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UK entrepreneur Reuben brothers to become richest in country

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Billionaire UK entrepreneurs the Reuben brothers are fast catching up with the Duke of Westminster as the nation’s richest property tycoons, testing the dominance of inherited property wealth on a UK rich list.

David and Simon Reuben retained their second position in the annual Estates Gazette Rich List with a 5.4-billion-pounds ($8.6 billion) fortune in 2010, again being pipped for the top spot by the Duke, whose purse totalled 6.8 billion pounds.

In 2010, the Reubens’ wealth rose by 2.1 billion pounds on the back of an upwards valuation of their data-centre company, Global Switch, which is expected to fetch 2.75 billion pounds in a possible 2011 flotation, the rich list showed on Saturday.

They also own part of racecourse owner Arena Leisure and made their fortune in the 1990s, trading metals in Russia.

The Duke’s portfolio of property in London, the northern UK and Canada, meanwhile, rose by a more sedate 300 million pounds, the rich list showed.

Overall, the richest 250 people in the UK owned 72 billion pounds worth of property in 2010, up 3 billion from 2009, but well below the 98 billion pounds seen in 2007, before the global financial crisis set in, the list showed.

UK commercial property values have booked compound gains totalling 15.9 percent since August 2009, when the market began its climb back after a two-year downturn, data from Investment Property Databank showed this month.

Earl Cadogan, with a 2.5 billion pound estate in west London, rounded out the top trinity, followed by Topland Group’s Eddie & Sol Zakay with 1.9 billion pounds, and Ellerman Investments’ Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay with 1.8 billion pounds.

“Property’s elite have been battered by the credit crunch and recession, but the latest list shows the resilience of fortunes built on good quality assets, which are now recovering their lost value,” said Julia Cahill, editor of the rich list

Investors and developers focussed on the Irish property market were among the year’s losers, however, as that country’s battered property market offset recoveries in other markets.

Irish racing tycoon John Magnier — famed for once holding a 227-million-pound stake in UK soccer club Manchester United jointly with JP McManus — saw his assets fall 20 million pounds in value to 540 million.

The Estates Gazette Rich List’s Top Five:

Name(s) 2010 2009

1. Duke of Westminster 6.8 bln 6.5 bln

2. David & Simon Reuben 5.4 bln 3.3 bln

3. Earl Cadogan & Family 2.5 bln 2.0 bln

4. Eddie & Sol Zakay 1.9 bln 1.5 bln

5. Sir David & Sir Frederick Barclay 1.8 bln 1.0 bln
Source: Reuters

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