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Last Updated:  Wednesday, 12 March, 2003, 14:36 GMT
Steel baron heads Asian Rich List
Lakshmi Mittal
Mr Mittal still tops the list
Lakshmi Mittal, the steel baron billionaire, has held on to his top spot in the Asian Rich List for the third year in a row.

Mr Mittal - who caused controversy with a 125,000 donation to the Labour Party last year - is now worth a reported 1.31bn ($2.1bn), 140m more than his estimated value a year ago.

The Rich List is produced by the Asian Xpress newspaper and records the growing wealth of Asians living in the UK.

Among the new entries are two women. Gurinder Chadha, director of the Bend It Like Beckham film, and Meera Syal, who directed Bombay Dreams and the BBC 2 series The Kumars at No 42. Both valued at 4.1m.

Controversial donors

Notable absentees from the list were the Hinduja brothers, last year's other controversial high-ranking Asians rated number two on the list.

Lashmi Mittal, LNM Group 1.31bn
Jatania Family, Lornamead International 570m
Vijay & Bhikhu Patel, Waymade Healthcare 350m
Jasminder Singh Family, Edwardian Group 350m
Tom Singh, New Look 250m
Chandaria Family, Comcraft 200m
Sir Anwar Pervez, Bestway 167m
Gulu Lalvani, Binatone 150m
Asian Xpress said the brothers had moved their money back to India after losing their costly battle for British citizenship - despite a 1m donation to the Millennium Dome project which cost Peter Mandelson his job.

Mr Mandelson was forced to resign as Northern Ireland secretary after he admitted giving the brothers passports shortly after the donation.

The brothers are replaced by another family, Lornamead cosmetics owners the Jatania brothers.

Their wealth is estimated at 570m, thanks to their successful strategy of acquiring and reviving smaller groups which are doing less well.

Shrinking value

But wealthy Asians are not immune to a slowing economy, it appears.

The overall value of the list has shrunk from 9.4bn in 2002 to 8.9bn, despite 71 new millionaires making an entry.

The biggest casualty was Lord Swarj Paul, the Labour peer whose steel company Caparo Industries reported a loss of 175m.

Among those remaining immune to a downturn were Tom Singh, founder of the New Look clothing chain, and Dinesh Dhamija of the travel group e-bookers.

But publisher Sarwar Ahmed said the list revealed the "amazing resilience" of the UK's Asian business community.

"Despite all the signs in the current climate signalling an economic slowdown, Asian millionaires are still battling it out."

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