Hit by the global recession NRI entrepreneur Lakshmi N Mittal is expected to have lost over £23.5 billion ($34.55 billion) and is reportedly exiting some of the non-core joint ventures and scaling down investment in some of the core projects.
The steel czar has lost about 23.5 billion pounds in the last one year alone, The Daily Telegraph newspaper reported, quoting the 'Sunday Times Rich List', which is to be published tomorrow.
Mittal, the richest man in the UK, has seen his wealth plunging to 9.5 billion pounds from 33 billion pounds last year.
Reports said Mittal is exiting some of the oil properties it has purchased jointly with India's Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) in Kazakhstan to tide over the severe financial crisis following the current econimic slowdown. (See: Mittals may pull out of JV with ONGC).
The government of Kazakhstan had allotted a 25 per cent stake in Satpayev block to ONGC Mittal Energy Ltd (OMEL) - the joint venture company of ONGC and Mittal Investments Sarl (MIS), Mittal's holding company - for $400 million.
MIS is in discussions with ONGC to sell its stake in the venture. This will result in ONGC investing an additional $200 million against its earlier share of $204 million in the Satpayev exploration block..
According to analysts if MIS does not participate in the project, OVL will take the project in its own or its wholly owned affiliate's name in which case its investment will be $400 million for 100 per cent share.
Earlier, the ONGC board approved for a 90-day extension to carry out due diligence with a view to acquire 50 per cent of Mittal's holding in the Caspian Investment Resources Ltd (CIRL), which has equity in five Kazakh oil fields.
CIRL was acquired by Mittal's in 2007 from the Russian firm Lukoil for $980 million.
His flag ship Arcelor Mittal has, meanwhile, delayed the completion of two new integrated steel plants in Orissa and Jharkhand by around two years to 2014.
Besides Mittal, the other major losers were Romans Abramovich, owner of Chelsea football club (down from pound 15 billion to pound 9.6 billion); Charles Dunstone, the Carphone Warehouse founder, whose pound 904 million stake in the firm is now worth around a third of that and Sir Richard Branson, the Virgin Airlines boss, whose pound 2.7 billion fortune has been cut in half, according to the report.