Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Aussie Billionaires and their Dividends

 In Australia, at least 11 billionaires last year received lucrative dividends totalling tens of millions of dollars from companies that received jobkeeper subsidies designed to keep workers employed.

The average Australian billionaire’s wealth increased by 59% over the past year, while workers struggled with wage stagnation and a spike in unemployment caused by the pandemic.

Harvey Norman paid dividends of $74.7m, of which Harvey, who is worth $2.57bn, was entitled to $23.5m.

John Gandel, the founder of Melbourne shopping centre Chadstone, who is worth $5.4bn. He and his family own about 15.2% of shopping centre group Vicinity, which received about $10.8m in jobkeeper.

Brett Blundy, who built a retail empire from a record store called Disco Duck and is now estimated to be worth $2.2bn, received an estimated $6.48m in dividends from his shares in youth-focused jewellery chain Lovisa.

James Packer, who is estimated to be worth $4.69bn. His private company, Consolidated Press Holdings, owns 34% of Crown, which received about $110m in jobkeeper subsidies – almost $70m of which was passed directly on to employees who had been stood down, at no net benefit to the company.

The family of poker machine magnate Len Ainsworth, who is worth $4.42bn, also received dividends from the company he founded, Aristocrat Leisure. Aristocrat received $11m in jobkeeper and paid dividends of $63.9m.

Nick Politis, who is worth $1.31bn, also received a dividend paid within weeks of the announcement of jobkeeper.

Marc Besen and his family, who are worth $2.24bn, received dividends from property group Home Consortium. The company received $200,000 in jobkeeper.

Other billionaires entitled to dividends from companies that received jobkeeper were Dale Elphinstone (worth $1.08bn), who has a large interest in engineering and labour hire group Engenco, and Raphael Geminder, who is the chairman of packaging company Pact Group.

Billionaires receive tens of millions in dividends from companies on jobkeeper | Business | The Guardian

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