Rich Greek Aussies top BRW list

While mining magnate Gina Rinehart tops the list, Con Makris is still the richest Greek Australian with a $900 million fortune

Rich Greek Aussies top BRW list

Kerry Harmanis

27 May 2013

Adelaide businessman Con Makris is the richest Greek Australian according to the BRW Top 200 Rich List, while another six Greeks have made the list.
At number 40 on the list, Mr Makris made his estimated $900 million fortune from property investments, but started off in humble beginnings. Like many migrants, Mr Makris started in retail ventures, buying fish and chip shops and grocery stores but then moved on to shopping centres.
While the number seems high, it has been falling for quite some time. In 2011, the Makris family had amassed more than $1.07 billion and became the first Greek Australian billionaires, then fell last year to $910 million.
BRW predicts the number will keep falling if his ventures continue to stagnate.
“While Makris has done well with his shopping centre investments, his development pipeline has stalled in the past few years,” BRW writes.
“A residential estate and shopping centre in Victor Harbor has languished for so long its permits ran out. A CBD-fringe property, once a furniture shop, has been empty since 1989 and Makris has owned it since 2001.”
No surprise that mining magnate Gina Rinehart topped the list again, with a fortune estimated at $22 billion.
But this is the first year her fortune has dropped considerably since its high in 2012 with more than $29 billion in her pocket. A whopping $19 million per day gets wiped off her fortune, showing the resources boom could be cooling. The drop has also bumped her off the world’s richest woman title, while her lengthy and bitter court battle with her children might cut a big chunk of her fortune soon.
Barrister turned miner Kerry Harmanis is the second richest Greek Australian, coming in at number 80 with an estimated net worth of $590 million. At $570 million last year, the Perth local has boosted his total with sound investments in property, shares and his mining ventures. He made $500 million selling his nickel business Jubilee Mines to Xstrata in 2007, but doesn’t take the mining tycoon title well. He’s known for being very low key, plays the mandolin and surfs a lot.
Ten points down, at number 90 is Sydney’s Theo Karedis, who has steadily been increasing his fortune after selling his own liquor stores to consortium Coles Myer in 2002 for $175 million.
The well-noted Harry Stamoulis is the 93rd richest Australian, sitting on $480 million, up from $445 million last year. Inheriting his father’s riches after selling the soft drinks company Gold Medal to Cadbury’s in 2004, the family now invests in property and has slowly increased their net worth. This year, Mr Stamoulis applied for a permit to build 258 triple-storey townhouses in the re-zoned Fishermans Bend precinct of Port Melbourne while his $24 million dollar house is still being built.
The family have been very active members of the Greek community, setting up the Hellenic museum while funding many Greek language newspapers and radio stations.
Another family not on the list is the Paspaley family, who still privately own their pearling business in Darwin. The family is estimated at a fortune over $900 million with their ventures into aviation, fishing, retail and hotels also making them a considerable profit.
Back on the list at number 131 is car dealership magnate Nick Politis. With a $360 million fortune, the 71-year-old made his first rich list appearance in 1987 and stayed till 2006.
“Politis’s wealth has been boosted by the continuing strong performance of listed car dealership AP Eagers,” BRW says.
Greek-born Australian George Koukis made the list at 153, with a fortune of $320 million, up $5 million from last year. The banking software he founded in 1993 amassed him his fortune, now his company Temenos is worth $3 billion.
Last to make it on the list is Greek Australian Spiros Alysandratos. From Kefalonia, the travel businessman fell into the industry after failing to find a discounted flight back to Europe. Now his company, Consolidated Travel, provides wholesale ticketing services for travel agencies while looking after the back office operations of a string of foreign airlines.
BRW reports that the overall value of Australia’s wealthiest 200 fell by $4.4 billion to a total of $176.8 billion.

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