Watch out Carlos Slim Helu and Bill Gates, a woman may soon beat you both!
Nearly 20 years ago, a young Australian woman inherited a debt-ridden mining company from her father. Gina Rinehart, a widow with 4 children, described that when Hancock Prospecting was passed to her, it was in shambles, close to bankrupt, and was left with “substantial debts and liabilities” and no “inherited money”. To make matter worse, her stepmother, Rose Porteous, fought her in court for 14 years to control Hancock assets, draining away the much-needed cash on expensive legal fees.
After settling the court case and with company assets secured, Gina rapidly move to develop Hancock’s undeveloped iron deposits and turning them into operating mines. As the company did not have a lots of money, she resorted to partnering with more established mining corporations, who would fund the construction of mines on her mining lands, but share a 50% profits from all the mining operations after that.
With the profits and new cash flow coming in, Gina used the money to develop more of the company deposits, with this time the company making the entire 100% out from it. After 20 years, Gina successfully turned Hancock Prospecting into the world’s fifth largest mining company, not only that, she becomes the richest person in Australia.
The World’s Richest Person May Soon Be a Woman
Gina Rinehart, a mining mogul from Australia, is perched to overtake Bill Gates and Carlos Slim as the world’s wealthiest individual.
Rinehart inherited her father’s mining business - Hancock Prospecting - in 1992 after his death. At the time, she was 38, widowed, and caring for four children. As executive chairman of the HPPL (Hancock Prospecting Pty Ltd) group of companies, she has grown it into a massive iron ore empire and accumulated personal wealth of roughly $10 billion Australian dollars, making her the wealthiest person in Australia (1 Australian Dollar = 1.08 US Dollar as of current rate)
A recent Citigroup Global Markets analysis projected that Rinehart’s wealth could escalate to $100 billion.
Gina Rinehart and Rio Tinto Iron ore department boss Sam Walsh on her mining lands. Rio Tinto agreed to fund the mines development which cost $2 billion, for 50% stake of the project.
Citigroup, the third largest banking corporation in the US, said in its analysis that Rinehart personal net worth is as high as it is due in large part to the fact that she owns her group of companies outright, with no shareholders. The analysis positioned Hancock Prospecting as the fifth largest mining company, but it is owned entirely by an individual, Gina Rinehart. Bill Gates own only approximately 6.9% of Microsoft, the world’s largest software company, while Carlos Slim Helu own around 44.8% of America Movil, the world’s fourth largest wireless communication company.
Rising iron ore prices and the ravenous Chinese market doubled Gina’s net worth last year. She however, has no intention of resting on her laurels, regardless of where she ranks on Forbes’ billionaire list. She is expanding Hancock Prospecting into coal mining, having recently completed a trial coal extraction from a test pit she funded, the first step in pioneering a new industry of exporting thermal coal.
“For the cost of building this trial mine alone, I could have bought myself a beautiful new private jet,” she told an audience who had assembled for the inaugural coal extraction. "But you’ve seen those trucks and shovels out there. Who would be paying the wages of these contractors if I had spent that on a luxurious private jet and two pilots?
“Indeed… I could have dotting for myself one or two beautiful yachts like many of my friends have and employed six or more yacht crew and taken off. But the continuing interest of the company is more of my concerns”.
Unlike Mr Gates and others in the billionaires club, Ms Rinehart’s name is little-known around the world. She shuns publicity and is rarely seen on Australia’s social circuit. In her few public appearances she resembles a well heeled rancher’s wife more than a fabulously wealthy businesswoman.
Gina is currently working on three gigantic coal and iron ore projects, which are set to begin production soon.
After viewing the Citigroup research, SmartCompany, an Australian business website, said: "If Rinehart was a company listed on the (Australia Stock Exchange) and valued using the same 11-times price-to-earnings ratio as her partner, Rio Tinto, she would be worth $US30bn, putting her in the top 10 of the Forbes rich list.
"But it is indeed possible to see Rinehart’s portfolio of coal and iron ore production spinning off annual profits approaching $US10bn, with three new mega-mines she is working on set to open soon, the company, already the world’s fifth-largest mining firm, could be worth more than triple that much, giving her a “personal net worth valuation of more than $US100bn”, it said.
Ms Rinehart’s seems to hate it when she is described as an “heiress”, and she insists that the company was near bankrupted when it got to her and she turned the company into what it is today.
She married twice, first to Greg Hayward, a taxi driver, with whom she had a son and daughter, and then to Frank Rinehart, an American lawyer. They had twin daughters before he died in 1990.
The current world’s wealthiest woman is Christy Walton, who holds assets worth $52 billion. She is widow of Wal-Mart heir, John Walton.