Lakshmi Mittal tops Asian Rich List

London: NRI steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal and his family continue to head the Asian Rich List-2012 despite their wealth coming down by 2 billion pounds at 13.5 billion pounds.

This is stated in the Asian Rich List, naming Britain`s `101 Wealthiest Asians 2012` and brought out by EasternEye, a publication of the Asian Media & Marketing Group (AMG).

The Rich List was officially released on Friday night by Ramniklal Solanki, CBE Editor-in-Chief, Asian Media & marketing Group in the presence of Keith Vaz, MP, at the Asian Business Awards ceremony.

The Hindujas, whose activities span from transport to oil, have seen their fortune improve further with a wealth of 9.5 billion pounds during the year, up 500 million pounds, to finish second in the list.

Anil Agarwal, Chairman of Vedanta Group, is third in the list with a fortune of 3.2 billion pounds, down 1.3 billion pounds, from last year.

Lord Swraj Paul, Chairman of Caparo and Chancellor of Westminster and Wolverhampton Universities, is 7th in the list with a wealth of 675 million pounds — up 75 million from last year.

According to the report, Lord Paul has looked into the future and what he sees is carbon fibre – or "composites" to use the correct technical term. Objects that are constructed today from steel could tomorrow be made from carbon fibre, Lord Paul said.

Lord Paul who has witnessed many a technical innovation in his 81 years, does not rule out such a possibility. "In future, I would not be surprised if it could be," he was quoted as saying. Lord Paul pointed out that "Airbus uses a lot of carbon fibre parts and so does the latest aircraft from Boeing – the 787".

Alongside innovation in new types of steel, he believes carbon fibre will increasingly take over in future.

Lord Paul, one of UK`s key manufacturers having a workforce of 2,500-3,000 at his plants, intends remaining in manufacturing, a strategic area that he feels too many others have abandoned in Britain.

Caparo makes steel strips that are turned into shaving blades by its customers. "We supply the shaving blade manufacturers – the steel has to be lasting and very, very thin. The blade makers cut it and make the blades. Every blade manufacturer wants a different specification," he said.

Caparo is in the business of making parts for cars, an area that has been a passion with his youngest son, Angad, Caparo`s chief executive officer. "We are big in automobile components – by and large, every car in Europe has come parts from us".

Lord Paul said: "Caparo steel products are also going into high tech – we make very fine wire for all sorts of purpose. We don`t make surgical equipment but we make strips for surgical equipment".

On India, where he employs 8,000 employees in 36 factories, Lord Paul said, "I don`t think there is a car which doesn`t have a component from us. We make tubes for fuel pipes for the cars, the conduits to carry electric wires – lots and lots of products, brakes for the car. For aeroplanes we make a lot of fuel carrying tubes that are made of steel and aluminium."

The Caparo T1, a racing car, has been made from carbon fibre. He said "A Chinese company took the licence from us to building Caparo T1 models."

According to the report, Caparo Industries has had a good year, despite selling some of its asset sin North America. The list consists of a large number Indian origin people.