RICH PICKINGS: Comeback kids

A year after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, some of our wealthy entrepreneurs are well and truly back in town. In fact, a handful of Australia's super rich have even increased the value of their holdings despite the downturn.

Meet the comeback kids. A year after the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the onset a global equity slump, a group of wealthy Australian investors including James Packer, Kerr Neilson and Gerry Harvey have managed to recoup their losses – and then some.

Every investor of super fund members knows Australia’s sharemarket has been on a rollercoaster over the last 12 months. Between October 1, 2008 and March 6, 2009, the ASX 200 plunged from 4794 to 3145, a fall of some 34.33 per cent.

Many of Australia’s wealthiest entrepreneurs were hit hard. James Packer’s portfolio (based around his stakes in Crown and Consolidated Media) shed more than $1.5 billion, while Fortescue Metal Group founder Andrew Forrest lost more than $2 billion, and China-based solar entrepreneur Shi Zhengrong (of Suntech Power) lost around $1.5 billion.

But those dark days are a fading memory. The ASX 200 is now back above 4800, about 0.3 per cent above where the index sat at the start of October last year.

And our wealthy entrepreneurs are well and truly back in town. In fact, the wealth of the nine rich list members below has increased by an average 40 per cent since October last year.

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