First it was mining billionaire Nathan Tinkler, who said he was pulling up stumps and moving to Singapore. Now it looks like another mining magnate Gina Rinehart is buying a pad there. So what's behind the rich list city-state rush?
According to reports in Malaysian and Singapore papers over the weekend, a company linked to Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting has just splashed out around $AUD44 million for a couple of luxury condos in Singapore’s only beachfront resort, Seven Palms, on Sentosa Island.
That would seem like an awful lot of money for a holiday shack, but with a fortune of $30 billion, it’s conceivable that Gina would consider it just small change.
Our colleagues at the Property Observer are confident she’s just buying it for a getaway, and maybe they’re right. But the truth is nobody’s sure, and Gina’s not saying.
But whether it’s a weekender or her new home, the development, designed by Perth architect Kerry Hill, should be perfect. According to Singapore’s Robb Report, which tracks the “luxury lifestyle” for its well-heeled readers -- with features on Tiffany, Argyll Diamonds and Mercedes Gullwings -- Seven Palms “allows residents to feel like they live in their very own private sanctuary, all the while enjoying the utmost privacy and exclusivity away from other developments on the island”.
The development also has a fabulous beach club, “just like a five-star resort ... with storage spaces for water sports equipment, a glass-walled gymnasium and plenty of deck space for lounging and socializing.” But we’re not sure that any of that will be much use to Gina. Lounging doesn’t sound like her style, and we can’t see her getting much use out of the gym or the kayaks.
But the key question of course is whether she might be tempted to stay there. When Nathan Tinkler announced his move to Singapore recently, a tax expert told The Power Index that the billionaire would not be able to reduce tax paid on his Australian mining ventures, despite a top personal tax rate in Singapore of 20%. In fact, he could end up paying more because he would lose the Capital Gains Tax Relief available to Australian residents.
However, the picture would change if Tinkler (or Rinehart) started developing offshore assets, in Asia and China for example. It would then save them hundreds of millions of dollars in tax if they were resident in Singapore for more than half the year.