U.K.' s richest grow their wealth by 18%

LONDON — The fortunes of Britain's wealthiest individuals appear to have turned.

The 1,000 richest people in Britain increased their collective wealth by 18 percent in the past year and are now worth 395.8 billion pounds ($647.8 billion), according to a list published by the Sunday Times newspaper.

The newspaper will release in its Sunday edition its annual rundown of Britain's 1,000 richest individuals and families.

Steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal's family members held onto their position as the wealthiest people in Britain with a fortune of 17.5 billion pounds — but they are 22 percent poorer than a year earlier thanks to a drop in the share price of ArcelorMittal.

Fellow metals mogul Alisher Usmanov, a Russian who has a stake in English football club Arsenal, saw the biggest increase in wealth. He climbed six spots on the list to No. 2 after adding 7.7 billion pounds to his fortune. He is now worth 12.4 billion pounds, according to the list.

The Duke of Westminster fell out of the top 3 for the first time since 1999 despite adding 250 million pounds to his fortune. The Briton owns huge parcels of land in central London and elsewhere.

For the first time, more than 100 women made the cut — a feat that this year required a fortune of at least 70 million pounds. In 2010, the bar was set at 63 million pounds while in 2008 it was 55 million pounds.

The study shows that the number of billionaires in the U.K. now stands at 73 — up from 53 a year earlier but just shy of the record of 75 set in the pre-crisis List of 2008, when the collective wealth of the top 1,000 was 413 billion pounds.