s Liquor chain, Karedis sold to Coles in 2002 for $175m in cash and shares. That helped Karedis to establish the Arkadia private property group which now owns three hotels and 16 retail and homemaker centres across the east coast of Australia.

John Singleton – $534m – Although Singleton made his fortune in advertising he has gone on to making a number of investments across different industries including radio, horse-breeding and pubs. Although his Australian Pub Fund venture with former Qantas boss Geoff Dixon has sold a number of its pubs recently, Singleton does still have holdings in a number of venues.

Arthur Laundy – $506m – Another pub operator on the Rich List, Laundy Hotels is the biggest independent hotel operator in New South Wales. The group was established by Laundy’s father in 1945 and now has a portfolio of 20 pubs, hotels and bottleshops across Greater Sydney and regional New South Wales.