Worlds billionaires add to their riches
NEW YORK — The richest people on the planet got even richer in 2012, adding $241 billion to their collective net worth, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a daily ranking of the world’s 100 wealthiest individuals.
Brazil’s Eike Batista, 56, was the year’s biggest loser, falling $10.1 billion. The commodities maven vowed a year ago that he’d become the world’s wealthiest man by 2015. He now ranks 75th in the world with a $12.4 billion net worth. On March 27, he was worth $34.5 billion and ranked 8th by Bloomberg.
Charles and David Koch of Koch Industries are each worth $40.9 billion, up 20.9%.
Oracle founder Larry Ellison added $6.4 billion.
Bernard Arnault, France’s richest man, gained $8.1 billion as shares of LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton and its holding company soared.
Amazon.com CEO Jef Bezos added $6.9 billion.
Jim Walton, Christy Walton, Alice Walton and Rob Walton, heirs to the Wal-Mart fortune. gained a combined $13.5 billion.
Sheldon Adelson, gambling’s richest man, added $2.8 billion.
Asia’s richest man, Li Ka-Shing, gained $6.4 billion.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg lost $5.2 billion.
Source: Bloomberg News
The aggregate net worth of the world’s top moguls stood at $1.9 trillion at the market close on Dec. 31, according to the index. Retail and telecommunications fortunes surged about 20 percent on average during the year.
Of the 100 people who appeared on the final ranking of 2012, only 16 registered a net loss.
“Last year was a great one for the world’s billionaires,” said John Catsimatidis, the billionaire owner of Red Apple Group, in an e-mail. “In 2013, they will continue looking for investments around the world — and not necessarily in U.S. — that will give them an advantage.”
Amancio Ortega, the Spaniard who founded retailer Inditex SA, was the biggest gainer. The 76-year-old tycoon’s fortune increased $22.2 billion to $57.5 billion, according to the index, as shares of Inditex, operator of the Zara clothing chain, rose 66.7 percent.
Carlos Slim, the telecommunications magnate who controls Mexico’s America Movil SAB, maintained his title as the richest person on Earth for the entire year. The 72-year-old’s net worth rose $13.4 billion, or 21.6 percent, through Dec. 31, making him the second-biggest gainer by dollars.
Gains by Slim’s industrial conglomerate, Grupo Carso, and Grupo Financiero Inbursa, his banking and insurance operation, more than offset the decline posted by America Movil, his biggest holding.
The largest mobile phone operator in the Americas by subscribers fell 5.8 percent to close at 14.9 pesos at the end of the year.
U.S. software mogul Bill Gates, 57, ranks second on the list, trailing Slim by $12.5 billion. The Microsoft co-founder added $7 billion to his net worth as shares of the company rose 2.9 percent. Microsoft stock accounts for less than 20 percent of Gates’ fortune.
Warren Buffett, 82, lost his spot as the world’s third-richest man to Ortega on Aug. 6. The Berkshire Hathaway chairman gained $5.1 billion, even after donating 22.3 million Berkshire Class B shares in July to charity.
IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad, 86, is the world’s fifth-richest person with a $42.9 billion fortune. The complex ownership structure behind IKEA, the world’s largest furniture retailer, became more transparent in August after IKEA’s franchisor published its financial performance publicly for the first time.