19/06/2007 - 22:00

Rinehart, Stowe make their mark

19/06/2007 - 22:00

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Perth is home to some of Australia’s biggest private fortunes, but having a lot of money does not always equate to having influence.

Perth is home to some of Australia’s biggest private fortunes, but having a lot of money does not always equate to having influence.

Take the children of iron ore pioneers, Lang Hancock and Peter Wright.

Mr Wright’s children, including Angela Bennett and Michael Wright, are best known for an ostentatious mansion in Mosman Park and for legal fights over their money.

Mr Hancock’s daughter, Gina Rinehart, has also had more than her fair share of legal fights but her attention is now focused on building a large mining business.

Her company, Hancock Prospecting, is developing the Hope Downs iron ore mine in a joint venture with Rio Tinto Ltd and is planning to develop more mines on its lucrative tenements, which is likely to make Ms Rinehart an influential player in the state’s mining industry.

The Griffin Group chairman Rick Stowe shuns the limelight but that could become more difficult as his group expands.

Griffin’s core business is coal mining but in future it is likely to be earning a lot more from its power generation business.

With project developers unable to secure large supplies of gas for new projects, Griffin’s coal-fired Bluewaters power station is well placed to win big contracts, and could become the major new supplier of baseload power in Western Australia.

Kerry Stokes is one of WA’s wealthiest and most influential people and his influence could extend further if Seven Network makes a move on West Australian Newspapers Holdings Ltd.

Mr Stokes is the chairman and major shareholder of Seven, which acquired just more than 15 per cent of WAN earlier this year following the relaxation of cross-media laws.

He also has extensive private business interests through his company, Australian Capital Equity, which among other things owns Caterpillar dealerships in WA, NSW and China.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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