Corona shoddily affecting world economy, “2019 was a challenging year”: Lord Zameer

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Nation special report

LONDON: The deadly coronavirus pandemic has not only caused huge human losses killing almost three million worldwide but has directly and shoddily affected world economy and the financial position of British billionaires changing their monetary status.

Britain’s wealthiest people have lost tens of billions of pounds in the coronavirus pandemic as their combined annual wealth fell for the first time in a decade, according to the Sunday Times report. It found the past two months had resulted in the super-rich losing £54 billion ($65bn, 60bn euros).

Lord Zameer Choudrey

The newspaper has published new rich list for 2020 placing Pakistani-origin British billionaire Sir Anwar Pervez, who founded the Bestway Group, slid to the 50th spot from his previous 42 after accruing losses of £432 million amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Rich List is a list of the 1,000 wealthiest people or families resident in the United Kingdom ranked by net wealth since 1989. More than half of the billionaires in Britain had seen drops in their worth by as much as £6bn, a decrease in their collective wealth unprecedented since 2009 and the financial crisis.

Inventor James Dyson bucked the trend to top the list for the first time, with an estimated wealth of £16.2bn. The paper credited his rise from fifth place in 2019 to both the strong performance of his businesses and the plummeting fortunes of other billionaires in the top 10.

The Hinduja brothers, who topped last year’s list with a £22bn fortune, saw among the biggest falls in worth — £6bn — and are now ranked jointly second with entrepreneurs David and Simon Reuben.

Jim Ratcliffe, boss of petrochemicals firm Ineos, who topped the rankings in 2018, also saw his worth slide by £6bn to £12.15bn.

Steel baron Lakshmi Mittal was another to see the steepest falls in his fortune — nearly £4bn — placing him 19th with a worth of £6.78bn. In total, the 2020 list calculated the combined wealth of Britain’s super-rich to be £743bn — £29bn less than last year.

Bestway Group strongly believes its continued success is determined by the quality of its people and their determination, experience and creativity. Its chairman Sir Anwar Pervez was knighted by the Queen in 1999 in recognition to his dedicated efforts for the service to humanity and huge success in business. He arrived in London from his hometown of Rawalpindi in the 1950s. Sir Anwar Pervez believes in honesty and hard working and always gives this message to others.

The Bestway Group has announced its financial results for the year ended 30th June 2019. The Group’s annual turnover increased 6.3% to £3.4 billion with all businesses profitable for the year under review. Group profit before tax decreased to £227.7 million as compared to £283.5 million in the previous year. The decline in profitability was primarily due to the challenging economic conditions in Pakistan as well as the impact of the rupee devaluation on conversion of results into pound sterling.

Lord Zameer Choudrey CBE SI Pk, the Group Chief Executive said: “2019 was a challenging year for Bestway Group as there was significant economic uncertainty within the geographies we operate in. However, despite these difficult business conditions all our businesses remained profitable.”

Bestway Group is committed to giving back to the communities it operates in through its charitable arm Bestway Foundation, as well as through its various subsidiaries. During the period under review, Bestway Group donated in excess of £2.5m to charitable causes predominantly focused on education and healthcare. Bestway Cement Limited and United Bank Limited, were also included in the Top 10 list of publicly listed companies in Pakistan with regards to charitable giving.

In changing situation, the number of billionaires dropped by four to 147 but London remains the billionaire capital of the world, with 89 born, living or with a significant chunk of their assets based in the city.