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Hart holds on to richest man title

13:30 AEST Fri Jul 29 2011
Graeme Hart (Getty)
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From tow-truck driving to a regular name on Forbes list of international billionaires, one New Zealand packaging mogul has held on the top spot as our richest man.

Graeme Hart has taken out the National Business Review’s Rich List with a fortune estimated at $6.5 billion, up from $5.5 billion in 2010.

Having purchased Pactiv Corporation for US$4.6 billion (NZ$5.3 billion), Graham Packaging for US$1.68 billion (NZ $1.4 billion) and Dopaco for US$398.1 million (NZ $459.2 million), Hart has in turn added one billion dollars to his ever-growing bank account.

Venturing out from the packaging industry and into the automative sector has been a recent endeavour for Hart, also acquiring UCI auto parts and Consumer Products Group (CPG) from Honeywell for US$605 million (NZ$697.6 million) and US$950 million (NZ $1.095 billion) respectively.

Despite Hart topping the list for the ninth time in 10 years, Richard Chandler isn’t far behind, having almost tripled his wealth and coming in at second place with his $4 billion fortune. The Todd family remains a steady third after having maintained their estimated wealth of $2.7 billion dollars for both 2010 and 2011.

Now in its 25th year, the NBR Rich List documents the fluctuating fortunes of our country’s richest people, with individuals and groups qualifying when surpassing the $50 million mark.

Of the 151 featured on this year’s list are six billionaires, 41 families, 99 men, seven business partner and four women.