Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Richardsons rise on richest list

Major acquisitions propel family up magazine's rankings

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The Richardson family poses for a photo in 2007

BORIS MINKEVICH / FREE PRESS ARCHIVES Enlarge Image

The Richardson family poses for a photo in 2007

The Richardson family has solidified itself as one of the wealthiest in the country.

Winnipeg's first family of business is ranked No. 9 on Canadian Business magazine's annual Rich 100 list, which hit newsstands Thursday. That's up two places from a year ago.

Based at the corner of Portage and Main, the family has a net worth of $4.45 billion, up 31 per cent over the past 12 months. That was the 10th biggest jump on the entire list and highest of any of the entries in the top 10.

Their massive increase was driven by two major acquisitions -- on the grain side, Richardson International purchased $900 million worth of grain-handling assets from Viterra, and on the financial services side, Richardson GMP became Canada's largest independent wealth manager with its $132-million purchase of Macquarie Group Ltd.

'They've skirted the top 10 for a number of years and now cracking the single digits is nice for them'

"They've skirted the top 10 for a number of years and now cracking the single digits is nice for them," said Graham F. Scott, managing editor of Canadian Business.

"The really notable thing this year was the sheer scale of how much they gained (31 per cent). This was a good year for everybody on the list, but particularly for the top 10."

There was only one other Winnipegger on the Rich 100, fashion mogul Peter Nygard. He fell from No. 70 last year to No. 85 on the new list with assets of $944 million, a drop of five per cent.

Scott said the 72-year-old Nygard hasn't been in the news much recently.

"He is a flamboyant character who enjoys his wealth," he said.

Topping the list yet again was the Thomson family, which saw its empire grow to $26.1 billion, a 30 per cent jump from last year. Led by David Thomson, chairman of Thomson Reuters, its media and information division, and co-chair of Woodbridge, the family holding company, the Thomsons earned a whopping $440 million in dividend income alone.

Scott said its Thomson Reuters division performed very well in the past year following a rough patch that saw some 3,000 layoffs and the scrapping of a public news site, a project that was three years and millions of dollars in the making.

The firm's stock has soared 30 per cent this year, thanks in part to the perception Thomson himself has firmly taken the company's reins.

"He has fired a couple of executives. There was a sense that things were drifting a bit from a management perspective," he said.

Thomson is best known in Manitoba circles for being co-owner of the Winnipeg Jets along with the Chipman family.

Last year, Forbes magazine reported the team was the 20th most valuable franchise in the NHL at $200 million, a 22 per cent increase from the previous year. Forbes' next annual report comes out next week.

geoff.kirbyson@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 22, 2013 B6

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