Archive for May, 2011

Europe’s 25 Richest

Europe now has 248 billionaires with a total wealth of $1 trillion. More than one-third of that wealth is held by the region’s 25 richest. Among them are the people behind some of our favorite brands and stores, like Louis Vuitton, Ikea, H&M, Nutella and Trader Joe’s. Russia takes the lead with nine of the top 25, followed by Germany and Sweden with four apiece.

Bernard Arnault

$27.5 billion
Source: LVMH

Bling is back, helping fashion icon grab title of richest European for first time as shares of his luxury goods outfit LVMH, maker of Louis Vuitton, Moet & Chandon, surge 57%. Renaissance man owns French tour operator Go Voyages, yacht builder Royal Van Lent; has a stake in French retailer Carrefour.

Amancio Ortega

$25 billion
Source: Zara

Style maven lords over Inditex. Fashion firm, which operates under several brand names, including Zara, Massimo Dutti and Stradivarius, has 4,500 stores in 73 countries, including new spots in Mexico and Syria. Set up joint venture with Tata Group subsidiary to enter India in 2010.

Karl Albrecht

$23.5 billion
Souce: Aldi

Owns discount supermarket giant Aldi Sud, one of Germany’s (and Europe’s) dominant grocers. Has 1,000 stores in U.S. across 29 states. Estimated sales: $37 billion. Plans to open New York store this year. With younger brother, Theo, transformed mother’s corner grocery store into Aldi after World War II

Ingvar Kamprad & family

$23 billion
Source: Ikea

Ikea’s reputation under fire. In Russia company fired two top managers for allowing bribes to a power supplier. In France firm is facing an extended workers’ strike. A former managing director has published a book exposing questionable ethics.

Stefan Persson

$22.4 billion
Source: Hennes & Mauritz

“Cheap chic” mogul is chairman of Hennes & Mauritz (H&M); promoted son, Karl-Johan, 34, to chief executive in July. Retailer is known for bringing on big names, like Karl Lagerfeld, Stella McCartney, to design affordable collections for its 1,900 stores.

Liliane Bettencourt

$20 billion
Source: L’Oreal

Makeup heiress’ fortune rebounding with L’Oreal shares. Company, founded by her father, celebrated its 100th birthday in 2009. Last year only daughter and heir, Francoise Bettencourt-Meyers, petitioned courts to investigate reported $1.4 billion worth of cash and gifts her mother allegedly gave to Francois-Marie Banier, 61, a well-known photographer, writer and painter she befriended. Daughter claims Banier took advantage of her mother, who became a widow in 2007. Liliane denies it.

Michael Otto & family

$18.7 billion
Source: retail

Father Werner Otto, who turned 100 last August, started out with a 14-page shoe catalog in 1949. Michael joined in 1971, expanded operations overseas and moved company into Internet sales; now world’s second biggest Internet retailer after Amazon.

Michele Ferrero & family

$17 billion
Source: chocolates

Secretive chocolate chief mulled bidding for British rival Cadbury; backed off this January. Richest man in Italy owns privately held Ferrero, chocolatier that makes such brands as Ferrero Rocher, Nutella, Tic Tac and Kinder Eggs. 2008 Sales: $8.4 billion.

Theo Albrecht

$16.7 billion
Source: Aldi, Trader Joe’s

Owns discount supermarket group Aldi Nord. With estimated sales of $34 billion, still a sector leader, but lost ground this year as flat sales and strong rivals in some of its European markets pushed down profits. Has been more successful with his U.S. holding: discount food chain Trader Joe’s 340 stores have attracted cost-conscious customers during the recession.

Vladimir Lisin

$15.8 billion
Source: steel

Russia’s richest is a proletarian success story. First job was as a mechanic in a coal mine. After college in Siberia got job as steelworker. In 1991, when his boss was appointed minister of metallurgy, Lisin came with him to Moscow.

Mikhail Prokhorov

$13.4 billion
Source: cash, investments

Bachelor billionaire making moves in the U.S. Last fall his Onexim signed an agreement to buy 45% of the Atlantic Yards development project, a stadium and apartment complex in New York, for $200 million; he will also get an 80% stake in the New Jersey Nets basketball team.

Birgit Rausing & family

$13 billion
Source: packaging

After death of her husband Gad Rausing in 2000, she and her three children inherited packaging giant Tetra Laval. It was her father-in-law who founded the company, which revolutionized the packaging of liquids such as juices and milk, in 1944. Today sales are $15.3 billion.

Mikhail Fridman

$12.7 billion
Source: oil, banking, telecom

His Alfa Group, which he shares with fellow billionaires German Khan and Alexei Kuzmichev, buoyed by rising oil prices; stake in TNK-BP doubled over the past year. Interest in Alfa Bank also up; the bank recovered most of its money from borrowers like fellow billionaire Oleg Deripaska.

Gerald Cavendish Grosvenor

& family

$12 billion
Source: real estate

The sixth Duke of Westminster is the U.K.’s wealthiest land owner. His Grosvenor property group has valuable holdings on 5 continents: posh Mayfair and Belgravia neighborhoods of London; additional land in London via private family trusts; farmland in northern England and Scotland.

Roman Abramovich

$11.2 billion
Source: steel, investments

Fortune up on steel price recovery; value of stake in steel giant Evraz increased nearly threefold. Celebrating birth of son with girlfriend and art enthusiast Dasha Zhukova. Threw New Year’s bash for his friends and partners on St. Barts, which cost a reported $5 million; Beyoncé, Prince and Gwen Stefani performed.

Susanne Klatten

$11.1 billion
Source: BMW, drugs

Inherited stake in automaker BMW from late father Herbert Quandt, who rescued it from bankruptcy decades ago. A trained economist with an MBA also inherited a 50% stake in chemical manufacturer Altana and sits on supervisory board. Now controls over 95% of Altana; seeking to acquire remaining shares and delist the firm.

Oleg Deripaska

$10.7 billion
Source: aluminum

Metals magnate back from the brink. Facing margin calls and $20 billion in total debt, he removed the heads of his two largest companies and personally negotiated with the Russian government, banks and other creditors to restructure his loan obligations. This year his Rusal, the world’s largest aluminum producer, raised $2.2 billion in an initial public offering in Hong Kong.

Vagit Alekperov

$10.6 billion
Source: Lukoil

Former Caspian Sea oil rig worker later became a deputy minister in the Soviet oil industry. In 1991 took three large ministry-controlled oil fields and set up Lukoil. Now president of Lukoil, Russia’s largest independent energy company, with a 20% stake. The firm’s reserves are second only to ExxonMobil

Leonardo Del Vecchio

$10.5 billion
Source: eyewear

Sent to an orphanage at age 7. Worked as an apprentice at a factory that made molds for auto parts, eyeglass frames. Founded Luxottica in 1961 and started making his own eyeglasses. Still chairs Luxottica, ($6.8 billion fiscal year 2008 sales) world’s largest manufacturer of sunglasses and prescription eyewear and also largest eyewear retailer.

Vladimir Potanin

$10.3 billion
Source: metals

In January became the first Russian billionaire to announce he would transfer his fortune to charity and not his children. Plans to list Russia’s largest media group, Prof-Media, which owns magazines, radio stations, movie theaters and broadcasts Russian versions of MTV and VH-1, this year.

Ernesto Bertarelli & family

$10 billion
Source: biotech

Inherited biotech firm Serono when father died in 1998. Ran for years; grew revenues to $2.4 billion in 2006. Blockbuster drug: $1.4 billion (annual sales) multiple sclerosis therapy Rebif. Sold company to Germany’s Merck 2007. With his sister, took home $9 billion. Lost America’s Cup to yachting rival Larry Ellison in February.

Hans Rausing

$10 billion
Source: packaging

Father founded packaging giant Tetra Laval in 1944. Hans and brother Gad inherited the business. Hans sold his share to Gad for estimated $7 billion in 1995. Moved to U.K. in early 1980s to avoid punitive Swedish taxes. Resides on a 900-acre estate in village of Wadhurst in East Sussex.

Alexei Mordashov

$9.9 billion
Souce: steel

Chief executive and controlling shareholder of steelmaker Severstal relieved by steel price recovery; stock price up nearly threefold from last year’s lows. Recently announced the company’s gold unit will buy up foreign assets to expand production of the high-flying metal.

Viktor Rashnikov

$9.8 billion
Source: steel

In January reaffirmed partnership with billionaire Dmitry Pumpyansky’s TMK, one of the largest customers of his iron and steel producer, MMK. Began career at Magnitogorsk Iron & Steel mill (MMK) in 1967 as a mechanic, becoming its general director.

Silvio Berlusconi & family

$9 billion
Source: media

Suffering from more than just a bruised reputation; in December 2009, man broke the billionaire’s nose and teeth with a statue of Milan’s cathedral. Politico with 9 lives became Italy’s prime minister for a third time in April 2008 after his predecessor lost a confidence vote and new elections were held

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

Asia’s 25 Richest

China may have passed India in its number of billionaires, but India still has bragging rights as home of the region’s richest. Ten of Asia’s top 25 are Indian. Hong Kong and Japan each have five. Mainland China has just one.

Mukesh Ambani

$29 billion


Global ambitions: His Reliance Industries, already India’s most valuable company, recently bid $2 billion for 65% stake in troubled Canadian oil sands outfit Value Creation. Firm’s $14.5 billion offer to buy bankrupt petrochemicals maker LyondellBasell was rejected.

Lakshmi Mittal

$28.7 billion


London’s richest resident oversees ArcelorMittal, world’s largest steel maker. Net profits fell 75% in 2009. Mittal took 12% pay cut but improved outlook pushed stock up one-third in past year. Looking to expand in his native India; wants to build steel mills in Jharkhad and Orissa but has not received government approval.

Li Ka-shing

$21 billion

Hong Kong

Betting on recovery, upped stakes in publicly traded conglomerates Cheung Kong and Hutchison Whampoa. Through HW, Li is world’s largest operator of container terminals, world’s largest health and beauty retailer by number of outlets, a major supplier of electricity to Hong Kong and a real estate developer. Has a large holding in Canadian oil firm Husky Energy, which recently announced its third discovery in South China Sea.

Lee Shau Kee

$18. 5 billion

Hong Kong

Lee’s wealth rebounded, thanks in part to doubling of share price of Henderson Land Development, the property firm he founded and still heads. Active investor in China, has stakes in such outperfomers as PetroChina, China Shenhua Energy and China Life. Chairman of Hong Kong & China Gas, which distributes gas in more than 90 cities

Kwok family

$17 billion

Hong Kong

Family behind one of Hong Kong’s most storied real estate firms has benefited from rebound in property prices. Eldest brother Walter, who stepped down from 18-year chairmanship of Sun Hung Kai Properties in May 2008 after disputing with his 2 younger siblings, Raymond and Thomas, dropped his lawsuit alleging improper dismissal; he is now a nonexecutive director

Azim Premji

$17 billion


Software czar chairs $5.5 billion (revenues) Wipro, country’s third-largest software exporter. Reported jump in net profits in last 2 quarters, signaling a rebound for U.S.-dependent outsourcing giant.

Robert Kuok

$14.5 billion


Onetime rice and sugar trader heads multinational Kuok Group, with interests ranging from shipping to real estate to media. In 2007 merged extensive Malaysian, Indonesian palm oil interests with Singapore’s Wilmar International, run by his nephew; now his most valuable holding.

Anil Ambani

$13.7 billion


Estranged brother of Asia’s richest person, Mukesh Ambani, oversees Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group, which has interests in telecom, infrastructure and entertainment. His Reliance Power plans to build 13 power plants for $25 billion by 2014. Infrastructure arm is investing $5 billion in new roads and metro systems to be completed by 2012. His entertainment unit has committed $825 million to Steven Spielberg’s DreamWorks Studios to co-produce films.

Shashi & Ravi Ruia

$13 billion


Brothers’ $15 billion (revenues) Essar Group has weathered downturn and embarked on an expansion drive in all its businesses, including steel, oil and power. As part of global push, refiner Essar Oil bought 50% in Kenya Petroleum Refineries and is negotiating with Royal Dutch Shell to acquire 3 refineries with a total capacity of 25 million tons.

Savitri Jindal

$12.2 billion


Nonexecutive chair of the O.P. Jindal Group, a steel and power conglomerate founded by her late husband, Om Prakash Jindal, in 1952. Took over as group head after he died in a helicopter crash in 2005. In his lifetime, patriarch had handed down operations to their 4 sons, Prithviraj, Sajjan, Ratan and Naveen, who today run their independent units

Kushal Pal Singh

$9 billion


Chairman of DLF, India’s most valuable property company; its stock rebounded in 2009, reflecting the revival in the real estate market but still lagging the Sensex’s 76% rise. Run by his son Rajiv, who is DLF’s vice chairman. To lure buyers the developer cut prices at some projects.

Kumar Birla

$7.9 billion


Head of $29 billion (revenues) commodities conglomerate Aditya Birla Group restructuring group’s cement business, which is to be spun off from flagship Grasim Industries and merged into subsidiary UltraTech Cement.

Sunil Mittal

$7.8 billion


His flagship Bharti Airtel, India’s largest mobile operator with 120 million customers, is looking to establish global footprint. After two failed attempts to buy Africa’s MTN, is negotiating a $10.7 billion deal to buy the African assets of Kuwait’s Zain Group, partly owned by billionaire Nasser Al-Kharafi’s Kharafi Group.

Ananda Krishnan

$7.6 billion


A Tamil Malaysian of Sri Lankan Tamil origin, also referred to as TAK, he graduated from Harvard Business School and started his career as an oil trader. His biggest holding is Maxis Communications, Malaysia’s largest cellphone service provider, with over 11 million subscribers, which went public in November in Malaysia’s largest ever IPO, raising $3.4 billion.

Tadashi Yanai & family

$7.6 billion


Has vowed to turn his discount clothing chain, Fast Retailing, into world’s leading apparel retailer. Already has stores in New York, Paris; opening in Shanghai and Moscow this year. Hired renowned German minimalist designer Jil Sander to come up with new clothes for his utilitarian brand

Nobutada Saji & family

$7.5 billion


Plans to merge his family’s drink firm, Suntory, with rival Kirin Holdings fell apart in February, 7 months after discussions began, apparently over valuation. The deal would have created one of the world’s largest food makers and helped the Japanese firms to better compete with internationally

Lee Kun-Hee

$7.2 billion

South Korea

Stepped down as chairman of Samsung Group in April 2008 after 2 decades at helm amid allegations of tax evasion. The group’s biggest company, Samsung Electronics, has seen its stock price soar in last 12 months, boosting Lee’s wealth. South Korea’s largest insurer, Samsung Life Insurance, in which Lee holds 20% stake, expected to go public this year.

Zong Qinghou

$7 billion


Mainland China’s richest person. Started a beverage business in a mini-grocery in a school in Hangzhou in 1986; now China’s biggest beverage maker selling bottled water, tea drinks, juice and coffee. Wahaha’s 2009 revenues are estimated to be $6.3 billion

Cheng Yu-tung

$6.8 billion

Hong Kong

Heads conglomerate New World Development, with interests in property, infrastructure, transport, retail, hotel, casino, brokerage and telecom across China and Hong Kong. Wealth has rebounded along with property markets.

Anil Agarwal

$6.4 billion


Metals, mining magnate, is facing flak over his business practices. The Church of England recently sold its holding in his London-listed Vedanta Resources on grounds that it wasn’t satisfied by company’s level of respect for human rights, specifically its treatment of tribal people in Eastern India who would be displaced by a proposed mining project.

Akira Mori & family

$6.3 billion


He and brother Minoru, also a billionaire, inherited initial fortune from father but went their separate ways unable to agree on a business strategy. With his part has continued to build his Mori Trust, owner of office buildings, apartment blocks and hotels in high-rent districts of Tokyo.

Masayoshi Son

$5.9 billion


Controls Internet and telecom firm SoftBank. Its mobile phone unit, which sells popular iPhones in Japan, outpacing rivals for new subscribers. Sold $2 billion worth of bonds to pay off some of its $21 billion in debt

Joseph Lau

$5.8 billion

Hong Kong

One of Hong Kong’s biggest landlords kept occupancy rates above 90% at his Chinese Estates despite downturn; doing even better amid property rebound. Launched first development in Chengdu.

Terry Gou

$5.5 billion


Chairman of Hon Hai Precision Industry, one of world’s largest contract electronics manufacturers. Started company with $7,500 in 1974

Kunio Busujima & family

$5.4 billion


Founder of Sankyo, the pachinko gambling-machine maker, now run by his son Hideyuki. Newest units feature comic book characters and pop diva Kumi Koda.