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 last 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.
Naresh Goyal, chief of Jet Airways is 19th in the list with a wealth of 275 million pounds, down 150 million pounds from last year, while Kartar Lalvani, founder chairman of Vitabiotics and his son Tej Lalvani are 30th in the list with a fortune of 155 million pounds, up 5 million pounds from last year.
ArcelorMittal's Chairman and CEO Mittal was quoted saying "We have to recognise that the global economy is still in a fragile state, particularly in the developed world.
"Although China is clearly the current star of the economic show, other growth regions such as India, South America, Africa and the Middle East are also very relevant."
Meanwhile, reports said, "recession or no recession, the Hindujas are not ones to stand still. In January this year, they took a controlling stake in Optare, a British bus maker."
The deal involves Ashok Leyland increasing its holding in Optare to 75.1 per cent.
The Hinduja group's activities are many and varied. For example, Hinduja Leyland Finance, which has over 400 branches across 19 Indian states, focuses on financing the entire range of automobiles and construction equipment.
That includes everything from commercial vehicles to three wheelers, tractors and cars.
Hinduja Group's Gul Oil, which promotes itself as "Your local global brand" has blending plants for its lubricants in India, Argentina, China, the Philippines and the United Arab Emirates.
There are several other companies - Defiance Technologies Ltd, Hinduja Global Solutions, IndusInd Media & Communications Ltd, Hinduja Healthcare Surgical and Hinduja Realty Venture Ltd - which indicate that the family's global reach is extensive.
"This represented something of a departure for Srichand Hinduja and his brother, Gopi, who run their worldwide empire from London but who had previously not actually established any manufacturing or assembly businesses inside the United Kingdom. Now, all that seems to be changing", the report said.