World acclaimed Forbes Magazine in the US has pronounced oil and minerals investor Frank Timis billionaire on its 2011 list of world billionaires, thanks to stakes in three public companies: African Minerals, African Petroleum Corp. and International Petroleum.
African Minerals, the largest mining company with 12.8 billion tonnes iron ore deposit in the West African nation of Sierra Leone and African Petroleum Corporation are listed on Australia's National Stock Exchange while the International Petroleum extracts oil and gas in eastern Kazakhstan.
Timis was born in Romania in 1964 but traveled to and worked in the mining industry in Western Australia since he was 16. Now 48, he is based in London and owns two Bombardier Challenger 604 airplanes.
According to the latest Sunday Times UK rich list Frank Timis leapfrogged three top hedge fund managers to become the wealthiest Australian in Britain after his estimated fortune soared by a remarkable £425 million ($650m) last year, thanks to a series of stockmarket manoeuvres and rising commodity prices.
That took 48-year-old Timis to a total net worth of £670 million, equal with the land-owning Duke of Devonshire as the 110th richest person in Britain and making him an Australian dollar billionaire worth $1.03 billion.
He was born Vasile Frank Timis. ďI have no education. My father died when I was eight. He was outspoken against the Ceaucescu regime. He was killed in an underground mine. As he passed some dynamite, it exploded. It was a set-up. I have no doubt. He was murdered,Ē Timis once told Chris Blackhurst of the London Evening Standard who admits that the business prospect was not some flashy, trashy type.
ďI have a plane but he [Timis gestures to a colleague] uses it more than me. I help children. I don't go to casinos, I don't own property in the Bahamas. I live here (UK). I'm a non-dom. I have nothing here. I live in a rented apartment and I have no car,Ē said Timis.
The Chief Executive of African Minerals, Alan Watling, explained his admiration for Timis since he met him last year.
ďWhen Frank approached me, I looked him up on the web, I met the guy, I liked him. What impresses me is that when you get to know him, he's not wild ó he's a considered risk-taker. He also backs himself, so he's put $52 million of his own money into African Minerals. Not many so-called entrepreneurs' do that. They're not prepared to put their own skins on the game. That's a major differentiator between them and Frank.Ē
Meanwhile, Timis has always acknowledged the trials he faced some 20 years ago but insisted that that should not deter him at all: ďSome press, they like to go down memory lane. But the facts are these: I escaped from Romania. I walked 1,200 kilometres to Trieste in Italy where I was put in a political migrant compound and sent to Australia. I was a labourer in the North-West, Western Australia desert in 45 to 50 degree heat. I was a labourer, a rig mechanic, a driller, a manager.Ē
ďTell me any entrepreneur in London and New York who has built and started companies the way I have. They don't create wealth. I create wealth for my investors, for my employees. I provide jobs. I build schools, hospitals, clinics. Every time I build a company I do these things.Ē
¬© Copyright by Awareness Times
Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.