Channel champs charge onto BRW rich list

Amongst a rash of new technology sector entries, three channel stars have hit the big time by landing spots on this year's Rich 200 list of monied Australians published annually in BRW magazine.

A total of 11.5 per cent of the list came from the "technology" sector, with Theo Baker (Powerlan), Peter Kazacos (KAZ Computers) and David Shein (Com Tech) showing there is gold in a well-run channel operation.

Theo Baker, who successfully took his networking distribution and services company public last year and used the market capital to fund acquisition growth, is the best performed of the new channel entries. Just 36 years old, Baker has been included before on the BRW fastest growing companies index, but this year forged his way onto the list with a debut at number 93, having amassed a personal fortune of $210 million, mainly via Powerlan.

Baker told ARN that he was not surprised that his name appeared on the list, but points out that being the 93rd richest man in Australia will not make any significant changes to his life.

"It's not a surprise to me at all. I knew what my shares were worth. Their value has been significantly higher and significantly lower, depending on the market, but here I am at six o'clock and I still have another five hours to work before I go home."Peter Kazacos is the name behind emerging services big gun KAZ Computers, which also listed successfully last year. He entered the list at number 146, in partnership with his wife Vicki. Between them, the two are valued at $120 million, according to the list.

It appears that Kazacos is not about to waste any time reflecting on his apparent success, declining to comment to ARN on his inclusion in the list.

Com Tech's David Shein and his family are worth an estimated $155 million by the reckoning of BRW, making a first-time appearance on the list at number 124.

Other technology-related fortunes to rate a mention included Aidan and David Tudehope of Macquarie Corporate Telecommunications fame (debuting at number 63, worth $300 million) and telecommunications retailer Andrew Kelly from The Strathfield Group (number 97, worth $200 million).

For those who missed the BRW report, Kerry Packer retained his top position with $8.2 billion in personal wealth, three times more than Frank Lowy, who is second on the list with $2.8 billion. Gerry Harvey is eighth with $1.08 billion.

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