The 2011 list of the wealthiest people in the world was published recently. The interesting list has names of people from different continents with varying business interests. Street Journal brings you the top 20 among the world’s wealthiest people. Surprisingly, the only African on the top hundred list occupies the 51st position with his net worth of over $ 13 billion.
1. Carlos Slim Helu
He is occupying the position of the world’s richest person for a second year in a row. The Mexican telecom mogul is also the year’s biggest gainer, having added $20.5 billion to his fortune and widened the gap between him and no. 2, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, to $18 billion. A 19% rise in the Mexican stock market, a stronger peso, and successful mining and real estate spinoffs from conglomerate Grupo Carso all contributed to the astonishing increase. He also merged his fixed-line telecom company into America Movil, Latin America’s largest wireless carrier; the Slim family stake in that holding accounts for 62% of his net worth. He has other holdings in retailer Saks and the New York Times. Carlos Slim Helu recently opened a new building for his Soumaya Museum, which houses his vast art collection. It is open to the public for free. He is worth $ 74 billion.
2. Bill Gates
With a worth of $ 56 billion, Bill Gates occupies the second position. The top mission for the world’s most magnanimous human being, Bill Gates (he’s already given away $28 billion) is to end polio, which still exists in four countries and requires $1 billion a year for vaccinations; his foundation chips in $200 million. He’s also tackling malaria by providing more bed nets and backing development of a low-cost vaccine. Slower progress on the education front: After delivering $2 billion-plus in grants to help high schools from 2000 to 2008, Gates admitted that efforts “fell short.” Just one-fourth of his net worth is still held in Microsoft; the rest is in private equity, global stocks, bonds and private companies. With help from billionaire buddy Warren Buffett, he has convinced nearly 70 of the worlds wealthiest to sign his “Giving Pledge,” promising to donate the majority of their wealth to charity either during their lifetime or after death.
3. Warren Buffet
On the third position is 81-year old Warren Buffet. He is the second richest man in America. In August, Buffett penned an opinion piece in the New York Times arguing that tycoons need to pay more taxes:”While the poor and middle class fight for us in Afghanistan, and while most Americans struggle to make ends meet, we mega-rich continue to get our extraordinary tax breaks.” That same month Buffett went bargain shopping and invested $5 billion in beleaguered Bank of America, a move similar to his backing of Goldman Sachs during the credit crisis. Buffett suffered a rare blemish this March after top executive and potential successor, David Sokol, resigned amidst allegations of self dealing; charges were never filed. Meanwhile shares of his conglomerate, Berkshire Hathaway, have fallen 10% since last August, while the S&P 500 climbed 10% over the same span. Along with billionaire buddy, Bill Gates, Buffett continues to push the Giving Pledge, wrangling new tycoons to agree to ultimately give away 50% of their fortunes.
4. Bernard Arnault
His net worth of $ 41 billion secures him in the 4th position. The Lord of Luxe easily retains title of richest European. His fortune surged by $13.5 billion as shares of his luxury good outfit, LVMH, rose by more than half over the past year thanks to strong demand for luxuries like Dom Perignon champagne, Cognac Hennessy, Tag Heuer watches and Louis Vuitton accessories, particularly in Asian markets like Shanghai and Ho Chi Minh City. The group acquired 20% of Hermes last year; Arnault insists he is a friendly shareholder but Hermes sees it as hostile. In March the Bulgari family transferred its majority holding in its brand to LVMH in exchange for LVMH shares and board seats. LVMH fired Christian Dior designer John Galliano after he apparently made anti-semitic remarks. The Renaissance man also owns yacht builder Royal Van Lent, a hotel in Courchevel; has stakes in French retailer Carrefour and French tour operator Go Voyages.
5. Larry Ellison
The man behind oracle is on the 5th position. Like Bill Gates, he has no university degree to his name having dropped out from both the University of Illinois, Urbana and also from the University of Chicago. In University of Chicago, he took studies in computer for just one term.
He is 67 and his net worth is put at $ 33 billion. Ellison sold his half-share in 453-foot yacht Rising Sun to co-owner David Geffen in late 2010. After quietly donating millions to medicine and education, Ellison joined the Giving Pledge at Buffett’s behest in 2010.
6. Lakshmi Mittal
The 60 year old Indian is worth $ 31.1 billion. Net profits at his ArcelorMittal, world’s largest steel-maker, are up 18-fold to $2.9 billion in 2010 due to recovery in steel demand and higher margins. The group spun off its stainless steel unit into Aperam, a new listed company, and also acquired Canadian miner Baffinland Iron Mines Corporation. It has funded a 377-foot sculpture called ArcelorMittal Orbit in London’s Olympic Park for the 2012 Olympics. He bought Alderbrook Park, a 340-acre country estate outside London, where he plans to build an eco-friendly country mansion for a reported $40 million. His daughter Vanisha acquired stake in Roc Capital Management, a New York hedge fund while his daughter-in-law Megha owns German fashion house Escada.
7. Amancio Ortega
The 75 year old Spaniard resides in La Coruna, Spain. He stepped down as chairman of Inditex, the $15.8 billion (sales) fashion firm in January; he still gets 87% of his fortune from his stake in the publicly traded firm. The company, which operates under several brand names including Zara, Massimo Dutti and Stradivarius, has 5,000 stores in 77 countries. Ortega also owns properties in Florida, Madrid, London and Lisbon, a horse-jumping circuit, a stake in a soccer league; and has interests in gas, tourism and banks. Railway worker’s son, he started as a gofer in a shirt store. With then-wife Rosalia Mera, also a billionaire, they started making dressing gowns and lingerie in living room. Daughter Marta works for Inditex.
8. Eike Batista
Batista, a 54-year old Brazilian occupies the 8th position with a net worth of $ 30 billion. Batista, Brazil’s richest man announced this year the opening of an office in New York and his intention to list some of his companies on the London Stock Exchange. Through his holding company, EBX, Batista controls businesses spanning mining, shipbuilding, energy, logistics, tourism and entertainment. After months of discussions, he was triumphant in February in taking control of Canadian gold outfit Ventana. Two-thirds of his fortune comes from OGX, the oil-and-gas exploration company he founded in 2007 and took public a year later. He says the company will start producing oil this year. In rare recent setback, his planned IPO for his shipbuilding business (OSX), meant to be the world’s largest IPO in 2010, was a disappointment and has had a lukewarm reception in the Brazilian market. The son of Brazil’s revered former mining minister who presided over mining giant Companhia Vale do Rio Doce got his start in gold trading and mining. Onetime champion offshore powerboat racer; formerly married to Playboy cover girl. In media interviews he’s been warning Carlos Helú Slim that he’ll soon take his spot as the world’s richest man, but he still has a ways to go.
9. Mukesh Ambiani
54 year old Ambiani is worth $ 27 billion. His oil and gas conglomerate Reliance Industries, India’s most valuable company, just forged a partnership with BP, selling 30% stake in 23 oil blocks in India for $7.2 billion and forming a marketing joint venture. The deal is being touted as one of biggest foreign investments in India. He’s also betting on shale gas, having bought stakes in three American energy firms for $3.3 billion last year. He and wife Nita host parties at their recently completed 27-story sky palace in Mumbai, but have not moved in permanently.
10. Christy Walton & Family
This 56 year old American widow is the world’s richest woman. Her net worth as of September, 2011 stood at $ 26.5 billion. His oil and gas conglomerate Reliance Industries, India’s most valuable company, just forged a partnership with BP, selling 30% stake in 23 oil blocks in India for $7.2 billion and forming a marketing joint venture. The deal is being touted as one of biggest foreign investments in India. He’s also betting on shale gas, having bought stakes in three American energy firms for $3.3 billion last year. He and wife Nita host parties at their recently completed 27-story sky palace in Mumbai, but have still to move in permanently.
Others on the top 20 list include
Name Country of Citizenship Net Worth Age Source
11. Li Ka-shing Hong Kong $ 26 billion 83 Diversified
12. Karl Albrecht Germany $ 25.5 billion 91 Aldi
13. Stefan Persson Sweden $ 24.5 billion 63 H&M
14. Vladimir Lisin Russia $ 24 billion 55 Steel
15. Liliane Bettencourt France $ 23.5 billion 88 L’Oreal
16. Sheldon Adelson United States $ 23.3 billion 78 Casinos 17. David Thomson & Fam Canada $ 23 billion 54 Media
18. Charles Koch United States $ 22 billion 75 Diversified
19. David Koch United States $ 22 billion 71 Diversified
20. Jim Walton United States $ 21.3 billion 63 Walmart
The richest African, according to the list is Nigeria’s Aliko Dangote with a net worth of $ 13.8 billion from his investments in sugar, cement and flour. He occupies the 51st position and he is the only African in the first 100.