Bloomberg Billionaires Index

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# 245 Graeme Hart $6.89B

Random fact: Rescued three people and a dog from their burning boat in 2007.

Overview

Hart is the owner of Rank Group, a New Zealand-based private-equity firm that invests through leveraged buyouts. The company's main divisions are Reynolds Group, which owns food packaging and consumer products businesses, and Carter Holt Harvey, a supplier of wood products and other building materials.

As of :
Last change +$38.5M ( +0.6%)
YTD change +$1.02B ( +17.3%)
Industry Finance
Biggest asset Reynolds Group
Citizenship New Zealand
Age 64
Wealth Self-made
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

Graeme Hart's net worth of $6.89B can buy ...

0
troy ounces of gold
0
barrels of crude oil

... and is equivalent to ...

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of the GDP of the United States
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of the total wealth of the 500 richest people in the world
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of the top 100 U.S. college endowments
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of the top 200 U.S. executives’ total awarded compensation
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of U.S. existing home sales
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times the median U.S. household income

Latest News

Net Worth Summary

Cash
Private asset
Public asset
Misc. liabilities
Confidence rating:

The majority of Hart's wealth comes from his ownership of Auckland-based investment company Rank Group. Rank has two divisions: Reynolds Group and Carter Holt Harvey.

The biggest is the closely held packaging company Reynolds Group. It reported revenue of $10.7 billion in 2018 and is valued based on the average average enterprise value-to-Ebitda, enterprise value-to-sales and price-to-earnings multiples of three comparable publicly traded packagers: Crown Holdings, Winpak and Amcor.

The valuation of the wood products and building supplies business, Carter Holt Harvey, is based on Reynolds' 2014 sale of a similar-sized pulp and paper arm to Oji Holdings and the Innovation Network Corp of Japan for NZ$1.04 billion (about $700 million after adjusting to reflect the exchange rate in July 2019).

An automotive group was sold and removed from the analysis in March 2019.

A spokesperson at Reynolds' Auckland office said Hart declined to comment on his net worth.

Biography

Birthdate: 6/6/1955
Family: Married, 2 children
Education: University of Otago

Graeme Hart was born June 6, 1955, in Auckland, New Zealand. His father was a radiologist. After dropping out of the Mount Roskill Grammar School at age 16, he became a "panel beater," or auto body repairman, and tow-truck driver.

He set-up Hart Printing Co. in Auckland with two employees in 1976, and was one of only a few applicants to be admitted to the University of Otago's business school without first attaining an undergraduate degree. In his thesis, he wrote about finding cheap, easy-to-run, underperforming businesses with products that people use everyday -- and then using leveraged buyouts to acquire those assets. Hart would then cut costs, improve and consolidate operations, fueling a steady cash flow to pay down takeover debt. Those businesses could be taken public or sold at a profit.

Hart bought and merged four party-hire companies in the mid 1980s. The business rented out dinnerware and other provisions for corporate events and soon became a monopoly. He sold it at a profit, reinvesting the proceeds into safety clothing. At the same time, he founded and sold shares in his investment vehicle, Rank Group, on the New Zealand Stock Exchange. He later took it private after the stock market collapse in 1987.

New Zealand put its government printing office up for sale in 1989. Hart bought it for $12 million -- half its book value -- financing the acquisition with bank loans. He bought New Zealand's largest bookseller, Whitcoulls, in 1990 for about $42 million, followed by other chains in Australia. Hart consolidated and sold those companies for a profit in the 1990s.

He bought a 20 percent stake in Australian spice and yeast maker Burns Philip for $200 million in 1997. The company surprised investors with a 73 percent write down of its spice business, a move that broke loan covenants. Within four months, Hart's investment shrunk to about one-tenth of its original value, even though he had purchased a put option to insure half his bet. The billionaire led a restructuring, negotiated with bankers on a funding package, and invested another $90 million. The company made a $2 billion takeover offer of Australian foodmaker Goodman Fielder in 2002, doubling its profit before he sold shares in 2005.

Rank acquired 12 companies for a combined value of $14 billion between 2002 and 2012, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Rank's packaging group, Reynolds Group Holdings, includes Graham Packaging, which serves Coca-Cola, Pepsico, Kraft, Heinz and Procter & Gamble; and Dopaco, which supplies McDonald's, Burger King and Wendy's.

Hart sold Swiss-based beverage carton maker SIG Combibloc for 3.75 billion euros ($5.0 billion) in 2014.

Milestones
  • 1955 Graeme Richard Hart is born in Auckland, New Zealand.
  • 1985 Left school at 16 and became a panel beater.
  • 1987 Graduates from University of Otago with MBA degree.
  • 2007 Sells 20 percent stake in Goodman Fielder, exiting the food business.
  • 2008 Purchases Alcoa's packaging and consumer businesses for $2.7 billion
  • 2010 Acquires Pactiv, maker of Hefty trash bags, for $5.95 billion.
  • 2011 Spends $980 million on autoparts maker UCI International.
  • 2011 Buys Graham Packaging for $4.4 billion.