Business Briefing

Record 2,755 billionaires on Forbes’ rich list - including 493 newcomers

Godzilla vs. Kong film is a monster hit, new 21 plate drives car sales, and other breaking business news

1

Rich list 

Kardashian West joins the billionaires’ club

The number of billionaires worldwide has “exploded” to an unprecedented 2,755 – that’s 660 more than a year ago, according to Forbes.

In the magazine’s annual billionaires list, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is the world’s richest person for the fourth year in a row. He has a fortune of $177bn (£128.2bn) and Tesla CEO Elon Musk is second with $151bn (£109.4bn). 

American reality TV star Kim Kardashian West has joined the elite billionaires’ club for the first time. She has a net worth of $1bn (£720m) thanks to her cosmetics and clothing interests as well as income from TV, endorsement deals and investments. 

Kardashian West was one of 493 newcomers on the billionaires list and was joined by Bumble dating app founder Whitney Wolfe Herd, filmmaker Tyler Perry and Miriam Adelson, the widow of casino magnate Sheldon Adelson.

Collectively, the men and women on Forbes’s rich list are worth $13.1trn (£9.49trn) – up from $8trn (£5.8trn) on the 2020 list. 

2

Power 

Britain’s electric grid the ‘greenest it’s ever been’

Great Britain’s electricity grid was the “greenest it has ever been” at 1pm on Monday 5 April, according to National Grid’s electricity system operator. Due to sunny spells, blustery conditions and low demand driven by the Easter holiday, renewable sources of power “topped the energy mix” over the weekend, says the Independent

The carbon intensity of electricity – the measure of CO2 emissions per unit of electricity consumed – dropped to 39 gCO2, the lowest figure in history. And at 1pm on Monday wind power made up 39% of the electricity mix, solar power 21%, and nuclear 16% – meaning zero carbon power sources made up almost 80% of the nation’s power.

3

Gambling

Betting firms should pay levy to fund treatment, says NHS director

Claire Murdoch, the national mental health director for NHS England, has called for gambling companies to pay a compulsory levy to fund addiction treatment. Betting firms have “profited during the pandemic”, but are leaving the NHS to “pick up the pieces”, The Guardian reports.

Successive lockdowns have “triggered a surge in spending on high-octane online casino games and slot machines” and since April last year 750 people have been referred to specialist clinics for treatment of serious addiction. Murdoch says the gambling industry “must take more responsibility”. 

4

Automotive 

New 21 plate drives strong car sales

Sales of new cars last month were 11.5% higher compared to March 2020 – driven by the demand for the new 21 number plate. 

According to figures published by the Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), 284,000 new vehicles were sold in March and this is the first time since August last year that the motor industry has seen growth.

The sector has suffered a “torrid coronavirus crisis to date”, says Sky News, with £22bn of lost sales in 2020. 

5

Film 

Godzilla vs. Kong is a monster hit for the cinema industry 

Since opening in cinemas worldwide two weeks ago Godzilla vs. Kong has taken more than $385m (£205m) at the box office – a new “global record for pandemic-era filmgoing”, the BBC reports. 

The Hollywood film has made more than $236m (£170.6m) outside the United States and is yet to open in key markets such as Japan, Brazil and many parts of western Europe. 

Jeff Goldstein, president of domestic distribution for producer Warner Bros, said “the numbers don’t lie – it’s clear that wherever audiences are ready to safely return to the theatre, they have, and we’re thrilled with the results”.

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