2 (16) Lord Paul of Marylebone and family £1.5bn (£350m)

The meteoric rise of the Indian and Chinese economies and their insatiable demand for raw materials has pushed the price of steel through the roof.

This has done no harm at all to Lord Paul of Marylebone’s Black Country-based Caparo Group. The group, founded by Indian-born Lord Paul, is valued at a staggering £1.4 billion after a very positive set of trading results and excellent future prospects.

Steel, engineering and property group Caparo, with its major regional office in Oldbury and a technology division on Wolverhampton Science Park, has posted profits of £55 million on sales on £2.7 billion, and continues to expand worldwide.

Caparo’s success has rocketed Lord Paul 14 places up The Birmingham Post Rich List.

Acquisitions and growth - in 2006 alone Caparo acquired no less than 22 companies - have taken the group’s employee numbers to nearly 6,000.

Caparo is now made up of more than 40 companies operating on 60 sites in the UK, India, Spain, North America, Canada and Dubai. With business interests mainly centred on the manufacture of steel, automotive and engineering products, the group’s other activities include materials testing, film distribution and bespoke furniture.

Caparo is also in the excitement business, having produced the Caparo T1 high performance

In addition one of Lord Paul’s sons, Ambar, heads the family’s fast-growing Contemporary Hotels chain. All a far cry from the group’s humble beginnings back in 1968 when it operated from one small factory in Huntingdon.

It continues to be a busy time for 77-year-old Lord Paul. He is chairman of the Olympic Delivery Committee tasked with initiating measures to acquire land and provide infrastructure for the event, as well as being Chancellor of two universities - Wolverhampton and Westminster.

In a rare distinction, the House of Commons congratulated Lord Paul on his appointment to Westminster University and applauded him for being the first person to hold the chancellorship of two universities simultaneously.

In the Lords, he is a vocal champion of the economic importance of universities and the contribution made by the higher educational institutions to the country’s prosperity.

He founded the Ambika Paul Charitable Foundation, named after his late daughter, which has donated many millions to good causes, including a £1 million donation to London Zoo - one of his daughter’s favourite places - to prevent it from closing.

Lord Paul - a strict vegetarian who lives by simple Hindu principles - has a strong ethos for his thousands of employees - "hard work and integrity".