antonio-de-morais brazil miner image


Antonio Ermirio de Moraes & Family

Octogenarian still firmly in charge of 95-year old family business
$13bn | 84 | Married | 9 Children | Brazil | ↑

Heads up São Paulo’s Votorantim Group, a 100% family-owned company founded just after the WW1 as a textile factory.

He’s a product of the Colorado School of Mines, just like his father. Once ran for state governor, is an accomplished playwright and has a weekly newspaper column.

The 84-year old chairman of the board does not appoint relatives to executive positions in the conglomerate’s sprawling operations which cover cement, pulp, steel, energy, base metals particularly nickel and zinc where it is no. 5 producer globally and a few gold and silver projects.

Active in 25 countries around the world employing 100,000 workers, 2012 revenues for the group grew 5% to $24.8bn.

Prospects: Good – Votorantim is investing $3bn this year to expand and Brazil’s building boom is boosting the cement business.

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Henry Sapiecha

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Andrey Melnichenko

Fertilizer IPO could come up roses for baby on the billionaire list
$13bn | 41 | Married | 1 Child | Russia | ↑

The youngest of Russia billionaire’s boys club, he made his first billion at the tender age of 32. Co-founded MDM Bank with Sergei Popov in 1993 and the pair then moved into coal, fertilizer and pipes.

After a split of assets Melnichenko kept 80% of Russia’s no.1 coal firm SUEK (Siberian Coal Energy Company) and fertilizer-maker Eurochem. Already the phosphate and nitrogen leader, Eurochem, is spending $5bn on two potash mines in Russia that could start producing this year.

Like his fellow Russians, Melnichenko has a soft spot for mega-yachts, but unlike pal Abramovich he did not go for the biggest just the most unique. Designed by minimalist Philippe Starck, the $300m, 394-foot yacht is named “A” after his wife Aleksandra, a Serbian model.


Henry Sapiecha

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Roman Abramovich

Privatization king, Chelski owner, art lover and yacht fetishist
$12bn | 46 | Married | 6 Children | Russia | ↓

A close associate of Putin, he enjoys a high-profile as owner of Chelsea football club in London where he and art maven girlfriend Dasha Zhukova spend most of their time.

Somehow got chunks of Aeroflot and oil firm Sibneft after the fall of the Soviet Union. In August won a $6bn lawsuit over Sibneft payment filed by erstwhile mentor Boris Berezovsky (found hanged in March). Abramovich’s defence? He paid Berezovsky krusha or protection money to the tune of $2bn.

Scored $10bn selling out of Sibneft and Rusal, and today Abramovich owns big stakes in steel and iron ore giant Evraz, Highland Gold and Kinross.

Owns the world’s largest yacht, the 533-foot Eclipse, a 377-foot expedition boat named Luna, a Boeing 767 called The Bandit, mansions all over and 40 works from overpriced Russian artist Ilya Kabakov.

Prospects: Trouble ahead – rumour of his arrest saw Evraz plummet and staying in good books of Russia’s political rulers is a tricky business


Henry Sapiecha

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14…Iron Ore & Steel

Alexei Mordashov

Overachiever turning steel into gold
$11-12bn | 47 | Married | 6 Children | Russia | ↓

As boss and 79%-shareholder of Severstal, Mordashov has expanded the footprint of Russian’s second largest steelmaker globally including into the US, but he hasn’t been able to halt the slide in the stock, which burnt a $2bn hole in his cash pile just this year.

Nordgold was listed in February after being spun out of Severstal, which Mordashov controls through a trust based out of Cyprus, and already produces more than 560,000 ounces a year with planned expansion in Africa, Russia and the region.

The son of a mill worker Mordashov became CEO of Severstal when he was only 27 and took the top post four years later. He was rebuffed in 2006 by Lakshmi Mittal to combine with Arcelor.

Prospects: Not great – post-Nordgold there’s little value left to unlock in Severstal and his holdings in grocery chains, media and banking are too small to offset losses elsewhere


Henry Sapiecha

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Eike Batista

A Batista bear market with bite
$10bn | 56 | Divorced| 2 Children | Brazil | ↓

Born into mining as son of a CEO of iron giant Vale, the young Eike led the playboy lifestyle, dropping out of engineering school, marrying a nude model and becoming a speedboat world champion.

Started out with small-scale gold mining in the Amazon before graduating to the big leagues with gold, iron ore, oil & gas, shipping, energy, construction and sports promotion companies.

Ever the consummate salesman, Batista famously sold Minas Rio to Anglo-American in 2008, pocketing $5.5bn and getting rid of what has become Anglo’s biggest asset write-off on record.

His fortune topped out at a spectacular $32.8bn in April last year after his OGX struck oil (turns out not very much) off the Brazilian coast giving credence to his stated goal of becoming the richest person in the world.

But these days his divestiture strategy – including an offload to Abu Dhabi and new lines of credit from billionaire buddy Andre Esteves – has more than a whiff of a fire sale as his five public firms run out of capex funds and creditors start making collateral calls.

Son Thor is up on manslaughter charges after running over a cyclist in his Mclaren sportscar.

Prospects: Bad – his businesses are caught in a vicious downward spiral and his silver tongue is worth nothing now that the wells have run dry


Henry Sapiecha

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Dmitry Rybolovlev

Potash potentate with penchant for property
$9bn | 46 | Separated | 2 Children | Russia | ↓

Worked for father’s medical device firm in 1990s before setting up an investment firm, Perm, in time for the great Yeltsin industrial asset sale bonanza.

Had a rough patch in 1996, spending almost a year in Russia’s toughest prison awaiting trial after being accused of a plot to kill a business partner.

Enjoyed giant pay-day in 2010 selling part of his controlling stake in Uralkali for $6.5bn and since then has been splashing out on property around the world.

The Donald Trump Palm Beach mansion, Maison de L’Amitie, he picked up for $95m in 2008 is now the centre of a divorce fight with wife Elena. Set the bar for New York with $88m for a Manhattan apartment for his daughter Ekaterina bought from former Citi chairman Sandy Weill and paired his $300m Belle Époque penthouse in Monaco, with the local soccer team.

Prospects: Middling – burnt his fingers as biggest Russian investor in Cyprus banking, but potash dividends should continue to flow


Henry Sapiecha

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iskanderl-makhmudov image

17…Base Metals

Iskander Makhmudov

Gave up promising diplomatic career for billions
$8-9bn | 49 | Married | 1 Child | Uzbek | ↑

Wealth stems from majority-owned Ural Mining and Metallurgical Co, one of Russia’s biggest copper producers with iron ore, construction and agriculture businesses thrown into the mix.

The company’s roots go back hundreds of years and the original Ural deposit in the late 1800s supplied 25% of the world’s copper.

The Bukhara-born Uzbek is fluent in English and Arabic. After leaving Tashkent University where he read Oriental studies worked for the USSR Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Libya and Iraq before becoming a metal’s trader.

Makmudov and fellow oligarch Oleg Deripaska have been the subject of a money laundering investigation by Spanish authorities which died a quiet death after being handed over to Russian Attorney General’s Office.

Prospects: Good – new flagship Safyanovskoye mine is close to production and Makhmudov is reportedly involved in Prokhorov’s Intergeo float


Henry Sapiecha

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Oleg Deripaska

Back from the brink to rescue Rusal once again
$8bn | 45 | Married | 2 Children | Russia | ↓

Moscow has been a rich hunting ground and the aluminum baron only ranks 16th on Russia’s rich list, but he’s down $20bn in five years.

Settled dispute with erstwhile business partner Vladimir Potanin over Norilsk Nickel in 2012 after Roman Abramovich was convinced to take up 6% in the nickel and palladium giant.

Deripaska wanted to merge Rusal and Norilsk to get rid of some of the aluminum company’s crippling $20bn in debt, but he’s now running out of options and lifelines to keep the wellspring of his fortune afloat having tapped the Putin government for assistance once before.

Has become more outspoken recently (while making sure never to upset the Kremlin), blasting the Russian banking system and lumbering state enterprises like Gazprom and even coming out in support of jailed punk rockers Pussy Riot.

Prospects: Bad – Rusal is still teetering and criticizing Russia’s powers that be is a risky strategy


Henry Sapiecha

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19…Iron Ore & Steel

Savitri Jindal & Family

Mother and sons brace for another tough Indian summer
$7-8bn| 63 | Widow | 9 Children | India | ↓

Savitri became chairperson after her husband and empire founder, O.P. Jindal, died in a helicopter crash in 2005.

Matriarch lives in Hisar north of Delhi and son Sajjan runs JSW Steel from Mumbai while youngest Naveen, University of Texas in Dallas graduate (where he has a management school named after him), is responsible for the family’s energy business.

The Jindal dynasty has been in decline after hitting $13bn in 2011, as India’s steel industry suffers from supply constraints thanks to iron ore mining bans and greater government involvement in the industry.

An environmental and corruption crackdown on India’s mining sector has also snared Jindal Power, which has been accused of being allocated coal blocks at a discount through secretive deals with officials, sending its shares plummeting.

Prospects: Not great – India’s steel and iron ore industry is in a mess and coal power doesn’t have great future, even in India


Henry Sapiecha

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20…Iron Ore & Steel

Andrei Skoch

Russia’s richest parliamentarian pops up in all sorts of deals
$8bn | 47 | Married | 8 Children | Russia | ↑

Skoch jumps more than 10 places on the list adding $3.7bn courtesy of close friend Alisher Usmanov.

Skoch worked for Usmanov at Lebedinsky Mining and after Usmanov welded together all his mining assets to form Metalloinvest in 2006, Skoch ended up with 30% of the group. Usmanov raised $2bn in November by taking his Megafon public and Skoch now also holds a substantial stake in the cellphone giant’s holding company.

Crossed the billionaire mark barely into his 40s and he’s never been able to shake charges of ties to Russia’s largest criminal gang Solntsevo – he was arrested attending the birthday party of the boss of the organization Viktor Averin in the Ritz hotel Prague in 1995.

Skoch’s assets are held in the name of his father Vladimir, because of Russian parliamentary rules (he’s been in the Duma since 1999). The father of quintuplets and a graduate of Moscow’s Institute of Physical Culture and Sports he sponsors an annual literary prize called Debut.

Prospects: Probably good – as long as he stays close to Usmanov the deals should keep flowing

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Henry Sapiecha

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